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How to Use Mailchimp Newsletter Templates (+ Expert Mailchimp Newsletter Tips for 2021)

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If you're looking for a great way to reach your audience, consider using a Mailchimp newsletter. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get people's attention and using Mailchimp makes the process even easier. 

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In this Mailchimp tutorial, you'll get tips on Mailchimp email newsletter creation to help you connect better with subscribers and customers. And we'll share how you can improve your newsletters even more with professional newsletter template designs from Envato Elements and ThemeForest.

Why Mailchimp?

So why consider using Mailchimp for email newsletter creation? One of the main reasons is that it's ridiculously easy to use. It also includes clear steps for newsletter creation within a simple, one-page interface.

How to use Mailchimp to create a newsletterHow to use Mailchimp to create a newsletterHow to use Mailchimp to create a newsletter

Mailchimp also wins for small businesses on a budget. That's because the Mailchimp free plan is excellent and allows you to manage an audience of up to 2,000 contacts and send up to 10,000 emails a month. 

Even Mailchimp's starter plan is pretty affordable when you need to upgrade. So, if you start your newsletter for free you won't be left hanging when it's time to level up.

Another reason to use Mailchimp email marketing software is that Mailchimp automations are available even in the free plan. Use these to build a better relationship with your audience. For example, you can easily set up a welcome email sequence to encourage new subscribers to visit your website and get more engaged with you.

Learn more about welcome emails in the article below:

Mailchimp has other useful marketing features, too, like the ability to create landing pages. And Mailchimp provides statistics you can use to better understand subscriber behavior. So, you can improve future emails and interactions. This is useful when you're using email marketing to grow your business.

Finally, another plus is that you don't just have to use the default email newsletter templates. You can import your own templates into Mailchimp to improve email newsletter design.

Why Use a Premium Newsletter Template?

If you're going to use a template within Mailchimp consider using a premium newsletter template. There are several reasons why this makes sense. 

Sometimes default templates can be limited and you won't get precisely the look that you want for your email newsletter. And if you've got limited design skills, using a prebuilt premium Mailchimp template means you can still wow your subscribers with a great-looking newsletter

Another downside of creating a newsletter with free or default Mailchimp templates is that you're using the same design as thousands of other people. So, your email newsletter may not look unique.

When you get a premium template, it's likely to be used by far fewer people, so you can be sure your newsletter will stand out in subscribers' inboxes. Plus, you'll be able to easily customize it to match your business branding.

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Plus, making an investment in a premium template means the template developers get paid. In turn, that means they can invest the time to ensure their templates follow the latest web standards. That means you'll get a responsive, mobile-friendly newsletter template that looks good on every device.

A good place to look for premium email newsletter templates is Envato Elements. There are hundreds of newsletter template designs for you to choose from. They've got a great offer you can take advantage of today: download as many templates as you want for one low price. 

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Or, if you'd prefer to get a single newsletter template for one-off use, then consider ThemeForest. It's got hundreds of affordable email newsletter templates.

How to Use Mailchimp to Create a Newsletter

Ready to create a Mailchimp email newsletter? Follow the newsletter email tips in our guide to learn how to use Mailchimp to create a stunning email newsletter for your audience. 

1. Choose a Template

The first thing to do is to choose a template for your Mailchimp email newsletter. Expert conversion copywriter and launch strategist, Tiffany Ingle points out:

"Email templates can be fantastic tools to save time and improve readability provided the design doesn’t overwhelm the content. If you must use a template, choose one that is clean and minimal. Simple, plain-text emails perform much better than emails with gorgeous graphics and fancy formatting. Use those extra elements sparingly for best results."

Don't worry too much about branding and color scheme at this point. If you use a premium template, you'll definitely be able to change those later.

To find a premium Mailchimp newsletter template on Envato Elements, click the side of the search box to select Web Templates. This will refine your search to templates suitable for web use, including email templates.

Type Mailchimp into the search box, then use the filtering tools at the side to select email templates. This will show you all the possible Mailchimp templates you could use. 

How to find Mailchimp templates on Envato ElementsHow to find Mailchimp templates on Envato ElementsHow to find Mailchimp templates on Envato Elements

Tip: Ideally, your email newsletter template will be fully responsive. So, look for that information in the template description. It's also worth knowing that a standard width for email templates is 600px.

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If you see a template you like, click on it to see a preview and get further details. Then use Download to add your chosen template to your Envato account. Learn more about selecting email templates in the following article:

2. Brand Your Template

Before you add your template to Mailchimp, there's another step. Many premium newsletter templates include a template designer or editor so that you can tweak the template before downloading it and importing into Mailchimp. This is your chance to edit your template to match your company branding. 

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Things to do include:

  • Change the colors to match your branding.
  • Add your company logo.
  • Remove unwanted modules if it's a modular template.
  • Duplicate any modules or sections you'll need more than once.

Once you're finished, import your template into Mailchimp and you're ready to start creating your newsletter.

When choosing a template, Content Strategist and Founder of Write Minds, Jacob McMillen advises:

"The right template comes down to your goals for the newsletter and the reason people subscribe to your list. You want a template that is going to allow you to highlight what subscribers will care most about. If there is an important visual component to this content, then a template that will allow you to show off visuals is needed. If the text is more of the focus, then a minimalist template or even text-only is usually the way to go. The template should be a tool selected to facilitate the objective."

3. Choose Your Topic

One of the most important newsletter email tips is to decide what your newsletter will be about. This will vary depending on your business, and will likely be a mix of offers, tips, and announcements

For example, if you're a fashion retailer, you'll likely send information about new lines of clothing or upcoming sales. If you're in travel, you'll talk about destinations and great deals. If you're in real estate, you'll showcase new properties and share home buying tips. And if you own a restaurant, you'll talk about new dishes and maybe offer coupons. 

There are more email newsletter content ideas later in this guide including community newsletter ideas.

4. Write Your Email Subject Line

Did you know that 34% of people (according to Litmus) check the email subject line before deciding whether to open your email? The email subject line is what people see when an email lands in the email inbox, and it's essential to get it right so they decide to open the email. If they don't open, they'll never see the rest of your beautiful newsletter. Liz Willits, Email Marketing Consultant, says:

"To write winning subject lines, I recommend a 3-step approach:

First, take the time to understand your subscribers. Learn what pain points and questions they have.

Second, write subject lines that mention those pain points and questions. This will grab your subscriber's attention.

Third, try both short (30 characters or less) and long (50 characters or more) subject lines. Most people write subject lines that are between 30 and 50 characters. So you can stand out by writing longer or shorter ones."

Options for your email subject line include:

  • Telling it like it is. Describing the offer or deal that's inside.
  • Inspiring curiosity. Asking a question that makes subscribers open the email for the answer.
  • Using humor or inspiring emotion. When your subscribers feel something, they'll be interested in opening your email.

Learn more about writing appealing email subject lines in the following article:

5. Write Your Headline

Once subscribers open your email, they'll see the headline. This is usually slightly different from the email subject line. Like headlines for other content, an email headline has to wow subscribers and make them want to read on. 

It's also important that the headline delivers on the email subject line. In other words, if your email subject line says you're making an offer, then your headline should also mention the offer. People expect your headline to be relevant to what you've promised with the subject line. 

6. Draft Your Email Copy

The body of your email is your message to subscribers. Keep it short. The latest research from the Public Relations Society of America suggests that since most people spend less than a minute looking at your email, the ideal length of email copy is 200 words. Clearly, every word has to count. 

Having said that, don't get too hung up on best practices. If you need more space to deliver your message or achieve your aims, take it. As Liz Willits points out:

"Blanket-statement advice to keep your emails short isn't good advice. Long emails work too. Your message should be as long as it needs to be to convince your subscriber to take the action you want them to take. And sometimes, you may need more copy to convince a subscriber. Other times, you may need only 9 words."

If you're going to write a longer email, make sure you break it up with subheads and bold or italic text. This draws your readers' gaze to those areas.

Another issue to pay attention to is the balance between information and promotion in your email content calendar. Jacob McMillen says:

"You want to give something away more often than you ask for something. What that looks like will vary from business to business."

McMillen adds: 

"I think that information and promotion should always overlap. The real goal here is that people associate your brand with value. We want people to feel like opening your emails is always the right choice - that it's never a waste of their time. When you send out informative content, you are promoting your brand's value. When you promote your products the right way, people are going to be happy to read your "sales" emails.

They key metric to EVERY email you send is "Will readers who click on this feel like doing so enhanced their day?" That enhancement can come from helpful information, humor, storytelling, a discount on a product they want an inspirational message attached to a call to action, or any number of things. It's not less about information vs promotional and more about what's valuable and interesting."

Marketing automation expert Robyn Hatfield of Accruent adds:

"When business newsletters first came into use, I think it was normal to expect a lot of promotional material.

But as our inboxes have become inundated with information and our time to go through emails has dwindled, I think it’s important that we do an amazing job at providing concise, timely information that is targeted to our database.

No one cares about your company. They don’t. They are busy. They are consumed. They don’t have time to listen to how many years you’ve been in business and how your product is the ‘best out there.’

They care about their problems. They care about their concerns. Your business newsletter should be hyper-focused on your target market and hyper-focused on the problems and concerns of this market."

Hatfield advises:

"Focus on identifying and addressing problems and concerns for most of your newsletter (80-90%). With the remaining 10-20%, specifically tie your product as a solution to the problems and concerns you presented.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget that your newsletter should be entertaining too (no pressure)."

The last part of your email copy is the call to action (CTA). We'll look at that next.

7. Add a Call to Action (CTA)

As the name suggests a call to action tells subscribers what you want them to do. This is the goal of your email newsletter. Even if you're in business, your CTA isn't always about making sales. Email marketing is about building a relationship with subscribers, so most emails will avoid the hard sell. 

Use Cloe from Envato Elements for mailchimp design tipsUse Cloe from Envato Elements for mailchimp design tipsUse Cloe from Envato Elements for mailchimp design tips

Many newsletter email tips and studies say that more than 80% of the emails you send should be non-promotional. So, besides asking people to buy, your call to action might ask people to visit a product page, read a blog post, or download a free resource. An effective CTA:

  • is short, usually no more than two to four words
  • is direct, using a verb to tell subscribers what to do (like "get", "download", or "buy")
  • highlights a benefit, for example when something is free or low-cost
  • appeals to urgency, using time-sensitive terms like "now" and "today"

Learn more about writing effective CTAs in How to Create a Compelling Call to Action.

7. Add Images

As humans, we're hardwired to pay attention to images. That's why it makes sense to include at least one image in your Mailchimp newsletter. An image that's relevant to your content can draw the gaze and make the rest of your email newsletter look more appealing. 

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Of course, there's a trade-off. Too many images will slow loading time for your email newsletter. That's a problem on mobile devices, which is where many people read newsletters these days. So, don't overdo the images, and use an image compression tool to make sure they load quickly.

9. Add Your Social Profiles

Most email newsletter templates include a section where you can add links to your social media profiles. Do this because it's an easy way to encourage more interaction from subscribers. If they like your newsletter, they'll probably check you out on social media, and may even follow you if they like what they see.

Plus, when people see a consistent, branded presence across the web, it builds trust. Subscribers who trust you're more likely to take your offers or buy your products.

10. Test Your Email

The last step before you send your newsletter to subscribers is to test it, so you get a feel for the experience they'll have when it arrives. Tiffany Ingle says:

"Testing is a crucial aspect of email deliverability, or the ability to actually get your campaigns in front of your audience (as opposed to a SPAM folder). You should test your emails before you send them out—every single time. Some email service providers (ESPs) have testing tools built right in, but if you’re looking for a place to improve your emails, start with Litmus or MailTrap."

There are two kinds of testing to do.

First, send a test email to your own address. Make sure it's not in the spam box, then check the subject line and see what the email template looks like. This is a good time to do a final proofread. You don't want avoidable mistakes to make your newsletter look less professional.

If your email ends up in the spam or junk email box, then try another test. Use an email spam testing service like Mail-Tester or GlockApps to troubleshoot any problems that are keeping your email out of the inbox. Fix any issues, then you're ready to send.

6 MailChimp Newsletter Design Tips and Tricks for Email Marketing in 2021

Stuck for ideas on how to use Mailchimp effectively for your email newsletter? Here are some community newsletter ideas and Mailchimp tricks to get you started:

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Here are some ideas:

1. Segment Your Emails

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If you want people to read your emails, you need to make them relevant and personal. Robyn Hatfield says:

"Blasting out an email to all your customers or all your prospects doesn’t make sense now (and never did). We should not be sending the same email to a CEO and to an Engineering Lead. The concerns of the CEO and the Engineering Lead are different. The language they use is different. The content they want to consume is different. We have so many affordable automation tools that allow us to segment lists, personalize emails with dynamic content, and really provide a more personalized approach." 

Hatfield adds: 

"We marketers need to do a better job at understanding the buyer’s journey and really targeting our lists. Sending the same email to someone in your prospect list that barely knows you (is in the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey) and a prospect that is in the final stages of buying is terrible. We have to know where our buyers are, what language they use in that specific stage, and what content is best for them to bring them to the next stage."

Mailchimp includes several pre-built segments to let you send emails to different parts of your audience. For example, you can easily identify those who haven't opened an email recently. Send them an email to rekindle their interest in your newsletter.

2. Make Your Emails Interactive

These days, a lot of marketing has an interactive component, and emails are no exception. In fact, it's a great way to grab your subscribers' attention. Liz Willits suggests: 

"Consider using AMP for Email in your messages in 2021. Emails have always been static documents. Once you send an email, there's no way to change it or interact with it. With AMP for Email, marketers can send dynamic and interactive emails that act like a website. Content can dynamically change. And you can add interactive elements — like carousels or forms — right inside your email."

3. Share Useful Tips and Resources

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If you want to make your newsletter really appealing, give subscribers something they can use, like a checklist, worksheet, or guide. If you're stuck for ideas, remember you don't have to create everything yourself. In fact, you can also share resources from other sites or businesses. You can find a never-ending stream of up to date content by using Feedly to track your niche.

4. Set Up Welcome Emails

Welcome emails are your best chance to make your subscribers look forward to your emails. Mailchimp makes it easy to set up a welcome email or email series with a couple of clicks. Then every time you get a new subscriber, they'll get your email. This is a triggered email, which Robyn Hatfield recommends: 

"In 2021, I think we need to do better at using triggered campaigns instead of using timed ones. So instead of sending out an email every Tuesday, send an email 5 days after someone opens the email or 2 days after someone clicks a key link. If people are consuming your content quickly, give them more information. If they’re not as engaged, don’t send them as many emails. Let the actions of the email recipients drive what we send and how often we send out emails."

This is a great way to help new subscribers get started with your website, product, or service. You can also create that feel-good factor by offering a deal or freebie in the email. 

5. Embed Videos

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Adding video is an excellent way to spike subscribers' interest in your email, and Mailchimp makes it easy. Add a video content block and plug in the video URL. You'll automatically get a video thumbnail that'll encourage your subscribers to click through.

6. Integrate Your Campaigns With Other Marketing

Finally, stop thinking of email marketing as something separate from other marketing tactics and strategies. As Robyn Hatfield points out, it's time to bring it all together:

"We need to be better at integrating our email into all our other campaigns. None of our marketing should be standalone anymore. We should integrate email in online and offline efforts to make all our marketing more effective. We need to coordinate other touchpoints with our email marketing including web push notifications, text notifications, and platform messaging.

We should make 2021 the year of giving people a more personalized marketing message that is delivered in a timely way across different media."

Learn More About How to Use Mailchimp

Still need help with understanding Mailchimp? Learn more about using Mailchimp and how to send a newsletter in Mailchimp in the following articles:

Get Started on Your Own Mailchimp Newsletter

We've just shared some of our best newsletter email tips and Mailchimp tricks. Now that you know how to use Mailchimp, it's over to you to use the tips we've shared to become a Mailchimp expert. Start creating your own Mailchimp email newsletter today.

Don't forget, you can make the task easier with a stunning premium newsletter template from Envato Elements or ThemeForest.

Note: This article was originally published in July of 2019. It's been updated to include expert quotes with help from Sharon Hurley Hall.

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