How to Get Started with Mailchimp – A Crash Course

If you’re a small business owner, one of the most important things you can do is send regular emails to your customers or clients letting them know about new products or services you’re offering. It can be difficult and expensive to manage these campaigns, especially if you’re just getting started, but luckily Mailchimp is free for people who have less than 2000 people on their mailing list. Setting up your first list and campaign can be confusing though – I’ll attempt to clarify it in this post. 

  1. Sign up for an account. This should go without saying. The sign-up process is quick and easy.


2. After you sign up for an account and log in, the first thing you want to do is create a list by clicking “lists” and then “create a list”.


3.  Fill out the details and then click “save.”


4.  On the next screen, click “Sign-up Forms” and choose the type of form you want to create. If you want to put a form on your blog choose “Embedded forms” — if you’re using WordPress there are several excellent plug-ins that add embed code to your blog. If you’re using a different platform, you’ll have to look up instructions.

5.  Create a campaign for your sign up form. If you want to send out emails when you write a new blog post, click “Create an Email,” “Automated,” and “Share Blog Updates.”


6.   Choose a campaign name, select a list and then click “Begin”


7.  Type in your blog’s RSS feed. this is usually going to be something like or


8.  Choose how often you want to send out blog post updates and whether you want to send them to the entire list, a saved segment or a new segment. Since this is a blog post update, you’ll probably want to send to the entire list.


9.  Now comes the fun part — select your template and set it up. You want to make sure you put an RSS Header and RSS Items blocks in your email. Its’ your choice whether you want to show titles, excerpts or full posts, but I recommend excerpts. I also suggest sending a test email at this step so you can see what the email will look like when it’s sent to your subscribers. Once you’re done, click “next”.


10. The next screen will show a check list showing which items you’ve completed successfully.  If there are problems you’ll have to resolve them before you can schedule the email. You also want to preview and test your email at this step.


11.  Once you’ve resolved everything, your email will be sent on the schedule you’ve chosen.

That’s all there is to setting up your mailing list and your first campaign in MailChimp. One suggestion I would make is to subscribe yourself to your list, just so you can make sure your emails go out when they’re supposed to and they look like they’re supposed to. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to respond in the comment box.


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