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Email Marketing 102

Read this to learn more about email marketing specifics. We’ll go over definitions to terms like audience, segment, bounce rate, and more.

We all know how to send an email, but email marketing is so much more than pressing send. Here, we dig into the key terms and metrics that Mailchimp partners use when devising successful email marketing strategies. Brushing up on these works can level up your email marketing game.


In marketing, your audience is anyone your company sends emails to. This is a broader group than your customers, because your audience might include people who aren’t currently buying your products and services. They might, though, which is why you want to tailor content directly to keep them engaged. Your Mailchimp partner can tag your audience into key segments (definitions to follow), which will allow you to better reach them through your campaigns, and create effective landing pages to grow your audience with new sign ups.


Looking to put things on autopilot? Automations are kind of like having an intern that never sleeps and never drops the ball. They’re preprogrammed emails that are sent out at key steps on your customers’ journeys. Automations can take the form of a drip campaign (pre-written emails scheduled to be sent out over time), or they can be triggered by a customer’s behaviour. A welcome email, for instance, is triggered by a signup. An abandoned cart email, meanwhile, is a personalized reminder to consumers that there is something waiting to be purchased in their cart, and a gentle nudge to finish checking out.


When our partners talk about campaigns they aren’t talking about presidential electioneering—although there’s a lot of strategy involved in who and how to best leverage your email marketing. In the Mailchimp universe, a campaign can be any one-off email highlighting what your company is all about.

Customer journeys:

You can think of this as the path which your customers take to buy your products or services. It doesn’t start and end at the check out. Rather, it kicks off much earlier, when someone first engages with your brand, and it continues all through your relationship together. Ensuring a pleasant customer journey, something that Mailchimp has built right into its platform, is a great way to attract and retain a loyal brand following.


Mailchimp plays well with others. We love it when you can easily share your brand information across multiple platforms, including ours. This is called integration. It’s what allows you to sync your email or social media contacts to your Mailchimp account. There are nearly 300 integrations in our library. Your partner can handle the setup, and help you identify which apps, when integrated with Mailchimp, can help your business grow.

Rates, Rates, Rates:

Good data can help your business make better decisions Often, that data is presented in the form of various rates. It’s a partner’s job to obsess over which rates mean what. Below, a mini cheat sheet to help you get started. Bounce rate: Bounces occur when an email can't be delivered to an email address. The bounce rate refers to the number of emails that aren’t getting through. A low bounce rate (yay) means that more of your emails are reaching your audience.

Click-through rate:

Having your emails reach the intended inboxes is good. Even better: when your audience opens the message and clicks on any links to visit your site or a product page. The click rate is a percentage that tells you how many successfully delivered emails registered at least one click.

Conversion rate:

After someone clicks on an email, do they take action? For example, do they make a purchase? Sign up for a service? Follow you on social media? There is a simple formula to determine the conversion rate. Clicks ÷ actions = conversion rate. The higher your conversion, the more successful your online marketing campaign.

Open rate:

The open rate is a percentage that tells you how many successfully delivered campaigns were opened by subscribers. In a perfect world, a high open rate leads to a high click-through rate leads to a high conversion rate.


Think of segments as a way to filter your audience into subsections, clustering people together because they share certain characteristics and respond to marketing in a similar way. You, or your Mailchimp partner, will want to get to know each segment very well. This will allow you to figure out segment-specific approaches to improve for each campaign that will improve your open, click-through and conversion rates.


Tags are like labels you create to help organize your contacts. Tagging lets you bring your own contact structure into Mailchimp and label contacts based on data you know about them. They are highly customizable, so you can create and assign them as you see fit. Sometimes, people confuse segments and tags. But if segments filter your audience into certain clusters, then tags allow you to describe those clusters in greater detail. They add another layer of information that will help you customize your campaigns and better reach prospective customers.

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