Why Free MailChimp Autoresponder is Best for Beginner Blogs

mailchimpThe first Rule of Blogging states ‘Start building a Subscriber Email List as soon as possible if you want to use your blog to make money online’.  OK, but how?  First, you need to know How to Add a ‘Subscribe to My Blog by Email‘ Form to your Blog.

Then your readers will start signing up for your Newsletters (please do…the Subscribe Form’s on the right), so they receive your emails and Free Gifts, and in return, you will get their email address.

  Why Do You Need To Build An Email Subscriber List?

You need to build a Subscriber List, because a List of Email Subscribers gives you online access to those readers who are genuinely interested in you, your blog, and your blog’s information and content.

Once you have a list of Subscribers, and you have their email addresses, you can ‘reach’ them by email. This means, they don’t have to remember to come back and visit you to see wot’z-up at your place –  a message lands in their Inbox (hopefully not their Spam Folder) and they think…..’Oooh! A new message from Carol!’ Smile

Great – but now you have a new problem: how to organize your lists.  So….Mailchimp to the rescue! And it’s free.

A Subscriber List allows you to interact, and build a relationship with your trusty Subscribers. You build this relationship by giving them Special Offers, free gifts, regular Newsletters, insider information and back room gossip.

Important: Subscribers are very special people indeed!  You know who you are!  Take a bow, my friends – and thank you for subscribing to My Second Million – and, oh yes, did I mention it? – the Subscribe Form’s over there, on the right of your screen….Smile

What Is MailChimp?

Once you start getting email Subscribers to your blog, you need some means of organizing the email data you’ve received – your List.  MailChimp has a free email marketing software service that allows you to organize and automate the management of your Subscriber Email List. These automated online email services are known as Email Autoresponders. They provide email tools and templates that make it easy to organize everything from simple weekly email Newsletter mail outs, to complicated, email marketing campaigns.

Those marvelous people (your Subscribers), have gone to the trouble of giving you their Contact details because they trust you, and they are interested to get your blog’s Newsletters and Update. Now it’s up to you to to deliver!

MailChimp makes it very easy to do all that.  Here is an article that explains how to design and install a Subscribe By Email Form so you can start to build your Subscriber List:

How to Build Forms With MailChimp’s Design Forms Software.

How Do You Organize Your list of Email Subscribers?

Normally, you will want to send out regular emails, with all the same Content (a Newsletter) to all of the subscribers on your ‘List’.  Sometimes you will want to send more specific emails to only some of the subscribers on your list.  It’s possible to do this by hand, using folders and sub-folders in your Blog’s ordinary WordPress email account.  But – no part of the basic WordPress email account system is automated.

Organizing Newsletters is definitely possible using basic WordPress email accounts, but…it involves manual data entry, plus copy and pasting – it takes organization and time – time that should be better spent writing riveting articles, building traffic, and getting new Subscribers.

The solution is to use an Auto Email Responder Service to help you with these time consuming tasks.  Mailchimp Email Autoresponder is one good software option to use.  And it can be free.

What is an AutoResponder?

There are several well-known Email Auto mail responders, including Aweber, iContact and Get Response.  They are used to automate email distribution Lists for mass email send outs, and to send a series of pre-sequenced, pre-written email send outs and sales funnels.

But all these Email Responders I’ve just listed above, cost money.  Their prices range from $14 – $19 a month for their entry level plans.

If you are just starting out, and have a small-ish Email Subscriber list, your blog won’t be making much money, if any, …. yet.  It doesn’t make good financial sense to pay over $200 per year in order to use an expensive email automation system, when you only need to send out regular emails to relatively few people.  So, a Free Autoresponder would be great for starter blogs.  Mailchimp offers a free not-quite-fully-Automated Email-responder.

But Can a Free Email Autoresponder Deliver the Goods?

Yes it can – depending on how big your List is, and how you want to use your list to market your website online.  If you only want to start building your List of Subscribers by designing and installing a Subscribe By Email Optin Form on your blog, send Welcome emails, and send out weekly newsletters to your trusty band of fans, then a Free Email system is fine.  And Mailchimp’s Forever Free account will make this very easy to do. The Free option is almost fully automated, and makes managing your Subscriber List a breeze.

MailChimp’s ‘Forever Free’ Email Auto Responder Service

With a MailChimp Forever Free Email Account, you can send

Up to 12,000 emails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers

That’s a lot of free emails.  MailChimp’s Forever Free is great – I’ve been using it for my Newsletters. It’s really easy to understand, so you don’t need to be a clever-clogs geek to set up your Email Subscriber List, design a Subscribe By Email Form, or a Newsletter Sign Up Form, and install it on your blog –see

You can organize your lists, send out mass emails with one click of your mouse, and get feedback and Stats on how many emails were successfully delivered, how many were opened and by who(m) – for the ‘correct grammar nuts’, including me), and lots more Stats and Reports besides.  Mailchimp also makes it very easy to divide up your Lists of Subscribers in various ways, and send some emails to only some of your Subscribers.

It does lots of clever things like automatically inserting an individual’s username into the start of each email.  It uses what are called Merge Tags to do that, but MailChimp email software does that automatically, even with the Forever Free account.

The MailChimp Free Email response service is fantastic for start up blogs where money is tight, but…. there is one option that isn’t included in the Mailchimp Free Account that you will probably be prepared to pay for at some stage.  The clue is in the names of all these Email services: it’s the autoresponder bit!

Fully automated Email Auto response systems make an easy task into a joy…..well, I could be exaggerating again slightly.  One advantage of a fully automated autoresponder email service is that it can be set up so that every new Subscriber automatically receives a Welcome email after signing up.

Of course you can easily send Welcome Emails from inside Mail Chimp yourself, and the Free version of MailChimp email responder makes it very easy to do that.  You do that by designing, and saving a MailChimp Welcome email Template, with your pre-written Welcome message (probably with links to your website’s content). Mailchimp can automatically collect all your New Subscribers into one group, and with one click, you send your Welcome email template out to all of them at once.  You do that from inside your Mailchimp Dashboard.   It’s easy to do, takes 2 minutes to send many emails out with one click, but you do have to do it yourself from inside MailChimp login.

But a fully Automated Autoresponse Service does this sort of thing without you having to do anything at all, once it’s been setup.  And for that level of account, you do have to pay money.  Not much money if you choose MailChimp, but some.  In fact it can cost you as little as 3 cents per email for the MailChimp fully automated autoresponder email system.

The next few articles will cover more of the details of the Mailchimp Autoresponder, how to use it, and why it’s the best Auto Responder for start up blogs.

If you want to experience the wonders of the MailChimp Subscribe sequence, no worries!  Just click on this Subscribe Link below and all will be revealed!  Go on, you know you want to. Smile

subscribe green

       .……..Cue Motto!

Plan Well.  Start Small.  Think BIG!

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Why Free MailChimp Autoresponder is Best for Beginner Blogs — 28 Comments

    • Hi Audiomind, if you had read the article you would have seen that I describe exactly which parts of Mailchimp are free and semi-automated, and which parts are fully automated, which you have to pay for – at 3 cents per email or a monthly fee of $10 per month for up to 500 subscribers. This article and the next one cover the Forever free and the Pay As You Go Mailchimp accounts in detail.

      When someone is searching Google for a way to start building a list and managing newsletter mail outs, they will type into the Google Search some phrase that includes the word ‘Autoresponder’.

      ‘Autoresponders’ is what they are called. That is what people will be looking for. Beginners are probably looking for the cheapest ones or free ones. That is why I wrote the article which explains exactly what MailChimp gives you in their different types of accounts – free or paid.

      Mailchimp is perfect for Beginners because the semi automated Mailchimp account will allow them to get started at no cost, so they can start to build their lists. Once they need, or can afford, a fully automated system costing money, they can stick with Mailchimp and upgrade to the fully automated MailChimp for $10 per month, or pay $19 a month for autoresponders such as Aweber.

      Aweber and the other Auto responders I mention, do not offer any free options at all.

      • I’m confused with your ‘free’ autoresponder which is not available in the free account… you might want to rewrite?

        “The solution is to use an Auto Email Responder Service to help you with these time consuming tasks. Mailchimp Email Autoresponder is one good software option to use. And it ‘s free.”

        ” So, a Free Autoresponder would be great for starter blogs. Mailchimp is a free Email Auto responder.”

        • Hi Kelvin,

          I tried to explain in my 3 articles about MailChimp, exactly what you get in the Forever Free MailChimp option, which really is free, so I’m sorry you are confused.

          The Forever Free version is completely free. I know that because I’ve been using it since starting my Newsletters and it has not cost me anything. I also explained that the Forever Free is almost fully automated.

          There are a couple of extra automation options that are not included in the totally free version, and to use them, you need to pay either 3cents per email, or $10 per month.

          I have not needed anything more than the totally free, almost fully automated, Forever Free version since I’ve been using MailChimp.

          Since it is free, maybe you should sign up for a free account and see for yourself if you need to upgrade to the fully automated version, or not.

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  3. Love Mailchimp and your articles have helped me understand and use Mailchimp better. Will be adding S2 Member plugin and integrating it with Mailchimp soon.

    BTW, while Mailchimp’s Autoresponder options are not free (but are low-cost as you pointed out) I’d like to qualify that is true for NEW subscribers to Mailchimp.

    Those lucky enough to have been with Mailchimp a while (like me) got grandfathered in for free to the autoresponder options about a year back when Mailchimp separated its Autoresponder from the basic free signup module.

    Either way, Mailchimp does the job well for those of us with smaller lists and tight budgets.

    • Hi Kathy, glad the article was of use. I suppose it depends on what you expect from an autoresponder – I use Mailchimp free, and I’m able to do many automated things which I find useful.

      I can use pre-scheduled mail outs, A/B testing, different lists, send different emails to different segments of my subscribers, and the subscribers are taken through the double opt-in process automatically.

      I know that the paid version gives you more automation options than these basic free ones, but I still maintain that the free version is automated enough to handle start up Lists.

    • I don’t think so Kathy – no grandfathering for me – all those options I listed in my previous reply, are all available to anyone signing up for the Forever Free Mailchimp account.

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  5. I just now unsubscribed from mailchimp because the free option does not allow me to add embedded optinform with option to include a name.
    What I can not understand is why do you promote mailchimp if you advertise getresponse on your blog?

    • Hi Leon, I haven’t found that limitation with Mailchimp Forever Free option at all. And I don’t advertise Get Response, I simply named it as an example of another Autoresponder, and said how it is not free.

      Also I read the other day that 90% of responders to a survey said they felt negatively about an email from an Email List if it included their name on it. So recently I stopped including a Subscriber’s name in my Newsletter emails.

  6. Have you checked out this free WP plugin: CF7 AutoResponder Addon — it’s for MailChimp.

      • I was hoping someone reading this who has tried CF7 Autoresponder Plugin would pipe up — does it fill the niche of MailChimp’s missing free autoresponder?

        • Hi Inger, I’m not sure what niche you are looking for that is not available in MailChimp Forever Free accounts, and which you think the plugin can fill.

          My understanding of this plugin is that it can be set up to funnel some Commenters onto your Mailchimp list (free or paid) if they agree to do so by checking a check box (or something similar). I haven’t used it myself but I think that is why anyone might want it.

          If you decide to use it, make sure that any Commenters that are funneled onto your mailing list have gone through a double optin process (confirmation email with link they must click before being added to your list). Otherwise your list will grow, but be filled with unwilling receivers of emails, which is not ‘good for business’ or your reputation.

          • I’m looking for an autoresponder that will send out a small sequence of emails to people who have purchased a rebounder (mini-trampoline) thru me — a sequence that can be automatically set in motion after the 1st email.

            • Hi Inger, I don’t think the Forever Free would do that automatically.

              Depending on how many sales you make, you might consider paying 3cents per email as a paid account. I don’t know if you can run Forever Free for your main list and create a sub-list for your buyers at 3cents an email and keep your main list free.

              The best way to find out what your options are is to email (or phone) Mailchimp itself.

              Let us know how you go!

              Also…:) you can pre-write your email sequence and save each one as templates, then when you make a sale you could send the first email etc from the template (it takes about one minute to do this) and then do a couple more templates etc(if you need more than one).

              A bit tedious, but do-able for free – depends on how many sales you make.

  7. If I can weigh in with two ideas…

    1) to your readers…get the paid version of Mailchimp. It’s not free but it’s full featured and dirt cheap. If you take your blogging business seriously then treat it like a business and invest money where necessary. I’ve been with MC for 5+ years as a paid user. The prices haven’t changed but the services and features they offer has expanded immensely. It’s so much easier to use than it was 5 years ago and much more powerful. Paying a few bucks is a no-brainer.

    2) Carol, while your blog has a lot of useful information, your writing on this post in particular was a bit convoluted. I think a rewrite would have resulted in more people understanding what you meant in trying to differentiate between the paid and free versions.

    • Hi Bret, I agree that paid autoresponders have their advantages but this article is aimed at beginner blogs when starting out, and before they make any money. It also depends on the type of website you have – if it’s a sales and products site, then income might cover the costs of a paid autoresponder even after a few weeks.

      But for beginner bloggers, every cent counts. Also, what might seem like ‘not much money’ to some people is ‘too much to spend with no financial return’ money for others.

      Similarly, what might seem like convoluted to some people is ‘everything I need to know’ for others – my target audience. If you read my other article Review of MailChimp Free and Pay As You Go AutoResponder the differences between free and paid accounts is explained.

      • Brett, many a blog is information-oriented rather than sales-oriented, and for a newbie it’ll take some time to figure out how to monetize an info blog. It would really hurt to see money drain my account every month for something that might take me months to figure out (many if not most of us have other jobs as well). In other words, paid MailChimp is premature for this kind of blogger.

    • Thank u so much, Carol, for taking the time to explain this and for helping us newbies. At this point I’ll just use the Forever Free option and work on those templates.

      • No worries Inger, good luck with your website.

        I found that setting up email lists and setting up sign up forms was one of the hardest things to do – a real brain frazzler. I hope my articles help beginners – I wrote them straight after I did each step myself, otherwise I would have forgotten all the steps – it really is a challenge for beginners to set up correctly.

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  10. Wow, this article was really confusing. I am trying to set up an autoresponder in Mailchimp. Your article title says your article will be about Mailchimp’s free autoresponder. Perfect match, right? Except… your article talks all about the benefits of mailchimp, setting up lists etc… and doesn’t talk about Mailchimp’s autoresponder at all…

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