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Mailchimp is a commonly used program among solopreneurs because it’s free (initially – some great features are, however, paid) and it’s not too difficult to use.

But one of the most common oopsies people make in Mailchimp is creating multiple lists when they should create one list with groups.

Why groups? Example: Crafty Cate

Cate sells handcrafted jewellery but she also runs craft workshops. These are all part of the same business – Crafty Cate – and people sign up to receive updates via her website.

Cate wants to be able to send different updates to her jewellery buyers and to her workshop participants.

Most people diving into Mailchimp will just create two separate lists – one for customers of the product side of the business, and the other for the workshops. This makes intuitive sense.

However, it does not make for good list management. Let me show you why…

The general newsletter

Cate wants to send out the exciting announcement that her baby arrived safe and sound – letting her clients know that business will be back to (almost) usual in six weeks.

Cate decides to just send the same newsletter out to both lists because she only gave birth a week ago and wants to spend time with her new little one.

Hilda is on Cate’s jewellery list and Cate’s workshop list. Hilda receives two emails from Cate saying exactly the same thing. She’s happy for Cate, but a little confused as to why Cate sent it twice… perhaps it’s baby brain?

Anyway, if Cate wanted to send out more general newsletters, with two separate lists she might run into double ups, like in Hilda’s case.

The unhappy unsubscriber

Like Hilda, Sheryl is on Cate’s jewellery list, but she’s also on Cate’s workshop list.

Sheryl is moving overseas and doesn’t want anymore updates from Cate (Cate doesn’t do international shipping and the workshops are all in Melbourne), so the next email she gets from Cate, she decides to hit the unsubscribe button.

Cool. All done, she thinks whilst packing her bags.

She then receives an email a week later – again from Cate. Annoyed, Sheryl unsubscribes again.

What had happened?

Sheryl had only unsubscribed from the jewellery list, but not the workshop list. Which is not Sheryl’s fault – Cate made an oopsie when setting up her Mailchimp.

Cost – counting the same person more than once

Cate only has a few hundred subscribers to between her two lists at the moment, but as her business grows, she might find that using this model, she’ll need to switch to a paid Mailchimp plan – but is this necessary?

Mailchimp pricing is based on volume of emails and number of subscribers.

If you have the same person on multiple lists, Mailchimp counts them as different subscribers. So you are more likely to creep up into a paid plan or a higher plan using separate lists.

The Solution

If you are only managing one brand and there are several different types of subscriber under that one brand – you’ll want to create one list with groups to represent each type of subscriber.

Cate can create one signup form in Mailchimp that asks her customers if they’d like to receive information about jewellery and/or workshops. Using her groups, she can send her newsletters out to only those who wanted that information.

If she wants to send a general newsletter to all of her groups, she can do that too. People in multiple groups will only receive the newsletter once – unlike Hilda.

If Cate has Sheryl in two groups instead of two lists, when Sheryl unsubscribes, she unsubscribes from the whole list and won’t receive any emails in error from Cate.

Already made this mistake? Want to know how to fix it? Stay tuned for the next instalment!