Mailchimp - How to setup email list, create forms and attach a freebie

MailChimp: How to setup email list, create forms and attach a freebie

If you have been in the online business world for five minutes, you must have heard something about anย email list and how important it is for business.

If you haven’t, let me give you a quick low-down.

An email list is a collection of your readers’/customers’ emails (and often names) that they gave you by signing up for your updates/free gift offer on your site.

Since people open almost all of their emails vs. only sometimes seeing social media updates, email lists are considered gold when it comes to communicating with your customers and marketing to them.

The process of collecting email addresses from people is covered by CAN-SPAM law and you can read all the details, but the main thing to know is that:

  • you have to have permission from the person before you add their name to your list
  • your business address has to appear in each email you send to your list
  • you have to provide an easy way for your subscribers to unsubscribe if they wish so
  • and if they unsubscribe, you can’t email them
  • also, please don’t buy someone else’s lists

Now with that legal bit out of the way, lets talk a tad more about WHY an email list is so important to your business.

WHY is an email list so important to your business?

In today’s internet world, it’s easier than ever to reach your potential customers, start a conversation, become a friend and form a group. There are so many social media channels that allow you to follow others and be followed, therefore building connections.

We use social media every day and so it seems here to stay, along with all the potential customers that we made contacts with. But, you have to remember one thing: you have no control or ownership over any of the social media platform. If Facebook was to close it doors tomorrow or decided to charge ungodly access fees, all of your potential customers would be gone in an instant.

When it comes to your email list, this is something that you can control and something that belongs to you. No matter what happens to social media and such, you can always contact people on your list (as long as they are OK with it, of course).

So, long story short, you need a list, you need to build a list, you need to respect your list and you need to treat it right.

How do you go about building a list

First, you need to set up a way of collecting the email addresses of people who wish to be on your list.

Of course, you can do it in a very manual way, by keeping them in a spreadsheet of some kind, and emailing them one by one, or using BCC on your group email, BUT that will soon become cumbersome AND your emails might start bouncing as spam due to the number of emails sent out.

Instead, do yourself a favor and sign up with one of the many email services providers who will keep your email addresses safe, give you tools to create professional-looking emails and who are recognized by most email receptors, guaranteeing for your emails not to be spammed.

There are many providers out there that offer this service, but today I will show you how to use MailChimp, a friendly, easy to use service that offers a free account for first 2,000 subscribers that you can use while you are learning this whole email list thing.

Mailchimp - How to setup email list, create forms and attach a freebie

Here is how to create an email list and the forms you need with

First, to get a free account, go to and click on Sign Up Free button.

Mailchimp - Sign up free
Next, input the necessary information and create your account.

Mailchimp Create Account
Once you log in, your main screen will look something like this (since I’ve been using mine for a while, it has more stuff in it):

Mailchimp Dashboard
Let’s jump straight into the action and create a list that will hold your future subscribers.

To create a list, click on Lists at the top of the screen.

You will be brought to the Lists screen:
Mailchimp - Create List

From that screen, on the upper right hand side, click on Create List. The portion of the screen will change, asking if you want to create a list or sub-divide groups. Choose Create List:

Mailchimp - Create New List

You will be brought to a screen where you need to enter the list details:
Mailchimp - enter list details
First – the List Name. This is something that your subscribers will see so make it meaningful and appropriate:
Mailchimp - Create list name

Next, the From Email. This is the email that your subscribers will see as your email coming from (and the email they will reply to). Mailchimp wants this email address to be at your domain, rather than a Yahoo account, lets say, and will give you a stern message.

Example: Bad email address:
Mailchimp - unacceptable email address

Good email address:
Mailchimp - Good From email address

Next, you need to create a short reminder to your subscribers of how they ended up to be on your list. You can create brand new one, or, if you have another existing list, you can reuse that one:
Mailchimp - Explain how subscribers got on your list


Here is how the reminder looks like on my emails:
Mailchimp - How subscribers got signed up

If you haven’t yet, you will need to enter a valid mailing address for your business (it can be a PO Box if you have one).
Next, you need to specify how you want to be notified if someone subscribes or leaves your list.

Choose Daily Summary and Save:
Mailchimp - Notifications

Congrats, you now have a new list!
Mailchimp - New list created

Now, since you have just created your list, you will have no subscribers on it. However, if you have a list of subscribers that you have accumulated previously (and had the permission from those people), MailChimp allows you to import them into your new list:
Mailchimp - Import subscribers

Choose Import Subscribers and you will see this screen. Choose your file format (in this case CSV) and press Next:
Mailchimp - Import subscribers

Next browse to find the file with subscribers and check mark that you understand that your billing might change once you go over 2,000 people. Press Next to import your existing subscribers.
Mailchimp - importing subscribers
If you don’t have existing subscribers and you’re starting from scratch, you will need to create a form that you can use to collect names and email addresses.

To do that, click on Create a Signup Form on your brand new list’s screen:
Mailchimp - Create a signup form
Or, if you are no longer on that screen, you can click on Lists, then click on your list’s name and then on Signup Forms:
Mailchimp - Create signup forms

Click on Create next to General Forms:
Mailchimp - create general forms

By default, the first form that will come up on the drop-down will be the Sign-up form:
Mailchimp - signup form

If you scroll down the page you will see two important areas.

First, is the URL of your signup form. You can copy this URL and paste the link anywhere. People who will click on the link will be brought to the signup form where they can enter their info and sign up.

Second is the layout of the form itself. By default it’s bland and kind of ugly, so I will show you how to change it up a bit.
Mailchimp - URL and form

First, unless for some reason it’s super-necessary, take out the Last Name. The more info you ask, the less people subscribe. To remove the last name, click on the field and then click on Minus sign (-).
Mailchimp - remove last name

A message to confirm will appear and you will need to type DELETE (in upper case) to confirm:
Mailchimp - conform delete last name

Next, move the email and name fields around, so the name is on the top, since most of the people are used to this order. Just grab Email field and drag it down until it’s under the Name field, and release:
Mailchimp - move email field

The fields are now switched around with the Name field being on the top:
Mailchimp - name and email fields
You can now add more of your custom wording by hovering over and clicking on the Edit button:
Mailchimp - edit form header
Once you click, it opens up into a text editing window. Here you can change the font color, size, add verbiage, add logos and other images:
Mailchimp - edit form text
Mailchimp - change text color
Mailchimp - change font type
Mailchimp - change font size
To insert your logo at the top of the form, click on the File Manager button (looks like a tiny picture of a mountain):
Mailchimp - add logo to form
In the File Manager menu, choose an existing file or Upload a new one:
Mailchimp - choose image for the form
Mailchimp - select image for form
Once your image screen comes up, make sure to adjust the image size (something like 400×120) making sure to Keep Proportions.

Save the changes:
Mailchimp - update image size
Mailchimp - resize form image
Highlight the logo and the text and press Centered button to center everything. Save the changes:
Mailchimp - Center the form text
The signup form is now complete:
Mailchimp - Complete signup form
Next, we want to customize the opt-in confirmation e-mail that your subscribers will receive after the initial sign up.

This is called a double opt-in, where you are basically double-checking that in fact they wanted to sign up with you.

From a drop-down, select Opt-in Confirmation Email:
Mailchimp - optin confirmation email
Opt-in screen has more fields on it and they are basically codes that grab your name and email as “from” info and a generic email subject which is the name of your list + confirm subscription verbiage.

You can change this verbiage or you can leave it as is:
Mailchimp - opt-in from info
Scroll down further and you will see the form itself that, just like the signup form, can be customized with more text, colors, font sizes and styles and adding the logo:
Mailchimp - customize the optin form
Mailchimp - customized optin form
Next, and final form is the Confirmation “Thank you” Page.

This form can be used in two ways:

  • First – the subscriber will receive it as an acknowledgement of signing up and thank you
  • Second, and that’s the one you will most likely use – the subscriber will receive it as an acknowledgement of signing up AND it will contain the link to your freebie that you promised at time of sign up

Here is how you create the thank you page and attach the freebie.

While still on the forms screen, from the drop down, select the Confirmation “Thank you” Page.
Mailchimp - confirmation thank you page
Scroll down until you see the form itself:
Mailchimp - confirmation form
If you notice, you have an option of either sending subscribers to your own Thank you page…
Milchimp - forward to your own thank you page
Or you can use the editor and customize the Thank you page that MailChimp is providing you (which we will do in this case):
Mailchimp - customize thank you page
To attach your freebie to MailChimp’s Thank You page, edit the second half of the form by hovering and pressing Edit:
Mailchimp - add freebie
In the text editor, add related text, highlight it and press the Link:
Mailchimp - link the freebie
The Insert or Edit link window will open up and there, from a Link To drop down, select File:
Mailchimp - attach opt-in file
From the next menu, select existing file or Upload a new one:
Mailchimp - add optin freebie file
Once the file is picked, make sure that it opens up in a new window and insert the file:
Mailchimp - insert freebie file
Your Confirmation “Thank you” Page is now complete with a link to your freebie file.

When your subscribers receive this email and click on the link, MailChimp will deliver their free gift to them.
Mailchimp - Confirmation Thank you Page with freebie
At this point, your opt-in forms are setup and by providing the URL to your signup form, you can have readers signing up for your list and receiving their emails.

Last step in this process would be to place this form on your actual website.

Almost every WordPress theme provides a spot where you place the Mailchimp form code to make signups work on your website, and if not, there are plugins, including one from Mailchimp, SumoMe or PopupAlly that will provide this function.

All you need is to get a code from your MailChimp form.

Here is how you get the form code from Mailchimp to add to signup form on your website.

Go to the List screen. There, press on Signup Forms:
Mailchimp - get HTML code
On the next screen, choose Embedded Forms:
Mailchimp - embedded forms
Once there, choose Naked form:
Mailchimp - naked form
On that screen, scroll to the bottom, until you see a window with a code in it that says Copy/Paste Onto Your Site.

Copy all of that code and paste it into the spot on your WordPress site that holds code for your signup form:
Mailchimp - code for signup form



Now you are set up to welcome your visitors’ signups and build that all-important e-mail list!

To learn more aboutย how to set up your email services and email sequences, along with learning how to create and customize your website, set up and learn how to use social media for business, as well as automating your social media marketing, get on the listย for Online Framework, my upcoming new course that teaches you everything you need to know to setup your business online.


  1. says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this post! It’s so helpful. I’ve just started with MailChimp and needed to figure out how to do all of these things and now I don’t have to figure it out all on my own.

  2. says

    Wow Lillith, this post is so useful! Thank you! My mailchimp is in need of some big looove so I’m going to follow your guide and personalize it. Had no idea you could add logos and stuff, that’s awesome.

    Thanks for sharing & great blow by the way!

    • Lillith says

      Thank you, Mariya! I’ll be also writing a blog to cover creating andvcustomizing the newsletter/broadcast in Mailchimp as well.

  3. Janna (@jannaonajaunt) says

    Thank you soo much for this. I’m in the process of fixing my mailing list and so this step by step process with photos will help me a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. says

    Awesome post on creating forms with mailchimp! I’m a aweber user but have a lot of clients that use mailchimp so this will be very helpful for training them. thank you for sharing!

  5. says

    THANK YOU! This has been beyond helpful. Your step by step pictures make it seem so easy!!
    Heading over to MailChimp right now

  6. says

    This was FANTASTIC!!! Thank you so much, I knew to this and your tutorial made it all seem so easy and it was!! Thank you again. I’m just not sure how I add the code to my site at this point though

  7. says

    Thank you for the detailed information. I am new to the blogging world and need all the help I can get. You have been a great help. Thanks again and again!!!

    • Lillith says

      Thank you, Ashika, appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!

      let me know if I can help out more. ๐Ÿ™‚

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