How to import subscribers from your Apple Address Book to a MailChimp List

 Email marketing, Farm Diversification, productivity  Comments Off on How to import subscribers from your Apple Address Book to a MailChimp List
Nov 212013

How to import subscribers from Apple Address Book or (Contacts application, as it’s been called since Mountain Lion) to your MailChimp Lists

If you’re using OS X 10.6.6 or later, Mail Chimp has a lovely app called Chimport to get your subscribers’ details from the Contacts (the name for Apple’s Address Book application since Mountain Lion) into your MailChimp List. Here’s MailChimp’s article showing you how. Fine……….

If it works!

I’ve just tried it and although it claimed to import the subscribers, they have not appeared in my MailChimp List. Uh Oh!

Don’t let that put you off, others have made it work. I’m on OS X 10.6.8. If you have a later operating system, it may work for you. Give it a try! Or you can try my work around below.

Another way

My workaround may seem to have many steps but it is simple and straightforward. If you can copy, paste and drag, you’ll be able to follow this tutorial.

Before you tackle this, make sure people on your list have opted in to receive marketing messages. If you’re not sure of the rules check out the law in your country. Here’s what the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has to say on the subject. Scroll down for regulations on Electronic Mail Marketing.

If you’re ready, let’s get to it.

Getting set up

1. Open a blank spreadsheet, use either Microsoft Excel or Numbers for Apple Mac.

2. Open Address Book

3. Close any other open applications.

4. Re-size the Address Book and spreadsheet windows so you can see both on the screen.

Selecting the contacts in Address Book

1. Click on Address Book. In the first column, called GROUP, select ALL CONTACTS or choose the GROUP containing the email addresses you want to export to MailChimp.

2. To select more than one GROUP, hold down the COMMAND ⌘ key and click on the GROUPs you want, one by one.

3. When you’re done, click on one of the contacts in the second column, NAME. Then select all the addresses. You can do this by holding down the COMMAND ⌘ key and clicking A or choosing SELECT ALL from the EDIT menu.

Dragging the contacts onto the spreadsheet

1. Now you’re going to drag those contacts onto the blank spreadsheet. So simply place the cursor somewhere on the selected addresses, click and hold while you move the mouse to drag the cursor to the spreadsheet.

2. As you hover over the blank spreadsheet, you’ll see a white plus sign in a green circle and a red circle with the number of contacts in it. Let go of the mouse.

3. Next, you want to select the contacts in the spreadsheet. It’s very important, you only select cells that have contact details in them. Don’t highlight the column names. To do this click in the first cell of the first column that has data in it. Then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last cell that has data in it.


If you have problems clicking on a cell containing an email address, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the cell to the left of the last one, then still holding down SHIFT, use the right arrow on your key board to move into the last cell.

Don’t worry about the order of the data. It doesn’t matter whether your first column is LAST NAME, FIRST NAME or EMAIL ADDRESS. You can sort this out during the IMPORT process.

4. Copy the data either using ⌘C or the COPY option from the EDIT MENU.

Copying and pasting the contacts into your MailChimp List

1. Now, go into your web browser (Google Chrome or Firefox for preference) and log in to your MailChimp account.

2. Select LISTS from the left hand side.

3. On the far right of the screen is a downward pointing triangle next to a button marked STATS. Click on that downward pointing arrow for the list you want and select IMPORT.

4. Scroll down and click on COPY/ PASTE FROM EXCEL. It is the second button in the top row.

5. Place your cursor in the box below where it says PASTE YOUR LIST. And paste your contacts using ⌘V or choose the PASTE option from the EDIT MENU.

6. If you have set up groups for this list, you’ll have the option to choose a group at this stage.

7. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see the IMPORT button. Hit the button.

8. Next MAILCHIMP will ask you to match columns. In the first column you will either see MAKE A SELECTION or MAILCHIMP will suggest a column name e.g. EMAIL ADDRESS. To make a selection use the pull down menu, to find the appropriate column name, e.g. FIRST NAME. Then click OK. If MAILCHIMP has already made the correct selection, you just click OK or if you don’t want that data imported e.g. Phone numbers, then click SKIP. Then you’ll move to the next column. Check each column and click OK or SKIP. There’s a short cut if you have a large number of columns.

10. If you have brought in a large number of columns and you realise you don’t need most of them, there is a SKIP ALL option, it is above the columns, in blue text, in brackets after the text about how many unmatched columns are left. Only use this once you have hit OK for the email address column, first name and last name (if you have them).

11. Once the IMPORT is complete, check the list to make sure it has come in as you intended.

That’s it. Use the comments to let me know if this worked for you or if you tried out Chimport, I’d love to hear how you got on.

3 ways to ease the switch from helpful to hard sell in your emails

 Email marketing  Comments Off on 3 ways to ease the switch from helpful to hard sell in your emails
Nov 152013
The famous Ascott dress worn by Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle in 'My Fair Lady'

The famous Ascott dress, designed by Cecil Beaton, worn by Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in the film ‘My Fair Lady’. Photo taken by Doug Kline, used under Creative Commons License.

There she is, dressed in finery, every inch the lady, and then, “Come on Dover. Move your bloomin’ arse”, bellows an excited Eliza Doolittle in the film, My Fair Lady, as she watches the horses race at Ascott. The illusion is shattered and frowns appear at this ill-mannered outburst from someone they thought was a “lady”.

Your emails can get a similarly negative reaction if you suddenly send out promotions when people are used to articles or news. It’s a common problem.

You send articles or information to help your subscribers and demonstrate your expertise. Those articles go down well and you get positive feedback. But you’ve also got to make a living. You need to promote your goods or services. What better way than by email?

Perhaps you’ve new Christmas stock, an event to fill or last minute accommodation offers and you want to send out a series of rapid fire promotional emails.

The problem is the switch in tone.

Your article based emails may use drama and case studies to explain ideas or techniques. All of a sudden you have a short sharp, ‘come and get it’ sales email, promoting product, services or events that feel and sound as if they come from someone entirely different.

It can leave your subscribers feeling upset or irritated which is not the object of the exercise. Here are 3 ways you can ease the switch.

1. Mention that you promote stuff at sign up

2. Send advance warning – a nice friendly message

3. Remind people the free stuff will be coming as usual

Let’s take a look at these in more detail:

1. Mention that you promote stuff when they sign up

This is very important but easy to overlook. In our desire to promote our helpful articles or juicy news, we might forget to mention that we also promote stuff. This is a mistake.

Most people are fair. If you’re upfront and transparent most will accept that you need to make a living as well as giving away content.

The rapid fire promotional emails will come as an unpleasant surprise to people who aren’t expecting them. It’s simple to fix. Here’s what I’ve used in my web sign up form:-

Example email sign up form mentioning promotions as well as information

Example email sign up form mentioning promotions as well as information

The other problem is frequency. Say your e-news goes out twice a month, but then you want to promote an event. You might send out 6 emails in 4 weeks. This sudden change in frequency can upset people. They feel bombarded. What can you do?

2. Send advance warning – nice friendly message

One of the many benefits social media brings to society is encouraging us all to be friendly and approachable in the way we write. You absolutely should apply this to your email communications. In this case, a friendly note is just the job.

So instead of sending out those promotional emails with no warning, why not send an advance email explaining what you’re doing and why. You can even spell out that these will be short and too the point to make sure those interested get all the information they need. Here’s one I sent recently.

Example email sign up form mentioning promotions as well as information

Example email sign up form mentioning promotions as well as information

You know not every subscriber reads every word of your emails so it’s worth adding further reassurance. You can do this with another piece of information.

3. Remind people the free stuff will be coming as usual

People may wonder what’s happened to the regular articles or news items. So in your advance email, remind them that this is a temporary situation and the free information they enjoy will be around as usual. You could also add this to the bottom of your follow up promotional emails.

It’s also a gentle reminder that you provide valuable content for FREE on a regular basis.

Isn’t it better to segment your list?

It is one of the golden rules of copywriting that you need to put the right message in front of the right audience at the right time, so in theory segmenting your list, targeting only those who can take up the offer, would make sense.

However, your subscribers are like a little club and it does no harm for people in that club to see what you are promoting. They may not need your product or service now, but keeping them in the loop, keeps you front of mind and you can ask them to pass on the offer to friends or colleagues. Using the 3 ways above you can send to your whole list without unduly upsetting your subscribers.

If you’ve carefully created a tone of voice for regular newsletters that is authoritative, friendly and helpful, don’t suddenly go all Eliza Doolittle and start sending “come and get it” emails without some explanation. To avoid this, you can 1. Mention that you promote stuff at sign up, 2. Send advance warning – a nice friendly message, 3. Remind people the articles or news will be sent out as usual.


I love teaching rural business people about email marketing. Look out for my latest South Wales MailChimp workshops on my Events Calender and find out what a typical Email Marketing using MailChimp workshop includes. Can’t see what you want? Drop me a line and let’s see what we can fix up for you.

My 7 takeaways from Just WordPress: A Totally Practical Day

 Blogging, Wordpress  Comments Off on My 7 takeaways from Just WordPress: A Totally Practical Day
Nov 092013
Wordpress Users Wales and Software Alliance Wales event

Right to left: Pippa Davies, Andrea Morgan, Helen Reynolds and me

Photo taken by @HelenA_CadwynHA

Today I attended the WordPress Users Wales and Software Alliance Wales event: Just WordPress: A Totally Practical Day at The Village Hotel Cardiff.

As anticipated it was a relaxed and informal day where the air positively crackled with ideas and inspiration. Here’s what I took away:-

My 7 big takeaways

1. Focus on content (rather than get too distracted by technology) – haven’t we all done that?

2. Get obsessive about your subject area. Really, really obsessive.

3. JUST DO IT, whether that’s publishing your first post or turning your blog posts into an e-book, there’s no time like now!

4. Find leaders in your field on Twitter and send them links to your content (be bold!)

5. Think about what makes you different and make sure that difference echoes through all your content (being good value, efficient and excellent at customer service doesn’t make you different).

6. Be consistent in design, fonts, colours and tone (2 fonts and 3 colours are enough).

7. Stay focused so your content builds on the reputation and brand you’ve built (challenging for magpies like me).

All these fine speakers are on Twitter. Go find them.

  • How your WordPress blog can get big – fast (Andrea Morgan, @rightmoveaddict)
  • Should you format your blog writing? ( Helen Reynolds, @helreynolds and Chris Bolton @whatsthepont)
  • E books and E commerce with WordPress ( Philippa Davies @mindhiver)
  • Branding and Art Directing Your WordPress site (RussellBritton @brandnatter)
  • Themes and Plug Ins We Love (@wordpresswales)
  • Fear, Loathing and WordPress: Blogging in the 3rd and public sector (Tanwen Haf @tanwen_haf and Dyfrig Williams @dyfrigwilliams)
  • Why May Be All You Need (Joel Hughes@joel_hughes)

Thanks to all involved, these are such fantastic events, definitely worth coming down from my hill.

Writing content for WordPress sites

If you’re interested learning how to write for your WordPress site or blog, add a comment.