MailChimp Fundamentals

Whether you're switching from a different email service provider 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 and have continued success.

In this article, we provide key information and resources required to be a successful MailChimp user.

Definitions

At MailChimp, when we talk about the fundamental components of email marketing, we use terminology that's a little different from some of the common email marketing terms you may be familiar with.

Here are some important terms and definitions you’ll need to know as you get started.

Subscribers

MailChimp's term for the contacts in your list(s). We refer to contacts as subscribers to highlight the importance of permission-based lists.

List

Where you'll store your subscribers. MailChimp lists let you manage all your contacts, including unsubscribed and bounced addresses.

Campaigns

The emails you'll send to your subscribers. You might also know them as "e-blasts" or "newsletters."

Templates

The blueprints for your campaigns. Our template options make it easy for you to design your campaigns to match your brand.

Automation

A paid feature that allows you to send a series of emails to a subscriber or group of subscribers based on a trigger or event. You may have heard these types of emails called "autoresponders" or "drip campaigns."

Reports

Provide an overview of each campaign's performance. Reports offer powerful analytic data you can use to improve your campaigns.

Rules to Play By

Before you get started in MailChimp, there are a few rules we need you to be aware of and follow to protect both your sending reputation and our own. We take these requirements seriously and may suspend or shut down an account in the event of a violation, so it's important to take the time to understand them before you begin.

  • Terms of Use
    When you create a MailChimp account, you agree to our Terms of Use. We’re required to enforce anti-spam laws and we have additional requirements in place to protect our users and ourselves.
  • List Compliance
    The most important part of building a healthy list, compliant with our Terms of Use, is permission. Every person on your list should have opted in to receive your campaigns. It's also important to understand that spam filters can track activity, and are more likely to send your emails to junk folders if your recipients haven't opted in to receive mail from you. Email service providers each handle bounces differently. If you're switching from another ESP, review their list maintenance policies to determine if you’ll need to reconfirm your list.

List Creation and Maintenance

A healthy subscriber list is central to any email marketing plan. Here are the key tasks you'll need to complete to get your MailChimp list up and running.

  • Create a MailChimp List
    You’ll need to set up a list in MailChimp to begin sending to your subscribers. MailChimp lists offer group and segmenting tools to help you identify sets of subscribers with similar interests, and send targeted campaign content. If you have multiple lists, we strongly recommend you set up a master list in MailChimp.
  • Build Your List
    Create and design a signup form so you can build your list and collect subscribers. Signup forms can be shared via a URL or placed on your website. If you've collected subscribers outside MailChimp, you can directly import them to your list.
  • List Maintenance
    Permission-based, clean lists require maintenance. It's important to understand that all lists in MailChimp are handled individually, so be aware of the health of each list in your account. We strongly recommend using a master list to streamline your list management and reduce the need for duplicate subscribers across lists.

Campaigns

There are four types of campaigns available to all MailChimp users: Regular, Plain-Text, RSS-Driven, and A/B Testing.
Here are some resources on campaigns to help you get started.

  • Create a Campaign
    You'll create your campaigns in our Campaign Builder, a tool that guides you through the each step of campaign creation. Choose from our template options, then use our editor to customize your campaign and see your changes in real time. If you’re an experienced coder or work with a developer, you can create a custom HTML template and import it to your account.
  • Reports
    We generate a complete report for each campaign you send that can be exported and shared with colleagues. Reports include an overview of your campaign's performance, as well as a detailed breakdown of your campaign statistics, including open and click rates. Use campaign reports to help you assess subscriber engagement and make improvements to your email marketing.

MailChimp Pricing Plans

All MailChimp users start out on our Forever Free plan that allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, up to 2,000 subscribers. We also offer additonal paid plans and add-ons to suit your unique sending needs. You can upgrade your account at any time.

Limitations

Although we'd like to give everyone the perfect email marketing experience, and we continually work to improve the MailChimp application, there are a few realities to be aware of as you work.

  • Test Email Limits
    We strongly encourage you to always preview and test your campaigns, and sending test emails is a great way to make sure your campaigns look how you want them to. However, be aware that there are limits on the number of test emails you can send. These limits vary depending on your MailChimp plan.
  • Inability to Stop Campaign Sends
    Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to stop or change campaigns after they’ve been sent. When you send a campaign, that campaign immediately goes out to our servers to be delivered to your subscribers and the infrastructure on the backend is too complex to retrieve that content.
  • Limits on Bulk Actions
    To give us enough time to collect important analytic information on your campaigns, such as open and click information, your list needs to remain intact for a minimum of seven days after you send to it. For this reason, we limit bulk list actions, like list deletion or moving subscribers to another list, for seven days after your campaign is sent to that list.

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