Reaching out to touch someone, emailwise, has never been easier thanks to free email campaign services like MailChimp and free AIM webinars about how to use free email campaign services like MailChimp. Here is one of those webinars now:

The webinar explains everything. This post will explain some things. Watch the webinar for the full details, and continue reading for a taste of how to put MailChimp to work for you.

First things first, MailChimp is FREE, and you know I mean it since I wrote it in all CAPS. There are paid plans for super sophisticated e-mailing folks, but the free plan lets you add up to 2,000 recipients to your list and send 12,000 e-mails per month. If you need more than that, color me impressed.

First things first, sign up for a MailChimp account. The sign up form is going to ask for some details that not all sign up forms bother asking. This is because MailChimp does a superb job integrating your data into its e-mail templates, which saves you a lot of time and work. And who has time to do more work?


Once you have your MailChimp account activated, you can begin e-mailing. To begin, you’ll need an address book full of people. For this, head on over to the AIM website, log in, and click on Downline Report under My Account in the green navigation bar on the Member home page.

This is your online genealogy. We want the offline version, so click on the download link to download your genealogy as a Microsoft Excel file.

Open the Excel file. Copy and paste the rows.

Now head back over to MailChimp and the Lists section. Choose Create List.

Fill out your list details like name (which no one sees but you), default from, and default reply-to, and then click save. On the next screen, choose to import names into your list.

By selecting the Copy and Paste from Excel option, you can do just that – take your copied Excel cells and paste them into the MailChimp importer. When they’ve been uploaded, MailChimp will ask you to sort the data, and doing so can help you target a certain segment of your list (Texas folks, e.g.).

Whew. When do we start e-mailing, amirite?

Well, good news. The next step is to start your e-mail blast. Click to create a new campaign, and set the basic information for your campaign – who will be receiving it, what the subject will be, whether or not you want to track who reads it (you want to track this).

Picking a template is next, and depending on whether or not you anguish over tiny details and/or get distracted easily (me), this could take some time. Or it could take 30 seconds. It’s really up to you and how you feel about the looks of your e-mail.

MailChimp has a lot of great templates to choose from, so you can’t really go wrong with anything in their template gallery. Sort and browse using the categories in the left sidebar, and preview the templates by hovering over the one you’re interested in and clicking the preview button.

Once you’ve chosen your template, the end is in sight. Put in your text and pictures and IMPORTANT ONE-TIME ONLY OFFERS, check your work, and send the e-mail away.

Once a little time has passed, you can go back and check out your campaign statistics and see how many people opened your e-mail, how many clicked on a link, and how many stopped browsing LOLCats to read what you wrote (just kidding, although that would be pretty cool).

Congratulations. If you’ve made it this far, you are an e-mailing pro, and I cannot help you any further. In fact, I may be coming to you for help.