How to Use Mailchimp for Business and Bloggers? A Mailchimp Tutorial

If you’ve found yourself here, it means that you are considering using Mailchimp for your business.

Or, you may already be using this email marketing tool but are unsure if it is right for you.

Anyway, this Mailchimp tutorial is right for you.

You’ll discover tons of valuable information on how to use Mailchimp for your eCommerce business. The guide includes detailed paragraphs on setting up your first email campaign, building and segmenting your audience, creating beautiful email templates (all without understanding a single line in HTML!), and analyzing the results.

And, finally, you’ll learn if Mailchimp is really worth your attention.

(Scroll to the last chapter if you are craving the answer right now.)

Before We Dive In

I’m not a Mailchimp expert, but over the years in marketing, I’ve sent thousands of creative emails using this robust tool and gained many insights from my experiences.

Instead of reading a step-by-step guide for beginners on how to use Mailchimp, I decided to paddle my own canoe as you are planning.

So, I ran lots of A/B tests, burned the midnight oil filtering the target audience, tried various email templates, played with subject lines, and even added funny GIFs inside, like the one below, for example.

Omlet GIF

And you know, learning through experience is often about learning things the hard way.

Some of my email marketing experiments brought visible results—sales growth and the like—while others didn’t. Luckily, all this tinkering with Mailchimp has paid off.

That’s why I’m here, ready to reveal the core lessons I have learned over the years and that are relevant to most situations.

How to use MailChimp?

How to Get Started with Mailchimp?

Why Mailchimp?

I was not the one (and still amn’t) who decided to use Mailchimp for our marketing activities. And I don’t even know why we chose it back then.

However, Mailchimp increased our engagement, ROIs, KPIs, and many other metrics marketers use to measure the results.

Let me explain why we still use it and refuse to consider quitting it or replacing it with another email marketing app.

1. Taking care of all your marketing needs in a single place is always easier. Mailchimp, please provide you with this opportunity.

Its functionality is no longer limited to sending emails. It’s an all-in-one marketing tool that allows you to leverage various marketing channels, dig deeper into analytics data, and manage your audience — all in one place.

3. Simplicity. Everyone can create an email campaign, postcard, landing page, and the like without getting a Ph.D.

It’s pretty simple, even if you’ve never done that before.

3. Built-in analytics provides personalized recommendations and helps you understand what’s working and what’s not. We’ll discuss this in more detail in the last chapter.

4. Top-notch security. The Mailchimp team wants to be 100% sure that those trying to log in to your account are YOU, not anyone else.

For that very reason, they require several authentication steps. First, you should insert the correct login and password. Then, answer a secret question.

And if you want to make your Mailchimp account extra safe, you can turn on two-factor authentication. You’ll have to install an authenticator app that generates a six-digit code that adds a layer of security upon login.

MailChimp Passcode Required

Though all this procedure may seem a bit complicated for an average user, I love their approach to safety. And it doesn’t take much time—this passcode is required only once every two weeks.

5. We like Mailchimp for its flexible pricing. Four plans — from $0 to $299/mo — may come in handy for various types of users. However, none of these plans worked for us.

Let’s discuss pricing in the chapter.

6. And they’ve got an unbelievably cool interface.

In September 2018, they rolled out a new design — updated logos, color, and illustrations, changing the look and feel from the ground up.

Have a look at the picture below. Such a trailblazing gesture, isn’t it?

MailChimp has a new look

The design has always differentiated this email marketing platform. And it’s in everything they do.

It inspires me (and I hope other users will support my opinion) to be bolder and more creative in our own branding efforts.

After all, one of the key goals of marketers is to stick in your customers’ memory.

Signing Up with Mailchimp

Registering with Mailchimp is a no-brainer. As seen in the screenshot, you fill in the email, username, and password fields.

Get started with your account

Again, we can see here that Mailchimp does care about security. There’s a built-in system that analyzes password strength and gives you tips on how to improve it.

The “Get started!” button becomes active only after you create a perfect password—one that includes lowercase and uppercase characters, one number, and at least one special character.

Believe me! My Mailchimp pass is way more sophisticated than all my other passwords.


Though Mailchimp positions itself as a company for small businesses, I should say that its pricing strategy is not even close to moderate.

I compared it with other email marketing services and autoresponders a year ago, and Mailchimp was the most expensive one. I believe hardly anything has changed since then.

Flexible plans that grow with you

As I said earlier, none of the four plans worked for X-Cart. Instead of paying a fixed recurring monthly charge, we used the Pay-as-You-Go plan. We buy email credits as needed, which helps us save quite a lot of money.

However, I see that Mailchimp doesn’t actively pitch this plan to its new users. No wonder it is more convenient for users and less profitable for the company’s owners.

The good news is that Mailchimp offers a 15% discount to nonprofits and charities.

And, yeah, going back to security, they give a 10% discount for 3 months for those users who add two-factor authentication to their Mailchimp account.

(We did!)

Understanding Mailchimp Dashboard

Mailchimp dashboard is where you can see the meat and potatoes of your account.

Once you log in to your Mailchimp account, you are greeted with a friendly greeting and a couple of ideas for exploring the Platform.

Good morning, Helen!

You can bring users back, build your social media audience, and even send a printed postcard to a physical address.

You are right. We have all almost forgotten that there are physical letters and snail mail! Why not send one?

Then, if you scroll down the landing page, you’ll see major stats, like your Commerce performance, audience changes, campaign engagement, and other less handy marketing stuff.

Track E-commerce Performance

Getting Help

The Mailchimp team is highly customer-oriented. I had several opportunities to assess it, and their customer care team is amiable and willing to help.

At least three guys are waiting for your message in chat. One day, I managed to discuss my issue with three of them. Not that I did it intentionally; it just turned out that way.

Let’s take a look at what options Mailchimp offers to support their users:

Mailchimp 101 Guide: It’s like the guide you are reading at the moment, but straight from the tin. As they say, they’ll walk you through the basics so you know what to expect along the way.

Success Stories: There is nothing new here. These stories from real people just like you are created to inspire. You’ll find out what Mailchimp’s tools people use to grow their businesses, and you’ll get an idea of what you should do to improve yours.

Converting Visitor to Subscribers

Marketing Tips: It’s Mailchimp’s blog, in other words. Though a bit underestimated, this section contains tips for improving your marketing. You’ll see what they’ve learned from data, find out how to make automation work for you, and so on. Don’t be lazy. Take time to look through it before sending your first email campaign.

Guides and Tutorials: You will likely find answers to all your questions there. If not, there’s always a chat.

Announcements: This section is for those who want to be updated with the new Mailchimp features. I never use it; all the updates drop straight into my inbox once in a while.

Podcasts and videos: Mailchimp recently introduced The Jump, their podcast, which is available wherever you listen to podcasts. Shirley Manson, the lead singer of Garbage, hosts it. It’s worth listening to.

The Jump

How to Build Your Audience in Mailchimp?

You’ve probably heard that omnichannel marketing strategy is trendy right now, haven’t you? What’s more, Sephora, Virgin Atlantic, and Bank of America are already embracing it.

Mailchimp keeps pace with the trend, being among the first automated email tools to allow omnichannel communication.

It’s a great tool that helps you put your audience at the heart of your marketing. You can also get insights about your users, keep this info in a single database, and use it whenever needed.

Let’s see how Mailchimp lists work.

Audience Dashboard

Audience Dashboard is where you can keep, view, and manage your users’ email addresses, create tags, and more.

My favorite thing is that you can find out how good your email marketing campaigns are. Here you can see:

  • How engaged your customers are by checking open rates and click rates;
  • How many customers are grouped by tags;
  • How many newcomers you’ve got;
  • The top locations engaged with your email campaigns;
  • Tips & recommendations.

Recommendation your email

Importing Your Email List

Importing contacts to Mailchimp is a breeze. Just click Manage Audience in the upper right part of the webpage and choose “Add a subscriber” (to add subscribers one by one) or Import contacts (to upload your mailing list all at once) in the drop-down menu.

See the screenshot below:

Audience - MailChimp

If you go for the second route, you’ll have four options to choose from:

  • use settings from the last import;
  • .csv or .txt files;
  • copy and paste from the file;
  • integrated service, like Google Contacts, Salesforce, and others.

I like copying and pasting my contacts.

Understanding Groups, Segments, and Tags

Mailchimp offers a sea of options to filter your audience. On the one hand, it’s an excellent opportunity to make your emails more personalized. On the other hand, it makes the system a bit complicated. And here’s where Mailchimp falls short.

No worries. I’ll help you understand it all.

Groups: A collection of “contacts” categorized by interests and preferences. At X-Cart, we group our users by country, language zone, license, etc.

Segments: This category targets users based on shared data — when they were added, where they live, how they interact with you, and so on.

Tags: This is another way to organize your contacts based on what you know about them.

I wouldn’t bury myself in the details now, as there’s an awesome tutorial on creating a Mailchimp audience created by the Mailchimp team. It should help you understand the inner sense of Mailchimp segmentation.

How to Create Beautiful Templates in Mailchimp?

Creating an awesome template for your email campaign is even easier than importing your audience.

There’s no need to be a designer. And there’s no need to know the basics of HTML and CSS. Mailchimp will do the task for you.

There’s a list of ready layouts that you can choose based on your campaign’s purpose — making an announcement, telling a story, following up, and so on.

Select MailChimp Email Template

Some colorful themes can be filtered by category.

Starting point of MailChimp template

Of course, you can code your own—paste it into code, import HTML, or import zip. That’s what we do.

We love Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop editor, which allows us to duplicate, delete, and rearrange content blocks on the go.

We hate it when Mailchimp interferes with our code, breaking it occasionally. Luckily, they tend to fix the bugs quickly enough.

How to Create Campaigns Using Mailchimp?

Now that you know the basics, let’s start your first email campaign. Go on, push the button.

MailChimp - Create Campaign

You’ll see the following options to choose from:

  1. Email — no need to explain. That’s quite obvious.
  2. Ad — find new people or bring existing customers back through Facebook, Instagram, or Google Ads.
  3. Landing Page — This tool is for you if you do not have a website.
  4. Postcard — design and send a printed postcard. (Ah, just like in the good old days!)
  5. Social Post — share posts across social media networks.
  6. Sign-up form — add a pop-up or embedded form to collect emails. (Mailchimp has got a great form builder, btw!)

As we aim to create an email, we’ll go with the first option. Click-click. There are four more options to choose from. Don’t be scared—it’s pretty easy as well.

MailChimp - Create an email

  • Regular email is just a one-time email to update your audience with the latest company news.
  • Automated campaign to send triggered emails (to share blog posts, for example, once they are online).
  • Plain Text emails to keep things personal with text-only emails — without styling, images, and links.
  • A/B Tests (my fav!) to test subject lines, content, and other things.

We’ll go with the first one.

Creating MailChimp Campaign

Choose who you are sending the campaign to. Then, introduce yourself — your recipient should know who is sending this campaign. Make up a catchy subject line for your email. And, finally, design the content.

Tip: Use merge tags to make your email more personalized. Here’s the All the Merge Tags Cheat Sheet by the Mailchimp team.

MailChimp - Settings and tracking

You can set up other aspects of your email marketing campaign in Mailchimp. Our team tracks open and clicks and uses conversations to manage replies.

The latter option saves your mailbox (and the mailbox of your colleagues!) from spammy auto replies crashing down on you when you send an email.

Mailchimp filters “out of office” replies, then threads conversations into your subscribers’ profiles and displays them in reports.

That’s pretty much it.

How to Use Mailchimp Analytics?

Mailchimp analytics is accessible in Reports.

MailChimp Reports

Here, you can see an overview of all your email campaigns coupled together or detailed analyses of each campaign.

There, you can see open rates, click rates, the number of bounced and unsubscribed emails, top links clicked, social performance, top locations by opens, abuse reports (God forbid!), and so on.

A 24-hour performance graph shows user activity for the first 24 hours after you sent the email.

MailChimp Reports - 24-hour Performance

Is Mailchimp Really Worth Your Attention?

Definitely yes.

Even if it doesn’t fit your budget yet, you should try their free plan, which includes all the basics for businesses just starting out. Then, see if it aligns with your online business strategy.

That’s what we did when we were not sure. No regrets since then, fortunately.

And yeah, the guys from Mailchimp are great partners and friends. X-Cart, the company I currently work for, has collaborated with them for over 7 years. And you know what?

Every January, they send their partners New Year’s presents. This year, they surprised us with a fragrant pine tree candle and a cozy traveling rug.

The MailChimp Candle

So don’t be afraid. Get it.

By the way what email marketing tool other than Mailchimp have you already tried? What is it about it that drives you crazy?

Please share your experience with us in the comments.

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