Last time, we added a single subscriber to your mailing list in MailChimp. Eventually, we’ll want to load in a whole list of people.
When your MailChimp list holds the email address of every prayer supporters you know, you’re likely to find you don’t always want to send every email to every single one of them. Maybe you have some emails that you send only to pastors or your financial supporters. Or maybe some supporters want weekly shorter emails while others want only monthly or quarterly summaries.
By taking one more article to think through how you will want to divide your list, we’ll save you a whole lot of work later.
MailChimp gives you two ways to divide your list: segments and groups. Each time you use a segment, MailChimp will re-examine what it knows about each subscriber to decide whether that subscriber is a member of the segment. MailChimp figures out by itself who belongs to a segment, so you can create a segment at any time. We’ll talk about segments in some later post – when we’re ready to use them.
A MailChimp group, on the other hand, describes a conclusion you want to remember individually for each prayer supporter, such as whether they are a pastor and if they are also a financial supporter. MailChimp doesn’t know these things unless you tell it, and the easiest time to tell it these things is when you add the supporter to your list. That’s why we want to understand groups before we start importing your whole list of prayer supporters into MailChimp.
What Kind Of Prayer Supporter Is This?
Maybe an example would be helpful. At the end of this exercise I’ll invite you to explore your own ideas, but let’s walk through creating one group for now so we can see how it’s done.
Open Prayer Supporters List
Go back to your Lists view in MailChimp, and click the title of your Prayer Supporters list.
Manage Groups For The Prayer Supporters List
With your Prayer Supporters list showing, open the “Manage Subscribers” menu and choose the “Groups” option.
Create The Group
If you haven’t yet created any groups, MailChimp gives you an opportunity to learn about how groups interact with signup forms and segmentation. We’ll talk about signup forms and segmentation in later posts. If you wanted to dig into that right now, you could click one of the Learn more links within MailChimp, but let’s keep going with this exercise. Click the Create Groups button at the top of the MailChimp window.
MailChimp now asks you for some details about the group. The first section asks about how you want this group to show up on your signup form. We’re not dealing with signup forms yet. In later posts, we’ll look at ways to let prayer supporters add themselves to your lists. We’ll revisit these signup form options at that time. Until then, choose the Don’t show these groups on my signup form option.
We said earlier that a group describes a conclusion you want to remember for each prayer supporter. When it’s time for MailChimp to ask you about that conclusion, it uses the Group title as a header to present the choices. (You’ll see details of this presentation later in this article.) Each Group name that you define under that title becomes one of the choices – one of the possible conclusions you can reach about each supporter.
To match the screenshots in this exercise, use “This supporter is…” for the group title, and add the following choices as group names:
- A Pastor
The email address belongs to a church pastor.
- A Family Member
The email address belongs to a member of your extended family.
- A Missions Committee
The email address is a distribution group that represents a missions committee of a church.
- A Financial Supporter
This email address represents a person or group who supports your ministry financially.
You will have to click the Add Group button once to make room for the A Financial Supporter option.
Feel free to be flexible here. If you have a different way to categorize your supporters, create a set that makes sense for how you organize your list.
When you’re done, click the “Save” button. You’ll see an announcement saying “Done! Your new groups have been added to your list.” There will be two buttons: one to let you import to that list, and another to let MailChimp know that you’re done for now. We aren’t ready yet to import, so click the Done For Now button. Right now, we need to go back and take care of any supporters you already entered.
Put A Supporter In Groups
Now that you’ve created your first group, go back and edit the details of one of your supporters.
- Click Lists from the MailChimp menu to see your subscriber lists.
- Click the Prayer Supporters title to open the Prayer Supporters list and see its subscribers.
- Click the email address of one of the supporters in the list.
When you look at the details of the subscriber, you’ll see a new section under Groups subscribed to. Your This supporter is… group set shows up here now. Click the Edit button for this section to show the options.
Check the boxes for the groups you want to assign to this supporter, then click Save.
Put Multiple Supporters In A Group
If you have already added many supporters to your list, it can be rather tedious to edit each one individually. A more efficient way to assign several supporters to a group is from the list of subscribers. For each group, check the box next to each email address that belongs in the group. Then, from the Actions menu, choose Add to Group, and select the group to which those supporters belong.
Even this approach can be rather tedious. That’s why I wanted you to think about how you’ll be grouping your supporters before we talked about importing. It’s going to be easier to assign your supporters to groups during the import than it will be after your list is already built.
Other Ways To Group Supporters
The simple example we just walked through is only one way to group your supporters. If you really want to explore the power of grouping, MailChimp will let you create many different types of groups at the same time, and each supporter can belong to more than one group. After you are comfortable with the concepts of MailChimp groups, consider creating others like these:
- This supporter wants…
- Weekly Updates
- A Monthly Summary
- A Printable Quarterly Newsletter
- Do I know this prayer supporter personally?
- This person also follows me on…
- My Website
Define a group only for conclusions that are likely to make a difference in the email you send to your supporters.
Create at least one MailChimp group to reflect how you send different email to different supporters.
Share Your Wisdom
Leave a comment below to let other missionaries know how you group your list.