A Beginner’s Guide to MailChimp Setup

Guide to starting MailChimp
The iPod, flip phones, and AOL instant messaging have all been laid to rest in the tech graveyard and replaced with shiny, new alternatives. But one method of communication has been around for decades and is still very much alive- the humble email address. Email marketing is one of the most impactful methods of communication in both B2B and B2C interactions. In fact, 59% of marketers said email is their biggest source of ROI in a 2018 industry report (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats). And because email communication is slower-paced than other, ever-changing social platforms, there is a higher chance contacts will see your messages in their inboxes. Email marketing touts a wide array of benefits so let’s discuss how you can utilize it in your business.
Wouldn’t it be great to implement a system that is easy to use, low cost, and plays well with others? Yup, we think so too. And that is no doubt why MailChimp has amassed such a large user base. The platform has an intuitive user interface and integrates with a myriad of other platforms from WordPress to Shopify to Survey Monkey and an array of popular CRM platforms as well. Designing newsletters on the platform is user-friendly as well, with drag and drop features throughout the process.
So, let’s delve into the basics of MailChimp and get you on your way to email marketing success.

Getting Started with MailChimp

Now you’ll fill out information specific to you and your business including its name as well as a physical address. The address is a required field and, by law, it is displayed in the emails you send out. So if your business does not have a physical location, consider investing in a P.O. Box and using that in the address field.

Don’t let this deter you from starting your mailing list though. A P.O. Box does not have to break the bank and the ROI from a well developed mailing list is well worth the initial price point. Also, the address will provide peace of mind as you can rest assured that thousands of people online won’t have access to view your home address.

Home- The Dashboard

The Mailchimp dashboard is your home base for all things analytics and planning. By clicking reports on the dashboard, you can observe how well your email campaigns are performing and examine important metrics like the open and click-through rates of emails, the changes in subscriber count, and more. Like most things in MailChimp, the dashboard is straightforward and easy to navigate. It is also the go-to place for creating new sign up forms which we’ll circle back to in a minute.

Setting Up Your List

Now that the basics are complete, it’s time to import create your list. The list is simply the place MailChimp keeps track of your subscribers. You signed up for MailChimp so you could reach people but not just any people. You want to reach your people- your audience. MailChimp allows contact lists to be imported straight onto the platform and you can have up to 2,000 subscribers on your list before you have to pay anything!
Fill out your list name and other info. Here you can also turn on the double opt-in function, which means when someone subscribes to your mailing list, they’ll receive an email asking them to confirm their sign up. This is optional and the default setting is a single opt-in. If you don’t have a contact list yet, no problem. MailChimp offers landing page and opt-in form templates that you can design to get the ball rolling on attracting subscribers and building your list.
Wondering how you’ll keep track of your contacts? MailChimp has your back. They offer tool allows you to segment and manage contacts. For example, you can create categories of specific contacts using customizable labels called tags. As explained by MailChimp, you can “Create tags for sets of contacts based on data only you know about them. You can send directly to tagged contacts, or segment based on tag data.”

Set Up a Sign-Up Form

Now it’s time to get creative and add your branding flair to the signup form that new subscribers will fill out. We touched on sign up forms earlier, and now the fun part is here! To navigate, go to your list’s dashboard and click Sign Up Forms. From here you can alter text sizes and fonts, layouts, colors, and more. The design process within MailChimp was created to be a seamless experience and the ease of use makes this step fun rather than a pain. Along with the form, MailChimp will assign a URL. You can copy and paste this to share on your social channels, forums, or wherever else your target audience likes to hang out.

Create Your First Campaign

You’ve made it through the setup, prepping, and groundwork phases of the process. Now it’s time for the good stuff. Click the Campaigns button and select the type of email you want to send along with the list of contacts you will be sending the email to. Write out a captivating subject line so people will be enticed to click on the beautiful email you’re about to craft. First things first, you can choose a template that suits your email style. There are beautiful options available and the option to upload your custom template is available as well.
Once in the creation phase, you’ll see a range of options for formatting your email. To add elements, simply select, drag, and drop into the desired area. Add your content, links, and other essentials to fill your newsletter with goodies for your audience.
Quick Tip: Once you’ve edited your email to perfection, click the Save as Template button in the top right. This will store the template and save your future self some time.
And voila! You’ve officially entered the world of email marketing and are well on your way to becoming a MailChimp master. Be sure to keep up with metrics on your dashboard to view data on your campaigns and determine how to improve. Happy emailing!