Hello, and welcome to my first, First Impression of the new year! Today, we will be learning about MailChimp. I’ve heard this site being thrown around by quite a few bloggers, so I thought I’d look into it. Are you ready? It’s a long one!
What is Mailchimp?
Mailchimp is a site that allows you to sign up and start your very own newsletter!
Is it free?
Yes, there is a free option (which is the one I will be using). The next option starts at $10/month and up.
The free option has the Mailchimp logo at the bottom of the newsletter. So if you don’t want that, better use the paid version.
Before I even went to the website, I did some research on other newsletter websites. After looking through some other options, I decided to stick with Mailchimp.
After making said decision, I went over to the website to have a look around. I clicked on “Why Mailchimp?” and discovered a number of things the site has to offer. I did that for a while because there’s just so much to learn. But honestly, I got a bit overwhelmed, so I decided to just sign up and try some of it out first hand.
I do want to point out that MailChimp only allows 2,000 subscribers for a free account. If you would like to allow more subscribers, you can pay monthly, and get up to 52,000 subscribers. Click here for more details.
The Sign Up
The sign up is easy; all you have to input is your email, a username, and a password. After you’ve done that, you’ll be sent an email to activate your account.
Alright, I’m in! Next is first and last name, name of business and my website. I’m going to just input my blog’s name, since this newsletter will be mainly for people who go there first.
So, you need to add your physical address. This is to make sure your emails comply with international anti-spam laws. This is for people who have an actual business or organization. Here’s what the website says:
Mailchimp is located in the United States and our email platform complies with CAN-SPAM, the U.S. law that regulates commercial and marketing emails.
You do have to put in an address. I’m still not sure if this comes up on the actual newsletter when you send it out.*
*Yes, it does. If you don’t want your address on the newsletter, get a P.O.Box, or use a different one.
After that, it asks you if you have a list of email subscribers, people who have signed up to receive “marketing emails from your organization.”
The next page allows you to connect to Facebook and/or Twitter to share your “campaigns”* (I guess this is for your newsletters. I don’t know, let me check it out).
*It looks like campaigns are emails, whether they be your newsletter, or welcome emails, or any other type of email you have going on.
Alright! All done. Now, on the next/last page, you have four steps (your first one should be checked off). The other three are: start designing your first email, add your contacts to Mailchimp, and send your first real email.
The editor is very simple. You have thirteen different types of blocks (in the Content tab):
- Boxed Text
- Image Group (like a collage)
- Image Card*
- Social Share- sharing the newsletter on social media
- Social Follow- your personal social links
- Button- this can link to anything really. It can be a “Buy Now” button, or a “Read This!” button
*Not quite sure what the difference between these two blocks are
On the Design tab, you can design the following:
- Mobile Styles
It’s pretty self explanatory. You can customize pretty much everything about your newsletter, from font heights, to background colors, to boarders.
On the last tab, Comments, you are given the option of sending out a test email to your collaborators, so they can comment on it. Their comments will appear on this screen.
This is a drag and drop type of deal, which I love. Each block is customizable on its own. There are three tabs:
- Content- this is where you can change the text to bold, italics, underline, etc. All that good stuff
- Style- font, size, color
- Settings- for a text block, you can have the text be in one column or two
You can upload and add an image to your header (for example, your logo). As far as your footer, if you have the free version, the Mailchimp logo has to be there.
After fixing up my first newsletter to my liking (by adding a title, some text, a link to my latest blog post, social and share links), I decided to send myself a test email. This first newsletter is really bland, but you could also call it simple. Plus, I don’t want to bombard the reader with lots of color and too many elements (that will come later, I’m sure).
It looks great, actually! The only thing I am still unsure of is if it sends out the address on the bottom of the page* (it doesn’t display it on the test email). But everything else looks ok!
*Yes, every newsletter WILL display the address that you have on your account (it’s required by law). So don’t be sending me any weird packages, ya hear!
Alright, looks like I’m all done! All I need is to get some subscribers and I can send it off.
Building A List
Because I don’t have any contacts, I can’t send out my newsletter. Whatever should I do? I’ll create a signup form!
There’s a landing page, and a signup form. A landing page is a page that you can link people to, to tell the reader about your newsletter (what they’ll get when they sign up, how often you’ll send it out, etc.).
If you have a newsletter about tips on writing, you could use a landing page to tell your reader what kind of tips you’ll be including, any worksheets, stuff like that.
A signup form is just that, a form so people can signup for your newsletter. No explanations, just a form.
At the top of the page, click on “Lists.” This will take you to a page that has your lists. You can have different lists for different projects (blog newsletter, author newsletter, What My Cats Are Up To newsletter). There is already one created when you create your account. Click on the list that you want to create a form for. At the top, click on “Signup Forms.”
There are four options:
- Form builder
- Embedded forms
- Subscriber pop-up
- Form integration
- Form Builder
You can customize a form (background color, header size, insert fields, etc.), which has a link that you can send out. It’s like a landing page, but much simpler. It has your basic fields like email address, first and last name, as well as address, phone number, and birthday (which are automatically hidden). That’s the signup form.
There’s a list at the top of the page with many different types of forms (confirmation page, welcome email, unsubscribe form, goodbye email, survey landing page, etc).
I went through and took a look at (almost) all of the different types of forms. If you do decide to create a form, I suggest you take a look at all of them as well.
This generates an HTML code that you can copy and paste onto your site. This only works for self hosted sites (for example, WordPress.org, not .com).
There are four different types of embedded forms:
- Classic- email, first name, last name
- Condensed- just email address, good for sidebars
- Horizontal- same thing as condensed, good for footers
- Unstyled- looks very old fashioned, like something you saw back when the internet was new
The only thing you can customize on these is the title of the form. Perfect!
Have you ever gone onto a website, and right before you leave a pop-up comes up asking you to sign up for their newsletter? Something like, “Hey! Before you leave, sign up!” Yeah, you can create one of those here (again, this is only for self hosted sites). There are three types:
- Modal- in the middle of the screen, where the background fades
- Slide- comes from the side of the screen
- Fixed- stays at the bottom of the screen
You can have it display:
- After 5 seconds
- After 20 seconds
- Scroll to middle of page
- Scroll to bottom of page
- On exit
I opted out of this one because I find them annoying. I know, it’s easy to click out of it and go on about my business. But I don’t like them, and that’s just how I feel.
If you have a Wufoo or Squarespace, you can integrate a form for those sites.
That’s It? Are you done?
I think so! There is so much to do and learn. But for now, I think I’m going to leave it at this.
Alright Sarah, where do I sign up for your newsletter?
Well, I’ll have to link you to the form. Click here to sign up (you can return to the site after you do). I will be sending it out on the 20th.
Thank you so much for reading (and signing up if you did)! I just want to get sappy for a minute, and tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to read this long post. Every view, every follower, every minute anyone spends reading my blog means the world to me. I can’t thank you enough. So thank you! Again!
Talk to you soon!