If you’ve ever had to run a group or team then you’ll know that effective communication is very important. The normal way to ensure that these days is via an email list, where you send out news, dates for upcoming events, and any other ephemera relating to those involved. If you use Gmail, Hotmail, or any other web-based email service then your missives can look pretty bland, and it isn’t easy to know if people have opened new mails. Turning to a service like Mailchimp can instantly give your mailing lists a far more professional appearance, alongside providing you with access to analytical features and other useful tools.
If you run a website then you can even use Mailchimp to send automated, specific emails after visitors navigate to a certain page, and of course there are subscription tools that help you manage your communications with customers. If your needs are modest - less than two thousand subscribers, and you want to send no more than twelve thousand emails a year - then the service is free. So if you’re the one managing the school parents’ forum, or head of communications at a Sunday league team that needs to let the players and the chap with his dog who comes to watch know when the next game is, Mailchimp could elevate your aesthetics to another level, while taking away some of your headaches. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to create your first campaign email using the service.
Step 1: Creating an account
Set your browser to the heart of www.mailchimp.com, where you’ll find an explanation of the various features on offer. In the top right hand corner there is the red button marked Sign Up for Free! - always a good thing to see. Click on this and enter your details.
Step 2: About your business
Alongside the normal data fields, you’ll also be asked about your organisation - number of people, how long you’ve been around, etc. Filling these out accurately can help Mailchimp provide you with additional data, especially if you plan to run an email campaign for an event.
Step 3: The Dashboard
Once you’ve setup your account you’ll be taken to the Dashboard. As you might expect this is the hub of your account. All of the important sections are available from the list on the left, including email templates, contacts, and your campaigns. To get started click Create a Campaign.
Step 4: On the Campaign trail
Now you’ll see a list of the different types of emails that you can use for your campaign. At the top of the list is Regular Ol’ Campaign, which is a standard HTML format that can incorporate template designs. Click on this to continue.
Step 5: Return to Sender
Unless you’ve imported a contact list you’ll see a message that this campaign will be sent to your email address as a test. To add other addresses now simply click Create a New List, otherwise select Send to Yourself.
Step 6: Setting up the campaign
The next screen begins to show you the power of Mailchimp. Here you’ll find a number of settings that can be applied to your email. These include tracking responses, social media posts, and even auto converting any video to more email friendly formats.
Step 7: Designing your email
Now you can start to put together your cool new email. Either choose a simple template and assemble your own from scratch, or browse through the wide range of free themes which include relevant images. We’ll choose a template for now.
Step 8: Making it personal
The text and pictures on each email can be changed now via the editor. Simply hover the pointer over each area to reveal the options. There’s also the menu on the right that allows fine tuning of general formatting. Try replacing some of the details now.
Step 9: Making a few last adjustments
When you’re happy with your creation it’s a good idea to get a proper look at it. Click on Preview and Test>Enter Preview Mode, then check if all the details, and spellings, are correct. You can also see how it will appear on a mobile phone.
Step 10: Sending it out
To see how it will actually work click on Preview and Test>Send a Test Email. A dialogue box will appear where you can enter the address of a willing test subject. Send it out, then confirm that it was successful.
Step 11: Making it a reality
Click on Save and Exit in the template, select Lists, then create a new list. Fill out the details, add your addresses, and repeat the campaign. You’ll find you can add the list this time and send out your smart email to everyone in one go.