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Today, we’re going back to basics. You’ve heard that you need to have an email list for your blog, but… how? Well, here’s how to create an email list in Mailchimp.
I promise, it’s super easy, and it’s free!
1 | Create an account.
I told you we’re starting with the basics! Head over to Mailchimp and click the big Sign Up Free button in the top right corner.
Here, simply put in your email address (I recommend putting in the one you’re going to be sending emails from, but it doesn’t have to be), your username, and your password. You’ll get an email to confirm your identity, then you’re good to go!
PS Interested in using an email address with your domain name in it, but don’t want to pay for Google Apps? Here’s your tutorial on how to do it for free!
Just fill in the prompted information like your name, address, and business name.
Note: it’s important that you put your actual address in the address line. If you don’t, you’re breaking the law. It sucks, I know. Basically, you have to put down a physical address where someone could reach you. If you’re uncomfortable putting down your home address (totally reasonable!), I suggest getting a cheap PO Box to put down.
The last part of the form will ask if you want to sign up for either of Mailchimp’s newsletters. I recommend doing so, because there’s lots of good information for beginners in there! You don’t need to if you don’t want to, though.
Feeling like we’re going somewhere? Good! Because we are!
2 | Learn the lingo.
Alright, before we start gathering email addresses or sending out any emails, there’s some important lingo to learn. Things have different names whether you’re using Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, or Salesforce, so let’s get this lingo straight!
Campaign: An email. Whenever you want to send out an email to your list, you’ll create a new Campaign. They’re one-offs, so this isn’t what you’d use if you’re going to set up an automated email sequence (which isn’t in the free option, anyway).
Template: A layout (including images and text, if you want) of how your email will be set up. These are optional, but highly recommended. You’d add in your logo, font choice, colors, etc., which ensures that all of your emails are on-brand. It also saves time, because you no longer have to do that styling for each individual email; just choose the template you created and it’s good to go!
Pre-Header: The text that shows up after the email subject in your inbox. It should be used to really captivate your audience and convince them to open up!
List: This one’s easy! It’s your email list. You can have as many as you want, but you can only have 2,000 subscribers until you have to start paying.
Subscribers: Each email address signed up for one of your email lists. Again, the free plan only allows up to 2,000 subscribers. After that, you have to pay.
Merge Tags: The information your subscribers give to you. Depending on the signup form, this could include a first name, a last name, a full name, etc. You use this to customize your email so you can say “Hey Caitlin!” rather than just a generic “Hey there!”
Group: Different ways to group your email list. This is how I send out my content upgrades (and see which ones are the most popular!). Check out the full tutorial here.
Segment: Similar to a group, a segment is one section of your email list. But they’re created based on some sort of attribute. For example, you can create a segment of subscribers that has opened all of your most recent five emails. There are many different types of segments you can create in Mailchimp.
Reports: Pretty self-explanatory. You use reports to see your open rate, click rate, etc.
Clicks: Each time someone clicks on a link in your email. The click rate is equated by taking the amount of clicks divided by the number of opens.
Opens: The number of subscribers who opened your email. Equated by dividing the number of subscribers who opened your email by the number of subscribers the email was sent to.
Automation: A paid feature of WordPress that allows you to send out emails automatically based on some sort of action. This could be a welcome email, a reminder email, etc.If you're looking to set up an email list in MailChimp, check out this tutorial!Click To Tweet
3 | Start gathering email addresses.
Now it’s time to start growing your list!
You can use the forms Mailchimp provides to you (go to Lists > whichever list you want to get subscribers for > Signup forms), or you could install a plugin with a subscription form. Yes, Mailchimp does have one. I personally use four: SumoMe, Mailmunch, Layered Popups, and Slider Revolution.
It’s important to have it in a few places, and have some sort of incentive to get people to want to sign up.
I’ve got my resource library as the main incentive, as well as content upgrades for various posts (which are then housed in the resource library!).
Here’s how to set up a resource library, and here’s how to send out content upgrades!
4 | Create your template.
As soon as you start getting subscribers, you’re going to want to send out emails! After all, they signed up in hopes for awesome content from you, so it’s time to deliver!
But before we send out emails, we want to make sure they’re on-brand. Which is where Templates come into play!
To make your template, go to Templates at the top of the page and click Create Template. If you’re super tech-savvy, you’re welcome to code your own. But you can also easily make your own using the Mailchimp drag-and-drop builder.
You can work from a Theme if you want, but I like to go with a Basic template so I don’t accidentally forget to change anything.
Choose whatever style you like best. I always go with the Basic 1 Column.
From here, add whatever elements you know you’re going to want in each of your emails. Think: logo, photo of yourself, signature, links to recent posts, social follow links, etc.
Mine includes the pre-header, my logo, a textbox with my headers formatted how I want them, a photo next to my signature, some blog post links, and the password to my resource library.
Utilize this template so creating campaigns is as easy as copying and pasting the body of your email into the template and pressing Schedule.
5 | Start sending out emails!
Alright, now it’s time to start sending out emails! Come up with a schedule that works best for you (I prefer weekly) and start filling in your editorial calendar with newsletter topics!
Whenever I’m writing my emails, I type them up in a Google Doc so I always have access to them.
Once you’re ready to send it out, click on Create Campaign, select Regular Campaign, and choose a group or segment of your list to send the email to. Typically, you’re going to choose Send to entire list. Click next.
Now you’ll fill in the campaign name (which is for your own reference and isn’t seen by your subscribers) and the subject line. I don’t change anything else when I get to this page. Click next.
Now you’ll choose the awesome template you created in Step 4! Go to Saved Templates and select it from the list. Click next.
Now copy and paste your content into your email. Once it looks the way you want it (don’t forget to read through it one last time!), click next.
Here’s where Mailchimp will tell you if you’ve made any mistakes that prevent you from sending out the email. If not, you’ll be able to click Send (to send it out immediately) or Schedule (to send it out in the future). I always go for Schedule so I’m sending out my emails at the same time on the same day of the week.
Once you choose a time to send your email out, click Schedule and you’re good to go! Mailchimp will send it out at the time you’ve selected.
Mailchimp is a great tool to get started with email lists. It’s easy to use and inexpensive (if not free!). As you’re going through, let me know if you have any questions in the comments! I’m happy to help!
Hey—want some one-on-one help getting this set up? Book a 20-minute consultation and we can work through it via video chat!
Rachel @ STCL says
Great info! I’ve been wanting to start an email list for quite some time now. Hoping to get to it soon!
That’s awesome, Rachel! Let me know when you do!
Reaiah Rose Cubero says
So glad I found this. I just set up my Mailchimp. Thank you.
Caitlin Honard says
I’m so glad it was helpful!