This article gives enough of an overview of audience organization that you can get started today. Because I’m discussing Mailchimp’s nomenclature, I’ve capitalized their classifications.
Organizing your Contacts is an efficient way to make sure they only get Campaigns relevant to them. You don’t want to be that business that sends emails so often they just get deleted. Instead, send focused Campaigns to just the Contacts in your Audience who will be interested. This will keep them engaged with your content.
A Mailchimp Audience is built according to the relationship its Contacts have to you. You may have more than one Audience but be aware that Audiences are siloed. They do not overlap with one another, and they do not share data such as Tags, history, engagement, etc. For most Mailchimp users, it is best to have only one Audience which gets organized via Groups, Tags, and Segments.
When might you want two Audiences? If you’re a distributor you may have one Audience of Suppliers and one of Buyers, as it’s unlikely the two will overlap.
But say you work for a school system and you send campaigns to district employees and to parents. In this case you could have two Audiences: Employees and Households. This is an extremely limiting factor, however. There will be people who work for the school system and have kids attending classes. If you have two Audiences, you will have to maintain each duplicated Contact in each Audience. This has a couple of negatives. First: you’ll be billed for each Contact twice (once for each Audience). Second: because data doesn’t transfer, you’ll need to keep both profiles current. If your Audience is small and it’s just a few Contacts, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If it’s more than a handful, it’s best to keep them in one Audience and sort by Groups.
A Mailchimp Group is a selection of Contacts categorized by shared interests: it’s broad-swath audience organization. You can make multiple Groups within one Audience. Contacts can be in more than one Group, and Contact data is shared across Groups.
Contacts can see and/or choose which Groups they’re in: this is an audience-facing label. When a Contact signs up via a form, you can give them the option to choose which Groups to be in. You can also assign them to a Group. By updating their preferences, they can add or subtract themselves from Groups.
Groups let you focus Campaigns on just those Contacts who are interested in that content. When your Contacts only get information that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to stay subscribed and engaged. This school system should build two Groups: Employees and Households. Contacts who work for the district and are parents will be in both Groups. When the kids graduate, the Contacts are removed from the Households Group. When employees terminate, they are removed from the Employees Group and remain in the Households Group.
A Mailchimp Tag is a label you use to describe your Contacts in detail. Contacts can have as many Tags as you’d like: they’re the most granular audience organization tool. Contacts cannot see Tags; they are your own internal descriptive system.
Tags are useful for pinpointing campaigns. The school system may Tag households whose kids fit certain parameters: 10th grade 2022-23, 12th grade 2022-23, Band, Ski club, etc. With this Tagging system, it’s easy to send an email to only the 10th grade 2022-23 households.
Let’s say that you’d like to send an email to all 10th Grade 2022-23 households that have kids in the band. You address it to Contacts that include both Tags. Which leads us to Segments…
A Mailchimp Segment is a portion of your Audience that 1) has more than one delineation (Group or Tag), 2) does not have its own delineation, or 3) you’ll use repeatedly.
Build a Segment using a set of parameters that includes all the factors you need. Say you’ll be sending multiple emails to the 10th Grade 2022-23 + Band combination. Save them as a Segment called 10th Grade 2022-23 Band. For subsequent campaigns, simply choose that Segment and know you’re always including all Contacts that have both Tags.
Segments update as you edit Contacts: this is super helpful! If you build this Segment in September and a new student joins the band in December, Tag the student when she joins. All mailings sent after she is Tagged include her household. Mailchimp updates the Segment for you.
Focusing your efforts on audience organization makes sending Campaigns to the right Contacts faster and more accurate.
Mailchimp has excellent tutorials
Want help getting started?
I can help you start a new audience organization or refine your current system. Contact me to tell me what you’re stuck on, and we’ll make a plan.