HELP! I can’t get my opt-ins into my database. A post to help Mailchimp users/developers.

Winners is a tech-neutral consultant – and by that we mean we’ll either help clients understand how to get more from their existing stack or help them identify the right tech for their current state and desired future state. However when it comes to email marketing, if a client has no experience whatsoever with using contact data, we recommend Mailchimp.

The reasons are it’s very easy to use, its relatively cost-effective, and there’s no fixed term contract so you can cut your teeth on it but then move if/when your progress dictates it. Another reason is there’s a huge amount of documentation and content out there to help you figure things out, and they have a great approach to their APIs to support developers.

However we spotted one well-hidden issue that I wanted to share with all Mailchimp users and developers because knowing this will save you a huge amount of time.

The principle behind email marketing (indeed any targeted marketing) is getting the right message to the right person at the right time, and to do that we need an express opt-in (except when using the PECR “soft opt-in” which, for some reason, a lot of our clients shy away from. That’ll be the subject of another post)

So here’s the situation:

Customer A unsubscribes from a client using Mailchimp through the unsubscribe link in the email footer.

Later on in your relationship with the same customer, Customer A decides to opt-in again, via a form that you’ve integrated into Mailchimp using their API.

However, as Customer A previously unsubscribed from you, they don’t go into your list….they remain quarantined, despite opting-in again using a form that pushes data directly into Mailchimp via their API.

If you don’t know this is happening you’re losing opt-ins….probably not many because they’re customers that previously unsubscribed and if you’re using email marketing properly, your unsubscribe rate should be well below 0.5%. But in this day and age where every contactable customer is “liquid gold” we should be doing all we can to ensure that everyone who wants to get into our database, is able to do so!

So here’s our Mailchimp tip for all you developers. List members who have previously unsubscribed have to be treated as double opt-ins, i.e. they have to have a “pending” status. This will then trigger the Mailchimp confirmation email and once they click on the link in that email, they’ll drop into your database, along with all your other customers from that source.

OK so you’re putting another hurdle in front of them that could impact your conversion rate, but it’s one of the checks and balances Mailchimp puts in place to ensure legislation compliance. And we have no option – we have to work with it.

Our frustration is this isn’t called out in any documentation – we had to find this out for ourselves.

So hopefully we’ve saved you some time by calling it out for you.

Please get in touch if you want further help in this area – ensuring you continuously grow the size of your contactable database is something we all care about so we’d be happy to help you.