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Turn Audience Data into Campaigns That Drive Engagement

How to use Mailchimp to collect, organize, and understand your audience data—then use it to market smarter.

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Targeted, personalized marketing goes far beyond adding merge tags to your emails. It’s about piecing together all your marketing data to build a more complete picture of who you’re talking to, then using that insight to build better relationships at scale. This process is often referred to as Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, and there’s no better time than now to start incorporating CRM into your marketing plans.

By following the steps below, you can start to:

  • Get better at connecting insights. Streamline the process of gathering information about your users and building a more complete picture of who they are.

  • Learn more about your audience at a glance. Understand trends in your audience data and see how they change over time.

  • Dig into the exact insights you need with just a few clicks. Organize what you know based on what’s most important to your business.

  • Automate to save time. Turn insights into action and build better relationships with your contacts—even while you focus on other stuff.


Step 1: Connect all your data across tools

The first step to doing more with data is simple: Put all of your data in front of you. By connecting all of your contact and engagement data in Mailchimp, you’ll have a more complete view of who your audience is. Here’s a checklist to make sure you’ve covered all your data sources:

  • Have you integrated all your channels? Connect all your favorite apps and web services to pull in even more insights that can help with your marketing. Check out our integrations directory to find the tools you already use.

  • Are you using one master list, or audience, in Mailchimp? For most Mailchimp customers, the best practice is to keep all your contacts in one master list (also known as an audience). This way you can see insights about your audience at a glance, and you can segment however you need to from there. If you currently have contacts spread across multiple lists, check out some ways to combine lists into one central audience in Mailchimp.

  • Are you making the most of opportunities to collect the right information? Make sure you’re giving contacts every possible chance to opt in to your marketing, using tools like pop-up forms and Facebook ads to bring in even more contact data to help you get smarter with your marketing.

More resources: How to Design Pop-Up Forms that Work We’ve found that adding a pop-up form to your site can increase your list growth rate, on average, by 60%. Learn how to do them right.

Step 2: Look for high-level patterns in your audience overview

Once you have all your data in one Mailchimp audience, it’s much easier to see patterns that tell you things about your contacts—and our new audience overview page (currently a part of our audience manager beta) is built to help you do exactly that. Ask yourself a few questions as you check out this new view of your data:

  • What do your sources of recent growth tell you about your marketing? Maybe a particular landing page worked well for you over the past 30 days, and you should create more content on this topic in the new year—or maybe you need to expand your efforts to try something new.

  • Are you considering the right locations with your marketing? See what your data can tell you about where contacts are engaging with your content. Is there a new city you should try targeting a campaign to, or users in a time zone you hadn’t considered before?

  • How can you target your campaigns based on email marketing engagement? Dig into the contacts who are most engaged with your campaigns to see how your content is resonating, or check out the contacts who ‘sometimes’ interact with your campaigns to see how you can increase engagement over time.

More resources: What's Your Email Marketing Plan? No matter your industry, you need to know who your audience is—or who you want your audience to be—before you can plan how to talk to them. Here are some tips that can help.

Step 3: Start organizing insights based on what’s most important to you

Your audience overview is a great tool for spotting high-level patterns in your data, but when it comes to knowing the insights that are most important to your marketing, you’re the expert. That’s why Mailchimp offers several tools—including tags, groups, and segments—that work in slightly different ways to help you track and access the insights you need. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to start making these tools work for your business:

  • What insights do you have about contacts that could help your marketing? You’ll always know things about your contacts that Mailchimp can’t know—for example, who you met in real life at a trade show or event. Keep in mind that you can create tags to note this information in Mailchimp—and even tag contacts right from your phone—so you can use it later to help target your marketing.

  • Are you asking your customers what they want to hear from you? Adding a group field to your signup form can help you learn more about your contacts’ preferences, right from the source. Which type of communication do they want to receive? What are their preferred ways to learn about new product updates or features? This collected data is stored as groups in Mailchimp, and can be used as a valuable tool for quickly getting content to the people who will find it most interesting.

  • How can you create more targeted messages based on your new insights? Don’t forget that you can create your own segments based on tags, groups, or insights from your audience overview page—or a combination of all 3. By layering on several different criteria, you can make your messages even more targeted and relevant.

More resources: How to Manage Your Audience in Mailchimp Get to know Mailchimp’s audience management tools with a deeper dive into segments, tags, and groups, and when to use each.

Step 4: Find the right automation to turn these insights into action

Insights about your contacts are important, but they can quickly become overwhelming unless you have an easy way to make them work for your marketing. That’s why Mailchimp offers several kinds of automations that make it possible to send personalized campaigns based on data. A few considerations to get started with:

  • What do your sources of recent growth tell you about your newest contacts? These insights could help you set up a more tailored welcome series to educate new users on how best to use your tool or service. For example, if people are signing up through a specific landing page, your welcome email could speak more to the use case that brought them to your product in the first place.

  • Can you use automations to drive upgrades? If your business is subscription-based, try adding a date field to your list and using date-based automations to check in with users when it gets close to the anniversary of their sign-up date. Whether or not they need to renew their contract with you, it can be a great opportunity to thank them for their loyalty—and remind them of what they could get by upgrading their plan.

  • Do you have tags that show a customer would be a good fit for a campaign? Maybe you attend a yearly trade show where you meet a number of new contacts that would likely be a good fit for your product—why not tag those contacts on import, then automatically trigger a follow-up campaign to help them learn more about your solution? You can do that (or trigger a campaign based on just about any insight you can think of) with our tag-triggered automations.

More resources: How to Identify Your Best Email Automation Triggers Learn how you can discover the highest-value triggers for your automations and increase the response you get from your marketing activity.

See how other people use Mailchimp to understand audience data

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