How to Create Date-Based Automations with MailChimp


If you’re a MailChimp user and you’re not using their automation feature, you’re missing out! Automated emails can save you time and allow you to send more timely emails to your list.

Let’s take a look at how you can use date criteria to create an automation. Let’s say you’re a museum and you collect the email addresses of your visitors. You want to follow up with them after their visit with a series of emails thanking them, perhaps offering a discount on a future visit, and maybe upcoming events they might enjoy.

This email series can be set up in advance and automatically deployed based on the date of the visit. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Export your list of visitors from whatever CRM you use, keeping in the date of their visit. Make sure you have this column formatted as a date in Excel (this is VERY important).
  2.  Create a field for Attendance Date (or whatever you’d like to call it), which is also formatted as a date (this is VERY important).
  3. Import the list into MailChimp and match the column in your list with your Attendance Date field.At the end of the import process, be sure to assign the tag you use for visitors!
  4. Create a new campaign and choose the campaign type Automated > Date Based > Specific Date.
  5.  Set the date field to “Attendance Date” and add an email to the automation.
  6. Edit the trigger for the send to be how long after the visit you’d like to send the first email.
  7. You can then put additional criteria on who gets this automation. Here, I’m telling MailChimp only to send this email to people who have the Visitor tag just to be sure that it is going to the right people.
  8. You can add additional emails to this automation if you’d like and repeat the steps above to create an email series that deploys in succession after the visit.
  9. Save the automation as you would normally and tell it to start sending. Now, each time you upload new visitors into MailChimp, it will automatically send these follow up emails.

The great thing about using automations is that you only have to set it up once and then you don’t have to touch it unless you’d like to make a change to the email content. (For example, if you are including information about an upcoming event, you’ll want to switch that out as new events are scheduled.)

You can also create automations for when people sign up for your email list, membership renewal notifications, event reminders, or whatever stock emails you find yourself sending frequently.

Let’s get to work.

About Ceci Dadisman

Ceci is a multi-faceted marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience successfully marketing the arts and nonprofits utilizing innovative and cutting-edge initiatives. She is nationally recognized as a leader in digital and social media marketing and specializes in the integration of digital marketing and technology into traditional marketing methods.

A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, OPERA America, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events.

Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University. She currently lives in Cleveland and makes digital marketing magic at FORM, an agency that works exclusively with arts + culture and nonprofit organizations.

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