Mailchimp How-To

Alternating Background Colors in Mailchimp

Alternating background colors are a simple design technique that can help your Mailchimp templates pop. In this blog post, we’ll explore three strategies for creating an alternating background color effect in Mailchimp, including both the new builder and legacy (also called the “classic”) template builder. Get ready to captivate your audience with alternating background colors in any Mailchimp email!

Legacy Builder: Using Sections for Alternating Background Color

In Mailchimp’s legacy builder, the simplest way to create an alternating background color effect is by using the pre-built sections. Depending on the template you choose to begin with, these may include:

  • Preheader
  • Header
  • Upper body
  • 2-column section
  • Lower body
  • 3-column section
  • Footer

As you can see from the names, these sections place some restrictions on the layout of an email. Additionally, sections in the template cannot be moved or duplicated. The upper body will always be placed above the footer, etc. 

Without using custom-coded templates, legacy builder emails allow for a maximum of 6 sections, which can each be assigned a unique background color under the style settings.

For a one-on-one walkthrough of the classic builder, try booking a 1-hour training session with one of our email experts!

Legacy Builder: Using Boxed Text & Code

For users looking for more flexibility in background color, without creating an entirely custom-coded template, there is another option. Mailchimp’s boxed text & image card blocks give you the option to assign as many background colors as you want throughout an email. However, both boxed text & image card blocks come with a few pixels of padding on all sides.

Reflect Digital has a great guide on working around this restraint. Their method involves creating a boxed text block, copying the HTML, and pasting it into one of Mailchimp’s code blocks. Then, users can locate the padding settings in the code and remove them.

This tip is a great way to work around the classic builder’s limitations, but users with no code experience should be mindful. Messy HTML can create deliverability issues and render poorly on different devices. To work with the support of a professional, contact Pure Firefly about custom-coded templates.

New Builder: Background Color Settings

In Mailchimp’s new builder, users can now customize the background color settings within each content block. This makes an alternating background effect much easier to achieve. Just use the left-side style menu to choose the background color for each section. Mailchimp’s new builder also saves a swatch for each color you’ve used within the template, allowing users to create a cohesive template. If you have yet to get acquainted with the new email builder, try a training call with one of our email specialists, or keep an eye out for our upcoming new builder webinar!

Unlock More Options with Pure Firefly

Alternating background colors are possible in both Mailchimp’s classic and new builders. However, there are limitations depending on which builder you use. To maximize your design potential, try working with Mailchimp experts like the ones at Pure Firefly. With a history of designs for clients in various industries, our team is flexible and ready to create an eye-catching email for your brand or organization! Just contact us for a quote, or book a training session for all your Mailchimp questions.

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What Else Can Mailchimp Do? Beyond Email Marketing

Email is our happy place, but effective marketing requires more than just sending emails. As Mailchimp Pro Partners, we’d like to highlight the tools and features Mailchimp offers beyond basic email. In this article, we’ll explore how the following Mailchimp tools can enhance your marketing efforts:

  1. Social Media Posts & Ads
  2. Landing Pages
  3. SMS
  4. Postcards
  5. Surveys

Engage your audience beyond email to reach new levels of engagement & conversion!

Create Social Media Posts & Ads

In 2023, almost everyone has a social media presence – Including brands & organizations! Mailchimp recognizes the importance of a robust social media presence and offers tools to reach your audience on some of the most popular platforms. With Mailchimp’s Social Media Posts & Ads, you can seamlessly connect your Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook accounts. Schedule, publish, and manage posts from your campaign page.

By integrating your social media marketing efforts with your email campaigns, you can maintain a consistent brand voice and expand your reach to a wider audience. Check out our post on multichannel marketing to learn more!

Landing Pages

Visually appealing and conversion-focused landing pages can make or break a marketing campaign. Mailchimp’s Landing Pages feature gives you the tools to create an effective landing page. With a user-friendly drag-and-drop builder, you can design and customize landing pages that align with your brand. These pages allow you to promote products, announce special offers, acquire new leads, and more. 

You can also automatically tag contacts who sign up via a landing page, in order to send them targeted emails later on down the line. To learn about this process and implement it yourself, set up a training session with one of our email specialists.

Use Mailchimp for SMS

In a world where people are constantly connected to their smartphones, SMS marketing has emerged as a highly effective communication channel. Mailchimp understands this and offers an integrated SMS feature to send personalized text messages and alerts to your audience’s mobile devices.

As of 2024, SMS is available for all U.S. Mailchimp users on the Standard plan. Check out our SMS guide for more details on how to apply for SMS and start marketing!


By reaching beyond the digital realm, physical mail can have a powerful impact on your audience. Mailchimp’s Postcards feature enables you to design and send personalized, printed postcards to your customers. Whether it’s for announcing a special offer, expressing gratitude, or simply staying top of mind, postcards create a lasting impression on your subscribers, who may be overwhelmed by a crowded email inbox. 

Mailchimp’s Custom Surveys

Direct audience feedback is essential for improving your products, measuring campaign success, and understanding your audience. Some contacts are even more likely to engage with emails that include surveys or other interactive components.

Mailchimp’s Surveys feature allows you to create and distribute customized surveys via email or using a shareable link. The survey templates are easy to use, with options to add content, set up auto-tagging, and create robust reports. If you need a hand getting your first survey set up, reach out to Pure Firefly.

Maximize Your Mailchimp Investment with Pure Firefly

With tools reaching beyond basic email, Mailchimp helps businesses connect with their audience wherever they are. To fully embrace the capabilities of Mailchimp and take your marketing efforts to new heights, consider working with a Mailchimp Pro Partner like Pure Firefly. Our comprehensive audit is a great place to start for businesses looking to strategically expand their digital marketing efforts. Contact us today for a quote!

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Mailchimp Segmentation: Tags, Groups, and Segments

Many new email marketers wonder what the difference is between tags, groups, and segments. All three are Mailchimp segmentation tools for audience organization. However, each tool is slightly different and is best suited to unique applications. Here’s a basic breakdown of all Mailchimp segmentation options.

Mailchimp Tags are Labels for Your Contacts

Tags are Mailchimp’s simplest segmentation tool. Tags can be added automatically through imports, integrations, and automated journeys. They can also be assigned to contacts manually from the audience page. 

When you add a tag to a subscriber, Mailchimp attaches it to the contact’s records like a label. Then, you can send targeted campaigns to all contacts who have that label attached. Tags can also be used to trigger automations, or as a simple way to store & organize data about your contacts.

Some example uses for tags could be: 

  • Manually tagging all contacts who attended an event 
  • Tagging any contacts who purchased a particular type of product
  • Automatically tagging subscribers that sign up through a particular form

Need help creating your tags? Try a strategy call with one of our email experts.

Create Categories with Mailchimp Groups

Similar to tags, Mailchimp groups can identify your contacts based on their interests or characteristics. However, groups are organized into categories, while tags have no hierarchical organization. 

It can be helpful to visualize groups as a multiple choice question: the group category is the “question” subscribers answer by selecting one (or more) of your group options. Visible groups allow contacts to opt into the kinds of emails that interest them. However, groups can also be hidden and used internally to organize an audience into general categories. At Pure Firefly, we often use groups during audience consolidation projects. Contact us to learn more!

One example of a hidden group would be a category for “State Employees” with the groups: State Representative, Senator, and Staffer. 

Segments Are Filters: They Change with Your Audience

A Mailchimp segment is a filter composed of a series of logical statements. When you set up a segment from your All Contacts page, segment page, or campaign builder, you choose the characteristics the filter should search for. Then, Mailchimp continuously updates your saved segment with any audience members who match these characteristics.

These characteristics may include any of the following elements:

  • Information about your contacts: Name, email, location, etc.
  • What contacts have done: Campaign activity, e-commerce purchases, etc.
  • Groups and Tags

Compared to groups and tags, segments are “stretchy.” They adjust with your audience. For example, a segment with the conditions: “Campaign activity > Has opened > All of the last 5 campaigns” will continuously change as different contacts open your emails. The segment may contain 100 contacts, and then drop to 80 if you have deliverability issues on newer campaigns.

Mailchimp’s segment builder is updated frequently, so keep an eye out for new segmentation options or set up a call with one of our email specialists to step up your segmentation game.

Pure Firefly Can Help You Set Up Effective Segmentation

If all of Mailchimp’s segmentation options make your head spin, don’t worry! Pro Partners like Pure Firefly can help you set up segments, tags, and groups to maximize your potential engagement. Schedule a quick training call for one-time segmentation concerns. For more extensive projects, contact us any time.

Our Mailchimp audit is a great way to check that all your segmentation options are used to their highest potential.

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Does Mailchimp Go to Spam? 5 Deliverability FAQs

New Mailchimp users often ask: Does Mailchimp go to spam? The answer is, it depends. Who a user sends to, what they send, and how they send it all factor into their email deliverability. The good news is that Mailchimp takes several steps to help its users’ emails stay out of the spam folder.

When Does Mailchimp Go to Spam?

There are many reasons why a sender might find their emails are ending up in the spam folder. Believe it or not, the exact requirements inbox service providers check for spam are kept secret. This helps to prevent spammers from gaming the system. However, there are some guidelines which can help you make progress towards better deliverability.

If you’re wondering why your Mailchimp emails are going to spam, try the following steps:

  • Use a balance of images and text
  • Remove any all-caps from your subject line & email body
  • Watch out for common spam-triggering words and phrases
  • Check any custom HTML for errors
  • Ensure your DNS records are configured correctly

One major benefit of using a platform like Mailchimp is that deliverability guidance is built in. Mailchimp offers helpful tips, and will alert you if it detects a red flag on your account.

Why Does Abuse Prevention Matter for Deliverability?

Abuse prevention does more than keep Mailchimp’s public image strong. Deliverability and abuse prevention go hand in hand. By preventing abuse, Mailchimp keeps its users’ sender reputations high. This improves the likelihood that all Mailchimp emails will land in the inbox instead of the spam folder.

Did Mailchimp Put a Block on My Account?

If Mailchimp’s Compliance Team finds a red flag in your account, you’ll find a warning under your account settings. Typically, Mailchimp will also provide you with steps to resolve the issue. Be forewarned: multiple red flags can lead to permanent suspension.

Common red flags include:

  • Fake or anonymous account information
  • Using a free email service like gmail
  • Importing subscribers who haven’t opted in
  • Noncompliance with Mailchimp terms of use
  • Spikes in bounced emails, unsubscribes, or abuse reports

How Can I Monitor My Mailchimp Deliverability?

While Mailchimp takes several steps to help its users’ emails stay out of the spam folder, there are still some actions that you can take to monitor and improve your deliverability. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Monitor your email campaign statistics: Pay attention to your email campaign statistics, including open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and spam complaint rates. These metrics can help you identify any issues and adjust your email content and send frequency accordingly. If subscribers find your content valuable, they are less likely to report it as spam.
  2. Keep your email list clean: Regularly remove inactive or disengaged subscribers from your email list to improve your deliverability. Mailchimp offers a variety of segmentation tools to help you manage your audiences and clean the old emails out. Plus, a list cleaning software like ZeroBounce can provide added insights on your audience.
  3. Authenticate your domain: Authentication methods, such as DKIM and SPF, verify that your emails are coming from a trusted source and can improve your deliverability. Authenticating your domain with Mailchimp is one important step in this process. Consider a Mailchimp training if you need authentication support.
  4. Test your emails before sending: Use Mailchimp’s preview and test tools to ensure your emails look and function as intended across different devices and email clients. Testing your emails can also help you identify issues in the code, which can have an impact on deliverability.

Where Can I Find More Deliverability Help?

For deliverability assistance, including domain authentication and audience analysis, consider working with a Mailchimp Pro Partner like Pure Firefly. Our email experts are trained in the most up-to-date deliverability guidelines. We can also help you identify why your emails are going to spam. Mailchimp & WordPress are our specialties, and we have familiarity with several popular domain registrars. 

Our Mailchimp audit is one of the most valuable services to ensure your account is optimized for deliverability. Reach out for a free quote any time!

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How To Use Mailchimp Landing Pages

Mailchimp landing pages are a great way to extend your marketing strategy beyond the basic email campaign. Plus, the landing page builder by Mailchimp is flexible and easy to use. If you’ve built a Mailchimp template before, it may look familiar!

With Mailchimp’s landing pages, you can create stunning signup forms, plus pages for any campaign or event.

Build Your First Mailchimp Landing Page

Mailchimp’s landing page builder is very similar to the classic builder for email templates. After setting your landing page name and choosing a template, customize any part of the page using blocks. You can find all your content blocks on the right side, including:

  • Regular & boxed text
  • Images, image and text blocks, image groups, and image cards
  • Signup forms
  • Dividers
  • Social follow & share icons
  • Buttons
  • Videos
  • Products, payment, and promo codes*

Select any of these blocks and drag it to the left side of the builder to begin designing your landing page!

*Note: In Summer 2023, shoppable landing pages will be retired from the Mailchimp landing page builder. You can still encourage sales with Mailchimp landing pages, but payment must be completed using an outside service.

How to Publish Your Landing Page

Once you’ve finished building, publishing a Mailchimp landing page is simple! Hit “save & close” to finalize your design and proceed to the next page. Choose a concise page title & attractive site icon. You can also adjust the social media preview to coordinate the landing page with your multichannel strategy.

Use the audience setting to decide which audience subscribers will join when they sign up on your Mailchimp landing page. You can also set up auto-tagging to segment your audience or trigger a new customer journey. If you’re unsure how to use auto-tagging in your email marketing strategy, consider seeking guidance from a Mailchimp expert.

You can publish your pages to either a Mailchimp domain or a custom domain. For the most professional appearance, use an authenticated custom domain to host your Mailchimp landing page. This feature requires a paid account, but free users can still customize the last half of their URL. That means everything after “” is up to you!

Combine Landing Pages with Email Marketing Strategy

With some practice, the landing page builder is super simple to use. But don’t turn your brain off just yet (unless you want someone to design it for you). To maximize the effectiveness of your landing page, make it a part of your broader marketing strategy.

Where do smart marketing strategies begin? With a goal. You may want to increase your sales, drive traffic to your website, or grow your Mailchimp audience. Let this goal drive your landing page design!

For example, consider creating a landing page for your next seasonal sale. Whenever you send emails promoting the sale, include a link to the page. By visiting your landing page first, subscribers’ attention can be directed to products on sale. Savings will be at the top of their mind, and they will be one step closer to completing their next purchase.

Pure Firefly Can Help You Build a Mailchimp Landing Page

If you’re unsure how best to use landing pages in your email marketing strategy, our team of email marketing experts is here to help! We provide various digital marketing & design services to suit any small business or nonprofit. 

Before you build the landing page for your next marketing campaign, reach out for a quote.

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Mailchimp’s Free Webhooks Webinar

Did you join Kristy for the Mailchimp Webhooks webinar on February 16th, 2023? If you missed it, don’t worry! You can register for free to watch the recording.

This video webinar went in-depth on Mailchimp’s webhooks, describing them from method to payload in simple terms. For many beginning Mailchimp users, understanding integrations is a significant challenge, so this webinar is a must!

With Webhooks, actions in Mailchimp campaigns can trigger events in other apps. This can be especially useful in journeys! For example, Webhooks can invite subscribers to events based on their email behavior or send a physical catalog right when subscribers sign up to your audience.

To implement a webhook in the Journeys builder, click the plus sign to add a journey point, then find Webhooks in the dropdown menu under “actions.”  Specify the details, authenticate, and set up your payload to deliver.

Go through the process step-by-step with Kristy McCarley and Devin Mercier in the Mailchimp Webhooks webinar, then try it out for yourself! Webhooks are available to all users on the standard plan or higher.

Want a helping hand? Schedule a call with one of our Mailchimp experts, or hire us to set things up for you.

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Send Day Optimization

What I Learned This Week About Mailchimp’s New Campaign Manager

If you’ve ever sorted through campaign analytics, you know how challenging it can be to nail down a strategy for when to send. There are a lot of variables to account for. Is your audience checking email all day, or only after work? Do they get online on the weekend, or give their computer a 50-foot radius? Thankfully, the new campaign manager has send day optimization.

Start by designing your email and added it to the campaign manager as a touchpoint. Finally, hit “send day optimization,” and Mailchimp will recommend a send day based on your industry. Plus, this tool displays “good,” “better,” and “best” days to send (for those of us who refuse to send an email on a Saturday).

Suggestions for send day optimization are based on historic click rate data across Mailchimp’s users. As you continue to send more emails to your audience, you will likely see the recommended send day & time adjust to your audience behavior.

Having trouble finding it? Just click on any campaign from the calendar view. Then, the Enable SDO slider will appear on the left-side menu.

Pure Firefly also offers one-on-one trainings to help you better understand Mailchimp’s tools, including the campaign manager.

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Learning The Campaign Manager Language

What I Learned This Week About The New Mailchimp Campaign Manager…

Every new Mailchimp tool comes with its own language. When I started using the new Campaign Manager, there was definitely an adjustment period to pick up all the new terms.

Skip the learning curve – Here’s what you need to know.

  • Touchpoints: Think of these as your building blocks. A touchpoint is the term for anything you can schedule on the Mailchimp Campaign Manager, including: emails, tasks, webhooks, and events.
  • Tasks: Tasks are your to-do list. Use them to note anything you need to do for your campaigns, and set a status: not started, in progress, or complete.
  • Events: Keep track of key dates by scheduling an event. You can select an event type, set date & time, and even make notes.
  • Webhooks: “Hook” in other apps to manage everything right from Mailchimp. Using webhooks, a request from Mailchimp can trigger an action in another app. (Note: Webhooks work best when you have some coding knowledge.)

Once I picked up the Mailchimp Campaign Manager language, I was ready to dive in with some test touchpoints, tasks, and events. If you need more of a helping hand, check out Mailchimp’s Help Center, or schedule a call with us!

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