I’ve had two clients make the same oopsie in MailChimp in the span of a couple of days, so I thought I’d write a quick blog post on what to avoid, and how to avoid it, and how to fix it if it happens to you.

I should note that this isn’t just MailChimp… it can happen on any email  system you use, so don’t think you’ll dodge the bullet by going with something like Constant Contact or any of those other paid guys. Small Biz peeps – listen up – MailChimp is free and awesome and probably all that you need. You’ve just gotta pay a bit of attention, and create a back up plan.

Alright… so, what did they do?

So they’re super pumped, full of knowledge, ready to give their customers the straight goods in a newsletter. They open MailChimp, they start typing this beautiful prolific stuff… but it doesn’t work… they save… and it doesn’t give them the prompt to mail out. How come?

They wrote their newsletter in a TEMPLATE instead of a CAMPAIGN.

Let’s talk about the difference…
A CAMPAIGN is the message you’ll send out to your peeps. It can be a newsletter, a blog post, and e-blast, doesn’t matter. It’s the  message they’ll receive.

A TEMPLATE is the layout of the message. The style you use. Ideally you’ll invest some time (or have someone set it up for you) in advance so you have your general template set up with articles, where images will go, your banner, etc. Your brand’s fonts and colours can make an appearance here too. Then, when you go to write to your peeps (in a campaign) you don’t have to waste time setting it all up.

Think of it this way: the content of a template is constant – the content of a campaign will change.

Uh oh! So… if I write in my template and not a campaign, what do I do?

Here are your options…

  1. Set up a campaign with template you boo-boo’d, and send it out as usual. Once you’re done, you can take the time to delete the content (put in lorem ipsum as text filler to hold the space, and use spacer images to hold the spots for your photos)… and SAVE! This is a bit time consuming, but it’ll be worth it when you go to write your next email blast.
  2. You can make a back up! I tell my clients to have their templates and their back up templates, because let’s be honest, mistakes happen. Having a back up is awesome – it’s an exact duplicate of your template. Just remember – if you have to use your back up, you then need to make a back up of the back up in case something happens. (PRO TIP: remember to delete the original template, and then rename your back up with the original template’s name.)
  3. Start from scratch. But honestly, that’ll take WAY more time than option 1, so unless you’re planning to give your newsletter a face lift, you’d best leave this one be.
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Easy Peasy, Right?

You’ve got this… and if you get stuck, you know where to find me.