Last week I posted MadMimi vs MailChimp. In which I discussed how to use MadMimi. MadMimi is SO much easier to use than MailChimp (I think). However, I wound up switching to MailChimp a couple months ago because MadMimi didn’t do everything I need it to do.
This was supposed to only be two parts, but MailChimp turned out to be more complicated to explain than I thought it would. So MailChimp gets another section or two. Today we’ll talk about setting up email lists. On Thursday, we’ll discuss how to create an RSS email (like the one we did in MadMimi last week).
By the end of this series, you should probably understand the cons of MailChimp. 😛 But I’ll explain them anyway.
For most of you, MadMimi will be fine. You may even prefer it because of how simple it is.
So let’s talk about MailChimp!
How to Add a Contact List in MailChimp
When you first log in to your MailChimp account, you can see that it offers so much more information about your subscribers.
With MadMimi, you might remember me suggesting that you create your RSS email before setting up your list and then edit it later.
With MailChimp, you can’t do that. You need to set up your mailing list first. This doesn’t mean that someone actually needs to be subscribed first. You just need a list that your new subscribers will be sent to.
How to Create an Email List:
First, go to Lists and click on Create List, which is a dark grey button hidden in the top right-hand corner.
Then you’ll be asked to enter your information–this is what people will see when they want to respond to your email. (My name has “@” in it, but I found out after I clicked save that you can’t do that. So ignore the @ symbol. :P)
Here’s the one big thing that really makes me angry about MailChimp. When you created your account, you were probably asked to enter your home/business address and phone number. If you’re a business with an away-from-home business address, this isn’t a big deal. But if you work from home, MailChimp will still force you to do this. So at the bottom of this page, you’ll see your address and phone number (I’ve erased them from the screencap, but they show up in that blue area.)
And then, you know what it does? It slaps your home address and phone number to the bottom of every email you send out.
I was completely FURIOUS when I saw that in the first campaign I sent, as well as grateful that I’d had the sense to send a test email to myself first. I don’t want a bunch of strangers knowing where I live! And chances are you don’t, either.
Yes, you can keep it from doing that. I’ll show you how on Thursday, because it’s part of setting up the RSS email. (I’m still angry that they don’t give you any warning or tell you how to change this while creating the campaign. I had to figure it out through trial and error.)
ETA: According to the CAN-SPAM Act, a physical address is required by law if the email you’re sending is for commercial use. If it’s just a blog newsletter that you won’t be profiting from, it cannot contain false information. But it does not need a physical address. Read more about the CAN-SPAM requirements (for businesses) here.
But if you’re creating email campaigns and you’re not sending them to yourself, this is a good example of why you REALLY should be. Because you’ll catch MailChimp doing things like this without your permission. And sometimes campaigns just screw up for no reason. Maybe they updated their systems or something. But your subscribers probably aren’t going to tell you something is wrong. So you need to rely on yourself to catch it as soon as it happens and fix it.
Anyway. If you scroll down, you’ll see a list of boxes you can check. These are just asking how often you want to receive notifications from your list. I only receive notifications when someone subscribes, but you can do it whenever.
Next, click Save and it will take you to a page that lets you add new subscribers.
It’s considered unethical to add people who have not given you permission to add them. MailChimp has a set of guidelines for who you can manually add to your list and who you can’t.
If all you’re doing is importing people from an old account (say you’re switching from MadMimi to MailChimp or you have subscribers from WordPress), you can add them in.
All you do to add a new subscriber is click Add Subscribers and then either Add a subscriber or Import subscribers. I exported my MadMimi subscribers, but it took them hours to send me the email containing the file. So I wound up just adding each person individually. At the time, I only had about 20 subscribers, so it didn’t take me very long. If you have more, I’d suggest waiting and then importing them all at once.
When you Add a subscriber, you’ll see a page like this pop up:
The only thing you need to include is the email address and then make sure to check the box beside This person gave me permission to be added to my list. (This is covered in the guidelines I linked to above.)
To import a list, you’ll obviously click on Import and then you’ll see a bunch of options for which list to import. Click on whichever one you need and then follow the directions (each one will be different and this is long enough without walking you through each and every option 😛 ).
From the Add Subscribers page, you can also manage your current subscribers and create customized sign up forms. Sign up forms are probably the most difficult part (to me), so I’ll explain that on Thursday.
Do you use MailChimp? Did you find it difficult to use? Leave your thoughts in the comments!