In part 1, I went into great detail, explaining why you want to use an email manager to keep in contact with your prayer supporters. This week, I’ll keep it much simpler and far more practical.
Let’s start with MailChimp right away.
Get A MailChimp Account
Don’t forget – you can complete this whole series and start sending your prayer letters through MailChimp without ever paying a cent for it. (Well, unless you sign up more than two thousand prayer partners or send more than twelve thousand emails in one month – which is not likely for most missionaries.)
So – let’s head on over to MailChimp, and sign up for a free account there.
Start by clicking the “Get MailChimp” button, below:
Click this button to sign up:
In the new window, find MailChimp’s “Sign Up Free” button.
Clicking “Get MailChimp” in the block above will open up a new window, showing you MailChimp’s login screen. You don’t have an account yet. In that MailChimp window, click one of the red buttons that says “Sign Up Free.”
After you click MailChimp’s “Sign Up Free” button, give them your email address and the username and password that you want to use for MailChimp in the future. Then click the “Create My Account” button.
(Just a reminder – that Get MailChimp button is an “affiliate link.” If you do somehow end up needing more than the free account gives you, then you and I will each get some free email credits when you upgrade to a paid account if you sign up through that link. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it just might help us both out, so thank you for using it.)
Protect Your Reputation By Protecting Theirs
Remember our conversation in Part 1 about MailChimp’s reputation, and how they’re letting you borrow it when you use their services to send email? You’ll see some of that reputation protection after you click that “Create My Account” button. MailChimp is going to make sure that the email address you gave them really belongs to you. This is much like the “double opt-in” protection that we talked about in Part 1.
MailChimp will send you an email with a big “Activate Account” button in it. Find that email, open it, and click that button. The email will look something like this:
Now comes even more reputation protection. Not only do they make sure you really own that email address, but they also need to make sure you’re not a robot or a computer program. (You’re not, are you?) Robots and computer programs keep getting smarter and smarter, so who knows what MailChimp will ask you to do when you get back. When I’m writing this, they just want me to click an “I’m not a robot” checkbox, and then click “Confirm Signup.”
Don’t Break The Law!
So you finally have an account. Great job! You’re still not quite ready to set up your mailing list. One of the things MailChimp does is to help you comply with anti-SPAM laws. Even if you don’t live in the United States, MailChimp’s computers do, so anything you send is subject to U.S. laws about emails. But don’t worry over it. Remember, they help you comply. (In fact, they’re quite adamant about it.)
That’s why they ask for all of this information on the next screen:
- First and Last Name: They need to know who set up the account.
- E-mail address: They’ll fill this in for you, since you already gave it to them. You can switch to a different address if you’d like.
The suggestions below assume you are setting up MailChimp for your own family’s ministry. If you have a ministry team that will share the same MailChimp account, answer the questions in a way that makes sense for you.
- About how many people are in your organization?: 1-5
- About how old is your organization? Reflect how long ago you began your deputation process.
- Do you have a list of emails to import into MailChimp? Even if you do, select “No” for this question. There are some things other things you’ll want to set up before you start importing emails. We’ll walk through those details in a future article, so leave this one as “No” for now.
- Are you setting this up for a client? I’m assuming you’re setting this up for yourself and your family’s ministry, so choose “No”.
- Company / organization: You can put your family name here. If you have a ministry team and you’ll be sharing the same MailChimp account, you could put something here that represents your team.
- Website URL: If you don’t have one yet, you can put the URL of your Facebook or twitter profile, or some other social media page that represents you. Also, consider applying for a Free* missionary website from Edify Hub. When your application is approved, you’ll be able to set up a personalized missionary website in five minutes or less – for free, as long as you keep the content up to date. *See application page for details.
- Mailing Address: I’m not a lawyer, but I understand that this is required if you ever send any email that offers any good or service in exchange for money. MailChimp doesn’t know whether you will or won’t, so they’ll require your address just to be sure. In this section, provide an address where you can physically receive mail. This is the address where any legally-required postal mail will be sent.
- Your industry: The most applicable option is probably “Religion.”
If you don’t want to take the time to upload a profile photo, you don’t have to. MailChimp will work just fine without it.
(If you’re living outside the United States, your country may have other laws. The MailChimp program doesn’t necessarily enforce the laws of your country, but they do have a handy reference of the email laws from different countries. You’ll need to be sure you understand your country’s laws, but MailChimp will probably make it easier to comply than your average email client does.)
After you finish entering all the information MailChimp needs, click the “Save And Get Started” button. This will take you to your dashboard.
When you first arrive at your dashboard, MailChimp will show you a few tips. Click “Next” in each one to dismiss them, and you’ll see your full dashboard.
Now you have a MailChimp account all set up. Don’t forget the username and password you used when you started, because you’ll need it when you log in again later.
In Part 3, we’ll create our first mailing list, describing the different kinds of information we want to remember for each of our contacts.
The action step is pretty obvious this week. Go create yourself an account with MailChimp, and remember your username and password. There’s no cost, and you’ll need it to follow along with next week’s post where I’ll walk you through setting up your mailing list.
If you get stuck, add a comment, and I’ll see what I can do to help.