Sending group emails can be a real pain. A lot of time and effort goes into creating the content for a great mail or newsletter and it is enfuriating when the sending process fails. Small problems like a misplaced comma or corrupt email address can mean that only half your list received the mail, and god knows which half. These are just some of the many problems the team at MailChimp have completely removed since creating their email and newsletter campaign solution in 2001.
So what are some the ways MailChimp can make your school newsletter a more enjoyable, professional and efficient experience? Let’s try and scratch the surface.
Why Your School Newsletter Should Get Help From A Chimp
One of the hardest parts of managing a large newsletter is keeping track of all your subscribers. This means updating, removing and importing email addresses constantly. MailChimp handles all of this with lists, and lets users subscribe, edit and remove themselves from lists as they please.
Another great advantage of lists is that MailChimp can use some smarts to get more out of an individual address. This means MailChimp will validate the mail address before adding it to a list, as well as removing it when a user unsubscribes. Integrating with SocialPro and Gravatar, MailChimp will also add images to each mail address so you can put faces to the names.
Unlike using a desktop mail client, MailChimp guarantees that all mail will be sent. A major problem with using desktop or even web mail programs is that any hiccup in the data or network can cause the whole mail to fail. MailChimp has built a business on reliable sending of mail, so has all sorts of fail-safes in place to ensure not a single mail is missed.
Another great feature of MailChimp is that it lets you either send mail immediately or schedule the send for later. This can be very handy if you want to schedule mails for the evening when parents and students will be at home, or don’t want to forget to mail at a later date. You also have the ability to test your mail before sending it. Either in a popup window or by sending to a test mail to your own email address.
Depending on your school newsletter audience you may think that as long as the content is good, the mail style is not that important. Well, unfortunately, readers opinion is very much swayed by how the content is presented.
MailChimp provides hundreds of customizable email templates that have been created by professional designers. The designs are not just created to look good, they are created to focus readers attention in the right places too. These templates leave plenty of room for customization, so your school newsletter will still look unique. MailChimp’s also has a feature called Design Genius that helps you design beautiful templates that match your school’s colors, look and feel.
Another great feature of using MailChimp templates is that they have been created with devices in mind. This means that as more and more staff, parents and students are reading their mail on smart-phones and tablets, the content is rendered perfectly for the specific device.
Maintaining a school newsletter is important, but growing your reader base is equally if not more important. After all, there is no point in writing a newsletter if there is no-one to read it. As we all know social networks and content sharing is part of the latest wave of web evolution and it is important to give your newsletter a push on this wave.
MailChimp lets you integrate Twitter and Facebook accounts into your mailing list, to help grow your subscriber base as well as your followers and likes respectively. This is also a great way to take any conversation that may come from your newsletter into a social forum. MailChimp also has integration with tools that will let you conduct polls and set up surveys as part of a newsletter campaign.
Analytics and Tracking
Writing a school newsletter requires a large amount of effort to collect relevant information, collate articles and put together the final article. How do you currently know that this large effort is worth it? How many of your subscribers open your mail? How many actually click links? And how many forward the newsletter on to friends? These are all unknowns with standard email clients.
To really find out your return on (time) investment, you need to track metrics on all of these elements. MailChimp lets you do all this and more with analytics and reports. You can see which newsletters get highest open rates, which articles get the most clicks, and even see which subscribers are the most engaged in your regular publication. For me, this is the best feature of using a mail solution like MailChimp.
On a large scale, MailChimp has reasonable pricing for the service it provides. If you are looking to try it out, or have a reasonably small mailing list, MailChimp is free to use up to 2,000 subscribers. You can send up to 12,000 emails per month and no credit card is required.
If you are interested in getting your school newsletter up with MailChimp, check out their extensive library of guides and documentation. All in all, MailChimp is just one of those tools that makes life that little bit easier. They are great company, always adding new features and most importantly they have a great sense of humor.
How are you currently sending out your school newsletter? And what types of problems do you encounter on a regular basis?