How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

10 Sep

Mailchimp is a very popular program for sending newsletters – mainly because it’s free to use to send newsletters and other messages to up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. I use it myself, as do the people who write quite a few of the newsletters I subscribe to. If you use MailChimp yourself, this post helps you to avoid two common mistakes that I see occurring very frequently (and if you don’t use it yourself, I bet you see at least one of these in the newsletters you subscribe to – feel free to share this post with their creators!).

What am I talking about?

Well, this is what you might see in your email box when you receive a newsletter:

MailChimp newsletter email with errors

Ignore the “[Test]” – that’s me sending test copies of my newsletter to myself for demonstration purposes. So, with email on preview mode, and then when you open the email:

Full MailChimp email with errors

… what can we see here?

  1. The email subject is simply “Newsletter”. Not that inviting.
  2. This is the biggie – there’s an odd bit of text in the preview that reads “Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content.”

How often have you seen the second point and been confused or even tutted slightly to yourself? (Note: as a kind editor, I avoid tutting. But I do smile wryly every time I see it and think, “I really MUST write a blog post about that one”).

How do these MailChimp mistakes come about?

I’m going to assume here that you know how to set up and send a MailChimp newsletter campaign, and just concentrate on eliminating these errors. If you need a step-by-step MailChimp walkthrough, let me know in the comments and I’ll put one together for you if enough people want it.

The boring email title error comes on the Campaign Info page:

MailChimp campaign info pageIf you set up your very first campaign with a title like this, it will carry on sending it like that forever, but this is editable. I’m not going to go into ideas for good subject lines here – first off, MailChimp obviously provides a link to some further information, as you can see from the screenshot, but I’d like to take a moment here to mention my client Nathan Littleton’s book, “Delivered“, which has masses of information on creating a good email marketing campaign, including lots of advice on subject lines (he’s not sponsoring this post: I edited this book and I got loads of ideas from it which I’ve implemented in my own newsletter, to good effect).

So, first things first: change that Email subject field to a good, interesting phrase and I’d like to bet that you’ll stop boring your subscriber list and get more opens.

The second one is the dreaded “Use this area … ” text. How does it get there?

Well, when you get to the Design screen in your campaign creation process, bits of helpful text automatically appear in your template to tell you what to do. And one of the bits of helpful text that always appears is this one, right in the top of the screen, and in ever such a small font so that you’re very likely not to see it:

Sample teaser text in MailChimp

And that’s where that text pulls from that displays in your recipients’ emails.

Whatever the design, it’s always up there. Your eye is of course drawn to the main body of the email – the nice picture, the lovingly crafted text you’re going to place into the template.

What do you need to do here? Simply click on that teaser text, just like you would to edit the main body of the newsletter, and you can enter whatever text you want to.

What should it look like?

Once you’ve given your newsletter a more dynamic subject line and eradicated that bit of pesky sample text, this is what your email recipients will see:

MailChimp errors corrected

I think you’ll agree that you’d be more likely to open that one .. and so will your newsletter recipients!

In this article I’ve shared how to avoid two common MailChimp newsletter errors. Please do use the sharing buttons below to share this with anyone who you think might find it useful – thank you!


Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Business, Errors, Social media


Tags: , ,

48 responses to “How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

  1. Adam Goebel

    September 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips!


    • Liz at Libro

      September 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you found it useful.


  2. Sarah

    November 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Hello, I just wondered if you could advise how I can stop Mail chimp sending out my address when someone subscribes to blog? It’s causing me some safety concerns and I would prefer not to send my personal address out to subscribers. Any tips?


    • Liz Dexter

      November 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      The reason it sends out your address is to make sure you’re not a spammer and it’s all legitimate – there are rules about disclosing where an email newsletter is from. However, I have made mine just say Birmingham, UK, without my name, so you can change the address to be quite vague and they’ll let you do that. Hope that helps!


      • Jeannine

        February 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        Hello – can you tell me where to change my address to be just my town as you indicated above? I’m having the same issue as Sarah and I’m new to all of this. I can’t find where in WordPress or on the MailChimp site to make this change. Thanks in advance!


  3. julie

    February 17, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    It must be fate , I have just been looking at starting to learn about mail chimp and found your articles , they will be of great help thank you your help is greatly appreciated


    • Liz Dexter

      February 17, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Oh, that is handy – presume you’ve found the other posts, too. Enjoy – and let me know if there’s anything I miss that you’d like me to cover. Sign-up forms is ready for Thursday, then templates next week and sending out a newsletter the week after that.


  4. kylie

    April 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Liz,
    I am trying to change the visible image of the mailchimp logo on my post to facebook. Is there away I can customise the image on facebook to be my header of the newsletter and not the mailchimp logo?


    • Liz Dexter

      April 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Good question – have you got a custom design or are you using one of MailChimp’s ones?


  5. Kylie

    April 12, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Hi Liz, I am using a mailchimp template but it is my own image.


    • Liz Dexter

      April 13, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      OK, I’ve found something from MailChimp themselves which should help:

      How can I choose the image thumbnail that shows up on Facebook?:


  6. korucelebrations

    May 16, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Wow – I looked and looked for that placeholder text – assuming it was in one of the boxes I created. Thanks so much as I was going crazy!


    • Liz Dexter

      May 18, 2016 at 7:44 am

      I’m glad I could help!


    • Darlene

      September 10, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      I keep getting this message: Default text content We noticed some placeholder text in your message. Specifically, we still see “” in one of your blocks. Click Resolve to edit or remove the placeholder text. I just cannot find where to resolve this issue. Thanks for the help

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liz Dexter

        September 11, 2016 at 5:52 am

        Have you checked all of the blocks of text you’ve created to see if this text is there? There might be one for websites or links that you’ve added in. I know that sounds obvious, but I’m not sure what else to suggest. Will it let you preview the email, as it might be more obvious there?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Liz Dexter

          September 11, 2016 at 5:53 am

          Plus of course have you checked the text I’m talking about here?


  7. Jo Hamilton

    August 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Liz PLEASE can you help. I’m struggling to understand what you put in to the social media:
    Customize your tweet. Include the *|URL|* placeholder and keep it under 140 characters (including the URL). Box. I’ve tried adding my website address in the brackets. then #tags outside the brackets, but it keeps rejecting saying include the place holder, and I dont know what that means. Can you send me an example of this section filled out correctly so that i can see where i’m going wrong please.


    • Liz Dexter

      August 15, 2016 at 5:38 am

      Thanks for your question, Jo. You need to type *|URL|* and it will place the URL of your campaign in the box – the customisable bit is the text you put before it. So for example you could put

      Hey! new newsletter from Libro here!! *|URL|*

      and then when you send out your newsletter, instead of just its URL going out in a tweet like this [I can’t remember what the standard Tweet text looks like so this is an example]

      www. mailchimp. com/libronewsletter

      the tweet will say

      Hey! new newsletter from Libro here!! www. mailchimp. com/libronewsletter

      The *|URL|* is a little code for Mailchimp to look for and it will know to put the URL of your current newsletter in that place. It’s called a “placeholder” because it holds a standard place in the tweet for Mailchimp to fill with something.

      I hope that helps!


  8. Robert McCullough

    October 3, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    You’re obviously a Mailchimp genius and I’m a Mailchimp moron.
    I’ve got a template campaign set to go, but it won’t send because I continue to get this message: “Default text content
    We noticed some placeholder text in your message. Specifically, we still see “” in one of your blocks. Click Resolve to edit or remove the placeholder text.”
    I’ve “cleared styles” and searched the html code, and find none of the placeholder text in any of my content.
    WHAT TO DO? (I’ve even rebuilt the entire template and typed content directly into the editor (no cut-paste)…keep getting this message blocking the campaign.


    • Liz Dexter

      October 4, 2016 at 7:43 am

      Thank you for your message. This is the same issue that commenter above, Darlene, had. Have you checked the text I’m discussing in this article, first of all? What happens when you click “resolve”, does it show you the place where it thinks the error is or just take you back to the edit screens? Looking at this screen in Mailchimp’s own knowledge base (scroll down to almost the bottom) it will be in a block in the text that they add as a default, rather than one you’ve created, so look around the margins of your newsletter, the top and bottom, and it might be there.

      I hope this helps, it’s all I can think of and/or find for you. Please do let me know if you find a solution, especially as you’re not the first person to ask!


      • Robert McCullough

        October 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        Yeah, clicking “resolve” only took me back to the edit screens. Pretty circular and less than helpful.
        After nearly 3 hours of serious frustration, I discovered that Mailchimp resets the website link attached to some of the social media buttons at the bottom of the frame. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the content written…it had to do with the “permanent” features in the template I’d built months ago. So…it’s obviously essential to review each and every element of any template which one uses more than once.

        Or, as Elmore Blues (Dan Ackroyd) once so famously said: “Whattya want for free? R-r-rubber biscuit?!”


        • Liz Dexter

          October 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

          I’m glad you’ve got it sorted out and I was on the right track with it being something they put in as a default rather than something you’d newly created. Thank you for taking the time to post an update!


  9. dina

    October 8, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Default text content
    We noticed some placeholder text in your message. Specifically, we still see “” in one of your blocks. Click Resolve to edit or remove the placeholder text.
    I am unable to send because I continue to get this message. I have thoroughly scoured the newsletter, deleted things think ing they may be prpblem but nothing works. I have sent more than dozen newsletters very similar with out problem. thanks for any help


    • Liz Dexter

      October 8, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Please see the previous questions and answers – the problem will be in the standard text that Mailchimp adds around your customised text blocks – have a look in the text blocks for the social media links etc. and you should find the offending text there. I will write a new blog post about it soon as it is a recurring problem!


  10. Michael Neves

    November 4, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Hello – I had the same problem with “Default text content” however, I managed to fix mine. I believe you’ll find the issue at the very bottom of your Mailchimp email on the website icon. If you click the icon you’ll find the placeholder text “”. I hope this helps some people.


    • Liz Dexter

      November 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Thank you, Michael: that is usually the offending text, although sometimes it’s somewhere else!


  11. Crystal Laureano

    November 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Ok, I have checked everywhere for the default text they are talking about. I don’t see any websites that have been reset to a default or anything. The pre-header I have customized, so that’s not it. Any ideas?? I’ve read it, my husband read it, I’ve previewed it, sent myself a test email—nothing.


    • Liz Dexter

      November 9, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Thank you for your question, Crystal. Have you tried Michael’s solution in a previous comment: at the very bottom of your Mailchimp email on the website icon, if you click the icon you’ll find the placeholder text “”. I hope this helps some people.


  12. SK

    November 10, 2016 at 5:42 am

    Thanks so much Liz! Very helpful!


  13. Sophie

    December 19, 2016 at 10:34 am

    You are a legend! Thank you – you’ve just saved me hours of fiddling to get rid of that bit of text at the bottom of the screen! Happy Christmas x


  14. Gracie Ruth

    January 3, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Your article helped me A LOT. Thank you for sharing! 🙂


  15. Tom Denham

    January 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    I have an odd bit of darkened out text and photo at the bottom of the newsletter I am working on but it says “editing disabled”. I just want to get rid of it. Any suggestions?


    • Liz Dexter

      January 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      That’s a bit odd. You’re logged in and normally have full rights? I’d log out, close the program, open it again, log in again and see if that sorts it out … hope that helps!


  16. Geoff Solomon

    August 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Hi, just trying to create my first Newsletter which includes a link to a word document I have uploaded and inserted – in Windows and Android it opens fine but in iOS I get



    Can you help please


    • Liz Dexter

      August 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I’m sorry, I don’t have the expertise to help with this problem as it’s not something I’m familiar with myself. I’m going to leave your question up here, though, in case anyone comes along who can answer.


      • Geoff Solomon

        August 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

        Thank you, I have already asked Mailchimp support but no reply as yet – will post their reply when they do


  17. Elizabeth

    October 4, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Hello Liz, I am new to MailChimp and have made some rookie errors. I am helping a friend announce the re-launch of her website. She is an artist and just wanted to send a blast our to some of her friends to let them know about it. First, the email sent too early. Complete silly mistake and we decided to send out another email with a corrected date. My issue is that although I use spellchecking software and proofread, the second email was sent out with spelling mistakes. Totally a rookie mistake and completely embarrassing. I am grasping at straws to see if there is a way to fix the text issues, despite the fact that the email has already been sent. I am wondering if there are any tips, tricks, etc to fix these issues? I appreciate any thoughts or advice.


    • Liz Dexter

      October 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you for your comment, I’m afraid that once it’s gone out, people will read it in their email and you can’t change it. Two ideas for next time: you can spell check in MailChimp or write the text in Word and check it there; send a test email just to yourself and a trusted friend with a good eye for detail to check it over before you send it. I would put a note in your next mailing to say you are aware there were some issues and have worked to address them. Hope that helps.


  18. Mg

    December 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Preview Text, Morning – We have a line of preview text but it doesn’t view when the campaign sends, Any tips?


    • Liz Dexter

      December 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      That does sound odd. Have you saved the campaign before sending? Have you tried resubmitting the preview text? Has it happened more than once or is this a one-off?


  19. Larry P or Doris A Wills

    September 15, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    I’m at end of patience sent “test” campaign to myself- now I can’t find a way to send the same campgain to the whole list of “subscribers” Mailchimp is free- but the frustration level is expensive
    How do I find the campgain (other in reports) to send to my whole list.


    • Liz Dexter

      September 16, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Thank you for your question. You need to go back to Campaigns – send a campaign – to whole mailing list then you will get the choice of Basic Themed Saved Templates Campaigns at which point click Campaigns and the one you’ve created should be there. Let me know that works OK!



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