At MailChimp we really love to make life easier for our customers. Helping you manage your lists is something we're really passionate about. We know you don't want to be labeled an "evil spammer" or send anything out to people who don't want your emails so we do what we can to help you keep your lists clean and your content relevant to the recipients on your list. Below, we outline some general best practices to help you better manage your lists.

In this article:

List permission

  • All recipients need to opt-in to your list.
    MailChimp is a permission-based newsletter delivery service. This means that no purchased, rented, or scraped lists can be used in MailChimp even if these addresses are for people in your industry, trade association, etc. These lists are notorious for providing bad addresses that can cause high bounce rates and lead to blacklisting. If you have a list of prospects you'll need to send them an invitation through your personal or business email account asking them to join your email marketing list. You could also publicize the invitation through social media outlets as a way to get subscribers. This article can help you determine if your list is okay to upload to MailChimp.
  • Use double opt-in for your signup forms.
    Subscribers complete the double opt-in process by filling out your signup form first and then confirming subscription to your list. When you use MailChimp to manage list subscriptions, we provide a series of forms and response emails that make up the double opt-in process. Take a look at this article for more information on how the double opt-in process works.
  • Permission goes stale.
    When someone opts in to your list it's a good idea to send to them on a semi-regular basis. Permission tends to go stale after about six months of no sending. If the last time you sent to your list was over 6 months ago, you would have to re-opt in your list to use it in MailChimp.
  • Extra layer of security.
    You can combine MailChimp with form building services like Wufoo or Coffeecup to further customize your form. Using these applications, features like CAPTCHA can be implemented to prevent spambot sign ups.

List management

  • Keep your list clean of bounces and unsubscribes.
    We'll automatically remove bounces and unsubscribers from your list as long as you are uploading onto the same list in your account. However, because all lists in MailChimp are independent of each other and share no information, there's no overall account suppression list. Bounces and unsubscribes are managed on a per-list basis only.
  • Have subscribers add your email address to their contact list or address book.
    When people sign up for your list, it's a good idea to ask them to add your reply-to email address to their address book. This helps to ensure that any emails from your email address will land in their inbox rather than being filtered into spam folders.
  • Maintain a single list per client or organization in your account.
    In your MailChimp account each list is distinctly separate and independent from all other lists. We encourage using a single list and keeping that updated, rather than constantly uploading new lists. If you want to target specific sections of a single list, you may want to consider using Groups within your list. Using groups also helps reduce billing since subscribers in multiple groups get counted only as one subscriber in a list.
  • Try not to delete lists unless necessary.
    When you delete a list the entire list history is lost (including unsubscribes, abuse complaints and bounces). Losing your list history could result in previous unsubscribes or bounces getting added back to the active subscribers of your list, which would in turn lead hard bounces and abuse complaints from those subscribers that asked to be removed previously. Our automated review process can note frequent deletes and abuse complaints based on deletes. This sort of behavior in an account could result in sending suspension and compliance review. If you need to update a list with new subscriber information try using the auto-update feature instead of deleting the list and reuploading.
  • There is a difference between delete and unsubscribe.
    Unsubscribe means to stop subscribers from receiving newsletters, and remove them from the total subscriber count. You can still search for them in your list, but their profile will say "unsubscribed." Also, unsubscribed addresses can't be accidentally reimported because they are still part of your list in an "unsubscribed" status.
    Delete means to completely remove the subscriber from the list. If you delete someone, you could accidentally re-import them to your list as a new subscriber.
  • Verify the list import.
    When you upload a list to MailChimp, be sure to check the file to make sure all email addresses import correctly. If you're having difficulty with the list import this article provides some troubleshooting tips and tricks.

Email content and delivery

  • Sending relevant content.
    Relevancy is an important aspect of email marketing. If your content resembles spam or doesn't hold their interest, you risk the subscriber reporting the email as spam. Use our Email Marketing Guide to find tips on creating and designing your MailChimp campaigns as well as adding content relevant to your subscribers.
  • Include the list's permission reminder and postal address on all emails. 
    As an ESP, we are required to enforce spam laws, which require that both of these elements are included on all campaigns sent through MailChimp. Permission reminders are editable and are located in the footer of your campaign. They tell subscribers why they are receiving email from you, while a postal address provides verifiable contact information to your subscribers. Read more about anti-spam requirements in detail.
  • Include our unsubscribe link. As part of the spam laws, we also require you to include our unsubscribe link in your campaigns. Since sending an email to someone who has previously unsubscribed is a violation of CAN-SPAM, we have to make sure the unsubscribe process is being handled automatically for all of our users. Because of this, our terms of use require that our link be used in all MailChimp campaigns.
  • Include an update profile link. An update profile link allows your recipients to update their subscription preferences, sort themselves into interest groups, and make any other changes to their subscription information they may need to. This way, a person could choose to be in a different group rather than being unsubscribed from a list completely.
  • Sending too often.
    Instead of sending a ton of general campaigns to your whole list, you might consider using Groups to send targeted emails to specific subscribers in your list. Using list segmentation can also help you to send relevant content to the right people.
  • Use a relevant From email address.
    When setting the From email address for your campaigns and list emails, be sure that you or someone in your organization has access to this email's inbox.
  • Avoiding the spam filters.
    When you send an email campaign to your recipients, your messages have to get past their ISP spam filters and their email application spam filters. It's a lot easier than you think for an innocent, legitimate email to be mistaken as spam. This article helps you to understand how spam filters work and what they look for. We also offer a few different tools to check your campaign's likelihood to end up in spam or junk folders  

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