Hey! Welcome to another lesson at Outer Gain University. We decided to do this lesson in text and screen shot format. If you like this method better than the videos, let us know at admin@outergain.com. Thanks!

What is MailChimp Automation?

On the footer of the Outer Gain site there’s a form people can use to sign up for our marketing tips. The marketing tips emails are sent out at a certain time frame, relative to when a person signs up for them. And it all happens without us doing a thing! This is automation, and in this lesson you’ll learn how to set it up.

What’s Needed:

You’ll need to have your list, group(s) and segment(s) created before proceeding. See Groups & Segments if you haven’t done this.

Create Your Campaign

1) In MailChimp click on Campaigns on the top left and then Create Campaign on the top right.

2) On the pop-up box click Create an email.

3) Click Automated and then Custom (same screen).

4) Give your campaign a name. We’re calling ours Marketing Tips so it’s easy to identify the purpose of the campaign.

5) Select the list you want to use (you should only have only list).

6) Click Begin.

Tip: So here’s what just happened: You’ve created a custom campaign (congrats!) and assigned it to a segment. MailChimp will place one starter action at the very top as shown below. The next thing we’re going to do is design the first email that goes out.

Design Your Emails

Your emails don’t have to be the same design.  You want them to be similar (such as the same header and footer) so people are comfortable with the familiar feel of your messages, but the content can look different. Let’s design an email so you can see how it’s done:

1) Click Design Email.

2) Give your email a name. This is an internal name. No one else will see this.

*Tip: Name the email something simple that tells you what it’s about.

3) The Email Subject is what customers will see.

*Tip: Keep subjects short and catchy. Try for 3-5 words max if possible. Many emails are never read because the subject is too long and too boring. The last thing you want to do is get someone to opt-in and then lose them due to a lame subject.

4) Preview text is also very important. You know when you receive an email on your phone and see a preview of it? BOOM. This is the place. Make this convert. Really think about what you put here. And by the way, you can edit this later.

5) The from name and from email is self explanatory. Think about the most effective from name… company or personal?

6) Click Next on the lower right of the screen (blue button).

7) Preview templates. You can click the magnifying glass on the top right of each template box to see what it will look like on both desktop and mobile.

8) Click the template you’ve decided to use, and you should see the email design screen below:

The MailChimp email design screen might take some getting used to, but trust us, it’s the best in the industry. You should try and use others on the market – a nightmare. Here’s a few tips to create your first email:

  • To edit a section, click the section on the left and then click the pencil. The actual editable area will show on the right.
  • Be sure to edit each of the footer icons to point to your URLs.
  • Drag and drop additional sections from the right to the content on the left. For example, an image area. Another text area, etc.
  • Personalize by having MailChimp add things like their first name. See https://kb.mailchimp.com/merge-tags/all-the-merge-tags-cheat-sheet#Personalization for more info on this. To add someone’s first name, use *|FNAME|* in the text area. It will be automatically replaced when sending.

Images: Adding images is easier after you’ve done it a couple times. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Click on the image area on the left.
  2. Edit by clicking the pencil.
  3. Click replace on the right. Then upload the image to MailChimp.
  4. The image should now show up on the left.
  5. Select and edit again.
  6. Click Settings on the right. Choose Constrain image dimensions by 50% for high-resolution displays.

*Tip: Other image options can be accessed by clicking edit while back under content.

9) Save your new template.

Once your email is designed (social links hooked up and formatting the way you want it) click the Save as Template option in the top right. This will allow you to save all of your work and use it on future emails (like the ones we’re about to add to this campaign!).

11) Click Save and Continue.

*Tip: You can create multiple templates which saves tons of time later. Also, you can exit your campaign and come back and edit it later. When you exit, just tell MailChimp you don’t want to activate it yet.

12) Go ahead and create a few emails and then we’ll setup the actual automation schedule.

Scheduling the Automation

Now it’s time to schedule out your automation! This is the fun part. Well wait… this has all been fun, right? With multiple emails created in your campaign, it should look something like this:

So now we need to tell MailChimp when to send each email. We also need to tell MailChimp which segment to send to. Look at your campaign workflow screen, and you’ll see four editable areas:

Edit Trigger specifies how MailChimp is triggered to send the email. You can specify immediately, or you can get fancy by telling MailChimp to send based on certain criteria. To edit do the following:

  1. Click Edit Trigger.
  2. Click on Change Trigger to choose a different type of trigger.
  3. For this first email choose List management
  4. Choose Signup (a subscriber joins your list).
  5. Select whether you want this to take affect when people are imported.
  6. Click Update Trigger.


Tip: Let’s say you want to send an email out to someone, but only if they click a link in the previous email you sent. You can do this by changing the trigger type to Specific link in previous email clicked. Are the light bulbs turning on in your head? Automation ROCKS.

Schedule allows you to set the time window emails are sent. This is important. You typically don’t want your emails going out at 1AM and then buried under 200 other emails (except for maybe one that’s sent immediately when someone subscribes). Additionally, you may want to be very specific as to when a certain email is sent out. This is the place to set it all up!

Segmentation is where you set the specific people this email goes out to. Simply click the link, click Choose segmentation conditions > Subscriber is member of saved segment > and then choose the segment you created earlier.

Tip: This is important. Even though you chose your list at the beginning of the campaign, you have to tell each email which segment to apply to, or you’ll have the wrong emails going to the wrong people. We’d like to see MailChimp allow for a campaign-wide setting, but that doesn’t exist at this time to our knowledge.

Action allows you to perform certain tasks once the email is sent. For example, you could tell MailChimp to add them to a certain group after they receive an email.

Go ahead and edit your workflow settings for each email now! Once your settings are complete, click Next and then click the blue Start Workflow button on the lower right!

Once you click Start Workflow and then confirm the decision, you should see the window below:

BOOYAH! You just setup your first email automation. Congrats. So what if you want to view what’s happening?

Check Campaign Status

If you’d like to see what’s going on with your campaign, click Campaigns from the top left of the MailChimp screen. You can then click on the campaign you want to view and see details on emails sent, open rates and click rates. The queue means emails that are waiting based on the sending window and/or delays you specified.

Edit an Email

You can click the Pause and Edit button if you need to change an email. Just know that the changes will not go out to people who already received the email. And don’t forget to RESUME the email after editing!

Again, congratulations. Well thought out email campaigns will definitely help you grow your business and sell beyond your reach!

Setup MailChimp Automation

If you have questions about MailChimp Automation, simply hop over to Outer Gain Support as we’re here to help! Automation is a key ingredient to your online marketing success and selling beyond your reach!