These days there is a lot of talk about the social media revolution. However, more people are still using email as their primary way of communication on the internet. In fact, it’s what most people do when they first connect to the internet each day. Because of this, we are going to take a look at how a WordPress MailChimp pairing can help you get into their inbox.
But first, how important is the inbox? Findings in a recent Forrester report indicates that email drives more repeat purchases than any other form of marketing outside of direct visits to a website. Further to that, it’s actually surprising how social represents such a marginal percentage.
What Does This All Mean?
It means that if you don’t have a way of communicating with your site’s visitors via email, your missing out. Big Time!
It also means that every day that goes by without an opt-in box on your site, your missing out. Big Time!
In many cases, adding an email newsletter of any kind comes across as a daunting task. You can’t just load hundreds of email addresses in the “To:” field of your email client and expect that they are going to make it through the spam filters.
There are piles of email newsletter services out there. So which one do you choose? As the old saying goes, ask 100 people and you’ll get 100 different answers. For me, I prefer MailChimp. The number one reason is that it’s free if you have a smaller list. By the time you need to pay, you’ll be happy you’re so popular. Plus, it’s a great service!
Let’s take a look at how to setup an email newsletter that automatically sends out new emails to your list every time you publish a new article to your website. This WordPress MailChimp combination ensures that more people are getting your articles, event notifications or sales promotions as soon as they hit your website.
Before we get started I must warn you that this is a pretty lengthy article at over 1,200 words and containing five videos I created just for this article, plus one that I didn’t create, which all combine for a total runtime of over 30 mins. There’s a lot to take in but in the end, you’ll see how simple it is to add an email newsletter to your site that you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it earlier.
Creating a MailChimp Account
Before we do anything else, we need to create an account with MailChimp. The whole process is quick, easy and straightforward but I still wanted to add a video explaining this step just to make sure it’s clear.
Click this link to head over to MailChimp to get started.
Starting a List in MailChimp
After you have your MailChimp account up and running, the next step is to create a list that your subscribers will be added to. You can create multiple lists in MailChimp depending on your needs but we are going to create our first list in the video below.
Establishing an RSS Campaign in MailChimp
Now that you have created a list to send your emails to, it’s time to add a way for your new blog posts to automatically be sent out to your email subscribers as soon as your new post goes live on your website.
To do this, we are going to use the RSS feed that is created by WordPress. It doesn’t matter if you are using a third party RSS tool, like Feedburner, or if you are just using the raw RSS feed from WordPress.
If you’re using a tool like Feedburner then I’ll assume that you are savy enough to already know what your new RSS feed is. If you are not using a third party RSS tool, you should be able to find your rss feed by going to: http://www.yourdomain.com/feed/
The video below will explain what you need to do with your RSS feed.
Creating a MailChimp Sidebar Opt-In Box
You have a campaign setup and you’ve created a list in MailChimp, now you need a way for your site’s visitors to add themselves to that list. To ensure that your WordPress MailChimp dynamic duo is effective, you need to ensure that your opt-in boxes are visible and simple to use.
With that said, you also need to make sure the whole opt-in process is smooth and painless for your new subscribers. The video below takes a look at setting up the opt-in process and adding an opt-in box to the side bar.
Adding a MailChimp Opt-In Box After Each Post
It’s very common to see an opt-in box added to the top right sidebar on sites. Another effective location for an opt-in box is at the end of each post.
After someone has read your full post, they might be more interested in what you have to say in the future. I wanted an easy way to do this so a while back I had a WordPress plugin created that makes it easy to add an opt-in box to every post on the site. You can find my free after post content box plugin here.
A Better Way to Add WordPress MailChimp Opt-In Boxes?
The methods that I described above are very effective and are free options. They are the options that I use on this site and many others.
Looking for an easier way to add good looking opt-in forms? I suggest taking a look at OptinSkin. Below is a video that explains how OptinSkin works and highlights some of its features.
Again, this isn’t a required plugin to get an email newsletter on your site but OptinSkin does give you some very nice options for customizing your opt-in boxes.
After following the steps outlined above, you should have an email newsletter that automatically gets sent whenever you publish a new post to your site. You should also have some clearly visible opt-in boxes on your site to make it easy for your visitors to add themselves to your newsletter list.
This system is complete but, of course, there is always something else you can do.
What’s Left? …Autoresponders!
Now that you’ve created a newsletter you might consider setting up a companion autoresponder series. This is a series of emails that gets sent out to your subscribers at a set interval. As an example, you may have a welcome email that gets sent the day after they subscribe. It doesn’t matter when they subscribe, it will always be delivered the day after.
You can space out these emails and interact with your subscribers as you wish. You can setup mini-courses or special content for subscribers only.
This article is lengthy enough as it is but if you’d like to see a future article on autoresponders, leave a comment and I’ll see to it that it gets done!