Set up Automated Birthday Promotions with Nexternal & MailChimp!

Monday, October 13th, 2014
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Wondering if birthday promotions really work? Answer: a resounding YES!

In a recent study, Experian found that “sending birthday emails is one of the most effective ways for brands to increase unique click rates, transaction rates and revenue for their email program.” They found that Birthday emails had 481% higher transaction rates than promotional emails, 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails, and 179% higher unique click rates than promotional emails – those are some impressive statistics!

Now imagine if you could get those emails out automatically, every year, to every customer, by simply setting up the email one time. Sound impossible? With Nexternal and MailChimp’s Automated Workflows, it’s actually a breeze, and here’s how:

Set up your Birthdate Field:
1. In Nexternal, navigate to Customers/Preferences/Customer Custom fields, and set up a custom field for Birthdate or Date of Birth. Your field type should be date, and you should check “expose to customers”. (*Tip – Many wineries and other alcohol merchants who request this info make this a required field to comply with legal requirements, but other merchants may want to make it optional so as not to offend their customers)
2. In Nexternal, navigate to Settings/Compatible Software/Alcoholic Beverage Tools/Preferences, and at the top of the page, select the custom filed you just created in the “Date of Birth Field” pull down (do this whether or not you are an alcohol merchant)

If you have already set up your Nexternal/MailChimp integration, this info will now start flowing from Nexternal to update existing customer records, and it will also be included with new customer records.

Set up your Nexternal/MailChimp Integration:
3. If you have not yet set up your Nexternal/MailChimp integration, you must do two things in MailChimp:
a) set up the list in your MailChimp account into which you want your Nexternal customer records to flow; and
b) create an API Key (obtained from within your MailChimp account at Account/Extras/API Keys), then copy that API key onto your clipboard for pasting into Nexternal.
4. In Nexternal, navigate to Settings/Compatible Software/MailChimp eMail Marketing, paste in your MailChimp API key, select the customer list that you set up in MailChimp for this integration, and check the box next to “Sync Mail Chimp Lists” (*Tip – also check “Sync Orders With MailChimp” to send order data to Chimp which can also serve as automated email triggers. Your Nexternal Account Manager can give you more information about this)

Set up your Promotion in Nexternal:
5. Navigate to the Coupons section in Nexternal to set up the coupon in Nexternal that you’d like to send your customers on their birthday. You’ll probably want to set up that coupon as 1-time use per customer, and you’ll want to change the coupon code and the reference to the code in the Chimp email every year. (*Tip – if you need help, call your free dedicated account manager for ideas and instructions on how to set that up. Also, mark your calendar to change that code annually, so that the same customer doesn’t get the same 1-time use birthday code two years in a row!)

Set up your Automated Workflow in MailChimp:
6. Next set up your birthday email in MailChimp, and you’re done! (*Tip – watch the short video called “Automation: Annually Recurring Event” on this page to see how easy it is to set up this campaign in MailChimp)

A few final notes:
7. Be sure to follow best practices for maximum birthday mail effectiveness – put Happy Birthday in the subject line, use first name personalization, and consider sending a reminder email or two a few days after the birthday email and a few days after that – simply set up the 2-3 email workflow in MailChimp.
8. Sending automated emails in MailChimp requires a paid MailChimp account (pay as you go is fine). Fortunately their fees are quite reasonable, and it’s quite probable that you will generate way more in revenue than the fee for the paid account.

Follow these easy steps as soon as possible to begin recognizing your customers in a personal way to build relationships and increase your revenues – you’ll be glad you did!

For more information about the power of the Nexternal MailChimp integration, including how to send automated emails based on purchase behavior, watch this short video and call your dedicated Nexternal Account Manager.

Pamela is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal and works in the Napa Valley office. She is passionate about helping her clients succeed. With 20 years' experience in the wine industry spearheading business development and marketing for various wineries including her own, plus previous years practicing general business law, Pamela is well qualified to provide the service and guidance to her clients that sets Nexternal apart from other eCommerce providers.

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