How to Set Up the Perfect Silo for Lead Generation in MailChimp

One of the most effective ways to gain new business is to involve the customer by fostering an environment where they feel like they are an integral part of the equation because, quite frankly, they are. A fool-proof way to handle customer care without expending too many valuable resources is to set up email automation via an application, such as MailChimp.

The key to automation is making sure that any leads that sign up feel part of a conversation that specifically includes them. For instance, if a customer signs up for a newsletter on health and nutrition, the email that follows should reconcile a similar topic. Knowing your audience is critical in upselling product and/or services and maintaining interest.

To help you out, we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide to building an automation workflow that sends emails to leads automatically based on the circumstances during the initial point of contact.

Step One: Understanding the Lingo

As with anything, knowing the lay of the land is imperative in setting your brand and company off to a successful start. Understanding lead automation lingo in MailChimp before diving in will absolutely set the pace for a successful launch.

Take a moment to familiarise yourself with the associated terminology before getting started.

An email or series of emails sent to a subscriber based on a specific trigger.

Trigger or Event 
The catalyst that starts an Automation workflow. For example, someone subscribes to your list or purchases a particular product.

The settings, schedule and content for distributing a series of emails.

A single campaign that’s part of your Automation workflow. MailChimp usually calls emails “campaigns” because they reach multiple subscribers. With Automation, MailChimp calls them “emails” because a single email goes out to a targeted subscriber, more like an email you would normally send personally.

The period of time between two emails in a workflow.

A batch of subscribers who have met a workflow’s criteria, and are waiting to receive the next email in a workflow.

An automation workflow allows more flexibility than a regular campaign because the sender is able to choose when the subscribers are contacted. Emails are sent automatically to specific subscribers as they meet your trigger and sending criteria. One example is sending a “Happy Birthday” coupon to a client via email.

Choose a workflow, create one email or a series of emails, and set your sending criteria. MailChimp will then use activity and subscriber data to determine who should receive your emails and when. After you set up an Automation, MailChimp will manage your subscriber queue and email sends, so your emails get to the right people at the right time, taking uncertainty out of the equation.

Step Two: Types of Workflow Options

MailChimp offers many workflow types with built-in triggers and other configuration details for common activities. If our pre-built options don’t fit your needs, a Custom workflow type is also available. The person operating this procedure must have a paid account with MailChimp to utilise these services.

E-Commerce and Retail Workflows

E-commerce workflows are triggered by a subscriber’s buying behaviour. To use these workflows, you need to set up eCommerce360 in your MailChimp account, so that subscriber activity can be tracked.

Post-Purchase Follow-Up: Specific Product 
Send an email or series of emails when a customer purchases a specific product.

Post-Purchase Follow-Up: Category 
Send an email or series of emails when a customer purchases a product from a specific category.

Post-Purchase Follow-Up: Any Product 
Send an email or series of emails when a customer purchases any product.

Best Customers 
Send an email or series of emails to acknowledge and reward your best customers.

Customer Re-Engagement 
Send an email or series of emails to win back customers who haven’t purchased in a specific timeframe.

Now, take a look at the types of workflows available via MailChimp.

Education Workflows

Education workflows are triggered by various events and student activity. Educators who want to inform and engage students can use these preset workflows, such as:

New Student Orientation 
Send an email or series of emails to welcome new students and share helpful resources.

Course Series 
Send an email or series of emails to educate students. Examples may include: lessons, assignments, and other course-related information.

Course Completion 
Send an email or series of emails to congratulate students and ask for their feedback after they complete your course.

List Activity Workflows

List Activity workflows are triggered when a subscriber signs up for your list, when you manually add them to a list, and when they join or leave a list group.

Welcome Message 
Send a welcome email after a subscriber joins your list.

Educate Subscribers 
Send a series of emails, like a getting started guide or online course, when subscribers join your list.

Welcome Series 
Send a series of emails when subscribers join your list.

Joins List Group 
Send an email or series of emails when your subscribers join a list group.

Leaves List Group 
Send an email or series of emails when your subscribers leave a list group.

Integration Workflows

Integration workflows are triggered by actions taken in integrations, like Goal and API 3.0.

Website Activity 
Send an email or series of emails to subscribers based on when they perform an action on your website. To use the Website Activity workflow, you need to set up the Goal integration in your MailChimp account and the Goal tracking snippet in your website’s code.

API 3.0 
Send an email or series of emails triggered by API calls. After you create the email series in the MailChimp application or via the API, a list subscriber can be added to a workflow with a call to a URL MailChimp will provide to you. API requests can trigger an Automation email when a single subscriber meets your sending criteria via the API delay settings.

Date Based Workflows

Date Based workflows are triggered by a list field date, such as a subscriber’s birthday or the date they were added to your list. To trigger a Date Based workflow, you must have subscriber information saved in a date or birthday field on your list.

List Added Date 
Send an email or a series of emails based on when a subscriber joined your list.

Annually Recurring Date 
Send an annually recurring email or series of emails based on a specific list field date.

Send an annual email or series of emails based on a birthday list field.

Specific Date 
Send an email or series of emails based on a recurring event from a list field date on your list.

Additional workflow types are located here.

Step Three: An Invitation to the Party

When reaching out to leads you’ve placed in silos via MailChimp Automation, remember one very important thing: you’re on their turf. Just as you wouldn’t open your front door to a stranger for dinner, why would you expect a potential client to open an email from an unknown source?

At SellYourService, you’re expected to send two types of emails: a content delivery email, followed up by a value stack email.

Content delivery is exactly as it sounds: give the customer what they originally signed up for in the first place. Don’t make it long or complicated. Use that light bulb moment to foster a relationship that will stand the test of time. The longer and more involved the email, the less likely the lead is to stay put.

A value stack email uses the algorithm of “Hey, if you liked this, then you’ll LOVE this!” Offer the lead what you know they can’t stand to go without. Show them the value – hence, the term value stack.

Getting whitelisted (when a server adds your contact information as a “friend” of the recipient vs. spam) is the way to any email box’s heart. Make sure your messaging is concise and welcoming – no one wants to be spammed.

Leads will go through a series of questions before opting-in, including:”What do I get when I give you my email address?

“What do I get when I give you my email address?”

“Are you going to spam me?”

“How often will you email me?

Will I get discounts?,

“Will I get a first crack at your beta?”

and “Will you send me relevant offers or more junk?”

When creating content to send to your lists, be proactive in making sure you include answers to these very important questions. The point here is to get the sale but to do it in the best, most inviting way possible. More info on sales marketing tips here.

Also, keep your promises. When stating that your business will only send one email per week after opt-in is complete, be sure only one email per week is sent. Managing expectations is a huge part of maintaining leads in MailChimp. No one wants a daily email when they think they will only receive one per week. More often than not, receiving too many communications is just cause for unsubscribing. One way to thwart unwanted efforts is to time the messaging consistently, using an autoresponder, for example.

Step Four: Tracking Sales Data

Once you have an invitation to the party and the guests seem happy, it’s time to track your progress. Using analytics to note marketing trends over time is a must. The three most important tracking data to collect are open rate, click through rate (CTR) and unsubscribes. As data is collected, campaigns, workflows and emails can be adjusted to fit your company’s desired needs.

Segmentation is the practice of splitting up your email list into more targeted groups. For example, the following are ways to segment a larger, more unified list:

  • Customer List (in comparison to leads)
  • Product Updates (in comparison to a customer list)
  • Newsletter
  • Daily Email List (in comparison to weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • HTML (yes, some people prefer the option for text)

Creating list segments is just another way to more specifically reach a certain audience for greater participation.

Remember, your list is a valuable asset and it needs to be cared for daily. Pruning your master list will assure you (and your customers and leads) a pleasant experience.


So how does that sound? Lead generation silos are powerful and massivly underutilised.


Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.