Clean Up Your MailChimp Email

Maybe the idea of setting aside time to clean up your MailChimp email feels like asking you to wash windows on a skyscraper. Trust me, it’s not going to be that harrowing or time-consuming.

Clean Up Your MailChimp Email

It’s a good idea to look over your MailChimp email occasionally. Has something changed in your ministry or message? Did you overlook a feature? Join me to take care of a few tweaks.

Log in to MailChimp.

First, you need to get into the campaign you wish to edit. Look for the pencil icon under the Freddie MailChimp icon in the left sidebar menu. Click on the pencil and then click on All Campaigns.

Starting a New Email Campaign

If you’re creating a new email to send out, I usually use Replicate on an old one under the Edit dropdown option on the right. Feel free to start with a new email campaign instead by clicking on the gray Create Campaign button in the upper right corner.

Recurring Emails from Your Blog Posts

If you’re editing an ongoing email that sends from your blog posts, go to the dropdown button on the right for Sent Campaigns and choose Pause. When we’re done with your improvements, you’ll start the RSS feed again so the email will go out when scheduled.

This is what you should see next:

This is the view for the classic builder. (The new builder looks very different from this, using a block editor. It’s easy to move between the two editors.)

If you’re starting with a new email, the four items will be blank.

Edit the name of the campaign in the upper left if needed.

You may skip any of the following if they don’t need editing. Your choices are already displayed right here.


Click on Edit Recipients to the right of “To”.

  1. Is this email going to the right audience?
  2. Did you personalize the “to” field? You want the “to” field to have a name in it rather than a blank or an email address.
  3. Choose your merge tag. Most of you will use the first name merge tag to personalize the “to” field. See the subject line section of this post for an example of this tag.

Choose Save.

(Also see the Other Considerations section of this post.)


Click on Edit From to the right of “From”.

Maybe your job title has changed and you’d like to reflect that in your “from” field.

Choose Save.


Click on Edit Subject to the right of “Subject”.

You’ll see Subject and Preview Text windows. (MailChimp offers a best practices checklist to the right of this.)

I have separate instructions for new or for recurring campaigns.

Starting a New Email Campaign

Keep your Subject short and relevant. Don’t exceed 30 characters and aim for much shorter. Especially if your friend is reading your email on a phone, they may only read the first two or three words. These are the most important words in your subject line.

If it works for your email, start with the first name merge tag that you used in the “to” field. Placing your friend’s name right at the beginning of your subject will grab their attention. Here’s an example:



Don’t forget the Preview Text. Support the subject and put in a short prompt that will encourage your reader to open your email. Again, don’t exceed 30 characters. If you leave this blank, MailChimp will put in the first part of your campaign email message. Often, this would include “view this email in your browser.”

What can you write instead that would stir their interest?

MailChimp offers emojis for these, but you may need something different. See my recent post about using emojis in your subject line or preview text. I cover best practices and how to find unique emojis.

Recurring Emails from Your Blog Posts

If this email is an automatic campaign from your blog, I’d use *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* as your subject. This tag brings in the title of your blog post. If you don’t use this, you’ll have to remember to go into MailChimp to edit your subject every time you publish your blog posts. Please don’t use a generic title that never changes, like “The latest post from…” Your readers will stop opening these emails.

For either new or recurring emails, choose Save.


Click on Edit to the right of “Content”.

This is where you’re building your email’s message.

Keep in mind that your reader may not scroll through a long message, so click the Preview button on the upper right. Next, select the mobile phone icon to display a sample of your email on a phone. Your friend will spend 80% of their time on this part of the email that you see displayed. Make sure your most relevant content is in this top portion of your email. Your friend may not scroll much further.

Click the Exit Preview Mode button.

Click the Continue button in the upper right.

Finish your work on this email later, schedule, or send. Don’t forget to start the RSS feed if you were editing a recurring email campaign.

Other Considerations

What if a couple uses one email for the two of them?

If you have a greeting field in your MailChimp database, consider using that merge tag instead of the first name merge tag. It’s what I use. The greeting merge tag will bring in “Jim and Karen” instead of “Jim,” for example.

What if I don’t have a first name or greeting value for one of my contacts?

You’ll need to set your default value for this field, otherwise it will be a blank for their email.

Under the pencil icon is the audience icon. Click on it and then click on Manage Audience on the far right. Choose Settings from the dropdown.

Once you’re in Audience Settings, choose Audience fields and *|MERGE|* tags.

All your fields are on the left. In the middle column are the merge tags. To the far right is a blank window to type in your default value. I use Friend. Now, if a person’s record in MailChimp is blank for their first name, Friend, will be used instead.

[An aside: Use any of these merge tags in the subject, preview text, or body of an email. Why not make sure you have default values here before leaving this page? In a future email, enclose any of your tags with the vertical bars and asterisks. This will signal MailChimp to insert individual values for a personal touch to your correspondence.]

Click Save Changes at the bottom of this page.


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