To quickly answer the first question of how to connect your eBay account to MailChimp, well you can’t…
Unfortunately there’s no one-step integration possible at the moment. However, you can integrate your PayPal account with MailChimp which is essentially the same thing as most payments on eBay go through your PayPal account.
So to set this up, you need 2 things:
- A MailChimp account. The reason I’m recommending MailChimp for eBay start-ups is because the basic account is FREE to use! Yes, MailChimp is completely free for your first 2000 subscribers.
- A PayPal Premier or Business Account. Personal accounts won’t do the trick as they don’t have an Instant Payment Notification (IPN) feature enabled.
So once you have successfully opened your MailChimp account, here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 – Creating a List
Just follow the on-screen instructions and fill out all the required information, which I’ll run through below:
List Name – just give it a simple name that you and your customers will recognise… It can be just your eBay Shop name or “eBay Shop” plus your shop’s name like this:
eBay Shop “Andrew’s Treasures”
Default From Name – again, either your eBay shop’s name or your company name – whichever you use on your eBay account and listings.
Default Reply to Email – your default customer service e-mail. Make sure you use a valid e-mail address here as people will often reply to your newsletters and you want be able to reply to those e-mails.
In the “Remind People How They Got on Your List” field, write something along these lines:
You are receiving this email because you made a purchase from our eBay Shop “Andrew’s Treasures”.
This will be included in every e-mail you send, in the footer section, so that people know exactly where this e-mail is coming from and why they’re receiving it. Obviously, each email will also contain a clear unsubscribe link.
Then there’s your company name and full address to comply with the CAN-SPAM act.
In the notification settings you can ask MailChimp to send you an email whenever a new subscriber is added to your list but this is probably over-kill! A more suitable choice would be to get a Daily Summary report email – so you keep up to date and monitor your subscriber success rate.
Lastly, you can let customers select the format of the email but this doesn’t relate to eBay / PayPal integration so leave that untouched.
Once all the info is added, click the Save button to create your new list!
Step 2 – getting the IPN code
Go to Account > Extras > Integrations and find PayPal from the list. Click on the PayPal block and choose your list from the dropdown box. Select the list we just created in step 1 – in my case, eBay Shop “Andrew’s Treasures”.
From the 5th line, make a note of the Notification URL – you can simply copy and paste it into Word.
Step 3 – configuring your PayPal account.
Login into your PayPal account and go to Profile > My Selling Tools > Instant Payment Notification Preferences.
In the Notification URL text box, enter the URL you just saved from MailChimp.
Click save and you’re done!
Step 4 – Putting Everything Together and Making it Work!
It’s easy to integrate PayPal with MailChimp BUT the key to success with e-mail marketing lies in your ability to get your subscribers to actually opt-in to your list. For that to happen, the first thing you need to do is go to the Design a Form page and from the dropdown list choose “Opt-In Confirmation Email”. This is the first e-mail that goes out to your customers once they purchase something from you on eBay.
In this email, there is a subscription confirmation link and people will ONLY be added to your list if and when they click that link. So it’s crucial to get people to open your emails and click on that link – if they don’t then all your hard work will be for nothing.
So what can you do to make them to open the email and click on the confirmation link?
Well that’s obvious really – give them something valuable in return for signing up to your list! Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – would you want to sign-up to some advertisement filled newsletter of no actual value that you’ll just automatically delete anyway? Probably not!
Don’t just say – “hey, please sign-up to this newsletter to receive further news from our company” There’s NO VALUE in that for the customer whatsoever. A much better approach would be to:
- Offer a free gift to your customer in return for signing up to your newsletter. This can be something like a product related video guide, an eBook, PDF or simply a free accessory they can claim from your online shop.
- Offer a discount code/voucher which can be redeemed at your online shop. Don’t forget to add an expiry date to create scarcity as that always drives up response levels.
- Offer an extended product warranty for people who sign-up to your customer mailing list.
And so on!
I’m sure you get the point; you need to give away something valuable in return for getting your customer’s email – as that is worth a lot more to you! If you deal with low value items, or very small margins where it isn’t feasible to offer additional items, your best bet would be to go for the info product route – a video, eBook, PDF guide or tutorial as that won’t cost you a thing to create and give away.
If everything else fails and you simply can’t come up with a good idea or your niche is not suitable for any of these ideas, then at least edit that Confirmation email with a personalised message saying thank you for the order, and offering free future product updates and special ‘existing customer’ discounts if they sign up to your mailing list.
Your conversion rate (no. of sign-ups) will be significantly smaller with this approach but still, that’s better than nothing, right?
Sign-Up Thank You Page
If you’ve done a good job and converted your customer into a subscriber, once they click on that confirmation link, they’ll be forwarded to a Thank You page. You can edit this via the same Design a Form page by selecting “Sign-Up Thank You Page” from the dropdown menu.
I highly recommend that you use the custom URL setting and re-direct subscribers to your own website, if you have one. Then you can create fully optimised and targeted, time sensitive deals for your customers.
* You sell Custom Made colouring books for children.
* Once a purchase is made on eBay, your customer receives a confirmation email via MailChimp.
* In the e-mail you say: Click here to get this Pencil set for just £2.99 (50% OFF regular price)
* When the customer clicks on that link, they’re redirected to the Deal of the Day page of your online shop, with the special pencil deal @ 50% off which is ending in just 2 hours and 45 minutes.
How do you think such a related, time sensitive offer will appeal to someone who just purchased the colouring book from your eBay shop? Odds are it’s highly likely they’ll be interested and will make another purchase. So not only will you have a high opt-in rate to your mailing list, you’re also introducing people to your store AND making additional sales. Talk about three birds with one stone…
But what if you don’t have an online shop?
You can still use this technique – just don’t re-direct customers to a custom URL but use MailChimp’s built in editor to create a special offer page with the offer linked to an eBay Buy It Now listing.
Or here’s another strategy – if you can’t create a special, related offer as you sell loads of different products, you can use the free shipping angle to create a special offer. So on the Thank You page, say something like this:
* FREE Shipping for any additional items you purchase from our eBay Shop within the next 30 minutes!
Again, this is a very strong call to action as your customer sees great value in this offer, especially if shipping charges are ordinarily quite high.
Obviously, you’ll have to calculate what kind of deals you can offer to your customers based on margins etc. as there’s really no point in just making a sale for the sake of making a sale. Your ultimate goal is to make profit, after all. But with these examples I just wanted to show that there really are options in almost any niche market and I’m sure you can come up with a good offer for your customers too.
What happens next?
Once you have a list of active subscribers, even if it’s a small list of a few dozen emails, then you should start sending out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters. Depending on your niche and the products you sell, here are some content ideas you can use in your newsletters:
- New product announcements
- Product reviews
- How to guides
- Product Videos
- Product A vs Product B i.e. comparison reviews
- Special, limited time offers
- Discount codes
- General news about your business
- And so on!
Again, every e-mail you send out should contain some sort of VALUE to your customers – even if it’s just a discount code. People nowadays received a huge number of emails and get bored with empty talk pretty soon, so don’t let that happen! All it means is that they’ll simply unsubscribe from your list or even worse, mark it as SPAM, which is never a good thing and can severely impact the overall deliverability of your email campaign.
With MailChimp’s free account you can send out up to 12,000 e-mails per month. This means that even if you’ve reached the limit of 2,000 subscribers you can still send out 6 ‘email blasts’ per month to your list, which should be more than enough.
As I said, usually you’d want to send out one email every week or every two weeks. More than that would probably be too much and you won’t be able to offer enough value in your emails and while once a month may work well for some specific niches, in most cases that’s probably too long for people to really remember you. So to be safe, you should stick with weekly or fortnightly mailings.
Alright, that’s about it – I think I have covered most of the important things you need to know about list building. Remember – this costs you nothing to implement so get going as a subscriber list can be a powerful tool for your business, and it’s really stupid not to take advantage of it.