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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 betwen your CRM Groups and MailChimp Lists so that you can manage mail campaigns in MailChimp while automatically logging this activity in your CRM.

The Basics

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 feature you need to understand is Audiences. 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.

In some ways, Audiences are a lot like Groups in Less Annoying CRM, except with more bells and whistles -- which is why this integration tool lets you link LACRM Groups with MailChimp Audiences. Cool, huh?

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.

MailChimp authorization button

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 shown a table of your MailChimp Lists, each with its own drop-down menu. For each List you wish to sync with a Group, open the list and select the appropriate Group. If you don't wish to sync a List with a Group, leave it on the option "Do not sync."

MailChimp List syncing

You can select as many or as few of your MailChimp Audiences to sync with Less Annoying CRM Groups, but you can only sync each Group once. The connection between the Group and Audience is two-way, meaning you can enter contacts on either end. As a consequence, linking more than one Group to an Audience will not function properly.

That's it! You're off and running. The initial sync may take a little while, but if you open MailChimp you should see your lists populated with your CRM contacts so you can get started sending email campaigns. When you send email to your lists in MailChimp, that information will automatically be captured and sent to Less Annoying CRM, and it will appear on the profiles of each contact involved, as well as your Dashboard's Activity Feed.

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.
  • Your activity on MailChimp is subject to their Terms of Use. Don't spam people. Spamming means sending unsolicited email. MailChimp takes spamming very seriously, and if you upset them and get your account blocked, there's nothing we can do. If you have questions about whether something is allowed, ask MailChimp directly or check out their help section.
  • 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, however.
  • 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 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!

Next up:
Mailchimp, Constant Contact, email marketing, newsletter