From PDF to MailChimp: Supercharge Your eNewsletters

Why Not Send PDF Files? 

Are you sending prayer letters as a PDF attachment? If you’ve been reading eQuipping for eMinistry, I’ve encouraged you several times to make an attractive letter in the body of an email so your friends can read it straight away, instead of expecting readers to open an attachment.

Here’s just three (of many) problems with PDF attachments for newsletters:

  1. The more “clicks” required to read something, the more likely you’ll lose readers.
  2. PDF files are awkward to read on mobile devices.
  3. You can’t be sure your readers will click to open your PDF letter.

Read this e4e post, Your Options to Replace PDF Letters, for a more comprehensive look at why PDF files aren’t recommended for sending a newsletter. Additionally, in the same post, I give you a do-it-yourself option to create a good-looking letter in the body of an Outlook email.

Mail Chimp

Why MailChimp?

You’ve probably heard a lot of chatter about MailChimp as a newsletter option. Yes, there’s a learning curve for MailChimp, but you can find a lot of help online as well as here on e4e.

Here’s some “selling points” for starting to use it:

  1. You can put your entire letter into a MailChimp email. Recipients can read your letter as soon as they open the email.
  2. Your email also merges with a personal greeting.
  3. MailChimp offers themes that adjust automatically to different mobile devices.
  4. MailChimp tracks opens and clicks for your emailings. You’ll know who’s reading your letters and also which letters are more popular.
  5. Knowing who’s tracking with your letters can help you find potential new financial partners.
  6. You can choose to connect MailChimp to your Twitter and Facebook accounts to automatically post your emailings there and / or include Tweet, Like, and other social buttons in your emails to let your readers share your letters with their friends.
  7. Using MailChimp can help keep your letter out of your friend’s junk mail folder, too.
  8. Oh… and did I mention it’s free for up to 2,000 names in your mailing list?

Think through How You Will Use MailChimp

Your best, “supercharged” option to send a newsletter would be to post in a blog and have MailChimp send the post as full content (not partial content) in the regular MailChimp email from the blog. You can specify how often you want to generate this blog-based email (Use MailChimp’s “RSS-Driven campaigns.” )

If that thought is overwhelming to you today, you could:

  1. Simply send a newsy letter about your family or ministry
  2. Send your prayer letter in the body of the email
  3. Exchange prayer requests with your financial partners
  4. And more

I have a set of instructions you can use to get started. If any portion of it is out-of-date, MailChimp has a lot of support and videos to get you on the right track.

I’d like to know how best to help you with sending eNewsletters. Did you take the survey I posted last week about sending out your newsletters electronically? It will take me a while to go through the results, so you still have time to reply.

Have you invited your friends?

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Visit the Table of Contents for the You-Can-Too series posts.

This post is the second in the communication series.  Keep following the series for posts on databases, communication, websites, and social media.

11 thoughts on “From PDF to MailChimp: Supercharge Your eNewsletters

  1. I agree entirely and would like to see our church and other ministries using MailChimp or similar rather than e-mailing PDFs or Word documents. There’s one problem: most people I know not only send an e-mail but also print their newsletters or church programme to handout. As far as I know, MailChimp doesn’t allow you to create a nice PDF from an e-mail so while we may get a much nicer e-mail, it’s still lots of extra work because the person needs to create a PDF (e.g. in Publisher or Word) AND design something in MailChimp. For weekly church notices, it’s just not worth it.

    Does anyone have a solution for creating something that can be e-mailed and printed and looks good in both without designing it twice?


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