autoresponder mail chimp screenshot

How to Set Up Automated Emails in Mailchimp 2021 (Step-by-Step)

In this post, we will learn how to set up automated emails in Mailchimp in 2021, and create an onboarding series.

When someone signs up for your newsletter/e-mail list, an automatic onboarding series is a sequence of e-mails that get sent to that person. Generally, it’s about 4-6 e-mails long and e-mails are sent out every day or two. 

Why is an automated onboarding series useful or valuable?

how to set up automated email in mailchimp man at computer

An onboarding is an incredible way to craft a standardized journey that everyone that goes through your e-mail list goes through. Over time, you can refine and tweak the sequence until you get every aspect dialed in perfectly.

Often, the goal is to get people more familiar with your company/brand and what you’re able to deliver. Once people finish the autoresponder sequence, they’ll receive the regular newsletters and e-mail updates.

Update: You now need to be on Mailchimp’s $15 a month plan to use this feature. The steps to create an onboarding series are still the same.

What are some things that make a successful automated onboarding series?

You want to make the series:

•interesting and engaging;

•customer focused; and

•value filled.

Interesting and Engaging Emails

If you start to bore people, they’re not going to continue opening your e-mails. A relevant, curiosity inspiring headline is important to get people to actually open your e-mail. It’s also helpful to tease what the next e-mail will include (tell people why it will be interesting to them).

Include Customer-Focused Messages

If you spend your whole time talking about yourself, your customers will probably ask–what does this have to do with me? That’s why you want to center your story about what you’ve delivered FOR your customer. What challenges were they facing? How did you help them overcome this? What does their life look like now that they’ve overcome those challenges? Paint them a picture of the positive changes your company has helped create.

Create value-filled content: 

If you can link to amazing content or information you’ve created, this will help build trust and will give people helpful knowledge. The content can be a video, blog post, podcast episode. While you can link to a video or blog someone else has done, it’s better to link to your own content. The idea is to build trust and connection.

So, a good example: if your business is dedicated to helping people lose weight, you can be telling the story of a client and the impact your program or product had on their life. But you can simultaneously be throwing in some links that will help people on that journey. It could be healthy recipes, 5 short workouts or 5 healthy snacks. This info could be used by your potential customers right away.

That way, people will not only connect with the story, but you’ll be giving them real-life tips that they’re able to implement right away.

Should I sell a product at the end of my automated series?

This is really up to personal preference and the type of business. If you’re selling an affordable product, you may have established enough connection and interesting information to make some sales. If you’re an attorney, it may be a little a little early for you to ask your customer to sign on the dotted line. An autoresponder helps you build a relationship with the people who join your e-mail list. Use your intuition to decide if you’ve built enough of a relationship to ask for a sale. Going forward, asking for a sale too often can turn people off and may lead to them unsubscribing from your list.

Step-by-Step: How to Set Up an Automatic Onboarding Series in Mailchimp 2020.

Okay, now that we understand WHAT an automatic onboarding series is and WHY we may want to set one up, let’s go to the step by step instructions. I’m working in Mailchimp; if you’d like a tutorial on how to set it up using other e-mail marketing software, don’t hesitate to send an email.

Here is a YouTube video I created if you prefer to follow instructions that way. If you prefer reading the instructions, I’ll have screenshots and step-by-step instructions below.

1: Go to your dashboard and choose “Create” in the top right corner.

mailchimp login 2019

2. Choose “Email”.

mailchimp automated on boarding email series login

3. Switch from “Regular” to “Automated”.

create an automation email in mailchimp

4. Select “Welcome new subscribers”.

welcome new subscribers in mailchimp

5. Switch from “Welcome Message” to “Onboard Series”. Then click “Begin”.

welcome new subscribers in automated email campaign

6. You now have the option to design each individual e-mail (off to the right).

You can edit the triggers (by default, they’re sent one day after the previous e-mail. The default number is 5, but you can add or delete e-mails by clicking on the arrow next to design email.

Set the trigger to decide when each email goes out

7. Click next and choose the list that goes with the sequence

hit next to set up the emails

How to send future emails to people who’ve gone through your automatic onboarding sequence:

Now that you’ve set up the sequence, you’ll want to send out your future e-mails to people who’ve completed this sequence. You don’t want someone to be on day 3 of your sequence and then get another e-mail from you called “January update”.

We want people to go through the full sequence, THEN be added onto the list of regular updates with the other people on your e-mail list.

1. Choosing this setting is easy.The next time you create a campaign/email, choose “create”.

create a new campaign in mailchimp screenshot

2. Then choose “email”.

click on email to start your automated email series

3. Select “Regular” and give it a “Campaign Name”.

click automated to choose what type of email you send

4. Under “To” click “Add Recipients”.

click add recipients to email

5. Choose your list.

choose your email list

6. You’ll change segment from “All subscribers on list” to “Group or new segment”.

send the email out to all subscribers on list

7. You’ll want to select “Automation Activity”, then “Completed Message” and whatever you called your onboarding series.

You'll want to select "Automation Activity", then "Completed message" for your onboarding series.

8. If you want to set it by the date they signed up for the e-mail list, you have the option to do that as well.

“Date Added”, then “is after”, then the date. Anyone who signed up for your list after the date you choose will receive the e-mail.

Make sure the date added is after the time period you specify

Conclusion: You’ve just set up amazing automated emails in Mailchimp.

You now know how to set up and customize a customized automatic onboarding series. You understand the value of an onboarding series and the ways that it can be used to help your business. We’ve also covered how you can send future updates to people who’ve already been through the onboarding series.

If you have any questions or want to ask me questions related to onboarding strategy, please shoot me an e-mail at

Email lists are a great way to reach your existing customers. If you’d like to know about more ways that you can reach your existing customers, you can find my article on this topic here

Or you could see my FREE 100+ minute long course on filming using your phone

Or check out my 5 tips for creating great marketing videos


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