Mailchimp Tutorial for Beginners: A Quick Start Guide on How to Create a Newsletter

Charlotte Evans

By Charlotte

Mailchimp-Tutorial

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Creating a newsletter can be an easy yet effective way to engage with your audience, share updates, and promote your products or services. Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms, known for its user-friendly interface and extensive features.

In this quick-start tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process of creating a newsletter using Mailchimp and provide some tips on when it might be time to explore other options.

If you’d prefer to learn by watching, follow our Mailchimp tutorial video:

Mailchimp tutorial

Getting Started with Mailchimp

Before you can create a newsletter, you need a Mailchimp account. The good news is that you can sign up for free, and if you have fewer than 500 contacts, you can use their basic free forever plan. This free plan is a great starting point, but keep in mind that it has quite a few limitations, which we'll discuss later…

Step 1: Adding Contacts to Your Audience

The first step in creating a newsletter is adding your contacts. To do this, navigate to the “Audience” tab in Mailchimp and click on “Manage Audience.” Select “Import Contacts”. There are a few options to choose from, but for this Mailchimp tutorial, we chose the “Upload File” option.

Mailchimp tutorial add contacts

The upload file option allows you to import your contact list using a CSV file, ensuring that you've mapped out specific fields like contact names and email addresses correctly.

Make sure to give your list a descriptive name, such as “Newsletter Contacts,” so you can easily identify it against other contact lists later.

Mailchimp tutorial map contacts

Note that the free plan only allows one audience list, and if you upgrade to a paid plan, contacts in multiple audiences will count multiple times, potentially increasing your costs.

It's important to note just how cheeky these chimps are – they count unsubscribed contacts towards your total audience count, therefore we recommend deleting or archiving any unsubscribers from your contact list before you start getting charged!

In the same contact tab, Mailchimp provides some quickstart actions and tips to start building your contact list, from creating a signup form, social post, and social ad. Mailchimp tutorial start building contact list

Step 2: Creating a Campaign

Now that your audience is set up, it's time to create a campaign. Click on “Campaigns” in the left-hand menu and then select “Create a Campaign.” Mailchimp offers three different types of campaigns, but for this tutorial, we'll focus on the “Regular Email” option.

Mailchimp tutorial email campaign types

First things first, you'll be prompted to enter a subject line, sender name, and email address.

One thing I really like about Mailchimp is that you can see how your previous subject lines performed, so you can browse through them to get a good feel of what worked, and what didn’t.

Mailchimp tutorial subject line

Mailchimp tutorial create campaigm

Once you’ve filled out these fields, it’s time to choose a template. Mailchimp provides several templates that you can filter by layout or theme. While the free options are very limited and pretty outdated, you do have the option to import your own template if you prefer.

Mailchimp tutorial free email templates

For this tutorial, let's use the “Bold” layout.

Step 3: Customizing Your Newsletter

Now comes the fun part—customizing your newsletter. Mailchimp's drag-and-drop editor allows you to add and rearrange blocks to create your desired layout. You can add text, images, videos, social media buttons, and even code for more advanced customization.

Mailchimp tutorial email campaign builder

If you have an online store, you can connect it to Mailchimp and include product listings and custom product recommendations in your newsletter. Once you're happy with the design, click “Continue” in the top-right corner to proceed.

Step 4: Previewing and Testing Your Newsletter

Before you send your newsletter, we recommend previewing it on both desktop and mobile devices, this can be done by pressing “preview” in the top right-hand corner.

From here, you can click to see your newsletter on desktop, mobile, and inbox. This is a handy little time-saving feature and a step we always recommend.

Mailchimp tutorial preview email

Mailchimp allows you to send test emails to yourself to ensure everything looks and functions as expected.

Mailchimp test email

Step 5 – Send your newsletter

Double-check your contact list, sender name, and other details before sending your campaign. Then once you're ready, you can go ahead and send your campaign.

Alternatively, you can schedule your campaign for a time when your audience is most likely to engage. However, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan for this.

Why Mailchimp Might Not Be the Best Option for You

While Mailchimp is a good email marketing platform for sending newsletters and for basic email automation, it certainly has its drawbacks. For example, the free plan has limited features and Mailchimp's pricing for higher tiers can be steep. Additionally, Mailchimp's deliverability has faced criticism compared to other platforms.

If you're looking for more generous free plans with multi-step automation and excellent email builders, consider Mailerlite. If deliverability is a concern, ActiveCampaign is known for its high deliverability rates. And if you're in e-commerce, Omnisend offers unique engagement features to drive sales.

Final thoughts: Mailchimp tutorial

Creating a newsletter with Mailchimp is straightforward, especially with its easy-to-use email editor and drag-and-drop functionality. However, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of the platform to determine if it's the best fit for your needs. If you're looking for more alternatives, we've highlighted some of the best ones here.

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Charlotte Evans

Content Manager

Hey, I'm Charlotte! I've always been enthusiastic about helping others. After working for various tech startups and eCommerce businesses, I developed a strong passion for email marketing. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm putting this knowledge to good use by recommending the very best digital tools for your business.

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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

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