The Mailchimp auto-responder will work with Income Infuser, but it has to have a specific configuration.  For the most part everything works just fine between the two of them if you just pay attention to the naming of the variables and understand the way MailChimp treats variables. 

First, MailChimp delimits field names with special character sequences as do all auto-responders.  Mail chimp uses the *| sequence to start a field, and |* to end a field.  Thus the email field is *|EMAIL|* and the first name field is *|FNAME|*.  There is a full list of the field codes on the MailChimp web site.

Income Infuser comes preconfigured to work with some auto-responders, but not for MailChimp. In addition, the responder message series that is provided with the Income Infuser package expects to work with "global" variables, which MailChimp does not support.  Don't worry though, as the global variables are not critical.  Below is a table that lists the Income Infuser variables (they default the sample emails with Aweber variables, so that is what I'll use in this example) and the suggested variables to be created in a MailChimp list.

Income Infuser Variable
MailChimp List Variable
{!signature}   Global variable not available in MailChimp.  Use *|FCMYNAME|* instead.
{!global fastcash_domain} *|FCDOMAIN|*  
{!email} *|EMAIL|* This is the email that the user subscribes with.
{!global fastcash_myname} *|FCMYNAME|* II administrator full name (who you want the responder messages to come from.)
{!firstname_fix} *|FNAME|* First name of the subscriber
{!global fastcash_myfirstname} *|FCFNAME|* II administrator first name (who you want the responder messages to come from.)

Note that MailChimp doesn’t have a “signature” field that you can configure and place on the bottom of all your emails. Closest they come is to edit the mail template and put in various data and field codes there so that they are just part of the template. One simple solution would be to replace the {!signature} field with the *|FCMYNAME|* field. This would at least put your name down at the bottom of all the messages.

Also, if you are quick you will notice that there is no place to set a value for the list variables when you are creating them.  This is because, as mentioned before, MailChimp does not support global variables.  No problem… what will happen is that when you define a form you will include the variables on the form.  Then, on that form design you will mark the fields as "hidden" so that the user doesn't actually see them, and you will assign a default value on the form.

What this does is enter the default values for the "global" fields into each subscriber's record.  If you think about this, it actually can work out pretty good.  I use this feature to track what domain or web page the subscriber signs up from.

Substitution in Sample Responder Series

The next thing needed is to bring up the sample responder series provided by Income Infuser into a word processor.  It will be necessary to search and replace every instance of {!xxxx} with the corresponding *|xxx|* MailChimp merge variable.  Be careful to watch out for run-on spacing.  I've noticed a couple of cases where there is no space in front of  the "http://" causing the link to fail recognition as a hyperlink.

Setting up Income Infuser with MailChimp Specifics

imageThe first thing you need to do is go to your MailChimp admin page and create a form for the list that you are working with (this is assuming you have already made a list). You really don’t need to generate any fancy form or anything like that because the piece of code that we are looking for has nothing to do with how fancy you make your form… so don’t waste your time. The only thing you need to go is generate the code for embedding in a web site. The resulting screen will look something like the image on the right.

What we are interested in is the bit of code that follows the <form action= statement and is enclosed in double-quotes. Typically this code will start with http:// and we want everything between the double-quotes. In the example to the right this code starts with http://startmaking.... and ends just before method=. Copy this code to your clipboard.

Now you are going to have to do some modifications to the Income Infuser database.  Log into the admin panel of you Income Infuser site and go to section 5 of the General Setup.  Income Infuser provides five preconfigured auto-responder configurations.  What we are going to do is pick one of these that you think you would never, ever uses, because the values for this auto-responder are going to be over-written.  I chose the ARP configuration.  Select it in the drop-down box that says "Current Autoresponder in use:"  The page will refresh and you will need to "Leave the page" (if prompted) in order to save the changes.

Now go down to section 5 again and scroll down to the responder setup.  You will see a screen similar to the below, although the values you see in your screen will likely still be the values from the pre-configured responder.  Replace those values with the ones shown below.  However, make sure that you put your web-address copied from your MailChimp form from the earlier step.









Next you will need to scroll further down on the page to the section where you can put in the custom field definitions.  This is going to be dependent on how you named and defined your merge fields in MailChimp list settings, but if you followed somewhat my recommendations yours will be similar to below. 



Misc. Information

Interestingly, MailChimp does not have a responder that sends out mail “0” days after sign-up; the first responder message must be at least one day after sign-up. There is somewhat of a workaround for this… you can change the “Final Welcome” message which is delivered to the subscriber after they have confirmed their opt-in. This puts the message outside of the flow as far as managing your autoresponder messages, but at least there is a capability. Also, this means that you can not have more than one message go out “0” days after sign-up.

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Filed under: Income Infuser ConfigurationTips and Tricks

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