May 13, 2014

Agencies, Clients, and Collaboration in MailChimp

Before joining the team here at MailChimp, I worked at interactive agencies and as a freelance website designer. After we handed a finished website over to a client, they would be able to log in and edit their own copy through a content management system. This was great, but it was rarely the case with the email campaigns we managed. Most of the time, we managed lists, designed templates, and sent campaigns on the client’s behalf. If they wanted performance reports, we had to fetch them ourselves—the client seldom even had access to log in. Sound familiar?

I’m sure some agencies are never gonna give up total control over their marketing efforts, but I wish I could’ve helped our clients become more independent. Thankfully, MailChimp believes in empowering our users, and our collaboration features make it possible to work together with your clients without feeling like a monkey in the middle.

Set up multi-user accounts

Once you’ve created an account for your client, the first step is to hand over the keys. Visit Account settings > Users & account details to invite anyone from the organization that might want to help out. You can even choose access levels to limit what each user can do.


A single login can be used to access multiple accounts, so be sure to invite yourself and your agency coworkers. Using the same login to join all of your clients’ accounts will let you access everything from one dashboard and easily switch between projects.

Collaborate seamlessly

Your design requirements may necessitate crafting a completely custom email, but when you’re just getting started, we highly recommend beginning with a drag and drop template. They’re mobile-friendly and much easier for HTML-averse clients to customize themselves.


Once you’re working on a campaign, everyone looped in on the Design step can see which collaborators are currently editing the templates and watch changes being made in real time. This is particularly useful when you have a designer, multiple copywriters, and an editor working together on a campaign with a looming deadline. When we’re working on The UX Newsletter, flashing Edited by: blocks keep us from overwriting each other’s changes.


Test and collect feedback in-app

When all of your edits are done—or, ahem, when you think all of your edits are done—you can send your campaign draft to collaborators, stakeholders, and anyone else who needs to give their approval. They can offer feedback by simply hitting "reply," and you’ll see their notes collected in the app’s comments tab (and in your own inbox, if you prefer).


Turn campaign replies into conversations

If your client has a large or super-engaged list, managing responses to campaigns (and weeding through the inevitable slew of "out of office" replies) can be a lot of work. But with our Conversations feature, it’s more of a team effort. Before you hit send, check Manage replies from my subscribers in the Setup step of the campaign builder, then select which account users should be notified of replies.


You can then respond to the replies by email, from the Conversations tab in Reports, or even from a Subscriber Profile page. Unread replies show up on the Reports list, so no email goes unanswered. Best of all, because conversations are stored in MailChimp, both your agency partners and the client will have access to all past interactions with subscribers.


Share templates

All of the above works great if you have at least manager’s access to your client’s MailChimp account. If you’re a freelancer, though, or if they’re super-big or have certain privacy policies, you might not have access at all. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.


With MailChimp’s new template sharing feature, you can design a client’s email in your agency account, send test campaigns to the client for sign-off, then send it directly to their Templates section (via URL or email).

Want even more advice for agencies?

When it comes to how MailChimp can help you and your agency clients, we’ve barely scratched the surface. You can find more resources and case studies at You can also sign up for our brand new MailChimp for Agencies newsletter for feature updates, insightful tips, and client campaign inspiration.