How to Sync your Members and Users to MailChimp for Mailing Lists
What is MailChimp?
MailChimp is a online mailing list service. MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.
Why would you use it?
Small Farm Central offers mailing list tools with our website and Member Assembler products. Depending on your mailing list needs, you may want options that our basic mailing list tool does not provide. MailChimp is dedicated to great email marketing tools and provides additional features such as templates, statistics on how many people actually opened your email, and the ability to share your emails on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Small Farm Central has created a tool to allow you to sync your SFC generated lists -- either user groups or Member Assembler member lists -- with MailChimp. By combining these tools, you greatly expand the ways in which you can reach out to your members and other customers.
A basic MailChimp account is free of charge. As of this writing, the “Forever Free” account allows you to have up to 2000 people on your mailing lists and allows for 12,000 e-mails to be sent each month.
If you would need to expand beyond the 2000 subscribers, current plans start as low as $30 and these paid plans include unlimited emails.
How to set up your mailing list sync
Note: Our Mailchimp Sync tool should only be used if you are trying to create mailing lists in Mailchimp that will be mirror images of your Small Farm Central mailing lists. DO NOT use this tool if you are looking to merge your SFC data with email addresses from another source. If you add non-SFC data to a Mailchimp list that you have associated with a Sync,the non-SFC users will be deleted the next time the sync runs. If you are just looking to merge your SFC users with other addresses in a Mailchimp list, we would recommend just exporting the data to an Excel spreadsheet from SFC and then importing it into Mailchimp.
1. Create a MailChimp account and connect it to Small Farm Central
The first thing you need to do is set up your MailChimp account. Go to www.mailchimp.com and click on the “Sign up free” button. Follow the instruction to get your account set up.
Once your account is set up, you will need to acquire an API key to make the sync work. In MailChimp, under the Account heading in the top menu, there will be an option for “API keys and Authorized Apps”. Click on that. As a new account, there will be no API keys listed; click on the “Add a key” and it will create one.
If you need extra information on this step, MailChimp has a help article on finding the API key. It can can be accessed at: http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/where-can-i-find-my-api-key.
In a separate browser window, open your SFC control panel. Go to Connect > MailChimp Sync > Settings. This will bring up a page with a field to enter your API key. Carefully cut-and-paste your API key from your MailChimp account over to this field and save.
2. Create a new, empty list in MailChimp
The next thing you will need to create is a List in MailChimp. Click on the “Lists” option in the top menu and then the “Create List” button on the screen that comes up. Use a list name that will match the mailing list groups that you will be syncing with the list. So if it is a list of all of your 2013 members, call the list “All 2013 Members”. If it is just people who pick up at the Downtown location, call it “Downtown pickup”. Keep it simple. Fill out the rest of the necessary information and save the list.
If you need extra information on this step, MailChimp has a help article on creating a list. It can can be accessed at: http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/how-do-i-create-a-new-list.
3. Create a sync to connect to the new, empty list
Now go back over to your SFC control panel and go to Connect > MailChimp Sync > New Sync. You can sync a MailChimp list with information from any of your Member Assembler seasons or any of your SFC user groups.
For the "sync label", we recommend giving it the same name as the MailChimp list. This label is for your reference only and does not affect the sync.
Under the “Syncs with MailChimp List” option, the form should give you the option of any MailChimp list you’ve created that has zero users in it. (If there are already users in a MailChimp list, you can not create a new sync to it.) Choose the list that you wish to sync to. Syncs do expire; you will be given the option of keeping the sync active for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. When the sync is expiring, you will receive an email notice and will be given the option to renew it.
4. Choose which contact information should be synced
Finally you need to choose which mailing list data to sync with MailChimp. If you chose a Member Assembler season, you will be given the option to choose between Member Types and Pickup Locations. If you chose User Groups, you will be given the list of User Groups to choose from. Highlight the groups you wish to sync and then hit the “save sync” submit button.
5. Run the sync and send emails
The sync will not run right away. If you wish to run the sync immediately, just click the “Sync now” button on the Manage Syncs page. Syncs will automatically update once a week, but you can update a sync at any time by clicking “Sync now”. You will receive an email notice when the sync has been automatically updated.
Once your list is synced, you can use it to send out emails. Sending out emails in MailChimp is done using their “Campaign” tool. For more information on how to send emails, go to: http://kb.mailchimp.com/category/campaigns/.
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