If you're just getting your newsletter started, it's a good idea to create a sample newsletter to show off the awesome content you'll be sending to your new subscribers. This also gives you a head start on sending out your first campaign. You'll have your template and initial design ready to go before people even start signing up.
Before you get started creating a sample campaign you'll want to make sure you have a list set up as you'll need to send this sample out just like you would a real campaign. If you need help creating and setting up your list check out this article for step by step instructions. If your email address isn't already on your list, go ahead and add your email address to the list.
To create and display a sample newsletter to your new subscribers you'll need to:
If you already have a campaign that you'd like to use simply skip ahead to the share the archive section of the article for instructions on how to use that design!
You can use any of our different campaign creation methods to create your sample. However, we'd suggest going with the same method you'll be using for your future sends. If you're going to be importing your campaign from a URL or via zip file, you'll probably want to set up your sample campaign in the same way. This way people get a real sense of what type of content they'll receive from you.
- On the MailChimp Dashboard click on the Create Campaign button and choose the type of campaign you'll regularly be sending. We're using the Regular Ol' Campaign in these steps.
- On the Recipients step, choose Send To Segment and set the conditions to Email Address / is / your email address.
- Click the Use Segment button to move to the next step.
- On the Setup step, name your campaign something descriptive like "Delicious Cupcake Sample Newsletter 2012". Use this for the subject line as well since that's what displays as the page name when people view the sample campaign. That way, people can see this is a current sample.
- Click the right arrow on the Campaign Builder navigation bar to move to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
- On the Design step of the Campaign Builder, choose the template you want to use and get started creating all that great sample content.
- For the sample campaign, you can keep it simple like an outline or go all out with the content that you might use for a real campaign. Use the headings for sections that you would normally use for your real campaigns and set up the styles and colors exactly how you want them. To keep things easy, you can also save this campaign as a template to use for future newsletters!
- Once you've completed the design on the Design step, click the right arrow to move on to the Plain-Text step. Here's where you'll create the plain-text content when sending a real campaign. For now just click on the Copy Text From HTML button and move on to the final step of the Campaign Builder.
Now that your sample content is set up you're ready to send to send the sample newsletter to yourself.
- On the Confirm step, scan the delivery checklist and double check that everything is ready to go. Pay special attention to the List line where you can verify that the campaign is only sending to your email address and not the entire list.
- Click the Send Now button at the bottom of the page to send the sample newsletter to yourself.
After the campaign has sent successfully you'll want to head back to the Campaigns page in your account to grab the archive link. You can use this link to share your sample newsletter campaign on your website, add it to your signup form, or it can be included when you send emails from your regular email program inviting people to join your list. To find the archive link:
- Click the title of the sample campaign that you just sent.
- Click on the Campaign Archive link.
- Copy the URL (website address) noted on the next page as your archive link and use this link to share as you wish!
You also have the option to share your sample campaign directly on several social networking sites. After you've sent your sample campaign, on the Campaigns page, click the Social Share link underneath the campaign title to see options to share your campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Delicious.
After you've spent more time working with your campaigns, you can always update the link from your sample newsletter to an actual campaign or remove it entirely if you feel it's no longer needed. Also, if you change the look and feel of your newsletter over time, you can create a new sample in the same way.