March 25, 2016
If you read my post Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Email List, you may be wondering what the next steps are to getting started. As I mentioned, there are countless ESP options, many of which are excellent, but if you want a simple, easy-to-use service and you don’t need a lot of bells & whistles, I highly recommend Mad Mimi, the ESP I currently use.
Step 1: Sign up for a Mad Mimi account
Click here to sign up for a free Mad Mimi account. They don’t make their free option super obvious but it’s linked at the bottom like so:
Step 2: Configure your account settings
Once your account is open, I recommend editing some settings. This makes it smoother sailing once you’re ready to write your first email.
Edit your account settings by clicking the “Account” link at the top of the page:
This will give you a place to enter or edit contact information, password, time zone, etc. It’s also the place where you will enter your physical mailing address. (Read more about that here.) Don’t forget to click the “Save Account Info” tab.
Step 3: Add add-ons
Click the “Add Things” link to select which add-ons you’d like to add to your account. Add-ons in Mad Mimi are a bit like plugins in WordPress.
Select from “Feature Add-ons” and “3rd Party Integrations” to start. Browse through each list and see if any apply to your situation.
Most add-ons are free, some cost money (indicated). Some are not available on the free plan. Turn any add-on on or off simply by clicking the toggle button:
Once you turn on an add-on, you may see a link to go set that feature up, like so:
If a particular add-on doesn’t have further settings, you’ll see an indication that it’s on and you’re good to go, like this:
The “Feature Add-ons” I currently use
Webforms – These allow me to put sign up forms on my site.
Affiliate Program – This allows me to earn money when others sign up for Mad Mimi. For more about affiliate marketing, read this post.
Drip Campaigns – These are the same as autoresponders. They allow you to send out a series of emails to new subscribers. You can connect drip campaigns to certain lists. You don’t have to use drip campaigns at all.
Signup IPs – This add-on gives me more data about the people who sign up.
Promotion Tweaks – Turning this on gives you a number of extra options for your individual emails like location of the unsubscribe, social links & “view on web” links, copyright indicators, etc.
Tip: You can easily access your Tweaks in the link at the top of your screen:
Link to List – This is a handy feature that will automatically add a subscriber to a specific list when they click a certain link. This is Mad Mimi’s way allowing you to tag or segment your list. For example, In one of my Useletters, I added a button
The “3rd Party Integrations” I currently use
Google Analytics – This allows me to see the traffic my emails are sending to my site.
Facebook Signup – This puts an extra tab on my Facebook Page under my cover image. Honestly, I might turn this off as there is already a Sign Up button on the cover image. You can see it in action here.
One add-on I don’t use but you might
If you want to send your subscribers your blog posts, turn on the RSS to Email feature:
Turn it on and then follow the “Go set it up” link to add your feed.
If you use WordPress and you haven’t done anything to change your feed address, it’s likely your feed URL is:
Make sure you change “yourdomain.com” to your domain, of course. 🙂
Check it first by pasting that URL it into your browser window. If you see a bunch of code, you’re good. If you get an error page, it’s not working and you’ll need to get your feed URL via the service you’ve used to change the URL.
Step 4: Add a list
Now that your account is set up, you can get ready to receive your first subscribers. Login and select the Audience tab and click the “Add a list” button:
Name your list. Your audience won’t see this name, so name it what you’d like. This is the list new subscribers will be added to when they sign up.
Keep in mind you can add more lists later if you like. Additional lists come in handy for organizing your contacts into various groups or interests. For example, I have a Flash Deals Notifications list I made specifically for those who want to be informed of time-sensitive deals.
Step 5: Set up a webform
A webform is the signup form people will use to subscribe to a list or lists. This must be configured so the email addresses of those who sign up with get deposited into the correct list.
You might think of a webform as a doorway. On one side, it’s seen by potential subscribers as a place to enter their email address (and name if applicable). On the other, it’s connected to your list(s) on Mad Mimi. So, whenever someone enters their email address into the form and hits the submit button, the webform knows which list to add that email address to.
You can create multiple webforms depending on the different signup forms you have. I recommend you check them from time to time to make sure they are accurate and working properly.
To create your first webform, click the Webform link and the “Add a Webform” button:
The webform setup page on Mad Mimi looks like this (we’ll be working with the 3 circled tabs to start):
1. The Details tab should be open by default:
On this tab, you will enter:
- The name of the webform. It might be helpful to name it according to where you’ll use it. For example, maybe it’s the form in your sidebar so you could call it “Sidebar Top.”
- The list or lists people are added to when they sign up via this particular form. Again, this is one way Mad Mimi allows you to tag or segment your subscribers. Choose the list or lists you want email addresses to be added to. Click on one and then repeat the process to add another list.
- The amount of information you want to collect from the subscriber. Do you want only their email address? Do you want their name too? I opt for email address only but some people like a first name so they can personalize emails down the road.
2. The Theme tab:
On this tab you can customize:
- The design of the standard webform. This is what the standard form looks like. Of course, your name will be at the top.You could, for example, link directly to this signup form and it will open a new browser window with the form. You could also embed this form directly into a post or page on your site.
- Note, you do not have to use this default design. Instead, you can get the HTML code to paste this form into your site, so it will blend into your site design or a service like Lead Pages or OptinMonster. More on placement of your form in a minute.
3. The Advanced tab:
On this tab you can customize:
- The activation message. This is the email message sent to a new subscriber that contains the confirmation link. Include your “from” email address and name. Make sure these are recognizable to your readers. I use the email address on my contact page and “Amy Lynn Andrews.” Use a catchy subject line like “Confirm Your Useletter signup! Do this now…” Here’s example text from one of my activation messages:
To activate your Useletter signup (and get the sample Useletter I promised), click the confirmation link below. (You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive.)
(Questions? Contact me at AmyLynnAndrews.com, reply to this email or send me snail mail here: P.O. Box 180841, Arlington, TX 76096.)
- Confirmation landing page. This is a page you’ll need to create on your site that the subscriber is automatically sent to as soon as they submit their email address into your form. I call this my “Almost Done” page because, as a double opt-in process, they still have to confirm the link in the activation message email before they are added. Here is my confirmation landing page.
- Activation landing page. This is a page you’ll need to create on your site that a subscriber is automatically sent to as soon as they click the confirmation link in their activation message. Here is my activation landing page.
- Signup form page. If you add a signup link in your emails, this is where people are taken. This might be used, for example, by someone who was forwarded your email from one of your subscribers. Here is my signup form page.
- Button text. What do you want your button to say?
- Resubscribe policy. If someone wants to resubscribe, do you want them to go through the confirmation process again? I don’t require this as they have done so once.
- Confirmation policy. Is your list double opt-in or single opt-in. In general, double opt-in is recommended and requires the confirmation process. If this box is checked, it means as soon as someone types in their email address into the form and hits the submit button, their email address is immediately added to your list. I’m using double opt-in myself.
Once your webform is created, you’ll need to make it available online so others can sign up.
You have a few options here. You can share the link, embed the Mad Mimi form on your site or embed the HTML of the form on your site to match the design of your site. Use the buttons above the form like so:
- Share. Clicking the “Share” button will allow you to copy a simple URL that will open this form up in any browser. Go ahead and try it by clicking “Share” and copying the URL and pasting it into your browser to see what I mean.
- Embed. There are three options behind this button. The first option allows you to use an iframe to embed the form directly into a post or page on your site. The second option allows you to copy the HTML from the HTML tab and paste it into, say, your sidebar or into the appropriate place in Lead Pages or OptinMonster. The third option allows you to insert a side tab into your site. The way this is done varies depending on your preference and where you choose to place it. Read here for help with embedding.
Step 6: Set up a new Drip Campaign
As I’ve mentioned, Mad Mimi’s “Drip Campaigns” are autoresponders.
Here’s how it works: as soon as a person signs up and confirms their subscription to one of your lists, the first email in a drip campaign is triggered and sent to the new subscriber. Any additional emails in the same drip campaign get sent, or “dripped,” at intervals of your choosing thereafter.
Note that emails are called “promotions” in Mad Mimi speak.
Of course once a drip campaign is set up, it all runs automatically.
You do not have to create a multi-email drip campaign to new subscribers on your lists, but I do recommend at least sending one welcome email.
How to create a new drip campaign in Mad Mimi
To create a new drip campaign, click the “Drips” link at the top of the page and click the “New Drip Campaign” button:
Enter a name for your drip campaign and choose the list it is attached to. When someone gets added to this specific list, this drip campaign will begin sending the emails in the campaign.
Choose how often you want the emails to be sent. Leave this as is if you don’t have a sequence of emails.
To send a welcome email which a new subscriber will receive right away, check the box beside “Send the first promotion immediately after a user signs up.” I highly recommend you do this. Like I mentioned before, you do not have to send out a series of emails to new list subscribers, but sending out one welcome email is a good way to make immediate contact. It’s also a good way to deliver any lead magnets you promised.
If you don’t want to send emails on weekends, check the last box and then click the “Create my Drip Campaign!” button. Doing so does not start the campaign, it just gives you a chance to set it up.
Step 7: Set up your individual drips
Now it’s time to create the individual email(s) to include in your new Drip Campaign created above.
You can add multiple emails to your drip campaign to create a robust autoresponder sequence. For this tutorial, we will create only one which will become our welcome email.
You can choose to create a Custom HTML email from the dropdown menu, but unless you have specific experience doing so, I recommend you use the much easier “Compose new” option. Again, emails are called “promotions” in Mad Mimi.
This is the main creation window where you will compose emails:
You can upload images in the right column. Once they are loaded, you can click and drag them into the main window on the left. I encourage you to watch the video which will provide a quick tutorial about the Composer. There are also tons of help topics about the Composer here, answering any questions you may have.
Here is an example of the welcome email I send to Useletter subscribers who sign up via my How to Make Money Blogging post:
Important things to include in your first “drip” which in our case, is our welcome email:
- Header image – I recommend you take some time creating this image and use it consistently in your promotions. Note that you can add a link to your header to take people to your site. Here’s how.
- Greeting – welcome your new subscribers. I recommend you explicitly state what it is they signed up for. This way, if they open the email later and don’t remember, they are less likely to mark it as spam.
- Lead magnet(s) – Depending on the lead magnet you offer, this could be many things. In my case, I offer two downloadable content upgrades. I created my PDFs in Google Drive (created them as a document and saved them as a PDF), uploaded them to Dropbox, grabbed the sharing link to each in Dropbox and linked the text here in the welcome email. Pro tip: As I shared in the Useletter (sign up if you aren’t subscribed!), if you change the “www” to “dl” in your Dropbox URL, the link will automatically download when it is clicked, as opposed to opening up the document in Dropbox.
I recommend you keep this email short and sweet.
Don’t forget to name your promotion (email) before saving.
Then click the Continue button at the bottom of the page. On the next screen you’ll see something like this:
If this is your welcome email, make sure the box is checked so new subscribers get it right away. This is important, especially if you’ve promised a lead magnet.
Edit your subject line and check the boxes for link tracking (if available with your plan) and social media sharing if you want. In this case, I do not enable social media sharing, because I want to make sure only subscribers have access to my bonuses.
Click Continue again to find this:
At this point, your drip campaign and welcome email are set up. You have the option to add additional drips to this campaign if you’d like. The number of drips will depend on how many emails you want in your autoresponder series.
There are a few remaining edits you can make. Notice the “Send at” option on the right. This is the time of day your drips will be sent out. If you clicked the box “Send immediately after a member signs up” on the previous screen, this only applies to the emails sent out after the first one.
Tip: If you are adding multiple drips to a campaign, you do not have to create a new email / promotion from scratch. You can “clone” the first one and simply edit the text in the subsequent drips. It’s a great time saver. To clone, hover over the title of the drip you want to clone and click the Clone link like so:
Once you’ve added all the drips you want to include, this drip campaign needs to be turned on in order for it to start working. That is, until it is running, it won’t send your emails (promotions) out to new list subscribers.
Simply click the “Start” button to turn it on.
Important note: Editing a drip campaign (such as adding a drip) once it has already been started may cause that new email to be sent to everyone on your list immediately. This is not always ideal and one of the few glitches I’ve found with Mad Mimi. You are given a warning when this is about to happen, so be sure to always pay attention to the little popups Mad Mimi sends you. Also, contact their support if you have more questions about your drip campaigns.
How to see all of your drip campaigns at once
You can always see which drip campaigns are running and which are paused on your drip campaigns page. To get there, click “Drips” at the top of your screen.
A paused drip campaign looks like this:
It can be turned on here as well. Just click the Start button on the bottom left.
A running drip campaign looks like this:
It can be paused by clicking the Pause button.
Hovering over a drip campaign gives you the option to view its stats or delete it.
The black toggle button the the right of the promotion name turns individual emails on and off in a drip campaign. For example, let’s say I had 10 emails (promotions) in my drip campaign, but I decided I wanted to turn one of them off. I would just toggle its button to “Draft” mode, effectively taking it out of the running but not deleting it entirely.
Step 8: Test your drip campaigns
As soon as you turn on a drip campaign, I recommend you test it.
Always, always subscribe to your own lists so you are aware of what your subscribers experience. It is especially important to do so in this case.
Pretend you are a visitor on your site. Recall where you set up your webform (Step 5) for this specific list. Go through the signup process as a reader would. If you are already on your list, delete your email (Audience > Search for your email address > hover and delete) and sign up again. Or, use a different email address to walk through the process.
Make sure the process is smooth and you aren’t getting hung up anywhere.
You might also consider recruiting a family member or close friend to go through the process too, noting any hangups.
You should be set up and ready to go, especially for your automatic mailings.
You do have the option to send one-off or “broadcast” email messages to any of your lists if you choose. Doing so is quite simple. Once you’re logged in, click the Dashboard tab at the top of the screen and click the Compose button. Create your email and send immediately, draft it or schedule it to send at a later time. This is the process I go through each week to send out the Useletter.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, Mad Mimi support is superb and their help documentation is also easy to follow so take advantage of both.
If you’re ready to sign up, click here to get started.