Where do you go to find inspiration for your email marketing campaigns?

Mailchimp experts

Here, 8 Mailchimp partners and email marketing experts share their top tips on where to look for email design inspiration. From other websites to social media accounts, there are so many places you can look to inspire your next campaign.

Really Good Emails, obviously. Also sites like Mailcharts where you can monitor your competitor’s email campaigns to develop your own strategy is super useful.

Doug Dennison

CEO & Co-founder


I read a lot, not necessarily things linked to the topics I have to write in my emails. Inspiration and creativity come by opening your vision, not navel-gazing. Literature, movies, a good tv series, the occasional chat with a stranger: you have to collect a lot in the divergent phase of your thinking before converging to the best solution.

Alessandra Farabegoli

Digital Strategist, Co-Founder

Digital Update and Freelancecamp Italia

No particular websites. It depends on the message and topics. They are my search results and I always try to approach the topic from a different perspective. By browsing shutterstock or Adobe Stock I get my visual inspirations.

Nick Beuzekamp

CEO and Founder

Online Marketing Bonaire

I look for businesses I think are at the top of their game and sign up to their emails. I look at emails we’re sending for other clients. The Mailchimp gallery. Unsplash for images. Reading articles, books, in client meetings and the intersections of ideas to see whether there’s something useful there.

Glenn Edley

Director & Email Strategist


In addition to sites like Really Good Emails, I attend webinars from leaders like Mailchimp, Litmus and Hubspot regularly, where I find inspiration from the speakers and their company emails. Often, I’ll subscribe to the emails for any organizations featured in a webinar presentation, and save the best of them in my own email folder for email ideas.

MaryAnn Pfeiffer

Digital Marketing Strategist

108 Degrees Digital Marketing

I sign up for a lot of newsletters, so I go to my inbox! Every time I hear a newsletter suggested by someone I go sign up for it! I have a “special” inbox just for my newsletters.

Amy Hall

Email Marketing Strategist and Certified Mailchimp Partner and Consultant

Amy Hall

One of the best things you can do is to simply look at your current, personal email inbox. What lands in spam? What emails do you stop to read? What subject lines jump out? I look right at my own Inbox often for inspiration. I also love Really Good Emails, Litmus, Buffer and following a lot of #emailgeeks on Twitter.

Emily Ryan

Co-Founder and Email Strategist

Westfield Creative

Multiple places, but usually my best ideas come from my inbox. If something catches my attention I will try to test that tactic in my campaigns. I also frequently find inspiration from industry blogs, the email community, and Really Good Emails is a great resource to see the latest email trends.

Adam Q. Holden-Bache

Director of Email Marketing

Enventys Partners

Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more from Mailchimp Experts, click here to check out the Mailchimp Experts Directory.

8 Easy Instagram Stories Hacks

Yellow, White and Black Quotation Social Media Graphic

I spend way too much time creating content on Instagram Stories, but I love it. It’s creative, fun and addicting. So today I am servin’ you up some good ole’ tips to make your Stories way more exciting and keep your followers comin’ right on back! Enjoy.


NOTE: These are EASY tips for your Stories. Just to add a little more “flair,” if you will…

8 Easy Instagram Stories Hacks

  1. Add/draw lines. Add a border around your photo with the highlighter tool. Or add a line on top and bottom of your photo. Or even draw a line across the corners (like pieces of tape).
  2. Make it extra cool. Have a photo of a cup of coffee or a cocktail you want to use but make it more fun? Add a GIF of a diver jumping into your drink. Or a shark GIF swimming in your Quarantini. Or add a GIF of Michael Jordan flying over some buildings.
  3. Add music by genre. When you want to add music and not sure what kind, just search by genre. You can search for words like “french cafe jazz” or “bossa nova” and some fun stuff will come up for you to choose from (under the Music sticker). Just adding a little background music to a video makes it so much better.
  4. Use the Explore tab religiously. And then repost to your Stories. This is where I source a lot of content. You can find so much fun stuff to post. And the more you look at things, the more Instagram will start to show you what you want to see. (i.e, my Explore feed is now coffee images, ballet, beautiful homes and Brad Pitt…)
  5. When you go to add a GIF, try searching for some of the following words (exactly) by custom GIF creators:  Haylsworld (love her GIFs), Mailchimp, Darcy (super cute), “laptop” or even search a letter or search “line.”
  6. Start a story and add a solid background (click pen tool, pick a color and hold a finger down on the screen for a second), then add a fun GIF and then just draw a line on both sides of the GIF. Easy peasy. (See image below.)
  7. If I could tell you one thing, it would be to simply take that extra second to add more layers to your Story. Add music. Add a GIF. Add a custom background color. Add an emoji or a border. Whatever. Adding another element to your image will make it more fun. So many times, I see people just report quickly, but what if you took an extra second to add a GIF or draw a border in your brand color?
  8. Finally, click on these 18 Instagram Stories Hacks from Later Media for more fun ideas.

Try one of two of these today and I promise you your Stories will be so much more fun for your followers!

Instagram Stories

The 2 Merge Tags You Need In Your Emails

Using merge tags in your emails is one of the best ways you can personalize your campaigns. Have you ever seen an email that says “Hey Emily…did you know…” – well, that’s a simple first name merge tag (*|FNAME|* to be exact).


Below, I am sharing two other specific codes that you should be using in all your emails so that your merge tags appear properly.


Bookmark this page so you can always have.


The “IF NO FIRST NAME” Merge Tag


The first is what I call the IF No First Name Merge Tag. Many times, you will have people sign up for your list and they may not leave their first name. So then when you go to use the normal FNAME merge tag, it won’t be able to populate their name (because they left it blank) and it will look really strange. Nothing worse than seeing “Hello     ,” at the top of your email. No bueno.


So, you need to use this below:


*|IF:FNAME|*Hi *|TITLE:FNAME|*,*|ELSE:|*Hello,*|END:IF|*


This tells Mailchimp– IF there is a FIRST NAME, then populate, but IF NOT, then just write “Hello,”. I use that at the top of all my emails. Just copy and paste that exact coding and you’re good to go!


The HIDE MY First Name Tags In My Link Merge Tag

This next coding or merge tag is great when you are using your Archive Link or Campaign URL and you don’t want the First Name Merge Tag to appear for everyone viewing your link.


All you need to do is add a little code before and after your First Name tag when you’re initially designing your email. It will look like this. This will tell Mailchimp that IF it’s an Archive page, do NOT display the FNAME content.




These are my two favorite codes to use in regards to FNAME merge tags, and I always need to access these, so feel free to bookmark this. Using “dynamic content” in your emails helps to personalize your content and make it more relevant to the subscriber. Here is an awesome cheat sheet from Mailchimp on the MANY merge tags you can use in your campaigns.


Happy Personalizing!

Do you need email validation if you use Mailchimp?

We’re thrilled to share a special interview that we did with the COO of ZeroBounce, a company that specializes in email deliverability (i.e., making sure your emails actually reach the Inbox…kind of important, right?).


We came across their new Inbox Placement Tester tool recently and loved it so much that I had to reach out.


So, meet Brian Minick, the COO. I asked Brian some questions, including their integration with Mailchimp. Enjoy!

Brian Minick ZeroBounce COO of ZeroBounce, Brian Minick

So, what exactly is ZeroBounce and do I need this if I use Mailchimp? 

ZeroBounce is a go-to platform for anyone who sends emails and wants to make sure they reach the inbox. Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or a marketer working for a corporation – you want to connect with real people, and that’s what we help you with. 

What started as an email validation service has evolved into a platform with multiple features: list cleaning, A.I. email scoring, and deliverability testing. 

Do you need it if you use MailChimp? Yes! Validating your list will help achieve better deliverability and therefore should help increase your chance to inbox. Mailchimp also will block your list upload and throw an Omnivore error which we help solve.

What’s more, ZeroBounce integrates directly with MailChimp, so it’s easier to import your list, clean it, and export it back onto MailChimp.

Do you have to have a big “list” to use this? 

No, it’s a percentages game. Whether your list is big or small, the percentage of bounces is the game that is played. We have customers that email only a hundred or so contacts and are finding value in our services. Alternatively, our large enterprise clients – who send millions of emails – include us into their workflows right before they send.

Why is email deliverability so important? 

It’s difficult to tell people that a lesser quantity, but a higher quality list is better. They often think that if you have a million contacts, you have a better chance of getting conversions sending to all of them. This is simply untrue. 

If we take your list and remove 30% of the bad contacts, it leaves with you 700k. Sending to those 700k but increasing your chance to get it into the inbox means this: 700k in inbox, vs 1m in spam. See the difference? Which has a better chance of converting?

Tell me more about your company. Are your employees remote? 

Right now, everyone is remote. In normal circumstances, we have three offices and most of our team reports to them. We have a few off-site employees as well. 

Where are you based? 

Our headquarters is in Boca Raton FL. We also have a satellite office in Santa Barbara, and an office in Bucharest, Romania to handle our around-the-clock service. 

How many people work at ZeroBounce?

About 30 in total.

How did you start your company? 

It started out of a need. We were looking for email validators to help with our own marketing campaigns at our sister company. Finding a company that guaranteed accurate results and took data privacy seriously proved impossible. Our CEO saw an opportunity and decided to build the service. 

Six years later, here we are, and very strong! We were built on the foundation above: security, privacy, and quality. Our customer feedback shows that we’re hitting the mark on all three.

What started as an email validation service has evolved into a platform with multiple features: list cleaning, A.I. email scoring, and deliverability testing.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to email marketing? 

1) Start with a clean list, use double opt-in to confirm people who are on your list actually wanted to be there. 

2) Don’t be shy to use free services to help get you started. Many companies offer them (including us) for little companies and start-ups. You have to start somewhere. We want you to be successful. 

3) Measure performance, which comes in the form of inbox/spam. Try out our free inbox placement tester, which will give insight in how your campaign might perform out in the marketplace. Remember, emails that go to spam are simply a waste of your energy and resources. You need to be in people’s inboxes. 

4) You will do something wrong, it’s natural. Keep track of what’s working and not, and stay flexible so you can adjust your moves.


Thank you so much, Brian!

More here:

ZeroBounce’s Email Server Tester