What is Mailchimp and how to use it? Read this guide to learn how you can use Mailchimp to grow your business.
Email remains the most favored communication and marketing medium for marketers and businesses. And there’s a reason why.
According to the DMA Marketer Email Tracker 2019 report, you get an average return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. The return is four times higher than what you can get from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Moreover, almost half of the world’s population uses email. According to Statista, the number of email users around the globe amounted to 3.9 billion in 2019, which is likely to rise up to 4.3 billion in 2023.
The stats suggest that email marketing is not only relevant but also a dominant player in the marketing world.
So, which email marketing software should you choose? With so many email marketing tools available catering to different needs, it’s really difficult to say which of them is the best. In fact, there is no one right answer.
In this post, we are going to introduce you to one of the oldest and most used email marketing tools out there: Mailchimp.
Founded in 2001, Mailchimp has a user base of more than 20 million customers and is easily the largest player in the market.
Mailchimp is a platform for everyone, especially for beginners because of its ease of use, an impressive set of features and, most importantly, its ‘Forever Free’ plan.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the key steps that you should keep in mind while getting started with Mailchimp.
How to Use Mailchimp
Let’s take a quick look at what we are going to discuss in detail in this post:
- Set Up an Account
- Create an Audience
- Set Up / Customize Signup Form
- Build Email Template
- Create an Email Campaign
- Automate Your Emails
- A/B Test Your Email
- Check Your Email Performance
Set Up an Account
First things first: how to set up your Mailchimp account? You can do this in minutes by following the steps given below:
- Go to Mailchimp’s website and click the Sign Up Free button shown in the top right corner of the homepage.
- You’ll see a form on your screen. Type in your email, username and password, and click Get Started!
- Once you submit the form, you’ll get an account activation email from Mailchimp. Open that email and click the Activate Account button.
- Next, Mailchimp asks for confirmation that you’re a human. Click I’m Not a Robot button.
Now, you’re ready to create your first email with Mailchimp.
Note: The first time you log in to your account, the platform will ask for required information (name, email address, organization name, website URL, physical address, etc.) to provide content as per your business requirements.
Before going ahead, let’s check out the different sections of Mailchimp that you’ll see soon after logging in to your account.
Mailchimp’s dashboard displays the overview of your audience and campaign activity. You can also set up a campaign right from the dashboard.
At the top of the page you will see six tabs, including Create, Campaigns, Automate, Audience, Brand and Reports. You can access almost all the options from these broad categories no matter on which section you are at the moment.
We’ll discuss these sections and some advanced features in detail throughout this comprehensive article.
Now, it’s time to jump to the second step.
Create an Audience
A clean, up-to-date list of your contacts is the first step towards great marketing.
Audience is where you store and manage all your contacts. Soon after you create an account, Mailchimp generates an audience for you and populates it with details you provide.
Mailchimp recommends that you create one audience and use tags and segments to organize your contacts.
You can check out Mailchimp’s Knowledge Base section to learn how to add tags and segments in your audience.
If you are running different businesses and need to create separate audiences, you can do this as well but remember that Mailchimp audiences are independent of each other, which means they don’t share any data. So, if you have the same contact in two audiences, it will be counted as two contacts and you will be charged accordingly.
The number of audiences and subscribers you can store in your account depends on your plan. For instance, the free plan only allows for one audience with up to 2,000 contacts.
To create a new audience, follow these steps:
- Access the Audience tab.
- Click the Manage Audience drop-down and select View audiences.
- Click Create Audience.
- In the confirmation box, click Create Audience again.
- Give audience details in the fields provided, including audience name, from name, from email address, campaign URL settings, and reminder that how people signed up to your audience.
- In the Form Settings, you can enable double opt-in and GDPR fields.
- Select your notifications and enter the email address where you want to receive them.
- Click Save.
Once you have created your audience, you’ll be able to import contacts in your Mailchimp account or set up a signup form to get new subscribers.
Set Up/Customize Signup Form
Haven’t got any contacts? Don’t worry. Mailchimp is here to help you collect subscribers. The platform automatically generates a signup form for your audience, which you can easily post on your website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or any other platform that is suitable for your work.
With Mailchimp’s form builder, you can customize pre-built forms. To do this, follow the steps below:
- Accessthe Audience page.
- If you’re managing multiple clients, click Current audience and select the audience from the drop-down list.
- Next, click the Manage audience tab and select Signup form.
- Select Form builder.
- Under the Forms and response emails heading, select the form you want to customize from a drop-down menu.
- Once you choose the form, you’ll see three options: Build it, Design it and Translate it. Click the Design it tab.
- To customize the form (add text, images, custom fields, etc.), click through the Page, Body, Forms or MonkeyRewards tabs. Mailchimp saves your changes automatically.
- When you get what you want, click Save & Close.
Build Email Templates
Mailchimp offers a wide range of well-designed pre-made templates that you can customize to build campaigns.
However, if you want to start from scratch and build your own template that fits your work, you can do this as well with Mailchimp.
To build a template from scratch, follow these steps:
- Click Brand from the top bar and select Templates from the drop-down menu.
- Click Create Template.
- Click Code your own tab if you want to import or paste in HTML code to create your own template
- Click Layouts to choose from Mailchimp’s pre-built templates.
- Using the drag-and-drop editor, add text, images, buttons etc. to build a template that fits your brand.
- Once you’ve designed the layout, click Save and Exit.
- Give your template a name in the Save Template popup and click Save.
If you want to use this template in the future, you can find it on the Templates page or under Saved templates in the Content section of the email builder.
Create an Email Campaign
Once you’ve got the email template you are looking for, it’s time to create and send a campaign to your audience.
A campaign is your marketing message that you deliver to your audience via email, ad or any other medium that fits your brand.
To set up a regular email campaign in Mailchimp, you need to follow these steps:
- Click the Create tab from top and hit Email.
- Here, under the Regular tab, type a campaign name.
- Click Begin. This will take you to the campaign builder, where you’ll choose your settings and design your content.
- Click the Add Recipients tab in the To section and choose the audience you want to send your campaign.
- In the From section, type in the name of the sender (for example, your company name so that recipients will instantly recognize) and the email address.
- Next, move to the Subject section and write your subject line and optional preview text.
- Now go to the Content section, click Design Email and pick the template that suits your campaign.
- Click Save.
- Click the Preview drop-down to view your email or give it a test run before sending it to the audience.
- Once your design is finalized, click Continue.
- Mailchimp allows you to change the default tracking options. To do this, scroll to the Settings & Tracking section given at the bottom of the page.
- Check the boxes to enable the tracking options and click Save.
- Your email is now ready to go out. If you want to send it immediately, click Send Now; however, if you are thinking about sending your campaign at a later time, click Schedule and set the time.
You have successfully sent your first email campaign with Mailchimp.
Mailchimp offers you some really handy advanced tools that you can learn after getting started with the platform. Let’s see how to use some amazing features like automation, A/B testing and reporting.
Automate Your Emails
Automation is one of the key features of an email marketing tool. Sometimes it’s the primary reason why individuals and businesses look to email marketing software because they don’t want to do everything by themselves.
To set up an automated email in Mailchimp, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Automate drop-down and select Email.
- You will see different preset automation workflows like welcome or birthday messages, abandoned cart emails and order notifications. Select a category you want to use.
- If you don’t find the available workflows helpful, click the Custom button appearing on the top right corner to create something from scratch.
- Select one of the three options: Single email, Onboarding series and Education Series. (Note that if you’re on Mailchimp’s Free or Essentials plan, you can’t access automated email series. These options are only available with Standard and Premium packages).
- So, in the Single email section, give your campaign a name.
- Next, click the drop-down menu to select the audience and click Begin.
- This will take you to the automation builder where you can design your automated email. To do this, click Design Email.
- On the Setup step, name your email, add an email subject, preview text, from name, from email address, and your default Google Analytics title.
- Hit Next.
- On the Template step, select a template from the premade layouts or create your own from the scratch and click Next.
- This will take you to the Design step where you can add and customize content blocks like edit text, change font style and add images.
- After giving a final shape to your automated email, click on Preview & Test drop-down menu to review your email before sending it.
- Once you’ve finished, Click Save and Continue to return to the automation builder.
- Take a look at the automation workflow settings. To do this, click Edit Settings on the Email step of the builder.
- Now that you are done with everything from designing an automated email to configuring workflow settings, it’s time to send it. To do this, on the Email step, click Next, which will navigate you to the Confirm step.
- On the confirmation step, Mailchimp provides a checklist to make sure you are ready to send. If you see a red x, it means something needs to be reviewed and resolved. However, green check marks indicate your automation is good to go.
- Once you’re all set, click Start Sending and then confirm once more by clicking Start Sending in the popup modal to start your automated email.
That’s it. You’ve now successfully created and sent a custom automated email.
A/B Test Your Email
Sending different versions of email to your list helps you know which works best for you and can significantly improve open rates.
With Mailchimp, you can test different subject lines, from names, send times and content. It’s also up to you to decide how many subscribers will receive your test emails.
Mailchimp also lets you decide the winning factor, including clicks, opens or revenue. The winning version will then be sent to the remaining recipients.
To set up an A/B test of your campaign, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Create drop-down and click Email.
- Click A/B test.
- Type the name of your campaign and hit Begin. This will take you to the campaign builder.
- On the Recipients step, select the list or segments you want to send your campaign to.
- On the Variable step, choose the variable you want to test: subject line, from name, content and send time. (Note that you can test up to three variations for your campaign).
- Select the percentage of your recipients you want to send your test combinations by clicking and dragging the slider.
- Mailchimp lets you choose a winner based on click rate, open rate, total revenue or manually. Choose the winning criteria and set the test run time.
- Once the test is concluded, the winning version will be automatically sent to the remaining recipients.
That’s how you can get the best combination of subject line and content and take your business to the next level.
Check Your Email Performance
Mailchimp helps you track your email campaigns and find out how they are performing. To view your campaign performance, follow these steps:
- Go to the Reports page.
- Find an email campaign you want to track and click View Report.
- When you open the report, you will get a complete overview of your campaign performance, which includes, open rates, click rates, bounce rates, spam rates, number of purchases and much more.
Besides overview, you’ll also see some additional tabs and drop-down menus, including activity, links, social performance, e-commerce purchases, conversations and analytics. You can get every bit of details about your campaign performance by switching between these tabs.
That’s all you need to know to get started with Mailchimp. You can easily create an account, set up signup forms, send email campaigns, automate emails, A/B test your campaign and track performance.
This post will surely make using Mailchimp really easy for you. However, there are plenty of more tools offered by Mailchimp that you can explore and learn yourself after getting started with the platform.
One of the biggest strengths of Mailchimp is its generous free platform, which allows you to send 10,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers. But remember that this plan comes with limited features. For instance, it offers only one audience and lacks many options like premium templates, A/B testing and any kind of customer support from Mailchimp.
Below is a brief overview of Mailchimp’s paid plans:
- Essentials (starting at $9.99/month for 500 contacts) – The package offers all premium email templates, A/B testing, custom branding and 24/7 email and chat support.
- Standard (starts at $14.99/month for 500 contacts) – This plan includes all Essentials features, plus audience insights, retargeting ads, custom templates and event-based automation.
- Premium (starts at $299/month for 10,000 contacts) – It offers all the above features as well as advanced segmentation, multivariate testing, comparative reporting, phone support, etc.
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