Whenever the subject of email marketing comes up, Mailchimp certainly tends to be a go-to platform on the tip of everyone’s tongues. The meteoric rise of Mailchimp as one of the most successful marketing automation and email marketing tools around today is easy to understand when we look at it’s friendly, fun to use interface and flexible pricing plans. To make the most of using Mailchimp however, it’s important that businesses take the time to keep their contact lists spic and span, ensuring they get the most bang for their buck! Before we look at how to go about a good spring clean of your contact list, known in Mailchimp lingo as your “Audience”, let’s look at the factors that make this a must-do.

 

The Impact Of GDPR Within The UK and EU


While this small act of self-discipline is not necessarily so relevant for Mailchimp users across the pond in the US, it’s important to keep Audiences organised for those of us based in the UK, the EU, and for any Mailchimp user with a customer base within these areas too. In 2018 the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, which enforced new rules for how businesses operating within the EU must handle any data they collect.

The goal of GDPR was to protect the data of EU citizens, and in practical terms it meant that it became necessary to seek permission when collecting user data within the EU, before using that data for marketing – in this case, asking permission from anyone who gave you their email address before adding them to your list of email subscribers. If based in the UK, you might be wondering whether this is so important as Brexit looms ahead of us, but after Brexit GDPR will remain in place, incorporated into UK law in the interest of better harmonisation with our EU neighbours. So, whether your customer base is national or international, GDPR compliance is something to make sure you’ve got sorted.

Why, you may ask, is this so important for your Mailchimp Audience maintenance? Mailchimp have fantastic GDPR tools built into their signup forms, which makes complying with the law easy-peasy. However, with an e-commerce integration, you often end up with contacts within your Audience who are not active subscribers and can only be sent transactional emails. While the transactional information collected will certainly come in handy for future interactions with that contact, you won’t actually be able to send them any of the brilliant marketing templates you create using Mailchimp.

 


How Your Audience List Impacts Your Mailchimp Account


Mailchimp’s flexible pricing plan means that the cost you pay to use their service is calculated by the number of contacts within your various Audiences, and the features you’ve chosen to sign up for, which is great in theory, as it means you only need to pay for exactly what you use, but organisation is key.

Their free-to-use plan is a brilliant springboard for new and smaller businesses who either don’t need Mailchimp’s more advanced features, or don’t have a large enough Audience to hit a paid plan threshold yet. For these users, the free plan is available up to a capped amount of 2000 contacts in their Audience lists, at which point a payment plan becomes a must. For those over this threshold or preferring to opt for a payment plan with extra bells and whistles, users can choose between the Essentials, Standard and Premium plans, and costs are proportionate to Audience volumes.

Having your Audience stored within Mailchimp means having a fantastic repository of information on your past and prospective clients, with great tools on hand to organise and categorise each contact, and the capacity to make notes that help you deliver a more personal service to your loyal customer base. This does become a bit tricky however when we find that we have a large, and useful, chunk of contacts in our Audiences that are not subscribed. These contacts will contribute to our Mailchimp costs, even though they wont be receiving any of our fantastic Mailchimp marketing!

Thankfully, Mailchimp has a built in Archive function which allows you to Archive non/unsubscribed contacts, lifting them out of your Audience quota, and neutralising the impact they have on how much you pay.

 


Archiving Your Non/Unsubscribed Contacts


From the Audience tab in your Mailchimp account, select the Audience you wish to manage and choose View All Contacts from the list of options.

Above the table of your contacts, click New Segment and the segment filter will appear. The default option is usually: Email Marketing Status + is + Subscribed, Unsubscribed, Non-Subscribed. Click the last option and make sure that only Unsubscribed and Non-Subscribed are ticked. Then click Preview Segment.

A new table will appear containing only your Unsubscribed and Non-Subscribed contacts. These are the contacts we want to archive. Before we do that though, scroll down to the bottom and make sure you’re viewing the maximum number of contacts per page, which is 100.

Scroll back up, and to the left of the Email Address header, click the arrow drop down and tick Select Visible. The black table banner will turn turquoise presenting new options.

Click on the Actions drop down and choose Remove Contacts. A pop-up box titled Are you sure? will appear where you can choose to Archive your selected contacts, and click Confirm to finish the job.

Even though your contacts are archived, you can still view them whenever you want to by

clicking on the Manage Contacts drop down above the table of contacts from the relevant Audience. Select View Archived Contacts to see a full list of the archived contacts at any time.

You can always restore contacts from your archive yourself, and rather niftily, if a contact in your archive gives GDPR consent on any Mailchimp form, be it on social media, a landing page, or on your website, they will automatically be retrieved from archive so they don’t miss your latest marketing masterpieces!

 


A Tidy Mailchimp Account Is A Happy Mailchimp Account


So there you have it. A quick spruce up will stop you being caught out by unnecessary costs. It only takes a moment to ensure that the contacts within each of your Audiences are current subscribers, stashing the rest away for whenever they might be useful. In this way, you can make the most of the excellently valued services offered by Mailchimp, whatever plan you opt for, and give your business the scope for its Audience list to grow naturally.

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