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How to add an Opt-in to Mailchimp

This tutorial is for those who are getting into email marketing. If you are new and using Mailchimp, we’ll walk you through adding your first opt-in. It’s easier than you might think.


First, you will have already created your opt-in. When we say ‘opt-in’ we mean a freebie, bonus, content upgrade – whatever you call the bribe for subscribing.

You should also have a Mailchimp account. You’ve created a list and with that list, you’ve created a sign-up form. (See this tutorial)You already have a list created. You already have your forms created. The MailChimp forms are neatly placed on your WordPress site. And your readers are subscribing to the newsletter (or blog posts – here is the difference).

There are two types of opt-ins that you might want to give away.

  1. One is the ‘main’ opt-in. This is the thing related to your blog niche and typically a big incentive. You give this away for any subscription to any main sign-up box.
  2. The other opt-in is known as a content upgrade. This is an incentive to subscribe while reading a post. The sign-up forms are usually within the post itself.  These also generally have higher conversion rates.

Today we’re going to talk about the main upgrade for your blog. This is the default that will go with your sign-up. 

How to Add a Default Opt-in to MailChimp

Step one: login to MailChimp

Obviously you’ll need your mailchimp account. And you need to login. You’ll be greeted with your dashboard:

Mailchimp Dashboard

We want to go into the Lists tab at the top, and click the list attached to your default sign-up form.

From the main dashboard, click “Lists”, then click through the default list for your website.

  The List page lets you view all the contacts in this list, change the settings, signup forms, view how your list is growing and lots more. This is your “list” dashboard. 

Click the “Signup Forms” tab like so:

Select the list first, then click “Signup Forms”

This is Signup Forms screen is where you can edit, add or remove different forms that will all put people on this particular list. On the signup forms page, select the “Form Builder”.

Form Builder option under the “List” you selected.

From this screen you can change how each step of the registration works, especially the branding and wording.

Now – select the “Final Welcome Email” as noted below:

Final Welcome Email – Mailchimp Forms

Now we’ll assume you do NOT have your opt-in uploaded to Mailchimp yet. We will walk you through each step. When you create your opt-in, it is a good idea to have two versions. 

  1. The image version – .jpg, .png
  2. The pdf version – .pdf 

Write the Final Welcome Email

Let’s write this email, and include a download link for our subscribers.

First, be sure that the “Send a final welcome email” box is checked.

Check the “send final welcome email” box.
Built it tab of Final Welcome Email

Be sure that you’re under the “Build it” tab. It will look like this:

Edit screen for the Final Welcome Email

Hover over the top of the tab and you’ll see the header part pop into view. Click “change” and add a header, if you wish.

Then click through the text part of the email and add some welcome text. This is a great time to explain the value of the opt-in and how they can use it. Invite them to take another step in your relationship – join your Facebook group, or respond back via email. 

Now we need to add the links to the opt-in. First, we need to add the opt-in to Mailchimp Media Library. Here is the image of our pretend opt-in. We’re going to upload this to Mailchimp.

Opt-in example

Click the picture icon to upload your picture or pdf. (pretend this email does NOT already have the picture in it! Oooops. )

It will open up a screen like this: 

Click upload. Find your file (from your computer) and click “upload”. When the file is done uploading, click “Copy URL”. 

Copy URL << Important step!

Then click the image you wish to add to your email. In this case, I clicked the big cupcake image. That opens up the image screen like this:

Paste your URL in the “Link to URL” space. Edit any image options as desired. Click “Save and Insert”

Your image is now in the email. And mailchimp takes you back to your email editing screen so you can finish up.

The opt-in image is now in the email. And if a reader clicks on it, they are taken to the image. It’s also a good idea to put a Call to Action in your email. In this case I used “Download Here”:

Type your text first. Click on the chain link icon. 

Paste the URL to the opt-in in this spot. No other settings are necessary. Click “Insert”.

When your email is designed as you’d like, and you’ve included a picture of your opt-in and a call to action link, you’re ready to make it live!

Click “Save and Close”.

Unlike broadcasts and sequences, these form emails are live right away. Any new signups are going to get your new opt-in. You have a default opt-in going to each subscriber! 

Congratulations on completing this Mailchimp tutorial!

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