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MailChimp 4 – how to create a template for your newsletter

Welcome to Lesson 4 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts, and MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form, this time we’re going to learn how to create a simple template for a newsletter.

Why do I need a template for my newsletter?

Setting up a template means that you save a lot of time each time you send out your newsletter. You can spend all the time creating a lovely template once, then just pop the text in each time you want to send a newsletter out.  It also means that you can import a branded template created for you by a designer which includes your specific brand, colours and messages.

How do I create a MailChimp newsletter template?

You can find the Templates area in the top menu on MailChimp:

MailChimp templates menu

If you haven’t already created any templates, you will find a message that You have no saved Templates and a handy arrow pointing to the Create Template button. You can always use this Create Template button even if you have previously created a template; it just won’t have an arrow pointing to it.

MailChimp create template

Starting off – choosing a style for your template

Once you’ve clicked Create Template you will be walked through choosing a design.

You can see here that you can choose Basic, Themes or Code Your Own.

Basic, seen here, gives you a range of layouts for your newsletter. You can have one or two columns,  or a combination of any number of columns and layouts. We’re going to use one of these eventually, but let’s have a look at the other options. If you click on Themes

MailChimp choose template

Themes gives you colourful backgrounds that might inspire you or might be a bit much – it’s all down to personal choice. The default view will be the Featured themes, which is presumably those that are new, but you can navigate the whole set of themes in different ways.

MailChimp choose template

For example, click on All and you can see particular themes, for example if you wanted to create a birthday or wedding newsletter, and various other categories. You can also use Search themes to search for particular colours, etc.

MailChimp choose template

To take a quick look at the Code Your Own tab, this is where you can drop in a template that someone else has coded and designed for you (there are a few companies out there offering this service) or one that you’ve designed yourself. Select the appropriate option, paste in or upload your design, and there’s your template, ready to use! (in this case, now skip to How to save your MailChimp template.

MailChimp choose template

How to create a basic template in MailChimp

OK, having had a look around the options, we’re now going to set up a basic template.

We’re back at the Basic tab, and I’m choosing the third option on the top row, as that’s how I’d like my newsletter to look. Click on the Select button to choose that layout:

MailChimp choose template

And once you’ve selected your layout, you can get on with customising it.

Customising your MailChimp template

Once you’ve chosen a layout, now it’s time to customise it. Luckily, MailChimp will walk you through the process.

You can see from this screenshot that you have the template on the left-hand side and a set of options that you can drop into that template on the right. Each block can contain anything you want it to, but you’ll see that the layout is the same as the one I chose in the previous stage.

MailChimp customise template

To add a section of text to your newsletter template, click on Text on the right, hold the mouse button down, drag it to where you want the text to be, then let to go to drop it in. Simple! (hopefully). But what if you want to add images?

How to add an image to your MailChimp template

If you want to add an image to a block of your MailChimp template, you can click the Browse button in the middle of the template (or drag an image there if you have a folder of images open at the same time – most people do it this way).

MailChimp customise template

Browse will take you to the folders in your own computer, so you can navigate to your chosen image and double click it to add it to the block:

MailChimp customise template add image

If you want to edit or replace the image, hover over it and you’ll see an Edit icon. In the right-hand part of the screen, you will have the option to Replace Edit Link Alt. Too many screen shots spoil the post, so I’ll leave you to explore these options with a guide:

  • Replace will allow you to replace this image with another one
  • Edit will allow you to resize the image or edit its metadata
  • Link will allow you to apply a link to the image, meaning that when your reader clicks on the image, they will be taken to another website – you might use this with an image of your logo (taking them through to your website) or a product you sell (taking them through to a buying page)
  • Alt will allow you to add Alt(ernative) text to the image. This is text that you can provide explaining what the image is. This is useful both for readers who have opted to receive plain-text newsletters (if they can choose this option on your sign-up form) and will see text rather than a broken link, and for readers who might have a visual impairment and be using a text-reading program – they will have this description read to them

MailChimp customise template add image

Once you’ve used images in your template once, they will be available to use in the File Manager, so if you’ve clicked Replace, you can pop there to choose a different image and Upload it.

MailChip amend customise template

How to add social media buttons to your MailChimp template

Another popular option for newsletters, and you’ve probably seen this on ones you read, is to have social media buttons on the newsletter which take readers through to your Facebook and Twitter streams or website.

To add social media buttons to your template, find the Social Follow section in the Content options (Social Share, by the way, allows readers to share your newsletter on their social media platforms – if you want people to click through to your Facebook etc. page, use Social Follow):

MailChimp template social follow

Click, hold the mouse button down, drag and drop it where you want to place it in your template:

MailChip  template social follow

When your buttons are in your template, the right-hand section will change to allow you to personalise these links. Add your own Facebook page, Twitter stream and website URLs to this section and press Save & Close. This will make sure that the buttons click through to your own presence on the social media platforms:

MailChip  template social follow

Now continue to add sections to your template until you’re happy with how it looks.

How to save your MailChimp template

Once you’ve finished designing your template, hit Save and Exit in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen:

MailChimp template save

You will be prompted to give your template a name at this point. Make sure it’s clear and easy to identify – maybe you’re going to create one newsletter about the fairy pictures you paint and one about the steampunk watches you make, in which case you’d label them accordingly. Then hit Save.

MailChimp template save

Now we’re back in that Templates area, but now you’ve got your new template saved in the list (note that the Create Template button is still there for next time you want to create a new template).

MailChimp template list of templates

What are those other files? MailChimp handily autosaves your templates in the background as you’re going along, so you can pick up where you left off if everything goes wrong. You can see it saved at 4.09 and 4.12. These should disappear next time you go into the Templates area – if not, you can use Edit then delete to remove them.

How do I edit a MailChimp template?

If you want to edit your template, hit the Edit button to the right of the template name and you’ll be taken back into the Template Editor screen.

——

In this article, we’ve learned how to set up a simple MailChimp newsletter template that you can choose when it’s time to send out your first newsletter. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts

MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form

How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

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Small business chat update – Bob Fowke

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Bob Fowke from publishing company YouCaxton. I first interviewed Bob in 2012, and he updated us on his progress in January 2013 and January 2014. At that point, this is where he wanted to be by now: “We hope that our name will be known for quality at a national level. It’s going to  take more  than a year, but I’d love YouCaxton to be thought of as the Rolls-Royce of self-publishing – and, incidentally, we just published a biography of Charles Rolls and it’s selling very well”. A good link there, and amazingly for the interviewees, he does seem to be in the position he wanted to be – so many people have changed direction, moved their focus or just found the market has pushed them in a certain way, so this is quite a rarity! Let’s see how Bob is getting on …

Hello again, Bob! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Almost exactly, I would say. We’re gaining a good reputation by dint of hard work and through taking endless care of our writers, and we’re becoming well-recognised in our field. We’ve published some wonderful books and there’s more in the pipeline. There’s a real thrill when something worthwhile comes across my desk.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

It’s been incremental. The website has developed consistently and we’ve been able to take on more work – steady growth in other words. The biggest change is that we’re starting, tentatively, to act as publishers for one or two very specific books. We intend to make use of all three publishing models: publishing, co-publishing with authors and self-publishing by authors.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’ve learned a lot about book design – even though I’m not the designer. It’s a subtle art.

Any more hints and tips for people?

It’s always the same. If you’ve written, or want to write, a book, by far the most important thing is to make every effort to write a good book. There are a lot of books out there and it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd. Publishing may have changed but this simple but hugely demanding requirement remains the same. The big danger with self-publishing is to publish prematurely. Take your time and don’t publish before you’re really ready and make sure you have it properly edited.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

A bit bigger and slightly more diversified – with a Rolls-Royce of websites and superbly experienced editors and designers able to give the best service available. We still aim for quality above quantity.

Sounds like a good plan for me – slow growth and refinement of your business offering is a good way to go. And although I don’t work with YouCaxton, I can certainly echo Bob’s exhortation to wait a bit and let that book get as good as it can before publishing. One of my clients is on his seventh set of re-writes at the moment, and I know that process of refinement in his book is going to make a better book, just as Bob’s refinement and polishing of his business is going to make a better business.

The YouCaxton website is at http://www.youcaxton.co.uk/ and you can find all the requisite contact details there. Bob himself can be found on Twitter.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Small business chat update – Andrew Donnelly

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update – with Andrew Donnelly, who creates apps for iTunes (see the link at the bottom of this piece). I originally interviewed Andrew back in August 2011 and then followed up in September 2012, and the last one was in October 2013. When I asked him then where he wanted to be in a year’s time, he replied “I have work planned to take me up until 2014 at the moment, so my focus is on that, and I expect that to last into mid 2014. Working alongside a global brand on strategy and producing apps for them is an enjoyable experience so I hope it continues.” At that point he was working with just one company, giving them exclusive rights to his experience and expertise – now things have broadened out and shifted for him, as happens in fast-moving industries like technology. Let’s see how he’s getting on.

Hello again, Andrew! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

2014 was another good year for me as a business. The demand for iOS app work has increased dramatically from businesses, however with this has come a a shift in what I do slightly. I have found myself working more on what are called Enterprise apps (which means they are not delivered through the App Store but direct to the device). With this shift, also my main focus has been working on iPads, which has brought its own challenges, too.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I was hoping that the work with the Global Client I mentioned in last year’s interview would continue, however this didn’t materialise, Ive learned that the App Development market changes very quickly and keeping up with the new trends has required a lot of work outside of normal working hours. However, that has brought its own rewards with a greater knowledge of the technology.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

This year, I wrote my first game Red Dot (give it a go, it’s free, it’s a pretty simple one but quite addictive). It was built using Sprite Kit – I wish I had done this sooner, as I’m eager to make another one now.

Any more hints and tips for people?

“Not my circus, not my monkeys” has been a good mantra to follow, as in concentrate on what you need to do, not what’s going on around you that doesn’t concern you.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Looking forward, I can see a lot more App work in the world of connected technologies and home. I think this is going to be a year where the game changes dramatically in the sense of what we can do with smart phones in a number of areas
1) connected home – controlling central heating, lights, garage doors, kettles, to name a few, are all out to market already.
2) Wearables – watches, fitness devices, gaming controllers, smart clothes all seem to be in the pipeline.
3) Beacons – like a personal GPS, you can set them up to detect based on proximity and action apps on the back of that, e.g. shop store fronts can offer discounts to customers who have the app installed.

I see the business looking into these technologies in more depth and producing apps to support them and make everyday life a little easier and smarter.

That’s all very interesting – we’ve been dabbling in the world of wearables here in Libro Towers, and there’s a lot more talk about that sort of thing even permeating into the less techy worlds. It must be exciting to be at the forefront of technological development like Andrew is, but then again, “Not my circus, not my monkeys” can be applied very generally!

You can find Andrew’s iTunes apps here.  and contact him via email or Twitter: as he says, “I’m always still open to giving people advice or guidance to help them out”.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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On completion of your edit, will my manuscript be ready for publication?

On completion of your edit, will my manuscript be ready for publication?
I was asked this question by a prospective client recently, and it seemed like a good opportunity to share the answer with the wider world.
So, if you send your novel or non-fiction book.article or chapter to your editor for copyediting (fiction writers might know this as line editing), is it going to be ready for publication once they have gone through it?
Well, to be honest, probably not. What you will receive from your editor is a document marked up with suggested changes and comments. You will need to go through all of these and undoubtedly action some comments or questions that they’ve given.

Going through your editor’s comments

Once your editor has gone through your document, it will come back with a range of different comments and suggestions.
To break these down, they might include all of some of the following:
  • Vital textual changes – you will need to go through these but will probably accept most of them – they will be based on grammatical, punctuation etc. rules, or will be picking up typos.
  • Suggested textual changes – Your editor should be striving to retain your ‘voice’ and to help you get across your points, ideas or story, and they might well suggest rearrangements of sentences, changes in word choices, etc. Some of these you might not accept, for example I have a client who doesn’t like semi colons, so I know they will reject any I add (of course I just don’t add them now!). Some might be a matter of style but will make the piece consistent (e.g. use of capitalisation and hyphens which is often inconsistent in texts I work on).
  • Style sheet questions – your editor should send you the style sheet they’ve built up while editing your work, which will list all of the choices that they’ve made (where there’s a choice to be made) in a separate document, alongside any terminology that they’ve made consistent, etc. This might, however, include questions – for example, if you have used “the chapter” and “the article” interchangeably and an equal number of times in your short piece, your editor might not know what its eventual destination is, and might leave a question in the style sheet for you to answer (that’s how I do it) – then you will need to make that terminology consistent
  • Comments and questions – there will be points at which your editor may suggest, for example, moving a section to a different chapter, saying something in a different way to make it more clear, or even marking a section that they find unclear and then suggesting that you rewrite it. You will then need to action those points yourself, moving or rewriting sections as necessary.

What happens next?

Once that’s all done, if you haven’t done so before, I suggest that you get some people to beta-read the book to give you their reactions and suggestions to the content, now that consistencies and the most obvious issues have been ironed out. You may need to do a bit of rewriting on the basis of their comments.
If the rewriting is substantial, it’s a good idea to have your editor look over either the whole document or just the sections that have been changed (I usually ask my clients to highlight the bits they want me to check in the whole document, so I can see where they sit in the work as a whole). And then you will need to go through the above process again.
Once that’s done, before you publish the manuscript, you will need to have it proofread to check that no additional errors have crept in and to ensure that it’s going to look good in publication (if you’re doing a print book, the proofreader will need to see a pdf of the final version, if an e-book, a Word document is often OK). This person shouldn’t be the original editor, because they would be too close to the contents, and you should send them your editor’s style sheet so that they know how certain things should be and don’t waste time changing them to their preference.

Once the proofreader’s comments come back, it would be very unusual if you didn’t have something to change. So, you will need to make those changes – and this might affect your book design, so you might have to have your book designer look over the whole thing again.

Then you might just be able to consider it ready for publication!

Related articles on this blog

Do I need editing or proofreading?

Dealing with Track Changes in a document

My work is being proofread – why do I need to use Spell Check?

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Copyediting, proofreading, Word, Writing

 

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Small business chat update – Simon Forder

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Simon Forder from RingHello. Simon is one of my original 2011 interviewees, with a catch-up in October 2012, and we last caught up with Simon in November 2013, when things were changing rapidly in the telemarketing business but he was excited about having his new book published. At that point, he said, “I am hoping in a year’s time to have consolidated the position with regard to The Castle Guy, so that I can spend more time on this passion of mine, and to be more stable with my RingHello work, rather than be working on a month by month basis. Having new clients is always a nervy time, so as I continue to get results for them this should happen. Speak to you next year!” So, how have things gone?

Hello, Simon, how are you? Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I’m not sure that this time last year I had an expectation about where I would be, more an idea about where I wanted to be. By and large I think I am in the right general area, but of course things happened a bit differently to how I might have expected them to. A shoulder injury has caused delays in the development of The Castle Guy side of my business, but at the same time allowed me the space I needed to sit back and approach things from a different and very exciting direction – after having the time to reflect on it all! As the telemarketing is my bread and butter still, I concentrated on getting the job done during the day, leaving me little scope to continue at my desk in the evenings. So I am in a more consolidated position with The Castle Guy. With telemarketing, the business has remained constant, which is a good thing.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Reading through the comments I made last year, the market hasn’t changed all that much since 2013, and all the statements I made in our previous interview still ring true today – I am still having these conversations with prospective clients. The moves we made to encourage clients to us that value what we can do, and discourage those whose business models don’t fit with ours, have been successful, and we don’t get very many queries from people who don’t already buy into our way of working, and our areas of speciality.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

With my increasing focus on The Castle Guy, I have found that it is very easy to allow myself to get over-ambitious with what I can achieve in a day, and that quite often because I like to do things thoroughly, they (a) take longer than I expect and (b) don’t need to be perfect, because what I see as imperfect other people see as an exceptional piece of work. This has meant I have become far more aware of making sure I don’t over-reach myself and burn out. I wish I had known this time last year that I would still be suffering pain from an injury after 12 months; it would have enabled me to do a little at a time rather than do nothing and hope that I would recover quickly and just get cracking again.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Just one – listen to what your body tells you! If you don’t, it might just have to shout louder.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Ooh, I don’t know. I plan to have made significant progress with The Castle Guy, so that I can devote more time to it, and develop it further. The more I do with it, the more I should get back, so fingers crossed for a successful 2015! With RingHello, I’d still like a bit more stability, but perhaps that’s a change in the marketplace that’s permanent. Either way I am confident that what is right will happen when it’s meant to. And I also hope to be back to full fitness by then too!

It sounds like it’s been an eventful year, but one from which Simon has learnt and drawn some basic principles, so the effort hasn’t been at all wasted. Getting customers on board who already accept and prefer your way of working is a major bonus, and bodes well for the future. We wish Simon all the best for a full recovery, too, of course!

Simon can be found at ringhello.co.uk and you can find all his contact details here or call him on . His book is available via his website and on Amazon.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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MailChimp 3 – setting a sign-up form for your newsletter subscriber list

Welcome to Lesson 3 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, and MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts, this time we’re going to learn how to create a sign-up form to allow people to consciously and willingly sign up to receive your email newsletter.

Remember, once you set up a subscriber list, there are two ways to populate it:

1. Import members from a previous mailing list (ensuring that you have their explicit permission to send them marketing communications)

2. Offer people a sign-up form via which they can choose to sign up for your newsletter.

I prefer Option 2, and we’re going to find out how to do that now.

How do access the MailChimp contacts list area?

As a quick reminder (full details are in this previous article), when you sign in to MailChimp, you will find Create a List on your front screen, but at any time, you can click on Lists at the top to get into the Lists area:

MailChimp lists area

Once you’re in the Lists area, if you have any lists set up, they will show here, and if you are going in to do this for the first time, you will see that You have no Lists, and be pointed to the Create List button:

MailChimp create list

Once there, you have an option to click on setup a signup form (or set up a sign-up form, even), so click there:

MailChimp sign-up form

You will now find a few options on forms to create – all of them are designed in the same basic way, but some can be embedded into your website. For now, we’re going to create a General Form which will come complete with its own URL to which you can direct people from social media, your website, etc. (see top right in the top of the sidebar for what that looks like in real life).

MailChimp create sign-up form

Once you’re in the Create Forms page, you can see at the top that you have a URL or web address. That will never change, and you can use that to direct people to your sign-up form. You can generate a QR code if you want to, by clicking on the button.

You can also see two options at the top: Let subscribers pick email format and Protect your signup form with reCAPCHA – I would recommend ticking both of these.

Let subscribers pick email format will give your subscribers the option to have emails delivered in plain text or HTML format. This means that if they’re using a slow Internet connection or don’t have much bandwidth, your newsletter will be sent to them in a text-only form, without the pretty pictures (this means you’ll need to make sure to add description and alt-text to any pictures in your newsletter), and just gives them more options.

Protect your signup form with reCAPTCHA means that subscribers will have to manually click and tick a box to prove that they’re a real person. It protects you from automated signing up bots filling in your form and giving you false subscriber numbers. It’s all very accessible and offers alternatives, so I’d go for it. It shows people signing up that you’re serious and are protecting your list, too.

MailChimp sign-up form

Once you’ve filled in those details, you can go on to creating your sign-up form: let’s scroll down to have a look:

MailChiimp basic sign-up form

Now, in fact, you can just go with this form, as a very basic example. The subscriber will be able to enter their email address, first and last name and click to Subscribe to list. Simple. So you can actually leave it there.

But you might want to add more flourishes, text and options to your sign-up form – if you do, read on; if you don’t, then skip to the “What does my form look like in real life?” section near to the end.

How can I add more fields and text to my MailChimp sign-up form?

We’ve created a basic sign-up form but you might want more.

For a start, see that space where you can Click to add a message at the top? Here you can personalise the form and be a bit more friendly. Once you click in the text box, a text editor will come up – you can add all sorts of things in here, including links, images, etc. (this is the same text editor you will use when you’re creating your actual newsletter).

I’ve just typed some straightforward text in here – once you’ve added what you want, hit the Save & Close button

MailChimp add text to sign-up form

You will be returned to your Build It area, and you can see that the text has now appeared in that top section.

To add more options, such as collecting birthday dates (great if you’re a restaurant and want to collect that info to send out a special birthday meal offer) or full address if people are also signing up to have an item sent to them. Here we’re going to look at Radio Buttons, which gives you the option to give your subscribers choices about things …

MailChimp add text to sign-up form

What things do you want your subscribers to choose, you may ask. Well, although we’re not going to go into the ins and outs of getting people to sign up for your newsletter right here and now, it is common to offer subscribers a little freebie in return for their joining your newsletter (which is really a favour to you). For example, I offer subscribers a free pdf of a sample chapter from one of my books (as you’ll see in the final screenshot in this article).

So, click on Radio Buttons and drag it across to between Last Name and Subscribe to List. There is is, in your sign-up form.

Now click on the field settings tab to personalise those choices:

MailChimp sign up form add fields

As you can see below, field settings allows you to give the radio buttons a name and to add text to those buttons, add and remove them, and generally personalise everything. Here I’ve  …

  • added help text to appear when the subscriber hovers over the buttons
  • added two choices as to whether they want to receive something
  • clicked on the minus button by the third choice, because I only want to offer two

MailChimp add fields to sign-up form

As you do this and press Save Field, there you can see just two choices, each with my text by it.

MailChimp add fields to sign-up form

You can see plus and minus buttons under this area – this allows you to delete it if you decide not to have it (note, when you press the minus, MailChimp demands that you type the word DELETE in a box – make sure you do that or you’ll get stuck in a loop of endless error messages. It’s trying to help you not to delete your careful design by mistake …).

And there we have it – it’s fine to play around a bit with the form, you can see how to drag different fields across and then delete them if you want to, so have a play around with it.

How do I get back to my MailChimp sign-up form to check the URL or edit it?

If you want to return to your sign-up form, choose Lists from the top menu, then click the drop-down arrow next to Stats and click on Signup forms:

MailChimp edit sign-up form

Once there, you can check your URL and amend your form if you want to.

What does my MailChimp sign-up form look like in real life?

You’ve created your form – what does it look like to a new subscriber? Remember that URL at the top of the page? You can find that at any time by going to the signup forms page (see above section). Pop the URL in your browser address bar and you can see what your subscribers will see:

MailChimp sign-up form subscriber view

You can see the message we added and the options for receiving a free copy of something, receiving the newsletter in Text format, and a reCAPTCHA section which asks for a tick in a box, and a Subscribe to list button.

And what happens when you get a new subscriber?

You will receive an email in your inbox which includes all of the information you asked for – this is one of my own, so the question is a little different, but you get the idea. Now I can email that person their sample chapter and they will receive my email newsletter until they unsubscribe.

MailChimp new subscriber email

In this article, we’ve learned how to access the Lists part of MailChimp and set up a sign-up form. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts

MailChimp 4 – setting up your newsletter template

How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

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MailChimp 2 – setting up your list and importing contacts

Welcome to Lesson 2 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, this time we’re going to learn how to set up the list of people to send your newsletter to.

There are two ways to populate your list:

1. Import members from a previous mailing list (making sure that you have their explicit approval and permission to send out marketing materials to them)

2. Offer people a sign-up form via which they can choose to sign up for your newsletter.

I prefer Option 2, but I’m going to go through option 1 with you in this article then write about setting up a sign-up form next time (if you’re reading this day by day, you will only have to wait two days, don’t worry!).

Why do I need to create a list in my MailChimp account?

Put simply, you need to give MailChimp a list of people to send your newsletters to. It’s as simple as that, and is the second stage in signing up for an account.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an email list to import – you can start off with an empty “list” and a sign-up form that will fill it for you.

How do I create my MailChimp contacts list?

When you sign in to MailChimp, you will find Create a List on your front screen, but at any time, you can click on Lists at the top to get into the Lists area:

MailChimp lists area

Once you’re in the Lists area, if you have any lists set up, they will show here, and if you are going in to do this for the first time, you will see that You have no Lists, and be handily pointed to the Create List button:

MailChimp create list

Once you’ve pressed Create List, you will find yourself in a screen that allows you to create a list. Note here that you can create more than one list, for example, maybe one for customer newsletters and one for general or prospect ones, or I might create one for my social media tips readers and one about my books. For now, we’ll just create one called “My Company Newsletter”.

You can fill in the list title and your email address to show in the “from” section of your readers’ email clients, and you will want to pop a name in to show who it comes from – I always advise using a real, human name, not just a company name.

Remind people how they got on your list gives you a place in which to reassure people that they have signed up for this newsletter and they are not being spammed (you’ll see that I’ve filled this in on the final screenshot – it won’t let you proceed if you don’t).

MailChimp list details

Then we reach the Contact information area. MailChimp is gratifyingly careful to stop you spamming, and this is an important area. If you click on Why is this necessary, you will see this explanatory screen all about spam laws:

4 why they need address

Note here that I haven’t put in a home address, because this is an example, but you should include your full business address here. A disclaimer for anyone who’s on my own list – I haven’t got my exact, pinpointed address on here, because I work from home. But if you’re running a business with a business address, you should include your full address. MailChimp pulls this information from your sign-up information, so you can see there’s an Edit button to allow you to change this if you need to.

Scrolling down to the bottom of the screen. We have an opportunity here to choose how we see our sign-up notifications. I’ve ticked one-by-one because I want to be notified of sign-ups and unsubscribes as they happen, but as your list gets busier and more active, and especially if you don’t have an action you need to perform when someone signs up, you might want to go onto a daily summary.

MailChimp list details

Time to press the Save button – and now you’re returned to the List screen for your list “My Company Newsletter”, which now usefully tells you that you have no subscribers:

MailChimp list subscribers

You can see that under the You have no subscribers message there are two links to click: import subscribers or setup a signup form (or as I prefer to say it, set up a sign-up form). We’re going to learn how to import subscribers now, so we’ll click on that link:

MailChimp import subscribers

The Import Subscribers function allows you to import from a huge range of sources, including all sorts of programs that exist to capture subscriber lists. You can create a list in Excel or export a sub-section of your email list into a .csv or .txt file, or just connect to your email program.

I’m not going to go into detail on all of those options here, that’s something that’s separate from MailChimp (Google or YouTube is your friend if you want to know how to do these things) and I’m really advising newbies to create a sign-up form here. We’ll take a quick look at what happens when you import your email contacts, then next time we’ll do it the sign-up form way.

Here, I’m going to choose Import from Google Contacts:

MailChimp import subscribers

Note here the message from MailChimp – people who you add in this way are not going to receive confirmation emails that you’ve signed them up for your newsletter. When you use a sign-up form, they will receive a confirmation and an extra step to confirm they want to receive the newsletter, which is another reason I prefer that method.

MailChimp also warns you that you must already have permission from all people on your email list to send them newsletters. Do you have their explicit permission? If not, it’s best not to use this method.

9 import subscribers

You can see from the above screenshot that clicking on Authorize Connection will take you through to the service in question, in this case your Gmail, and will ask you to log in in order to populate the list. This will also happen if you click on any of the other buttons with service names on them (if you click on excel or .csv, it will just ask you to go and find the file). I didn’t go through with this because I didn’t want to import people who hadn’t given permission into MailChimp, but it will walk you through the steps to import the contacts and end up with a list.

What you really want to do is create a sign-up form, right? If you’re reading this when it’s published, you’ll need to wait two days for that (if you’re a new visitor, do add this blog to your RSS reader or click for email subscriptions). If you’re reading this after 19 February, you’ll be able to click here to find out how to create a sign-up form.

So, in this article, we’ve learned how to access the Lists part of MailChimp and how to import contacts. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 3 – setting up a sign-up form

MailChimp 4 – setting up your newsletter template

How to avoid two common MailChimp errors

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

Tags: , , ,

 
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