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When MailChimp Gives You A Cryptic Warning and How Not To Make The Same Mistake

Sep 11, 2014

Recently, our marketing team received a warning from MailChimp.

It was a bit surprising and concerning. We’re not gonna lie.

So, why did we receive the warning and what does it mean?

Keep reading below and we will educate you on our email marketing mistake.

We do not know exactly why we received the warning.

Let us give you a bit of context here, so you are not completely lost.

We send out our blog pieces twice per week, to our managed service and IT prospects.

We sync our email list, with our website (wordpress CMS) and when we publish a blog piece inside of our site, MailChimp automatically sends out this same blog post to our designated email list.

When a company, like ours, uses MailChimp for similar marketing purposes and receives a warning, MailChimp usually does not tell us why we received said warning.

Your marketing team can receive warnings for various reasons. Some of those warning reasons are:

  • Spam
  • Bad email list
  • A high-unsubscribe rate
  • An ISP that has an issue with the sending email addresses

While MailChimp warnings are not a huge deal, as business owners and marketers we do need to pay attention to them.

MailChimp’s warnings are a way of MailChimp telling marketers and business owners “play within the rules of email marketing or there will be consequences.

Companies who use email marketing tools, like MailChimp, Constant Contact and the like receive warnings for a few reasons.

Here are some more detailed explanations, based on our experience.

  1. One reason we may have triggered the warning was our audience or list inside of MailChimp may not want to be receiving our weekly content. When that happens, people unsubscribe. When a high unsubscribe rate happens it causes a red flag with MailChimp and issues a warning.
  2. Our email list is bad and needs to be burned and buried in Dante’s Inferno.
  3. Our content sucks and isn’t relevant, therefore demoting our CMO to the office coffee-boy.

This is not a huge deal, but the reasons stated above are typically why a business would receive a warning from their email marketing software provider.

We are not perfect.

Like any business, we are not perfect. We don’t know everything.

And when a simple marketing problem like this arises, we need to take action and do things differently.

While we don’t know 100% why we received the MailChimp warning, we do know that there are some things we can do differently.

Here are some steps to take and tactics to make sure you are executing, so you don’t end up having the same issues that we did.

Stress the unsubscribe.

Believe it or not, your prospects may not want to hear from you.

As an IT company, that is using an email marketing tool, you need to make sure you have an unsubscribe option, in case your audience doesn’t want to hear from you.

If your MSP vertical or niche, is healthcare or manufacturing, for example, and you send out an email campaign to these prospects or existing customers, be sure you emphasize the unsubscribe.

Have an unsubscribe option at the bottom (also called the footer of the email template), with the first email you send your prospects and existing clients.

I’d even suggest taking it a step further. If you send out a series of emails, have the first email in the newsletter series stress the unsubscribe.

The message you are sending is ‘we don’t want to bother you, rather want to educate and inform you.’

Do this and it will decrease the chances of being flagged with a warning inside of MailChimp.

Stop treating your customers and prospects like a used car salesman.

(No offense to used car salesman.)

Treating your leads and prospects like a used car salesman means you’re sending your customers content that is heavy on features and benefits.

It’s not about features and benefits-type content.

Just like for men, it’s not about the nail. Watch the video here.

Be willing to be objective about your content. Be willing to say your content and copywriting sucks.

High-quality content, that is written with your customers in mind will build trust and produce sales, over time.

Your goal should be geared to educate and inform your prospects and clients on how to improve their business and solve their problems.

No one likes to be sold like a used car salesman.

Your email list stinks like Lutefisk.

Want to know what lutefisk is? Learn more here.

But seriously, where did your email list come from?

Did you build your email list from trade shows?

Did you build it organically? Organically, meaning, people gave you their email addresses and asked to receive your stuff.

Did you purchase your email list or pirate it?

The health of your company’s email list is a huge advantage of running a results and sales driven email campaign.

As an added note, we would highly encourage you (encourage means get to it) to filter and scrub your email lists.

Look for things like email addresses that start with ‘’ or ‘’

If you notice a lot of emails like this, these can trigger a negative response from MailChimp and other email marketing tools.

Most importantly, have a plan to gather and capture email addresses organically.

How to build your email list organically, not artificially.

In chapter 2, of the book ‘The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing’ the authors talk about how to do this well.

In order to be effective at email, these are non-negotiables to execute.

  • Have opt-ins on your site. An opt-in is when you ask for someones email address on a form on your site. A sidebar located on a blog, an opt-in form in a footer, a call-to-action as a result from a webinar or even an opt-in to download an e-book. These all work well.
  • Ask your prospects to subscribe. Ask them through a follow up email, or a social media campaign, etc. Just ask!
  • Incorporate humor to create copy that attracts someone to fill out a form, which captures an email address.
  • Use paid campaigns to send visitors and prospects to a specific landing page, where you ask for an email address.

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Stay tuned for more, here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article.

If you’re ready to take control of your cash flow and say goodbye to time-consuming accounting tasks, awkward collections calls and outstanding A/R, connect with us.

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