Getting Started with MailChimp (Guest Post)


Perhaps you have been thinking about sending out your prayer letter by email, or you may already be sending it out through Outlook as an attachment.  However, you can make your emails more impactful by using an email service like MailChimp to send your letter.

I did a survey with my ministry partners and found in general that women like to read the printed letter and men prefer to read by email.  I suggest sending both.  Sending your prayer letter by email should not become the only way you communicate with your ministry partners.  You should continue to send it by mail as well.  Also, using multiple touch points of communication each month enables you to stand out.

There are several other email services that are available, but MailChimp has a generous free option and is very easy to set-up and use.  Here are some of the key features:

  • With MailChimp you can personalize each email to your partners using merge tags.  This will make your email standout.
  • All your text including pictures and links are in the body of your email (people don’t generally like to open attachments in emails).  You can send both text and HTML.
  • MailChimp provides reports for email sent so you can see who has opened your email and clicked on links.

Here are some tips that will help you get started.

  1. First sign up for the free version account at http://www.mailchimp.com.  You can have up to 2,000 contacts (12,000 emails sent each month).  Beyond 2,000 contacts there is a tiered monthly fee that includes a 15% discount for non-profits.
  2. Fill out all the info and get all your settings in place.
  3. Create a list and import your contacts into your list.  You will need to put all your contacts (name and email address) in an Excel spreadsheet to import them into MailChimp.  Click here for instructions on how to do this.  You can export your contacts from Outlook as well.  Click here for more information.
  4. Once you have done this then you choose a pre-made template or create your own.  Type out your letter (images and links).
  5. Test and Send

Guest Post by Doug Weiss

Doug has been on staff for 17 years and serves as a media producer and digital strategist for The JESUS Film Project.  He is Chick-fil-a and Sweet tea fanatic. He has been married for 13 years to Karen and they both enjoy traveling the world with the ministry.  You can find Doug online on Facebook and Twitter and at his blog Outside The Box Ministry.

NOTES:

  • Read more about MailChimp.
  • A beta version of TntMPD now syncs with MailChimp.  If you don’t want to wait for the final version, you could just export your TntMPD contacts to Excel (see Step 3, above).

6 thoughts on “Getting Started with MailChimp (Guest Post)

  1. I know this is an old post but I’m trying to figure out the best way to do both print and email newsletters, and I’m hoping you can help. For years I have been creating newsletters in Publisher, then emailing PDFs to some partners and using ChalkLine to send hard copies to other partners. I want to swtich to MailChimp to make list management easier, but I can’t figure out a way to make just one newsletter that can be both printed and emailed through MailChimp. MailChimp says you can print your campaign to a PDF, but all I’ve been able to get is a PDF print of the html page, complete with menus and all. It’s definitely not a print-quality piece, more of a review tool. Any thoughts or suggestions on how I can avoid having to create two separate newsletters each month?

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    1. Lisa, would you be comfortable adding the photos and text into a MailChimp letter even though you won’t have an exact look-alike to your Publisher version? I don’t think that would be a lot of work, but I don’t know how snazzy your letters are. Currently, you can’t necessarily re-create your newsletter into MailChimp, but MailChimp has many attractive theme options for you. My financial partners all receive a paper letter and eMail letters are sent to other folks, so for us, content and photos would be all that would need to be in this kind of eMail. (Actually, we post our letters in a blog and don’t put a prayer letter in the content of a MailChimp eMail anyway; it shows up as a blog post in a blog-feed through MailChimp and they read the letter on our site.)

      Are the partners that received the PDF letters in the past actually printing these? If not, I would think the MailChimp eMail would be far better for you to do. It’s an easier eMail for them to read and you’ll have stats on who’s reading your letters. You could develop a standard newsletter heading and post a new letter in each time you want to eMail them.

      If you do have a handful who need to print your letter, could you simply create a PDF from Publisher to send to them and then use MailChimp to send your letter to others?

      For years, I’ve sent prayer letters in a Word format through Outlook eMails. These eMails have always looked fine and are also possible to do.

      Does this answer your question?

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