MailChimp is the perfect way to keep your target audiences informed.

Using the database of contacts that you’ve gathered through your website, you’ll have a very personal way of sending out important information.

Your database is worth gold, as you control it completely, so treat it with care and grow it at every opportunity.

In this post we’ll be looking at some of the ways that you can engage their target audience/s.

 The important things it does

MailChimp does a number of crucial things:

  • It offers easy use through its templates
  • It manages your contact lists
  • It integrates with a huge number of other platforms
  • It handles the unsubscribe option for you

Things you need to do

  1. Understand your audience groups
  2. Generate content for sharing
  3. Have an image library and a means of editing the images
  4. Set aside time at regular intervals to set up newsletters
  5. Monitor the stats once a newsletter goes out
  6. Experiment to find the most relevant content to be sharing with your audience

1. Understand your audience groups

The better you understand your audience groups the better you’ll be armed to tell them about things they are interested in.

You may have separate groups of customers e.g. Local customers within a few mile radius, tourists on their way through etc

You may want to start by just having one group initially if you are unable to segment your list but aim to improve the relevance of what is going out to your readers.

2. Generate content for sharing

Use a content calendar to come up with ideas for topics. You may offer food specials, promotions etc and these will form part of the outgoing info.

You may also include local events or other happenings that will help draw customers into the area – these are worth promoting as it fosters a sense of community with other local businesses. It may make them more inclined to share the love through recommendations and mentions.

3. Have an image library and a means of editing the images

Take regular photos of food, the area, customers (be careful with this one) and anything else you think can be used as a visual on the website and social media.

Organise these photos into folders and give each image a good name so that you can easily see what the topic is just by looking at the file name. This will be good for SEO later on as well as assisting with good house-keeping.

If one of your staff members is tasked with creating content, make sure you share these images through a central resource like DropBox or Google Drive. That way, if you put a photo into the folder, the team member automatically gets a copy.

This is useful too if you work from the farm shop as well as home, on two different machines. It means you’ll have access to your files no matter where you are.

4. Set aside time at regular intervals to set up newsletters

This is more easily done if you deputise a member of staff as you can send them off to write content. If you’re doing it as the business owner, you’ll likely be pressed for time – which is why a content calendar is so useful.

Share out the task of coming up with ideas amongst the staff, the chef, any partners etc.

A pin board, some post-it notes, whatever works. Just give your team the means to contribute. If you choose a whiteboard, make sure the pens work.

Make sure everyone knows what you’re wanting to achieve and what sort of tone you want to convey. Is it fun? Is it healthy living? Try and define these so that your team understands the marketing intention better.

5. Monitor the stats once a newsletter goes out

You’ll be adding content to your website and then sharing the link in your newsletter.

This will bring visitors back to your website where they can discover more information.

In your newsletter, you’ll have a thumbnail, intro paragraph and a Read More button or other call to action.

By using a link, MailChimp can then record how many views each link gets, and give you feedback on what your audience is finding most interesting.

This will allow you to improve your content in the next newsletter by giving them more of what they already like.

6. Experiment to find the most relevant content to be sharing with your audience

Short of asking everyone who gives you their email address what they want to read, you’ll need to try out different topics to see what works.

You could try more text, less text, more images, links to video, links to external websites on trending topics. You can share specials, promotions, discount card offers, in-house news and more.

Only by sharing a wide variety of information will you get to see what people are engaging with.

Newsletter itself

The layout

The layout of the newsletter will depend on the type of info you’re sharing.

  • It may suit a single column with longer text and text links back to the website
  • It may be that you’ve got a gallery of images to share and a 3-column layout is better.

Whatever you go with, any newsletter sent out can be used again as the basis for the next one. Almost like a template. Of course you can also set up a few templates using different layouts and draw from them as you go.

Capturing email addresses

You’re offering a WiFi connection to customers on the premises and it’s the perfect time to gather their email address for the privilege. Their email address and name is a fair exchange for the service.

Reassure them that you will not pass their details on to a third party, but that you may contact them by email, and everyone knows where they stand.

You can choose to merely gather those details and add them to your MailChimp list, or you can go further and automatically direct them to TripAdvisor for a review or send them a promotional message at some point during their stay.

ZenReach will allow you to customise the login screen with your logo, colour scheme and message. You can add special offers, invite them to share their location on social media and a lot more.

Obviously, the more featured the app the pricier it is likely to be.

There are a huge number of suppliers of software that will do this.

Have a look at:

You may also want to consider the ability to limit their usage and cap it at a particular amount before having to purchase more data. You’ll want to be able to block users and restrict the sort of sites that can be perused to keep it all child-friendly.