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MailChimp for Small Businesses Part 5

Time to move on in our efforts of making you a MailChimp pro! Take a second to catch up on the first 4 from the series.

Email Marketing vs. Permission Marketing

Why Use an Email Marketing Platform?

Importing Your List

Creating a MailChimp Template

Now that you are caught up...learn how to use MailChimp's WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. A WYSIWYG editor allows you to create html without actually knowing html. You will soon see that editing your MailChimp content is not much harder than working with Microsoft Word.

Create Content

We will get going by hovering over the large red "Create Campaign" button on the left and choosing "regular ol' campaign". You will then be directed to a screen asking you which list you would like to send to...if you only have 1, you don't need to worry about it. You can also segment your list and only send to people that meet certain requirements. You can play around with the segmenting options to learn various ways to segment, they can definitely come in handy.

After you choose your list and segment, you will start adding details to your campaign. The first box will allow you to know what campaign MailChimp is referring to, so name it something descriptive...this will only be seen by you. Next, give your message a subject. This may just be the single most important factor of whether the recipient opens the email or not. Keep your subject relevant and enticing to open. You will then see your from name and reply to emails populated based on your account information. These can be changed on a per campaign basis. Next you will be asked whether or not you would like to personalize the To: field in the email, which will show To: (the persons first name). This feature uses merge tags which we will talk about more later.

The next section you will be asked to complete is your tracking and social integration. I recommend to be sure your track opens box is checked as well as the add Google Analytics tracking to all URLs. This will allow you to see in your Google Analytics data what your email recipients did on-site as well as allowing you to track conversions. Finally, if it makes sense connect your MailChimp campaign with Twitter and Facebook. You can choose whether or not to allow commenting. Once you click next you will be asked to choose a template. You should choose the template that you created last week.

Edit the Content

Your template will appear with a couple of edit boxes. Find the content that you are planning on editing and hover over it. You should see a checkered outline of that box, if you click you'll see your content editor. If your template has placeholder content in it, it should show in the editor box. At the top of the editor window you will see the main options you will use for editing your content.

Editor Buttons from Left to Right

Merge Tag Dropdown: If you want to use merge tags in your content you will be able to insert them by choosing from this dropdown. For example if you want to say, Hey there Jerry, you would say Hey there (choose the appropriate merge tag from the dropdown).

Styles Dropdown: This dropdown will let you choose styles for your fonts. These help you stay consistent and make your content more legible. Use the appropriate heading chose for your headings, subtitle for subtitles, etc.

Clear Formatting: If you pasted content in that was preformatted or want to erase any formatting you have already done, highlight the content and choose this button.

Font: Choose different fonts for your text. Consider your reader and don't change fonts when not necessary.

Size: Change the size of the font.

Bold: Highlight content you want bolded and press the B.

Italicize: Highlight the content you want italicized and press the I.

Underline: Highlight the content you want underlined and press the U.

Text Color: Change the text color by highlighting the text you wish to change and choose a color. Don't go crazy!

Background Color: Similar to the highlight feature in word, change the background color behind text. This will likely not be used all that often.

Numbered List: If you have a list that makes sense numbering, do so. It can be much easier on the reader.

Bulleted List: If you have a list that doesn't make sense to number, use this to add bullets.

Hyperlink: Link the text or an image within your email to an external source. This could be linking to your website, other websites, sources you have cited, etc. I almost always have these links open in a new window. To do this highlight the text you wish to link, click the hyperlink button, type in the website address, go to the target tab and choose new window. If linking to an email or anchor, this is not necessary.

Break Link: Decided you don't want to link out anymore, unlink by pressing this button when over the link you wish to break.

Anchor: Add an anchor to your email content. This would be a place holder that the user might want to come back to. The easiest way to explain would be to add an anchor to the top line of your content, call it top, go to the bottom of your long email, type the word top, using the hyperlink button link to an anchor and choose the anchor called top. You can use this in various instances, although not as common as website use of anchor.

Image: Add an image to your email by clicking this button. Choose the upload tab at the top and click choose file. Navigate to the appropriate file on your computer and then say Send to Server. Once the file is uploaded you will be directed back to the Image info screen where you can set alignment, horizontal and vertical space (Blank space between something else and the picture), size, and alternative text. If you wish to constrain the proportions of the image make sure the lock is locked beside the size option. Alternative text will tell users not loading images or using screen readers what the image you have added is.

Horizontal Line: Add a horizontal line to your email. This would be used to break up your content.

Left, Center, Right Align: Similar to Microsoft Word, align your text left, center or right. You will likely be aligning most content left.

Undo, Redo: Undo what you have just done, or redo what you have just done.

Spell Check: Don't be afraid to check the spelling in your email...use the spell check. Nobody is perfect.

Paste: Use this to paste from notepad or from within MailChimp.

Paste as Plain Text: Use this if you are pasting from the web or other areas where your font might be pre-formatted.

Paste from Word: Use this to paste from Microsoft Word...do yourself a favor and eliminate the funky formatting.

Source: View the source code of your email. Whether you know it or not, you are creating html code behind everything that you are doing. If you are extremely novice, you probably will never touch this. If you wish to embed YouTube videos or Google Maps, you can do this directly from the source code.

Move On...

You have added some great content and pictures? You have linked back to your site? Good. Save your content and click next. You will bring up a screen for your plain text email. Not everyone loads pictures in their email...especially if they don't trust you. Make sure your plain text email is accurate and click next. You will then be brought to a review screen. From here you can see all of the settings you chose prior to creating such great content. Feel free to send yourself a couple of other people a test to see how your email looks with the Send Test button. Looks good? Great! You are ready to send. Choose send now or schedule your delivery. You will find that certain days of the week and times of the day will lead to better open rates. We will discuss further in the analytics section.

These are your basic functions for your first email campaign. I would love to tell you what to write about, but that is your job. Play around with the editor and become familiar with it. They have done a great job making it simple and not intimidating. Obviously there are more things you can do with your content within MailChimp, but this will help you break the ice.