Welcome back to my series on MailChimp. If you’re just joining me, I encourage you to take a moment to read the first post in the series, which tells you how to open a free account with MailChimp.
What’s the next step after opening a free account? MailChimp offers several options. Starting a campaign, creating a list, and building your audience. The most logical place to begin (for me anyway) was creating a list so that’s the next stop in the MailChimp course.
What’s A List and Why do I Need One?
For the purposes of this discussion, when I talk about lists, I’m talking about a list of subscribers. In the old days (pre-internet), they were called mailing lists.
The list you create is the list to which your newsletters will be sent. Once you have a sign up form on your blog or website, new subscribers will be added to the list automatically.
So while you can do a sign up form first or set up a newsletter first, you’ll need to create a list before either of those two things work.
How to Create a List with MailChimp
Step 1: Log into your MailChimp account.
Step 2: You will land on the dashboard page. Click on the gray “Create A List” button marked by the red arrow.
Step 3: You will land on this page. Click on the black “Create List” button marked by the red arrow.
Step 4: You will land on this page.
Fill in each of the boxes.
List name: Name your list. Keep the name simple and informative. “Blog Subscribers,” for example. Even if you think you’ll only ever need one list, it’s advisable to name the list so you remember at a glance what it’s for. You never know when you may find a need for additional lists and there’s nothing more confusing than a list of lists with vague names. I have more than one list from more than one blog so I use names like “Author Blog Subscriptions” or “Horse Painter Blog Subscriptions” or “Book Giveaway List” (yes, you can do that).
List names are private, accessible only by you.
Default “from” email: Whenever you send out an email, recipients will see the email address you put here. This tells them who sent the email and gives them an email to respond to if they wish. I have more than one list for more than one blog. I use the email associated with each blog in this box.
Default “from” name: Same as above, but a personal name. Usually it will be your name. The name readers are most likely to recognize you by.
As I mentioned above, I have multiple lists from multiple blogs. My art readers know me as Carrie L. Lewis, so that’s the name I use on those lists. Readers of my author blog know me as Carrie Lynn Lewis, so that’s the name I use on that list.
Remind people how they got on your list: This is a short message that tells people how they got on your list. Something like “You are receiving this email because you subscribed to “name of blog’s” mailing list. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it should reflect you. If you have more than one blog, this message should reflect the voice and tone of the blog to which it’s attached.
Contact information for this list: This section is filled in automatically with whatever information you used in your profile. If you want to change it, click on the light gray “edit” button.
MailChimp offers three choices for how often you receive notifications. Notifications are notes in your inbox letting you know when people subscribe and unsubscribe from your mailing list. You can click all three, any combination, or none at all. The options are self-explanatory. If you don’t make any selections, you will not know when anyone subscribes or unsubscribes.
Step 5: Done!
When everything is the way you want it, click the “Save” button. Congratulations! You have a list!
So what do you do next?
When you hit “save,” you’ll land on a page that lists all your lists. If this is your first list, it will look like this.
From this page, you can view the stats for your campaigns, manage your subscribers, add subscribers, make signup forms, and change settings. Those items are in the menu bar under the name of the list, in this case, Thomas’ Mailing List. Since Thomas doesn’t yet have any subscribers, the “View subscribers” box shows a graphic of two pages.
You are going to do one of two things at this point. You will either add subscribers or make a signup form. We’ll create a sign up form in the next post, so let’s talk about adding subscribers first.
Add Subscribers: If you have a mailing list somewhere else, you can import it into MailChimp. If you click on the “Add subscribers” button, a drop down menu will appear.
- “Add a subscriber” allows you to manually type in a subscriber’s information and add them to your list.
- “Import subscribers” allows you to import a mailing list from other locations or your computer.
While this is a quick and easy way to add people to your subscriber list, you do have to be very careful the people on your current list want to be on your new list. If you add someone who doesn’t want your new mailings, that’s called spam and MailChimp and others look down on that.
What I prefer to do is set up my signup form, then notify the subscribers on one email list that I have a new one, provide a link to the new signup form and give them the opportunity to signup for the new and improved mailing list.
You can also manually add subscribers one at a time by typing in the information they’ve provided. Again, you need to be absolutely certain the recipients want to be recipients.
Congratulations! Now you not only have an account with MailChimp; you have a list. The next step is creating a signup form. The sign-up form is what visitors to your blog will see, allowing them to join your mailing list. The signup form for Indie Plot Twist is the link at the top of the sidebar. Click there to see what our sign up form looks like. As mentioned, that will be the topic for the next post. Join us!
If you haven’t already subscribed to Indie Plot Twist, I invite you to do so now. Subscriptions are free and you can sign up for email newsletters (which are published once in a while), email notification of new content (every time a new post is published), or both. Just click here to get started. The entire process takes five minutes or less. Click through the process and you’ll have a good idea how it will work for your subscribers!