How to set up MailChimp like a Boss.

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There are two ways to subscribe to someone’s blog–RSS and email (which is through RSS). When dealing with RSS feeds, it can get very confusing very quickly. I’m going to try and help make it all clear for you!

How to set up MailChimp like a Boss.

Every website that’s routinely updated has a feed. It’s usually found at http://YourBlogName.com/feed. When you go to that address, it won’t look like your blog and it won’t look very user-friendly, but that’s OK. It’s supposed to look that way.

Take a look at my friend Anna’s RSS feed:

How to set up MailChimp like a Boss. Just like I said–not pretty, just text.

Subscribe by RSS

RSS feed readers, such as Bloglovin or Feedly, offer you a place to manage the blogs and websites you subscribe to. A feed reader is notified every time a post is published from any of the feeds it’s told to follow. When you log into your reader, you’ll see a list of all the blogs you follow and their new blog posts. As you read the posts, your feed reader will mark them as read. It’s a great way to keep up with your favorite bloggers.

Subscribe by Email

Dedicated email subscriber services such as JetPack (a popular WordPress.org plugin) or MailChimp send an email to you every time new content is available, the same way that it adds a post to a feed reader when there’s a new one.

How to set up MailChimp like a Boss.

Feedburner is probably the most popular feed tool because it can handle RSS and email subscriptions, but Feedburner emails are… well… ugly.

I said it.

So, let’s use Feedburner for our RSS subscribers and MailChimp for our email subscribers. It’s pretty easy to set up.

Here’s how to set up MailChimp like a boss. First, you’ll need to set up your list. MailChimp has a blog post that details how to export your subscriber list from Feedburner and then import it to MailChimp. So, go do that now. If you don’t have anything to import from Feedburner, just create a list in the MailChimp dashboard–it’s super simple.

Here’s how to set up your RSS to email campaign.

1. Log in to Mail Chimp and click “create campaign” on the top right side.

2. You’ll see these options:

Regular ol’ Campaign: This is a fancy way to send an email.

Plain-text Campaign: This is a fancy way to send an email with no images, just text.

A/B Split Campaign: This is kind of cool. Send an email to your list, but separate the list in two. Try two different subjects, different “from” names, or even different times of the day to be sent.

RSS-Driven Campaign: Ding! Ding! Ding! This is the one you want to check! This is a campaign that sends an email to your subscribers when there’s a new item in your RSS feed.

3. Enter your feed URL where provided. If you’re not 100% sure about this, you can just add your blog URL here–MailChimp will find the feed for you.

4. Tell it when to send and which list to send to, then at the bottom right of the screen click “next.”

5. Now, you’re going to start answering questions. Here’s what you’ll see:

How to set up MailChimp RSS to emailSee all that strange text in the “Email Subject” box up there? Don’t worry, it’s the code that MailChimp uses. You only have to know a little bit of it, and I’ll help. Leave that box alone for now–your subject will automatically display the title of your RSS feed and the current date.

Just answer your campaign name, your name, and your email address for now. Click next.

6. Ack! Choices! It’s ok, just choose Email Designer in the middle:

How to set up MailChimp like a Boss.

7. Click a template you’d like to use on the right. I’m partial to the Basic Template Right Sidebar option:

How to set up MailChimp

Choosing a template and then changing your mind down the road isn’t impossible, but it’s a bit of a pain. Try to choose wisely.

8. This is what your design form looks like:

How to set up MailChimp like a Boss. You’ll edit each part separately. I inserted my blog’s header image to the top, my photo to the right, and I added some extra boxes at the bottom.

An important (and tricky) part of your email is what goes in the big text box. You’ll have to use merge tags (MailChimp code) for this. I choose to put my most recent post and the last three of my blog posts in my text area. This is the code I use in there:

__________

*|RSS:POSTS|*

Have a few extra minutes? Check out these recent posts:

*|RSS:RECENT3|*

__________

And here’s what my RSS to email campaign looks like:

My Crazy Good Life - Set Up MailChimp

9. When you’re done designing, click the “preview and test” button on the top right and then the “enter preview mode” button. You’ll be able to see what your subscribers see.

10. Click “next” through the plain text version of your email, which will be sent to those who request to not see the HTML (pretty) version.

11. Click “confirm,” and then “Start RSS.”

Congratulations! You just set up your RSS to Email campaign! You can go back in and make changes by clicking “campaigns” in the MailChimp dashboard and then clicking the name of the campaign you’d like to edit. At the top right of the screen click on “Pause and Edit Campaign.” Don’t forget to restart it!

To stop your Feedburner emails from going out (so your subscribers don’t get duplicate emails), you’ll have to turn off the email subscription service in Feedburner. Do this by visiting Feedburner > Publicize > Email Subscriptions > Deactivate.

Now that you have a MailChimp list set up, learn how to add a branded subscribe box that matches your blog to your sidebar. It’ll help remind people to sign up for your newsletter!

Overwhelmed? Don’t have the time to do this for your blog? I can help! It’s one of the services that I offer over at BeccaLudlum.com.

Comments

  1. 1

    Thanks for this great tutorial!

    There’s a step missing between 4 & 5: To which list shall we send?
    * Send to entire list
    * Send to a saved segment
    * Send to a new segment

  2. 2
    Jess says:

    Sweet. I didn’t even know this was an option. Thank you!

  3. 3

    Thanks for this detailed tutorial!

  4. 4
    Natalie says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial!! I started setting mine up today :)

  5. 5
    Melissa says:

    Thank your for sharing this awesome tutorial! I have been wanting to make the switch!

  6. 6

    I switched from feedburner to Mailchimp last year and LOVE LOVE LOVE THE CHIMPS ! It makes my emails look beautiful !

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I hope tons of peeps hang out with the chimps.

    PS. I have used their live chat when I get stuck, and they are super helpful too!

    Cheers!
    Lynne

  7. 7
    stacy says:

    If I import my Feedburner subscribers into MailChimp do I have to turn off anything to make sure they don’t get RSS emails twice?

  8. 8
    lesley says:

    I’ve already merged to mailchimp but one thing I wish is that we could have just one teaser picture for the post. Any ideas on if we can?

  9. 9
    Angie says:

    This for this info! Very helpful, however I’m having an issue with the subject line. Instead of the title of the most recent blog, it is this &nsbp; &nsbp; &nsbp (I had this same issue with Feedburner). Thoughts?

    • 9.1
      Becca says:

      Angie, that looks like the HTML code for a space. Do you have code in your title? Or an apostrophe? Sometimes that can cause similar issues.

  10. 10
    Kim says:

    Um..
    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been using MailChimp for emails, but have been totally jealous of those who did the RSS emails. I thought it was a paid feature that I couldn’t afford.

  11. 11
    Yum Yucky says:

    Hi Becca. Thanks for this info. If I do this, would I also be able to take those imported Feedburner subscribers and incorporate their emails into special, occasional email campaigns that don’t have anything to do with the daily “feedburner-type” emails? Sorry if this is a silly question. Major learning curve with email lists and I need to get on it.

    Also, do you or does anything else offer setup assistance service with everything you’ve described in your blog post?

  12. 12

    […] Setup MailChimp like a boss […]

  13. 13

    Great tutorial, I am working on my newsletter finally and your directions have helped me so much! One question though, how did you get your own styled social media buttons on your newsletter rather than the ones they offer?

  14. 14

    […] If you’ve been blogging for any length of time then you’ve probably heard the term “RSS Feed” tossed around. Every blog has an RSS feed but with Mailchimp you take your average RSS feed up a notch. By using a newsletter service like Mailchimp you can take your standard feed and turn it into an email campaign. This might sound confusing but Mailchimp helps make this process easy and this post will walk you through the process step by step. […]

  15. 15

    Oh wow! I never knew you could do this with MailChimp! Thank you for this tutorial!

  16. 16

    Wow! Is this ever useful! I just have RSS Feedburner and have been wary of doing an email subscription. Is there a way to easily switch so that everyone subscribed to Feedburner can receive a custom email? Sorry if I’m a bit naive. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile. How do I keep them from receiving the RSS feed and the email (I don’t want to overwhelm them with emails from me)?

    Thanks for this post. Pinning so I can follow this fabulous tutorial.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

    • 16.1
      Becca says:

      Jennifer, are you asking if everyone from Feedburner can receive a custom email telling them about the change? When you import your subscribers from Feedburner, you can create a campaign (using that list of subscribers) and select Regular ol’ campaign from the list of options instead of the RSS to Email campaign. That will allow you to send a one time email to your list!

      To stop the RSS email from going out in Feedburner, you’ll need to turn your Feedburner emails off at Feedburner > Publicize > Email Subscriptions > Deactivate. This will stop your subscribers from getting two emails when you post.

      Your subscribers will choose between RSS feed or RSS to Email when they sign up for your updates by choosing the appropriate place to sign up on your blog. They can click your sidebar RSS icon to sign up for your feed or they could click the email subscription button you have set up lower in your sidebar to get emails when you post. These are two separate services. Feedburner provides both of these services, but you’ll be turning off the email aubscribe service and using MailChimp for that instead.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  17. 17

    I’ve been using Mailchimp for my RSS emails, but you’ve inspired me to make mine look much better! I’m going to add in the pics and 3 latest posts, too. Thanks for your brilliance!

  18. 18
    Kristin says:

    Hello again, Becca! I actually clicked on this link through SITS without know it was authored by you. I’m so excited! I figured out how to get the plain old RSS feed link up on my sidebar, but I’m pinning this because it is something I want to eventually master. Thanks again for all your help through the #betterblog Twitter party!

  19. 19

    Hey! I loved this post because you taught me how to get the campaign going. I’m super happy now.. thanks! One issue I had is that I wanted to the full post to show up rather than an excerpt, but if you have pictures that are large it stretches and looks all funny, so I went with the excerpt. I tried the merge tag for an RSS Image item because I thought it might pull a featured image to encourage people to click on the site, but I couldn’t get it to show up. Any advice on this? Anyway! Thanks for your help!

    Monica

  20. 20

    thanks for the heads up. I cant tell you how all the help has made me so knowledgeable. The blogging world is so embracing.

  21. 21

    […] 5. MY CRAZY GOOD LIFE: Set Up Mail Chimp Like A Boss […]

  22. 22

    I will need to set this up for my blog. Thank you for the tips

  23. 23

    Thanks for this post. My e-mails are going out through Jetpack right now. I want to switch to MailChimp but am not sure how to turn of the Jetpack…I don’t see a function for that, as there is in Feedburner. Am I missing something?

  24. 24

    Oh Becca THANK YOU THANK YOU …. I love love love you!!!!!!!!
    I have been trying to do this for an age!!!!! The info I was getting was not written in a way that I could understand it!
    But your post got it happening for me…..
    From the bottom of my heart thank you darling girl, may you be blessed with lifes’ riches

    Hugs
    Denielle

  25. 25

    Thank you for this tutorial. I just set it up and have one question. Do I have to delete the Feedburner widget in my sidebar and insert a sign-up widget that is specific to Mailchimp?

    • 25.1
      Sam says:

      Hi Kelly!

      I just saw you had the same question as I did and I finally figured it out on my own. I thought I’d share with you.

      You have to delete the Feedburner widget.

      Instead, create a “subscribe” form on the mailchimp website and it gives you the code to paste into your new subscribe widget. You can create the form under the “lists” section. There will be a tab that says “signup forms”.

      Hope this helps!

  26. 26
    Sam says:

    Hi There!

    This article was super helpful but I have a question that you may have the answer to.

    The “subscribe” button on my blogger blog is through feedburner. I have created a mailchimp email campaign with only a handful of current subscribers. When people put their emails in the current subscribe box, will they be automatically added to my mailchimp email campaign? Will I have to manually update the list?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Sam

  27. 27
    Jelli says:

    This is genius! I’ve been wondering about how one of my favorite bloggers manages her RSS through Mail Chimp. Thanks to you, I now know the answer AND how to do it! Thanks so much!

    • 27.1
      Jelli says:

      Forgot, I have one question… Is there a way to make the RSS send out once a week rather than every single time we post a blog post?

      • 27.1.1
        Becca says:

        Yes! That’ll be in the first few steps. You’ll choose a day of the week (check all of them if you want it to send every day that you post) and a time that you’d like it delivered.

  28. 28

    […] you set up your MailChimp RSS to email campaign so your readers will get your blog updates in their inboxes, you’ll need to give your readers […]

  29. 29
    Tamara says:

    This is great. I found this just as I realized that keeping my list updated via a blog was easier than preferable to a newsletter. One issue I can’t figure if its my WordPress or MailChimp. My RSS title is double in my preview. Any suggestions

  30. 30
    Rachel says:

    Is there a way to only show a certain amount of characters for a blog post and then have a “read more” link?

  31. 31
    Diana Uche says:

    Hi, Great stuff you’ve got going on here,I don’t know if you can help me out, I’ve got two issues.
    The first is that whenever i send out my email newsletters, subscribers can view the html version on their pcs but just the plain text version on their mobiles especially blackberrys. Is there any way i can change the settings to allow them view the html version on their mobiles as the plain text version takes away all the images and makes the newsletter look dry and boring and full of html codes.
    Secondly I’ve been working with mailchimp templates for a while now and i dunno if theres any way i can incorporate a 4 column template as its only 3 column templates that are there which limits my creativity somewhat. I’ve gone online to find 4 column templates but couldn’t get any. Would reallllllllllly appreciate any form of help ( i know this isn’t directly about blogs but u seem very knowledgeable about mailchimp).
    Thanks

    • 31.1
      Becca says:

      Hi Diana,

      1. Mail Chimp has specific templates that are mobile friendly. I’d recommend trying one of those.

      2. You’d have to see if there is an option for a 4-column template – I don’t know off the top of my head if they offer one.
      :)

  32. 32

    […] easiest way is to set up an automatically generated RSS campaign. My Crazy Good Life has a great tutorial on setting up these types of campaigns. I personally don’t use auto-generated email […]

  33. 33

    […] My favorite tutorial of hers, about setting up a great RSS Email campaign, can be found here: “How to Set Up MailChimp Like a Boss” […]

  34. 34
    Tamika Hall says:

    THANK YOU SOOOO Much! I’ve been trying to set this up…I just can’t seem to get it right, smh. Thank you!

  35. 35

    […] subscriber list, and more in their app. Aren’t using MailChimp yet? Here’s an easy tutorial I wrote to help you set up that pretty email that matches your blog. (Android MailChimp […]

  36. 36
    Meaghan says:

    I thought this was only something paid subscribers had access to! I’m so happy to not have to send these by hand anymore :)

  37. 37
    Meaghan says:

    I set this all up, followed your directions to the letter. But I set a post to publish at 5 am EST and then set my RSS emails to send at 6 am EST but it didn’t send today. Any idea what I did wrong? Or did I not allow enough time between posting and the emails? I want my posts to hit their inboxes the day they publish. Thanks!

    Meaghan

    • 37.1
      Becca says:

      I think it may have been a little too close to Mail Chimp to pick up your feed. Play with it a little, maybe try posting 2 hours before the email goes out?

  38. 38
    Sandi says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I’ve read a ton of the tutorials from MailChimp and Squarespace, and yours was the only one that made my RSS->email actually work. Many thanks!

  39. 39

    […] posts from fellow AZ blogger Becca Ludlum: Set up an email subscription box in your sidebar and How to set up MailChimp like a Boss.  Once you have Mail Chimp setup, you are ready to add your […]

  40. 40

    Is there a way to get the first picture in a blog post to show up with the partial post?

    • 40.1
      Becca says:

      Not as of yet, Kim – it makes me sad. The problem is that the image wouldn’t be resized for your newsletter, so it would be huge. I keep checking to see if they have changed this.

  41. 41

    […] How to set up MailChimp like a boss.  […]

  42. 42

    Do you know anything about running ads on the newsletter? How would I add an adsense ad to my newsletter?

    • 42.1
      Becca says:

      Lindsay,

      I don’t know anything about that–I’m sorry. MailChimp is super helpful on Twitter, though, and they have an excellent database of help articles and videos!

  43. 43

    Thanks – this was a really helpful post!

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