Email marketing is a powerful tool for selling products online. Whether you're a brick and mortar looking to supplement your business online, an online-only enterprise, daily deals site, or retail giant, MailChimp can help you scale your online business.
So, how can MailChimp help? Using MailChimp’s reports and e-commerce integrations, you can see which customers engage with your emails, who is purchasing most frequently and send your "MailChimp VIPs" a special thank you offer. You can also integrate Google Analytics data right into your MailChimp account. Have a variety of physical locations? Use list segmentation to send location-based messaging. You can also set up Automation to send specific content to customers based on engagement, purchase activity, cart abandonment, and more.
In this guide we'll go over all of the above and cover some integrations that instantly connect MailChimp to your online store or to services like PayPal and Google Analytics. You can also take advantage of our API and create your own integration.
Create Your Mailing List
The foundation of great email marketing is a clean, up-to-date list of subscribers who have opted in to receive your email campaigns. If you’ve been collecting email addresses—on your website or after a customer makes a purchase from your online store, for example—just visit the Lists tab in your MailChimp dashboard, click Create List, and walk through the importing process.
When you create a list in MailChimp, we will automatically generate a hosted, customizable, mobile-responsive signup form—along with an entire series of other forms and response emails—for you. You can share the link to this form on your website, across your various social media channels, or even with a QR code.
To create your form in MailChimp, follow these steps:
- From the MailChimp dashboard, click the Lists tab.
- Choose which list you’d like to work with, and then select Signup forms from the list options.
- Select General forms.
- Next, customize the details of your form. Use the Build It tab to determine what information you collect in the form and the Design It tab to change the colors, add a header image, and more.
- When the form is finalized, copy the Subscribe form URL located in the middle of the page, and link to it from the website you choose.
Looking for more details on designing your forms and response emails? Check out this article from our Knowledge Base.
In addition to the MailChimp-hosted form, you'll also have several customizable embedded form options to choose from as well. Creating the code is easy, and it will provide a quick way for customers and fans of your brand alike to sign up for your newsletter directly from your website. Just visit your list's Signup forms page and select Embedded forms to get started.
Interested in designing and hosting your own customized forms? Learn more about that here.
Subscriber popup form
The subscriber popup is a highly customizable form option that automatically displays a MailChimp signup form in a popup modal on your website shortly after someone visits the page. The form can be designed, previewed, edited, and updated directly though the Form Builder, and all of your changes will be reflected in real time.
Signup form plugins
Is your website powered by a service like WordPress, Squarespace, or Drupal? Do you want to integrate with Wufoo or CoffeeCup for an even more robust set of form design options? There are MailChimp signup form plugins available for these (and many other) programs that can help make integration a breeze. Visit our Integrations Directory for all the details, as well as download & installation instructions.
Have an online store or shopping cart? MailChimp integrates with many popular services and platforms, making it easy for you to capture customer data and sync it to your mailing list. We’ll dig into some of these integration options a little later in this guide.
Facebook signup form
Social media can be a vital tool for keeping in touch with your customers, and MailChimp makes it easy to add a signup form directly to your Facebook page. First, you’ll need to connect your MailChimp and Facebook accounts. This can be done from the Account > Integrations area of your MailChimp account. The initial connection will need to be made with a “personal” Facebook account. After the connection has been established, the MailChimp form can be added to any Facebook “page” that you administer.
Once your Facebook and MailChimp accounts are connected, you can customize and assign signup forms to your Facebook pages directly from the Facebook section of the Integrations page. In the Page to use drop-down, select which Facebook page you want to configure. In the List to use drop-down, choose which list's signup form you want on the page. Then, to activate a Signup form tab on the Facebook page, select the Yes radio button.
In the Form theme drop-down, choose which form style you'd like. If you choose My List's Theme (default), your signup form will look like the MailChimp-hosted form you’ve designed. If you select Facebook-esque, your form will blend more naturally into Facebook's overall appearance.
Even if your digital signup form is present on all of your websites and blogs, it's still a good idea to collect email addresses at trade shows, your brick-and-mortar store if you have one, and any public events your brand may be present at. MailChimp Subscribe, a free app available for iPad and Android tablets, collects email addresses and stores them locally, even if you're not online. Later, when you connect to a wifi or cellular network, the collected addresses will be automatically uploaded to your MailChimp list.
Each list in MailChimp is completely independent from any others that you might have within your account. This means that bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse complaints are tracked on a per-list basis rather than globally across all lists. We’ve pulled together a list of best practices to help keep each of your lists healthy in our Knowledge Base.
Segmenting your list
You probably have a lot of different customers on your list, who may all be interested in different kinds of content and products. You might have wholesale customers, VIPs, or subscribers in different locations around the world. MailChimp’s powerful segmentation tools allow you to use the information you have about your subscribers to create and send targeted campaigns. Segments help you be a little more human. We're big believers in reducing irrelevance, and segmentation is one quick, powerful way of doing precisely that.
You can use segmentation tools to send campaigns based on your subscribers' interests, location, or interaction with your other campaigns. As an online seller, you may want to segment based on purchase activity. After a customer makes a purchase, you can follow up a week later to make sure everything is working correctly, offer tips for their new product, or remind them to review their transaction. And, if you've connected your store with Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or the MailChimp API, you'll also have access to a number of pre-built e-commerce segments that make it easy to target folks who have never made a purchase, along with your first-time, recent, repeat, and lapsed customers.
If you'd like to target your customers with even greater precision, check out MailChimp Pro's exclusive Advanced Segmentation tools. Advanced Segmentation allows you to combine any and all logic in a single segment; create complex segments based on purchase history, email and website activity, demographics, and more; and incorporate as many combinations of this data as you need to define a specific group of customers.
For more information, refer to our Advanced Segmentation Guide.
Create Your Newsletter
Building a list of loyal subscribers is a great start, but now what? MailChimp offers a variety of options for creating beautiful email campaigns so you can stay in touch with your customers and provide them with your latest updates and information about new products.
Regular Campaigns are the most common type of HTML email our users send. You can design and customize the designed HTML and plain-text versions of these emails, and choose whether to send them right away or schedule them for later.
Plain-Text Campaigns are the simplest form of mass email you can send. As the name suggests, these campaigns will only contain text and will have no formatting options.
A/B Testing Campaigns are a great tool for testing subject lines, from names, sending times, and content. We'll send up to 3 different versions of the email to small portions of your list, track their performance, and send the "winning" version to all remaining subscribers.
- Note: For even more testing flexibility, check out Multivariate Testing, a feature exclusive to MailChimp Pro. Multivariate Testing allows you to create up to 8 different variations of a single campaign at once, testing any combination of subject line, send time, from name, and campaign content. After you’ve sent your test, Multivariate reports will compile all of the data for you and help you interpret the results, so you can quickly identify the most successful variables and implement what you’ve learned in your future campaigns.
RSS Campaigns allow you to automate your email marketing by combining content from an RSS feed with user-friendly MailChimp templates. Like the other campaign types, you can control when these campaigns are sent and who will receive them.
Are you looking to create a series of automated emails? Perhaps you’d like to send welcome emails to new subscribers, offer special discounts, or automatically follow up with your best customers after they make a purchase. Automation workflows can help you streamline your communication process and offer a customized experience for your subscribers.
Plus, if you connect our e-commerce features in your account, you can even send automated emails based around the buying behavior of your subscribers. If a customer hits a certain revenue threshold, perhaps that indicates they're a super fan, and maybe they should be rewarded with a discount. If a potential customer abandons their cart before completing a purchase, automatically follow-up to remind them what they've left behind and encourage them to return to your store. First-time buyers could receive a special thank you note or a coupon, recommendations for other items they might enjoy, or care instructions for products that need maintenance over time.
We’ll talk more about e-commerce later, but to learn more about Automation workflows, visit our Working With Automation guide.
Getting started with the Campaign Builder
Once you’ve chosen the type of campaign you’d like to send, you’ll begin the campaign builder process. In most campaign types, the first step you’ll encounter is Recipients. Here, you’ll determine which subscribers will be receiving your campaign. You can choose to send to the entire list or use our segmentation tools to send targeted content based on subscriber information, campaign or e-commerce activity, group membership, manual selection, and more. This tutorial article discusses building segments and provides a full list of the segmenting options available in MailChimp.
In the Setup step, you’ll name the campaign and enter general information like the email subject line, From name, and From email address. You’ll also have the option to set up Conversations to help manage replies, review the tracking options, automatically share your campaign on Facebook or Twitter, and personalize the To: field of your email through the use of merge tags.
From the Template step of the campaign builder, you can upload your own custom templates, build a new one from scratch, or take advantage of our Basic and predesigned template Themes that can be used as a starting point for your campaign. If you need help choosing a template, our Email Template Reference will walk you through the process. If you're looking for a few custom design tips and best practices, our MailChimp for Designers guide is the way to go. If you’re on the hunt for a thorough walkthrough, MailChimp's Getting Started guide might be the best place to start.
Basic templates provide you with a highly-customizable blank layout, so you can easily add your own styles and content using the drag and drop functionality of our Email Designer.
Themes are predesigned, preconfigured templates that don’t require any programming or design knowledge to get started. Simply pick a Theme, plug in your content, and you’ll have a beautiful campaign. Themes come in two varieties—“drag and drop” and “classic.” Drag and drop themes offer functionality similar to that of Basic templates, while only the color and content of the classic templates will be editable within the Email Designer. The template type will be displayed below each Theme, so you can easily differentiate between the two.
From the Code Your Own tab, you can paste in your own custom-coded design or upload your templates from an existing HTML or ZIP file. If you choose to code your own templates, take a few minutes to review our Email Design Reference.
Once you’ve selected a template, move ahead to the Design step. Here, you’ll use the drag and drop functionality of the email designer to add, rearrange, duplicate, and delete content blocks to create a campaign that’s fully customized to your needs. In each content block, you can add and format text, upload images, include background images, showcase your products, or link to files. The style and content of each content block can be modified with the Content, Style, and Settings tabs in the editing area.
The Preview and Test menu houses all of our in-app testing features. Access Preview Mode to run an Inbox Preview and see how your campaign will appear across more than 40 different clients, send a few tests of the campaign, test out your merge tags, or use our link checker tool to make sure all the links in your campaign are valid. You can also set up Social Cards from this menu if you’d like to choose the image and text that displays when your email is viewed in Gmail’s grid view or shared on Facebook and Twitter.
In the Confirm step, you’ll review the details of your campaign, send one last test email, and if everything looks good, send or schedule your campaign.
Send a quick, photo-based message to your subscribers—to announce the arrival of a new product in your store, for example—from your iPhone or Android phone with MailChimp Snap.
Once you’ve downloaded MailChimp Snap and connected it to your MailChimp account, take a photo (or select an existing photo from your camera roll or Instagram account) and add a quick link, title, message, and call to action button to your campaign. Then, select one of the available layouts, choose your recipients, and you’ll be ready to send the campaign. Once it's been sent, you'll have the option to share the campaign across your social media channels from directly within Snap, and the campaign will appear within both the Campaigns and Reports pages of your regular MailChimp account so you can track its progress.
If you need to send your customers one-to-one messages like password reminders, order confirmations, or receipts, check out Mandrill. Mandrill is a delivery API for MailChimp users who want to send transactional emails, and will help you manage and monitor your transactional messaging through advanced tagging, webhooks, and more.
Social networking can be an excellent medium for promoting your content and connecting with your audience. Through the use of our sharing features, merge tags, and integrations, MailChimp makes it easy for email marketers to use social networks to their advantage.
Use merge tags—along with the Social Share and Social Follow content blocks in our Email Designer—to give your subscribers an opportunity to share, like, or follow your content and activity across various social channels.
Social Profiles is an optional paid add-on for lists that gathers publicly available social data about your subscribers that can be used to send targeted emails to them based on their age, gender, or their presence on social networks.
E-commerce and Google Analytics Tracking
MailChimp's Google Analytics and e-commerce tracking features will help you keep track of all the traffic—and money—generated by your campaigns. You can use this information to see what is and isn't working in your campaign and to identify your most popular products or target your best customers.
With MailChimp's e-commerce features, you can track individual visitors to your website from your MailChimp campaigns, capture order information, and pass it all it back to MailChimp. Using that information, you can segment your list to send targeted emails and product recommendations based on your subscriber's purchasing behavior. Or, you could take advantage of Predicted Demographics, a feature available for MailChimp Pro and paid account holders who connect their store to MailChimp, to learn the age range and gender of customers on your list, so you can personalize your marketing, improve engagement, and increase ROI. Your top customers might deserve a thank you for being loyal to your brand, or those subscribers that haven't shopped in a while might need a little push to get them headed in the right direction.
Setting up e-commerce tracking
In order to use our e-commerce features, you'll first need to connect your store to MailChimp. You can find a full list of available plugins in our Knowledge Base. Once you have the plugin installed, you can set up e-commerce tracking on your campaigns. Each time you begin a new campaign, simply check E-commerce tracking in the Setup step of the campaign builder as you're creating your newsletter.
View your results
Now that you've connected our e-commerce features with your account, there are a couple different ways you can view the stats. For campaign information, navigate to the E-commerce tab at the top of your campaign Reports page. You can also look at subscriber profiles and see what products your customers 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.
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: Analytics, Contacts, and Docs. If you have more than one Google account, you’ll need to select which account you want to connect to. Choose the Google Account you used to set up your organization’s Google Analytics. Finally, you’ll be asked to grant or deny access to your Google Account. Choose Grant Access, and the integration will be complete.
Once your account is set up, you'll need to check the box to enable Google Analytics link tracking in the Setup step of the campaign builder each time you begin a new campaign. When you check the box to enable Google Analytics link tracking, we display the campaign title as it will appear in your Google Analytics account after the campaign is sent. The Google Analytics campaign title combines the MailChimp campaign title with the date. The title and date format makes the campaign easy to search for in your Google Analytics dashboard.
Viewing your results
Once you've set up Analytics360, you'll be able to see reports for individual campaigns, site traffic, revenue, completed goals, campaign ROI, conversion rates, and much more right from the Advanced tab in your Reports dashboard.
With Analytics360, you'll also be able to use MailChimp's Revenue Chart to 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. A detailed look at the data provided in the Analytics360 report can be found in the next section of this guide.
Understanding Your Reports
For a lot of email marketers, the best part of sending email newsletters is watching the stats accumulate after a campaign goes out. How many people opened your email? How many clicked? What did they click? What didn’t they click? Did they like the content? For online sellers, it's even more exciting to see if your campaigns result in sales of your featured products.
MailChimp offers insightful tracking and reporting data, and, if you have MailChimp's Google Analytics and e-commerce integrations installed, you'll easily see how much revenue your campaign is creating and exactly which products your subscribers are buying. Review your account daskboard and campaign reports for every email you send—they're full of clues and feedback that will help make your next email more successful than the last. There’s even a MailChimp Mobile app so you can view your reports while you’re on the go.
MailChimp’s standard reports use informative, 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.
On the Overview page, you’ll find valuable at-a-glance information about the performance of your campaign, including details about opens, clicks, social engagement, unsubscribes, and bounces. We even offer maps that allow you to see where in the world the people opening your emails are located. Inbox Preview, A/B Testing, and Time Warp results, when available, will also be found here.
Want to dig deeper into your campaign results? From the Activity menu, you can view or export a segment of recipients that interacted with your campaign in a specific way. If you’d like to view a list of all subscribers who opened (or didn’t open) the campaign, for example, you’ll find that information here.
Links will help give you a better idea of how well each tracked URL performed in your campaign. On this page, you’ll find a list of the tracked URLs from your campaign along with the number of total and unique clicks for each one. If you're viewing the report for a Regular or RSS campaign, we also populate a click map to give you a visual representation of how each link performed.
In the Social section, you’ll learn who has liked your campaign on Facebook, who your top influencers and referrers are, and see a map of all your clicks from around the globe.
The E-commerce page of your reports contains all of the data generated from your connected store. Here, you’ll find the total sales generated by the campaign, total number of conversions (orders received), and a breakdown of each subscriber's purchases. You can track sales from a click in your campaign all the way to a purchase. This allows you to see which customers make a purchase (and what they buy) after opening your campaign. If your campaign includes products from multiple connected stores, you can filter the purchase data by each store.
The Conversations tab shows replies to your campaign when conversation tracking is enabled. Conversation tracking offers more flexibility than a standard reply-to email address by allowing other account users to receive email notifications when a subscriber replies to your campaign. Read more about conversation tracking here.
In the Analytics360 section of your MailChimp report, you’ll find the Email Domain Performance chart—a breakdown of the top domains for your subscribers—along with the integration stats for your SurveyGimzo, Eventbrite, or SurveyMonkey integrations. All data collected from Analytics360 will be found here as well.
Campaign ROI is a percentage based on the cost of the campaign versus the revenue created by the campaign.
Campaign cost is the only value we calculate within MailChimp. It takes into account the price of your MailChimp plan, the number of subscribers you have in your account, and how often you send to your lists. All of these variables are entered into a formula that returns your estimated campaign cost.
Conversion rate is the conversion rate is the percentage of site visitors who completed one of the site goals.
Per visit goal value is calculated by adding up all the values for each completed goal, then dividing total by the number of times your site was visited through links in a campaign.
Goal: We'll list goals you've set for your site and show how many times each have been completed by site visitors.
Revenue created is the total dollar value of revenue generated by email readers clicking a link in the email campaign to visit your site and then completing a purchase.
Transactions are the number of completed ecommerce transactions. A transaction is a successful purchase.
Ecomm conversion rate is the percentage of site visitors who made a purchase.
Per visit value is the average value of a visit to your site based on ecommerce revenue. Divide revenue by visits to get the per visit value.
Average value is the revenue created divided by the number of e-commerce transactions.
Bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who did not view a second page.
Visits is the number of visits to your website referred through this campaign.
New visits represents the number of visitors who have not visited your website previously.
Avg. time on site is the average amount of time a visitor stayed on your website.
Pages/visit is the average number of pages viewed by each visitor to your website.
Comparative Reports and Predicted Demographics
Comparative Reports, a feature available exclusively in MailChimp Pro, offers you the flexibility to interact with your data just like our own research team would. You can analyze your performance over time by aggregating and comparing campaign results, or discover hidden trends by creating advanced segments within your reports—after sending a campaign. MailChimp does all the heavy lifting for you, eliminating the need to export and combine all of your data manually. When you’re done, you can share your findings with the whole team and schedule your reports to automatically regenerate as new results come in.
Want to learn even more about your customers? Predicted Demographics is a feature available for MailChimp Pro and paid account holders who connect their store to MailChimp that uses data science to predict the gender and age range of your subscribers. This data appears in subscriber profiles, your list overview page, and campaign reports. You'll have more information about the makeup of your audience, and greater insight into the ways that specific demographics interact with your emails. You can then use this data to refine your marketing strategy and send more relevant content to the customers who want it most.
MailChimp integrates with hundreds of popular web services and platforms, 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.
Connect your store
When you connect your Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce store with MailChimp, you can create targeted campaigns, automate helpful product follow-ups, send cart abandonment messages, and recommend products that your customers will love. To learn more about the benefits, visit our Connect Your Store page.
Note: Our abandoned cart Automation workflows are available for Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and custom API 3.0 integrations.
Goal is an optional campaign tracking feature available for paid MailChimp accounts that lets you trigger Automation workflows based on subscriber activity from your email campaigns to your website. The Goal integration can also be used to create segments of subscribers, allowing you to send targeted campaigns to your subscribers based on their Goal activity.
If your store accepts payments via PayPal, you can automatically add customers to your MailChimp list.
Attentive.ly is a social dashboard that gives customers an overview of their audience’s content and activity across channels like Twitter and Facebook. You can use Attentive.ly and MailChimp together to find segments within your list that are interested in key topics or ideas that are also important to you. Then you can sync those segments back to MailChimp to create micro-targeted campaigns with content that’s especially relevant to that audience.
Explore our Integration Directory to see many more of the tools that are available for online sellers.
From designer temporary tattoos to knitting supplies, vintage clothing to stylish kitchenware, MailChimp's e-commerce users sell all sorts of interesting products. The examples below will provide you with some insight into how other online sellers use MailChimp to supplement their business, and be sure to check out our inspiration board for examples of the beautiful campaigns that you can create with MailChimp.
LoveKnitting is an e-commerce company that sells patterns and supplies to folks who, well, love knitting. They use MailChimp’s Automation features to send discounts to new subscribers who have yet to make their first order, and our segmentation and merge tags help them send relevant, localized content to their customers right when they need it. Read more about LoveKnitting.
BonLook is a Montreal-based online eyewear retailer. They segment their MailChimp list by geographic location to send two versions of their campaign, one in English and one in French, and use purchase data to send targeted emails and discount offers. Read more about BonLook.
In this guide, we've discussed many of the features and tools that can help online sellers get the most out of MailChimp, but there are a few more important things left to cover.
Make sure the intent of the signup form is clearly stated. All potential subscribers should understand that, by submitting their contact information through the form, they are agreeing to receive bulk email from you.
“Contact Us,” “Apply For A Quote,” or “More Information” forms are not considered an acceptable opt-in method for bulk emails. These forms generally indicate a one-to-one email, not permission to be added to a bulk mailing list.
Email addresses collected verbally, from personal address books, from business cards, or from social media/LinkedIn followers are not considered viable opt-in methods, due to their lack of tangible, verifiable proof of consent.
We do not allow any kind of third party lists in our system. This includes publicly available, purchased, rented, or partner lists.
Education and support
Email marketing offers a tons of opportunities for you to connect with your customers and generate revenue for your business. MailChimp also has a lot of features that help you do just that. Visit our blog for customer stories and new feature announcements. Take a look through our Knowledge Base for demo videos and how-to answers. You can also explore our selection of guides and the latest research reports from our data science team. And, if you have any questions along the way, our friendly in-house support team will be happy to help out.