Mailchimp Fundamentals

Whether you're switching from a different email or marketing platform or are new to the industry, we want to to make sure you have the information you need to get off to a good start with Mailchimp.

In this article, you'll find some basic information about how Mailchimp works, and our recommendations for best practices and next steps to encourage your continued success.


When we talk about the components of email marketing, we use some words that are a little different from common terms you might have heard or use with other services.

Opt-inThe way people sign up to your mailing list. Mailchimp recommends you use our signup forms so we can track the date and time someone opts in to your list to ensure you have verifiable permission.
SubscriberThe typical contact in your list. These people have opted-in to receive email marketing from you.
RecipientA customer from your online store who hasn't opted-in to your list. You may be entitled to send these people certain types of transactional email, but they are managed differently than your regular subscribers.
ListThe place you store your subscribers' and recipients' information, along with unsubscribed and bounced email addresses.
CampaignAn email you send to your subscribers. Sometimes, people call these messages "e-blasts" or "newsletters," but we call them campaigns.
TemplateThe layout for a campaign. You can customize Mailchimp templates for reuse, or build and import your own.
ReportAn overview of each campaign's performance. Mailchimp's reports provide powerful analytic data you can use to improve your future campaigns.

The Fine Print

If you plan to send email marketing campaigns, you must get express permission from your subscribers before you can send to them. We're required to enforce anti-spam laws, and we maintain additional rules to protect users, subscribers, and ourselves.

When you create a Mailchimp account, you agree to our Terms of Use and related policies, so take a look before you sign: Terms, Acceptable Use Policy

Our office crew includes a crack team of Deliverability Advisors, who monitor usage and abuse complaints to track down spammers. It's possible that you might do something that sends a red flag to these folks, and they'll be in touch to find out if it's a mistake, or if you need to change up part of your process.

To keep our delivery ecosystem safe and clean, Mailchimp has to suspend or terminate accounts that are in violation of our Terms. Chances are, you're all good. But if you want to be extra safe, take a look at the article, Why Accounts Get Suspended.

The Basics

Every new user starts on our no-cost, Forever Free Plan, which allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, and store up to 2,000 subscribers in your lists. To access our paid features, you can upgrade to a paid plan at any time.
About Mailchimp Pricing Plans

We are seriously serious about subscriber permission. Before you start importing or growing your list, take a look at these articles about our signup process, signup form options, and other best practices for list management.

The Importance of Permission

About Signup Forms Options

Understanding the Double Opt-In Process

Requirements and Best Practices for Lists

Mailchimp's tools can help you build great looking, responsive email campaigns. Try out our campaign types, including Regular, Plain-Text, RSS, or A/B Testing Campaigns and see what works best for you.

If you have HTML code for a campaign or template, you can import it and get started right away, or use our flexible Template Builder or Campaign Builder to design branded layouts without coding experience.

Create a Regular Email Campaign

How to Import a Custom HTML Template

Type of Templates

For each campaign you send, we'll track your subscribers' activity and compile it in a easy-to-read performance report.

About Campaign Reports

Some Tricky Stuff

Although we'd like to give everyone the perfect email marketing experience, and we're always working to improve the Mailchimp application, there are a few limitations to be aware of.

Test Email Limits

You should always preview and test your email campaigns to make sure your campaigns look how you want, but we do limit the number of test emails you can send. Learn why we limit test sends and how these limits vary in the article, About Test Email Sending Limits.

Can't Stop Campaign Sends

Unfortunately, you can't stop or edit campaigns after you've clicked Send, because of how complex it is to retrieve sent data. If you manage lists of at least 10,000 subscribers, and need a feature like this, Mailchimp Pro can help you out.
Why We Can't Stop or Edit Sent Campaigns

Mailchimp Pro: Cancel a Campaign

Limits on Bulk Actions

To track activity on your campaigns and subscribers, we limit bulk list actions, like list deletion or moving subscribers to another list, for seven days you send a campaign.

Limits on Bulk Actions

The Next Level

After you've become familiar with the basics, you may want to look into our advanced features to see what tools can take your email marketing plan to the next level.
If you use other software for your day-to-day business and want to seamlessly manage things like list signups, subscriber data, and reporting, hop on over to our Integrations Directory.

You'll find resources to help you connect Mailchimp to e-commerce stores, customer relationship management platforms, social networks, surveying and project management tools, and more.


Automation, also known as drip campaigns or autoresponders, sends a targeted email series when triggered by a specific event, date, or subscriber activity. Mailchimp's automation tool can help busy marketers send consistent communication to nurture subscriber engagement.

About Automation

Mailchimp Pro

Mailchimp Pro is a suite of our most powerful tools, including Multivariate Campaigns, Comparative Reporting, and Delivery Insights. Pro provides information that can improve your email marketing efforts, and increase your return on investment. Pro is available as paid add-on to any Mailchimp pricing plan.

About Mailchimp Pro


Facebook Ad Campaigns

You can also buy ads through Mailchimp, with no additional fees from us. Use ads to boost revenue and sell more stuff. Take advantage of Facebook's huge audience to reach your best customers, similar audiences, and people who like your products but don't subscribe to your email.

Getting Started with Facebook Ad Campaigns

Landing Pages

You can create beautiful landing pages right in your Mailchimp account. Create pages to grow your list or promote products, then share those pages around the web to drive traffic to them. Landing pages are great for achieving specific, short-term marketing goals.

About Landing Pages

Mobile Apps

Mailchimp for iOS or Android

Mailchimp for iOS or Android is a free mobile app that helps you manage your account on the go. Track subscriber and campaign activity, view campaign reports, and add new subscribers directly from your mobile device.

About Mailchimp for iOS

About Mailchimp for Android

Mailchimp Subscribe

Mailchimp Subscribe is a mobile application that creates simple signup forms on your tablet, so people can join your list from anywhere. This app is great for people who want to collect list signups in their stores or at events.

Set Up Mailchimp Subscribe for iPad

Set Up Mailchimp Subscribe for Android

Developer Tools

API 3.0

API stands for application programming interface. You can think of an API as a way for different applications to talk to one another. Advanced users who are familiar with custom coding can use the API to pass data from their application to Mailchimp for advanced customization and utility.

API 3.0 Developer Documentation

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