MailChimp Tips and Tricks

Ever found it tricky to do what you want to do with MailChimp? I’ve been helping quite a few clients with MailChimp over the last couple of months, so want to share some of my MailChimp tips and tricks for getting past the key sticking points you may have with this popular email marketing service.

1. My emails don’t look professional enough

Most small business owners don’t have the time to mess about with the design of their emails every time they want to email their lists (or audiences, as MailChimp has now renamed them), they just want a good-looking template they can drop the text, images and links into each time. The great news is that you can create a MailChimp template using pre-designed layouts so you don’t have to mess about with code, or need much in the way of graphic design skills (unless you have very specific requirements…and most small businesses don’t).

Here’s how to get started –

2. Should I start a new list (audience) for each product/project/service/landing page?

In general, you should have as few audiences (lists) as you can possibly get away with. The three main reasons are:

a) If you have the same subscriber in three different audiences, he/she will count as three subscribers and you’ll pay for those three – instead of one – when you’re on a paid plan. If you’re on the free plan, these duplicates will push you towards your 2000 subscriber free limit faster.

b) Your ability to use automations is very limited if you have multiple audiences. You may not use automations now, but it’s good to have your subscribers set up so you can in future.

c) It’s what MailChimp itself recommends.

More here:

If you already have lots of audiences you can combine them either using the Combine Audiences tool or by exporting your contacts and importing them into a different audience.

mailchimp tips and tricks

3. How do I organise my subscribers if I have them all in one audience (list)?

In just about any other email marketing service you’d simply use tags. For example, if you ran a mindfulness workshop in May 2019 you could tag the attendees as #mindfulMay19. That means that you can email just those people to tell them about your next mindfulness course in, say, September 2019, without emailing those people on your list who aren’t interested in that course. You can also tag people as they join your list so you know where or why they have joined.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple in MailChimp. MailChimp has tags which you can use to categorise your subscribers once they are in your audience (list), but it’s not straightforward to tag them as they join. For this you need to use groups.

More on groups:

More on tags:

4. How do I add subscribers to groups as they subscribe to my audience (list)?

There are two ways your subscribers are likely to join your MailChimp audience – a web form you created by copying and pasting the code onto a page on your website OR a landing page.

Web forms

If your audience is brand new, you can show group choices on your signup form so subscribers can join groups when they opt in. Set up groups for your audience then when you come to create an embedded web form you can include tick boxes where the subscribers can select which groups they want to join.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to give subscribers that choice. So here’s how to add subscribers to groups as they subscribe to your audience, but without them being aware you’re adding them to a group:

Landing pages

Unfortunately, you can’t easily tag or add subscribers to groups from MailChimp landing pages. Here’s a workaround using automations, but it’s fiddly:

(This isn’t my video, but I found it helpful and wanted to share the love).

You could use a third-party tool to do this for you such as Gravity Forms or MailMunch.

5. This isn’t as easy as I expected!

Yes, I hear that a lot! It’s not as intuitive as you expect it to be, and for the free plan you only get support for the first 30 days. That can lead to a lot of frustration. To be fair to MailChimp, part of this is the price of using free tools.

If you need help I’m happy to have a chat. And if it all gets too much, remember there are plenty of other email marketing tools that might be a better fit for you.



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