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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Wall

You've Got Mail

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Five Mailchimp features that enhance and streamline your communications

*I am not receiving compensation from Mailchimp nor do I include affiliate links in this post. I am simply a longtime user of Mailchimp looking to help others use its features to enhance their communications.

Communicating with an audience, no matter how big or small, is an art form. Done well, it takes a ton of research, skillful design, a knowledge of best practices, and a commitment to using the analytics to inform your communications strategy — to name a few. Needless to say, it’s essential to utilize tools that are functional and seamless, especially when you have multiple programs, projects and events to manage. When it comes to email communications in particular, I look for a software that embraces automation, takes the guesswork out of designing campaigns, integrates with other tools and software, gives me all the analytics I can handle, is supported by proven research, and evolves with the ever-changing user trends.

When my co-op first dipped our toes into email communication about 6-7 years ago, I explored different methods and products for creating an email newsletter — Microsoft, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, our billing software… Ideally, we would’ve used our billing software, but its functionality was severely lacking at the time, and after experiencing the automation and analytics I could get with a third-party software, I couldn’t settle for anything less.

Before I dive into the specific features I love about Mailchimp, let me first argue the importance of automation in whichever platform you use. After all, communicators — especially co-op communicators — are typically expected to be a jack of all trades. We can use all the help we can get when it comes to time-saving measures, and managing an email marketing campaign can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially as your list grows. This is where automation comes in.

Automation in email marketing refers to the use of software to automate repetitive tasks such as sending emails, segmenting your list and tracking results. Here are some reasons why automation is essential in email marketing:

1. Saves time and resources

Automation allows you to set up your email campaigns in advance, so you don't have to spend time manually sending emails. This frees up your time to focus on other important tasks.

2. Improves targeting and personalization

With automation, you can segment your list based on specific criteria such as location, behavior or interests. This allows you to send targeted and personalized emails that are more likely to resonate with your audience. I’ll talk more about this — keep reading!

3. Increases engagement and conversions

Automated emails can be triggered by specific actions such as a purchase or a sign-up. These emails are more relevant and timely, which can lead to higher engagement and conversions.

4. Provides valuable insights

Automation software provides valuable insights into your email campaigns, such as open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates. This data can help you optimize your campaigns for better results.

Once I experienced the capabilities of software like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, I ended up selecting Mailchimp, and I haven’t looked back.

I want to reiterate this is not a paid ad for Mailchimp — I’m only sharing my experiences as a resource for my communications peers.

Many of you might already be using Mailchimp and I’m sure are more well-versed in its functionality than I am. Whether you are a seasoned user or a curious potential user, I hope you can use some of these tips and features to enhance communication with your audience.

Tags & Groups

Utilizing Mailchimp’s tagging and group features allows us to truly segment our audiences and provide them with the customized communication that research shows they not only crave, but they expect.

Delivering our audiences custom messaging based on how they engage with our content not only boosts our click-through rates, but improves our overall audience engagement rates and gives us more usable data. And the more data we have access to, the better we can strategically plan our communications going forward.

To streamline the use of tags and groups within Mailchimp, I have automations set up that add tags to subscribers who perform specific actions. For example, if a subscriber clicks a link within an email promoting our youth programming, they are tagged “youth”. When we open a contest or scholarship application, I target the campaign only to members with the “youth” tag rather than e-blasting it to my entire list, which would make my list vulnerable to unsubscribes. This practice has proven successful because only those who have a proven record of engaging with that type of content are seeing it.

It’s just one way we try to give our audience what they want before they know they want it.

I use the Groups feature in Mailchimp as a way for subscribers to specify their preferences. One of our primary communications is our e-newsletter. I try to be sensitive to emailing our entire list anything other than that e-newsletter because it increases the risk for unsubscribes. But there are times that we communicate with the entire list, and when someone does want to unsubscribe, the Groups feature allows them to individually specify which Groups they would like to remain part of.

As an electric cooperative, some examples of Groups our audience members can select are: energy efficiency, electric vehicles, renewables, community development, and youth & education. These are essentially built-in audiences for targeted messaging and add an additional level of sophistication to your communications strategy.

Customer Journeys

Mailchimp’s Customer Journeys take automation to the next level as they transform your communications into an experience — with little to no effort on your part. The time invested on the front end is more than worth the results you get on the back end, especially if your communications strategy is driven by data. Using conditions and user behavior, Customer Journeys guide users through a series of communications.

I have a customer journey set up for our new member onboarding email series. The first email is triggered when a new subscriber is added to our mailing list, then an email is sent seven days later. This process repeats until subscribers have received all six of our emails. As members interact with those emails, they are being tagged and added to groups, which will allow us to segment them later on and send them targeted messaging. All of these actions are happening in the background — the only time I spent was strategizing how to use this feature and building out the customer journeys.

Audience segmenting

Another way to segment your audience and send customized, targeted messages is by filtering your subscribers based on Mailchimp’s contact rating feature.

Mailchimp's contact rating is a powerful tool that allows you to segment your email list based on the engagement level of your subscribers. This means you can target your marketing efforts to those who are most likely to engage with your content and take action. Here's how to use Mailchimp contact rating to target market:

1. Understand Mailchimp's contact rating system: Mailchimp assigns a rating to each subscriber based on their engagement level. The rating ranges from 0 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the most engaged. The rating is based on factors such as open rates, click-through rates and email activity.

2. Segment your list based on contact rating: Once you understand the contact rating system, you can segment your list based on the rating. For example, you can create a segment for subscribers with a 5-star rating, indicating they are highly engaged with your content.

3. Create targeted campaigns: With your segmented list, you can create targeted campaigns that are tailored to the interests and engagement level of your subscribers. For example, you can send a special offer or promotion to your 5-star subscribers, knowing they are more likely to take action.

4. Monitor and adjust: As you send targeted campaigns, monitor the results and adjust your strategy as needed. For example, if you notice that your 4-star subscribers are not responding to your campaigns, you may need to adjust your messaging or offer to better resonate with them.

I like to target new ideas or messaging to our 4- and 5-star subscribers prior to rolling them out to all contacts. Their level of engagement with the content helps set expectations for the true launch and allows us to further enhance our messaging by making minor tweaks to the campaigns themselves.

Landing Pages

Something that has become clear to me over the years is the importance of backing up marketing decisions with data. Mailchimp’s Landing Pages are one more way to collect data and put it to work for you.

Here are four ways to utilize Landing Pages to streamline your communications:

First, they’re a way to centralize communications: They provide a centralized platform for communication. This means that all communication related to a specific campaign or promotion can be managed from one place, which makes it easier to track and manage.

Next, Mailchimp’s Landing Pages offer customizable templates that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a campaign. This allows you to create Landing Pages that are visually appealing and on-brand, which can help to build trust and increase engagement.

Something else I love about the Landing Pages are they can be integrated with email campaigns, allowing me to send targeted messages to subscribers who have interacted with the Landing Page.

Last but not least, you guessed it, Landing Pages are collecting data in the background, providing analytics that can help me to track the performance of their campaigns. This includes information on page views, click-through rates and conversion rates.

Merge Tags

If you are ready to take the next step and start communicating personalized information to your members, clients or customers, Mailchimp’s merge tags make it super easy.

Merge tags allow you to personalize your email campaigns by inserting subscriber-specific information, such as their name or location, into your emails. One way my co-op utilizes merge tags is by inserting each new member’s name and account number into a welcome email.

Being able to automatically populate this information makes the end user feel like more of an individual than a number.

We also utilize merge tags to communicate billing and rate information, community events and more.

In closing, whichever email platform you choose to communicate with your customers, it’s important that your strategy goes beyond simple transaction emails. I cannot overstate the value of the analytics you receive as a result of regularly communicating with your audience, and how powerful your communications strategy becomes when it is backed by customer-driven data.

Whether you use Mailchimp, Constant Contact or another service, my advice would be to select a platform that:

  1. Provides automation features;

  2. Collects open rates, click rates AND tracks who clicks each link; AND

  3. Offers ready-to-use templates or gives you the freedom to design from scratch.

Looking for more time-saving measures or communications best practices? Check out my library of blog posts and podcast episodes to learn more!

Thanks for following along! I invite you to subscribe to my email list so you can read and listen to new content first! Plus, you get an exclusive discount code to use in my Shop as well as some encouragement and time management tips.

I hope by putting these features to work for you, that you will save time and energy on the menial tasks so you can dream big and keep your focus on the important things. At the end of the day, all the content I provide is intended to streamline your processes so you can create time for what matters most — both personally and professionally.


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