MailChimp Snap: The blending of email marketing and social media

I use MailChimp a lot. For the various blogs I manage I use its RSS-to-email feature, allowing readers to subscribe to blog updates via email. For my work with The Navigators I send out progress updates to donors. The former is automated and can come across as impersonal. The latter is custom and thus can be time consuming to put together. Neither of these use cases feels anything like a typical social media experience, one that’s quick, easy, and personal.

MailChimp seems to be trying to address this tension with an app called MailChimp Snap. Take a picture with your iPhone and in just a couple of quick taps you’ve sent that picture to your email list. You can choose a photo from your camera roll or your Instagram account too, showing that MailChimp isn’t trying to make its new app your primary photo taking tool.

I like the concept and the app UI is beautiful. But I’m trying to decide if my email lists would want to receive a single photo with a quick caption in their inbox. Do I want to turn email subscribers into Instagram followers by another name? I plan to try it at least once but I admit I’m a little skeptical as to whether it will become a staple to my email marketing strategy.

Changelog: November 3-14, 2014

  • New parent theme and new child theme. I’m starting over, abandoning the HTML5 Reset Theme in favor of something a lot more modern. I’m now using the Genesis Framework as my parent theme and eleven40 Pro as my child theme.
  • Rewrote the code that adds the outgoing link to the post title for all “Link” format posts to make it Genesis Framework friendly.
  • Added Font Awesome so I could stop using an image in front of post titles that direct to outbound links. Now I’m using this instead.
  • Removed proprietary share buttons in favor of those available through the Jetpack plugin.
  • Created a MailChimp account specific to How Do It Know?! to enable RSS-to-email subscriptions.
  • Installed the Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On to allow visitors to subscribe to my content via email through the contact form.
  • Installed OptinMonster to create numerous avenues for encouraging visitors to subscribe to my content via email. Currently I am using four add-ons: Sidebar Add-on, Mobile Add-on, Exit Intent Add-on, and Effects Add-on.
  • Installed Simple Social Icons to display links to my social media profiles in the sidebar.
  • Removed App.net embedded posts from all blog posts. Also removed links to my App.net profile from the sidebar.
  • Lots of little changes to the stylesheet.
Matt Mullenweg’s response to Disqus using comment data for advertising

Matt Mullenweg, for those who don’t know, is the leader of The WordPress Foundation and one of the original developers of WordPress. He weighed in on Disqus’s comment data mining practices on his website:

I was just reading some comments the other day and thinking how it’d be great to see some sponsored brand content there instead of users, like there already was on the rest of the page. Glad there’s a solution for that on a global basis now.

Disqus is using your comments for targeted advertising

Disqus, the popular third-party commenting system using on countless websites, is building a profile on all its users based on where they’re leaving comments (and, presumably, keywords they’re using in those comments) to target those users with more relevant advertising.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but for some reason it caught be off guard. After all, just like users of Facebook after voluntarily handing over demographic information and personal interests, blog readers reveal what kinds of content interests them when they visit a site (and if they’re logged into Disqus they’ll know they visited) and blog commenters share their opinions in their reader feedback. It’s the most valuable thing Disqus owns, and they’re choosing to leverage it for profit.

Rafflecopter effectiveness takes a hit

Rafflecopter is one of my favorite opt-in magnets. It’s great for growing your email list and social network followings. So I was more than a little sad to see that Facebook changed their terms of service to prohibit incentivizing people to like your fan page. Thus two of Rafflecopter’s entry options (fan-gating a giveaway and earning entries for liking a page) have been removed. Instead they have added an option to “visit a Facebook page” to earn entries. Participants earn the entries just for showing up, and if they choose to like the page from there it’s their own choice.