I recently set up a Mailchimp automation for a client to welcome new subscribers to their email list. The onboarding series included multiple emails for several weeks introducing the subscriber to the non-profit’s work. After completing the series, the subscriber would be dropped into list to receive the organization’s regular weekly email campaigns.
Through testing the automation, I learned that Mailchimp doesn’t automatically exclude subscribers in Onboarding Series Automations from receiving regular emails—so a new subscriber in the automation would receive both the onboarding emails and the regular emails.
This makes no sense--why would an organization working to build donor/customer relationships through an onboarding series want the subscriber to receive regular emails, too?
I worked with Mailchimp support trying a handful of potential solutions to exclude subscribers in automations from receiving regular campaigns. They were clunky and left room for error—like their first suggestion to add conditions based on automation activity shown here:
Having to add 2 conditions per automation might be okay if you're only running one Automation Series. But if you have more than one like my client, these conditions become unwieldy and leave a lot of room for error. Furthermore, non-pro accounts are limited to 5 conditions per campaign—so if you have more than two automations going, you wouldn't be able to exclude all subscribers in automation.
I came up with a solution that I tested with their support. It works and there's just one condition that needs to be applied to new campaigns, but it does use up the post-sending list action for your last email.
Based on my conversation with Mailchimp support (see screenshot below), I'm hoping that they'll soon offer an easier way to exclude subscribers in automation.
The end of my Mailchimp support transcript. "Alicia" agrees and is forwarding along the request to make automation exclusions easier :)
Mailchimp Automation Exclusion Solution
Make subscribers a part of a group during automation that’s excluded from regular campaigns. When they’re done with automation, remove them from the list.
Steps to exclude automation emails from new campaigns
Setting up your automation
Making sure that you add subscribers to a group while they're in automation is a necessary step to be able to easily exclude them from new campaigns.
Setting up new campaigns
Whenever you send out a new campaign, you'll need to manually exclude the subscribers in the automation series from your email. To do this, follow these steps:
Mailchimp Testing Fun Fact
When testing a signup form or automation in Mailchimp, constantly having to delete an email address is annoying and it doesn’t always work. Did you know that you can add a + after your email address in Gmail accounts to create a temporary email alias?
Example – if my original email was email@example.com, I could add firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to test my automation multiple times.
Interested in setting up an automation?
I'm a data-driven marketing and communications consultant using digital media to help startups, small businesses and non-profits communicate their stories.