How do I use MailChimp

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To create a newsletter for your blog, you don't need a lot of know-how at all. I created the first newsletter for my blog with the free email program Mailchimp and I've been a big fan of it ever since!

Although I use a paid alternative from Active Campaign today, I would still recommend Mailchimp again and again, especially to start with.

In today's guide on the subject of "Email Marketing", I would like to show you step by step how you can use Mailchimp to create your first newsletter and send it successfully.

1) Create an account at Mailchimp and add your personal data

To get started with Mailchimp, you must of course first create an account there. It's quick and free. Mailchimp only costs something if you exceed 2,000 email subscribers or use a paid feature (e.g. automating emails or removing the Mailchimp symbol in the email footer).

I used the free version for my DIY blog Madmoisell for a while and found it to be perfectly adequate. Later I booked the package for www.carolinepreuss.de for 10 dollars a month because I wanted to use more features.

When you open Mailchimp, you'll see three circles in the menu in the top left. These are the most important points that I will explain to you step-by-step in a moment. Very short:

  • With "Campaigns" you can later create campaigns that will be sent to your email subscribers. This means that you will only use this point at the very end when you already have subscribers and have created an email template.
  • In the menu item "Templates" you create the visual templates for your emails. This is super practical because you can easily create and save the templates using drag and drop. This means you don't have to create a new template for every email.
  • Very important: the point "Lists". This is where you collect all your email addresses.

At the top right I have circled the point for the personal settings. This is also very important because you can set your time zone and language there.

Include the API key

In order to connect your Mailchimp account with plugins later (e.g. because you want to include a sign-up form on your blog that you can use to subscribe to your newsletter), you need the so-called API key. So if a plugin asks you for this information, you will now find out where to find the key:


Go to your profile in the top right corner, then to Extras and then to API Keys. Under "Settings" you will also find many important settings for your account.

2) Collect your email addresses in lists

In the next step we start to create a list for your email addresses. A list is absolutely necessary, because later you will send your "campaigns" (i.e. emails) to your lists. You can see in the picture below that I use several lists. In this case, those were the recipients of my blog business plan and my Instagram challenge.

At the beginning, however, you will likely start with a single list and later split it up into different target groups.

As soon as someone registers for my Blog Business Plan on my blog, the email address is saved in the list and Mailchimp automatically goes through a routine that I have previously set for the list. You need the routine to send your newsletter in a legally compliant manner.

This is what such a mail routine looks like: When someone signs up for the newsletter, they first receive a confirmation link by email. Only when this link has been confirmed will the Mailchimp email address be entered in the list. In another e-mail, the reader then receives the business plan, for example. This routine will too DOI (double opt-in) called.

Create a new list

To create a new list, click on the "Create List" button on the left. As soon as you have created the list, go to the list settings on the right and select "Signup forms" (circled!). Here you can edit the "routine".

As soon as you are in the menu item "Signup forms" you can edit many different emails: On the one hand, you can edit the sign-up form, which can later be integrated into your blog using an HTML code. Many plugins already offer this integrated, so I never needed this point.

Under "Signup thank you page" you can set what should be shown to the reader immediately after registration.

In the point "Opt-in confirmation email" you can design the confirmation email. I recommend that you simply translate the text into German and add your blog logo at the top.

My favorite point: The "Final welcome mail". With that I finally send my newsletter to the readers. Make sure that there is a checkmark next to "send final welcome mail". I had forgotten that once and then wondered why no email went out.

3) Create your own newsletter template

Your brilliant list is up and you have already won your first e-mail subscribers? Then you should slowly create your own newsletter template. This is very easy in the menu item "Templates" and then on the right under "Create Template".

As soon as you click this button, a flood of possible templates opens up. I mostly choose the simplest one, e.g. the "1 Column" template. So here everything is shown in one column. If you want to have two pictures side by side, then you can simply scroll down and select a "1: 2: 1 Column" template. The template is only the basis for your mail, later you can adjust all colors and fonts.

Important: Don't mess with elaborate templates. Simple designs are best displayed on most devices, making them particularly easy to use.

In the next picture you can see that I have almost finished designing my email. The Template editor at Mailchimp consists of two big points: design and content. Under "Design" you can change the rough design settings. Here you can, for example, set what color the background should have, how big the font is in the respective areas (page, header, body ...) and what the footer should look like. Just try a little with the settings!

Under "Content" you can easily add elements to your mail using drag-and-drop. I have always primarily used the points "Image", "Text" and "Social Share".

As soon as you click on the text or an image, the area opens where you can format the text. It's actually super easy once you've tried it. I recommend that you always insert your blog logo at the top of the mail and make the mail as simple as possible, both textually and visually. Also make sure to choose a good headline! In the beginning I often made the mistake of choosing boring headlines (e.g. "Monthly Review") that nobody was interested in. As a result, my email was hardly noticed.

But here it's first about designing your template, which you can then use again and again (recognition effect!).

Once set up, Mailchimp will save you a lot of time.

4) This is how you send campaigns

When you get here you are almost done! Your list and template are in place. As soon as you have enough newsletter subscribers, you can start sending your first newsletter. Incidentally, I sent my first newsletter from the first 50 subscribers.

To create your newsletter, select "Campaigns" and then "Regular Campagin" in the drop-down menu on the right. First you have to choose which list you want to send your newsletter to. Since you probably only have one list at first anyway, the answer is very simple. If you should have created several lists (e.g. because you offer different downloads), then you can also merge the lists on Mailchimp.

As soon as the list is selected, the basic information (= "setup") needs to be entered: This includes the subject.

Please make sure to choose a sentence in the subject line that speaks to your readers! Instead of "That happened this month on CarolinePreuss.de" I would choose "5 exciting facts that I learned this month".

Your subject is incredibly important so that your email will be clicked later!

It's better to keep it short, but include words that are interesting to the reader. These are e.g. words like: secret, facts, reasons, effective, amazing, now, discover, reveal ... and and and!

Almost finished! Now all you have to do is select your ready-made e-mail template, adapt it as you wish and confirm that the newsletter has been sent.

I hope that I could help you with my tutorial!

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