Mailchimp offers a truly fantastic resource for business owners to present their brand in an appealing and professional way. The friendly user interfaces make it easy for anyone to build sleek and eye catching newsletters, landing pages and sign up forms. Before you launch into sending  out emails to all of your followers, it is important to explore the set up of your Mailchimp account, and for consistent, on point branding, you should begin with your sign up form!


The All-Important Sign Up Form
Developing a list of potential and past clients that are happy to receive updates about your business is a crucial undertaking when it comes to increasing traffic to your website and building sales. When someone signs up to receive information from you, they are proactively taking interest in what you do. In other words, you’ve found your core target audience!

Take a moment to consider other brands that you find memorable. In all likelihood, their presentation is always aesthetic and consistent. With Mailchimp, you can customise sign up forms with your own branding and colour ways, enabling you to convey a coordinated appearance for your business that will shine throughout all of the content you share via email and your website. This recognisable and polished online presence is so important and unless you customise your sign up forms, your audience will receive a bland, generic form by default that is far less exciting. No logo, no branding – Nada!


Getting Started
Now that you’ve created a Mailchimp account, you can access the “Form Builder” from your “Audience” dashboard. Audience is the term Mailchimp uses to describe your lists of subscribed followers. You might already have a mailing list to upload into Mailchimp, or you might be building a sign up form for the first time in order to create that useful list of contacts!

The Form Builder is conveniently split into three tabs, for ease of use. The first tab, “Build It”, allows you to structure your sign up form. From here you can add and remove fields and change settings. For example, if your business sells age restricted products like alcohol, a date of birth field is a great idea. You may add fields for information that is optional to provide, while other fields may be obligatory. The form can be exactly what you want it to be.

Take note that the fields you see are the same as the fields of data that you store in your Audience contact list. If you remove a field here, that data will be deleted from your Audience list too, so toggle visibility rather than deleting a pre-existing field all together.

 

Design It!
Once your sign up form has all the fields you need, you can move onto the “Design It” tab. This is where you can add graphics, choose colour schemes and change fonts, so this is essentially where the magic happens! Start by adding your logo or branded header. Under the “Page” tab, select “Header” and then, hovering over the header text on the preview of your form below, you will see the option to “use image”. Once you have uploaded your image, you can use the Mailchimp interface to change the size and centre your image. Now your sign up form is starting to look more interesting!

You can use the “Page” tab to customise the surrounding page behind your sign up form, and the “Body” tab to edit the appearance of the sign up form itself. Use colours that are consistent with your website, and keep in mind that while you want your form to look eye catching, keeping your colour palette and font choices simple will make it much easier on the eye for your readers.You can use the “Forms” tab to manipulate how the fields of your sign up form look and respond. If you are using a free Mailchimp account, your sign up form will have a MonkeyRewards button. You can’t remove it without opting to upgrade to a paid account, but you can change the image to suit your overall sign up form aesthetic.


Accommodating Different Audiences and Languages
The “Translate it” tab allows you to automatically provide translations for each of the fields within your sign up form, which is especially helpful if your Audience is international. Keep in mind that if you add a message at the top of your sign up form, you will need to manually enter any translations you deem necessary, as this will not change automatically.

To keep things efficient when you begin your campaigns, we recommend maintaining only one master Audience in Mailchimp, and using tags and segments to organise and target your contacts. If however you find it useful to maintain separate Audiences, keep in mind that you will need to repeat the process of creating an individual sign up form for each Audience within your account.

 

Crucial Steps To Set Things Up
From the Audience page of your Mailchimp account, access your “Settings” from the drop down menu, and select the top choice: “Audience name and defaults”. When you go to enter your Audience name, a pop up appears to give you an example of a good Audience name and a bad Audience name. What is not explained is that adding special characters can cause broken or misdirected links. This is certainly something you want to avoid! Sticking with something simple such as ‘Teapot Creative Newsletter 2019’ for your Audience name will ensure that everything runs smoothly, and your hard work doesn’t go to waste.


Permissions and Consent
While you are on the “Settings” page, scroll a little further to the “Form settings” section. While the check boxes here are optional, we recommend selecting all three options – the “Enable double opt-in”, “Enable GDPR fields” and “Enable ReCaptcha”.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and references our legal obligations in terms of the data we collect relating to our clients, and how we use it. Complying with best GDPR practice requires making certain that our audience give their consent to receive communications from us in the future.

Enabling your GDPR Fields is an essential step in collecting consent from your audience to hold their data. The Enable Opt In is in essence an extra step, or layer to confirm your audience’s interest in receiving communications from you and confirms that you have permission from them.

ReCaptcha might seem a little annoying at times, but activating it will keep spam bots out of your mailing lists, ensuring your future campaigns are effective.

That’s some of the essential basics covered.

You’ve made a great start!

 

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