There are so many email marketing options out there. Which to choose? Let us help you choose an email software, add a subscribe form to your site, get subscribers and promote to your list.
By slowly and steadily staying in touch with your audience via their inbox, you’re growing a fan base you own. Not one that Facebook or Twitter does.
We reviewed the PROs and CONs of the two most common types of emails: newsletters and notifications.
But there are so many email marketing options out there – which to choose? Where to start?
Today, we’re going to simplify all of that for you. We’ll look at:
- Choosing a free email service: Mailpoet or Mailchimp
- Adding a sign up form to your site
- Getting subscribers and promoting to your list
Let’s jump right in.
Step 1. Choosing the right email marketing service
Option 1: MailPoet Newsletters WordPress plugin – FOR BEGINNERS
Whether you’ve got a hosted blog, or your own self-hosted author website, chances are it’s built using WordPress.
The plugin I recommend MailPoet Newsletters (WordPress plugin).
This is a quick, simple, and cheap option. It will allow people to subscribe to your email list, and they’ll be emailed when you publish a new post. The drawback to this method is that it sends email from your website’s (shared) hosting server, which might not always pass your subscriber’s email spam filters. Imagine if you lived in an apartment and your neighbour sent out a lot of spam. Your whole block would get a bad name.
Here’s a shortlist of MailPoet’s features:
- Drag & drop newsletter editor (build your own design)
- Send your latest posts automatically
- Get stats for your newsletter: opens, clicks, unsubscribes
- Segment your lists based on unopened, opened and clicked
- Selection of over 70 themes
- Sending newsletters in the free version is limited to 2000 subscribers
Option 2: MailChimp – for Intermediate and advanced
If you’re looking to take your email campaigns to a more professional level, then go for Mailchimp.
I recommend MailChimp because it’s the only professional grade email service that has a free plan. MailChimp is basically free for up to 2,000 subscribers. This option does everything that MailPoet does, but it sends the emails from MailChimp’s servers, which won’t be caught by spam filters.
As it’s a full email marketing service, you get a lot more. Professional email templates, powerful automation features, and integration with other platforms. For example the ability to embed a signup form on your Facebook page.
If you’re going to MailChimp, the first thing to do is sign up for a free account.
If you’re still unsure about the MailPoet and Mailchimp, go for the better long-term option, Mailchimp.
Step 2. Adding a sign up form to your website.
After you’ve signed up for an account and have created a list, the next thing to do is to add a subscribe form to your website.
If you’re got a hosted WordPress.com site
WordPress.com controls all of the technical stuff for you, so you don’t get access to edit code. This means you’ll use MailChimp’s signup link.
Link to your signup form
- copy your signup form’s URL from MailChimp’s Form Builder, and
- insert it as a link in your WordPress site’s main navigation, sidebar, or footer.
Visitors will click the link to go to the form and then return to your site when they’ve completed signup.
If you’ve got a hosted WordPress.org site
When you’ve got a self-hosted WordPress site, you or your web designer has full access to editing code and customise any aspect of the experience.
To integrate MailChimp with WordPress, I recommend Easy Forms for MailChimp.
As a hosted WordPress site owner, you’ll have access to many more advanced integrations.
Step 3. Getting subscribers and promoting your list
Getting subscribers to your list obviously starts with producing something readers will find valuable or interesting, and want to continue receiving it on a regular basis.
Spell out the benefits
On your email list subscribe landing page, clearly describe the benefits of receiving your email. Also indicate the frequency of emails – weekly posts, monthly newsletters, monthly post roundups.
On your site: your blog’s call to action
Many people that visit your website will never return. To capture this traffic, one goal of your blog post could be to get the reader to subscribe. Place the ’call to action‘ prominently at the end of your post.
Whenever you get the chance to write a guest post on another blog, be sure to include a link to your email opt-in form.
Off site: Promote on social media
If you’ve already got a good following on a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter, promote your email list there. This offers your followers a way to connect with you for exclusive and longer form posts.
You can also use social media to collect emails for your email list. For example, when you publish to your blog, post it on your Facebook page, or share to Twitter. Drive the traffic back to your site for the full content, and encourage people to sign up to your email list in order to receive more posts like it.
Offline: speaking events
There are many opportunities to promote your email list and encourage people to opt-in. When you’re presenting to a group for example. Be sure to add an invite in one of your presentation slides.
After each speaking event, hand out a simple sheet of paper for people to add their details. Don’t rely on them proactively going to your website at a later date to sign up.
To get the visitor to actually fill out your signup form, consider offering a free gift.
Here’s a list of opt-in offer ideas to get you started:
- A special ‘behind the scenes’ look at what you do, this could be video or written content
- An exclusive piece of writing
- Giveaways and prizes
Look how Tristan Bancks is promoting his email list. John Boyne (The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas) retweeted it to his 99.5K Twitter followers. That’s a lot of eyeballs that may be interested in Tristan’s news.
Remember, your website is the hub for all of your marketing efforts.
Whether it’s posting to your own website, getting exposure on other influential blogs by guest posting, or offline at press interviews or speaking events, get people to get to your website. Once there, one of the primary goals should be subscription to your email list.