Email Newsletter is one of the best tools to boost your website. It provides several benefits and there are plenty of email marketing tools available today.
In this guide, you will learn how to set up an automated Mailchimp newsletter using the RSS campaign feature.
If you aren’t collecting emails and building your list, you should start doing it immediately. First of all, add a signup form to your website. If you have a WordPress website you can follow the instructions provided by Mailchimp.
To create an effective Email Marketing strategy, you will need to follow up with your subscribers and maintain the connection by keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. This might sound time-consuming and overwhelming, especially given the numerous tasks of maintaining a website up to date like creating content and managing social media. However, you can overcome all this by sending automated email newsletters.
Mailchimp, one of the most popular email marketing service providers, offers an easy solution that allows you to send automated emails to keep in touch with your subscribers.
With an RSS-Driven Campaign from Mailchimp you can easily integrate your RSS feeds into the email newsletter. This will save you time automatically sending new content to your subscribers on a regular basis.
Mailchimp Newsletter Email Campaigns
Once you have built your list of subscribers, you will want to consolidate your brand relationship with them. At the end of the day, that’s what campaigns aim to do: sending automated emails with valuable content to your subscribers.
On Mailchimp, you can choose from four main types of campaigns. Each of them comes with a different process. It might be worth exploring each option to find the ideal fit for your goals.
Regular campaigns are one of the most popular types on Mailchimp. They allow you to design emails from scratch or using one of the available templates. You will be able to set your newsletter to be sent instantly or on a scheduled time. As with any other campaign you can set a defined audience as recipient.
Plain-text campaigns are basic text emails. This type of campaign doesn’t provide any formatting option, but they become very useful when you want to send plain emails focused only on text, with no images.
RSS-Driven campaigns have a great advantage, compared to all the others, as they don’t need any manual setup and can be used to automate your process to send emails. This is actually the campaign that we will explore in detail in this guide on how to set up an automated Mailchimp newsletter.
A/B Testing Campaigns
A/B Testing Campaigns are regular campaigns with an additional feature: you can try two different options to test which one works best for your campaign.
You can easily test features of your campaign such as subject line, content, images or specific aspects of the design. The campaign will test, with a small sample of your subscribers, the best performing email, which will be automatically selected as the one to be sent to the rest of the audience.
Mailchimp RSS-Driven Campaign
RSS-driven campaigns in Mailchimp will automatically look for new updates in your RSS feed and send them to your selected email subscribers on your set schedule. Mailchimp uses several RSS merge tags to pull content in from the RSS feed of your blog.
Steps to set up an RSS-Driven Campaign
Step 1: Go to Automate (Email)
Once you are logged into Mailchimp Dashboard, click on the “Automate Menu” item at the top left corner of the page. This will open a dropdown menu with the option to select ”Email”.
Here you will find four featured options from which you’ll choose ”Share blog updates”.
Step 2: Name your Campaign
Name your campaign and click on ”Begin”!
Let’s start creating your first Mailchimp newsletter campaign.
Step 3: Enter your RSS Feed URL
The first screen in the process is where you will need to define your RSS Feed URL.
RSS Feed URL
This is pretty simple. You can simply add /feed to your website URL (see the screenshot). For Klicks Design, the feed URL is https://www.klicksdesign.com/feed/.
If you cannot locate your RSS feed URL you can simply enter your website URL and Mailchimp will find it for you.
Campaign Frequency and Time
You can also choose when you want to send the campaign to your subscribers. You can choose the frequency from Daily, Weekly or Monthly as well as day and time for the campaign to be sent.
Please remember that the campaign will only be sent if you have added new content to your blog. This is a great way to avoid duplication in the content sent.
Responsive Images in your Feed
Mailchimp has a useful feature that helps making sure that your images from the feed are responsive, to fit all screen sizes.
When you select this option Mailchimp will automatically resize the images in your RSS feed to fit the width of your template.
Once you are done, click on the ”Next” button located a the bottom right corner of the ”Setup” page.
Step 4: Choose Subscribers List and Segment
You can now choose the list and define the group and segment that you want to send the newsletter to (You should have already set up a list while setting up Mailchimp forms to collect emails).
Step 5: Fill in Campaign Information
You will now need to fill in your campaign information including your campaign name, email subject, ”from” name and email address, together with other advanced options.
You also have several basic and advanced tracking options to choose from. Tracking services like Track Opens and Google Analytics are also available to monitor the campaign performance.
By connecting to Twitter and Facebook you can also choose to integrate your campaigns to social media platforms. You have the option to auto-tweet to Twitter and auto-post to Facebook after sending the campaign.
Step 6: Select Mailchimp Newsletter Template
Mailchimp has several templates to choose from if coding your own template is not an option.
Choose one of the templates. You can also preview them by clicking on the ”preview” icon seen when you hover over the different templates.
Step 7: Design your Template
Now you have to design your template. It is one of the most time-consuming tasks, but also one of the most important. The design should be coherent with your brand identity and the overall design of your online presence.
Mailchimp provides a design area based on the content elements pre-populated from the template of your choice. You can add additional content and design by choosing one of the options on your right.
Clicking on the pencil icon on any content block elements you will be able to edit the block with further settings on your right area.
Below you can see the editing for an image element:
And here’s for a text element:
When you set up a design for an RSS template, you will need to understand the general RSS tags to add or further customize the existing elements. You can learn more at Mailchimp RSS tags.
While you are on this page, make sure to test it with ”Preview and Test”, available on the top right corner. You will be able to preview the design on desktop and mobile or send a test email to your email address.
Step 8: Confirm your Campaign
You are finally at the last step of the process. If everything looks good, Mailchimp should show a green tick sign next to all the required settings.
You can click on the “Edit” button next to the options if there is something you want to change before starting the campaign.
Once you are all set, you can click on the
Congratulations! You have just set up your first RSS campaign!!