SMS messages can be a valuable channel for marketing communications. One of its indisputable benefits is its stunning open rate of up to 98%. Few other channels can match such an engagement level! In addition to this, SMS messages allow you to connect with customers quickly, directly, and with a friendly and personal touch. If you find a way to make SMS communication useful and meaningful to your audience, you’ll be rewarded with great results.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to run a successful SMS campaign on Mailchimp and what tools can help you with that.
What is a Mailchimp SMS Campaign?
In most cases, an SMS campaign on Mailchimp is a special type of automated campaign. This means that customers can receive automated notifications under certain circumstances. For example, when users perform specific actions (like placing an order), or when other automation-triggering events occur (like receiving payment for the order). Usually, customers get such order confirmations and other notifications in their email inbox, but in our case, it will be an SMS message. The only significant difference from email campaigns, besides the projected open rate, is that you must get your customers’ permission to text them. In contrast, you can send email notifications to your clients by default. Such Mailchimp SMS campaigns are widely used by businesses that offer appointment-based services or ship orders.
You can run Mailchimp SMS campaigns like this with nothing more than just native functionality. However, there are many integrations that can be used for conducting SMS campaigns. In this case, the definition of a texting campaign will be broader. During SMS campaigns powered by external tools, you can collect customers’ contact details, subscribe or unsubscribe people, chat with them using simple keywords, and more. What exactly can be included depends on a specific integration.
How to enable sending SMS messages from Mailchimp
As we’ve already explained, you can activate SMS notifications using Mailchimp’s native functionality.
- If you run a store, you will need to turn this feature on in your store’s settings. Go to Settings -> Store Settings -> Order Notifications -> SMS.
After that, you’ll see a message saying Your SMS order notifications are NOT active. Toggle this function on to enable alerts.
- If you provide appointment-based services (like dancing classes or legal consultations), you’ll need to enable SMS messages for the appointments.
Log in to your Mailchimp account and go to the Appointments page. Navigate to Services, click the more options icon in front of the service you need, and select Edit. Then, put a tick in front of the SMS appointment-related messages for your contacts.
That’s it! Once your clients book a time slot or place an order, they will be offered to opt for SMS notifications. If they haven’t provided their mobile phone yet, they’ll be able to do it in this step.
When they give you permission to text them, you can use this channel for communication with these users.
This functionality is available for all customers with US phone numbers. If you want to include other regions, you might need some third-party tools.
External tools for running Mailchimp SMS campaigns
Various Mailchimp integrations can significantly expand the potential of marketing SMS texting. These are, basically, third-party tools and services that can be connected to Mailchimp. The platform advertises a bunch of texting tools that can serve different purposes. Let’s take a look at several examples.
- EZ Texting. This is a mobile marketing platform that can be integrated with Mailchimp. Besides sending reminders and notifications, it can be used for running promotional campaigns and delivering customer service. Once you connect it to Mailchimp, the contact lists will be synchronized between the two platforms. So, you’ll be able to use your customers’ mobile phone numbers and email addresses across both systems. This tool can also be used to grow your Mailchimp list and subscribe new users to the email list via SMS messages.
- Burst SMS. This is an online SMS service that can help marketers broaden the geography of their SMS campaigns. With this tool, you can text customers located in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. The tool allows you to pull contact lists from Mailchimp, schedule messages, connect texts and emails into one conversation, and launch bulk SMS campaigns.
- Simple Texting. This is a text messaging service that allows you to run promotional campaigns and drip SMS campaigns, collect customer reviews, run text-to-vote activities, and conduct 2-way conversations with customers. The latter is especially useful for providing real-time customer support and handling requests. The tool can also be used for collecting contact details and other information, for sending alerts, mass texting, and sending MMS messages with images and videos. When you set a connection between Mailchimp and Simple Texting, the phone numbers and email addresses in your contact lists synchronize.
Here’s an example of settings for an automated welcome SMS campaign that you can send your Mailchimp subscribers once their contact details are synced.
How to launch an SMS campaign on Mailchimp with an external tool
The flow will be different depending on the tool you use, but the main approach is more or less the same. Let’s see how it works in practice and take Simple Texting as an example of a third-party solution for Mailchimp SMS campaigns.
- First, you’ll need to sign up for the tool you are going to use. In our example, it’s Simple Texting. Then, navigate to the Integrations and select Mailchimp Sync. Connect your Mailchimp account and click Add new sync. Choose the Mailchimp list that you want to synchronize with Simple Texting.
- In the next step, match the corresponding fields for the sync (for example, phone number and first name). Once it’s ready, press Sync Lists.
- After that, you’ll be able to run SMS campaigns for your Mailchimp list via Simple Texting.
- To add a new SMS campaign, go to Campaigns -> New Campaign. Type in your message and select your audience/list. Here’s how it looks:
- Schedule your campaign or send it right away. If somebody replies, you can see this in your inbox and answer their questions right there.
Reports for SMS campaigns
Once your SMS campaign is launched, you’ll need to monitor the results closely. This will help you determine what works best and what could be improved to ensure the efficiency of your marketing efforts.
- If you run an SMS campaign in Mailchimp using native functionality, you’ll be able to access the metrics for the campaign in the Reports section of your account. Just go to Campaigns -> Reports, and find the campaign you need. You can learn more about this topic in our article Mailchimp Reports Explained.
- If native metrics are not enough, you can easily set a Mailchimp to Excel integration or, alternatively, Mailchimp integration with Google Sheets. This allows you to automatically import your Mailchimp data to a spreadsheet and use tailored formulas to calculate custom metrics. For more advanced calculations, you can also connect Mailchimp to BigQuery.
- If you use a third-party tool for running an SMS campaign, it’s likely that it will provide some native reporting features as well. You can combine this data with Mailchimp native reports to get the whole picture.
Why backup your SMS campaign data
The longer you run Mailchimp SMS campaigns, the more data you collect. This information is vital for long-term analysis. It will allow you to compare your metrics over time, track progress, and spot actionable patterns. If this data is lost due to a technical failure or another accident, it can have a significant negative impact. Mailchimp recommends marketers keep a backup copy of all the information.
- You can export your data manually as CSV files using Mailchimp’s native functionality. But we don’t recommend relying on this option. Since this process is manual, you’ll need to remember to update the backup files regularly. If you forget to do this, the data in the backup copy will go stale and won’t be of much use.
- Luckily, you can maintain a backup copy automatically, with no manual effort. For example, you can use Coupler.io – a simple tool for exporting data from more than 20 apps. With this solution, you can quickly connect your Mailchimp account to Excel, Google Sheets, or BigQuery. Once this is done, you can turn on Automatic data refresh, and Coupler.io will regularly update your backup copy of Mailchimp data in the selected spreadsheet or database.
For more details on creating a backup for Mailchimp, see our article on How to manage Mailchimp lists.
Make your Mailchimp SMS campaign a success
To sum up, SMS campaigns are an excellent way to connect to your customers in a meaningful and personal way, and Mailchimp is a great platform for running such campaigns. You can start by exploring native functionality, and then if the need arises, experiment further with third-party tools and all the new opportunities they can offer.
Whatever your choice is, monitoring the results on a regular basis is crucial for ensuring a successful outcome. And keeping a backup copy of your data is a mandatory part of running any campaign. Coupler.io can take this off your mind and keep your Mailchimp backup up to date at all times so that you’re ready for any unexpected surprises.
Good luck with your campaigns!Back to Blog