Getting Started with MailChimp

MailChimp is an email service provider (ESP), which helps marketers send bulk emails to clients, customers, and other interested parties. Our approach to email marketing focuses on excellent list management practices, beautifully designed campaigns, and powerful data analysis. We’re here to help you become an expert marketer, ready to get started?

In this article, you'll learn how to start using MailChimp to send great email, and we’ll provide some helpful resources to use as you work.

Before You Start

Before you jump into the tasks ahead, here are a few helpful things to know.

  • 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 be sure MailChimp works properly in your browser, you should enable cookies, pop-ups, and JavaScript.

  • It’s important to note that when you create a MailChimp account, you agree to comply with our Terms of Use.

  • We offer a number of online resources to provide help and insights about our tools and features. Check out our searchable Knowledge Base and glossary of terms if you want to learn how something works, or if you run into any trouble.

Task Roadmap

Here’s an overview of the tasks we’ll cover in this article.

Set Up Your Account

When you sign up for a MailChimp account, you’ll enter your name and email address, and we’ll send you an activation email. When you receive the activation email, click the link to activate your account.

The next time you log in to our website, we’ll walk you through the rest of the setup steps. You’ll input profile details, such as your website and physical address, and connect your social media accounts. If you sell products online, you’ll have the option to connect your store to MailChimp.

To learn more about account creation, read the article Create an Account.

Create a List

The foundation of great email marketing is a clean, up-to-date list of email contacts, who we call "subscribers." When you create a list in MailChimp, you're prompted to input default information like your From email address and how your subscribers got on your list.
To create a new list in your MailChimp account, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.

  2. Click Create List.
    create list button with cursor

  3. Type in the List details in the fields provided.

  4. When you're finished, click Save. That’s it!

After you create your list, you'll be able to enter subscribers manually, upload contacts from a CSV file, or import contacts from your customer relationship management (CRM) database.

Create a New List

Import Subscribers to a List

Customize Your Signup Form

If you don't have any subscribers yet, don't worry! We’ll automatically generate a signup form for your list, which you can post on your website or Facebook page, so you can start collecting subscribers right away. Plus, we give you lots of options to customize the design of your signup form, so it’ll fit your brand.

To access the Form Builder and customize your signup form, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.

  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list you want to work with and choose Signup forms.
    drop down menu with cursor on signup forms option

  3. Select General forms.

  4. Click the Forms and response emails drop-down menu, and choose which form you want to edit.
    drop down menu with cursor on signup form option

  5. Click the Design it tab.
    Cursor click on design it tab

  6. Click through the Page, Body, Forms, or MonkeyRewards tabs to review the customization options. Use the fields and drop-down menus to make any changes you want to the styles, colors, and fields. We’ll save your changes automatically. When you’re done, click Save & Close. Voila!

    For in-depth instructions, read the article  How the Form Builder Works.

Create 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."

To create a campaign, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Campaigns page.

  2. Click Create Campaign in the upper-right corner of the screen and select Regular campaign.
    regular campaign option with cursor on select button

  3. On the Recipients step, choose a list from the drop-down menu and click Next.

  4. On the Setup step, input your Email subject, From name, and From email address. Select tracking tools, connect social media, and configure advanced settings from the available options.

  5. When you're finished, click Next.

  6. On the Template step, choose one of our template types.

  7. In the Design step, you'll input and customize your campaign content.

  8. When you're done designing your campaign, click Next to navigate to the Confirm page.

On the Confirm page, we’ll make sure that all of the steps have been completed and alert you to anything that might need your attention before sending. Schedule your campaign to send at a later date or time, or send it right away.

Designing a campaign in MailChimp can be fun, but also complex, because we offer a lot of customization options. Take some time to get used to the controls and always plan your campaigns before you start designing them. You’ll be an expert email designer before you know it.

Design a Campaign in MailChimp

View Your Campaign Reports

You've clicked Send, but it's not over yet! A key component of successful email marketing 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 login to MailChimp after sending a campaign, you'll see how many subscribers opened, clicked, or unsubscribed from your recent campaigns, right on your Dashboard. Click Reports for more detailed information, and to download, share, or print your campaign reports.

MailChimp's open- and click-tracking tells you how many people looked at your campaign, which links they clicked, and other information, like their geolocation. Integrate your Google Analytics account with MailChimp or connect your CRM database for more in-depth reporting.

About Campaign Reports

Next Steps

When you’re familiar with how to use our basic tools, review our optional advanced features, to take your email marketing efforts to the next level.

Optional Advanced Features


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