Creating an Email Giveaway in MailChimp

Last Updated May 1, 2017

I love MailChimp. Let’s be honest, the price is right (forever free under 2,000 subscribers). — As an added bonus, I’ve always been fascinated by their design and user interface. But, still keep in the interest of honesty, it’s not quite as intuitive as I’d like it to be.

If you want to use some of the complex features, such as creating e-mail opt-ins and givewaways, when a user registers, it’s a little harder to set up, if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, let’s fix that and tackle this beast!

First, let’s talk about the use case and what we’re trying to accomplish: you want users to sign-up for your email list, but they need some incentive. I know: A PDF / Guide giveaway! So original.

We’ll advertise our giveaway on the site and hundreds if not thousands will flock to our list. As soon as they join, we need to send them the file we promised. Who in the world wants to do that manually, there are robots for that sort of thing!

First, we want to make sure that our users provide a valid email address. Of course, I’m sure no one in their right mind would want to spam your list! —But, just to be on the safe side, we want our users to confirm their email address before they receive our amazing file.

In MailChimp, there are two different ways to accomplish this.

Option #1

Log in to you account and click on Lists in the main navigation.

MailChimp - Welcome Screen

Click on the name of the list that you want to add the Welcome email to.

MailChimp - Lists View

Click on the Signup Forms tab. — I know, this is the part that’s not really intuitive. We’re not working on a form, we’re working on an email. But, I think the thought process here is that the welcome is part of the sign-up process.

MailChimp - Signup Form

Next, click on the General Forms.

MailChimp - General Forms

Of course, this is where you can adjust the sign-up form. But, in our case, we want to adjust the Final Welcome Email.

Click on the dropdown underneath Forms and response emails.

MailChimp - Signup Form Dropdown

This will give you idea of all the pieces that go into subscribing:

  1. Signup Form – This is the initial signup form
  2. Signup form with alerts – If there are any errors when the user submits the form
  3. Signup thank you page – The form has been submitted successfully
  4. Opt-in Confirmation Email – The email the user receives, asking them to confirm their email address
  5. Opt-in confirmation reCAPTCHA – The confirmation page the user goes to when they confirm their email address
  6. Confirmation thank you page – The user’s subscription has been confirmed
  7. Final welcome email – The email the user receives, confirming everything has been set up.

Technically, we could put a link to our amazing download on the Confirmation thank you page or within the Final welcome Email. In both cases, the user has confirmed their email address and we know they’re legit.

Select final welcome email from the dropdown menu.

You’ll want to make sure that the Send a Final Welcome Email checkbox is selected.

MailChimp - Send Welcome Email

If you scroll down, you’ll see a preview of the email that the user will receive.

MailChimp - Welcome Email Preview

Admittedly, it looks pretty bland. You can modify the styles and design of the email.

You’ll notice, there’s a table with the information the user registered with. Unfortunately, this cannot change — which might make our second option more enticing.

Let’s add the final touches, here, though.

If you hover over the textbox, “Your subscription to our list has been confirmed,” you’ll see an edit button on the right. Click in the box (or on the button) and a modal window will overlay, giving us the ability to edit the text.

MailChimp - Edit Text

Edit the content within the WYSIWYG editor, introducing your download. To add a link to your giveaway, write the text or insert the image that you want to link. Then, click on the link button.

Add file inside WYSIYWYG Editor

From the Link to dropdown, select File.

File Dropdown

In the new screen, you can upload your file. Then, click on the select button to choose it.

MailChimp - Upload File


Technically, you could store the file on your own server and just include the link within your email newsletter. The problem is that the file could easily be shared with someone else, that’s not on your mailing list, and hasn’t given you their email address. By using MailChimps’s system, you prevent that from happening. It’s tied to the person registering, as it should be!

The file panel will close and you’ll see the link loaded into the modal window. Click the Insert button.

MailChimp - Insert Button

You should see your new link within the WYSIWYG editor.

Click on the Save & Close button.

You’ll see your email template update.

You can continue tweaking the newsletter template design to your heart’s content, but that’s all there is to it! Awesome!

Option #2

I mentioned there was another option.

Click on Automation in the main navigation.

Click on the Add Automation button, top right. You should see a bunch of options on the right and a list of email categories on the left. These should give you an idea of all the different ways you can use automations to create email sequences.

MailChimp - Add Automation

Before you get sucked in, let’s stay on task and get our Welcome automation up and running. If you search for ”welcome” on this page, you’ll see several different options.

Scroll down to the bottom to the Welcome Message option and click on the Add Automation button.

Welcome Email Automation

A modal will appear asking you to name your automation. Label it something you’ll recognize.

Make sure you have the appropriate list selected.

Click Next.

MailChimp - Add Automation

The next screen provides a good summary of your automation. The first thing I want to point out is the Trigger. Right now, your email will be sent out 1 day after your subscriber joins your list.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if you have a new subscriber that’s anxious for that awesome Opt In you created, 1 day may be too much time to wait.

MailChimp - Trigger for Email

Click on the edit trigger link.

MailChimp - Edit Trigger

From the Delay dropdown menu, change day(s) to Immediately.

MailChimp - Send Email Immediately

Click on the Update Trigger button, top right.

Now, let’s edit our email. Click on the Design Email button that corresponds with our Welcome Email.

MailChimp - Design Automation Email

The process for designing this email is similar to our one off emails that we would normally send through MailChimp.

MailChimp - Design Email Settings

Fill out the information for our email. All the fields should be pre-filled, except the subject line. Click the Next button, bottom right.

Then, select a template. MailChimp offers plenty of options. Of course, you can also use one of your customized saved templates, instead of MailChimp’s presets. Whatever works for you.

Design the newsletter, uploading images and modifying the content to your heart’s content.

Similar to Option #1, you can enter the text or image you want to add your opt-in link to. Then, click on the link button within the WYSIWYG editor.

Select File from the link to Dropdown.

MailChimp - Upload File Dropdown

Upload your file and click the corresponding select button.

MailChimp - Select Download

You’ll see the content update within the WYSIWYG editor.

Click on the Save & Close button when you’re doing making your edits.

Then, click the Save and Continue button, bottom right.

You should be taken back to the Automation summary screen. Click on the Start Workflow button, bottom right.

MailChimp - Start Workflow

You’ll see a confirmation screen. Click the Start Workflow button

MailChimp - Confirm Start Workflow

Your Automation is set up. Hooray! MailChimp will ask you review your workflow.

As the chimps say, “Rock On! Your Automation has started!”

MailChimp - Confirm Workflow

The Conversation

  • Jamie Cawley

    Thank you – that 2nd method is awesome and so easy!