Written by Noé Khalfa, our CEO
November 23, 2018
How To Set Up Email Automation For Free In Mailchimp, A Step-by-Step Guide (2018)
Learn how to send automated emails to your clients when they sign up for your email list, join a group, or purchase a product or service.
Written by Noé Khalfa, our CEO
November 23, 2018

Your Business Needs Email Automation. Here’s Why.

Automation is the process of creating systems that automatically do tasks for you (even when you sleep!).

Email marketing is hugely important in promoting your business, moving customers into your sales funnel, and bringing in repeat customers (as well as saving you precious time and mental energy better spent actually serving your clients).

While we can’t, and shouldn’t, automate every aspect of our business, you would go bananas if you had to do every task manually, especially in situations where you are giving the same information over and over again.

We all need the support of automated systems, and fortunately there are many tools today that are easy to learn.

What You’ll Learn In This Article

In this article you’ll learn how to create an automated email that goes out to everyone who joins your email list, immediately after they join.

Follow-Along Video Tutorial

This video will guide you through each of the steps in the article below (with a flair of delightful geekery). If you’re an auditory or kinetic learner, this is for you! We’ve got your back.


1. Go to your Mailchimp Dashboard

2. Click Campaigns

3. Click Create Campaign

4. Click Email

5. Click Automated

6. Click Welcome new subscribers

There are many different kinds of automations to choose from. Each is designed for a different business case, for example if you need to send a free yoga class guest pass to students on their birthday you’d use the automation marked “Say ‘happy birthday’.” For our purpose we’ll chose “Welcome new subscribers.”

7. Write a Campaign Name

Only you will see this. Write a name that reminds you what this automation is about (ex: Welcome to the Newsletter, Free Birthday Yoga Class, Optin Email Series…)

8. Click Select a list, and choose the email list you want to create an automated email for

9. Click Begin

10. Where it says “Trigger: 1 day after subscribers join your list – Edit”, click Edit

11. Click on the dropdown called day(s) and select immediately

Here you can edit how long to wait before sending the automated email to the new subscriber. For our purpose, since we want new subscribers to receive a welcome email right after they subscribe, we’re choosing “immediately.”

12. Click Update Trigger

13. Click Design Email

14. Under Name your email, write a name for your email

Only you will see this. Write something clearly understandable for you. Personally, I name my emails with numbers (ex: Welcome Email #1) so that if I make a sequence of emails in the future (ex: Welcome Email #1, Welcome Email #2, Welcome Email #3) I’ll know which order they’re meant to go in.

15. Under Email subject, write the subject line of your email

Subscribers will see this. It’s the first thing subscribers will see when they receive your email.

*Pro-tip: This is a marketing must-know. Writing a clear subject line that connects with your subscribers is hugely important. Why? Just like you, your subscribers receive dozens or hundreds of emails every day. If you want your subscribers to actually read your email, you need to give them a good reason to. Think about it, why do you open certain emails and ignore others? I know personally that I’ll open an email if it has to do with something important to me, something I’m excited about, or something I’m waiting for. It’s your job to give your subscribers a good reason to open your email. Hint: Cramming a dozen exclamation marks in every email subject line makes people think it’s spam. Be simple and ask “what email subject line would I click on?”

16. Under Preview text, write a further description about your subject line (optional, but recommended)

17. Make sure your From name and From email address are correct

18. Click Next

19. Under the Featured list, click the image above Follow Up

There are many templates you can choose from. The “Follow Up” option is ideal for the welcome email we’re creating.

20. Click the box titled Logo

*Pro-tip: If you’re new to Mailchimp and it looks overwhelming, don’t stress too much! The learning curve is quick, and the best way to learn is to just get in there and start experimenting with text, images, videos, etc. The more you explore, the quicker you’ll become familiar with Mailchimp’s design editing process. Hooray for learning!

21. Under Your Default Logo, click Replace

22. Either drag and drop a logo file into this window or click Upload to choose a logo file from your computer

We’re assuming you have a business logo already. If you don’t have a logo yet, you can create a free one using either Squarespace’s very simple Logo Maker, or by creating one on Canva (Canva tutorial coming soon).


23. Click Save & Close

24. Click the text Send a tailored follow-up email, and enter a headline

Make this a welcome message like, “Welcome to our email list!” Once you’re inside the text editor (which you are now) you can change the font, text size, and color, add links, and do all sorts of other design magic.

*Pro-tip: Before you go bananas making your email into a Jackson Pollock style mess of colors, fonts, sizes, spacing, and background images, you need to learn a couple basic web design skills. The human eye finds simplicity and consistency very attractive. It finds an overwhelm of visual stimuli very confusing. I want you to place your hand over your heart and repeat after me, “I promise that in my emails I’ll use no more than 2 fonts and 2-3 colors. I promise to keep my designs clean and simple with the intention of delighting my subscribers.”

25. Click Save & Close

26. Click the box titled Add a photo here

We’re going to add a welcome image to the email. This could be an image of your business, your team, your products or services, or you.

27. Under follow-up-full.png, click Replace

28. Either drag and drop a photo into this window or click Upload to choose an image file from your computer

29. Click Save & Close

30. Click the text box underneath your photo, where it says, “Keep people involved by…”, and enter your main email message

31. Click Save & Close

Now for our purpose of sending a welcome email, this is all we’re going to include in our email.

For future emails you automate, know that there are tons of additional elements you can include (videos, photos, more text, social media icons, etc…). I like Mailchimp and recommend it to everyone because it’s free, offers beautiful email templates, and requires zero knowledge of code. We love free, high-quality stuff as much as you do!

The last steps in our design are to delete the unused sections Mailchimp left us.

32. Hover over the Shop Now button and click on the trash icon.

33. Hover over the box titled Share what’s new and click on the trash icon.

34. Hover over the social media icons and click on the trash icon.

35. Click Save & Continue

36. Click Next

37. Click Start Sending

Congratulations!! You’ve created your first email automation and are now boss of the universe. Give yourself a high-five!

I’m so glad you took the time to set this up because creating automated systems is a key part of making your business sustainable for you and able to scale over time.

This is just the beginning, there’s so much you can do with automation including hooking up your mailing list to your website or sending people automated emails when they buy a new product or service from you.

And there are much larger automation systems you’ll eventually need to set up for your business, like connecting your CRM, mailing list, payment system, inventory tracking system, website, and task management system together.

Now that you’ve set up this automation, what will you do with all your newfound free time? Perfect your Prinsesstårta recipeMaster the lost art of underwater basket weaving?

Let us know in the comments below!

Actual footage of me writing this article.

. . .

November 23, 2018
Written by Noé Khalfa, who’s on a mission to teach business skills to anyone who wants to take their life into their own hands.

Worth The Journey Blog

You’re running a heart-centered business. We share experiences and tips on how to make it sustainable.

November 23, 2018
Written by Noé Khalfa, who’s on a mission to teach business skills to anyone who wants to take their life into their own hands.

Worth The Journey Blog

You’re running a heart-centered business. We share experiences and tips on how to make it sustainable.

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