So it’s the biannual move-all-the-buttons-around-day at MailChimp.
But what, dear reader, does that mean for you?
Everything’s the same, but there’s a few new things and it looks a bit different. Most obviously, the menu navigation:
(UPDATED 13th NOV: The Automation menu item wasn’t there and I gave advice on how to work around it. At 2pm on 13th Nov it’s suddenly re-appeared!)
If you were using MailChimp before around May this year you’ll know they had a HUGE shakeup of how it works.
From shifting most of the good features into the paid plans (makes sense, they are a business!) to focussing on being a marketing CRM, MailChimp has ambitious plans of outgrowing its email marketing roots.
Under Create, all of the options have been condensed into one list, from email to postcard and a new addition … WEBSITES!
This is a real curveball from MailChimp and just goes to show how aggressive they’re responding to similar ventures from Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) – grabbing desperately for the Marketing CRM that does everything.
Don’t tear up your hosting package just yet though, the beta feature is quite basic and it’s expected to remain so. It’d be ideal for small community groups who only need a couple of pages to explain who they are and give options to sign up to the MailChimp list.
If we hop over to the Brand menu items we can see Templates making a great top line appearance, the Manage Website from those basic website features I mentioned above and, my favourite and SO OFTEN OVERLOOKED feature, Manage Domains.
This always make people run for the hills because we enter the technical zone, but it’s so important to set this up, I WILL SET IT UP FOR YOU FOR FREE to help you. It takes an experienced tech about thirty seconds but can bamboozle the uninitiated.
Domain Authentication: I can see you yawning! But it can be the difference being a junk box zero and an Inbox Hero. What does this mean? Essentially, by making two small changes to your website, you’re telling your reader’s email program that emails you send are not spam.
Say Fred signs up to your list with his email firstname.lastname@example.org. You then send him your newsletter. But you’re not sending the email, MailChimp is and here’s the problem.
When Fred’s email provider, the “@gmail.com” bit receives your email, it does lots of things to see whether you’re a spammer, or a real person. One of the ways it does this is to see if your website is verified.
It looks up your email@example.com email address and sees that the email is actually coming from MailChimp. It then looks at your website (example.com) to see if you’ve said MailChimp to send emails on your behalf (authenticated on your domain).
If you haven’t, fearful of someone impersonating you and seeming a bit fishy/phishy, “SPAM!” screeches Fred’s email provider and shoves you in the bin, forgotten forever.
If you have, “HAM!” screeches Fred’s email provider, and you get filed in the Promotions Tab (only on Gmail, it’s the inbox for most other providers) – I’ll do another blog about how this is actually a GOOD thing!
An aside here, ham and spam are the actual technical names of that statuses mail servers choose which are the good emails to show you (ham) and the junk ones (spam). Made me chuckle at least when I learned that!
Firstly, you’ll need to know the login details for your website name (domain) and which company you bought it from (or where it’s stored).
Then we go Brand > Manage Domains.
Find your domain which will say Verified (in a blue button) by default. We want to change that to Authenticated (with a green button).
1) Find your domain:
2) Press Authenticate
3) This is where it gets tricky
You need to create two ‘records’ in your DNS Zone for your domain.
I know that’s the point more than half of you reached for the exit button, but it’s so easy and quick to do, I’LL DO IT FOR YOU, FOR FREE. (A coffee is appreciated!) – just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s so important that you do this, I’ll spend the thirty seconds making the changes for you if you’re a bit bamboozled by DNS, CNAMEs and DKIM.
When you see “Authenticated” you’ve levelled up to Inbox Hero. More of your emails will get delivered. Celebrate. Have a beer. Buy me a beer.
And finally, if you’re using the MailChimp Landing Pages, you can now use tags. This might seem really little, but opens up HUGE potential for more complex from MailChimp’s hosted Landing Pages. Up until now, I’ve always advised people to avoid them because you couldn’t list manage subscribers properly and this little but important addition is great to see:
And that’s a quick overview of the big changes.
I’m Jon May, like the month, taking you from junk box zero to Inbox Hero.
Got a burning MailChimp question? The only stupid question is the one unasked!