Email Marketing Strategy

The Challenge

A large, nonprofit was using MailChimp as their Email Service Provider (ESP) but they had no agency-wide email marketing strategy. They were concerned that their account would be canceled for not adhering to list management protocols.

They had multiple users across various departments with varying levels of training on how to build and manage their lists. Some users imported emails into fresh lists for each campaign. Others manually added users to “their” departmental list. Still others added subscribers into a separate departmental list utilizing groups based on that department’s needs.

The account grew to house over 50 lists with approximately 15,000 subscribers nearly a third of which were duplicates.

This resulted in an inability to track metrics such as open and click rates. Additionally, since the subscription rate for the account is based on the number of subscribers, and they had so many duplicates, they were overpaying each month.

They were – rightly – concerned about the status of the account since managing the lists in this manner made it virtually impossible to respect opt-outs.


After speaking with staff members across five departments, we outlined a detailed, agency-wide list management strategy.  We boiled down the number of lists to two with eight segments between them. The segments were closely aligned with the departments’ needs and those of their constituents.

The lists were scrubbed then reintegrated per the new strategy. Staff were trained on how to update and manage the lists to avoid common pitfalls.

A template was designed for the agency to improve their brand presence and create a consistent look and feel across departments.

Key Successes

After scrubbing the old lists we were able to remove over 5000 duplicate email addresses and cut account fees by 50%.

By providing onsite training for staff we were able to increase their overall comfort level in using MailChimp and managing their subscribers using industry best-practices.

What You Can Learn

Haste Makes Waste
Taking the time to plan your list and segments will help you avoid the short-term urgency of sending an email from overpowering the long-term need to keep your email list neat and tidy.

Training = Empowering
Taking the time to ensure staff understand the game plan and know how to use the technology sets your organization up for long-term success.

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