How to Get Started With Mailchimp

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Last week another Medium member, David Ford, responded to my story “$13.05 and More Progress In Other Areas” saying that he didn’t know what to do to make a list. I wrote a rather lengthy response explaining how to get started. I wanted to re-publish that response here, along with screen shots for anyone who wants to understand the process better.

Please note, I assumed nothing when writing this post — I apologize in advance to those who think this explanation is a little bit TOO simple.

  1. Sign up for an account. This should go without saying. The sign-up process is quick and easy.
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Mailchimp sign-up page

2. After you sign up for an account and log in, the first thing you want to do is create a list by clicking “lists” and then “create a list”.

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3. Fill out the details for your list and click “Save”.

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4. On the next screen, click “Sign-up Forms” and choose the type of form you want to create. If you want to put a form on your blog choose “Embedded forms” — if you’re using WordPress there are several excellent plug-ins that add embed code to your blog. If you’re using a different platform, you’ll have to look up instructions.

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5. Create a campaign for your sign up form. If you want to send out emails when you write a new blog post, click “Create an Email,” “Automated,” and “Share Blog Updates.”

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6. Choose a campaign name, select a list and then click “Begin”

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7. Type in your blog’s RSS feed. this is usually going to be something like yourblogname.com/rss or yourblogname.com/feed.

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8. Choose how often you want to send out blog post updates and whether you want to send them to the entire list, a saved segment or a new segment. Since this is a blog post update, you’ll probably want to send to the entire list.

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9. Now comes the fun part — select your template and set it up. You want to make sure you put an RSS Header and RSS Items blocks in your email. Its’ your choice whether you want to show titles, excerpts or full posts, but I recommend excerpts. I also suggest sending a test email at this step so you can see what the email will look like when it’s sent to your subscribers. Once you’re done, click “next”.

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10. The next screen will show a check list showing which items you’ve completed successfully — if there are problems you’ll have to resolve them before you can schedule the email. You also want to preview and test your email at this step.

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11. Once you’ve resolved everything, your email will be sent on the schedule you’ve chosen.

That’s all there is to setting up your mailing list and your first campaign in Mailchimp. One suggestion I would make is to subscribe yourself to your list, just so you can make sure your emails go out when they’re supposed to and they look like they’re supposed to.

I will be posting this story, along with some others, as blog posts in my Erica Lynn Martin Writing Services blog, which will contain useful information for small business owners. If you’re interested in reading these and finding out more about my services, please sign up below

I started writing in elementary school and never stopped. I enjoy sharing stories about my hard-learned life lessons and writing advice.

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