Email marketing and outreach campaigns can be important for many small businesses, and Less Annoying CRM has built an integration with industry leader Mailchimp to help make it easier to connect with your contacts. With this integration you can create a two-way connection between LACRM and MailChimp, allowing you to manage email campaigns through MailChimp while automatically logging this activity in the CRM.
This integration works by syncing a group in LACRM to an audience in Mailchimp, so any contacts added or removed in Mailchimp or LACRM will be passed to the other system. There are two important reasons you may not want to sync a master group list with Mailchimp:
Both of these can be problematic if you’re trying to maintain a group of contacts in a certain industry or area, but they don’t all have email addresses or tend to unsubscribe from lists. In order to prevent changes to group membership in LACRM, you can duplicate your groups before syncing. Then only one group will be synced with Mailchimp and be affected by unsubscribes or missing emails, while the other group will maintain group membership.
There are a few different steps you’ll need to take to duplicate your groups and sync with Mailchimp to make sure that you can maintain group members, and still sync data with Mailchimp.
There are a few simple steps you can use to duplicate your groups in LACRM to preserve membership when syncing with Mailchimp. If you haven’t yet, you’ll first need to tag the desired contacts into a group to sync with Mailchimp. If you’re not sure how to group your contacts you can learn how to group contacts here.
Once you’ve created the desired groups, you can duplicate those groups to sync one group with Mailchimp and maintain a master group list. Simply jump to the desired group, by mousing over “Find a Contact” and clicking on the group name. Next, tick the “Select All” box on the left side of the gray bar just above the first listed record. A bar will pop up at the bottom of the screen and you can select “Add to a group” and enter a new group name. Please note: if you have more than 500 contacts in the group, you’ll need to select the link in the red bar above the “Add to a group” option to select all contacts before adding them to a group.
Using a naming convention here can be helpful to keep track of which group is syncing with Mailchimp and which group is not. For example, the original group may be called “Vendors,” and the duplicated group that will be synced with Mailchimp “Vendors - MC.” Repeat these steps for each group that you would like to sync with Mailchimp.
Now that you have duplicated groups, you will need to add new contacts to both of those groups in LACRM. This will allow the contacts to be synced with Mailchimp to receive email campaigns, while still allowing you to track original membership in case the contact unsubscribes later.
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 send multiple campaigns to a given audiences, track information about the contacts in an audience, and much, much more.
Importantly, the LACRM integration works by syncing an entire group in LACRM to an audience in Mailchimp. Please note that the LACRM integration does not support sub-grouping within Mailchimp; the integration will sync the entire audience to the group in LACRM so you should not create any sub-groups in Mailchimp.
Now you’re ready to set up the integration! Navigate to your Main Settings page in LACRM and click the Mailchimp Integration link at the bottom of the page. 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 shown a table of your Mailchimp audiences, each with its own drop-down menu. For each audience you wish to sync with a group, open the audience and select the appropriate group. Be sure to sync the duplicated group here, for example syncing your “Vendors - MC” group rather than the “Vendors” group. If you don't wish to sync an audience with a group, leave it on the option "Do not sync."
You can sync as many or as few of your Mailchimp audiences with Less Annoying CRM groups as you’d like, but you can only sync each group to a single audience. 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, and you should not sync one group to multiple audiences.
There are some additional details about the integration that you should understand before saving the sync. Here are some of the details about the integration, 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 list 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. Creating duplicate groups as described above can help you track the original group membership, and you can still pull up their contact record if they are removed from the group syncing with Mailchimp.
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.