Mailchimp wiz explains the importance of email marketing

Debbie Mills Robertson, email marketing, newsletter, online course planning and website creation specialist has owned three businesses and worked in a lot of different industries over the years. 

She has used her combined skills to become Task Diva, her current business and passion. Read on to learn how she has shaped her current business and why she believes email marketing is key for online marketing.

Debbie ran her first business with her husband, a small construction company, but they ended up winding up that business after three years because of the Christchurch earthquakes. 

“While obviously there would be a lot of work, it wasn’t going to be happening straight away and we were employing about six people at the time and we just couldn’t keep paying them because all of the work had just stopped.”

From there, Debbie said she was always interested in interior design so she decided to break off from that business and start her own interior design business. 

“It was a real passion of mine and I did that for eight years. It’s also when I started using Mailchimp.”

Mailchimp is the software Debbie uses in her current business for email marketing. It’s a marketing automation platform and email marketing service that's available as an add-on that can be easily integrated into any Rocketspark website.

“In the end I kind of lost my passion for the interior design business, after eight years I was proud of it, but it was time to leave.”

Debbie had heard the term VA (Virtual Assistant) before and thought that might be something she’d be good at.

“Because after running a couple of businesses I’d gained a lot of skills. It really stuck with me and so that’s what I decided to do.”

Three months after she wound up her interior design business she started her Virtual Assistant business, Task Diva. 

“I started by offering everything from email marketing, accounts, social media and all the things people don’t want to do in their business. It was a bit full on and I got a little bit overwhelmed so I thought I need to find a bit more of a specialty and niche down.”

Now, Debbie concentrates on the three things she really enjoys; email marketing, online course creation, and website design.

“My business just turned three this June and I’m absolutely loving it,” she said.

Debbie said her previous business had a website that was made for her on a different platform and she couldn't edit it, this was something that she found very frustrating. 

“I wanted something different for this business and I can’t quite remember how I came across Rocketspark, it might have just been a Google search, but I used it to build the website for my new business and I loved it so much I wanted it to be something I could offer to my clients as well, so that’s when I became a Rocketspark partner.

“I love Rocketspark. Being Kiwi based is a big thing and the amazing support you get is so quick. I can’t recommend the platform enough. It’s always being updated and it’s so easy to use,” she said.

Debbie first started email marketing when she had her interior design business back in 2011.

“Mailchimp hadn’t been around for too long then, so I started when it was still in its beginnings and got to know it really well. Because I’ve been using it for a decade now there’s been a lot of changes along the way and there’s so much more you can do on it now than you could previously.”

Debbie said Mailchimp, in the very beginning, was purely for email newsletters, but over the last few years they had added customer journeys, landing pages, social posting, postcards and websites.
“With social media competing for attention over the last 15 or so years, it has tried to overtake email marketing. A lot of businesses rely only on social media because it’s a bit more exciting, but email newsletters have survived because the return on investment is so high and those businesses that are on to it are enjoying this return.
“Newsletter signups are normally via a website, but now there are many other channels for people to sign up, like social media.
“People signing up for newsletters now need a bit more than a promise of a regular newsletter, so this is where the lead magnet/opt-in freebie was developed to entice people to sign up.
“Emails that remind people that they’ve left something in the cart so you can retarget are now automated and data analytics have also come a long way. Laws around signing up to newsletters are now in place to prevent unsolicited emails.”

Debbie said more and more people were viewing emails on mobile phones now too, so email platforms have had to adapt to ensure that newsletters are mobile friendly.

“While email newsletters are generally created on desktops, it’s important to remember that a mobile-first approach is a good idea. Mailchimp allows a preview of any newsletter that’s created from a desktop and a mobile perspective.”

Debbie said she is self taught, but she gave a lot of kudos to Mailchimp for making the process easy.

“It has a learning platform called the Mailchimp Academy where I’ve done a few courses. I’m now also a Mailchimp partner and I’ve sat a few of their exams online around marketing and email automation. I love to up-skill all the time so I’m always looking for ways to improve. 

“When I integrated my Mailchimp with Rocketspark it was just really seamless. It’s so easy to get your forms sorted and to link up and integrate. I’ve found the process really easy for the clients I have that use both, as well as myself,” she said. 

Debbie uses Mailchimp to create weekly email newsletters. She also has an email nurture sequence, automation set up, plus a landing page.

“For clients I create regular newsletters, nurture sequences, landing pages, automations, plus I set up Mailchimp accounts, and train them how to use it.” 

Debbie said a lot of people ask her why she believed email marketing was important.

“I have to say the return on investment is just so much higher than most marketing. You can target those people who are interested in you because they’ve signed up to hear from you so they are interested in what you have to say. 

“Whereas on places like social media, you are putting it out there and it can be hard to reach the right people. You don’t always get the same interaction. I know from my own social media posts that I do quite regularly, a lot of people don’t see them, they only reach a small percentage, and those are the people that like my page.”

She said it didn't always have to be about selling with email marketing either, it could simply be updates.

“Email marketing is actually more about value than it is sales,” she said.

Learn more about how to use Mailchimp with Rocketspark here.