Holly Kosec

How to create your first email newsletter with MailChimp

Note: We now have a more up-to-date series on how to use MailChimp:

  1. Creating your MailChimp account
  2. Creating your MailChimp list
  3. Creating your MailChimp template
  4. Creating your MailChimp Campaign (This one is closest to the article you’re looking at, but more up-to-date)
  5. MailChimp campaign analytics simplified

Now, on to the original article!

Screen-Shot-2013-01-28-at-8.56.03-PMSo you’ve made your MailChimp account, or maybe you had T&S create it for you. Either way, now you’re ready to create your very first email newsletter. But how do you get started?

MailChimp is definitely our favorite email newsletter management system, but it can be a little intimidating at first. Fortunately, it’s not too hard. Let’s take a look at how to get started.

The first thing you want to do is log in to your account.

1. Log in

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Click Log In at the top of MailChimp’s home page to get to the log in screen. If you haven’t made an account yet, you’ll need to do that before continuing any further.

2. Create a campaign

mailchimp3Once you are logged in, you’ll want to create a Campaign. A Campaign is just what MailChimp uses to describe your typical email newsletter. Each newsletter you send out will be it’s own separate Campaign. You have a few different options:

  • Regular Ol’ Campaign: This is your average, run-of-the-mill campaign. More often than not, this is the one you will want to pick.
  • Plain-Text Campaign: This campaign will not have any special fonts, formatting, or designs. Most mail clients can handle the Regular Ol’ Campaign, so there is a good chance you will never need to use this.
  • A/B Split Campaign: Once you’ve mastered the basics of MailChimp, an A/B Split Campaign is a great way to test out newsletter strategies. Basically, this Campaign allows you to send a slightly different newsletter to two groups of your email list, and provides you with stats on how one version compared to the other.
  • RSS-Driven Campaign: If you want a newsletter to be sent out each time you write a blog, an RSS-Driven Campaign may be something to consider. There are pros and cons to using a more automatic Campaign like this; you can find more information on this type of Campaign on MailChimp’s website.

3. Pick a list, and fill in your info

mailchimp4For this tutorial, we have picked a Regular Ol’ Campaign, and selected our email list. You’ll now be prompted to fill in your Campaign’s Info. Some of this info is pre-filled, and may not need to be changed. The first field, Name Your Campaign, is simply for your reference. I typically start off with the date I sent it to make it easy to skim through, and then the topic of the newsletter.

Email subject is what your newsletter subscribers will see in their subject line. This is possibly the most important part of your newsletter, and can decide whether or not your newsletter flops. Pick a subject that will interest your readers, and encourage them to find out more.

Once you’ve filled in all of the forms, it’s time to go to the Design step.

4. Choose a template

The next screen will ask you to select a Template Option. If you’re a T&S client who had us design a newsletter template, you can go straight to My Templates.

If you’re not a client of ours, you may need to start with one of the other templates. Depending on your comfort level, you can either jump right in to a Predesigned Template, or you can create a more custom look with a Drag & Drop Editor or Basic Template. Note that Drag & Drop is currently only available with paid MailChimp accounts.

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After you click on My Templates, you should see at least one saved Template waiting for you. We have three different newsletter Templates to choose from, but your screen should be similar. Hover over the picture and click Select to use that Template.

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5. Add your content

6_makechanges-300x156Once you’ve selected your Template, it’s time to add in all your content. Simply hover over the section of the newsletter that you want to edit, and click Edit.

We won’t get into the details of how to use the editor, as that would be enough info for a tutorial all on its own. The good news is that if you break something beyond repair in your Campaign, you can simply exit out, and start over again with the same Template.

6. Make your email non-HTML safe

This step is pretty simple, and just ensures that people who can’t view emails with fancy templates will still be able to view the content of your newsletter. Having a plain-text alternative also helps you avoid spam filters. Click Copy Text From HTML, and move to the next step.

7. Schedule and send

 

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On the last page, you will be presented with a long checklist of steps you’ve completed. Double-check all your information, and scroll down to the bottom. You have a few final options as you prepare to send your newsletter. You can…

  1. Send it now
  2. Schedule it for a later time
  3. Preview the newsletter or send yourself a test newsletter.

After you decide which option suits you best, you can finally grab yourself a soda, kick up your feet, and congratulate yourself on having created your first email newsletter.

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