Use groups and tags to manage a single audience and still allow multiple opt-in forms.
Mailchimp encourages the use of a single list (“audience” they call it now) and the use of segmentation to manage subscribers within that list. Furthermore, free accounts cannot create more than one list. While this may sound limiting, it isn’t and I’ll demonstrate how subscribers with different interests can be managed.
Mailchimp Audience settings
My audience is double opt-in (I want to minimise spam signups) and I have disabled the final welcome email (it will be replaced with an automation email).
I created a group category called “Areas of interest” as checkboxes (though any of the other options, radio buttons, dropdown, hide would have worked) and added 3 groups to it.
I then created tags to correspond to the groups. The tag names are intentionally different to the group names to demonstrate that they don’t have to be identical.
Easy Forms for Mailchimp by Yikes
The Yikes plugin uses the Mailchimp API to add and update subscribers. This is where it gets its power. Regular forms provided by Mailchimp are simple html forms and cannot update subscribers!
I created multiple forms, one for each of the group names. I added the group category as a field to the form. The important part is that I selected one group (“Privacy” in this example) and I hid the field and label. This prevents the user from changing it (though it wouldn’t matter if they did).
The form’s “Opt-in Settings” are also important. It is set to update existing subscribers instead of showing a warning message that the person is already subscribed. Furthermore, the subscriber is not sent an update email to ask for their permission to update their profile information – that is unnecessary and would likely result in the update not happening.
The “Submission Settings” could be changed to replace interest groups instead of update them. It works either way.
Mailchimp limits your audience to 60 group names. While I cannot imagine ever exceeding this number I have decided to use tags for my segmentation and so I copy group information into tags. The Tags documentation does not list any limit on the number of tags that can be used.
I created automations to copy the group information into a tag. The automation is triggered when a subscriber joins a specific group. The post send action adds a tag to the subscriber.
I use this automation instead of the final welcome email that was disabled in the audience settings.
Now you can use tags to segment your audience and subscribers can be in multiple groups.