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The last guide to MailChimp you'll ever need… pinky promise

Go from being a total Noob to an Email Marketing Expert with these completely free Step‑By‑Step Tutorials for professional Bloggers & Online Businesses

MailChimp Freddie

How to use MailChimp effectively to grow your Blog & Business

This comprehensive guide will take you by the hand and get you up and running in no time if you are just starting out with Email Marketing. And even if you are already an intermediate or expert MailChimp user, you should still find some secret tips & tricks, examples and best practices about your favorite Email marketing provider.

You can read this Guide from start to finish, select a specific topic suitable for your Knowledge Level from the top navigation, search for something in particular or even download a PDF Version for later use:

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No time to read the complete Guide right now from start to finish? Download a beautifully formatted PDF Version you can read whenever you want and take with you wherever you like – even offline.

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About the Author Why I wrote this MailChimp Tutorial

My name is Jascha Brinkmann, Founder of Growtheme.com

In the past year I have build a brand new Blog together with my spouse in the competitive Nutrition Niche from 0 to 40.000 subscribers & 100.000 monthly visitors.1

The key element of our success has been building a responsive and high-quality email list.

I know MailChimp from the inside out, as I have personally developed the MailChimp Integration for our WordPress products. After answering always the same questions to hundreds of our happy customers, I decided to share everything I know available freely for everyone in this MailChimp Guide.

Why should You use MailChimp?

MailChimp has been around more than a decade and has grown to hundreds of thousands of happy customers. It is not only proven, reliable and fully developed but as well one of the easiest to use services.

With an average of over 600 Million (!!) Emails sent for customers every single day in 2016, they are one of the largest and most popular email marketing services out there.2

Due to the huge community and thousands of people familiar with it, you will always find someone able to help or answer your questions.

The same holds true for existing Integrations with popular Software like Wordpress, Squarespace or your favorite social media platform.

There exist some use cases – like professional Bloggers – where a different email marketing provider might be a better choice.

But this is almost always only the case for more experienced users that already have at least a couple of thousands of subscribers and thus advanced needs.

If you are just starting out with Email Marketing, MailChimp is the best choices you can make.

The best:

It’s completely free for up to 2000 subscribers and comes with a lot of beginner-friendly features that are easy to use and already build in.

Why do you even need an email list?

Let me explain it with an analogy.

Imagine the current airplane industry, with one key difference: Airplanes could be used only a single time and had to be destroyed afterward.

After each flight, once everyone has left the airplane, the airline would be forced by regulations to take the airplane and tear it completely apart.

For the next flight to another destination, they would have to build a completely new airplane.

They would start from zero every time.

Every airplane would be used exactly once.

Of course, this doesn't make any sense!

Air travel would be impossible. Or just way too expensive for anyone to enjoy.

But that's exactly what you do with your existing Traffic if you are not building an email list.

You are starting from zero – again and again and again.

Every time you are trying to gain a new reader, a new customer or a new fan, you have to start from zero. All the traffic you generate for your website is lost if you can't get back in contact with a visitor after he has left your site.

An Email List is the single best way to drive continuously traffic back to your website and business.

And the best thing?

You own it.

Because if you invest into building a Facebook Page, Facebook could decide at any moment to delete it and take all the likes you have built so painfully over the years with it. The same is true for Twitter Followers or Google Rankings.

Only an email list is something nobody can take away from you. And it will give you better results than all the other platforms combined:

Social Media Marketing vs. Email Marketing

Only an email list makes sure that you can continuously drive traffic back to your website 3

MailChimp vs. other
Email Marketing Providers

MailChimp is the best solution for you if you are just starting out and have a tight budget. It is as well a great option if you are not very technical, as it has a beautiful, easy to use and yet intuitive User Interface.

There are a few use cases where it might not be the right choice for you.

But first of all let's get a basic Idea of what MailChimp has to offer in comparison with some other popular Email Marketing Providers:

MailChimp Aweber Convertkit Drip GetResponse CampaignMonitor Infusionsoft
Autoresponders 4
Signup Forms 5
Drag & Drop Editor 6
Segmentation 7
A/B Testing 8
Tracking 9
Free Plan 10
Automation Rules 11
Campaign Builder 12
Landing pages

MailChimp is the only service that offers a free version for up to 2.000 subscribers and 12.000 sent emails per month. If you are a small business, a non-profit or want to give email marketing a try without breaking the bank it's clearly your best option.

MailChimp is as well great in providing visually appealing and complex templates for your emails. If you like to make your newsletter look more corporate than it's a good decision to go with MailChimp. They make it easy to use different types of templates and edit them with their build in drag & drop editor, where other email marketing providers focus more on simple plain text emails that look and feel like a normal email from a friend.

Beside that, you can see that MailChimp lacks especially a few more complex functionalities like a campaign builder.

So here a few Use Cases where I would recommend out of my personal experience a different Email Marketing Provider:

  • You need to save a lot of individual and particular information about a Contact

    MailChimp still doesn’t allow you to tag subscribers. You can only add Subscribers to different Interest Groups, but this can get really messy if you have a lot of different data points you want to track about a subscriber. A Service like Drip or Infusionsoft is maybe better suited in this case.

  • You want a lot of personalisation within your Emails and Sequences

    MailChimp gives you the ability to use Merge Tags (or subscriber information) within your emails and even show conditional content depending on the value of these merge tags. For example display the first name if the information exists and display "Friend" if not. But it's hard to get more granular than that, because it's lacking an email templating language. Like for Example: Display the Date in Format DD/MM/YYYY of the next Monday 90 days into the future.

    Additionally MailChimp lacks the ability to create complex Email Campaigns that are customized to the individual subscriber. These Email Campaigns are usually build within a Campaign Builder and let subscribers go down multiple paths depending on different Circumstances. With MailChimp you can only create linear paths that all subscribers follow from top to bottom.

  • You have a lot of different entry points for your subscribers

    MailChimp is a list based Email Marketing Provider. Basic things like the confirmation email, the final signup thank you email or your signup thank you page are configured once, for the whole list. That means you need to create a new list everytime you want to send a different confirmation email depending on where your subscriber signed up for your email list. The same is true for a different thank you page or final welcome email.

    Although you can have different lists for these use cases, it can create a lot of trouble as you may will have a subscriber at several lists at once and you can only send a newsletter to one list at a time. Other Email Marketing Providers like Drip, Convertkit or Infusionsoft are more subscriber focused and give you more flexibility.

    Bryan Harris has written extensively about why the list based approach is pretty bad.

MailChimp Costs, Plans & Pricing Comparision

MailChimp is by far the most accessible Email Marketing Provider out there. It is the only email marketing provider that offers a free plan for up to 2,000 email subscribers. And that alone has been a huge driver of its success with so many small businesses and non profits.

A few of its advanced functionality is only available for paid customers, but even than it's still quite accessible. For up to 500 subscribers for example you pay only $ 10 per month to access the paid features.

These are some of the functions that are only available to paid customers:

MailChimp Pricing Comparision Drag the slider to select your list size

MailChimp Aweber Convertkit Drip GetResponse CampaignMonitor Infusionsoft
Per month $ 0 $ 29 $ 49 $ 49 $ 25 $ 29 $ 199
Per subscriber $ 0 $ 0.015 $ 0.025 $ 0.025 $ 0.013 $ 0.015 $ 0.1

Please note: It's not entirely fair to compare different email marketing providers only on their price. The features can differ significantly, some offer discounts on yearly plans, require you to sign up for a full year, pay setup costs or limit the amount of emails you can send. This tool only tries to give you a rough idea of the monthly costs for different list sizes. Additionally, these prices are subject to frequent changes – so always consult the current price for your list size directly with the Software you are interested in.

Like most of the email marketing providers you pay more per month, the larger your email list gets. But simultaneously, the more subscribers you have, the less you pay relatively for each subscriber on your list.

That can be a good reason why it makes sense to have multiple of your businesses or projects running within a single account.

Regina Anaejionu
Expert Tip:

"With a paid MailChimp account, you’ll unlock extra features such as Automation (so you can send out super helpful emails as soon as someone subscribes; you can even set up whole email courses), Delivery by Time Zone (so everyone can get your email at 9 a.m. no matter what time zone they’re in), and chat and email support with the MailChimp team. That’s pretty epic in my opinion."

Regina Anaejionu
Regina Anaejionu

One special thing about MailChimp is that you can decide to pay as you go instead of a monthly basis. Meaning that you pay each time you actually send an email.

But this only makes financial sense if you send very unfrequently emails to your subscribers. (Less than once per month) In General, sending infrequently is not recommended as you should stay in contact with your subscribers to keep them engaged and interested in your content.

How to Sign up for MailChimp

It is really easy to signup for MailChimp, as it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. That means you don’t have to worry about entering your payment information and can get started almost immediately.

Follow these steps to set up your Account:

Step-by-Step MailChimp Signup Tutorial

  • MailChimp Create an Account For Free
    Go to mailchimp.com and click on "Sign up free"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Details
    Fill in your Details and click on "Get Started!"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Confirmation
    You should see this screen
  • MailChimp Account Creation Confirmation Email
    Next go to your Email Programm and open the MailChimp Confirmation Email
  • MailChimp Account Creation Activate Account Button
    Click on the blue button that says "Activate Account" to confirm your Email
  • MailChimp Account Creation Google Captcha
    Now you may have to confirm that you are a human by solving the Google Captcha
  • MailChimp Account Creation First and Last Name
    Almost finished! Fill in your First and Last Name and click on "Continue"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Business Information
    Now type in some basic information about your Business or Website and click on "Continue"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Personal Address
    Due to Spam Laws you are required to fill in your personal Address. Once you are finished click on "Continue"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Integrations
    Choose if you are selling something online to enable a few integrations. No worries you can change this setting later as well.
  • MailChimp Account Creation Facebook and Twitter
    Last optional step: Connect your Facebook and/or Twitter Profile with MailChimp. You can skip this for now.
  • MailChimp Account Creation Successfully Signed Up
    Boom! Thats it. You are successfully signed up with MailChimp

Basic MailChimp Terminology

Every Email Marketing Provider uses slightly different terms for the same basic concepts. To make sure that we are all on the same page, lets define the most common terms within MailChimp and basic synonyms other Email Marketing Providers use.

Subscriber

A subscriber is someone who has opted in to your email list. You can simply think of a specific person, a contact or an email address that requested to receive your emails. Within Mailchimp Subscribers are always chained to a List. Other Email Marketing Providers may call these Contacts.

List

A List is the place where you your subscribers are saved too. You can have an unlimited amount of Lists inside Mailchimp. For Example one for Customers, one for Blog Subscribers, your Employees, etc. A Subscriber can be member of several lists & each subscriptions counts towards your subscriber count as it were two different subscribers.

Campaign

Campaigns are one off emails you send to your Email List. The most common example is a weekly newsletter you prepare once & send to your whole list. You can segment campaign recipients depending on various criterias and duplicate past campaigns for future use. Other Email Marketing Providers may call these Broadcasts or Newsletters instead.

Template

Your Email Template defines the look and styling of your Email. Every email you send out can use different Email Templates. Common things like colors, fonts and used elements are defined within the Templates. MailChimp comes with beautiful already preconfigured Templates for different use cases that can be customized by you.

Merge Fields

Merge Fields hold specific information about an individual subscriber. The most basic merge fields are email and first name. But depending on your use case you can choose to save more information about your subscribers, like last name, birthdate, country or something else. Most other Email Marketing Providers call these custom fields.

Automation

Automations are series of emails chained together and sended on specific days or intervals. You can set up various triggers that initiate an automation series. Other Email Marketing Providers sometimes call these Campaigns or Sequences.

Setting up a brand new
MailChimp email list

Before you can get started using MailChimp, you first need a place to save your subscribers to. This will be your list.

Although you can have multiple list within MailChimp, its best to seperate different types of subscribers with Interest Groups. A good rule of thumb is to only create a seperate list for completely different projects or businesses. This way you prevent from paying twice for the same subscriber that is signed up on both email lists.

So lets get started creating your first List:

Step 1: Choose "Lists" from the Navigation Menu

MailChimp Dashboard Lists
Within your MailChimp Dashboad choose "Lists" from the Top Navigation

Step 2: Fill in your Details

You will have to define a public name for your new list. The name will be shown on all your mailchimp pages, like the signup confirmation page or thank you page. This should be your Business or Website Name.

Next you have to define your default from email and from name. This should be an email you check frequently and that is ideally hosted on your own domain name (e.G. hello@growtheme.com). Studies have shown that personal "From Names" get higher Open Rates than generic Business or Website Names. So use your own name if possible.

Last but not least you have to fill in your physical address. As already mentioned this is required by international anti-spam laws.

Melyssa Griffin
Expert Tip:

"I highly recommend getting a P.O. Box. They are surprisingly cheap and will give you the peace of mind that A) you’re not sending your mailing address out into the world, and B) you’re not breaking any laws (which include hefty fines)."

Melyssa Griffin
Melyssa Griffin

Don't worry to much about these settings right now, as you can always change them later as well.

Step 2: Fill in your Details

MailChimp Create A New List
Fill in your List Details

Step 3: Get familiar with the List Dashboard

MaiLChimp List Dashboard
If you have filled out everything successfully you will be taken to your new list Dashboard

Once you have successfully filled in your List Details, you will be taken to a new page: Your List Dashboard.

This is the right place to do everything related to a specific List. Here you will find all the subscribers your list contains, you will be able to edit your Default List Settings (the ones you just entered in the previous step) and configure some additional Settings like Merge Fields and Signup Forms.


Step 4: Confirm your sending Domain

Before we can continue setting up a Signup Form to get subscribers into your brand new list, you will have to confirm your sending Domain. This is just a security mechanism from MailChimp to make sure that you have permission to send from that particular Domain.

Step 4: Confirm your sending Domain

  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain
    Click on "Settings" » "List Name and Defaults" and than "Verify Email"
  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain Send Verification Emai
    Make sure that you have access to the email you are using and click on "Send Verification Email"
  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain Verfication Email
    Open your Email in a new tab and find the Mailchimp Verification Email
  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain Verficiation Code
    Open the Email and copy the verification Code
  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain Paste Verification Code
    Paste the verification code into the field and click on "Verify"
  • MailChimp Verify Email Domain Successfully Verified
    Your Domain Name is now verified and can be used to send Emails through MailChimp

How to create and integrate MailChimp Signup Forms

A Signup Form is the place where people sign up for your list. It's basically just an input field that asks your visitors for their email address, just like this one:

Download this Guide as PDF

MailChimp gives you different options to create a Signup Form depending on your needs and there are as well a lot of third party integrations available, helping you to integrate MailChimp with common applications like Wordpress or Squarespace.

Create a basic MailChimp Signup Form

To get started lets configure the most basic one: A hosted MailChimp Signup Form. This will live on your unique mailchimp subdomain and can work as a Landingpage you can promote.

To do so, just select your List and than go to "Signup Forms" » "General Forms"

General Forms Section inside MailChimp

MailChip Create a Basic Signup Form
Go to "Signup Forms" » "General Forms"
This is as well the right place where you can edit all of MailChimp's "default" pages and emails. Like the confirmation email if you use Double Optin (See next Section), your Signup Thank You Page, or your Final Welcome Email (That is sended after someone successfully joined your Email List). If you are just starting out it's best to not stress out about all of this & just leave things as they are. You have always time to customize all of these emails and pages over time.

You will now see the drag and drop MailChimp Form Builder. It's best to keep this form as simple as possible. The more information you request from your visitors, the less likely they are to sign up.

So the first thing you should do is clicking on the "Last Name" Field and set the Field Visibility to "Hidden" so it doesn't show up anymore in your Signup Form. You can remove the field and its information completely from your list by clicking on the round button with a minus sign and confirming by typing "Delete".

Hide unecessary fields

MailChimp Signup Forms Hide Fields
Select a field and select "hidden" as the "Field visibility" or remove it completely by clicking on the button

Upload an Image and add some text

MailChimp Signup Form Image and Text
Write a short text that makes clear what the visitor gets out from subscribing to your Email List.

Next you can upload an Image for your Signup Form and add some text that should explain what visitors can get out of subscribing to your newsletter.

Don't make this about yourself, think about the benefits a possible subscriber gains from receiving your emails.

Maybe its high quality content that helps them with their challanges, maybe it's special discount or limited product editions only available to your email subscribers.

The important thing is that you make sure to describe exactly why it is relevant and beneficial for your subscribers.

You are on the right track if you are avoiding words like "Newsletter", "My" or "Our".

The next thing a lot of people skip, is changing the text of the Signup Button.

The call to action button is one of the most important pieces of your signup form. If you leave it to the default and very boring "Subscribe to list" text, people will think twice before actually doing so.

To change the text to something more exciting that fits your text, just click on "Translate" and than scroll down to the "Subscribe to List" Field. You can change the text to anything you like and it will show up in your signup form once you click on "Save Translation Settings".

Change the Signup Button Text

MailChimp Signup Forms Hide Fields
Click on "Translate" and scroll down to the "Subscribe to List" Field.

Copy the Signup Form URL

MailChimp Signup Forms Hide Fields
Copy and paste the URL into your Browser to see your Signup Form

Once you are happy with the text you can click on the "Design" Tab and change background colors, text colors, fonts and a few other settings so it fits your brand.

After you have finished customizing the Design, you can scroll up and copy the "Sign up URL".

This is the URL where you can find your MailChimp Signup Form. You can use it as Landingpage by sharing it for example on socialmedia.

How to use MailChimps Embedded Forms

While it's good to have a MailChimp basic Signup Form in place, you probably would like to display a MailChimp Signup Form in other places as well. For example by intergrating it directly into a webpage or showing it somewhere on your Blog like in the Sidebar or Footer.

MailChimp offers an embed form code for basic needs and if you need a more sophisticated solution you can easily use a third party software. We will look at a couple of options in the next section.

For now here is how to use the MailChimp embed form code to insert it into a Wordpress Blog Sidebar.

If you don't like to handle code skip this and check out the third party integrations instead. They make it way easier to embed MailChimp Signup Forms anywhere on your Website, giving you more options without having to touch any code yourself.

How to use MailChimps Embedded Forms with Wordpress

  • MailChimp Select A List
    Within your Mailchimp Account click on "Lists" and select the List you want to use.
  • MailChimp Embedded Signup Form
    Next go the "Signup Forms" Tab and click on "Embedded Form"
  • MailChimp Signup Form Naked Mode
    Most Wordpress Themes should come with a basic styling, so select the "Naked" mode to remove all styling.
  • MailChimp Signup Form Settings
    Unselect "Show Interest Group Fields", "Show required field indicators", "Show format options", "Include Monkey Rewards Link" and "Enable reCaptcha"
  • MailChimp copy signup form code
    Click on the Code Field and copy the code to your clipboard
  • Wordpress Dashboard » Appearance » Widgets
    Next login to your Wordpress Dashboard and go to "Appeareance" » "Widgets"
  • Drag and Drop a Text/HTML Widget
    Now Drag and Drop a "Text Widget" into your Sidebar or Footer
  • MailChimp Paste Embedded Form Code
    Paste the embedded form code you copied from MailChimp into the Widget Text Field and save it.
  • MailChimp Signup Form Widget
    Now you can check your Blog and see how it looks like. If it doesn't look right you can try the "Classic" Embedded Form Code within MailChimp instead.

Integrate MailChimp with Wordpress

MailChimp's embedded form codes are fine if you just want to use a basic Form on your HTML Webpage or Wordpress Blog, and maybe have the ability to style them yourself with a bit of CSS.

But chances are that a simple signup form that gets lost in your sidebar or footer is not enough to get more visitors to subscribe to your email list. If you would like to include signup forms in a lot of different places on your website, using various listbuilding techniques and using different styling – it's best to use a third party tool.

Of course we are a bit biased here, as our conversion optimized Wordpress Theme integrates seemlessly with MailChimp and allows you to implement an unlimited amount of customizable Signup Forms in any Place on your Blog with just a few clicks. But depending on your needs there are other options as well that can be enough for your needs or work well together with the Growtheme.

  • The Growtheme
    Growtheme Responsive Conversion Optimized Wordpress Theme

    The Growtheme is made for professional Bloggers. You can connect it to your MailChimp account within less than 30 seconds. It gives you the ability to enable a wide range of proven listbuilding techniques within seconds with just a few clicks.

    It comes with a wide range of pre-configured & carefully designed landing pages that will help you to grow your email list more effectively. It has been the number #1 reason for building our own Blog from 0 to 100.000 monthly visitors and 40.000 subscribers.

    Click here to learn how the Growtheme can help you to grow your Blog.

  • MailChimp for WP Plugin

    MailChimp for WP is the most popular MailChimp Plugin for Wordpress. It comes with a free version that allows you to easily embed a single MailChimp Form into your Wordpress Site. It gives you a couple of options that are not available with MailChimp itself, like for example using a Single Optin Process.

    If you want to use unlimited forms and customize the look and feel of them you can get the optional premium version.

    Click here to learn more

  • Popup Alley WP Plugin

    Popup Alley is a great free alternative to the very popular Sumo Listbuilder. The focus is on creating Signup Popups that can easily be integrated with your Wordpress Website.

    Click here to learn more

Integrate MailChimp anywhere else

If you don't use WordPress there are other options available depending on the Platform you use.

Single vs. Double Optin

In the next Section you will learn the differences between a Single- and Double Optin Process. It doesn't really matter for which you decide, but its worth to understand how the signup process looks like in each of them.

If you are using the build-in MailChimp Signup Forms, you are required to use a Double Optin Process. The only way to use Single Optin Process with MailChimp is through a third party integration.

Single Optin

Single Optin Signup Process

Single Optin means that once a visitor has entered his email address in one of your signup forms he is automatically subscribed to your email list. No further step is required beside submitting the optin form. While this helps to grow your email list faster, it can as well effect the overall quality and responsiveness of your email subscribers.

Pro:

Contra:

Double Optin

Double Optin Signup Process

Double Optin means that visitors have to confirm their email address before they are successfully subscribed to your email list. Basically they have to follow two steps: 1. they have to fill in their email & submit the optin form. 2. They have to go to their email programm & click on a confirmation link to validate that the email address is real and that it was really them who made the request.

Pro:

Contra:

MailChimp Default Emails & Pages

MailChimp comes with a couple of default emails and pages that you should customize for your own needs. This will as well make sure that you get the most out of your Email Marketing Efforts.

You can edit all of these emails and pages within your "MailChimp Dashboard" » "Lists" » "Signup Forms" » "General Forms" Section.

General Forms Section inside MailChimp

MailChip Create a Basic Signup Form
Go to "Signup Forms" » "General Forms"

Please note: If you are using a third party Integration together with a Single Optin Process you don't need the first two of these emails and pages. That's why we have marked these pages with a "Double Optin Only" tag.

Optin Confirmation Page

The Optin Confirmation Page is shown after a visitor has submitted an optin form. This page should explain him that he is not yet successfully subscribed, but has to go to his email programm, find your confirmation email and click on the confirmation link.

Optin Confirmation Page

MailChip Signup Thank You Page
This is an example of how the default optin confirmation page looks like

The better you can explain this process, laying it out step by step, the more of your subscribers will actually confirm their email. You can even include a screenshot of your confirmation email, using this very simple Screenshot Generator:

Screenshot Generator

Fill in your Details:

To save the image just right click on it and select "Save Image as…"

To edit the Optin Confirmation Page choose the "Signup thank you page" from the Dropdown List on the "Signup Forms" Page.

Signup Thank You Page

MailChip Signup Thank You Page Setting
Choose the "Signup Thank You Page" from the Dropdown Menu

You can check out the Examples Section to get some more inspiration.

If you would like to use a page that is hosted on your own website, you can simply copy and paste the URL of your custom Optin Confirmation Page into the field that says "Instead of showing this thank you page, send subscribers to another URL".

MailChimp Custom Thank You Page URL


Optin Confirmation Email

The Confirmation Email is sended to a subscriber once he has submitted an optin form and asks him to confirm his request by clicking on a confirmation link. Only when the visitor has clicked on the confirmation link he is successfully subscribed to your list. (Hence the Double Optin – The subscriber has to optin two times).

Choose the "Opt-in confirmation email" from the Dropdown List to edit your Confirmation Email.

Opt-in Confirmation Email

MailChimp Opt-in Confirmation Email Setting
Choose the "Opt-in Confirmation Email" from the Dropdown Menu

A good practice for your Confirmation Email is to restate the benefits your subscriber will gain from subscribing to your email list. Remember: The subscriber is not yet successfully subscribed, so you still have to convince him with a compelling reason. Depending on your Blog Topic that can be a giveaway, a coupon code or just the valuable and helpful content you publish on a regular basis.

Make clear again that the subscribers will not receive anything if they don’t confirm their email.

If you need some inspiration here is a simple template that has worked really well for us:

Subject: Action required - Confirm your request

Hey *|FNAME|*,
You're almost done!

Before I can send you the free PDF - that will help you to grow your Blog from 0 to 1000 subscribers - you MUST verify your email.

Also, after you click the link, you'll get access to a few of my personal, private and exclusive resources.

These have been extremely helpful to growing my list and you can start using them immediately.

I can't send you anything without confirming your email right now.

Are you ready?

Just click the link below:

Click here to confirm your Email

See you inside,


Confirmation Thank You Page

This is the page people land on after they have confirmed their email address (if you use Double Optin) or after they have subscribed through a Singup Form (If you use Single Optin).

Most people actually overlook this key page, putting only a generic and boring confirmation message on it.

But I am a huge advocate of getting everything you can, out of all you’ve got.

What does that mean?

If you get 5 subscribers out of 100 visitors than that is already great. But if you can get these 5 new subscribers to share your website with their peers, you could get an additionall 2 to 3 subscribers for each 100 visitors.

Your Thank You Page is the perfect place to do that.

The simplest thing you can do is asking your new subscribers to share something valuable like a free Ebook and making it as easy as possible for them by implementing some simple share buttons, or by embedding a tweet or facebook post.

Signup Thank You Page

MailChimp Confirmation Thank You Page
Choose the "Confirmation Thank You Page" from the Dropdown Menu and enable it by activating the checkbox

If you would like to use a page that is hosted on your own website, you can simply copy and paste the URL of your custom Thank You Page into the field that says "Instead of showing this thank you page, send subscribers to another URL".

MailChimp Custom Thank You Page URL


Final Welcome Email

This Email is not enabled by default, but it’s one of the first things you should set up. This email is sended after someone has been added to your email list. Meaning that if you are using Single Optin than right after he has submitted an Optin Form. If you are using Double Optin the subscriber will receive this email immediately after he has clicked on the confirmation Link within the Confirmation Email.

Final Welcome Email

MailChimp Final Welcome Email
Choose the "Final Welcome Email" from the Dropdown Menu and enable it by activating the checkbox

In this Email you should welcome your subscriber and thank him for having joined your list. A common best practice is to surprise new subscribers with something valuable, for example a list to your three most popular Blog Posts. It’s as well recommendable that you explain what kind of emails he can expect in the future from you.

The Final Welcome Email is as well the perfect opportunity to learn more about your subscribers and target group. If you know their problems and challanges, it will be easy for you to resolve them in the future with content.

This basic user research will come in as well very handy when you are thinking about creating new products and offers.

Derek Halpern
Expert Tip:

"When people sign up to my mailing list, they receive a »Welcome« email. In that email, after telling people exactly what to expect from their email subscription, I tell them to reply to the email and tell me what they’re struggling with right now. [It] is the PERFECT tactic for figuring out what people buy."

Derek Halpern
Derek Halpern

MailChimp Campaigns

Campaigns are the main component of MailChimp. This is the right place to send most of your emails.

You can think of a Campaign as a one off email that is sended to your whole list or a segment of it. Such as a weekly newsletter, your latest blogpost, a black friday promotion or something similar.

Campaigns shouldn't be used for Emails that will be send out frequently or on an automated basis, such like a Welcome Sequence every subscriber gets or a 7 Day free Email Course.

There exists 4 different types of Campaign within MailChimp:

We will take a look at the two most important ones, Regular old Campaigns and RSS Campaigns. A/B Testing is handled thoroughly later in this Guide.

How to setup your first
MailChimp Campaign

To create a new Campaign loginto your MailChimp Dashboard and go to "Campaigns" » "Create Campaign".

MailChimp Campaigns

Within your MailChimp Dashboard go to "Campaigns" and click on "Create Campaign"


Next you have to define a Name for your Campaign. This is only a descriptive name for yourself and can be changed later as well.

If this is an email you send out on a regular basis I like to add a Number to it. If it is only a one time promotion email I usually just give it the name of the promotion, such as "Black Friday Promotion".

Once you have done that click on the "Create" Button

Create a new MailChimp Campaign

Create a new MailChimp Campaign
Define a Name and Select "Regular" as your Campaign Type

MailChimp Campaign Recipients

MailChimp Campaign Recipients and Segmentation
Select "Entire List" for your first MailChimp Campaign

In the next screen you can define the recipients of your Campaign.

We will see in a later section how you can segment subscribers into different interest groups or depending on variables such as merge fields.

If you are just starting out and have less than 10.000 subscribers just send your Campaign to your entire list.

In the next screen you can define your basic Campaign Settings.

Everything we really need to care about is the Subject Line, From Name and From Email Address.

The last two should already be defined by your standard MailChimp Account Settings, but you can adjust them for each campaign if you would like.

The other interesting setting is "Personalize the To Field". Enabling this setting only makes sense if you ask your subscribers additionally to their email address for their first name. It can help to improve the email deliverability and get past SPAM Filters.

To enable it just click the Checkbox and fill the Input Field with "*|FNAME|*", which will automatically fill in the Merge Field Value for each subscriber.

MailChimp Campaign Info

MailChimp Campaign Info
Edit the Subject Line and leave everything else as it is

MailChimp Campaign Template

MailChimp Campaign Choose a Template
Select the basic 1 column Layout

On the next page you can now select a Template for your Email Campaign.

This depends really on the subject and topic of your email, but a general recommendation is not to go to fancy. People love receiving emails from real people, and thats why most professional Bloggers try to make look their emails as they were personal emails. The "Basic" 1 Column Template should accomplish that (You can find it by scrolling down in the "Layouts" Tab)

If you are sending a Campaign for an E-Commerce Store or something similar, you can take a look at the other available themes and choose any one you like.

Now you will see the MailChimp Drag and Drop Campaign Builder.

This Tool makes it really easy for you to create good looking emails. If this is the first time you are using it, MailChimp will display some really useful explanations you should just follow along.

You can just drag and drop a building block from the right of the screen to your email on the left.

Once you are happy with the Content, you can change to the "Design" Tab and adjust the Settings such as Fonts and Colors for the Template you choosed.

A good idea is to save your Email as a Template so you emails look always similar and you don't have to repeat every step the next time.

MailChimp Save As Template

MailChimp Campaign Save as a Template
Save your MailChimp Campaign as a Template once you are finished

MailChimp Campaign Preview

MailChimp enable live merge tag info
Click on "Enable live merge tag info" to preview your merge fields

Once you feel ready, you can click on "Preview and Test" within the Top Navigation.

Now you can either send yourself a Preview Email to see how it looks like in your Email Programm, or you can use the build in MailChimp Preview Feature.

If you are using Merge Tags within your Email and entered the "Preview Mode" you can click on "Enable live merge tag info" and see how an individual subscriber would see your email. This is a great way to make sure that your Merge Tags are displaying correctly.

The Final Step is actually sending the Email. MailChimp gives you a Checklist that everything is alright, but of course you should always make sure that you have tested everything yourself within the preview before.

You can send out the email immediately or plan it for some date and time in the future.

If you are planning to send an email at least 24 hours in the future, and you are on a paid account you have as well the option to send it depending on the subscribers time zone.

That simply means that if you have a subscriber in New York and one in Tokio and plan to send the email at 9:00 in the morning, both subscriber will get it at 9:00 in the morning in their time zone.

Send the MailChimp Campaign

MailChimp Campaign Send
This may seems scary for the first couple of times but you will get used to it.

Getting your first 1000 subscribers

Out of experience I know that the hardest part if you are just starting out is going from 0 to 1,000 subscribers.

But it is only once you reach that goal, that you can really start using some advanced email marketing techniques and strategies.

As I have seen so many people struggeling with it, I published a FREE in-depth email course that will teach you the exact blueprint you have to follow step by step to get your first 1000 subscribers in 90 days or less.

Click here to get Lesson #1

MailChimp Listbuilding Stategies

There are a lot of different techniques you can use to build your email list – going way beyond placing a simple signup form within your Blog Sidebar.

Placing only a signup form in your sidebar is actually the worst strategy.

And you will fail to reach 1000 subscribers if that's the only Strategy you are using.

So in the following I will show you a few of the proven listbuilding techniques that have worked well for ourself and others.

Just take one thing in mind:

Paul Jarvis
Expert Tip:

"So, how do you grow your list? One person at a time. One right person at a time using your own style. And then you start communicating with them, like a human being, and hopefully creating something they want to share with the human beings that they know."

Paul Jarvis
Paul Jarvis

Whenever you think about using a particular list building technique, make sure that it's aligned with your style, your voice and your goals. It doesn't help to trick people into signing up for your email list, as your unsubscribe rates will go up and you will engagement will go down. Both things which will ultimately effect negative your delivery rates and overall Business.

Getting someone to subscribe to your email list is only the fist step in a very long relationship.

Beside that note, you can take as well a look at our continous updated list of listbuilding techniques to get some more inspiration.

Export a MailChimp List / Bulk Edit MailChimp Subscribers

MailChimp only has a few bulk edit features build-in. For example: It is possible to bulk unsubscribe a huge list of subscribers all at once. But if you want to edit the custom field value for a big group of subscribers, you will have to export them first and than edit the exported .csv file yourself.

Exporting your list and editing the .csv file directly can feel a bit intimidating at first, but once you know how it works, it's actually pretty straight forward.

The Export Feature is as well helpful to save a backup of your subscribers for yourself or to move to a different email marketing provider.

Step-by-Step MailChimp Export & Bulk Editing

  • MailChimp Select List
    Go to your MailChimp Dashboard » Lists and click on the name of your List
  • MailChimp List Select All
    Click on the little arrow and than "Select All" to select all subscribers to export
  • MailChimp List Export
    Once you have selected the subscribers you want to export, click on "Export List"
  • MailChimp List Export Dashboard
    The Export can take a couple of minutes depending on the size of your list. You can refresh the page or wait until MailChimp notifies you via Email.
  • MailChimp List Export download zip file
    Once the Export is ready click on "Export as CSV" to download a .zip file to your computer.
  • MailChimp List Export Extract .csv files
    Once you have downloaded the .zip file, you have to extract the contents to your computer and open the .csv file that starts with "subscribers_"
  • MailChimp List Export .csv File
    The columns to the right represent the custom fields of your list. And each subscriber is on its on row.
  • MailChimp Account Creation Business Information
    Now you can Bulk Edit a specific custom field for all subscribers, simply by copying and pasting the value for all susbcribers.

Once you have finished exporting or bulk editing the exported .csv file, you can continue to import your changes.

Import an existing MailChimp List

Like most email marketing providers, MailChimp makes it really easy for you to import an existing Contact List.

All you need is a .csv or excel file. You can either upload it directly to MailChimp, deciding step by step which information you would like to import, or copy and paste them directly from excel to MailChimp.

If you have exported your list to bulk edit your subscribers than this is as way the right way to update all the subscribers you have edited.

Step-by-Step MailChimp Export & Bulk Editing

  • MailChimp Select List
    Go to your MailChimp Dashboard » Lists and click on the name of your List
  • MailChimp List Select All
    Click on the little arrow and than "Select All" to select all subscribers to export
  • MailChimp List Export
    Once you have selected the subscribers you want to export, click on "Export List"
  • MailChimp List Export Dashboard
    The Export can take a couple of minutes depending on the size of your list. You can refresh the page or wait until MailChimp notifies you via Email.
  • MailChimp List Export download zip file
    Once the Export is ready click on "Export as CSV" to download a .zip file to your computer.
  • MailChimp List Export Extract .csv files
    Once you have downloaded the .zip file, you have to extract the contents to your computer and open the .csv file that starts with "subscribers_"
  • MailChimp List Export .csv File
    The columns to the right represent the custom fields of your list. And each subscriber is on its on row.
  • MailChimp Account Creation Business Information
    Now you can Bulk Edit a specific custom field for all subscribers, simply by copying and pasting the value for all susbcribers.

MailChimp Interest Groups

While Most other Email Marketing Providers have moved away from a List based approach to Tags, MailChimp hasn't introduced them yet.

But that doesn't mean you can't tag subscribers based on their interest or the actions they take on your website, for example when they download a Content Upgrade.

Let's first take a look at the difference between a list based approach and interest groups.

List Based

The List Based Approach

One person can be subscribed to multiple lists.
You may pay twice for the same person.

If you maintain different lists for different interest, it means that the same person can be subscribed to multiple lists at once. In MailChimp you always pay per subscriber on each list, meaning that you would pay multiple times for one and the same person.

Beside that it can be really cumbersome to keep two different lists synced together.

Interest Groups

Interest Groups Based Approach

You only have one list but different Interest Groups for each subscriber. You only pay and maintain one list.

Thats why its better to just have a single list, that has different interest groups for each subscriber. This way you will always only have one person with one email address, that can be subscribed to various interest groups.

It's really simple to add Subscribers into different Interest Groups.

All you have to do is adding a hidden input field to your signup forms that will add a subscriber to one of your Interest Groups.

But first we have to create a Interest Groups within our MailChimp List.

Login to your MailChimp Account, go to "Lists" and click on the name of the list you want to edit.

Select the List you want to edit

Next click on "Manage Contacts" » "Groups" and click on the "Create Groups" Button on the new page.

Go to "Manage Contacts" » "Groups" and click on "Create Groups"

For most use cases it makes most sense to hide the Interest Groups to your subscribers and apply them automatically depending on the Signup Form.

So for now select "Don't show groups on my signup form".

Next define a Group Category for your Interest Groups. This should be the Name of the category you are dividing subscribers into. So if you want to use Interest Groups for Content Upgrades for example, it makes sense to call the Group Category "Content Upgrades". But you can use as well simply "Interests" or something similar.

The Name of each Group can than be the name of the Interest or Content Upgrade itself.

Hide Interest Groups on Signup Forms

Please note that MailChimp limits the number of Interest Groups to a maximum of 60 per List. That means you can never have more than 60 different interest groups in total for your list.

Once you have created the different interest groups, you can add new subscribers to these groups through your signup forms. How to do that depends on how you have integrated the signup forms on your website.

The Growtheme for example gives you the ability to simply choose an interest group from a drop down field for each signup form. If you have build your Integration with one of the recommended services you should find the ability as well somewhere in the Settings.

If you want to work with Interest Groups I absolutely recommended to use a third party integration. The implementation of them will be otherwise lacking functionality and cumbersome.

Click here if you still want to learn how to implement Interest Groups with the standard embedded HTML form code.

Deliver Content Upgrades with MailChimp

As already said in the Listbuilding Section: Content Upgrades or "Post Specific Bonuses" are still one of the best and easiest way to grow your email list.

To deliver the downloads properly with MailChimp you will need a paid account that allows you to use Automations.

Than you can simply set up an automation that sends out your Content Upgrade when a subscribers joins an interest group. Just make sure that you have actually created Interest Groups before you create the Automation Workflow.

Once you have upgraded your Account (even the 10$ per month plan will be enough) you can head to "Automation" and click on "Add Automation".

Now you will see a whole list of different triggers that can start your Automation Workflow. You can use the search field to search for "list group". The one we need is called "Join List Group" – this will start the automation once someone joins a specific interest group. Just click on "Add Automation".

Deliver Content Upgrades automatically

Go to "Automations" » "Add Automation" and select the "Join List Group" Workflow

Each Content Ugprade will need its own Automation workflow, so you should give each Automation the name of the Content Upgrade. Than click on "New".

Content Upgrade Automation

Give the Automation Workflow the Name of the Content Upgrade you are going to deliver

MailChimp will now populate the Automation automatically with two emails. We will only need one email to deliver the Content Upgrade, so you can delete the other one by selecting the option and typing in "DELETE".

Delete the second Email

Next we have to edit the Trigger of the Automation Email. Change the "Delay" to immediately, so the Content Upgrade gets send out directly after someone opts in through one of our Signup Forms that has the Interest Group applied. Than choose from "Settings" the Interest Group you want to send the Content Upgrade to. Once you are finished click on "Update Trigger".

Automation Workflow Trigger

Select the Interest Group that should trigger the Automation immediately

Now all you have left to do is edit your email. The process is almost exactly the same as when you create a new campaign. The only thing you have to do is adding a link to your Content Upgrade within the Email. You can simply upload the Content Upgrade to your Wordpress Dashboard and copy and paste the link of it directly into the Email.

Once you are happy with your email just go back to your workflow and click on "Next". You will be taken to the "Confirm" Page where you can review the settings one last time. To start the workflow click on the blue button in the bottom right corner that says "Start workflow".

Start the workflow

MailChimp Automation Workflows

The largest advantage of an online business is that you can automate things. Scaling becomes effortless.

With our Blogs we get up to 200 new subscribers per day. Imagine if I would have to send to each and single one of them an email that contains their Content Upgrades or would try to check manually who has looked at a product and than send them a reminder email that they haven't finished the checkout process.

Thats impossible.

And thats the number 1 reason why you should make use of automation processes in your Blog and Business.

Automations allow you to scale processes that you can do manually if you are just starting out, but won't be able to repeat once you've reached a certain size.

While it can be a bit cumbersome to set up automations that especially professional Blogger need, like Content Upgrades or Email Courses, thats not the case with Automations for Online Stores. Taking a look at the amount of triggers MailChimp offers for E-Commerce Businesses you will notice that MailChimp has build a lot of its automation feature especially with them in mind.

To get started with E-Commerce Automations you will need to use one of the Following Shopping Cart Systems:

Independetly from the Shopping Cart System you use, MailChimp Automations always work the same way.

They always get started by a trigger. This is the criteria that starts an automation, such as on a specific date, if a Merge Field value changes, if someone is added to an Interest Groups or if someone has done a specific action within your E-Commerce store.

After an Automation Sequence is triggered for a specific subscriber, he than receives a single or series of email which are sended out in a variable Interval you can define.

MailChimp Automation Workflows

Additionally MailChimp gives you the ability to segment each of the emails within an automation. Meaning that you can define for example to stop sending promotion emails to subscribers that already have joined the interest group "Customers".

List Fields & Merge Tags

List Fields contain additional information about a specific Subscriber on your Email List.

By default MailChimp only saves the email address, the first name and the last name information.

But you can save a lot more than that if you would like. For example if a subscriber is male or female, his country or billing address, his profession, or everything else you can think of.

The great thing about these List Fields is that you can use the information stored in them to personalize your emails and additionally have the ability to apply conditional logic to them. Meaning that you could show a paragraph of text in your email only if a subscriber has a merge field with a specific value (such as "Customer").

Please note that if you want to save information about where a subscriber is coming from, you should use Interest Groups instead. List Field only can hold one value at a time for each subscriber. Meaning that they will be overwritten if a subscriber opts-in again through a different signup form that has a new value of the list field you are trying to change.

In the past people have overcome that limitation by creating a new text merge field for each signup form, but that gets messy really fast. Additionally, Mailchimp limits you to a maximum of 30 list fields per subscriber. The only way to raise this limit to up to 80 merge fields is with a Pro Account that costs 199$ per month.

So lets se how merge tags and list fields work.

To save additional information about your subscribers, you first have to create a new list field that will hold the information.

To do so go to your MailChimp Dashboard, click on "Lists" and than click on the name of the list you want to edit. Next choose "List Fields and Merge Tags" from the "Settings" Dropdown Menu.

Step-by-Step MailChimp Signup Tutorial

  • Go to your MailChimp Dashboard, click on Lists and select the list you want to edit
  • Next click on "Settings" and than choose "List fields & Merge Tags"
  • MailChimp Account Creation Confirmation
    If you scroll down you can find the button to create a new merge field
  • MailChimp Account Creation Confirmation Email
    For most use cases a "Text" Field should work. You can hide it on your signup forms and provide a custom tag name to use in your emails

Once you have created a Merge Field you can than fill it with data. You can either do this manual by editing a subscriber individually, exporting, bulk editing and than importing again or by using one of the third party integrations to add a hidden field to your signup forms that gets populated once someone subscribes to your email list.


Using Merge Fields within your Emails

Let's take a look on how you can individualize your Emails using Merge Fields

MailChimps Merge Field logic always starts and ends with these symbols: *||*. Between the two symbols goes the name of the merge tag or the logic you want to use. If you are unsure about the name of a specific merge tag you can always go back to the list fields settings page where the name is displayed.

Let's start with a simple example you are probabbly already familiar with. Using the first name merge tag *|FNAME|* of a subscriber within your email:

Hey *|FNAME|*,
hope you are doing well.

This is just a sample email, so please don't waste more time in reading it.

Best regards,

MailChimp will replace the *|FNAME|* tag with the value for each subscriber when sending out the actual email.


Using Conditional Logic with Merge Fields

But what happens if not all of your subscribers have a value for a particular merge field? For example because you only ask optional for the first name.

That's when conditional logic comes into play:

Hey*|IF:FNAME|* *|FNAME|**|END:IF|*,
hope you are doing well.

This is just a sample email, so please don't waste more time in reading it.

Cheers,

Conditional Logic always starts with *|IF:|* and ends with *|END:IF|*. So in this example MailChimp would only display the content between the two tags if the FNAME Merge Field has a saved value for a particular subscriber.

You can even extend the code, showing something different in case that the if statement is not true:

Hey*|IF:FNAME|* *|FNAME|**|ELSE|* Friend*|END:IF|*,
hope you are doing well.

This is just a sample email, so please don't waste more time in reading it.

Cheers,

The Merge Field Logic doesn't only work with List Fields, but can be extended to a whole set of different things.

For Example: If you are sending out a normal Newsletter and want to run a promotion to non customers, you can use the Following Conditional Logic depending on the name of your groups:

Hey there,
I just wanted to share my latest Blog Post.

*|INTERESTED:Role:Customers|*Additionally: Thanks for being a Customer!*|ELSE:|*Additionally: Remember that we are running a 50% Discount Promotion on all Products until Sunday.*|END:INTERESTED|*

This is just a sample email, so please don't waste more time in reading it.

Cheers,

You can modify the *|INTERESTED:Group Category:Group Name|* Merge Tag to check if a subscriber is part of a specific Interest Group. In this Case your Interest Group Category would be named "Role" and "Customers", editing the tag so it reads *|INTERESTED:Role:Customers|*

Segmentation

If you are just starting out you probabbly just send emails to your whole email list.

But at some point you may want to send specific emails just to a segment of your subscribers. For example only subscribers who have bought a specific product, downloaded a specific Content Upgrade or that haven't opened or clicked any of your emails for a while.

The process of cutting your list into smaller chunks based on several conditions is called Segmenting.

Let's look at a couple of examples when this can be useful.

If you are using Content Upgrades you could send a presale email to only those subscribers who have shown interest in the same topic before by downloading a related Content Upgrade.

Or you could send a reengagement campaign to all those subscribers who haven't opened or clicked any of your emails in the past 30 days.

Segmenting works in both Campaigns and Automations and you should make use of it whenever it makes sense.

To save yourself some time you can save frequently used segments to your list, so you don't have to always configure the same filters if you want to send another email to the same segment.

But before we actually create our first Segment, you should know that here are two types of segments.

Auto Updated Segements will be updated once a subscriber fits into the criteria you have selected. These Segments are somehow dynamic as people can fall into the segment or be removed depending on the criteria you choosed.

Static Segments are like a Snapshot of your current List. They are great for Product Launches or any other activity where you want to create a snapshot of your list at a specific point of time. Subscribers that are saved to a static segment will stay in the segment even when they don't fullfill the conditions anymore.

You have the option to decide between static and auto updated segments when you save a segment to your list.

How to create a new Segment

  • Login to your MailChimp Dashboard, Choose "Lists" and click on the name of your list
  • Next click on the Button that says "Create a Segment"
  • Now you can choose the conditions you want to segment subscribers with. You can combine up to 5 different conditions.
  • Once you have choosed your Conditions, you can click on Preview Segment
  • MailChimp will show you now how many of your subscribers match your conditions
  • Once you are happy with your conditions, you can save the Segment
  • You can create a static Segment or "Snapshot" by removing the checkbox for "Auto Update".

Email Deliverability

Email Deliverability means how many of your emails actually get into the inbox of your subscribers. Most Email Marketing Providers have a pretty good handle on that and try everything they can to keep constant high numbers in Email Deliverability.

This is typicall an issue you should start caring about once you get to tens or hundreds of thousands of subscribers and therefore have a very high volume. It is as well way more important for people who send transactional emails (Think individualized Notifcations, Password forgot Emails or Receipts).

If you still want to look into this topic, than there are a few quick things you can do to improve your delivery rate.

First of all: It's important that you keep a healthy list. You should never buy or rent a list or import contacts from social networks that have not agreed to receive information from you. But thats only half of the equation. It's as well important to check every few months which subscribers haven't opened or clicked an email in the past 60 to 90 days and remove these subscribers from your list.

I know out of personal experience that this is very painful as you've worked hard for building your list in the first place. But sending emails to people who are not longer interested in them can cause that people who do want to receive your emails don't receive them anymore.

Next you should set up DKIM and SPF Keys. This is simply a verification method that shows Email Service Provider that you are authenticated and allowed to send from the domain you are using for your newsletters. It goes beyond the simple email verification process of MailChimp, but is worthwile if you wan't to improve your deliverability rates singificant.

To add DKIM and SPF Key to your Account, you will need access to the DNS Settings of your Domainname. You can usually find them within the Settings of your Webhoster or wherever you bought your Domainname.

How to add DKIM and SPF Keys to your MailChimp Account

  • Click on your Account Name and go to the "Account" Page
  • Next choose "Verified Domains" from the "Settings" Menu
  • If you have followed this guide you should already have gone through a basic verification. If not add your email domain by clicking on "Verify a Domain".
  • Once you have verified your Domain, you can click on "View Setup Instructions" next to the "Authentication" point.
  • You will now see both your SPF and DKIM Keys you will have to setup within your Domain DNS.
  • Next you have to open the DNS Settings of your Domain Name in a new Tab. It should look similar to this page.
  • For the DKIM Record you will have to create a new CNAME Record with the name and value you can copy from MailChimp
  • For the SPF Record you will have to create a new TXT Record with the name and value you can copy from MailChimp
  • Once you have created the two records, you can go back to MailChimp and click on "Authenticate".
  • Once you are successfully authenticated MailChimp will update the status on that Page. Please note that sometimes it takes up to 48 hours until your DNS Settings are updated.

MailChimp A/B Testing

Did you know that Buzzfeed, one of the largest publishers with over 20 million pageviews per month tests 20 different headlines for every single post?

They do it because there can be a 300% difference or more in Click Through Rates between different Headlines.

Meaning that a headline can decide between 300 or 900 clicks. You could get 3x as much traffic with a simple change in the Headline.

That's why a common copywriting wisdom is that the Headline is the most important piece of copy on any website.

But the same holds true for your email subject lines.

It is the number one thing you can test to improve your email open rates.

But you are not limited to only testing different subject lines. Split Testing or A/B Testing is the process of testing two different variations against each other and seeing which one performs better for a given objective.

Email Split Testing

MailChimp makes this process very easy and intuitive.

You should start testing once you have a large email list of at least 10.000 subscribers so the results are significant.

For Example: You could send two different subject lines to just 20% of your subscribers, wait for the results to roll in and than automatically send the winning variation to the rest of your subscribers.

Additionally you can test the sending time and the content of your emails.

Testing different sending times is great to get a general feel for what time of the day and which day of the week your subscribers are more likely to open and click your emails.

Testing the Content of your Emails is especially important for Sales related emails. You could check which testimonials, which story angle or which product pictures work better – resulting in more click throughs and ultimately more sales.

You should take in mind that even small gains can compound to something important over the course of a year:

Peep Laja
Expert Tip:

"If you increase your conversion rate 5% each month, that’s going to be an 80% lift over 12 months. That’s compounding interest. That’s just how the math works. 80% is a lot. So keep getting those small wins. It will all add up in the end."

Peep Laja
Peep Laja

So lets take a look on how A/B Testing works within MailChimp.

Set up a Split Testing Campaing

  • To create a new A/B Testing Campaign go to "Campaigns" and click on "New Campaign"
  • Give your Campaign a Name, choose "A/B Testing" from the Dropdown Menu and click on "Create"
  • On the next page you have to choose the Recipients for your Campaign. Once you are finished click on "Next"
  • Now you have to choose which variable you want to test. You can only test one variable per Campaign with a max. of 3 Variations.
  • ">
    Next you have to choose which percentage of your list you wan't to test. The winner will be automatically sended to the rest of your list. You should make sure that you test with a big enough group (> 5000 subscribers per variation).
  • Last but not least you have to choose how a winner be determined. Ask yourself what exactly the objective of your Campaign is. Clicks, Open Rates or Sales.
  • Once you have configured everything MailChimp will take care of the rest. You can continue to set up your Campaign.
  • Depending on the variable you are testing you can now configure your variations.
  • When you have sended your Campaign you can see the results after a couple of days. Just click on "View Report" in the "Campaigns" Dashboard.
  • Next click on the "A/B Test Results" Tab
  • You can now see your variations side by side. MailChimp marks with a star the winning combination.

You should start testing different days and times of the week. You only have to test this once every year because it usually stays the same across your list, even if it grows.

Once you have determined the best sending time, you can try testing different from names. What works better, the name of your Business or Blog, or something more personal like your full or only first name.

Afterwards you can test on a continous basis the subject line of every important campaign you send out.

Just one more thing: Before you get to excited about the results you should make sure that you are actually testing with a big enough sample size and really understand how split testing works. 12 A/B Split Testing Mistakes I See Businesses Make All The Time by Peep Laja is a good start.

David Kadavy
Expert Tip:

"Running reliable tests that will give you definitive answers is hard. Meanwhile, a 300% increase on a conversion rate of 0% is still 0%. Ship the damn product. Your energy is likely better used elsewhere, and you can start testing when it actually [matters]. It’s okay to not want to be a statistics expert."

David Kadavy
David Kadavy

How To Setup Email Courses With MailChimp

An Email Course is simply a series of emails educating your subscribers that go out over a variable time frame. They are a great way to grow your email list and even to sell products with an Evergreen Product Funnel.

Within MailChimp it's easy to set up an Email Course that goes out to every new subscriber.

I will show you exactly how to do it in this section.

Just one word of caution: Unfortunately it's almost impossible to trigger an email course on a specific date and than turning it into a recurring course. Meaning that once the start date of the course is reached, it starts again each Monday for every new subscriber that joins after the course has initaly started.

Other Email Marketing Providers have that functionality build in, but to accomplish it with MailChimp we have to find a little workaround.

You will find how to accomplish it hidden at the end of this section, as it is possible – but not easy to set this up.

If you can live with the case that the email course always starts right away when a subscriber joins your list, than you can skip the complicated setup and just go ahead following these steps.


Create a new Automation Workflow

Email Course Automation

Go to "Automations" » "Add Automation" and select the "Education" Category. Than create a new "Course Series" Automation

Give your Automation a meaningful name and click on "Next".

This Automation will be triggered whenever a new subscriber joins your list. If you want to start the Course on a specific date for your existing Subscribers, check out the end of this section.


Create your Email Course

Email Course Automation

Edit the preconfigured Emails, triggers and start the Automation.

Thats basically it. MailChimp will have created automatically a couple of emails that you can fill in with your own Content.

You may want to change the delay of each Email, sending it out every few days instead of one email per week. You can simply do that by clicking on "Edit Trigger" for each Email.

Click here to learn how to set up a recurring email course that starts for example every Monday

Product Launches

In the Internet Marketing World of Information Products, one strategy continous to work incredible well:

Product Launches.

They usually start with a sequence of educational Content that you publish to your Email List and than transition into a limited time frame where a product is available to buy.

Even if you have never heared of these type of product launches, you will most likely have already taken part in it.

Great places to learn more about it is the Blog of Bryan Harris and Jeff Walker (The inventor of the Email Product Launch Model)

In this Section we want to focus on how a traditional email based product launch can be accomplished with MailChimp.

And its actually pretty easy.

You can decide if you would like to use an automation sequence or just regular Campaign Emails. As we have seen in the Email Course Section, MailChimp makes it a bit hard to start an automation at a specific date.

Thats why we preferred keeping it simple and used pre scheduled Campaigns for our first product launch with MailChimp.

The important thing within a Product Launch is that the emails get sended out at the right time, and that you can engage as much subscribers as possible. So it makes sense to resend important emails to the subscribers who haven't opened the previous email and if you have a lot of subscribers across different time zones using MailChimps "timewarp" feature.

Beside that it is important that you segment your subscribers.

If someone has already bought your Product, you don't want to send them any more promotional emails.

It depends a bit on the Shopping Cart Integration you use on how to set this up, but in most of the integration there is the option to add customers to an interest group that you than exclude from the promotional Campaigns.

Let's see how to set up a Product Launch Step-by-Step

MailChimp Goal Integration

Go to "Account" » "Integrations"

Before we start creating our Product Launch Campaign, we want to give subscribers the possibility to opt-out of our promotion emails, without being unsubscribed from the whole email list.

MailChimp allows us to segment subscribers based on their activity on our Website.

To do that we have to set up the "Goal Integration".

You can do that by clicking your Profile Picture » "Account" and than going to the "Integrations" Tab.

On the next Screen you have to scroll down to the "Goal" Integration and enable it.

To make this integration work properly, you will have to copy and paste the code into your website. It is important that the Code appears on all webpages of your Website. For Example in Wordpress you can accomplish that easily with the Header and Footer Code Plugin.

Once the Code is implemented on your Website, you have to create a new webpage with a unique URL like http://example.org/less-emails/ and a text that says for example: "Thank you. You will no longer receive information about this product."

This gives you the opportunity to segment subscribers who have visited that specific page and thus will no longer receive your promotional emails.

Going through this step will help lower your unsubscribe rate that is usually higher during a product launch because of the increased frequency you are sending emails during a product launch.

MailChimp Goal Integration Code

Copy and paste the Code on all your webpages

Create your Campaign Emails

We will schedule all our Product Launch Emails well in advance

After we have successfully integrated our Website with "Goals", we have to create a regular Campaign for each Email we are planning to send out during our product launch.

To do that just go to "Campaigns" » "Create Campaign", give your Email a meaningful name and select "Regular" Campaign Type.

On the next screen we want to make sure that only subscribers who are not customers yet and who have not opted-out of our promotional emails will receive the campaign email.

Which conditions to use for this segmentation depends a bit on how you are marking customers within your MailChimp Account. But it is most likely by either excluding "VIPs", excluding subscribers that have a custom field with a specific value or subscribers who are members of a specific "Customers" Interest Group.

Pay attention to the "Goal Activity" Condition. This excludes subscribers who have visited any page on our website which URL contains "less-emails" and is targeting the "http://example.com/less-emails" page we have created in the previous step.

Segment your Campaign Email

Make sure to exclude your Customers and people who have visited a "opt-out" page on your Website

Replicate your first Campaign

Save your first Campaign by clicking on "Save and Exit" in the top right corner and than replicate it on the next screen.

Once you have segmented your email, you can click on "Save and Exit" at the top right corner and go back to your Campaign Dashboard.

Before editing the Content of each Email, we want to replicate the Campaign we already have and add one more segmentation condition.

Most Product Launch Emails are building on top of each other. That's why you want to make sure that only subscribers who have received the first of all the promotional emails will receive as well the following ones.

This way people who have just subscribed to your email list or do so during the product launch will not receive the promotional campaigns.

Product Launch Email Segmentation

Make sure that you only include subscribers who have received the first email within successive emails.

MailChimp Soft Unsubscribe

Make sure to add a "Soft Unsubscribe" Link to at least a couple of your promotional emails right before the "unsubscribe" link.

Now you can simply replicate the second campaign until you have one campaign for each of your Product Launch Email and edit the content accordingly for each email.

One thing you want to add at the bottom of your emails, right before the unsubscribe link is something like the following text:

Note: Because of the long awaited launch of "PRODUCT NAME" during this week you will receive a bit more emails than normal. We want to make sure that nobody misses out on this opportunity, but if you wish to receive less emails click here.

And the link of that text should go to the "opt-out" page you created and segmented for in the previous steps. Subscribers who click on the link will not receive any more emails of your launch, but stay on your list.

Once you are finished editing your email, the only thing left to do is programming each for date and time you want to send it out.

As mentioned before: When you have a lot of subscribers in different time zones, it makes sense to use MailChimps Timewarp Feature, so each subscriber receives the email at the same time in their respective time zone.

MailChimp Timewarp

You can schedule your emails in advance and use the timewarp feature to send it out at the same time for all of your subscribers

Evergreen Launch Funnels

An Evergreen Launch Funnel is basically an automated Product Launch.

But instead of manually programming the emails to get send out once or twice per year at a specific date, subscribers join the Evergreen Funnel and get an automated sequence of emails that end up in the Sell of your Product.

Setting Evergreen Funnels up with MailChimp is fairly easy. You basically just have to follow the same steps of setting up a recurring email course.

The main difference is that you want to add a few more promotional emails to the end of your "Specific Date" Automation Sequence, promoting your Product and introducing a Deadline in which it is available.

Further more you want to segment these last few promotional emails, so that subscribers who have already decided to buy won't receive more of them. Just follow the segmentation steps within the Product Launch Section.

Best Practice Examples

Optin Confirmation Pages

Thank You Pages

Landingpages

Frequently Asked MailChimp Questions

  1. You can check out these numbers for yourself on SimilarWeb

  2. See: MailChimp Anual Report 2016 and previous anual reports

  3. Source: Mailmunch Email Marketing vs. Social Media Performance in 2016

  4. An Autoresponder is a sequence of emails scheduled to go out automatically, for example depending on a condition or within a specific time interval.

  5. Sign up Forms are used to gather email subscribers. Its basically just an input field asking a visitor of your site for his email address.

  6. If you want to send fancy newsletter that have a lot of different sections and feel more corporate like you likely need as well a more complicated email template. If you don't know how to code, having a simple drag & drop campaign builder can help you to easily edit templates.

  7. Segmentation means that you can segment your subscribers depending on various characteristics. For example if you only want to send an email to women, or subscribers who have not opened an email in the last 14 days.

  8. A/B Testing or "Split Testing" is used to determine which of two version works better. You could for example test which subject line or which time of the day gets more email opens from your subscribers.

  9. Some Email Marketing Provider permit you to track actions your subscribers take on your website within the Software. So you could see for example if someone has visit a specific page or how often they have visited in the past 30 days.

  10. Most Email Marketing Providers don't offer a completely free version, so if you are on a tight budget this is an important consideration to take.

  11. Automation Rules permit you to execute a command or action when something specific occurs. You could for example subscribe someone to a autoresponder if he buys a specific product from you or send an email if a subscriber visits a specific page.

  12. A campaign builder works a bit like an automation rule, but it allows more complex chaining of various steps. You can chain specific conditions together and have several tracks subscribers could follow depending on the conditions. This is a highly advanced feature most users don't need.

  13. The Conversion Rate simply says the percentage of your visitors who subscribe to your email list. So if you get 3 new subscribers out of every 100 visitors, you will have a 3% conversion rate.

  14. A Welcome Gate replaces your usual Blog Homepage for first time visitor. That means that people who click through to your Blog Homepage from a Blog Post, will see a conversion optimized Landingpage instead.

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