Apr 28, 2009

Using Apple Mail’s Stationery with MailChimp

apple-mail-stationery-buttonIn MailChimp v4.1.1, we’ll be launching a new feature that lets you send any email to your MailChimp account, then we’ll automagically convert it into an HTML email campaign that you can send to your list.

Now, anybody can use MailChimp, even if they only know how to use Outlook, or Thunderbird, or Apple Mail.

For example, I’ll show you how you can send an email campaign to your list with Apple Mail’s stunning built-in stationery templates.

Apple Mail comes with some really nice built-in stationery. Whenever you create a new email, click the Show Stationery button and you’ll see all the different options inside a panel that looks like this:


Here’s one example:


and here’s another example:


See all the example photos in those screenshots?

In most of the stationery templates, you can drag-n-drop your own photos to customize them.

For example, let’s replace that kissing couple with monkeys:


That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

The stationery is cool, but you can’t really send this from Apple Mail to a large list of subscribers. Apple Mail is built for personal communication, not mass email marketing. Plus, there’s no tracking, pants-pooping reports, or list management in Apple Mail.

That’s where MailChimp comes in.

I’ve built a birthday invite with the Apple Mail "dots" stationery:


Now, how do I get it into MailChimp?

Every list in MailChimp gets its own secret email address. I call it a secret, because for obvious reasons, you really don’t want this address to be known to the general public.

To get your list’s email address, log in to MailChimp and go to the  Lists tab.

Click the Settings link for the list that you want to send the email to.


At the top of the next page, click the list tools link:


Then click on the link to "create campaigns:"


Copy-n-paste that email address into Apple Mail and send it off.

In a few minutes, the campaign will show up as a DRAFT in your MailChimp Campaigns Dashboard:


Open it up and preview it:


You might want to send yourself some test emails, and maybe even run an inbox inspection to make sure that our import process actually converted your campaign properly. Different email programs embed images in different ways.  Different stationery templates might even use different methods for constructing their HTML.

We’ve built this feature to support most of the major email programs, but you should always test first. In general, MailChimp supports images that are "inline embedded" and not attached.

Anyway, I’ve run an inbox inspection on the stationery above, and it came out pretty darn good. Here’s a preview in Gmail:


If you need to make edits, go back to Apple Mail, tweak, then re-send to your MailChimp list.

When you’re satisfied, click the "Send Now" (or schedule for later) button in MailChimp:


Note that if your email doesn’t include the MailChimp unsubscribe tag, we’ll automatically insert that for you at the bottom of the email:


Pretty cool, huh?

This will also work with other email programs, like Microsoft Outlook.

I’ll post a tutorial for that as soon as my PC finishes installing all its new security patches and reboots fifty more times.

And it doesn’t stop there. Anything that generates an email can be used to send content to MailChimp. Your mobile device. Your eventbrite and surveymonkey invitations (more tutorials coming soon!).