How to Create A MailChimp Campaign
For those of you who own and operate a marketing or ecommerce website, it is certainly paramount you continue to nurture and engage with your customers to drive traffic, leads, and sales. Sending out email campaigns is a sure fire way to keep your user base in touch with your site’s content and/or promotions. While there are many email marketing platforms out there, today we will go into how to use MailChimp, a very popular and powerful application.
I’m sure some of you are about to say; “But I’m not technical! There’s no way I could handle this!”. Let me reassure you, not only is MailChimp easy to use, but after creating a few emails on your own, you will feel like a pro using the MailChimp interface. In this tutorial, I will be creating a campaign using the MailChimp platform as well as throwing in a few easy tips and practices to expedite your email development. So let’s begin! 🙂
**In this lesson we are using our friends over at Vapehappy’s MailChimp Account to conduct this tutorial**
1. Login to MailChimp Dashboard
If you do not have a MailChimp account, now would be a great time to create an account of your own at www.MailChimp.com. For new users, much of the service is free to send emails, but once you get a large enough subscription list you will need to use a paid account. Once you log into MailChimp you will be at your dashboard. In the dashboard, you can click on create a campaign by clicking on the dark gray ‘Create Campaign’ button. If you want more campaign options, use the top page navigation to go to the campaign page.
Should you already have a campaign that you simply want to replicate, I recommend navigating to the campaigns page. From there you can find the campaign you want to replicate, click on the drop down arrow, which will give you the option to replicate the campaign.
Doing this saves you a considerable amount of time when building your campaign.
2. Choose A Campaign Type
If you are creating a campaign from scratch you will be prompted on the next page to choose a type of campaign. In this tutorial we are building the regular campaign option.
**Note if you are replicating a campaign you will skip this step as the campaign type has been established!**
3. Set your Recipients
TNow it’s time to choose your recipients. If you have a customer list already set up, it is recommended you send to the entire list.
There will be instances where you may want to exclude people from getting your campaign for a various number of reasons. What you will want to do in this situation is select ‘Paste emails to build a segment’. Here you will have the ability to paste in emails that you can either include or exclude. This is super handy in situations like this.
4. Set Up Campaign Info
Now you will have the ability to set up the details of your campaign, such as the campaign name, subject line, as well as options such as who the email comes from and additional tracking options. It is recommended that Track Opens, Track clicks, Track plain-text clicks, and E-commerce link tracking are checked. Checking these options allow MailChimp provide in depth reports regarding the performance of you email campaign.
Also, if it is appropriate for your type of marketing campaign for your target group, you can also add emojis to your subject line. MailChimp has a great deal of them and using emojis can bring a fun aspect while drawing attention to your message in the client’s mailbox when appropriate.
** Quick Tip! **
Should you wish to personalize the email message, you can click the ‘Personalize the “To” field’. The field will be filled with the recipient’s name. Filling in the field helps the message avoid spam, but I often leave this field unchecked to avoid the pitfall of the field being filled in with the wrong name.
5. Choose A Template
If you are creating a new campaign and not replicating a campaign, you will have the ability to choose a template. MailChimp provides default templates which are great for beginners. It is a best practice to set up a few templates like we did for Vapehappy. Having 2 – 4 templates allows for a little variety while maintaining consistency. Choose the template you wish to use and click next on the bottom right of the page.
Email Templates are just the beginning of the kinds of Development services we provide. If you wish to learn more;
6. The Design Wizard Overview
Here you will be brought into the design wizard. Before we go into designing an email, I will go over the user interface for you. First let’s start with the default overview.
This is the main content area. You can rearrange, delete, and edit each module in this area. Simply hover over the module to make it active, and choose your desired action. The pencil is to edit, the plus is to duplicate the module, the trash is to delete, and the icon on the left is to move the module.
This area allows you to switch workspaces. The design tab allows you to add and edit modules on your email. The design tab allows you to edit the default values for your email campaign, such as font color, background color, font size, and so much more! It is recommended that once you have a template already built that you do not tweak these values too much for sake of design consistency in your campaigns, however when creating a new template this tab is essential to your workflow! The comments tab is used when more than one person is involved with the creation of the campaign. Should someone have notes on the design, this would be a place to enter them.
This is the workspace that is changed by the tabs above it. In design mode it shows all available modules, and when editing a module this area is where you edit the modules content. When in design mode this changes to specific sections of the campaigns style you can adjust to your liking. When in comments mode you see all comments regarding this campaigns production.
Here is an example of what the design space look like when editing a module.
Here is an example of the design space when editing the campaigns default design.
In the design mode all of these different modules can do different things, and for the sake of not going to far down the rabbit hole I recommend playing with some of these modules yourself when building your campaign. For more documentation visit the MailChimp email design references.
** QUICKTIP IMPORTANT! **
All email campaigns are legally required to have a CAN-SPAM module! This section allows the user to see who is sending the email in detail, as well as, provide a means to unsubscribe from an emailing list. You need to setup this module if your template does not have one, normally this information is set up in the footer, and is recommended that you do not delete or edit this content.
7. Image, Text, and Link Manipulation
So now that we have the overview out of the way, let’s go into detail in regards to changing out some images, updating links and text, and any other design changes before we test our campaign before sending.
First, let’s create a featured image using MailChimp’s image editing tools to create an eye catching graphic. It is recommended to use image groups to accomplish this, as studies have indicated that email users interpret information visually much quicker than they would from reading copy. This is what the image group module looks like. You can upload up to 5 images in each image group module, which allows for a variety of layout options.
What I will do is click on the image group, and on the first image, I will upload a new image by clicking ‘replace’. Next, I will bring up the image editor by clicking ‘edit’. This will bring up MailChimp’s amazing image editing tools.
Next I want to create a graphic that has some headline text embedded into it, so I will need to make sure to create an area that has enough contrast to allow the text to be readable. I will use the vignette tool to make the background darker to allow some white and red text to be readable.
Next, I want to add some headline text to draw in the recipient’s attention. Note, make sure to choose fonts that are similar to the fonts being used in the email design for design consistency.
Once I have all my images uploaded and edited, I will need to update all things to properly navigate back to their respective webpages. I will click the ‘link’ button, and it will bring up a modal window to edit the link image.
Additionally, for accessibility and spam avoidance reasons you will want to add alt text to all images on your email campaign. This should be some text to describe what the image is should it not render because of the email client or if the user has accessibility issues.
For all email campaigns, it is highly recommended that you add analytics tracking variables to your links. The tracking variables look like this after your link;
If your link already has a question mark in it, you will want to add a link like this;
The red value is the only value you need to change in this tracking variable, keep it something simple, and avoid using special characters or spaces – use underscores instead.
If you intend to copy and paste the tutorial copy from here,
You will need to edit every link in your email campaign except the view email in browser and CAN-SPAM links. Don’t forget to update the site logo link too, if you are using one in addition to any call to action buttons you may be using!
Next you will want to change out any text in your email campaign, and style to your liking. Once you complete that step and have all your images and call to action buttons linked up correctly, it’s time to test our email!
8. TEST TEST TEST!
As the saying goes, ‘measure twice, cut once’. That notion applies when creating your campaign as you get only one chance to send out your campaign, but unlimited opportunities to preview and send test emails.
To test your emails, you can open up the email preview. This tool makes it convenient to see how the email looks on different sized devices like smartphones and tablets. Studies have shown that over 50% of emails are viewed on smartphones, so it is important to observe previews on these devices sizes. Also, you have the ability to send out test emails, where you can enter a comma delimited list of recipients to receive your test email. device that you want to view the email on to ensure proper design and rendering.
9. Prepare to Launch
Once you are confident your design looks good, and you have tested it on all the devices you wanted, it is the moment of truth; the email launch! At this point you have two options, to send immediately or to schedule your campaign.
First, I will show how to schedule your campaign, which I recommend over sending immediately. From the design wizard, click next to reach the confirmation window.
Here you can either click ‘Send’ to send immediately, or ‘Schedule’ to schedule your campaign. Click schedule which brings up the scheduler, which provides more functionality than sending immediately.
Here you can schedule your campaign for a specific time and time zone, as well as batch delivery. Batch delivery is important in situations where you have a large subscriber list, and there are negative consequences of all those users navigating to your website at the exact same time on your site’s performance. I recommended splitting up into multiple batches when scheduling.
When you are satisfied with the scheduled details, click ‘Schedule Campaign’, you may be prompted to confirm, and once you do you will get your scheduler confirmation!
If you decide to send immediately, you will be prompted to confirm whether you want to send the campaign immediately.
A moment or two may pass before you get confirmation depending on the size of your subscriber list.
Once it completes you will get a confirmation window similar to the scheduler.
You did it!
Once your campaign is sent, and if you checked all the tracking options on setup, you will receive a report revealing how many of your subscribers opened your message and where they clicked the links within your campaign!
As you perform these steps again they will become easier and easier and before you know it you will be a MailChimp pro! With this skillset you will have the ability to engage your audience and to push your organization to new heights. Well done!
If you are interested in learning more about Glowhorn and our services feel free to contact us anytime.