May 19, 2016

How to Divide Your Email List and Target Your Subscribers Automatically

How to divide your email list and target audience with post labels
On my “real” blog I actually write about a LARGE variety of projects.  I am not one of those bloggers who has a very specific niche, but I cover a wide range of topics from remodeling and woodworking, to kid crafts, recipes and holidays.  Because of this, I always had a hard time retaining email subscribers and/or getting them to open my emails.

Since I wanted to make the process of sending out emails as painless as possible, I had been using RSS driven campaigns (meaning anytime I posted a new post on the blog, it would automatically detect the RSS feed and send out an email.)  The problem was that not everyone wanted to hear about every project.  (I totally get it, we are busy and you only want to read about what you are interested in.)

Then I discovered the beauty of the “LABEL DRIVEN RSS FEED”!!   Game.changer!  

Label driven feeds are the same RSS feeds that you are familar with, but instead of going out for EVERY post, it only goes out for posts with a certain label or tag. This means that I could flag posts with different labels and set up different automatic RSS emails for different target audiences.

For example, I could make a list of subscribers who really like cooking and then ONLY send them posts with recipes.

In this post I’ll show you how to generate those Label Driven RSS feeds and I’ll show you how to set up campaigns in Mad Mimi (my email service of choice). HOWEVER.. you can use this same technique in ANY email service that allows you to set up RSS campaigns.  (Mailchimp, Aweber,  Convert Kit etc)

I am also going to show you some tips on how to get your subscribers segmented onto different lists.  Once again, Mad Mimi is the platform I am currently using on my big blog (I use Convert Kit over here on this blog.. and I’ll be writing up a tutorial for that platform in the future.) 

If you already have a list with everyone mixed together, that is okay too.  So did I.  I just labeled those people “Send Me Everything” since they were already getting everything, and then I started all my new lists from scratch.  Eventually there are ways to get your old subscribers segmented as well, and I’ll give you a few ideas for that too!

Setting up an RSS Feed for an Individual Post Labels: 

The RSS feed for a blogspot blog is super straight forward. You have no need to run it through 3rd party apps like Feedburner. (You can if you want to, but the native feed will work just fine.)

Your full RSS feed is: 
And your feed for a specific label is:[label]?alt=rss   
(Make sure you remove the brackets! And remember CASE MATTERS!!)

Labels are really straight forward if they are a single word, but people often get confused if the label is a multi-word phrase.  To find out exactly what you need to put into your feed URL, go to your blog and click on your label (either from your label list or from the header/footer of your post) and check out the URL.

As an example, on this blog I have label called “blogging apps"
The URL when I click on the label is this: 
Figuring out what the RSS for Label URL is
That means the HTML for the label is actually “blogging%20apps"

So when I want to generate my RSS feed for only posts labeled “blogging apps” is: 

Creating Label Specific RSS Newsletters in Mad Mimi:
I actually no longer use RSS driven newsletters. I now write custom content for my subscribers. The open rate will always be higher if you aren’t just sending out your posts, but often bloggers don’t have the time or energy to do one more thing (like a newsletter.)  In the past I did use RSS label driven newsletters and they are still better than having your readers use a platform like Bloglovin or finding your posts on social media, since you have no control over those delivery methods. 

Setting up an RSS email campaign in MadMimi is super easy.  Click on the “RSS” button and then click “Add a Feed" Setting up automatic emails in mad mimiWhen the box pops up enter the RSS feed address you want to use.  In this example I want to email ONLY posts that are tagged with the SEO tag. Click “import feed now”.Setting up Label Driven RSS in mad mimiYou will know if you have the added the correct URL if your blank newsletter populates with your posts.   At this point you can also customize your email with your header, or advertising or whatever else you want. (remember this is how EVERY email will be formatted unless you come back and edit it so I wouldn’t write a long personal intro unless you want your readers to get it on every email.)

ALSO if you want to encourage clicks back to the blog you may want to make sure you are truncating your RSS feed. (It is an option on the blogger dashboard.) If you email the full feed, readers will have no reason to visit your blog.  If you are starting a new newsletter it is a good idea to start off subscribers with truncated posts, so they don’t expect the full post and then get upset when you change it. Rss Feed for a specific label on blogTo make it easier to manage each Newsletter type, make sure to name each feed.  In this case this is my labeling system:  “KSBS SEO RSS Feed” means KimSixBloggerSupport  “SEO” labeled RSS driven campaign.  Once you are finished click Save.

Email RSS campaign by post label
Now if you go to your RSS Tab you will see the Feed listed.  Targeted segment RSS email campaignBUT YOU AREN’T FINISHED.  Now you have to make sure you have it targeting your correct readers.

Newsletter Settings:

Once you have your newsletter formatted, it is time to work on the details of what, who and when…
Click on “Settings” and a pop up will open up.

Timing Your Newsletter:
The next step is deciding how frequently it should go out.  For example, to send it every Monday, you would select “send every day”  but only check Monday. If you want it to go immediately when it is published you would set it for “send every day” but would check all the days of the week.

Schedulling once weekly RSS email
Targeting Your Newsletter:
You can choose a single list or multiple lists to send your RSS emails.  You just need to choose it from the drop down menu.  If someone is on more than one list MadMimi will only send it to them once, so don’t worry about overlapping lists.
Choosing newsletter segment for email
Titling You’re Newlsetter: 
At this point you need to put in your outgoing email address (REMEMBER.. PREVIOUSLY I EXPLAINED IT SHOULD BE A CUSTOM DOMAIN EMAIL!) As well as the name you want it to be labeled.

You also need to create a subject line.  I have used things like “What is happening this week on TheKimSixFix” or “Another Recipe from TheKimSixFix” etc.  Depending on what label you are targeting you can make the subject line hint to what the post is about.

If you want the post title to automatically be the subject line you can put: (post_title) in the address bar.  Or you could even use a combination.   Something like.  “My latest Craft Tutorial: (post_title)"

Once all the fields are filled out, click “save"
Setting up an RSS campaign in mad mimi

And now your newsletter is all ready to go!

For more information about RSS driven newsletters, you can read the full tutorial from Nurse Mimi herself.

Segmenting Subscribers into Interest Lists: 

Now that we have your newsletter set up to out to a certain segment of your readers, I’m sure you are asking: But how did you get that targeted list? 

There are a few ways. And I like I said before, if you already have an unsegmented list with subscribers that have been getting all your posts, just keep them on their own list for now.. and send them everything.  MadMimi allows you to have as many lists as you want and to have as many people on the different list as you want.

Next you want to go to the audience tab and create whichever lists you think would work best to categorize people.  Start with only a few lists at first.  Just to get the hang of it.  So if you blog about fashion and travel, you could easily segment those lists. (if you have a post that is about what to wear why you travel, you could use both tags and it could go out to both audiences.  You don’t really have to worry about overlap!)

Email lists in mad mimi

 Once you have your lists made, you want to start driving subscribers into them.

Segmenting on Sign Up:  

The easiest way of finding out what type of content a subscriber wants to see, and what list they should be on, is to ASK THEM.

On MadMimi you can create sign-up Webforms that will automatically give people the choice to put themselves in lists.  You just need to click “Add a list” and select the options you want to make available.

You can see my list has a “send me everything” option (where I put all my previous subscribers, and for people who sign up for all my posts.)  At the bottom of each email Mad Mimi gives subscribers the “unsubscribe” and “manage my settings” choices.  At the bottom of each newsletter I have a little blurb about WHY they are getting this specific email and I explain to them that they can change their settings at any time.  This way they can always adjust what they are seeing without me having to do anything. (You can see an example of my disclosure on my email here.)

When a new subscriber signs up and checks the boxes, they are automatically added to the correct lists.   (Note: MadMimi doesn’t allow you to personalize your forms very well, so the top part of this email, the header, and the text above the email box is a graphic I made in Photoshop and uploaded.)

Sign up form with multiple lists

The above example is the type of form I use on my pop up or in my sidebar or that I link to when I share it on social media.  But I have even more specialized sign ups for individual posts or topics.

On this blog (KimSixBloggerSupport) all new subscribers are ONLY added to my “Blogging” list. So I created a second form that goes on the end of any posts that have to do with blogging (as well as the side bar on this blog).

If you want to drive bloggers to a specific list make a form that sells ONLY that list. (So if you have a recipe and want a sign up form at the end of that post that leads to your "food" list, make a “Want more recipes delivered to your inbox!” Type form (you can add a photo etc) and select only your food list.  This way they have no options, they are just automatically added to the right list.
Targeted sign up

MadMimi allows for UNLIMITED numbers of sign up forms, so go ahead and make a bunch of custom ones!

Segmenting with a Drip Campaign (Giveaway):

Another thing many bloggers want to do is give their readers something in exchange for an email sign up.  In my printables posts I require readers enter their email so I can send them the printable files.  Other things like eBooks, Building Plans, Silhouette/Cricut Files, Sewing Patterns and Checklists make fabulous giveaways that can help build your email list.

And the best part?


The following is my technique for setting up giveaways and follow-up drip campaigns while segmenting my subscriber list by interest.

The first thing I do is set up a group for the specific giveaway. The example I am using here is a post I wrote with a Charlie Brown Printable and Silhouette Cut File available as a download.)

I went into the Audience tab and created a new group:
Create new newsletter category
Next I went into my Webforms and generated a new form. (It could have been cuter, but it got the job done, you can see what it looks like in the post.) I made sure that anyone submitting an email address via THAT form was automatically placed into my Charlie Brown Printable Group.
Adding email to mailing list with giveaway
Now I needed to generate the email that people who signed up got from me with a link to the printable or Silhouette file.  So I went into “Drips” and started a new campaign. I named it “Charlie Brown Printable Drip” and I the audience I set it for was my newly formed “Charlie Brown Printable Group”  (Yes, there are ZERO people in the group at this point, and that is fine!)

Formatting the email itself is just like any other email, you bring in your header, add your text, photos and links.  (you can see the final version here.)

Finally you choose WHEN people receive it. (If you are going to send any follow up emails you want to space them out.) MAKE SURE YOU SET IT TO SEND THE FIRST EMAIL IMMEDIATELY.  Otherwise people will email you and ask where their printable files are!
Starting segmented drip campaign
Now you are ready to embed the form into the post with the giveaway and start the campaign.   Everything else is done! People will trickle in and immediately be added to my Charlie Brown group.

From that point on you can decide if you want to also add those people to other mailing lists (make sure you tell them they will be getting more emails so they know to expect it and/or have the chance to opt out. You don’t want to be marked as spam!)  In my case I could add them to my “crafting” list or “printables” list.

You also can add additional emails to the drip campaign to those specific subscribers.  If I had other Charlie Brown crafts or other printables i could set up an email linking to those projects as well.  Or I could send a follow up with affiliate links to my favorite Silhouette accessories etc.  (Not Amazon! NEVER put Amazon links in email!)

Creating additional drips is very straight forward and you can easily re-order and edit them at any time.
Adding drip to email campaign in mad mimi
But wait!  You can go even further!  Once you have them hooked on your drip campaigns, there is a way to figure out what other interests your readers may have!

Segmenting Via Email Clicks: 

Another feature that is AWESOME in MadMimi (Convert Kit is the only other email service that also provides it) is segmenting on clicks.

What does that mean?  In MadMimi you can set it up to automatically add someone to a specified list when someone clicks on a designated link in your email.

Let me continue on with my Charlie Brown example.  In my email (SEE THE FULL EMAIL HERE, it was too big to screen capture!)  I have it set up that when someone clicks to download the plain JPG printable that they get added to my “printables” email list.

On the other hand, when they click to download the Silhouette Studio file they are added to my “Silhouette” group.  

(Side note.. I host my giveaway files on or so that I can get open/download analytics.  Plus without the attachments, I’m not worried about my email file size.  Lastly, this method means I have control of the file and can take it down at any time. )
Segmenting an email list by interest
What is awesome about click segmenting is now I know which subscribers own a Silhouette machine!  And which ones don’t.  So in the future I send all my “Silhouette” subscribers ANY Silhouette project on my blog, while the printable downloaders only get my new Printable projects.

Think about how much segmentation you can get! And just how much you can figure out about your readers!  If they click on something you know they are interested in it.

By linking up related content at the end of your email (so put a recipe at the bottom of your craft emails) you can recruit people to your other lists.  If someone clicks on the recipe, you know they cook, and you should add them to your “recipes” list.   If you put in an affiliate link for shoes and they click it, you could add them to your “fashion" list.

I have lists for things like “Moms” (if they click on Teacher appreciation files or posts about kids) or “Girl Scout Leaders (for anyone clicking on any of my scouting projects) or “woodworkers” (for anyone who has downloaded a SketchUp building file.)

AND THINK OF WHAT THAT MEANS WHEN YOU PITCH BRANDS!  I can go to a brand (like say a company that sells Vinyl ) and tell them  “I know that my ENTIRE list owns a Silhouette machine.  Other bloggers can promise a certain amount of readers, but how many of them tell you their readers would be interested in Vinyl?  My list accurately targets the people YOU want to sell vinyl to!”

How do you get click segmentation to work? 
It is so easy with MadMimi!  When composing the email, you can make any text into a link by clicking on the “link” icon.  A pop up will open and a dialogue box will appear.  There is where you can insert your link as well as the (optional) targeted list:
Adding user to newsletter on clickThis is what my Charlie Brown links looked like.  A link to dropbox ( where the file was hosted) and then i clicked to add them to my “Silhouette Users” group.

Another cool feature is that you can do the same thing on images. (When you upload your images directly into MadMimi) You just click the little pen logo underneath the image.
Making photo clickable in email
This gives you a similar dialogue box: Adding to email segment on clickYou can add a caption or just make the image clickable.  And once again, you can add them any list.

Now that you have them, how do you put all these specialized lists into action? 

Your gut instinct may be to start adding all these new niche subscribers to your main newsletter lists but I would encourage you NOT to do that unless they are a great fit.  Keeping your lists targeted can really help your open rate and decrease unsubscribes. You would rather have 60% of 100 people opening an email than 5% of 200 people. And it doesn't mean you NEVER send them emails, but you should send them emails that fit.

Here is an example of how you can use a niche list with a larger RSS campaign: 
Let’s say you have a “Healthy Living” RSS email campaign going, and recently you did a giveaway for a homemade chapstick recipe that required readers to give you their emails.  So now you have a batch of “chapstick” followers who aren’t necessarily interested in ALL of your healthy living emails. That is okay, you know what they DO like: Chapstick (and homemade cosmetic recipes).

So let’s say 2 weeks later you plant to publish a post about Cosmetics Beauty Tips.  This may just be a good fit for your chapstick subscribers!  The night before your post goes live, log into MadMimi, and open your Health and Beauty RSS campaign and add “Chapstick” followers to the audience list. The next day your post will go out to both your regular subscribers and the chapstick folks.  (Don’t forget to go back and remove them after the post is delivered!)

Remember to put additional unrelated content IN THE EMAIL for the beauty tips.  Things like links to other healthy living posts.  Make sure to ADD ANYONE WHO CLICKS on those links to your Health and Beauty list. You may just convert some of your “chapstick” followers into regular readers.

The difference between this technique and just adding them automatically is that you have ENGAGED readers.  If people have clicked on a link to read about it, they are exactly the type of readers you want on your mailing list and they are interested.  Maybe a fraction of “chapstick” subscribers only ever click on Chapstick related content.. and that is fine.  Better than leaving your list all together and clicking on NOTHING!

Take Home Message:

I hope this tutorial has at least given you ideas and inspiration about generating more specialized email lists and content.  The more you know (or can imply) about your followers means the more you can serve them with content they are interested in.  Sending lots of emails to lots of followers may not be the most effective way to market your content, and since you have the tools available, it is worth a try at doing it differently!


  1. I'm really interested in learning how you do this with convert kit. I just switched & I'm looking for tutorials on how to really maximize it's abilities.

  2. Great post, I pinned it for future reference. Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on FB too! Have a great week!

  3. I am planning on building my subscribers list and this will be very helpful for me. Thank you for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again next week on Friday, @ 12.00AM EST