Setting up your email newsletter freebie with MailChimp

Last week, we talked about creating an author email newsletter. I mentioned that offering a freebie is a great incentive for sign ups. My freebie is a free plotting/revision roadmap, for example.

What I didn’t mention was how, exactly, to make that happen with your newsletter. A friend asked me how to set it up, and I realized it might be good to explain it more generally, too. It took a while to figure out all this, but it’s not too hard to do, and it’s free. I only know how to do it with MailChimp. If anyone else is familiar with other email list service, please share in the comments!

First, I customized the confirmation emails. To customize your messages, go to the Dashboard in MailChimp, and then to Design a Form. On the Design a Form page, there’s a pull down menu of Forms & Response Emails you can view and edit.

I customized the Signup Form, Signup “Thank You” Page, Opt-in Confirmation Email and Final Welcome Email to mention the freebie (and to match my site colors—click Auto-Design to get started here). Just click on the text box and add some text.

Here’s the important part: for the Confirmation “Thank you” Page, use the box labeled “Instead of showing this thank you page, send subscribers to another URL.” If you have hosting for your website, you can upload a PDF file, for example, to your site and send readers directly there, or to a page to say thank you and link there. (But make sure the page and file are hidden from users & search engines).

If you don’t have hosting for your site, you can upload a freebie doc to Google Drive. Open the document in Drive, click on the “Share” button in the upper right, and Change the sharing settings. Set the privacy to “Anyone with a link can view this page,” and make sure the “Access: Anyone” option is set to “Can view” (you don’t want them editing your freebie!

Then use the same box as above with the Confirmation “Thank you” Page to go to the link. You can also turn off the Final Welcome Email if you’re using it; I’m tempted to turn it off anyway, but I like having the backup link to my freebie there just in case.

Now you’re all set up!

What do you think? What would you offer for a freebie? What would you like to see for a freebie? Come join the conversation!

6 thoughts on “Setting up your email newsletter freebie with MailChimp”

  1. I get emails from various writers and find them informative and interesting.

    However, for myself, I can’t think what I would put in a newsletter. And I keep asking myself who would want to read one from me anyway? lol

  2. Hello,

    I have set up a sign up form on my website using mailchimp. I have a freebie I would like to give to people when they sign up to my newsletter, it is a 10 mins relaxation recording. The challenge I am facing is: how can I get it to be sent automatically to the new suscribers? I have the recording on my pc. Do I need to host it anywhere on the web and then include the link to listen to it in my Thank you reply in Mailchimp? Do you know a site where I could put my recording on? I would like people to be able to listen to it but not actually download it. I would not want it to be sent to everyone. At the moment, the only solution I have come up with is to manually invite each suscriber to join a dropbox folder which I would set up specifically for that one recording.

    Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. Ooh, a challenge. Yes, you’ll need to put the file on the Internet, but that will probably mean that if one of your subscribers is tech savvy enough, they’ll be able to save your file unless you get really tricky. I believe Dropbox would let them download it too, but I haven’t played around enough with their settings to be sure. In any case, here’s a list of 18 free audio hosting sites, and I’m sure one of them will work for you to host the file: . You’ll definitely want one with good privacy settings.

      (Pity it isn’t a video; YouTube downloads are pretty hard to finagle for the average user and I’m already familiar with their privacy settings.)

      I do use a link in my Thank You email to make sure it goes to them automatically.

      Did that cover all your questions?

  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me 🙂
    I am going to investigate these hosting websites. Hopefully, I will find one that ticks the box!

    I am in the process of recording videos and will upload them on youtube in the next couple of weeks. I will also need to familiarise myself with the privacy settings on there.

    Thanks so much for your advice.

Comments are closed.