MailChimp Fundamentals

Whether you're switching from a different email service provider (ESP) or are new to email marketing, we want to to make sure you have the information you need to get off to a good start with MailChimp.

In this article, you’ll find some basic information about how MailChimp works, and our recommendations for best practices and next steps to encourage your continued success.

Definitions

When we talk about the components of email marketing, we use some words that are a little different from common terms you might have heard or use with other services.

 

Opt-in

The way people sign up to your mailing list. MailChimp recommends a double opt-in process to confirm a person’s email address and interest in your messages.

Subscriber

The typical contact in your list. These people have opted-in to receive email marketing from you.

Recipient

A customer from your online store who hasn’t opted-in to your list. You may be entitled to send these people certain types of transactional email, but they are managed differently than your regular subscribers.

List

The place you store your subscribers’ and recipients’ information, along with unsubscribed and bounced email addresses.

Campaign

An email you send to your subscribers. Sometimes, people call these messages “e-blasts” or “newsletters,” but we call them campaigns.

Template

The layout for a campaign. You can customize MailChimp templates for reuse, or build and import your own.

Report

An overview of each campaign’s performance. MailChimp’s reports provide powerful analytic data you can use to improve your future campaigns.

The Fine Print

MailChimp is a permission-based ESP, which means you must get express permission from your subscribers before you can send campaigns to them. We’re required to enforce anti-spam laws, and we maintain additional rules to protect users, subscribers, and ourselves.

When you create a MailChimp account, you agree to our Terms of Use and related policies, so take a look before you sign: Terms, Acceptable Use Policy

Our office crew includes a crack team of Deliverability Advisors, who monitor usage and abuse complaints to track down spammers. It’s possible that you might do something that sends a red flag to these folks, and they’ll be in touch to find out if it’s a mistake, or if you need to change up part of your process.

To keep our delivery ecosystem safe and clean, MailChimp has to suspend or terminate accounts that are in violation of our Terms. Chances are, you’re all good. But if you want to be extra safe, take a look at the article, Why Accounts Get Suspended.

The Basics

Every new user starts on our no-cost, Forever Free Plan, which allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, and store up to 2,000 subscribers in your lists. To access our paid features, you can upgrade to a paid plan at any time.
About MailChimp Pricing Plans

We are seriously serious about subscriber permission. Before you start importing or growing your list, take a look at these articles about our default, double opt-in process for signups, and other best practices for list management.

Understanding the Double Opt-In Process

Requirements and Best Practices for Lists

MailChimp’s tools can help you build great looking, responsive email campaigns. Try out our campaign types, including Regular, Plain-Text, RSS, or A/B Testing Campaigns and see what works best for you.

If you have HTML code for a campaign or template, you can import it and get started right away, or use our flexible Template Builder or Campaign Builder to design branded layouts without coding experience.

Create a Campaign with Campaign Builder

How to Import a Custom HTML Template

Type of Templates

For each campaign you send, we’ll track your subscribers’ activity and compile it in a easy-to-read performance report.

About Campaign Reports

Some Tricky Stuff

Although we'd like to give everyone the perfect email marketing experience, and we’re always working to improve the MailChimp application, there are a few limitations to be aware of.

Test Email Limits

You should always preview and test your campaigns to make sure your campaigns look how you want, but we do limit the number of test emails you can send. Learn why we limit test sends and how these limits vary in the article, About Test Email Sending Limits.

Can’t Stop Campaign Sends

Unfortunately, you can’t stop or edit campaigns after you’ve clicked Send, because of how complex it is to retrieve sent data. If you manage lists of at least 10,000 subscribers, and need a feature like this, MailChimp Pro can help you out.
Why We Can't Stop or Edit Sent Campaigns

MailChimp Pro: Cancel a Campaign

Limits on Bulk Actions

To track activity on your campaigns and subscribers, we limit have to bulk list actions, like list deletion or moving subscribers to another list, for seven days you send a campaign.

Limits on Bulk Actions

The Next Level

After you’ve become familiar with the basics, you may want to look into our advanced features to see what tools can take your email marketing plan to the next level.
If you use other software for your day-to-day business and want to seamlessly manage things like list signups, subscriber data, and reporting, hop on over to our Integrations Directory.

You’ll find resources to help you connect MailChimp to e-commerce stores, customer relationship management platforms, social networks, surveying and project management tools, and more.

 

Paid Features

Automation

Automation, also known as drip campaigns or autoresponders, sends a targeted email series when triggered by a specific event, date, or subscriber activity. MailChimp’s Automation tool can help busy marketers send consistent communication to nurture subscriber engagement.

About Automation

MailChimp Pro

MailChimp Pro is a suite of our most powerful tools, including Multivariate Campaigns, Comparative Reporting, and Delivery Insights. Pro provides information that can improve your email marketing efforts, and increase your return on investment. Pro is available as paid add-on to any MailChimp pricing plan.

About MailChimp Pro

 

Mobile Apps

MailChimp Mobile

MailChimp Mobile is a free mobile app that helps you manage your account on the go. Track subscriber and campaign activity, view campaign reports, and add new subscribers directly from your mobile device.

About MailChimp Mobile for iOS

MailChimp Mobile for Android

MailChimp Snap

MailChimp Snap is a free mobile app used to create and send a photo-based campaigns. Use Snap to announce new products in your store or quickly let subscribers know about events or giveaways.

MailChimp Snap for iPhone

MailChimp Snap for Android

MailChimp Subscribe

MailChimp Subscribe is a mobile application that creates simple signup forms on your tablet, so people can join your list from anywhere. This app is great for people who want to collect list signups in their stores or at events.

Set Up MailChimp Subscribe for iPad

Set Up MailChimp Subscribe for Android

 

Developer Tools

API 3.0

API stands for application programming interface. You can think of an API as a way for different applications to talk to one another. Advanced users who are familiar with custom coding can use the API to pass data from their application to MailChimp for advanced customization and utility.

API 3.0 Developer Documentation

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