13 Things You Missed During Your MailChimp Account Setup

MailChimp Account Setup Guide

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MailChimp is one of the most popular and free email marketing services on the web. Founded in 2011, they have over 10 million users and send over 1 billion emails a day. Their free plan allows up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 email sends per month. It’s an easy-to-use platform with tons of features for small businesses & developers alike.

MailChimp's Mascot, FreddieIf you’re just getting started with email marketing, I’d highly recommend creating a MailChimp account. MailChimp does a decent job of walking you through the setup process, but there are some extra steps you should take when setting up your account. Let’s take a look at how to optimize your MailChimp account setup to get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

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MailChimp Account Setup Wizard

Using MailChimp’s setup wizard, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information. This is important for a few reasons.

  • Add company name & address – A physical address is required to be present in all marketing emails. MailChimp will place your address in the footer for you automatically when using their templates.
  • Select your industry – Choosing an industry for your business is not required, but it will allow you to see how you stack up against other businesses in the same industry. Compare open rates, clicks, engagement metrics, etc.

Confirm Date/Time & Currency Preferences (recommended)

You won’t be asked about these during the new account setup wizard because MailChimp sets them for you. It’s not a bad idea just to confirm they are setup in the way in which you prefer.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Details
  2. Confirm or update them using the dropdowns
  3. Click the “Save” button

Setup Extra Security (recommended)

A good password is a great way to keep your account secure, but it’s often not enough. I recommend adding additional layers of security. There are a few types of added security you can set up. Choose the one that works best for you.

Two-factor Authentication (highly recommended)

MailChimp uses Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication. Google Authenticator is a smartphone application that provides a code that is required, in addition to your password, in order to login to your account. This six-digit code changes every 30 seconds, and is only accessible via the app on your phone. Even if a hacker was able to guess your email & password, they would also need to have access to your mobile phone to gain access to your account.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security
  2. Click the “Setup Google Authenticator” button
  3. Follow the steps provided
  4. Be sure to make note of your backup code and keep it safe
  5. I also highly recommend verifying a mobile phone number in case you switch phones or lose access to your Google Authenticator app (see below)

You can learn more about two-factor authentication in MailChimp’s documentation.

BONUS: You get a 10% discount on premium services when all of your Owner & Admin accounts use Google Authenticator.

MailChimp's Google Authenticator setup instructions
MailChimp’s Google Authenticator setup instructions

This does add a small, additional step each time you login to your MailChimp account, but the added piece of mind (and 10% discount) is definitely worth it.

While the next two options won’t be used all the time like Google Authenticator, you should still consider setting them up. They are for verifying your account when MailChimp detects unusual login attempts or suspicious activity on your account.

Verify via Text Message (highly recommended)

We highly recommend adding your mobile number because it will be used to recover your account if you ever lose access. If you switch phones and you lose your Google Authenticator codes, MailChimp can send you a text message with a code to recover your account.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security
  2. Under the “Verify identity via SMS” section, click the “Enable” button
  3. Choose your country from the dropdown
  4. Enter your mobile phone number
  5. Click “Verify”
  6. You’ll receive a text message with a 6-digit code
  7. Enter that code into the input box, and click “Verify”
MailChimp verify phone number
1) Choose your country from dropdown. Enter your phone number. 2) Enter the 6-digit code that was sent to your phone.

Verify with Security Questions (optional)

If you’ve setup Google Authenticator AND verified a mobile number, you can probably skip adding security questions. But if you don’t want to use Google Authenticator or text messages, you should add security questions as an additional layer of security.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security
  2. Under the “Verify identity with security questions” section, click the “Enable” button
  3. Choose up to 3 security questions from the dropdown lists, and enter your answers
  4. Click “Update”

Domain Verification (recommended)

Every email you send through an email marketing service has to come from an email address. It’s a good idea for this email to be at your website’s domain name (i.e. [email protected]). That way your subscribers have no doubt who the email is coming from. They can add it to a safe senders list and ensure all future emails make it to their inbox.

If you use an email address @yourdomain.com when you signup, your domain will be automatically verified to send from. If you’d like to send from a different domain, or if you signed up using a generic email account (i.e. gmail, yahoo, etc.), you just need to verify that you have access to an email address at your domain. It’s a pretty straight-forward process:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Verified Domains
  2. Click the “Verify a Domain” button
  3. Enter an email address at the domain (make sure you have access to it)
  4. Click the confirmation link in the email you received
  5. Now you should be verified to send from email addresses at this domain

Domain Authentication (recommended)

In addition to verifying your domain, I also recommend that you authenticate it. Domain authentication provides you with more control over your sending reputation. In MailChimp’s words,

You can set up your MailChimp account to send campaigns that appear to come directly from your domain, instead of from our servers.

Essentially, it’s the best of both worlds. You get the power of MailChimp’s servers, while your subscribers think you are in complete control.

Domain authentication uses DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) signatures & SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records. In order to set it up, you’ll need to be able to edit your DNS records.

SEE: How to edit DNS records in GoDaddy

Create the following DNS entries:

  • CNAME record
    • HOST: k1._domainkey.yourdomain.com
    • VALUE: dkim.mcsv.net
  • TXT record
    • HOST: yourdomain.com
    • VALUE: v=spf1 include:servers.mcsv.net ?all

You can leave the TTL values on their default setting. They should be set to somewhere around 1 hour.

Once you’ve made these changes, you might need to wait a few hours for them to kick in. Then…

  1. Navigate to Settings > Verified Domains
  2. Next to “Authentication,” click “View setup instructions”
  3. Click the button that says “Authenticate Domain”

Upon success, your screen should look like this:

MailChimp authenticate domain (success)

Add Additional Users (optional)

If you’ll be the only one managing your account, you can skip over this step. But if you’re collaborating with others on your email marketing efforts, you might want to provide account access to other people. You can give a marketing agency full admin rights or a member of your team access to reports only. Read below for how to grant a user access to your MailChimp account.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Users
  2. Click the “Invite a User” button
  3. Enter their email address
  4. Choose a user type (this will determine what actions they can perform in your account)
  5. Add an optional message that will be sent with their invitation email
  6. Click “Send Invite”

Setup MonkeyRewards Badge (optional)

MailChimp Rewards badge styles

All free MailChimp accounts require a link in the footer that links back to mailchimp.com. The good news is that you get rewarded each time someone clicks your link and signs up for a MailChimp account. Both you and the new account user will get $30 in MonkeyRewards, to be used for any of MailChimp’s monthly plans or add-on services.

Signup now & get $30 to use on premium services »

By default, most templates include an image with the MailChimp logo that serves as the link. You can choose from a handful of different images.

  1. Navigate to Extras > Rewards
  2. Scroll down to “Select your MonkeyRewards badges”
  3. Click “Change Image”
  4. Choose a new image

There’s also a checkbox in the bottom-right corner that will notify you via email when you earn rewards.

Create an API Key (optional)

If you plan to connect your MailChimp account with other services, apps or websites, there’s a good chance you’ll need an API key. You can easily create one from MailChimp’s dashboard. If you are unsure if you need an API key, there’s probably no need to create one at this point.

  1. Navigate to Extras > API Keys
  2. Under “Your API Keys,” click the “Create a Key” button
  3. Your API key will automatically appear on the page

Setup Integrations (optional)

MailChimp integrations directoryYou can integrate your MailChimp account with other applications to add even more power to your email marketing service. Some of the things you can do with MailChimp integrations include:

  • acquire better analytics on your email campaigns
  • learn more about your users
  • connect to your ecommerce platform
  • integrate with your CRM software
  • automatically share email campaigns on Facebook & Twitter

The process for each integration is slightly different. Please see MailChimp’s documentation if you have trouble setting up an integration.

Integrations Supported (updated 4/16/2016)

If you use any of the following services, considering setting up an integration.

  • Shopify – Incorporate your customers’ purchase activity into your MailChimp account
  • Facebook – Add a signup form to your Facebook Pages and auto-post campaigns
  • Goal – Trigger automations or segment lists based on subscribers’ activity on your site
  • Twitter – Auto-tweet your campaigns when they’re sent
  • SurveyMonkey – Integrate survey invitations and send follow-ups by completion status
  • Google Analytics – Enhanced tracking & reports
  • Google Drive/Docs – Integrate lists
  • Google Contacts – Integrate lists
  • Eventbrite – Integrate event invitations and responses
  • Gather – Integrate Gather events with MailChimp lists
  • Highrise – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • Salesforce – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • FreshBooks – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • Zendesk – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • Zoho – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • Capsule – Integrate CRM records with MailChimp lists
  • Etsy – Integrate an Etsy store with campaigns
  • eBay – Integrate eBay items with campaigns
  • Wufoo – Integrate external forms with MailChimp lists
  • PayPal – Update your list with each new purchase
  • E-junkie – Update your list with each new purchase
  • DPD – Update your list with each new purchase

Setup Email Notifications (optional)

MailChimp offers a few email series that provide news, tips & a getting started guide. In addition, there are two forms of confirmation you can opt-in to receive related to your account activity:

  • Email confirmation when a campaign is sent
  • Account status (sent weekly)

To opt-in to these notifications:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Details
  2. Scroll down to “Email from MailChimp”
  3. Click the box next to the emails you’d like to receive
  4. Click “Save”

That covers all the basics in this MailChimp account setup guide. You’re almost ready to start collecting email addresses & sending emails. The last required step is to create an email list to add your subscribers to. We’ll cover that in another tutorial very soon.

If you have any questions about how to best setup your MailChimp account, please let us know in the comments.

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