How does MailChimp help companies generate sales

Beginner's Guide: How to Use Mailchimp (Build Your Email List)

You know the saying that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time is now?

It is similar with email marketing. The best time to start building your list was when you got the idea for your business. The second best time is now. Back in 2017, DMA discovered that the average return on every £ 1 (~ $ 1.28) spent on email marketing was £ 32.28 (~ $ 41.28), which is an incredible value.

But that is easier said than done. The number of email marketing software options out there can be confusing, which one to start with?

Why use Mailchimp:

Mailchimp is one of the most famous and widely used email marketing software in the world. Mailchimp was founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius and today has more than 20 million users and is valued at $ 4.2 billion. Here are the reasons why it's a great place to start for newbies:

  • It's easy to use
  • It has all the necessary functions
  • It's reliable
  • You can try it for free
  • It was developed by an established company and dedicated founders

Today we're going to take a look at how to use Mailchimp, one of the most popular email marketing tools, and show you how you can use it to build your email list today.

Mailchimp email marketing tool

What is Mailchimp?

Mailchimp is an email marketing company founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius.

It was originally just a side project helping Ben and Dan’s client at the web design agency create email lists, and it stayed that way for the first six years since it started. The project only brought in a few thousand dollars a month.

Original Mailchimp (Image Source: Sumo)

However, in 2007 Ben and Dan realized that their hearts were no longer in the web design agency business and decided to focus full-time on Mailchimp.

(Recommended reading: Your guide to starting and running a successful WordPress agency).

They foregone outside investment and funded business growth by reinvesting their profits in the company.

Since then, Mailchimp has grown to become one of the most popular and well-known email marketing software out there, with the recent changes that now make it a full-fledged marketing platform.

According to Forbes, it had 20 million users in 2018, generated over $ 600 million in revenue, and was valued at $ 4.2 billion.

The co-founders remain committed to the company and have no intention of selling:

"Go public? Not worth the effort! ”Says Chestnut. To sell? The founders look stunned.

"To this day it is a great feeling to be able to help," explains Kurzius. Chestnut adds, "I want people to see that for the past 17 years we've just warmed up."

Advantages and disadvantages of Mailchimp

What Is The Best Email Marketing Software On The Market Today?

It is impossible to answer that question. It all depends on the needs of your business. So what you really need to ask is, "Which email marketing software is best for me?"

MailChimp, just like any other tool, has its pros and cons and works better for some people than others. We at Kinsta use and love Mailchimp.

Advantages of Mailchimp

Established companies and committed founders

Choosing a young startup is always a risk as it can dissolve at any time.

There is something called the Lindy Effect. It is a theory that the future life expectancy of an imperishable thing is proportional to its current age. So if a company has been in business for a year, for example, you can expect it to be in business for another year, but if a company has been in business for 18 years like Mailchimp, you can expect it to be for another 18 years stays in business.

This is an important consideration because if an email marketing software provider went broke, your entire email marketing efforts would be crippled and your revenue would be forfeited.

Easy to use, has all the necessary functions, is reliable

18 years in business also means Mailchimp is a polished product.

Sure, software always needs refinement, but they've had the time to flesh out the user interface (although some would argue there is a lot of room for improvement there as learning to use Mailchimp can be a bit of an effort), adding necessary features, and the Ensure deliverability.

Free entry

If you're just starting out, chances are you're already running out of money, and paying more than $ 30 a month for the service to email your three subscribers may seem ridiculous.

With MailChimp, however, you don't have to pay anything until you reach 2,000 email subscribers, at which point you are likely making enough money on your list to justify the cost of upgrading to a premium plan.

Mailchimp pricing

Cons of Mailchimp

It is generic email marketing software

Mailchimp's target audience seems to be anyone looking to build an email list.

And they stretch the net very well. It doesn't matter if you're a hobbyist, an online creator, or an ecommerce entrepreneur, Mailchimp is here to help.

However, serving such a broad audience means that while it's a good solution, it isn't necessarily the best solution for your niche.

For example, if you're a hobbyist who only needs the most basic email marketing features, then MoonMail could be a better option.


In the meantime, if you are an online creator then ConvertKit was designed with you in mind, and their mission is to help developers make money online.


If you have an ecommerce business, you might want to try SmartrMail or Drip:


So you have to figure out if it makes sense to go with Mailchimp when there are niche options.

While Mailchimp is free to start with, it can get expensive as the list grows

Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers, but how much does it cost after that?

You can use the cost calculator on the pricing page to find out how much you would have to pay if you reached a certain number of subscribers.

Mailchimp price calculator

Mailchimp has received criticism of its pricing that some people consider to be unfair.

For example, bootstrapping star Pieter Levels switched from Mailchimp to SendGrind in 2017:

Switched from 🐒 @MailChimp to 🐳 @sendgrid and I recommend them to everybody!

- ؜ (@levelsio) November 12, 2017

His main reason for switching was because Mailchimp billed him $ 250 a month, which he described as "cutthroat":

5 mins, yes I think MailChimp's pricing is predatory. $ 250 / m to store my email subscribers, say what?

- ؜ (@levelsio) November 13, 2017

However, to be fair to Mailchimp, their price isn't that outrageous compared to some of their competitors, but it's still something to keep in mind if money isn't irrelevant to you.

Burning question: should you be using Mailchimp?

It depends.

If you have an established business and have money to invest in email marketing then it probably makes more sense to go for one of the niche options out there.

However, if you are just getting started then this is Mailchimp the cheapest option (at least in the short term) and a great way to learn the basics of email marketing.

Also, the reality is that you should have created an email list the moment you got your business idea and now you are way behind schedule.

So if you're stuck in analytical paralysis and comparing endlessly different options without ever choosing one, then it might be best to just go with Mailchimp.

One can switch to another email marketing software provider at any time (switching is a headache, but it is doable).

What matters now is that you start building your email list.

The best time to start building your email list was when you started your business. The second best time is now. 😉Click to Tweet

Getting started with Mailchimp

As you'll see in this Mailchimp tutorial, getting started with Mailchimp is easy.

Step 1

Go to the Mailchimp website and click the "Sign Up For Free" button in the top right corner.

You will be redirected to a registration form that asks for your email address, username and password.

Mailchimp registration

step 2

Once you have submitted the required information, you will receive an email from Mailchimp asking you to activate your account by clicking the "Activate Account" button.

step 3

Then you have to confirm that you are human by clicking the "I'm Not a Robot" button.

Step 4

You will then be guided through a series of setup screens asking you for more information (name, business details, physical address, etc.).

Mailchimp Info Registration

There's even a “Let's Find Your Marketing Path” quiz that provides Mailchimp with the information it needs to make marketing suggestions in the future.

Once you are done with all of this, you will continue the onboarding process by designing your first email.

Design your first email in Mailchimp

You can then add contacts by either importing them from a file or using a pop-up form to collect subscribers.

Finally, you can send your first email to the people you just added.

You will then be given suggestions on how to next create a landing page, grow your audience with Facebook, and set up an automatic welcome email.

Mailchimp completed onboarding

As you can see, the registration and onboarding processes are very simple, so no excuses. Do it today!

Learn how to use merge tags

Mailchimp is an easy-to-use tool with a pretty intuitive interface. The more you will use it, the more familiar you will become with it.

However, there is one important thing that you need to learn from the start because it is super important: They are merge tags.

Merge tags are dynamic tokens that you can use when it comes to designing your emails to look and sound more personal. These tokens pull data from your audience and your account (Audience Merge Tags and System Merge Tags).

Let me give you a few quick examples:

* | FNAME | * is a merge tag that stands for the first name of your recipient. So, assuming you collect the names of your subscribers, they will all get a nice email with their name if you start your emails with "Hey * | FNAME | *". That's a nice touch, isn't it?

Here's another one: Let's say you need to email someone confirmation, but first you need to double-check that their email address is the correct one on your records (follow these tips if You need to find someone's email address). In this case, you can use * | EMAIL | * to include your recipient's email address in your own message. It should look something like this:

Example of merge tags in Mailchimp

There are many merge tags you could use, many of which will show their full potential when it comes to automating and segmenting your audience.

Set up your email autoresponder series

An email autoresponder series is a series of emails that are automatically triggered based on a set of rules and criteria that have been set up.

Some of the most common uses of automated sequences are:

  • Welcome email to newly subscribed users
  • Series of training courses to attract new onboarded users to learn more about your product / service.
  • Content upgrade email series for users who want to receive an ebook, cheatsheet, or other freebie from your website.
  • Automated responses to prospects who have requested a quote from you.

The list could go on and on. The important point to understand here is that implementing solid email automation can really help you manage and improve your bottom line.

It can be done in Mailchimp by clicking on the “Set up an automated welcome email” tab.

You will then be offered three options: "Welcome message", "Onboarding series", "Training series".

Mailchimp autoresponder email

You can start with the welcome message. Once you click the “Get Started” button, you will be taken to a page where you can edit your welcome email (including what appears in the “From” field, the subject line, and the content and design of the e -Mail). You can also send a test message to yourself to make sure it's exactly how you want it to be.

The online marketing expert Derek Halpern recommends asking a question along the lines “What are you struggling with?” In the welcome email.

"Why am I asking this question? Well, when people tell me what they're struggling with, it helps me figure out what kind of content I can create for them (I often turn that content into free giveaways to help build my email list), ”explains Derek . "It also helps me to understand a little better who my customer is".

Consider doing the same in your welcome email. It doesn't cost you anything, but it helps with market research.

Once you're done with the welcome email, it's time to either set up onboarding (if the new subscriber is also a new customer) or an educational series of emails (if the new subscriber just wants to learn more) .

This can be done by clicking the “Create” button in the top right corner of the screen, then the “Email” tab, then the “Automated” tab, then the “Welcome New Subscribers” tab and finally either the "onboarding series" or "training" series.

Mailchimp helpful provides a template for the series in case you don't know how to structure it.

All you have to do is fill in the template emails with your own content, add more emails to the series, and your triggers based on:

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  • Tags
  • Subscriber Activity
  • E-commerce / buying activity
  • Date based
  • API call
  • Custom settings

Template emails in Mailchimp

Automated email series are an essential element of email marketing as they allow you to connect with your subscribers, users, and leads and develop a relationship with them through the autopilot.

Don't forget that you will be judged based on these emails, so make an effort to make a good impression by creating as valuable as possible to your client.

Take your automation to the next level with segments and triggers.

Segments are subsets of your contacts who meet one or more criteria, such as similar audience data, purchase activity, subscription status, interests, activity. Think of this simple example based on a customer's purchase history:

  • Leads = 0 items purchased in the last 30 days.
  • New customers = 1 item bought in the last 30 days
  • VIP customers = 2+ items purchased in the last 30 days.
  • inactive customers = 1 item purchased in the last 90 days.

You can use up to five terms with Mailchimp's free plan.

Now, with the right combination of automated series, triggers, and segments, it's time to start thinking about how to collect more email addresses!

Create a Mailchimp opt-in form

An opt-in form is a form that asks for a name and email address (you can ask for more details, but it's not recommended) and then adds a person to the email list as soon as they do this information is transmitted.

You can create them using Mailchimp's Form Builder.

Click the Audience tab, then choose Signup Forms from the drop-down menu on the left side of the screen.

Mailchimp form creation

Well, the standard form isn't that great, and there are three things to do right away:

  • Change the default heading to a user-centric one that tells the potential subscriber what they'll get when they sign up.
  • Remove all fields in the form except for "Name" and "Email Address" (yes, there are cases where you need more fields, but this is not common).
  • Change the default button copy to a user-centric copy that tells the prospective subscriber what will happen when they click on it (you can do this by clicking "Translate" and then changing the text in the "Subscribe" field).

Example of a Mailchimp form

You can then use a link that Mailchimp offers to direct people to your registration form (see above).

Now, if you want to embed a form on your website, you have to click on the "Audience" tab, select "Registration Forms" from the drop-down menu on the left and then click on "Embedded Forms".

Embedded Mailchimp form

This is a bit more technical because once you've edited the form you'll need to copy and paste the code onto your website.

Finally, you can also create a pop-up form by clicking “Audience”, then selecting “Registration Forms” from the drop-down menu, then selecting “Subscriber”.

You can then design your form and generate the code that you can copy / paste onto your website.

Mailchimp Form Design

Here's the most important thing you need to know when it comes to opt-in forms: Don't be shy about using them.

Create a simple sign up form that you can then instantly link to and start sharing it with people who you think might be interested in your content so that you can automatically collect email addresses and create a large email address. Can create mail lists.

Sending broadcast emails with Mailchimp

A broadcast e-mail is an e-mail that you send once (e.g. an announcement about the start of a function).

This can be done in Mailchimp by clicking the “Create” button in the upper right corner of the screen, then the “Email” tab, then the “Normal” tab, and then the “Get Started” button.

Mailchimp broadcast email

Then simply select the audience you want to send this email to, edit the "From" line, the "Subject" line and the text of the email and press "Send" (or "Schedule" if you want) that it will be issued later).

When it comes to the "content" part, you will be asked to choose a layout and design from those already available or to upload your own:

The layout defines the basic structure of your email so that you can present your content the way you want it:

Email layouts in Mailchimp

All layouts are fully customizable and have a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to move and place elements wherever you want:

Email creation in Mailchimp

For those in need of a breath of fresh air, you can scroll through themes by clicking the Themes tab above:

Mailchimp themes

Our newsletter at Kinsta was easily created using Mailchimp's simple drag and drop interface. No programming was required. Check out some of our newsletters.

Kinsta newsletter template

You are now ready to jump into the email marketing game. Now is the time to take a quick look at how your emails work and learn how to get better results!

Improve your email marketing with data

Mailchimp lets you see how your emails and email sequences are working, along with data related to your audience growth. This functionality is vital here as it really requires understanding what types of emails are better than others, what a good day / time to send out communications, which users are most related to your business, and so on.

After you have sent at least one email to your subscribers, you should have a look at the _Report_ section in Mailchimp, which you can find above:

Mailchimp campaign reports

Here you will find an overview graphic that shows how the opening rate and click rate of your emails are developing compared to the industry average:

Mailchimp dashboard overview

If I'm honest, the data shown here isn't particularly useful. If you really want to dive deep and see email-specific data, you should scroll down a bit on the same page where you can see all of the email campaigns sent and click the "View Report" button on the right:

Email campaign reports in Mailchimp

This gives you access to the data of the respective email campaign and a deeper insight into the performance.

What about your automated email sequences?

If you want to check how they work you need to go to the Mailchimp top menu and hit the "Campaign" tab:

Automated email campaign reports

There you have to click on "Ongoing" in the left sidebar to view your active campaigns, then hover over the one you want to view to display the "Report" button that you should click.

I know it's not the smoothest UX path, but you will get used to it in no time.

Now that you know how to create, set up, and check performance of your email campaigns in Mailchimp, we have some additional tips to help you get the best results!

Bonus: How to Get People to Read Your Email?

It's important to understand that most people are overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive, which means that you have to earn your place in someone's inbox.

It is not enough to get someone to sign up for your email list, but then you need to build a relationship with that person that will make them want to read your messages.

Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of "ghosts" on your email list, people who have subscribed but never open your email.

Well, the most important thing in email marketing is creating value for the customer because there is no way you can build an engaging email list if you don't.

Every single email you send has to somehow improve the subscriber's life. Otherwise, why should they even open them?

Think long and hard about what problems the people on your list are struggling with and how you can help solve them. Then you offer these solutions in your emails.

(The question "What are you struggling with right now?" In your welcome email, as suggested by Derek Halpern, makes this a lot easier).

But while the content is king, the way of presentation is not to be neglected.

You also have to pay attention to subject lines, copy and formatting.

Subject lines

Do you know how obsessed with headlines is copywriters? That's because the headline is how to get someone's attention. Screw it up and no one will read the actual content.

Well, it's the same with subject lines, if you don't grab the subscriber's attention, your email will just be lost in the sea of ​​other emails.

What to do is put a lot of thought into the subject lines and think about how to make sure your email stands out among dozens of other emails in a crowded inbox.


In the world of copywriting, "copy" refers to text that is intended for sale, be it an advertisement, an email, a product description, whatever.

What to keep in mind when writing your email is that it's not just text, it's copy, because you're trying to get your subscribers to do something (even if it's just about getting your next email) Mail to read).

So get into copywriting. Learn how to attract people, tell a story, and then relate it to the message you want to convey. You won't achieve your goals if your emails are boring.


Let's face it: reading on the screen is torture.

So don't make it even more frustrating by sending blocks of text to your subscribers (hint: nobody will read them).

Make your email attractive by using spaces, bold text, and bullets to break up the text.

It doesn't have to be chic. It just has to be readable.

Take a look at this 5-Bullet Friday email from Tim Ferriss:

5-Bullet Friday formatting email example (Image source: Tim Ferriss)

Do you see how the white area, bold text, and links make the email easy to read (that monstrous Acetyl-L-Carnitine paragraph would look better but if broken down into a few shorter sections)?

You should choose a similar look in your emails.

Finally, make sure that every email has a clear call to action, i.e., tell people what to do next. To answer a question? Click on a link? Participate in a survey? Whatever it is, make it clear and call for action.

Keep your list clean

No matter what you do, even if you are the best copywriter in the world, some “ghosts” will land on your list.

Again, by "ghost" I mean people who are on your email list but never open the email.

Think of your own inbox. Have you ever received an email from someone you subscribed to, decided that you weren't interested enough to read it, and just archived it without opening it? Well, congratulations, you are a ghost too. We all are.

From a rational point of view, this behavior does not make much sense, as it takes less than a minute to log off a list. So why stay and keep archiving the emails? Because it somehow seems easier to do than go through the "hassle" of logging out.

When you keep an email list yourself, you quickly realize that there are three problems with ghosts:

  • They feed your vanity. Let's say you have a list of 100,000 subscribers, which sounds impressive. But what percentage of them are ghosts? It's easy to deceive yourself if you convince yourself you're doing really well but are building up inactive subscribers.
  • They distort the statistics. When inactive subscribers are a significant part of your email list, they affect stats like open rates and click rates. While overestimating the size of the email list, underestimating the level of commitment given because ghosts decrease the number of interactions. This is how you might look at your open rates, see that they are below average, and think you're not getting the right subject lines when the real reason is because a bunch of people never opened email.
  • They cost you money. When you use Mailchimp, you pay a monthly subscription fee based on the number of subscribers you have. Ghosts aren't a problem when you have a small list, but as it grows all of those inactive subscribers start adding up and could cost you hundreds of dollars a month.

For example, Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo and Sumo, wasn't happy with his $ 700 Mailchimp bill and started looking for ways to reduce it.

He managed to reduce it by 47% (to $ 375 per month) by simply removing inactive subscribers (who they defined as people who hadn't checked their email in the last three months).

“Like many entrepreneurs, we enjoy the vanity of showing off our email list size,” admits Noah.

However, he still made the decision to clean up his main email list, dropping it from 105,000+ subscribers to 72,000+.

"Your ego will be hurt (...)," says Noah. "But at the end of the day, worry about results, not vanity."

So don't hesitate to do the same. You can send a sequence of three emails to your inactive subscribers telling them that you will cancel them if they don't confirm that they want to keep receiving your emails (provide a link they'll click on can). Then you quit everyone who didn't.

Alternatively, you can just unplug it without warning, as it is unlikely that someone who hasn't opened your email in the last three months will be upset (or even notice) about it.

You can do this by clicking on the "Audience" tab, on "View Contacts", then on "New Segment", then on "Campaign Activity", "Did not open" and "All campaigns within the last 3 months" from the drop-down menus.

Mailchimp "Not Opened" segment

Then click on "Add" to create a new condition and select "Campaign activity", "Has been sent" and "Any campaigns within the last 3 months".

Click on "Preview Segment", then check the box next to each contact you want to remove, click on "Actions" and select "Unsubscribe" from the drop-down menu.

Mailchimp subscribers are canceling to clean the list

You can also remove inactive subscribers in large numbers from the distribution list by browsing the segment, clicking on "Export segment" and then on "Export as CVS".

Then click on the “Audience” tab, select “Manage contacts” from the drop-down menu, click on “Unsubscribe people”, then open the CVS file on your computer, copy the email addresses into the “Unsubscribe people” text box "And click on" Unsubscribe ".

Ideally, this should be done every three months to keep your list clean and your Mailchimp bill manageable.

And if you clean up your list regularly, removing inactive subscribers won't hurt as much as it did with Noah, where he removed over 30,000 subscribers from his main list in one fell swoop.

Most importantly, it is the quality of the list that matters, not the number of email subscribers. Don't let your vanity get in the way!


Do you remember how I compared starting an email list to planting a tree at the beginning of this article?

Well, the comparison fits very well because just like a tree, an email list takes time, attention, and care to grow into something big and powerful.

So adjust your expectations accordingly. Everyone wants an email list with 100,000 subscribers. Yet few people have the patience to work hard to get their first, tenth, hundredth subscriber.

But the same way an acorn doesn't turn into a mighty oak overnight, your email list won't go from zero to 100,000 subscribers in a month, year, or even several years.

But you will do it if you work hard to bring real value to your subscribers and keep committed to growing your email list.

So start today.

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