Welcome to the first in a series of walk-throughs that will show you how to set up a MailChimp account, set up templates and lists, and send out a MailChimp newsletter. You can start to set up your subscriber list in MailChimp 2 and create a sign-up form in MailChimp 3 …
What is MailChimp?
MailChimp is a web-based service which allows you to send out newsletters to a list of people who have signed up to receive them. There are other services out there, but MailChimp is very popular, often recommended to newbies and is free as long as you have under 2,000 subscribers and send out fewer than 12,000 emails per month. You can upgrade in order to get extra features and also if your list goes over the 2,000 mark. Please note right here and now that I’m not being sponsored by MailChimp for doing these posts – I’ve been asked to do them by people I’ve been working with at social media training sessions, and I happen to use MailChimp myself so can give you all some training resources. Other similar services include iContact, Constant Contact and Aweber and you might want to check these out before committing to MailChimp.
Why use a special program? Why not just send out emails?
That’s a good point: if you have a load of emails to send out, why not, you know, just email them? Here are a few reasons:
- It’s really, really easy to cc instead of bcc when you send out a mass email. CC is the one where everyone can see the email address of everyone the email’s been sent to. People get really annoyed when that happens.
- Internet service providers can get really suspicious if you’re sending out regular emails to hundreds of people – or if one of their clients receives such emails. Your newsletter is likely to bounce into a spam folder and your own ISP might block you from sending them.
- There are rules on spamming and using people’s email addresses to market to them without permission. The key is to allow people to opt in rather than assume they are to opt out. Services like MailChimp look after this, making sure people opt in to your mailings properly and that your details are on your emails. So you can be reassured that you’re not doing anything inappropriate.
- It’s really easy to design nice newsletters, include photos and all sorts when using a service like MailChimp.
How do I sign up to MailChimp?
In this post, we’re going to walk through exactly how to sign up to MailChimp. In future posts, we’ll look at more detail of templates, getting people onto your list, etc. But here are the stages of signing up:
First of all, go to www.mailchimp.com, where you will find a button marked Sign Up. Hit that button:
Note, because it’s not that clear, that your password must tick all the boxes below the password entry area. Here I’ve missed out on “one special character”, so I had to add an exclamation mark to my password:
At this point, you need to pop over to the email account that you gave in the sign-up step. The email from MailChimp will obviously be from them and will have a subject line that talks about validating your account. When you open the email, it will look like this:
Fill in as much of this form as you can. The address details are so that MailChimp can include them at the bottom of your newsletters. This is good practice and it’s a legal requirement in many countries to include this information on emails. However, if you run your business from a private address, as I do, I think it’s fine to smooth over the details a little and, for example, not include your house number. I am not a lawyer, though, and you might wish to check the legal requirements in your country.
You can add a profile photo at this point, if you wish.
Once you press the Save and Get Started button, you will find yourself in the main MailChimp screen, from which you can create templates, an email list or a campaign (i.e. an actual newsletter). This is also the screen you will encounter when you go to the website and log in rather than signing up.
Coming soon – articles on creating a newsletter template, adding sign-up forms, and sending out your campaign …
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