How to Use MailChimp

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that allows you to send custom designed emails to a designated audience. It also includes reports that you can use to track your email campaigns to see how they’re performing. MailChimp is one of the best online tools for email campaigns due to its features and simplicity of use. There are several plans including a free one that can accommodate up to 2000 contacts. Learn about using MailChimp through the following topics for using MailChimp:

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Using MailChimp

MailChimp is a great tool and can be added as a plugin to WordPress sites. The following directions use MailChimp from an online account. For more information on using MailChimp with WordPress, please see MailChimp and WordPress: Creating and Integrating Accounts.

Why Use MailChimp

Make no mistake, the consensus about email marketing is that it is a nuisance. However, MailChimp can be used for many forms of email communications than just for marketing a product or service. There are many legitimate needs to send mass emails such as newsletters, announcements, invitations, and notifications. There are also occasions when you may have agreed to receive marketing emails from a business. MailChimp also checks your emails and adds contact information to your emails to prevent them from being blocked or being tagged as spam. In addition to allowing you to create beautiful custom formatted emails, MailChimp provides the ability to organize the recipients of your email. You can import lists or create unique ones and then save your lists for another campaign.

Another advantage of using MailChimp is that it does not place the burden of sending your emails on your hosting server. This means that your server’s performance will not be affected by having to send out the emails. You don’t have to schedule delivery for off-peak times on a server that is sharing resources. This also means that your server can’t be blacklisted. However, that doesn’t mean that you can use MailChimp to send spam. MailChimp follows both the CAN-SPAM Act and international laws concerning spam.

Create Your Account

Each of the images in the slideshow above corresponds with the steps below. Click on the forward or backward arrow to move to each image or click on a dot to go to a specific step.

  1. When you first create an account with MailChimp you will need to have a unique email address, username (which can be the email address), and a secure password. Click Get Started to continue.
  2. You will then be sent an email to confirm and activate your account.
  3. You will be prompted to confirm you’re not a robot.
  4. Next, you will need to select a plan. The Free plan is typically adequate for many people. If you’re trying to reach a large audience, then you may need to subscribe to a paid plan.
  5. At this point your account is active. MailChimp will then start trying to get information from you starting with your first and last name.
  6. It will then ask for your business information: Business name and website name (if you have one)
  7. In order to comply with international anti-spam laws, MailChimp requires that you provide a physical address. MailChimp also provides information for options on the address if need assistance.
  8. MailChimp then tries to see if you have a list of people who have signed up to receive your emails. It will guide you through the import process if you have a saved list.
  9. You then have the opportunity to connect your social media accounts.
  10. MailChimp then has a marketing tool option that guides through how you can market to your customer base. You can choose to use this option or skip it for now.
  11. At this point, MailChimp has completed its setup of your account and will ask if you want to subscribe to its newsletters.
  12. Finally, you will see a progress page that will indicate how far you are in the process of creating your email campaign. The next step is to design your email. Click on Let’s Go to proceed.

Design the Email

Each of the images in the slideshow above corresponds with the steps below. Click on the forward or backward arrow to move to each image or click on a dot to go to a specific step.

  1. When you first start designing your email you will be prompted to click on the word “untitled.” Click on it name it. This is the name of your first email campaign.
  2. Next, click on the gray button labeled Design Email.
  3. At the start, you will be asked to choose a template to start the design of your email. For the free accounts, you will only have access to three templates: 1 Column, 1 Column-Full Width, and Simple Text
  4. You will then be placed in the Design editor provided by MailChimp. Here you can make changes to any part of the email. Keep emails that use graphics or colors require that the email be viewed as an HTML email. In some cases, the email client may not see the images by default and require that the recipient choose to view the graphics in your email.

Select the Audience

After you have completed the design phase, you will need to Add your contacts. This is the Audience step of using Mailchimp. There are a few different screens that you may see when you start adding recipients to your campaign. You may see encouragement from the Mailchimp application saying, “You’re almost there.” Or, you may see an option to edit the recipient list. For more a thorough explanation of how the Audience is defined and used from the Mailchimp perspective, please see: Getting Started with Your Audience.

Here are a few of screens you may see that lead to the Audience step:

Pop-up Form for Adding Subscribers

You may also see a Pop-up form to collect contacts for your email campaign. You will be taken through a design wizard for the form. Once you have finished designing the form you would be given the code to put in a website. The form would then collect subscribers and automatically add to your audience.

The steps below correspond with the images in the slideshow. Use the right or left arrows to move through the steps.

  1. First, select the Pop-form option under Add your contacts.
  2. Select the Audience where subscribers will be added through the form.
  3. Design the form. Use the design interface to select the form layout, the image alignment, fields, fonts, colors and text styles.
  4. Copy the code generated by MailChimp, then add it to your website.

Editing Who the Email is From and Adding a Subject

Once you have your audience set you will have the option to edit the FROM field and add a Subject for the email.

When you edit the FROM field you will be able to set a name (such as your business name) and the email being used. You can see how this field appears in the image above. Once you’re satisfied with the name and email address click on save and then you’ll be moved to the Subject line.

The Subject line is the text that describes your email. You are given 150 characters for your Subject line. You can also set the Preview text that appears when your email is listed in an email client inbox. You have the same amount of characters as in the Subject line. Once you’re satisfied with your entries, click on Save to save your changes.

Sending or Testing your Email

When you have finished designing and setting up your audience the only thing left is to test your email. We suggest testing it first so that you can see it at least once the way your subscribers will see it. You can see Send a Test Email link if you go to your Drafts and select your saved email campaign. Click on this link and you will see a pop-window where you can add email addresses and an option to send instructions or a personal message with your test email. Click on the Send Test button to send out the test email.

If you’re ready to send your email out, then you can click on either the Schedule or Send buttons in the top right corner of the Email Campaign screen. Here’s how the Schedule option appears:

You can also simply select Send to immediately send the email. When you click on Send you will see the audience that you are sending it to before you send it now. Click on the Send Now button to send out the email immediately.

Congratulations! You now know how to send an email campaign using MailChimp for your newsletters, marketing, invitations, notifications, etc. Take advantage of the tools that MailChimp provides for you to inform your subscribers and increase the success of your business or interests. Check out our other tutorials to learn more about using MailChimp.

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