How to use Mailchimp to manage and track your email campaigns
Email marketing and outreach campaigns can be a huge boon for many small businesses, which is why Less Annoying CRM built an integration with industry leader Mailchimp. With this syncing tool, you can create a two-way connection between your CRM groups and Mailchimp audiences and tags so that you can manage mail campaigns in Mailchimp while automatically logging this activity in your CRM.
To get started, you'll first need a Mailchimp account. You can sign up for free from their homepage. Be sure to check out their pricing page -- depending on the amount and type of mail you need to send, you may need a paid subscription.
Next, you'll need a basic understanding of the Mailchimp product. Mailchimp has some great training tools available at their help site, and there are far too many features available for us to delve into here. For the Less Annoying CRM integration, the key Mailchimp features you need to understand are audiences and tags. Audiences are basically groups of contacts to whom you plan to send email using MailChimp's tools. You can run multiple campaigns to a given audience, track information about the contacts in an audience, and much, much more. Tags are like sub-groups within an audience that you can use to further segment your audience.
Setting Up the Sync
Navigate to your Integrations page in the CRM under the Settings tab and click the Mailchimp Integration link. You'll need to start by authorizing the Less Annoying CRM integration on MailChimp's site -- click the big green button to log into your MailChimp account and get started.
You'll need to log into your Mailchimp account on the next screen, not your Less Annoying CRM account! Once the connection is established, you'll be taken back to Less Annoying CRM and asked which group you'd like to sync with your audience in Mailchimp.
If you have more than one audience in Mailchimp, you'll need to select which audience you'd like to sync with each specific group.
Once you've connected your audience with your LACRM group, you can decide if you'd like to sync tags within your Mailchimp audience. If you choose to, you can sync each Mailchimp tag to a separate group.
Once you've selected the appropriate options, you can save settings and start syncing. A dialog will then appear that includes some additional detail regarding the integration. These details are very important, so be sure you read and understand each point.
Once you're sure you understand each point, you can select "Finalize the integration." The dialog will show a loading bar to indicate the sync has begun. If you'd like you can wait and the dialog will indicate when the sync is complete, or you can close the dialog and it'll continue running in the background.
That's it! The initial sync may take a little while, but if you open Mailchimp you should see your audience populated with your CRM contacts so you can get started sending email campaigns. When you send email to your tags in MailChimp, that information will be captured and sent to Less Annoying CRM, and it will appear on the profiles of each contact involved. Additionally, each syncing group in LACRM will have a Mailchimp icon to indicate that the members of that group are syncing with Mailchimp.
In addition, whenever someone subscribes or unsubscribes from that Mailchimp audience or tag, that action will get logged onto the contact's History so that you know who's new and who's opted out!
The Nitty-Gritty Details
As is the case anytime two dissimilar systems are connected, there are some little details that you might run into that you might find confusing. Here are some of the details about the integration you might need to know, along with some important tips:
- New contacts added in Mailchimp will sync to the CRM. This is great for those instances where you are adding subscribers to a particular mailing list with a subscription form or that kind of thing. All new contacts added to synced audiences will appear in your CRM and the synced group.
- Only names and email addresses will sync between Mailchimp and the CRM. Other fields in the CRM (title, phone numbers, and custom fields, for example) won't come across. This means that if you've set up your data in MailChimp before the sync, you can only expect names and email addresses to be pulled into the CRM.
- If you edit a synced contact in Mailchimp, only the email will be saved in the CRM. The reason that only the email address will be changed in the CRM is that we always worry about overwriting data. In the interest of being as conservative as possible about the potential loss of data, only the email will change when you edit contacts in MailChimp.
- Only contacts added by you or a connected web form are likely to sync to Less Annoying CRM. If you're using another service to sync with the same audience as Less Annoying CRM, it's unlikely that those contacts will make it into the CRM. This prevents circumstances where infinite data loops can occur.
- If a contact unsubscribes from an audience in Mailchimp, they'll be removed from the CRM group, but not deleted. If you're emailing people with Mailchimp, those people will have the option to unsubscribe from a particular mailing list. If that happens, they'll disappear from the group in Less Annoying CRM. You can still pull up their contact record, but they will no longer have that group tag.
- If you remove a contact from a group in the CRM, they will also be removed from the synced audience in Mailchimp.
- Only one email address from the CRM can be synced to Mailchimp. You can enter as many email addresses as necessary on a single contact in Less Annoying CRM, but we can only sync the first one over to MailChimp, so enter the most important one at the top!
- Only new campaigns are shown in the CRM. If you sync an audience you've been using for a while in Mailchimp we cannot import historical data for those contacts. You'll see all of your activity going forward, but you'll have to check Mailchimp for any information from before that point.
As always, if you have any questions that this article doesn't answer, let us know and we'll be happy to clear up any confusion!