8 questions to ask before you start building your email list

 Email marketing  Comments Off on 8 questions to ask before you start building your email list
Sep 282016

House building

If you were building a house, you’d likely do some research about where you’re going to build, what materials you’re going to use and how you’re going to schedule the work. Wouldn’t you? It could go horribly wrong if you didn’t do that kind of research.

In the same way it pays to do a little research before building your email list.

Every business wants a big list. And that isn’t hard if you have a big budget or plenty of time.  However a big list of people who care nothing for your product or service is worse than no list. What we really want is a list of engaged subscribers who look forward to hearing from your business. To achieve that you need to ask yourself the following questions before you start growing your list:-

1.    Who are you targeting?

It may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people take the ‘anybody’ approach. This comes from a fear of possibly missing out on business if they narrow their focus to any particular group. Time and again it’s been shown that businesses that specialise and cater for a particular audience, get better quality business (more satisfying and more profitable). So sit down and have a long hard think about which group perfectly fits with your product or service. You might find it useful to do a Target Profile Interview to help with this one.

2.    What are the concerns and aspirations of this group?

The Target Profile, mentioned above, can really help nail the answer to this question. It will reveal the particular things about your business offerings that appeal to this group. For a tourist attraction it might be obvious things like location, price, seasonality but other things may be revealed that you hadn’t thought about, like entertaining visiting relatives, for instance. Once you have a sense of who is in this group, you need to find them.

3.    Where do they hang out (online, in person, print)?

Sure you can advertise your list on every social media platform available but take some time to also find the groups on those social media platforms where your target audience hang out. So for instance, if you are in tourism, sharing to your county tourism social media pages will give you far more reach.

Don’t over look capturing customer data from those who visit your premises. You can devise fun incentives for people to leave their email addresses. If you have online ticket booking, ensure you give customers the chance to opt in for your sales emails or e-news when they book.

For business to business, LinkedIn groups and publishing on LinkedIn are a great way to raise your profile and invite people to your sign up form.  Don’t forget trade publications and guest blogging. Most on and offline publications are desperate for good content.

Once you start seeing results through these free but time consuming methods then you’re ready to do some targeting advertising. At this point it is worth attending to the form your content might take.

4.    How do they prefer to consume information (audio, video, image, article)?

If for instance you are targeting business professionals then well-written articles may fit the bill, but it depends what sector you are in. While a well-crafted article can be persuasive in most industries, there is no doubt it is competing with video, image quotes, podcasts and giffs to grab attention. So you might want to think about using a combination of media to first grab attention and then deliver your message. This brings us to the content.

5.    What content can you create?

Working out how to create a regular supply of engaging content can prove a headache when you sit down with a blank piece of paper and try to come up with topics. Forget this approach. Spend some time out and about taking a walk in your customers shoes, either literally or in your mind.

As you connect more with where they are at and what they are looking for, you’ll begin to realise what sort of content will attract and intrigue them. It may be ‘how to’  articles or videos. It might be ‘behind the scenes’ video clips or blog posts, it could be photo stories of attractions and events in your area.

The scope is endless. The main thing is that you feel inspired and confident in this area and have something to say. The medium you use will depend on what you know about and what interests you eg. writing, video, graphics, photography or what you are interested in learning about. Once you have some idea of content, then it’s best to make a schedule.

6.    How will you make that a regular feature?

The longer I do this work, the less I realise you can cite any rules as absolute. So while I’m inclined to say a regular schedule of content delivery is important, I know plenty of businesses who get on just fine with a far more ad hoc approach. The important thing is to manage expectations. If delivery will be at random, then say so.

However, if you are just starting out with this, for your own sense of satisfaction and to be able to better measure results, then a schedule could be good. Again this is best done with a healthy balance of hope and realism. You may think you can create and deliver four articles a week but perhaps start with two a month and see how you get on. If that works well, you could increase to weekly. Taking some time to research and master a good delivery method is a good investment.

7.    How will you get it in front of your audience?

For small lists, under 2000 subscribers, MailChimp is my preferred favourite email content delivery method. (Disclaimer: I am a MailChimp expert and offer online live tuition via Google Hangout). It is a lovely programme but worth investing time to learn how it works and how to get the best from it. Your content may be great and you may have found where your potential subscribers are hanging out. How do you get them to actually subscribe?

8.    What can you offer as a sweetener?

A sweetener or a thank you for subscribing is always nice to offer. Depending on your business it might be a free pdf with useful tips, or a free quiz e.g. A personality quiz with some illuminating insights from the results.  A local guide to the area for tourism businesses, free audios for coaching businesses. You get the idea.

You might be thinking, isn’t it easier to just buy a huge list and work on the basis you’ll get some interest even if the majority unsubscribe or hit junk? Absolutely not a good idea. For a start you very rarely see a return on investment from purchasing lists if you are a small business.They are far too general to be useful.

Second, if a large number of people hit junk, companies like MailChimp may well suspend your account. So this kind of short cut won’t help in the long run.

So just as you wouldn’t just start piling bricks one on top of the other, wily nily when building a house, so don’t dive headlong into building your email list without first doing some preparation work.

If you’d like to book a one off or regular sessions with me, Juliet Fay to help develop your e-marketing, do get in touch.



What is email marketing?

 Email marketing  Comments Off on What is email marketing?
Mar 062014

What is email marketing?

First there was the carrier pigeon, then came AOL and nowadays you can get a virtual monkey (MailChimp) to deliver your messages electronically. So what exactly is email marketing?

“Sending an electronic message persuading a specific audience to take a specific action.”

Or we might just say:-

“Promoting stuff via email”

Email marketing is a direct descendant of direct mail. You know, those long typed letters with yellow highlighter liberally applied promising you treats galore. It’s a personal message.

Without a specific retail outlet, most businesses make their sales via email. Not just those with electronic shops, selling products online. If you’re a web designer, you will undoubtedly receive enquiries and send quotes via email. Even though social media may initiate some sales conversations, most will be concluded by email.

Email marketing is the name for those personal, targeted messages sent directly to your a list of contacts. So is it just large companies using email marketing?

Who uses email marketing?

In recent years sending professional email campaigns has got easier and cheaper with programmes like Aweber and MailChimp (no affiliation with either) offering free services to businesses with small lists. More than 5 million people use MailChimp alone and it is just one of a number of platforms available.

Why do they use email marketing?

In comparison to postal marketing, email marketing is cheaper, quicker and gives you more useful information as well as potential sales. For example, if you use a programme like MailChimp, you can track reader behaviour such as opens and clicks, allowing you to do targeted follow up activity, either more email messages or phone contact. This is way beyond the simple redemption of a coupon, the only quantifiable or useful outcome of many postal campaigns.

In addition the rise of the use of smart phones and tablets (estimated to be over 1.2 billion and 200 million respectively by the end of 2013)*  means email is now accessible at the office, at lunch, at home, at the gym, on holiday and in the bath. It is our constant companion and we turn to email for information, products and services for all areas of our lives: our work and play.

This makes email marketing an attractive choice for small businesses in particular. For those with deeper pockets there are sophisticated integrations and auto-responders that can send targeted follow up messages. Have you ever left your computer with a shopping basket half full only to find an email from the company half an hour later encouraging you to go back and complete the purchase? Those companies are using robots to track activity and send follow up marketing messages. Neat or scary depending on your point of view. So what about all the email marketing jargon?

What does all the email marketing jargon mean?

Here’s a quick run down for you:-

  • Email campaign – the name MailChimp uses for every email you send out whether it’s an offer, a full blown e-newsletter or a simple plain text thank you note.
  • Email list – this is a list containing at least the email address for every contact, but often has first name, last name and other relevant information you want to use to target your messages, such as purchase history or birthday.
  • Subscriber – a contact on your email list
  • Opt-in – someone actively joins your list i.e they fill out a form on your website giving their email address and asking to be added to your email list.
  • Soft opt in – in the UK, soft opt in permits you to send marketing messages to those who have enquired or purchased from you in the past as long as they can unsubscribe easily and as long as the marketing messages relate to the same subject (this is my loose interpretation and does not constitute legal advice – I’m not a lawyer). Read it for yourself here.
  • Unsubscribe – when people ask to be removed from your email list. By law, you must remove them when they ask.
  • Subject line – the text that appears next to the FROM text in email inboxes
  • Email formats – your email can be sent as HTML (hyper text mark up language or as I like to call it, all singing, all dancing with images, colours and the rest) or plain text. Read about Pros and cons of 3 different email formats.

So what are businesses doing with email marketing?

How do businesses use email marketing?

It varies. Some businesses send e-newsletters, a round up of news, events, offers and tit bits on a regular schedule e.g. bi-monthly. Others send a series of promotional emails for e.g. workshops, festivals, seminars or other events. Others still, send a series of sales emails that follow in a sequence. Excited, want to get started?

What do you need to know to start email marketing?

The law around email marketing is designed to protect consumers from unwanted and unsolicited marketing messages. Check the law where your country operates. In the UK you need to familiarise yourself with the Data Protection Act and the rules governing Email Marking. The Information Commissioner’s Office spells it all out in plain English. Don’t be afraid, go take a look! Remember too if your subscribers are from another country you might want to familiarise yourself with their laws. 

Good practice dictates that you’ll send well targeted messages to a list of opted in subscribers i.e. people who’ve asked to receive your information and crucially you’ll give the chance to unsubscribe at any time. Programmes like MailChimp and Aweber provide automatic unsubscribe features with a link in every email.

In practice the law is different if you’re sending business to business marketing messages. As long as the marketing messages are directed at the business and not say offers for holidays for individuals then, in the UK, at the time of publishing, you don’t have to adhere to such strict regulations. If in any doubt, consult a lawyer (that’s not me!).

So let’s take a look at the nitty gritty. The hub of your email marketing activity is your list.

Your email list

Most businesses collect email addresses in the course of their business. It’s simple to start a list. Simply ask for opt in. Something like,

“We’d like to send you offers and news about our business, please tick if you’d like to join the list.”

This, or something short and snappy like “, Get StyleMail”,  can be written on your booking form, on a sign up form on your website, with a QR code on the back of your business card or anywhere else potential subscribers might see it. So what do you do with all these email addresses?

Small and micro businesses may keep their contacts in:-

  • Email programme like Gmail, Outlook or Contacts for Mac
  • In an external database like a booking system
  • On a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel
  • In a note book

Once you have a central location for your contacts, programmes like MailChimp allow you to import data in a number of ways:-

  • Adding subscribers one by one
  • Copying and pasting from a spreadsheet
  • Integrations with a number of platforms including Google Contacts

So there’s your shiny new list, now you need to look after it.

Keeping your email list clean

If you use programmes like Aweber and MailChimp they take care of that side for you. If not you need to manage:-

  • Unsubscribes – when someone asks to be taken off the list you must ensure they don’t get sent any more emails.
  • Hard bounces – email addresses may be incorrect or defunct. These need to be cleaned off your list.
  • Soft bounces – sometimes there’s a temporary problem with an email meaning it can’t get through e.g. Mail box is full. Some of these may function again and others will eventually become hard bounces I.e. Not functioning.

You’ll want to update your list regularly. How to keep your email lists fresh and up to date. And of course you’ll want to keep attracting new subscribers.

Building your list

Building your list is not a one time activity. It’s something you need to work on week in week out, like all your marketing activity. Think of your email campaigns as a group of products you want to promote. Use every possible platform and opportunity to ask people to join your list, such as:-

  • Sign up form on your website
  • Sign up tab on your Facebook page
  • A link in your email signature
  • A link in your Twitter bio
  • A pin with link on Pinterest
  • QR code on leaflets, business cards
  • Exhibition banners
  • Promotional goods like pens
  • At networking events
  • At the till
  • On feedback forms
  • During presentations
  • In conversation

Keep Googling ‘Build your list’ for more ideas. You’re probably thinking a programme to manage all this for you, sounds like a good idea.

Which programme is right for you?

MailChimp (not affiliated) has a Forever Free programme offering a generous allowance of lists up to 2000 subscribers and up to 12000 CHECK sends per month for free. If your list is bigger than this, then you want to carefully check out comparison tables like this one [add link] to find the best fit for you. The platform takes care of delivery and you’re building a good clean list, but why exactly do you want to send out emails?

What’s your goal?

In 2013, the majority of email traffic comes from business email, which accounts
for over 100 billion emails sent and received per day.

Email Statistics Report, 2013-2017 Editor: Sara Radicati, PhD; Principal Analyst: Justin Levenstein

The number of emails sent continues to rise, so it’s getting harder to get noticed. You will not get away with vague or poorly targeted messages, so take a long hard look at what you want to achieve and then consider the best way to do this. You should expect to refine and tweak what you do over months and years. It’s not a quick fix. Here are some of the outcomes you might want to result from your marketing emails:-

  • Sales enquiries
  • Bookings
  • Member renewals
  • New subscribers
  • Quote enquiries
  • Collaboration
  • Fundraising
  • Sell tickets
  • Raise awareness
  • Get people out marching on the streets
  • Get people talking

Once you’re clear on that, you need to decide what type of content you want to send.

What content should you email?

Here’s a sample to get you started:-

  • Special offers
  • E-newsletters
  • Event promotion
  • Thank you’s
  • Information/articles
  • Article + offer
  • Blog articles
  • Members’ news
  • Industry news
  • View from
  • Quote of the day
  • Prices
  • Market round up

So you’ve planned your fabulous content, now there’s one more crucial element, without which all your efforts can be wasted.

The call to action

The call to action is simply the instruction usually at the end of your email that tells people what to do next. For instance:

• Read more
• Get a quote
• Sign up to the waiting list
• Book now
• Check availability
• Tell a friend
• Register for the event
• Give your opinion
• Follow us on Pinterest

So how did your campaign perform?

Email marketing delivery and click through

Programmes like MailChimp and Aweber allow you to see which subscribers opened your email and which clicked on links (when and how many times). Now this is all very exciting but what really matters, is whether your email met your objectives. Did you get enquiries from it, did people book tickets, did you get more fans on Facebook? If you didn’t, then you need to look at the reason.

Does your email need follow up?

One email will rarely clinch a sale if it’s the first time the subscriber has seen the offer. So planning a series of follow up emails at the outset makes sense. If it’s an event, short to the point messages outlining different benefits of attending are ideal. If it’s an information product then a series of articles highlighting different aspects can work well.

To find out more, browse the library of articles on www.onlinesalesmessages.com.


How to keep your email lists fresh and up to date

 Email marketing, MailChimp  Comments Off on How to keep your email lists fresh and up to date
Feb 142014
Valentines storm heads to UK

Valentines storm heads to UK courtesy @deric_hartigan

Here in the UK (as in many other parts of the world) we’re pretty glued to the weather forecasts at the moment, watching those storms roll in from the Atlantic, day after day. We take it for granted that those wonderful weather maps are accurate and up to date.

Imagine what would happen if they didn’t get updated. What good is last week’s or last month’s weather report to us?

It’s a little bit like this with your email list. For most businesses the list isn’t static. People join your list (by signing up for your e-newsletter or when they buy from your business, enquire about your services or attend a talk or workshop you’ve given).

It’s not just additions, changes happen as well. Members may lapse, enquirers may become guests and of course now and then people want to get off your list.

How do you keep track of changes in your email lists?

If you’re using a programme like MailChimp, some of these changes occur directly in your MailChimp email lists (sign ups via your MailChimp web form and unsubscribes via the button in your email campaigns) but other changes occur in an external database, maybe your booking system, in Google Contacts, Mac Contacts or in another type of database.

If your MailChimp list does not reflect these changes and additions then it will hamper the success of your campaigns.

So how can you keep your MailChimp email lists up to date?

Knowing your external database has the most accurate data, you may be tempted to just create a new list in MailChimp every time you import, deleting the old list. This isn’t ideal.

When you delete the old list you delete important information:-

1. Unsubscribes

2. Cleaned emails

3. Subscriber activity

There are reasons why this information should be kept:

1. Unsubscribes – these people have opted out and by law you must stop sending them marketing emails. By deleting your old list, you risk losing track of who has opted out.

2. Cleaned emails – these email addresses aren’t working for some reason and have been automatically cleaned from your list. There may be errors or the emails are defunct or some other problem.

3. Subscriber activity – this gives you details of opens, clicks and subscribers accumulate star ratings. You can segment by this rating which can be useful to reward your best customers or entice back your least engaged subscribers. If you delete your old list, all this information goes with it.

Best practice would be to find and export all this information before you delete the old list and then manually clean and unsubscribe any relevant contacts from the new list.

Of course in reality you may not get round to doing these tasks and then you risk having an unclean list. This could get you into trouble. However there is a way to deal with this in MailChimp.

Using Groups and AutoUpdate function in MailChimp

MailChimp allows you to add Groups to your list. This is a great way to segment your data. It allows you to send different campaigns to different groups or the same campaign to different groups at different times.

For instance you could set up a group for say, Enquiries and another for Guests. Find out more about MailChimp groups.

There is another great little feature in MailChimp called Auto-update

This neat little feature means MailChimp will update information about the subscribers on your list. It can add people to new groups; it can update or add other information like birthday or purchase history. Each record is tied to the email address.

It does have one flaw though. It cannot remove people from a group. So if say your contact is no longer an enquirer but has become a guest, you would end up with the contact in both groups. For membership organisations in particular, this can be a major headache. You don’t want lapsed members getting member only goodies via email.

The good news is, there is a work around that allows you to keep all the subscriber history but have people in the correct groups. It’s a little bit clunky but less work than exporting all the subscriber information and creating a new list each time.

Let’s run a little scenario:

You send monthly emails. You have a database of enquiries & customers. New people get added every month and some of the enquiries become customers.

In MailChimp, you need your list set up like this.

Main Mailing List

Group Title: Status



Currently you may have your enquiries and customers in two different lists. Change this. Have one list and use the group function, you’ll see why later on. Here’s a reminder on how to set up Groups.

Export data

So when you export your data from your external database to a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, you want to split the export into the two groups. You can often do this in the external database.

Use two different worksheets on your Excel spreadsheet. Say your first work sheet is Enquiries. Lay out your columns as in the screenshot with a column with the same title as your group title, in this case Status.

Excel spreadsheet showing columns

Excel spreadsheet showing column headings




Put the Customers on the next sheet and use same column headings.

Excel spreadsheet showing column headings

Before you import these two worksheets of data into MailChimp you have two steps. This is the workaround.

1. Delete existing groups

2. Set up your groups again

How does that work?

1. Delete existing groups

You simply delete the group information, but the subscribers remain on the main list which means you retain all the unsubscribe, cleaned and subscriber activity data.

2. Set up the groups again

Using exactly the same group names as you have on your spreadsheet. Now you import your data group by group using the Auto-update feature. Here’s the instructions.

So to keep your email lists clean, up to date and working hard for your email marketing, make sure your updates give you the most accurate picture, it sure helps with the weather forecasts. Keep safe and warm.

Have you found any other neat workarounds for managing email lists?

Jan 282014

(and 3 ways to get creative with a single column email template)

Have you noticed how kids will personalise their school uniform? A uniform is imposed to ensure order, consistency and tidiness. It’s easier for teachers, parents and the community to identify children by their uniform. In theory, every child looks the same. It’s neat and tidy.

In practice, children have always found creative ways to personalise their look. Whether that’s crazy hair, a funky bag, a cool jacket, discreet jewellery or other more outlandish embellishments.

It’s the same with email marketing.

Did you know,

“51% of people open their emails on mobile devices now?”

(Aweber e-news 23.1.14)

More and more of us scan emails on our phones which means we need to move towards templates that are easy to read on those screens. That means single column templates.

However it doesn’t mean we have to accept a dull and uniform approach and throwaway any creative embellishments.

Innovative email marketing programmes like MailChimp and Aweber have been offering mobile responsive templates for some time. That is, templates that re-size according to the screen size. So they look good whether viewed on a large desktop screen, medium size tablet screen, or small phone screen.

What’s the problem with 2 or 3 column templates?

2 or 3 column templates look great on a large screen, but on a small phone screen, MailChimp, for instance, stacks the columns one on top of the other. That can completely mess with your message, as your prime offer information in the top right hand corner, gets sunk to the bottom of the email.

So, you’re persuaded to try a one column template, but you’re concerned that you cannot get the layout you want……….

3 ways to get creative with a single column template

Here are 3 ways to get more creative with a one column template in MailChimp:-

1.Split individual text blocks into 2 columns.
2. Use image with left or right caption blocks to create effect of 2 column on desktop version while they stack on mobile version
3. Split header block into 2, use square logo & welcome message.

Let’s take those one at a time:

1. Split individual text blocks into 2 columns

Within a single column template in MailChimp you can split text blocks into two. On the screen shot, you see under settings you get to select 1 or 2 columns.

Using this option ensures that e.g. An offer you put in the right column will only stack under the left column of this text block I.e it won’t get pushed to the bottom of the email. And what about images?

2. Use image with left or right caption blocks

If you haven’t already experimented, take a look at the image blocks with right or left caption.

They can be used for offers, destination photos or inspirational shots to go with a snippet from your blog, sales page or other page on your website. Again using this block gives the effect of 2 columns on a large screen but stacks one on top of the other on a small screen. And what do you do with the header?

3. Split header block into 2, use square logo & welcome message

A traditional newsletter always begins with a header featuring the company logo and name of the e-newsletter. In the hurried world of email inboxes, we need to grab people’s attention quickly.

So consider splitting your header and jumping straight in with your message in the left column and putting your logo in the right.

With all these options use the Preview mode in MailChimp to see how it might look on a small screen. Even better send tests to Android and Apple mobiles.

“I like my 2 column template and I don’t like change”

I know where you’re coming from! If you’re getting good results then stick with it, but it’s always worth being open to change. You never know, it might improve your response rates!

Just as children find the most ingenious ways to stamp their mark on their school uniform, you don’t need to be confined by the one column template. Go and experiment.

Have you experimented with layouts? What have you found?

Best regards


P.S. Need help with your email marketing or MailChimp?  I now offer online coaching (via Skype or Google hangout) to help you with email marketing and writing content to promote your business.  Get in touch for a quote.

Dec 132013
Tiger bounces! Use a nudge in your email marketing strategy instead

Tigger bounces! Use a nudge in your email marketing strategy instead

Tigger bounces piglet. Tigger is neither subtle nor gentle and it leaves poor piglet feeling baffled and overwhelmed. A nudge empowers where a bounce leaves no free will.

This is especially true when it comes to email marketing strategy.

To get emails noticed in ever more bloated inboxes and keep subscribers on side you need to work harder and smarter. One way is to use your email to nudge rather than make a fully formed offering.

What do I mean by a nudge?

I think of a nudge as gentle pressure, a hint or bait. A nudge is listed in my Concise Oxford Dictionary as a verb that means : to push gently with elbow to draw attention privately.

Email is, after all a private and direct form of communication. That little push with the elbow can be a simple sentence, image or button whose sole purpose is to get the reader to click through to more information. A nudge like:

  • Bookings open for 2014 Festival
  • One day archive sale
  • Read the next instalment
  • Bookings open for January workshops
  • Introducing our winter soap collection
  • Have you heard about the Browns?
  • What’s hot at this year’s show
  • Win VIP tickets to the festival

Perhaps you have a freshly pressed list of business prospects gathered from networking events. They’re not ready to buy from you yet, they hardly know you. You can still use the nudge technique. Think article headlines.

  • Why physiotherapists are talking about video marketing
  • 5 ways to increase profitability on your web design jobs
  • 8 traps to avoid when setting up as a freelance copywriter
  • 10 ways to get a better return on Facebook advertising

These headlines intrigue and urge people to read on.

Why use a simple nudge?

Inboxes are crowded, smart phone screens are small, readers are impatient. Email clients, like Gmail, allow users to block images in email. Spam filters are hungry to capture and devour any emails that look suspicious. It’s hard to get through and harder to get read.

Remember the power of little notes? In your lunch box, or on your pillow. Those few words from someone special, made your heart leap. The nudge has that same appeal of simplicity, brevity and “it’s just for you”.

Another advantage for the time pressed, rural business owner, it is far quicker to create, format, test and send. But where does the meat of the content go?

How does this work in practice?

The substance of your offer, be that an article, offer, news, tips, entertainment, a photo gallery, a video, a survey, competition or game, is hosted elsewhere. On your blog or website. The email is then a simple nudge to go look at the content. That’s not all.

Get more meaningful statistics

Another benefit is: your email contains a hyperlink to the meat of your content.

That gives you far more accurate reporting. Open rates recorded in programmes like MailChimp and Aweber are generally lower than actual open rates.

That’s because the mechanism used to record open rates relies on an invisible image being downloaded by the subscriber’s email client. If images are blocked, the email won’t be marked as open. Plain text emails won’t be recorded as opened either.

Click rates on the other hand, are far more reliable. If they got as far as the link and clicked on it, you know for sure the email was opened and read.

Let’s take a look at an example

This email from Toast, a Welsh clothing business, uses a clean, simple message to drive customers into stores.

Email from Toast, a simple nudge - a good part of your email marketing strategy

Simple nudge email Toast

When do you use this nudge technique?

Consider it another tool in your kit. It will be more powerful and effective if interspersed with longer emails.

Time of day plays a crucial part in your email strategy’s success

An email received at 10am will only get read if it requires immediate action whereas an email received at 9pm lands in front of the subscriber when they are in a totally different mood. She may be checking her email on a tablet on the sofa, unwinding from a long day.

An attractive offer to browse a beautiful collection of clothes, art, toiletries, books, film reviews can be seen as part of that relaxation process.

Whereas, in my experience, 11am on a Sunday can be a good time to send a nudge to go look at some personal development courses or career enhancing study.

Doesn’t the idea of a nudge, break the rules of copywriting?

Rules like: setting out a problem; a solution; offering a guarantee and so on. Not at all, the nudge simply entices people to go consume all of that elsewhere on the web, away from the hated inbox, supported by the branding of the sending organisation.

A big bounce has its place and you’ve gotta love Tigger for his sheer enthusiasm, but a nudge, subtle, understated and friendly can quietly get you a much better response from subscribers who act with pleasant anticipation rather than being ambushed and left feeling disappointed.


If you’d like help with your email marketing, consider a 1:2:1 coaching session in person, by phone or online. Find out more.

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.