Doubt - one list or several - multiple opt-ins versus Mailchimp Lists, Groups and Segments

by 4lotus
6 replies
Hi,

Long story short:
I'm using Mailchimp and automated campaigns (that can last for weeks) related to lead magnets, and I have multiple opt-ins (that people may subscribe to simultaneously, this is an importante bit), so: one single master list on mailchimp, which is the common recommended solution, doesn't seem to work, because as people are already registered, it shows an error when they try to "register again" for the other offer /quiz/content.

However, multiple lists cause repeated emails being sent to the same person, also, cause inconsistency when the preferences are updated only in one list though the user may think he/she is updating everything, and other serious issues. This seems to be an issue that a lot of other people have had to deal with, so what I'm finding very strange, is how there is no real solution for this, when the reality is, I'm using solutions so common as Mailchimp, Wordpress, etc: both approaches - one segmented list, and several lists - have big problems, so maybe I'm missing something?

I found this forum very recently and this seems like an amazing community: any insights would be hugely appreciated!

(also hope that the info I'm posting here about benefits of one or the other may benefit someone else that is having to deal with this kind of decision)

---------------

In more detail:

I'm quite used to using Mailchimp and generally have no issues with this, but I'm having a particular situation to deal with, that has got me blocked trying to figure out the best solution for it and always finding problems in every approach - I really wouldn't want to change the whole procedure just to find out later that it was the wrong choice.

So: I'm trying to reorganize a Mailchimp account that currently has several lists and had several issues, their automated campaigns also had problems, were not segmented, etc. Lots of issues so this has taken me quite some time... But moving past that, in the middle of this work, I need to reorganize the lists in order to reorganize the automations, and I have to make the decision:

- one master list with groups, and also hidden fields on the forms for segmentation, which is recommended both by Mailchimp and on several online articles;
- or several lists.

I know the pros and cons of each, and have read a lot about this specific kind of issues but I cannot seem to reach a conclusion on what is the solution for this case, because all of them have problems, and not small ones, big problems, and this should be such a simple thing to solve, so maybe I'm missing something because of overthinking... I know that one of the problems is the way Mailchimp works, but, there has to be a way of not having issues because this should be quite common....... moving forward to the explanation:

I have, and need to reorganize on Mailchimp:

A) the clients

1. where the emails come from: those emails were and will keep being manually added when given in store by the clients / or came from a software the company uses

2. the goal with them: sending them a monthly newsletter, some discounts, happy birthday automated emails, and possibly, some segmented campaigns according to their age group.

B) the people who registered on the website for a newsletter

C) the people who gave/will keep giving their email to receive a free PDF.

1. where the emails come from: that pdf is advertised on social media and on the website, and there is a landing page (made with Optimize Press in Wordpress, and connected to Mailchimp) with an embedded form (on Optimize Press, you can select a list to send the users to (only a list), and then you can add hidden fields, those are the options available). I also have a previous version of this made only with Mailchimp, without Optimize Press, can use one or the other. Anyway: it's online, anyone can register - even the people that are current clients, so are already part of the "main list"

2. the goal with them: besides receiving the link to the PDF (so, a customized welcome email) these people will receive a sequence of automated emails after receiving the PDF. I also want to send them the emails with discounts (generally are on the monthly newsletter)

D) the people who answered a quiz

1. where the emails come from: the quiz was built using Thrive Quiz Builder on Wordpress, there is a link to a page with the quiz on the website, but that page can also be promoted through social media - so this means again, anyone can want to answer because it's useful for them, even current clients or prospects, and even people who dowloaded the free PDF, on the same day they downloaded the PDF (this bit - onj the same day/week - is important)

2. the goal with them: i want to send them a series of automated emails according to the results of the quiz. Potencially, also the monthly newsletter and other offers that might interest them.

E) People who registered to receive emails about a topic that is of their interest

1. where the emails come from: I don't have a lot of info about this but it was an online form that i believe was on a landing page and was promoted on social media.

2. the goal with them - this was something from the past, so, they have already received a series of automated emails, it ended, but I want to send them discounts, and more informative content that might be valuable to them considering what they registered to.

So here's what I know, and what I've been thinking about:

Why a single master list would be better:

- because we avoid sending the same mail to the same person more than once (for example a montly newsletter or an alert of a discount that we want to send to everybody, would be received 3/4 times) which might end up in being marked as spam or make people cancel because they get annoyed

- because if users, or someone at the company, update their preferences/email,etc, if they are on more than one list (they are...) the update will be only on one, which will generate inconsistency and: on the company's side not knowing where to find the most current info without a manual search so this would become unviable, on the user side, seeing outdated info that he/she has already updated....

- because with 1 list only, you only pay - when you get to the point of paying - for what you really have (while when you have multiple lists, if a same user in on 3, on Mailchimp each of those users is being counted as 3 subscribers)

- because one master list is what Mailchimp started recommmending.



Why I believe this one needs to have multiple lists though all articles say otherwise:

- The main issue: it's very likely, and it happens, that people want to subscribe to more than one thing, at the same time or during the same week - with one list that's just not possible with mailchimp, because mailchimp shows that the email is already registered and doesn't let the person go through. So they try to download the PDF and see an error, they try to answer the quiz and see an error.

Smaller/solvable issues:

- when people unsubscribe, if you have them all on the same list and they click the unsubscribe link on the emails, they will unsubscribe from everything, when that may not be what they want to do (in this case, it's perfectly possible that they are not interested in one, but keep interested on the others). There are I believe ways to solve this, by creating on Wordpress pages specific for the unsubscription of each list, and then creating triggers for automated emails that are a confirmation of unsubscription - I never tried this but conceptually seems possible: but also seems too time consuming for something that should be simple given how common it must be

- Mailchimp only allows one form/and welcome email per list, though again there are ways to solve that with external solutions. Not really sure if they solve it in the cases where a double opt-in is needed, and we really don't want a generic email.



Is there something that I'm missing? With Mailchimp, Wordpress, Thrive Quiz Builder, Optimize Press: Is there a way to organize this with one master list as recommended, and still have the multiple opt-ins?

Any insights you can give today are hugely appreciated!

Thank you!
#doubt #groups #list #lists #mailchimp #multiple #optins #segments #versus
  • Profile picture of the author charlotterh
    I've been grappling with this same question. I wish I had something useful to say besides - thank you for asking!
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    • Profile picture of the author 4lotus
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author DimuDesigns
        There is a solution. Mailchimp supports a very powerful REST API. Practically every issue you outlined in your post can be addressed using the API. If done right its possible to adhere to best practice (one master list with segments) and couple that with custom forms for multiple opt-ins. But its not exactly accessible to the layman (you need a background in web development) so most are not able to take advantage of it.
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        • Profile picture of the author 4lotus
          Hi DimuDesigns,
          Thank you very much for your reply - yes, I am not a web developer, so that wouldn't work for me unfortunately. It's good to know that it's possible that way, but still: with such a common issue, and with a service like Mailchimp that is completely directed to people that are not web developers, they need to have a solution.... still think there's something I'm missing, a way for the common user, with a issue that nowadays is common too, to be able to solve this :-s
          I had to postpone this work for the lack of a viable solution and it's still not done unfortunately :-s
          So anyone that reads this, if you know of a way, please let us know!
          Thank you again, DimuDesigns
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    It sounds to me that the main problem is that MailChimp is list based and you ideally need a service that is tag based.

    With a tag based system, there is a single list and you add/remove tags to each user based on action / non action and rules that you set up.
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    • Profile picture of the author 4lotus
      Hi, thank you for your message!
      I do know that other services have solutions for this, but the issue is that Mailchimp is the service to use here, and it's very, very weird, with a situation that is supposed to be common, that it's not possible to fix...... so what I've been trying to find out, is how to solve this situation, with Mailchimp.
      It's one of the services that people use more, there has to be a way......
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    • Profile picture of the author DimuDesigns
      Actually tagging is supported in MailChimp by way of Interest Categories (aka Groups), but you need to know your way around MailChimp's APIs to use it effectively.
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  • Profile picture of the author tschwensohn
    I am having a similar problem! I work for a small nonprofit, and we use MailChimp to send three newsletters. One is a monthly general, another is for our board members, and then we have a third for internal staff. Currently, as advised by MailChimp, we have everyone on one master list and differentiate between them by using tags. (Apparently this is better for our pockets, if you're not familiar: if somebody is on more than one list, they get counted twice/we get closer to having to start paying for our plan.)

    However, this is presenting problems. For one, we'd like to have a sign-up list for our general newsletter, and this is next to impossible with one master list because we can't assign tags via the sign-up button. Similarly, when we try to sync MailChimp with event sites, people do not get tagged appropriately: they simply get added to that one giant master list with no context.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar? If so, did you just give up and create more than one list? Would segments make a difference? Help, please!
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