Mailchimp is a great starting point if you’re starting out and want to watch your outgoings. You can start on a free plan, and once you’ve reached the limit, you can decide if you want to stay with Mailchimp, or move on to something that will grow with your business like Infusionsoft, Ontraport or ConvertKit.
Head here to sign up for Mailchimp. Having your own domain based email is a good idea. And here’s why:
“The primary cause of limitations with free email addresses is that you don’t own the domain, so you don’t have any control over its delivery policies.”
Here’s what this means for you:
- Free email addresses can’t be added to your verified domains in MailChimp.
- Free email domains have policies in place that can cause delivery issues. These are meant to prevent email scams, but can still cause problems for legitimate marketers.”
It also looks way more professional when your newsletters come from your domain, and people can instantly tell who it is sending the newsletter.
You may need to confirm with another email or your mobile number, so make sure it’s correct.
Mailchimp uses lists for bundling your subscribers together, and you can then create groups within those lists. You should only have one list. If you have two lists, and a subscriber is subscribed to both, the same person is counted twice. That way, you’ll reach that limit much faster! So use one master list, and then groups within that list to segment your subscribers.
When you send an email out to your subscribers, Mailchimp calls this a campaign.
You will create a Sign-up form, sometimes called an Opt-in form, to collect the emails from your subscribers.
Creating a list
Find Lists at the top and click Create List.
Fill in the details for your list. Come up with a name for your list that makes sense, your business name or blog name perhaps. The groups can then be named Personal, Office, Opt-in on website etc.
Fill in the rest of the details. Your subscribers will see these details when you plop down in their inbox. Include your name or your business name, as well as an email address where they can contact you or reply to. This is another reason to have a professional email address with your domain ending.
Important: It’s a legal requirement to include your actual mailing address! You can use a business address/office address or a PO Box if you’d rather not state your home address to your subscribers.
With the new privacy laws, you’d be safest to make sure you have the double opt-in box ticked. This means your reader will have to confirm they really do want to be subscribers to your list, after they’ve initially given you their email address.
You can also choose to get notifications every time someone subscribes to your list (yay!) or unsubscribes (boo) if you want to stay on top of your numbers.
Designing your sign-up form
You should now be in your list’s dashboard. If not, just click on Lists again, and then the name of your list.
Click Sign Up Forms and then Form builder.
Scroll down and customise your form. Decide if you want to collect subscriber’s last name or just have their first name. You can add and remove fields to your liking here. If you’re setting up a competition maybe you need to collect last names as well as first names. You may need to include phone numbers or other information. The most common thing seen around the web these days is just first name and email address, if you want to be common 😉
You can delete the fields there by clicking on a field and then clicking the minus sign, or go to the right and click Delete.
Click the Design It button to customise the look and design. You can change colours, fonts, and add images. You can create a banner in Canva, or simply add your logo to the top if you like. If you hover over the name of your list, My New List in this example, you will get options to add an image instead, or simply edit the name if you like.
Adding lead magnet to Welcome Email
If you’re offering something as an incentive for people to sign up, the Welcome email is where you would put it. The lead magnet could be an ebook, a mini-course, a discount code for your store or perhaps access to a secret page on your site where you share valuable information relating to your niche.
It’s becoming harder to build your email list as people realise how precious their attention is, and how many people out there want to come and have a party in their inbox. Without a lead magnet you will miss out on many signups. Just sayin’.
I recommend saving your lead magnet as a PDF and then uploading the PDF to your website. You can easily create PDFs in Pages or Word, just save your document as a PDF. A discount code is probably easier to use if it can easily be copied and pasted so you can just write it in the Welcome email in plain text if you like. The same goes for a password for a secret page.
If you use WordPress, log in to your website and click Media – Add New. Upload your PDF and then click Edit once it’s uploaded. You will then get the URL to the PDF. Copy it, and paste into your browser to see what it will look like when your subscribers click on the link. If you’re happy with how it looks, head back to the Mailchimp tab.
Other website platforms work similarly, ask your friendly web designer/developer or use the support function of your chosen platform if you’re not sure.
Back to Mailchimp: Click Lists and then click on your list. Remember you should only have one main list. Click on Signup form and then Form builder. Choose Final Welcome email in the drop-down. Tick the box next to Send a final welcome email.
You will also want to change the subject of your email to tell people that the free thing they signed up for is inside, to prompt them to open it.
Write a little something in the email, welcome people to your newsletter, maybe tell them a bit of what they can expect from you, and include the lead magnet link that you copied from your website. Click in the section pictured below and you can change the ultra boring Your subscription to our list has been confirmed robot voice to your own sparkle magic sprinkled with fairy dust and lead magnet links. You get the picture.
Creating a newsletter
Click the Campaigns link and then click the Create Campaign button in the top right corner.
Choose Create an email in the popup.
- Name your campaign and click the Begin button
- Click Add recipients and choose your list
- Click Add from and enter name and email
- Click Add subject and enter something interesting that will make your reader open this email
- Click Design email
Mailchimp comes with lots of pre-designed templates for your newsletters, which makes it super easy for you. Select one you think looks good, and click Next.
Here’s the fun part. Explore all the options here and get used to the interface. You can drag and drop elements from the right hand side into your newsletter.
You can add your logo at the top, and create banners and visuals for your newsletter with a tool like Canva.
Click the Design tab to decide which colours and fonts you’ll use in your newsletter. Make sure your colours are cohesive with your branding, and try to use the same font as on your website if possible so people start to recognise your brand.
When you’re happy with the look, click Save as template and give it a name to make you remember what you used that template for, for example Introductory email. You can make as many templates as you like for different things, and it will save you time each time you send one out.
When you’re happy, click Save & Close
Mailchimp is a very nice and kind creature and will tell you if something is wrong with your newsletter. Click Resolve to fix any issues, and when you’re ready click the Send a Test email link underneath the visual of your newsletter to see what it looks like as an actual email before you commit to clicking the Send campaign button to send your newsletter to your list.
How did you go? Are you enjoying Mailchimp so far? Let me know below!