Whether you're sending for a small shop, a daily deal site, or a retail giant, MailChimp can help you sell your products, get new customers, and retain existing ones.
This guide shows you how to build or import a mailing list, create beautiful newsletters that match your brand's look and feel, and track your performance and ROI. We'll go over some integrations that instantly connect your MailChimp account to apps and services like PayPal, Magento, Amazon, and Google Analytics. Or you can take advantage of our API and create your own integration.
Get inspired by our examples of e-commerce newsletters from companies large and small, or use MailChimp to find similar publishers and learn from their success.
Create Your Mailing List
If you want to send email newsletters, you'll need a list of subscribers. If you've been collecting them online, at conferences or craft fairs, or in your brick-and-mortar store, simply click on the Lists tab in your MailChimp dashboard, click Create List, and walk through the importing process.
But don't worry if you're starting fresh. MailChimp makes creating a signup form, collecting subscribers, and managing lists a piece of cake.
Create a Signup Form
Log in to MailChimp to create your first list, which will hold all your new subscribers. Click Lists from your MailChimp dashboard, then Create List.
Enter the requested info about this list and your company. The permission reminder is particularly important. Reminding subscribers why they're receiving emails from you helps prevent them from reporting you for spam. It's just a short sentence or two, explaining how a recipient joined your list.
Once you've entered your list information, click Save to create your list. Now it's time to customize the signup form for this list. Click your list to access its date, then choose Create Forms to get started.
Use the Build It tab to determine what information you want to collect from your subscribers. In addition to email address, you may want to collect first name, last name, birthday, and more.
Use the Design It tab to change your form's colors, header design, and more. You may want to import your store's header into your signup form as your header image, or skin your form with colors that reflect your e-commerce store's branding.
Once you've finished creating your signup form, you can add it to your website and link to it from social media. If you want to link your signup form (on Twitter, for instance), just copy the shortened eepurl link.
Easily add your form to your website or blog by embedding it. Then people will be able to sign up for your mailing list without going to a separate website. Your form will simply show up within your web page wherever you add the embed code.
Start by clicking Share It, and then Create HTML Code For A Small Subscribe Form.
Here you can design a smaller version of your signup form. You can also customize the form label and set the form width. If you don't set a specific form width, it'll be determined by the parameters within the page where you embed the form code.
Once your embed code is customized, MailChimp will give you the HTML code to copy/paste into your site or blog's existing HTML.
Add a Signup Form to Your Facebook Page
Facebook fans who aren’t on your mailing list might be missing out on your newsletter content. But you can also add your signup form to your Facebook fan page using our Facebook integration. It’s more effective than linking them to an outside form, because sometimes it’s more comfortable for people to stay within Facebook than go to an unknown website. Once you’ve installed the Facebook application to your MailChimp account, here’s how to add a signup for to your Facebook business or fan page.
First, open your browser with one tab logged into your MailChimp account and another tab logged into your Facebook account.
Now, go to MailChimp’s Facebook app page (link). It’s not a good idea to do a general Facebook search for the app, or the process will get funky and not work as expected.
Click the Add to My Page option on the left side of the screen.
If you have more than one page attached to your Facebook profile, you will see all of the pages listed in the pop-up window. Click Add to Page only for the page you want to have the MailChimp app. Close the pop-up once it's selected.
Now, go to your main Facebook account menu and click Use Facebook as Page. Do not click Switch. Click the name of your page only.
Click the Email Signup tab on the left side of Facebook, and you’ll see that your accounts are connected. Clicking the tab also gives you a full list of instructions for completing the signup-form setup. Once you’ve gone through the list and allowed permission for MailChimp and Facebook to share information, you should see the option to select the list you want attached to your signup form.
Select the list, click Submit, and you’re all set.
Gather Signups from Your iPad
Even if you put your digital signup form on all your websites and blogs, it's a good idea to collect email addresses at conferences, other public events, and your brick-and-mortar store, if you have one. You can import a physical list into MailChimp, or you can use Chimpadeedoo, our iPad app that collects signups and automatically imports them into your account when you're back online.
Now that you've got your list set up, it's time to create your first MailChimp campaign. If you need help choosing a template, our How to Use Templates guide will walk you through the process. If you're looking for design tips, our MailChimp for Designers guide is the way to go. Maybe those guides take care of your needs. But if not, here's a quick tour of the Design step of MailChimp's campaign builder.
If you want to put together your own template, you've got a couple of options. Our Drag & Drop Editor, which Jason expertly explains on the MailChimp blog, lets you start with a basic layout and then drag and drop content blocks into your campaign. From there, you can customize until your heart's content.
For more of a simple, fixed layout, choose Basic in the Design step of the campaign builder.
Select a layout, then use MailChimp's template designer to design a header image and the colors of your template. After you choose a template, click Design Header, then upload your own header image or use one from our gallery.
Don't miss our Predesigned templates in the template gallery. They're customizable, but they give you a head start in the design area. You can narrow them by category so it's a good fit. Here are a few predesigned e-ecommerce templates:
And here's an an individual template in full:
MailChimp's AutoConnect templates pull elements from popular e-commerce sites like Etsy, Amazon, iTunes, and eBay, where you may already have a presence. In the Design step of the campaign builder, choose Predesigned, then check AutoConnect, then choose your template.
Once you've picked your template, the campaign builder will walk you through the process of connecting with the site of your choosing. Here are a few AutoConnect template examples:
Etsy, Amazon, and iTunes are just a few of the stores that work well with email marketing. From designer temporary tattoos to technology books, vintage clothing to stylish kitchenware, MailChimp's e-commerce users sell all sorts of interesting stuff. Take a look at our inspiration board and the examples below.
Tattly is a Brooklyn-based purveyor of "designy temporary tattoos."
Need a little more inspiration? Use Wavelength to find more publishers your readers are interested in.
MailChimp integrates with hundreds of popular web services making it convenient for you to sync data, import content, and analyze how your newsletters are affecting your business. There are a number of integrations that are helpful for online sellers. Here are a few of the most popular.
While accepting payments via PayPal, you can automatically add customers to your MailChimp list instantly. This is especially useful if you sell products on Etsy, eBay, or your own store.
If you sell your products in a Shopify store, Chimpified, makes it easy to connect that store to your MailChimp account. Once your customers are migrated, you can take advantage of our Ecommerce 360 tracking data and quickly put together newsletters to promote your products.
Magento is a flexible, feature-rich eCommerce platform. If you use Magento or MagentoGo for your online seller needs, these integrations make it simple to sync customers and add signup pages.
Short Stack/Media Feedia
These integrations connect your online business with Facebook. Add custom tabs, distribute special deals, and collect opt-in emails, all from the comfort of your Facebook page.
With Craftmonkey, you can pull in shop items, then drag and drop them depending on how you’d like to feature them in your newsletter. Once you’ve completed your campaign, you can send it out to your MailChimp list from inside the application. Craftmonkey makes creating a professional-looking newsletter that showcases your handmade wares as simple as possible.
InstaChimp makes it easy to drag and top Instagram photos into a email template to send to your subscribers. Drag and drop the photos into a template, and send directly from InstaChimp.
Tips and Tricks
You're all set up with eCommerce360 and Analytics360. Now what? The following tips will help you better use all the information at your fingertips.
With MailChimp's segmentation options, you divide your list—based on purchase history, engagement, and more—and make sure your readers only get emails they care about.
Once you've segmented those customers, you can examine their habits. When did they sign up for your list? What do they have in common? How do subject lines or sending times affect their purchases? Use what you learn to make their experience reading your email more enjoyable.
Top Five Customers
The Top Fives list in your MailChimp dashboard shows you who your best customers are, sorted by revenue. Maybe you should reward them for their loyalty, make sure they know you appreciate it. Or maybe certain items are their favorites and you should let these customers know about new releases first.
Who do your customers follow on Twitter? What are their most common hashtags? With Tweet Trends, you'll get a bird's eye view of your audience's activity on Twitter. Delight your customers by showing them that you care about their interests.
By connecting your list to Wavelength, you can see what other publishers your readers are interested in. Get a well-rounded look at your audience's habits, pick up design and e-commerce tips from like-minded publishers, find new outlets for advertising, and more.
Once you have segments, you can set up if-this-send-that rules for autoresponders. If a customer hits a certain revenue level that indicates they're a super fan, maybe they should be rewarded with a refer-a-friend discount. When someone buys a humorous item, you can send them a funny video. First-time buyers could receive a special thank-you note. Use your imagination to make your readers happy.
Pyow! makes it easy to create QR coupons, send them to your subscribers, and use your iPhone, iPod touch, or just about any smartphone to scan them from anywhere. After you download the app, you can insert a QR code directly into your campaign, specify how many times the coupon can be used, scan a printed coupon or scan it on a smartphone, and even find out how many people used the coupon. Here’s how:
Inside the content editor, use MailChimp’s QRCOUPON merge tag, which will insert the QR code image into your newsletter.
In this case, the text, “$2 off any coffee drink,” is the description that appears whenever you use Pyow! to scan the QR code. It’s only visible to you while you’re putting the email together, not the recipient.
Finally, the “5:2” determines the frequency and size. The “5” is how many times the coupon can be used by that recipient. You can set that number higher if you want to promote coupon sharing. The “2” is the size of the QR image—1 is small, 10 is ginormous.
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter provide excellent opportunities to promote your online store and connect with your audience on a more personal level. Facebook and Twitter allow you to create conversations with your customers so they can get to know you better.
MailChimp is integrated with Facebook and Twitter, making it super easy for you to meet your fans where they like to hang out online.
Auto-Post to Facebook and Twitter
If you’ve already connected the Facebook integration by adding your signup form to your business page, you can to choose to have your campaign auto-post to Facebook during the campaign-creation process. You can also connect the Twitter integration at this point, to have us auto-tweet your campaigns every time one goes out.
Set it up by checking Auto-Tweet Campaign As and/or checking Auto-Post to Facebook.
We’ll create a shortened version of your campaign archive link called an EepUrl. Plus we’ll measure retweets, shares, and clicks on these posts. Auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter is one of the easiest ways to share your newsletter content and new store items with all your fans and followers.
Add a Facebook Like Button to Your Campaigns
Our Facebook Like merge tag allows your readers to like your campaign and share it with all their Facebook friends. Place this merge tag anywhere in your campaign, just like regular text:
And it’ll turn into a handy little image that says “Like.”
When a subscriber clicks the Like button, they’ll go to your campaign archive page. A window will pop up, showing the friends in their network that also liked the campaign. They’ll confirm that they do indeed like your newsletter, and we’ll give them the option to add a comment to the like.
Then they’ll click Post to Facebook, and the like will appear in your subscriber’s Facebook feed for all their friends to marvel at.
All MailChimp campaigns have a Facebook Comments functionality. If you’re sending out engaging newsletters, your subscribers are probably going have thoughts or responses after reading them. Maybe they have comments on some of the new products you announced in your newsletter. But sometimes, people just don’t care enough to reply to your email— Facebook Comments are familiar to your subscribers, and they allow you to keep the conversation going with your fans even after you’ve hit Send.
Activate Facebook Comments for a campaign in your campaign setup screen. All you have to do is check Allow comments.
Then, simply insert our *|FACEBOOK:COMMENTS|* merge tag anywhere in your campaign, like this:
When your subscribers receive your newsletter, they’ll see a neat little comment button.
And when they click that button, they’ll go to your campaign archive page with the Facebook comments window open.
There’s a checkbox option for them to post the comment to their Facebook profile and share your newsletter with their friends. They can also see comments from other subscribers within this window, and if they want, comment to each other—just like you’d see on a blog post or news article.
You’ll receive email notifications from MailChimp as people comment on your newsletter, so you can keep track of the conversation and join in.
Social Share Button
If you want to tweet your campaign after it’s been sent or promote it on a social network other than Twitter, use the Social Share button that appears beside your sent campaign in the Campaigns dashboard.
When you click Social Share, you’ll have the option to share your campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious.
Sharing With Merge Tags
In addition to sharing your own campaign, MailChimp allows you to offer your readers a way to share your campaigns. We’ve got lots of options for sharing on social sites with merge tags—all you have to do is place the relevant merge tag anywhere in your campaign, and the sharing options will appear when the newsletter goes out.
When you place the *|MC:SHARE|* merge tag in your template, MailChimp will add links to more than 20 social networks. If you want to limit the net- works in the social share merge tag, you can use *|SHARE:SITENAME1, SITENAME2|* to specify which sites are included. For example, *|SHARE :Facebook,Twitter,Digg|*.
We’ve covered Facebook like, comments and the Social Share Merge Tags already. Here’s a directory of all our social merge tags.
Twitter merge tags
If you want to include some Twitter content in your email but the Twitter-themed template is a little much for you, try mixing and matching these options:
This merge tag brings in the background from your Twitter page, your avatar, your follower count, a follow button and recent tweets.
This one brings in your background, avatar, follower count and a follow button. It won’t pull in recent tweets.
Remove (NUM) from this tag and replace it with the number of tweets you want to see on your campaign. So if you want five recent tweets, use *|TWITTER:TWEETS5|*. You can combine this with *|TWITTER:PROFILE|* to really customize what you’re sharing.
Facebook merge tags
Try out these Facebook merge tags for a customized Facebook campaign:
This tag pulls your Facebook profile and wall posts, just as our Facebook template would.
This one pulls your Facebook profile without wall posts.
And this one includes your Facebook posts. Just replace the NUM with the number of posts you’d like to include.
SocialConnect merge tags
Chances are, some of your newsletter subscribers have Twitter and Facebook accounts but aren’t following you there. You can place this merge tag anywhere in your campaign to give your subscribers links to follow you on Twitter and Facebook:
It’ll look like this:
Use this merge tag to link to Twitter only.
Use this one for Facebook only.
And remember, merge tags might look confusing, but they’re so simple. You place the tag in your campaign when you’re adding content, and we take care of the rest.
For a lot of email marketers, the best part of sending email newsletters is looking at the stats after a campaign goes out—it’s kind of like viewing your sold orders and feedback on Amazon or eBay. How many people opened your newsletter? How many clicked? What did they click? What didn’t they click? Did they like the content?
Once you’ve sent a campaign, sit back, relax, and wait for your stats to come in. MailChimp offers insightful tracking and reporting. Review this information for every campaign you send—it’s full of clues and feedback that will help make your newsletters better and better. Just like when you receive feedback at your online store, you make adjustments or keep doing what you’re doing accordingly.
MailChimp’s standard reports use neat, easy-to-read graphs, tables and maps to show you things like opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. To access your reports, go to the Reports tab from your MailChimp dashboard and click on the name of the campaign to view its report.
We even offer maps that allow you to see where in the world the people opening your emails are located.
MailChimp’s Social Stats allow you to watch your campaigns make their way around Facebook and Twitter. To find out how many people like your campaigns, click Reports in your MailChimp dashboard. Select a campaign and click Social Stats.
The like stats are located under Facebook Activity and organized by subscriber. You can see how many times each subscriber liked your campaign, and how many other likes they generated. For example, if Ben liked your campaign once, and five of his friends saw your campaign in his feed and liked it too, then you’ll see one Like for Ben, and five Friends Who Liked by his name.
We also keep track of all comments on your campaigns via our Facebook Comments integration.
MailChimp lets you watch your campaigns travel around the Twittersphere. Twitter stats are located in the same place as Facebook stats.
Under Twitter Activity, you’ll see how many times your campaign has been tweeted and retweeted, who did the tweeting, and a timeline of all tweets.
Only tweets that include our EepURL link for your campaign are included in this report, so you might have even more tweeting going on than you think if people are writing their own tweets and linking to your campaign.
eCommerce360 and Tracking ROI
With MailChimp's Google Analytics and eCommerce360 integrations, all the traffic that's sent—and the money made—by your campaigns is conveniently rounded up, so you can see what's working. Find out who your best customers are and which of your products they're buying.
Using Google Analytics is easy, but by installing Analytics360, you can view all your campaign stats within MailChimp.
Setting Up Analytics360
In your MailChimp account, click Account, then Integrations, then Google. Click Authorize Connection, and grant MailChimp access to connect with Google. Once your account is set up and you're working on a new campaign, check the box to enable Google Analytics tracking in the Setup step of the campaign builder. After the campaign is sent, you can view the stats on the Site Analytics360 tab of your Reports page.
Viewing Your Results
Once you've set up Analytics360, you can track site traffic, campaign ROI, conversion rates, campaign-archive analytics, top referrers, and much more
With MailChimp's eCommerce360 feature, you can keep track of what your customers are buying, and segment subsequent campaigns so as to reduce annoyance for the majority of your list.
Setting Up eCommerce360
In order to use eCommerce360 on your campaigns, you'll need to set up tracking. Simply check Add Ecommerce360 Tracking To All URLs in the Setup step of the campaign builder as you're creating your newsletter. You'll then need to install a shopping-cart plugin on your site to track the data. After the campaign is sent, you can view the stats on the Ecommerce Reports tab at the top of your Reports page.
View Your Results
Now that you've got eCommerce360 set up on your account, there is tons of information to work with. From subscriber profiles to highest performing campaigns, revenue charts to your highest spending customers, you'll learn a lot from your e-commerce reports.
MailChimp's Ecommerce Reports give you a bird's-eye view of the total sales from a specific campaign. See which users bought which items, and how much money the campaign brought in altogether.
Compare campaigns to see which ones performed best in terms of revenue. Maybe a particular subject line enticed buyers, or perhaps time of sending affects your reader click-throughs.
Find out what your subscribers buy, and from which campaigns they purchased. Segment by your most-engaged customers, learn where their interests lie, and delight them with special offers, videos, or coupons. By carefully segmenting, you can also avoid annoying readers who may not want specific emails.