In this guide I’m going to show you how to make an email newsletter for your band using Mailchimp. This is mainly a transcription of the video above but will include pretty pictures.
I just want to go over a few things before we get started.
#1 – Why Send Email?
You might hear some people toss around the idea that ‘email is dead’ and using social networks is the only way to go. Well my belief is that we should utilise every tool we have, especially when it’s free. With email we can construct the message we want to get across without having to worry about ‘reach’ or ‘likes’ etc. The only thing we have to worry about is the open rate.
#2 – How Do We Collect Signups?
Obviously, you need to start acquiring email addresses for your newsletter. If you have a Bandcamp account you can choose to export the Mailing List on the Tools page. Other than that, you can actually set up a sign up page through Mailchimp which we’ll cover in another guide but first…
#3 – Why Mailchimp?
Mailchimp is an email marketing service which I’ve been using for a good few years now. It’s absolutely free if you have up to 2000 subscribers and send up to 12000 emails per month, so perfect for DIY Artists like us.
You can also do some fun stuff with automation, landing pages and stats but for this guide we’re going to get started by creating an account and put together our first email!
Let’s Sign Up to Mailchimp
We first want to go to mailchimp.com and create an account. Hit the ‘Sign Up for Free’ button and enter your email address, a suitable username and a password. Note that the password creation has some special requirements below. After doing this and hitting the ‘Get Started’ button, check your email for an activation link.
We now need to prove we’re human by entering some details. We’ll need to provide a physical address to make sure our emails comply with international anti-spam laws. This basically means that our chosen address must be added to each email sent. If you’re worried about what address to use, I used my rehearsal space address so something like that might work for you.
Once that’s done, just skip ahead until you see the Mailchimp dashboard.
Now we’ve set up a mailchimp account we need to add people to our list otherwise we won’t have anybody to send an email to! I’ll show you how to do that now.
From the dashboard top menu click on Lists. You should already have a list automatically created which is named after your username and containing just a single signup, you.
To add entries one at a time, click on the plus icon located on the left of the Stats button and fill in their details.
What if you had an exported list you want to import? There are a few ways to do that. Click on the arrow at the side of the Stats button and choose Import from the dropdown menu.
You’ll see a few options to import our signups. If you have a CSV (comma separated list) file to import (what you get from Bandcamp) choose the first option. Select the second option if you want to just copy and paste from a spreadsheet.
Let’s Create a Campaign
At this point we’re going to create a Campaign for our email and save it as a Template for future emails.
Click on ‘Campaigns’ from the top menu and then choose ‘Create Campaign’ on the right. Let’s select ‘Create an Email’.
Give your campaign a name. Don’t worry, people won’t see what you call it, it’s for your eyes only.
This is your campaign set up page. As you can see they’ve made it pretty obvious what we need to set up our email. For the ‘To’ field, choose our list, and for the ‘From’ field choose whatever name and email address you want people to see in their inbox. For the ‘Subject’ field, add the email subject which people will see.
We know come to the fun part, the content. Click on the ‘Design Email’ button and you’ll get to choose a starting point template. For the purpose of this guide let’s just select something quite plain and simple to start with. We’ll go with the ‘1 column – Full Width’ (don’t be afraid to pick something else and have a play around).
On the Template Design screen you’ll see two main panels. On the left we have our campaign preview and on the right we have all the tools we need to populate our email. If you hover and click on any of the panels in the preview, the settings for that panel will appear on the right. So if we click on this logo panel which is basically just an image block, we’re able to replace the placeholder image as well as adjust other settings such as alignment and whether or not the image appears edge to edge.
Click Save & Close so we can see all of the available tools. Everything here is drag & drop meaning that if you want another text box for example, just drag it over to your desired place. Then you edit its contents as you wish.
There are tonnes of features to play around with which I’d love to get into for future guides but for now let’s just put together a very basic email. We’ll add a logo, some text and a video link.
#1 – A Logo
Click on the image block again and click ‘Replace’ on the right panel. This’ll bring up a content manager. Let’s upload a suitable image. As you can see the image is way too big so let’s edit it and reduce it down to about 100 by 100 pixels. We’ll also align it to the left.
#2 – Some Text
Now let’s add some text. I’m just going to copy in some existing placeholder text I made earlier. You could be talking about your latest release, upcoming gigs or whatever.
#3 – A Video Link
Let’s add a video link. We’ll just drag and drop the video block over and add a YouTube link to the URL field. I think it’s really cool that it grabs a preview thumbnail. We’ll also make sure to edit the caption to something suitable below too.
#4 – Sign Off text
Right, we’ll now add another text box below so we can put in a sign off. At this point there’s just the social links to edit. We’re going to pretend we’re happy with this as is and move on.
Click on Save & Exit to go back to the Campaign Setup Page.
Testing 1, 2, 3
Now we’re just going to see if our email looks okay by sending ourselves atest as well as using the inbuilt Preview Mode in Mailchimp. Then we can finally schedule it to send.
Let’s check the email looks okay using the Preview Mode. Click on the Preview image. On the left you’ll see a preview of you email and on the right you’ll see its header information such as your subject title and From name. Most importantly you have these fantastic options at the top where you can switch between Desktop & Mobile views as well as in the browser. Let’s move on. Click the X to close the preview.
If you want to send a test just click on the link below the preview image. I find it’s always a good thing to do to test out any links or images you have in there or even get some fresh eyes on it. Here you can choose the email address the test will go to as well as any notes. These notes will appear the email. They’re really handy if you’re working in a team and want to convey some feedback.
After everything’s been checked we can finally move onto sending the email out.
We have two options to send. We can schedule the campaign to go out at a specific time or just choose the ‘Send Now’ option. Be rest assured that there is another confirmation button to hit after that one before it actually goes out!
That’s it for for this guide! Now there are tonnes of other details I could have gotten into but it would have made this guide way too long. In other guides I’ll go over other stuff like automation, landing pages etc. So stick around if you want to see that in the future.