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Instruction: How to Send an Email Campaign in Mailchimp

Instruction: How to Send an Email Campaign in Mailchimp

In this article, we are going to learn how to send single campaigns via Mailchimp. We'll be talking about regular one-time emails that are sent manually: e.g., promo emails, emails with some useful information, notifications, and so on. They are designated as Regular Campaign in the system.

1. Find Campaigns and Select the Email Type

It's easy to find campaigns in Mailchimp — they are the fourth point on the left menu.

how to find campaigns in Mailchimp

Thus, you will open a list of all sent campaigns. They are sorted by type.

A list of sent campaigns in Mailchimp

Emails of all types will be kept in this section: emails, automations, landing pages, a/b tests. Click the Create Campaign button in the upper right corner to create a new campaign. Select Create an Email.

How to create a new campaign in Mailchimp

Next, choose the email type and the campaign name. Email types are

  1. Regular — single campaign. This exact type of email is examined in this article.
  2. Plain text — a regular text email. It is used if you don't need any visual solutions in an email. Just type the text in the email editor and insert personalization tags.
  3. Template — here you can create your own template or adjust ready-made ones.

Now we are sending a regular email, so, choose the Regular option. We'll touch upon other types next time. You type the campaign name for yourself, to find the email in the general list. The subscribers won't see this information.

How to create an email in Mailchimp

It's better to create a system for campaign name building right away. The email on the screenshot is called "promo_10.07.2021", i.e. we've designated its type and date sent. A systematic approach will help us easily find our way around the folder when there will be a great deal of campaigns.

In January 2018, Mailchimp updated the campaign setup interface. Now, we have something resembling a desktop with the email setup process on it.

Campaign setup interface in Mailchimp

Let's examine each point.

2. Choose the Audience

At this point, you'll be suggested to import contacts to create an audience, if you don't have any, or to choose from your audiences. You can import a CSV file or enter contacts manually. Check out our Mailchimp first steps guide to learn how to import your audience in every little detail.

how to add contacts to send a campaign in Mailchimp

At this point, we choose the audience or the segment to which we are sending the campaign. There are three options here:

  1. All subscribers in the audience: sending it to the whole selected audience of subscribers.
  2. Group or a new segment: here the segment creation process is identical to the way we do it in the Audience menu. The flaw of this method is that we cannot save a new segment or a group. If we need them next time, we'll have to create them all over again in this menu. However, it'll help you avoid multiplying segments if you don't need them anymore. So it's better to build the main segments beforehand.
  3. Saved or pre-built segments: sending an email to a pre-built segment. It can be sent to a pre-built segment, with the subscribers divided by their activity or inactivity and whether they're new.
Choosing an audience to send the campaign in Mailchimp

On the screenshot, we've selected the whole audience. There is also an option "Personalize the 'To' field" at this step. With its help, we will be able to substitute a name into the "To" field. It will look this way in the email client:

How to personalize the name in an email campaign in Mailchimp

There are several personalization options:

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. The first and last name

In fact, Mailchimp substitutes these tags with the data from the contact profile. Use this option if you are sure the subscribers' names are in the ESP. After everything is filled out, click the Save button. If everything is alright, you'll see a checkmark.

Successfully added recipient in an email in Mailchimp

If there is some error, a red cross will appear instead of a checkmark. There can be no critical errors on these stages. You've probably just missed filling out some fields.

3. Indicate the Sender's Name

At this stage, we fill out the information for the "From" field. There are only two fields here: the sender's name and their address.

"From" field in an email campaign in Mailchimp

It's important to verify your sender address: this is how you can prove to Mailchimp that your address is really yours.

4. Indicate the Subject of the Email

At this stage, we set up the subject and the preheader of the email.

Subject and preheader of an email in Mailchimp

Preheader is the text, which is displayed in the inbox right after the subject. It complements and strengthens (if used properly) the subject line and gives the user additional info on the content of the email.

Preheader in an email

You don't have to fill out the preheader. If you still want to do it, you'd better not completely rely on this function in Mailchimp: it might not work if you have your own HTML layout. In such cases, it's easier and safer to write the preheader in the code itself. Paste it right after the <body> tag, as it is shown on the screenshot. Keep in mind that if you don't type any preheader at all, the first words from the email will go right after the subject (including the images' alt texts).

preheader in the HTML layout in Mailchimp

You can run some tests to check how the preheader works.

5. Create an Email Template

Before working with content you will be suggested to choose between Classic Builder and New Builder. For this article, we used Classic Builder.

Classic builder in Mailchimp

The most important part of setting up an email is its content. This is the step where we create the email itself. There are four main ways of doing it:
a) via drag & drop editor;
b) via themes;
c) with the help of a ready-made HTML layout;
d) with the help of ready-made templates.

a) Create a Template via Drag & Drop Editor

Newbies often create their first emails with the help of a drag & drop pattern. It's convenient as you don't need comprehensive knowledge of HTML layout. To create an email in a drag & drop editor, select the Layouts section in the Templates point.

Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

You'll be offered to choose from an arrangement of email elements:

Arrangement of email elements in Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

Choose the template and click Next in the lower right corner. Two windows will show up: the right one will have block types (Text, Image, Code, and so on), the left one will have something resembling a desktop where we can move the blocks, building our email. To edit a block click on it in the left window. The editing interface will show up in the right one. We will have different editing options depending on the block type. For example, if it is a button, we will be able to change its size, color, text, link. And if it's just text, you'll see a simple text editor.

how to edit templates in Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

It's a convenient way of creating emails in Mailchimp if you don't have an opportunity to work with an HTML layout. You can also edit the background color and style of the footer in the drag & drop editor. To do so, go to the Style tab in the right window and choose the part of the email you want to change. For example, if it's the footer, you need to choose the Footer block. You can edit its borders and background color and set up every part of the email this way.

How to edit style of an email template in Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

b) Choose From Ready-Made Themes

Themes are another variant of creating an email in the Templates tab. Basically, it is a set of pre-built templates. We can choose a design and edit it as we wish.

Ready-made templates in Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

It's possible to set up and edit not only blocks but also the entire email design. For example, the background, header, and body color. It is done in the same Design tab. Theme editing goes the same way as template setting up in the drag & drop editor. The only difference is that we already have a ready-made theme that can be slightly changed. And we still get a similar, but beautiful email without spending much time and effort.

how to edit ready-made templates in Mailchimp drag-n-drop editor

c) Upload Your Own HTML Layout of an Email

If you already have an HTML layout of an email, then it won't be much of a challenge to upload it into Mailchimp. Choose the option 'Code your own'. Now we can choose the code uploading method. In most cases, you'll need to choose Paste in code. There is an option to upload the code from a zip archive, but it's a pretty rare thing. Then go to the code uploading screen. Paste it into the right part of the window and preview in the left one. Note: this option is available for the paid accounts only (starting with Standard).

How to upload HTML layout in Mailchimp

The preview mode will show you what the email will generally look like, but it won't tell you anything about its adaptivity. If there are some mistakes in the code, they may not be displayed here. This is why we have to test the email. Choose Preview and Test → Send a test mail in the upper right corner. Enter the email address for the test. There is an Enter the preview mode function in the same menu. It will allow viewing the email on desktop and mobile devices within the Mailchimp interface. But don't fully rely on it and always test your messages on real email addresses.

d) Use Ready-Made Templates

How to use ready-made templates in Mailchimp

We can create templates with the methods examined before — via a drag & drop editor or a layout. After that, we just save the template and are able to use it for future campaigns.

Saved templates in Mailchimp

Templates can be saved in the Templates tab in the main menu and found in the Saved Templates tab.

6. Set Up the Footer

When you will be setting up the email design before sending it, you'll probably notice that Mailchimp adds its footer to it.

how to set up the footer in Mailchimp

Even if you don't see it in the preview mode, subscribers will still get an email with this additional footer. It consists of two parts:

  1. Text part. You can find the name of the organization, subscriber's profile update link, unsubscription link, subscription reason, and the name of the audience here. The main thing is the unsubscription link. It is the reason why Mailchimp automatically pastes all this text, as by the law if you are not a spammer, the email must contain this link. Or you'll get fined. This is why Mailchimp keeps an eye on it and doesn't let you send a campaign with no unsubscription link. You can remove this part from the footer by just writing the unsubscription link — *|UNSUB|* into any part of the email. If you haven't done it at the beginning, you'll probably have to re-create the email for the changes to take effect.

  2. Banner. Here it's called Monkey's Reward; it's Mailchimp's partner banner. Technically, it gives you an opportunity to make more money on your campaign. If your subscriber gets interested in the platform the emails are sent from, they will click this banner. Then they will sign up in Mailchimp, pay for the account and you will get a referral fee. But in practice, campaigns don't need this banner as history knows of no people who got rich thanks to this affiliate program. Sadly, you can remove this banner only when you at least have the Essentials plan. A person with a free account will only be able to change the look of the banner. It can be done in the Account → Extras → Referrals menu. You can also check how much you made there via the affiliate program.
how to add banners in Mailchimp

7. Set Up Sending & Tracking

There are Sending & Tracking settings at the very bottom.

Settings and tracking in Mailchimp

Here we can choose what actions to track. For standard sending, the default settings will be enough. If you need the open and click rate from Mailchimp, you can just skip this menu, all the needed checkboxes are already set on.

Settings and tracking options in Mailchimp

Let's examine every point in a bit more detail:

  1. Use conversations to manage replies. It is available to paid accounts only. The point is, all the replies to your campaign are stored in one place in Mailchimp. You can watch and answer them there. For more detailed info, check this inbox manual.
  2. Auto-convert video. It is an automatic conversion of videos inside of an email. You can insert a video from YouTube or Vimeo with the help of a special tag. If auto-convert is enabled, a video will automatically have a preview pic. It's easy to set and if you are interested, here is a more detailed guide.
  3. Track opens. The system will count people who opened the email.
  4. Track clicks. The system will track clicks in the email.
  5. Track plain-text clicks. It means tracking clicks in the plain-text type email.
  6. E-commerce link tracking. This function plays an important role if you sell something via your campaign and your website has an e-commerce system. It needs integration of your website and Mailchimp.
  7. Google Analytics Links Tracking. It transfers the data about clicks to the Google Analytics account.
  8. ClickTale link tracking. It is a tool to analyze the behavior of a person, who went to your website from the email.

8. Send a Campaign

After we've uploaded, set up, and tested the email, the only thing left is to send it. There are two buttons in the upper right corner: Schedule and Send. If you click Send, the email will be sent immediately. With Schedule, the email is sent at the stated date and time that you choose or you can send the email to every subscriber when they're active. Keep in mind that scheduled sending is available for paid accounts only. There is also a Send with Time Warp option that sends emails, taking subscribers' time zones into account. But this function is also for paid accounts only.

how to schedule a campaign in Mailchimp

To set the time zone, click Edit near the time settings. When setting a time zone, you can also set the Date/time format. These points are only applied to reports.

how to edit time settings in Mailchimp

If everything is set right, a jolly monkey will tell you that everything's great.

Email campaign is scheduled successfully sign

If you are sending an email right now, just confirm the sending.

Button for sending an email immediately in Mailchimp

That's it, your email has been sent. Congratulations!

Email sending confirmation in Mailchimp
Sergey Lobanov, CRM Marketer
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