MailChimp Tutorial For Beginners


MailChimp is the most used software platform to gather e-mail addresses, this is your mailchimp tutorial for beginners. These e-mail addresses can be used to send newsletters to. MailChimp’s core business is to offer webmasters and website owners a system to collect e-mail addresses, create and send newsletters by e-mail. Lead generation is the marketing term behind the process of collecting e-mail addresses from visitors on your website or blog. These visitors are captured to try to convert them to customers buying your service or product. Read our mailchimp tutorial for beginners.

What does MailChimp have to do with SEO? Well, quit a lot! SEO Hero is your partner in finding more traffic to your website. But, that is only interesting when you are able to convert all that traffic to leads and eventually to customers. Take care of the lead generation process, then start working on your SEO traffic. Getting traffic that is leaving after a while without doing what you wanted the visitor to do is a waste of time.

Mailchimp tutorial for beginners

This mailchimp tutorial for beginners will teach you how to use MailChimp’s service to your advantages in relation to converting your website visitor to customers buying your product. You will learn the following:

  • How do you send a campaign in Mailchimp?
  • How do I send an email from Mailchimp?
  • How do you use Mail Chimp?
  • How do I add email addresses to Mailchimp?
  • How to use mailchimp for newsletters?
  • What is a mailchimp campaign?
  • How to send a campaign in mailchimp?
  • Mailchimp – how to send campaign to new subscribers?
  • How do you use Mail Chimp?
  • How do I add Mailchimp to WordPress?

First things first. We kick off this beginner tutorial for MailChimp with the most important question around: What is Mailchimp?

MailChimp tutorial for beginners

This is the most complete MailChimp tutorial for beginners, brought to you by SEO Hero!

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp is a software platform, also known as a cloud service (give it a fancy name if you like 🙂 ). The platform changed the market for e-mail marketing in the past. It allowed website owners to add a small piece of computer code to the website to create a sign up form. This form contained the following three labels: first name, last name and e-mail address.

The next step for the website owner was (and is) to set up a few e-mails which could (and can) be send to the subscribers on the list. This was an automated process and the birth of marketing automation was here. We call this feature in MailChimp the auto responder, meaning that you can send e-mail messages with a specific interval. For example:

  • Send e-mail 1 after 1 day.
  • Send e-mail 2 after 3 days.
  • Send e-mail 3 after 7 days.
  • Etc.

MailChimp also offers a visual e-mail builder to create e-mail messages and add extra blocks of content to the pre-defined e-mail template. It is one of the most user friendly auto responder platforms and free of charge until the number of 2000 subscribers are reached on your list.

What is Lead Generation?

Mentioned before, lead generation is the process of collecting leads. Leads can be defined also people interested in your product or service, but not yet in the mood to buy it. For a few years we speak of lead generation in marketing terms. The exact definition of lead generation is:

All activities that are practiced to collect names and e-mail addresses from possible clients or customers and use these to conduct marketing activities through electronic messaging.

Lead generation is a marketing activity that every entrepreneur should practice on a daily basis. Gathering a list of potential customers in an automatic way is almost passive. It just requires a strategy that can be enhanced over time.

Are you looking for one of the best systems for lead generation? Then you just can’t ignore MailChimp. Like mentioned above, MailChimp is free until you reach 2000 people subscribed to your mailing list.

In this mailchimp tutorial for beginners you will learn the steps in being successful using MailChimp for lead generation for SEO purposes. You will also learn to send emails and to create email campaigns. When you would like to have this article as a free MailChimp ebook in PDF, please visit our SEO shop.

If you have any questions about this beginner tutorial for MailChimp or any question otherwise, please shoot us an email at or join our free forum.

The beginner manual is created by Exalo Media in The Netherlands. Local SEO specialist and webdesign professionals in Leeuwarden. Visit our Dutch site at for more information.

When you have opened an account with MailChimp

After your successful registration on you should edit a few settings in the dashboard. That is what you will learn in the next chapter.

E-mail marketing with MailChimp doesn’t have to be difficult. Of course, there a lot of functions in the platform of the email auto responder service, but since you are just starting out with email marketing we will keep it as easy as possible.

In this MailChimp guide you will learn the following:

  • Your list will meet legal rules,
  • Create or import a list with email addresses,
  • Create and send your first email campaign,
  • Prevent your emails from ending up in the spam box of the receiver,
  • Learn to read and understand the MailChimp reports.

You can email us with a question or join our forum to drop a line. MailChimp is also very supportive. They have a few channels with which a customer can find an answer to almost any question. The channels all are in English.

This is a list of the MailChimp support channels available:

Anyway, if you are good in understanding English the MailChimp support channels will provide you an answer to almost anything.

MailChimp | The Basics

MailChimp is a so-called web-based application. It does not need to be installed on your personal computer or on your website to use it. MailChimp runs online on a web-server somewhere in the world. The system works with any browser that has the following enabled to be used: cookies, javascript and pop-ups.

When the MailChimp website misses one of these things, the dashboard is not able to load it all and it will give an error. Until then, you don’t need to worry.

Please, just try MailChimp out and put it to work. You will see that there are no essential technical skills necessary to use MC.

The foundation of perfect email marketing is having a list of subscribers that is clean, up to date and stuffed with dedicated members. These members might be able to become customers eventually. This does take some time and scheduling the right email to be send on the right time.

You can create as many different lists in the MailChimp dashboard if you wish. Most users that are just starting with email marketing and marketing automation one list is sufficient. It is even better just to focus in creating one list with members. This one list can eventually be divided in segments, but that is a future chapter in this mailchimp tutorial for beginners.

Creating your first list

To start collecting names and email addresses of potential customers, our first step is to create the list on which we gather them. After creating the account with, please follow the next steps:

  1. Log in to the MailChimp website and choose ‘Lists’ in the menu,
  2. Click ‘Create list’ on the top right of your screen,
  3. A new window is visible now and you need to enter the following credentials:
    • Name of the list – choose one you can easily recognize.
    • Standard sender’s name – can be your personal name, a nickname or your company name.
    • Standard sender’s email address – this is also the reply-to address. Choose wise.
    • A small description about the list. – the members will see that in every email send to them. It reminds the readers why they are a member on your list.
  4. Click ‘Save’ to save the list.

When you don’t have any members at the moment, that is okay. MailChimp will now automatically generate a piece of programming code which you or your web designer can add to your website. This code will hold the places where anyone interested in you and your company or product can enter the name and email address. There are a lot of options given when creating the form. You can ignore them for now since this is the beginners tutorial for MailChimp.

Importing a list

Now, it might also be possible that you already have a list of names and email addresses. MailChimp is able to import this set of data and create your list around it.

Attention: the people on that list must have given you explicit consent to be on your mailinglist. It is against lawful right in both Europe and the United States of America that people that did not gave you permission to store their personal information on a mailinglist not are on that list. The CAN SPAM ACT is known for giving a lot of fines to companies disobeying the law in this. Do not test out the USA court..

Importing a list with the permission of the users on that list is working like this:

  1. What you need is a CSV-file. This is an Microsoft Excel file and when you have that it is easy to convert it to a MailChimp list. When you have a list of names, copy it to an empty MS Excel document. Choose ‘Save as’ in the menu and find the file extension .csv.
  2. Navigate in the MailChimp dashboard to ‘Lists’and click the drop-down menu. Choose ‘Import’.
    Mailchimp: importing and creating a list

    Mailchimp: importing and creating a list


  3. The answer to the next question on your screen is “CSV or tab-delimited text file:Mailchimp importing a list
  4. Click ‘Next’.
  5. To choose the file you want to upload to the Dashboard, simply click ‘Browse’ and navigate to the location where the CSV-file is stored on your personal computer. Check the box ‘I understand that my billing plan may be automatically upgraded’ and click ‘Next.
  6. The next step is to let MailChimp know which data can be found in the columns in the CSV-file. Select the right ones and click ‘Save’ every time. This step can be repeated by the system for a few times, depending on the number of columns in your CSV-file for MailChimp.
    Mailchimp importing a list and select columns

    Mailchimp importing a list and select columns


  7. Hit ‘Next’ to finish importing a list of members in MailChimp.


Creating a form

You have just created your first list. This means that there is immediately a form created as well. With this form interested people can subscribe to your mailinglist.

There are a few different type of forms. Every form fulfills a different need of the website owner. First, I would like to explain what the purposes of the different MailChimp forms are.

  • Embedded forms – generates a HTML-code for a form which can be used on your website.
  • Subscriber pop-up forms – this is an editable form that pops up automatically when someone visits your website showing a sign up form.
  • Form integrations – this function allows you to create sophisticated forms that can connect to third party software. Examples of these are the integration with Wufoo, Coffeecup, Twitter, WordPress and Squarespace.
  • Facebook form – adds a sign up form to your Facebook company page.
  • Tablet form – this type of form is used in-store and at events when you simply want to add a customer by hand or offer it as a service in your brick-store.

Let’s create a form to use it on your website. Again a step by step guide in this Mailchimp tutorial for beginners:

  1. Navigate to the lists page using the menu,
  2. Select the list you need to create a form for. Just click that list.
  3. Click on ‘Sign up forms’, then on ‘General forms’ and finally ‘Build it’.
  4. Every form contains three sections: first name, last name and email address. Adding more mandatory fields wills care people away. Stick to these three.
  5. Hit ‘Save and exit’.

Adjusting the form design

The standard MailChimp form design is available in black and white. This does not cater for all websites since they all have their own style and colors. For this reason, MailChimp offers the ability to change the color and the font.

Right next to the ‘Build it’ tab you will find the ‘Design it’ tab. This is the place to be when it comes to changing colors, font and style of the form.

design it tab in the mailchimp dashboard

Design it tab in the mailchimp dashboard

Next to this tab in the mailchimp dashboard there is the ‘Translate it’ tab. This function allows us to add the language other than English if we wish.

Not only can we change the form names to any language we like. It is also possible to translate the standard emails MailChimp sends to the subscriber once they signed up to the website and its mailinglist. As you can see, the whole process can be changed to suit your needs. Well almost, the pop-up forms are not adjustable.

translate it tab in the mailchimp dashboard


Place a form on your site

We are almost done. The code of the form has to be added to your website in order to get it working. Do you have a landing page? In that case you will have a particular spot in mind where the form should come.

No idea yet? The we can now practice the process using a WordPress website and placing the code in a widget on the website.

To find the MailChimp form code, we simply follow the next steps:

  1. Navigate to the Lists page,
  2. Click the drop down menu next to the list you want to create a form for and click ‘Sign up forms’.
  3. Select ‘Embedded forms’.mailchimp tutorial for beginners embed form
  4. Choose the form type: classic, super slim, horizontal or naked. Make some adjustments to the form if you want.
  5. A new screen becomes visible. This is the code we need to add the form to our website. It kinda looks like this:
    mailchimp form code to embed
  6. Select the code and copy and paste it to the place you need the form to appear.

Imagine you have made the website in WordPress. In most cases your site has a sidebar to the left or the right side of the screen. These sidebars can be filled with widgets. Log in to the admin area of your WordPress website and navigate to ‘Appearance’ and “Widgets’.

In the list of widgets you can find one widget called ‘Text’. Select the widget and drag it to the sidebar section on the right side of the screen. Copy the code to the larger frame. Save it and go to your website where the sidebar is visible (usually a blog article) and check if the form is visible on the website.

MailChimp – Create Templates and Campaigns

We have created a list and put it on the website. Now we have to wait for a subscriber and in the meanwhile we can create the emails we would like to send using MailChimp.

The first email is an important one. Whatever you promised on the landing page where the form is placed, it should be repeated in the first email to be send to the subscriber. In addition, when promised an ebook or white paper, attach it to the first mail.

MailChimp has an editor. This is a graphical interface with which users are able to create the email. U can add different elements to the email by dragging them in the right place. This layout you are making is called a template. There are ready to use templates available.

mailchimp template beginner tutorial

Type of templates – MailChimp tutorial for Beginners

When you click the ‘create a template’-function, there are a few different types to choose from. We will explain the email templates for MailChimp in this tutorial for beginners.

Basic – the basis templates are white and have a layout containing different elements of which you can change the order or add new elements to. Although you can change the style of the email designer, there are two styles available: regular and branded. The branded version has one difference compared to the regular version of the template: you can set a different background color using different options. We prefer the regular. Most people receiving emails don’t like to see a differ in color. They like it nice and easy to read.

mailchimp template regular or brande beginner tutorial

Themes – these are ready to use templates for emails with MailChimp. All you have to do is adding the text that you need and save them. There is a difference between the Classic Theme and the Drag and Drop themes. The Classic Theme is less flexible regarding to the layout than the Drag and Drop themes are. You can only change the colors and the content in the Classic Themes.

AutoConnect – the AutoConnect themes are also available in this section of the MailChimp Dashboard. This variant allows you to create a seamless link with products you sell on iTunes. AutoConnect letts you import information from iTunes and social media. You can also import information from events or surveys.

RSS-to-Email – this has always been one of my favorites. I used it with my blog to let subscribers know when there was a new article published. This takes information from the RSS-feed from your website and add it to a new email automatically. This ‘set and forget’-function makes sure that subscribers don’t miss out on a new and interesting article you published and can be scheduled as you like: once per month or immediately on publishing the article. To use this template, choose the RSS-drive-campaign template.

Creating a campain

So, here we go! We are now in the process of creating a campaign. But which one? There are again more to choose from.

The MailChimp tutorial for beginners will explain the 4 types of campaign. You can find them in your MailChimp dashboard under ‘Create campaign’.

These are the variants available in creating a campaign in MailChimp:

  • Regular campaigns – this is the most used campaign. After adding the right content to the template it is possible to generate a TXT-version of the email. This might come in handy for some recepients because not every email client is set to read and display HTML-versions of the email and you do want everyone on your list to be able to read the message you sent.
  • Plain text email – this is the most basic version of an email campaign. Like the name kinda gave away, this is the email where there is only text to be added. There is no possibility to add images and stuff. You will also not find options to change colors or the style.
  • A/B testing campaigns – a wonderful tool to test different headlines. Testing means that you can send the same email with different titles to different subscriber. The email with the title that scored the highest opening rate wins and will be used more often. You can send a maximum of three different versions in one campaign.
  • RSS campaign – we mentioned it already with the templates, an RSS campaign. Send an email automatically when a new post is published on your website. The RSS feed is read and the title and description alongside the link are imported and send to the members on your mailinglist.

A few steps need to be taken to create and send a campaign to your email list:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns page.
  2. Click the ‘Create campaign’ button on the right top of your screen to cerate a regular campaign. Choosing another type of campaign can be achieved when clicking the dropdown menu. This menu gives you more options:mailchimp campaign create beginner tutorial
  3. The next step that appears is called ‘Recepients’. You can select a list to send everyone on that list the email. Segmenting the list to make it smaller en more effective in your marketing is also an option. This is not part of this MailChimp tutorial for beginners since it is an expert function.
  4. Click ‘Next’.
  5. Arriving at ‘Setup’, we have to fill in the blanks to go further in the email marketing process: email subject, sender and receiver. Select ‘tracking tools’ if you want MailChimp to generate statistics. Add your social media channels to the messages you wish to send. It might bring you more followers and build your brand.
  6. Now it is time to select the template. Can you remember the template you wish to use? We discussed the differences earlier in this MailChimp tutorial for beginners.
  7. The next step is to design the email. This part contains all possibilities to add and edit text and images to the email. The text editor look a bit like Microsoft Word on your computer:
    mailchimp text editor beginner manual

    The MailChimp text editor

    On the top right side of your screen a button is visible: ‘Preview and test’. As the name already suggests, clicking it will reveal a preview of the email you created. Always use this function before sending the email out. The test-function means that you can send a copy to an email address. Send yourself a copy first and check if it looks as you expected it to be. Satisfied? Click ‘Next’.

  8. The final step is deciding when to send the campaign. When you hit the ‘Send’-button, the campaign is activated and will start to process the emails to be send. But if you want to plan the campaign to be executed on a future time and date you must click the button called ‘Schedule’. A repeating campaign, RSS driver for example, can be scheduled on a date and recurr monthly. Again, ‘Schedule’ is the right function for that.
  9. When you see the following image, the campaign is ready to go!


mailchimp beginner manual


MailChimp beginner manual: Ready To Go!


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