In this article, we’re going to get you started with MailChimp. We will follow the whole process of creating an account, and getting ourselves a sign-up form for our website so we may begin collecting email addresses.
Once we have the sign-up form on our site, visitors will be able to use it to join a mailing list. Once you have collected a list of people interesting in getting mail from you, you will be able to send out regular newsletters, updates, or whatever you want to alert your followers about.
Why Use MailChimp?
Briefly, we can go over some of the best reasons why a third-party email service is worth the investment. If you are expecting to manage a large email list, you don’t want to use a regular email client for massive email blasts. This is a poor practice, very risky to undertake.
Here are a few reasons by you should use a third-party email service:
- Some services (like MailChimp) have a free account for smaller mailing lists
- Paid accounts still less expensive than managing your own mail server
- Safer than sending mass email from the same server your site is hosted on (risk taking your site down)
If you use a regular email client, you will likely have a long series of email failures because you will spike resources on the server sending those messages.
Managing your own mail server can be daunting. It’s easier to let a third-party service (who specializes in email marketing) do the hard work, so you can relax and send your email campaigns without the hassle of managing a server.
Create a MailChimp Account
First things first, we will need to set up a new account with MailChimp. For the purposes of demonstration, the free starter account with MailChimp is powerful enough. The free account has a limit of 2,000 email subscribers. If you plan on emailing more than 2,000 people, you should consider the paid accounts.
- Go to the MailChimp Website
- Click the Sign Up Free button at the top right of the page
- Fill out the Email, Username, and Password fields
From here, you will only need to check your email for confirmation to complete the account setup process.
You should now have an account with MailChimp. Next, we will create a list to capture email addresses.
Create an Email List
Instead of managing all of your important email addresses in a massive spreadsheet, let MailChimp manage them for you.
Capturing email addresses into MailChimp is easy. All you need to do create a list and then connect it with a sign-up form.
- Log into MailChimp
- Click Lists at the top left of your MailChimp Dashboard
- Click Create List on the top right
- Fill out the list form
You will be prompted to provide some information and preferences here such as the name of the list, the “From” address and name, and some contact details for yourself. When finished, click Save.
You will always be able to access your lists by logging into your dashboard and clicking Lists at the top right.
Generate a Sign-up Form for Your Site
Now that you have a list, you need email addresses for it. You could add email addresses manually, but it’s best to collect them organically in order to avoid data privacy issues. If you add subscribers manually, MailChimp will still send them a confirmation email to make sure they have opted in to receive email from you.
The ethical aspects of collecting email addresses is far outside of the scope of this guide, but it’s safe to say that adding a sign-up form to your site and letting people fill it out is a safe way to get subscribers.
In order to get a sign-up form for your lists, follow these steps:
- Log into your MailChimp dashboard
- Click Lists
- Click the down arrow dropdown on the right side of your list
- Choose Signup forms
- Select an appropriate form
Here, you will be able to select form a few different kinds of forms. Once you have designed a form to your liking, you can copy and paste the code of this form to a convenient place on your website.
Send Your First Newsletter
In order to use our email lists, which we have worked so hard at growing, you will need to start a campaign.
An email campaign can be anything from a one-time blast or an ongoing project that will send itself. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll start with a one-time newsletter.
- Log into your MailChimp dashboard
- Click Campaigns at the top right
- Click Create Campaign at the top right
MailChimp will walk you through the setup process. At the end, you will have a campaign ready to send to your friends. Use your new powers carefully. You will want your campaigns to be successful, but you want to be careful not to bother people too frequently, or they will unsubscribe.