Table of Contents

Welcome to MailChimp

Marketing doesn’t need to be overwhelming. This guide will introduce you to all the ways that MailChimp can help you communicate with—and grow—your audience. We’ll provide tips for managing your list, getting your first campaign off the ground, reviewing your reports, and more. Let’s get started.

Choose the right pricing plan

MailChimp offers three different pricing plans—Forever Free, Monthly, and Pay As You Go—that are designed to help businesses of any size and budget. Billing is based on usage and paid plans give users access to additional features, so consider the size of your list, your sending frequency, and which features matter the most to you when selecting your plan type.

  • Forever Free: Our Forever Free plan allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month and have up to 2,000 total subscribers on your list. Forever Free account holders have access to all of MailChimp’s basic features, including the email designer, segmentation, marketing automation, Facebook ad campaigns, analytics reports, and more.
  • Monthly: Monthly plans are designed for frequent senders with more than 2,000 subscribers, or people who would like to use MailChimp’s advanced features—like Inbox Preview, email delivery by time zone, and powerful e-commerce tools.
  • Pay As You Go: The Pay As You Go plan is designed for infrequent senders, like people who send quarterly newsletters or promote seasonal events. It operates on non-expiring email credits that you purchase to cover all sending needs, and includes access to the same paid features as the Monthly plan.

Every MailChimp account, regardless of pricing plan, offers 5 different levels of access for users. In just a few clicks, you can invite other users to join your account, assign user levels, or revoke account access.

Connect your store

MailChimp’s e-commerce features help you track visitors to your site, capture order information, and then pass all the data back to your MailChimp account. MailChimp integrates with a number of different e-commerce solutions, including Shopify, Magento, and more.

Once your store has been connected, your customer and purchase data syncs automatically, and you can grow your list by giving folks the option to subscribe as they’re checking out. Then, use the data you collect to learn what resonates with your customers, recommend products they’ll love, create targeted segments, send abandoned cart emails, build e-commerce automation workflows, and create helpful order notification messages.

For more about these features, skip ahead to the automation section of this guide or check out our MailChimp for E-Commerce and Getting Started with Marketing Automation guides.

Manage your audience

The foundation of great email marketing is a clean, up-to-date list of engaged contacts and customers who have given you permission to send them email campaigns.

You can create as many lists as you’d like, but for most users, we recommend maintaining a single list and using segmenting data and groups to manage your contacts. Each of those contacts will have their own subscriber profile page, with valuable information like social data, member rating, location, activity history, and more.

Plus, if you connect your store to MailChimp, each contact’s profile will show their purchase history too, so you’ll know which campaigns drove their purchases, how many orders they’ve made, and how much money they’ve spent.

Segments

MailChimp’s powerful segmentation tools allow you to use the information you have about your contacts to create and send targeted campaigns. Not only will that help you increase the relevance of your email, you’ll see better results, too. On average, the click rates of segmented campaigns are about 55% higher than those of non-segmented campaigns.

You can create 3 different types of segments in MailChimp—auto-update, static, and pre-built—and they can help you target contacts based on their interests, location, demographics, subscriber activity, purchase history, and a whole lot more. Any custom segment you create in MailChimp can be saved as an auto-update or static segment.

Pre-built segments, however, behave a bit differently, so let’s take a closer look.

Pre-built segments

Pre-built segments are automatically generated based on list information or subscriber activity. We’ll move contacts into and out of pre-built segments for you when they meet (or no longer meet) specific segmentation conditions, so you can target folks with just one click.

Pre-built segments fall into 3 categories:

  • Subscriber engagement segments—available for all MailChimp users—are based on the signup date of your contacts and how they interact with your email campaigns. You could use these segments, for example, to send a welcome email to new subscribers or to re-engage folks who haven’t opened your recent campaigns.
  • Customer behavior segments are available when you connect your store to MailChimp and provide a quick way to reach your potential, recent, first-time, repeat, and lapsed customers. You could use these segments to send a thank-you email to first-time buyers or a special offer to lapsed customers, encouraging them to return to your store.
  • Demographics segments are powered by Predicted Demographics, a powerful tool that predicts the age and gender of your contacts. Predicted Demographics (and demographic pre-built segments) are available to paid MailChimp users who connect their store. You could use these segments to announce an event to the women on your list, for example, or target everyone over the age of 35 with a promotional campaign for a new product.

Groups

You can also create groups within your list to categorize people by their interests and preferences. Those groups can then be used for building segments and sending email to targeted audiences.

For example, if you operate an online clothing store, you might have customers interested in a variety of apparel: men’s, women’s, children, accessories. By creating groups in your list, you can give customers the opportunity to choose the clothing types that interest them, and then only send them campaigns relevant to those interests.

On average, the click rates of segmented campaigns are about 55% higher than those of non-segmented campaigns.

Grow Your List with Signup Forms

When you create a list in MailChimp, we’ll also automatically generate a mobile-responsive hosted signup form so potential subscribers can quickly view and submit information from their computer, smartphone, or tablet. And, since each hosted signup form comes with a unique URL, it’s easy to share with potential subscribers via email, social media, your website, or anywhere else across the web.

Your forms can be customized to fit the needs of your business, and MailChimp offers a lot of different field options that will help you collect data from people as they subscribe to your list. So, be strategic by including list fields that can help you learn more about—and increase relevance for—your customers.

In addition to the hosted forms, MailChimp also gives you access to these other form types:

  • Embedded form: In just a few clicks, you can generate HTML code for a signup form that can be embedded on any page of your website. There are several different design options, and it can be customized to fit the needs of your business or brand.
  • Subscriber popup form: The subscriber popup is a customizable form option that displays a MailChimp signup form in a popup modal after someone visits your website. It can be a great way to promote giveaways and other special offers that entice new subscribers to join your list.
  • Facebook form: Facebook has become a vital tool for marketers, and our integration makes it easy to add a MailChimp signup form directly to your business’s Facebook page so you can grow your list and keep in touch with your audience.
  • MailChimp Subscribe: If you have a brick-and-mortar location or your business frequents trade shows or other public events, MailChimp’s free Subscribe app—available for iPad and Android tablets—can help. Display a tablet near your cash register, at your booth, or anywhere you’d like, and encourage new subscribers to join your list in person.

Other form integrations: MailChimp offers integrations with services like Wufoo, WordPress, Squarespace, and more, so you can build forms and reach potential subscribers no matter where they are.

Be strategic by including list fields that can help you learn more about—and increase relevance for—your customers.

Create an Email Campaign

Once your list and forms are set up, you can start building an email campaign. You’ll select what type of campaign you’d like to create, pick the perfect template, design and test your email, and then send it off to your subscribers.

And, if you need any inspiration or advice as you’re creating your campaign, we’ve got you covered. Let the beautifully designed campaigns that other MailChimp users send inspire you. Or, check out our Email Design Guide for tips and best practices that will help you convey your message in style.

Campaign types

MailChimp has 4 types of email campaigns to choose from. Here’s a quick rundown of your options:

  • Regular campaigns are the most common type of HTML email our users send. They can be formatted and customized with images, colors, and other design elements to fit the needs of your business.
  • A/B testing campaigns allow you to test different subject lines, from names, sending times, and content. We’ll send up to three different variations of the email to different portions of your list, track their performance, then send the winner to all remaining recipients.
  • Plain-text campaigns are the simplest form of email you can send. These campaigns will only contain text, and have no formatting options.
  • RSS campaigns automatically share your blog updates from an RSS feed directly through MailChimp.

Templates

It’s easy to design beautiful, effective email campaigns in MailChimp. There are a variety of customizable layouts and pre-built t hemes that can be used as starting points for your campaign, along with a selection of intent-based featured templates that can help you create the perfect campaign for showcasing products, sharing news or stories, following up with customers, or helping folks get acquainted with your business. And you can always import a template or use our template language to create your own custom-coded solution.

Preview and test your campaign

Before sending, it’s important to test your campaign to make sure it’s just right. The Preview and Test menu contains all of MailChimp’s in-app testing features, including Inbox Preview, which allows you to view the campaign across more than 40 different email clients at once. You’ll also be able to send test emails to any email address you’d like, preview the mobile version of your campaign directly from your mobile device, make sure that all links in your campaign are valid, or set up Social Cards for your campaign.

Schedule and send your campaign

When you’re ready to send, there are several delivery methods available. All users have the option to send the campaign immediately or schedule it for a specific date and time. If you have a paid account, you’ll also have access to 3 additional options:

  • Send Time Optimization helps you determine the best time to send a campaign based on the activity history of your subscribers.
  • Timewarp delivers the campaign to your list based on the recipient’s time zone rather than your own. If you schedule a campaign to send at 10am, for example, Timewarp delays sending to anyone until it’s 10am in their specified time zone.
  • Batch Delivery sends your campaign in timed batches rather than all at once to help control traffic to your website and prevent strain on your server.

Advertise with MailChimp

MailChimp has all of the tools you need to create beautiful email campaigns, but we can help you with other aspects of your marketing, too. No matter the type of business you operate or what products you sell, you can use MailChimp to create an integrated marketing campaign for your business.

Create Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns

Social media plays an important role for businesses and marketers alike, and our powerful Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns make it easy to create beautiful single-image or carousel ads directly from your MailChimp account with no additional fees—you’ll pay the same as you would if you purchased ads through Facebook or Instagram.

In just a few simple steps, you can use the customer data you already have to promote your business, grow your audience, and sell more stuff. And, when you connect your store to MailChimp, we’ll track your ad’s revenue, products sold, and customers acquired, too.

When you connect your store to MailChimp, we’ll track your ad’s revenue, products sold, and customers acquired.

Automate Your Marketing

MailChimp’s marketing automation features allow you to create a targeted email—or a series of emails—that send when triggered by specific criteria, like a date, event, or subscriber activity. Our preset automations cover a wide variety of industries and events, like e-commerce, nonprofit, education, and list activity, so whether you need to send an abandoned cart email when a customer navigates away from their cart, an onboarding series when someone joins your list or buys a new product, or a simple happy-birthday email to folks each year, there’s an automation for you.

And, if you need even more flexibility, you can build an automation based on the unique needs of your business, with your own customized criteria and triggers, so you can reach your audience at exactly the right time, no matter the situation.

To learn more about MailChimp’s powerful automation features, visit our guide to getting started with marketing automation.

Whether you need to send an abandoned cart email when a customer navigates away from their cart, an onboarding series when someone joins your list or buys a new product, or a simple happy-birthday email to folks each year, there’s an automation for you.

Analyze Your Data

After you send an email or start an ad campaign, you can monitor your performance with the help of MailChimp’s insightful tracking and reporting data. When you log into MailChimp, you’ll see a detailed account dashboard full of stats to help you track your growth, engagement, and revenue, so you’ll know exactly how your marketing is affecting your bottom line.

Or, take a deep dive into key stats like opens, clicks, unsubscribes, social activity, e-commerce data from the Reports page in your account, then easily export your results or share them with a colleague or client.

There’s even a MailChimp Mobile app so you can view your reports (or manage lists, add subscribers, and send campaigns) while you’re on the go.

When you log into MailChimp, you'll see a detailed account dashboard full of stats to help you track your growth, engagement, and revenue, so you'll know exactly how your marketing is affecting your bottom line.

Explore More Resources

In this guide, we’ve covered the basic things you need to know as you’re getting started, but there are a bunch of other resources available to help, too.

Our Integrations Directory has hundreds of integrations with the web services and platforms that businesses use each day, making it easy to sync your data, import content, grow your list, and more.

You can connect with third-party MailChimp experts for help with anything from strategy and design to development work with the API in our Experts Directory.

We’ve also got a number of other resource guides, a lot of research to share, and a helpful support team that can help if you run into any trouble along the way.