MailChimp Tips: These Secret Power Tips Will Make Your Competitors Go Bananas

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Sherrie Gossett
Sherrie is a guitar-picking digital strategist who helps small businesses identify and solve their biggest digital problems.

Indispensable cheatsheet: keyboard shortcut & merge tags for campaigns, personalization, video, social media, and products.

Last Updated on October 21, 2020

Want to get the most out of MailChimp? This cheatsheet is just what you need to be a power Mailchimp user.

Keyboard Shortcuts

ESC – Saves and closes the editor, hides preview
CTRL + 1 – Opens Toggle Preview mode
CTRL + 2 – Sends a test email
CTRL + 3 – Push to MailChimp Mobile
CTRL + ? – Hide/Show Hotkeys Cheat Sheet

Text Editor Shortcuts

For editor-specific shortcuts, use the CTRL (Windows) or ⌘ (Mac) key:

⌘ + B – Bold selected text
⌘ + I – Italicize selected text
⌘ + L – Add link
⌘ + U – Underline selected text
⌘ + Y – Redo action
⌘ + Z – Undo action

Merge Tags

For all sorts of dynamic information, MailChimp has merge tags. By pasting these merge tags into your campaign, you can add dynamic or personalized content. Here are some of the handiest tags available:

Campaign Merge Tags

*|ARCHIVE|* – Creates a link for the user to view the email on their browser via your campaign page

*|CAMPAIGN_UID|* – Displays your campaign’s unique ID

*|MC:SUBJECT|* – Displays the subject line you’ve written in the Setup page as you were building the campaign

Personalization Merge Tags

*|FNAME|* – Subscriber’s first name (if included in your list)

*|LNAME|* – Subscriber’s last name

*|EMAIL|* – Subscriber’s email address

Subject Line Merge Tags

*|LIST:NAME|* – The name of your list

*|LIST:COMPANY|* – Organization/company listed in your list’s required email footer content

*|MC:DATE|* – Displays the date

*|CURRENT_YEAR|* – Displays the year the email’s sent – great if you need to copyright your campaign

Footer Merge Tags

*|UNSUB|* – Unsubscribe link

*|LIST:DESCRIPTION|* – Inserts the permission reminder for your list

*|EMAIL|* – Displays the subscriber’s email address – normally used as part of the unsubscribe section so they know what address will be removed

*|HTML:LIST_ADDRESS_HTML|* – Inserts your mailing address along with the text “Add us to your address book”

*|LIST:ADDRESS|* – Displays your company’s address as plain text

*|LIST:PHONE|* – Displays your company’s phone number

*|LIST:COMPANY|* – Displays your company’s name

*|LIST:EMAIL|* – Inserts your default “reply to” email

Merge Tag for Inserting a Promo Code

*|PROMO_CODE:[$store_id=x, $rule_id=x, $code_id=x]|*

Replace “x” variables to specify your promo code:

$store_id – Identifies your connected store (this will be determined by the API)

$rule_id – Indicates the promo code’s conditions (set by the API) – e.g. a specific discount

$code_id – Indicates your promo code (set by the API)

Merge Tags for Welcome Emails and Confirmation Pages

*|OPTIN_DATE|* – The date the recipient subscribed to your list

*|OPTIN_DATETIME|* – The date and time the recipient subscribed to your list

*|UPDATE_PROFILE|* – Allows users to update their profile details

Merge Tags for Translating Content

*|MC:TRANSLATE|* – Inserts links so your campaign can be translated into different languages.

*|TRANSLATE:xx|* – Displays a list of links for translating your campaign’s content. Simply replace “xx” with the code of your campaign’s language.

LanguageLanguage code
Arabicar
Afrikaans af
Belarusian 
be
Bulgarianbg
Catalanca
Chinesezh
Croatianhr
Czech cs
Danish da
Dutchnl
English en
Estonianet
Farsifa
Finnishfi
French (France)fr
French (Canada)fr_CA
German de
Greekel
Hebrewhe
Hindihi
Hungarianhu
Icelandicis
Indonesianid
Irishga
Italianit
Japaneseja
Khmerkm
Koreanko
Latvianlv
Lithuanianlt
Maltesemt
Malayms
Macedonianmk
Norwegian no
Polishpl
Portuguese (Brazil)pt
Portuguese (Portugal)pt_PT
Romanian ro
Romanian ru
Serbiansr
Slovaksk
Sloveniansl
Spanish (Mexico)es
Spanish (Spain)es_ES
Swahilisw
Swedishsv
Tamilta
Thaith
Turkishtr
Ukrainianuk
Vietnamese vi

*|MC_LANGUAGE|* – Displays the language code for each subscriber

*|MC_LANGUAGE_LABEL|* – Displays the plain-text language for each subscriber

Merge Tags for Social Media

*|MC:SHARE|* – Includes all the icons and links to a large selection of social media sites

*|MC:TOPSHARE|* – Includes links to the most popular social sites, showing a smaller list than the above

*|SHARE|* – Allows you to customize the social sharing icons that are displayed. Separate the list of sites with a comma – e.g. *|SHARE:facebook,twitter, google plus|*

Facebook Merge Tags

*|FACEBOOK:LIKE|* – Adds a Facebook Like icon

*|FACEBOOK:LIKE:URL|* – Allows your subscribers to “Like” a particular link within the campaign

*|FACEBOOK:FULLPROFILE|* – Imports your Facebook profile, including recent posts

*|FACEBOOK:PROFILE|* – Imports your Facebook profile, doesn’t include recent posts

*|FACEBOOK:PROFILEURL|* – Displays the URL of the Facebook profile that’s connected to your MailChimp account

Twitter Merge Tags

*|TWITTER:FULLPROFILE|* – Imports your Twitter profile, including recent Tweets, your avatar, and a total count of your tweets, followers, and who you’re following

*|TWITTER:PROFILE|* – Imports your Twitter profile, including your avatar, and the total count of Tweets, followers, and who you’re following – doesn’t include your latest Tweets

*|TWITTER:PROFILEURL|* – Displays the URL of the Twitter profile that’s connected to your MailChimp account

*|TWITTER:TWEETS2|* – Allows you to determine the number of Tweets you display, replace “2” with how many you’d like to show

*|TWITTER:PROFILE:TWITTERUSERNAME|* – Displays any public Twitter name – allows you to show more than just the Twitter account linked to your MailChimp account

*|TWITTER:TWEET|* – Adds a “Tweet” button to your campaign so your subscribers can share it. The subject line of your campaign page, the link to your campaign page, and your Twitter handle will be included in the Tweet by default

*|TWITTER:TWEET [$text=my custom text here]|* – Allows you to customize your text instead of the above information being used. Make sure all text is lowercase, is plain-text only, has no quotation marks, and that there’s a space between TWEET and [$text]

Google+ Merge Tag

*|GOOGLE:PLUSONE|* – Adds a Google+ share button to your campaign – includes the title of your campaign and a snippet of its description.

Tumblr Merge Tag

*|TUMBLR:SHARE|* – Adds a Tumblr share button to your campaign – includes the title of your campaign

Instapaper Merge Tag

*|INSTAPAPER:|* – Saves your campaign to Instapaper by adding a Read Later button

Video Merge Tags

*|SERVICE:[$vid=XXXX]|* – This is the basic format where SERVICE indicates the service name where your video’s hosted and XXXX is the video’s unique identifier

  • BLIPTV – find the unique identifier in the embed code
  • VIMEO – find the unique identifier at the end of the page URL
  • VZAAR- find the unique identifier in the second part of the URL
  • YOUTUBE – find the unique identifier at the end of the page URL

$max_width – Determines how wide your video’s thumbnail is in pixels (450 is the maximum value). This can only be used to reduce the thumbnail size

$title – Y/N value – Y to display, N to hide the title of the video

$border – Sets the image border of the thumbnail – Y/N value – Y for a border, N for no border

$ratings – Y/N value – Y to display video ratings, N to hide

$views – Y/N value – Y to display video views, N to hide

Merge Tags for Product Recommendations

*|PRODUCT_RECOMMENDATION:[$store_id=x, $total=x, $start_index=x]|*
Replace “x” variables to specify your product recommendation:

$store_id – Your connected store (set by the API) – only required if you have connected more than one store to your list and want to alter the default ID

$total – How many products to display

$start_index – Indicates the product from your list that you’d like to recommend

*|PRODUCT:TITLE|* – The name of your product

*|PRODUCT:URL|* – The URL of your product page

*|PRODUCT:CART_URL|* – Adds the product to a customer’s shopping cart

*|PRODUCT:IMAGE_URL|* – Inserts an image of the product from its webpage

*|PRODUCT:PRICE|* – Adds the price of your product

Merge Tags for Creating Content via the MailChimp API

Please remember that you will need the appropriate API key to call the MailChimp API.

*|EMAIL_UID|* – Gets the e parameter from your campaign tracking links, URLs on your hosted forms, and so on.

*|UNIQID|* – The unique_id (more specifically, the $member->email->unique_id). In a campaign, this tag returns your subscribers’ unique IDs and allows you to create unique links for each individual.

*|CAMPAIGN_UID|* – The unique ID for your campaign

Merge Tags for Use with Marketing Automation

When used, the following merge tags automatically display the numeric position of the email within your marketing automation project (do not use with regular campaigns). You can use these values in the subject line or the body content.

By default, the numeric values display as a digit (1, 2, 3, and so on), but you can change this by preceding the value with any of the following text values:

* (DIGIT) – displays a number (i.e., 1, 2, 3)

* (DIGITORDINAL) – displays a number as an ordinal (i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd)

* (TEXT) – displays the number as text (i.e., one, two, three)

* (TEXTORDINAL) – displays the number as ordinal text (i.e., first, second, third)

As an example, you might use *|AUTOMATION:TOTALEMAILS(TEXTORDINAL)|*

*|AUTOMATION:TOTALEMAILS|* – The total number of emails in the automation

*|AUTOMATION:CURRENTPOSITION|* – The current position of the email within the automation

*|AUTOMATION:NEXTPOSITION|* – The next position in the automation

*|AUTOMATION:PREVIOUSPOSITION|* – The previous position in the automation

*|AUTOMATION:NEXTSUBJECT|* – The subject line of the next email in the automation

*|AUTOMATION:PREVIOUSSUBJECT|* – The subject line of the previous email in the automation

Subscriber Counts

*|LIST:SUBSCRIBERS|* – Displays the number of subscribers to a list. You can prepend/append text to this value (e.g. “*|LIST:SUBSCRIBERS|* people hear from us daily” displays as “100 people hear from us daily.”)

*|LIST:SUBSCRIBER_BADGE|* – Changes the badge style of your list based on the numeric value provided

Account and List Information

The following merge tags allow you to display details about your MailChimp email list, company or organization, or point of contact information.

Accounts

Account information comes from the Administrator contact information provided in your MailChimp account.

*|USER:COMPANY|* – The name of your company or organization

*|USER:ADDRESS|* – The account admin’s address (displayed in a single line)

*|HTML:USER_ADDRESS_HTML|* – The account admin’s address (displayed on multiple lines)

*|USER:PHONE|* – The account admin’s telephone number

*|USER:URL|* – The account admin’s website URL

*|USER:UID|* – The **u** parameter from your hosted MailChimp list form(s)

Lists

*|LIST:NAME|* – The name of your list

*|LIST:COMPANY|* – The name of your company or organization (as set in the Required Email Footer Content)

*|LIST:SUBSCRIBERS|* – The number of subscribers to your list

*|LIST:RECENT|* – The five most recent campaigns for the list to which you’re sending

*|ABOUT_LIST|* – The link to the About Your List page

*|LIST:UID|* – The unique ID for your list

*|LIST:URL|* – The URL for the website (as set under Required Email Footer Content)

*|LIST:ADDRESS|* – The mailing address for the list

*|LIST:PHONE|* – The telephone number for your company/organization (as set under Required Email Footer Content)

*|LIST:EMAIL|* – The default “Reply-To” Email

*|ABUSE_EMAIL|* – The email address located (as set under Required Email Footer Content)

*|LIST:SUBSCRIBE|* – The URL for your list’s hosted subscribe form

MailChimp Tips and Tricks

When you are working with MailChimp, remember that the following email features are available to you.

Templates

One of the easiest ways to create your email is to use a MailChimp template.

Templates are eye-catching and easily customizable, which means that you only have to worry about content, not design.

Video above: The owners of the Seaweed Bath Company share how they’ve used MailChimp templates to engage their customers.

All you have to do is select a template based on your goal (selling a product? update your customer base? simply reaching out?) and provide the information you want to be included.

Not sure what your goal is? Choose a template based on a theme.

You can also build your own templates from scratch.

Improve Results with Marketing Automation

Rather than manually reaching out to people, you can take advantage of MailChimp’s marketing automation features to ensure that you contact your customers at the right time:

  1. Send a new subscriber a welcome email
  2. Send cart abandonment reminders
  3. After check out, send customers updates on their order
  4. Create an onboarding series to welcome and then educate customers or prospective clients
  5. Send annual emails for birthdays or anniversaries
  6. Offer personalized product recommendations based on past purchases
  7. Reward customers with discounts triggered by their shopping behavior
  8. Re-engage customers who haven’t visited or purchased from you in a customizable amount of time
  9. Re-target customers who found you on social media

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the automation you can set up, so be sure to use MailChimp’s rules and triggers to minimize your workload while maximizing your customer engagement levels.

Integrations and Ad Campaigns — Straight From Your Dashboard

MailChimp offers a robust set of e-commerce integrations so that you can gather information on what your customers are purchasing. With this information, you can create targeted campaigns, automate follow-up emails, and send personalized communications.

If you are using Zendesk for support, you can integrate MailChimp so that you can use the MailChimp Activity app to manage and track all of your customer communications. Your reps will, therefore, have the full picture every time they speak to a customer.

Video above: You can now run Facebook ad campaigns from your MailChimp dashboard. And you can target those ads to existing customers or find new audiences with similar attributes. You can also run Instagram ads from the dashboard and set up and run Google retargeting ads.

Analytics

One of the perks of email marketing is that you can gather information on how successful your campaigns are.

Get Actionable Insights to Grow Revenue and Sales

With MailChimp analytics, you can track

  • How many emails were successfully delivered (the open rate)
  • How many people opened your emails (the click-to-open rate)
  • How many people clicked the links you included in your emails (the click-through rate)
  • How your list grows over time
  • What content drives the most sales (use A/B testing to discover this)
  • How much revenue came from abandoned cart recovery emails
  • How much revenue, and how many orders came from campaigns
  • How much revenue, and how many orders came from automations
  • Total revenue, total orders

With this information, you can customize your campaigns to ensure maximum success.

WordPress

If you are using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), you may be interested in the MailChimp for WordPress plugin.

This plugin allows you to easily collect signups for your MailChimp lists via your WordPress site.

Learning Resources

MailChimp is full-featured and powerful, but the flip side of this is that the product can be overwhelming for new users. To help you gain your bearings, MailChimp offers many different learning resources that will get you on the right track quickly.

mailchimp learning resources
Mailchimp’s learning resources include research, marketing “recipes,” guides, marketing automation essentials, and online courses.

In addition to the expected help pages, you will find blog posts, research papers, and more.

MailChimp has also partnered with third-party education providers, such as Udacity, Skillshare, and Primer to offer interactive, online classes.

Also see: Mailchimp review & Online Marketing for Offline Businesses

Frequently Asked Questions About MailChimp

The most important questions you have about Mail Chimp are covered away.

Is MailChimp really free?

Yes, but only for a limited number of subscribers. For MailChimp’s “Forever Free” plan, you are limited to 2000 subscribers and 12,00 emails a month. Which isn’t too shabby, if you are building a business.

Can I use MailChimp to send drip campaigns?

Yes, MailChimp offers a ton of email automation features, including the ability to send drip campaigns, which is a series of emails sent to users who have performed a specific action. For example, you might create a drip campaign leading up to an event to remind people what to bring with them, send information about parking, and send updates about speakers.

How much does MailChimp cost per month?

Pricing varies based on how many subscribers you have and how many emails you send per month. If you have >2000 subscribers and send >12,000 emails each month, your plan is free. For each additional 500 subscribers, you can expect to pay $10 per month. 

They also offer a Pro plan with more levels of segmentation and better support which clocks in at $209 per month for every 500 subscribers. Most small to medium level businesses won’t need this level of support.