MailChimp offers simple tools that make it easy to design and share email campaigns, manage your subscriber lists, and track results—even if you've never built an email before. In this article, we'll outline some basics about how to use MailChimp and link to resources that can help you as you work.

Download our printable Quick Start Guide to get your MailChimp account up and running in no time.

In this article:

Before You Start

MailChimp is a web-based application that works in most web browsers, which means you don't need to download or install any software on your computer. To make sure MailChimp works properly in your browser, you should enable cookies, pop-ups, and JavaScript. When you watch our tutorial videos, you'll need the latest version of Flash.

You'll find a number of resources available to you on the MailChimp site as you learn more about email marketing, including our video resources, a glossary of terms, and our searchable Knowledge Base of how-to and troubleshooting articles.

When you create an account with us, you agree to MailChimp's Terms of Use and to comply with anti-spam regulations. It's important that you remain in compliance—if you have questions about CAN-SPAM or other regulations, read through the Compliance Tips articles.

MailChimp Basics

MailChimp is based on three basic tasks of email marketing: manage subscriber lists, build email campaigns, and review campaign reports. 

Manage Your List

The foundation of great email marketing is a clean, updated list of email contacts, who we call "subscribers." When you create a list in MailChimp, you're prompted to input default information like who your emails come from and how your subscribers got on your list.

After you've set up your list, you can add subscribers in three ways:

  • Paste or type in subscriber contact information.
  • Upload from a spreadsheet
  • Import from your CRM (customer relationship management) database

Get step-by-step instructions on creating and importing lists.

If you don't have any subscribers yet, don't worry! MailChimp automatically generates a signup form for your list, which you can customize and post on your website or Facebook. MailChimp gives you lots of options when you build this form, so you can gather exactly the information you need from your contacts. You can also use this information to segment your list later on.

Learn how to create and design a signup form.

At MailChimp, we're serious about security and sending reputations—yours and ours. By default, our signup forms are double opt-in, which helps maintain the integrity of your mailing list and can improve email deliverability and performance. Learn about the double opt-in process.

We recommend most users maintain a single list and segment data and interest groups, as needed. This helps keep your list clean, and your billing rate low, since monthly rates are based on your total subscriber count. Duplicate subscribers across multiple lists count toward your total subscriber count.

Build a Campaign

The next part of email marketing is crafting the email message itself. There are lots of names for your email—mass email, newsletter, e-blast, e-zine—but at MailChimp, we call each email message a "campaign."

The MailChimp Campaign Builder walks you through building a campaign, step by step. When it's time to design your campaign, you'll find a variety of basic email layouts you can customize easily without having to know HTML. Many of our layouts use a Drag and Drop Editor, which makes it really easy to add, move, delete, and style content blocks. If you want to use the same layout again later, you can save your design as a template for future campaigns.

When you're done setting up your campaign, MailChimp displays all the selections you've made so far and alerts you if you missed anything important. You'll then have the option to send the campaign immediately or schedule it to go out later.

Get step-by-step instructions to build a Regular Ol' Campaign.

View Your Reports

You've clicked Send, but it's not over yet! A key component of building a successful email campaign is tracking subscriber engagement so you can provide more of what your subscribers want and less of what they don't.

The next time you log in to MailChimp after sending a campaign, you'll see how many subscribers engaged with you right on your Dashboard. You can click over to the Reports section to dig further, and to download, share or print specific reports.

MailChimp's open- and click-tracking tells you how many people looked at your message, which links they clicked, and even their geolocation. Link your Google Analytics account for more in-depth reports, or integrate your ecommerce platform or CRM database to get even more out of MailChimp report data.

Learn more about reports.


We try to make everything simple to use and understand, so you can get the most out of MailChimp. If you've exhausted our Knowledge Base and video resources and need a little more help, contact our Support Team via email.

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