Joe Meet Chimp

04/14/14 at 09:00 AM | Published Under Meet Joe by Ingrid Wood

4/3/2014 Colorado Springs.

(For those of you who don't know Joe from Joe, read Meet Joe. You'll meet Chimp in a bit)

Ok, it is a scary interweb out there. I'll be the first and last to admit that. I've worked in software development for 25 years and still I can't say to anything: 'Yeah, it'll be a piece of cake', 'cause it aint. For the most part, we find something that sorta-kinda works for us and we stick with it until it either starts to break, the frustration levels get too high, the application does not work on your new operating system, we get slapped by our internet service provider or something like that. I know for me, it's gotta hurt bad before I'll change how I do stuff; it just takes too much time, I don't wanna... yadayada. 

When Joe posted "I'm mostly doing emails (increasingly problematic because I've got addresses for 1500 people and am getting flagged all the time now) and Facebook posts" my internals immediately cringed. I've been there, would send a Christmas letter to hundreds of people, one hundred at a time. This is where I wanted Joe to meet Chimp.

Joe and I scheduled to meet. It again took a bit for us to pin our time and place down, because Joe mostly uses Facebook and I am in Facebook once per day but not all the time. I told him to call me - he does not txt. We met this morning at his house, after we had one of our usual spring snowstorms in Colorado Springs. (They said 1-3 inches, but I think it was more). 

I wanted Joe to drive. He brought out his little HP laptop and a separate keyboard because, as he said: "My hands are too big for this little keyboard". We compared hand sizes :) 

Joe Meet Chimp

MailChimp - AKA Chimp - is a wonderful free online newsletter mail service. You can send up to 12,000 emails every month to a maximum of 2,000 email addresses - for FREE. If you need more than that, they offer a reasonable upgrade. More about MailChimp: you can keep importing contact lists and it will not duplicate existing email addresses; MailChimp will scrub your lists from spam addresses and dead addresses. People can unsubscribe if they no longer want your email. You can opt to get notifications of who joins and who unsubscribes. You can implement MailChimp into your website so people can sign up and it automatically updates in your MailChimp account. And, you can see reports on your campaigns: how many people read your newsletter, how many clicked on a link, etc. 

Here are the steps to set up your email newsletter in MailChimp.

  1. Open your email -reader-application, be it: Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, Thunderbird, or some other flavor...
  2. From within your email application, export your contact list (or multiple lists) to a comma separated file(.CSV).  You will need to Google how to export from your mail reader, for example "Export contacts from Gmail to .CSV"  EXPORTING IS THE TOUGHEST PART TO FIGURE OUT.This is where your friend may come in handy. 
  3. Save the .CSV files to a folder on your computer where you know to find them.(I often have to repeat because I didn't pay 'nuff 'tention)
  4. Go to MailChimp website and create an account.
  5. Import one of your CSV contact list files - give it a name that makes sense, for example: 'North-East USA', 'music magazines', 'churches', etc.
  6. Repeat step 5 for each of your contact lists,
  7. Create a Campaign (really a fancy term for sending a newsletter and being able to track the results). 
  8. Pick the contact list(s) you want to send your newsletter to
  9. Schedule to send immediately or someday out in the future somewhere. 
  10. Wash, rinse, repeat

Our Frustrationsor: there is always something that doesn't want to play nice. These were the sticky points:

  • Joe Uveges meets MailChimpThe MailChimp confirmation email would not show up in Joe's pcisys email account. This may be because his internet service provider already has issues with his email. We wound up changing MailChimp to communicate with Joe's Gmail account and that worked.
  • For the life of us, we could not figure out how to export one of the 15 email lists from Joe's Thunderbird mail reader. We probably spend the biggest amount of meeting time on this. Googled how to export, and some forum posts explained: use the Tools menu, then Export. We could not find the Tools menu in the Address Book. We still don't know what Joe did, but at some point it showed up, and we could export. 

TIPS:

  • If you have a computer savvy friend, ask them for help. Bribe them with a coffee, beer, concert ticket or something. 
  • Make sure you have at least 1.5-2 hours available. You want to be able to send out at least one newsletter.
  • In your first Chimp newsletter, explain to your fans that you have finally arrived in the 21st century and ask them for feedback on the newsletter. What do they want to know?
  • Have lots of patience. Maybe even more coffee. 

Joe posted: "Just met for the 2nd time with Ingrid Wood about music promotion, web presence, Melody Fusion, Facebook, and Mail Chimp for use in sending out emails in one large blast instead of a dozen small blasts . . . It was crazy informative, and I'm only slightly overwhelmed."

... 

[Stay Tuned For Next Blog Entry]

 


About Joe: Joe Uveges has meandered a path of small town minstrel on Colorado's front range for more than 20 years now. Raised a farm kid in Schoharie New York, pummeled by liberal academics at Union College and Catholic University, a grizzled veteran of bar bands and coffeehouses, he should be a burned out skeleton of a man playing Allman Brother covers, tipping lukewarm Coors from a can, and lamenting broken marriages and illegitimate kids. He is not. Instead, 20 years into his first and only marriage and parenting all of his children (with varying degrees of success) he has been touring the country promoting his last 8 CD's.

(PS I'm Ingrid, I work for Melody Fusion as a Moderator and Social Media Marketing consultant and happen to have a little too much computer knowledge)