Supercharge Your Email Marketing Using MailChimp & WordPress (Integrations / Plugins)

David Hehenberger September 14, 2015

As a blogger or online business owner, are you avoiding the elephant? You might be. It’s not literally an elephant of course. But figuratively speaking, it’s a proverbial “elephant in the room”.

What do we mean exactly? What’s so colossal that it can be compared to an elephant?

Email marketing.

As a marketing form, email is an “elephant” because it ranks among the oldest and arguably the most powerful. There is virtually no limit to the number of people who can be reached via email marketing. On top of that, it’s far more direct and personal than other types of online marketing.

There’s also the fact that an email will typically linger until action is taken by the person receiving it. This means that the email you send won’t vanish from sight in the blink of an eye as happens, for example, with messages sent on Facebook.

Sounds great, right? So why are you – or at least your peers – avoiding email marketing?

Relax, you don’t have to answer that. Instead, let’s just assume that you’re not doing email marketing because you view it as complicated and time-consuming.

And that’s where this post comes in. In the sections that follow, we’ll show how you can use email to easily and effectively build your marketing list. Then, armed with what we’ve covered, you can tame the “elephant” of email marketing and ride it to success.

Introducing… MailChimp

Ah, the elusive first step.

Right now, you probably understand the need for action. And you know that action involves email marketing. But how do you get started on that? What’s your specific first step?

No need to wonder. The first specific step you should take is selecting an email platform. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to base our discussion around a leading email platform called MailChimp (

Why MailChimp? Well, for starters, there’s that whole “leading email platform” part. But MailChimp has more going for it than just that. Use MailChimp even briefly and you’ll notice how simple it is. We’re not going to mention any names, but many platforms for email marketing take far more time to learn.

MailChimp is also free if you have under 2,000 subscribers or are sending less than 12,000 emails in a given month. Naturally, it isn’t a charity and they do charge. But if you’re just dipping a few toes into email marketing, you can’t go wrong with MailChimp’s free plan. Free usage, an easy interface, and great MailChimp WordPress plugins make it a Godfather-like “offer you can’t refuse”.

Ok, so we’ve gushed ad nauseam about MailChimp and you’re probably sold. But where does your WordPress site fit into the picture?

Before we discuss that, take a minute and get yourself a MailChimp account. You’ll need an account in order to do anything with MailChimp and WordPress.

To grab your account, head to MailChimp’s website ( and follow their sign up instructions. We’d print those instructions here, but it’s easy, really!

Integrating MailChimp & WordPress

To get started on a basic level, you don’t even need a MailChimp WordPress plugin.

After you’ve got your MailChimp account, it’s time to add in your existing email list. This list will contain everyone who you already have as subscribers, customers, or contacts of some other type. By adding these folks to your new account, you’ll be able to reach them using all of MailChimp’s marketing might.

mailchimp dashboard

Adding your list is easy too. Just click the “Create a List” button within MailChimp’s dashboard and then input the requested data. After you’ve finished, hit the “Save” button and your list will be ready to go.


Now we can start talking about that WordPress site of yours. Our next task will be connecting your site on WordPress with the email list you just created in MailChimp. We need to connect these two so that you can use MailChimp’s email marketing features on WordPress.

As you might expect, this too is relatively painless. You can connect MailChimp and WordPress by adding in a MailChimp signup form on your site. Begin that process by going to the “Lists” page in your MailChimp account. You may already be there from the previous steps. If you are already on this page, look for the button (shown in the screenshot below) that says “Create a Signup form”

If you are not there already, once you have arrived on the “Lists” this page, look for a drop-down menu. It will be situated adjacent to the your list. You’ll want to click on the menu and choose the “sign up forms” option.

mailchimp wordpress signup form

In both cases, you should now be on another page where you can choose between various types of forms. Make sure you chose “embedded form”, so you can embed it within WordPress. That’s the key right there. With the simple click of a button and some input on the next screen, you’ll get code to embed the signup form on your site.

embedded mailchimp forms

“But I can’t code!”

You don’t have to. The process to integrate MailChimp with WordPress doesn’t require any coding knowledge. All you need to know is how to copy and paste. You can do that, right?

copy mailchimp snippet

If so, just copy the code from your MailChimp signup form into WordPress. That process, in greater detail, entails going to your WordPress dashboard and clicking on the “Appearance – Widgets” area in order to add MailChimp to your WordPress Sidebar.

Create a text widget on your site and paste your MailChimp code into it. Then pause for a moment to admire your own handiwork. As the dust settles, you’ll see a MailChimp form on your website.


By default, the form that’s created probably won’t look amazing. If appearance is not a huge deal, you may leave the form as is and move on. Otherwise, you (or your programmer friend) can modify the form with CSS.

mailchimp sidebar widget in wordpress

The Missing Piece: A MailChimp WordPress Plugin

mailchimp wordpress plugin

Sorry to rain on your parade. Especially after you’ve spent all this time getting set up with MailChimp. But MailChimp alone won’t be enough for your email marketing efforts. It can certainly help you take your email marketing game to the next level. In fact as we’ll see in just a moment, there is a great feature you can (and should) take full advantage of for just this purpose.

Yet we can’t forget that any MailChimp WordPress Plugin integration is predicated on the fact that you have a list. Your email list is the spark and MailChimp can’t help you start a fire without it.

If you currently have a healthy, growing email list – fantastic! Take a coffee break and meet us in the next section.

For the rest of us, the reality of lists is probably quite different. You may, for example, have no email list at all. Or if you do have a list, it might be abysmally small or sizable but with unresponsive subscribers.

In either case, you need this missing piece (the email list) in order to continue.

Don’t worry, though. You’re not the only one who has struggled with this issue. Plenty of other people have wrestled with it, to the extent that there are now heaps of methods for building a large, high-quality email list.

With so many methods, what do you do?

Take a deep breath.

Then try Optin Cat.

Optin what?

Optin Cat. It’s one of the leading and best MailChimp WordPress plugins for growing a quality email list. You can read about this MailChimp WordPress integration in full detail here.

Disclaimer: this is our own product.

Building Your MailChimp List with Optin Cat for WordPress

If you’re too lazy to click the link above, here’s a rundown of Optin Cat.

This MailChimp WordPress plugin won’t help you lose weight, look 10 years younger, or meet the person of your dreams. But it will help you build an email list that can then be used with MailChimp. And at that, Optin Cat absolutely excels.

MailChimp WP Widgets for your Sidebar

If the Optin Form you pasted in from MailChimp looks uninspiring, Optin Cat’s Sidebar Widget is for you – it lets you add a beautiful, highly converting optin form in minutes. This is great news because we’ve seen many bloggers and website owners neglect their sidebar. Come on guys, your sidebar is valuable real estate! Make it count by putting an optin form there, courtesy of Optin Cat. (Pro tip: You can make the Optin Cat – MailChimp WordPress widget sticky using this plugin to get even more optins.)

MailChimp Popups

After you do that, you’ll want to take advantage of another cool feature within this MailChimp WordPress plugin. Said feature is lightbox popups. We love lightbox popups because they are incredible effective.

What’s cool about Optin Cat is that its MailChimp popups can be displayed based on visitor behavior. These popups are smart and don’t just appear for no apparent reason. Instead, you can set one of Optin Cat’s popups to show up at the right moment, such as when people scroll down a certain percentage on the page, when they are on a specific post/page/category, or when someone starts to leave the page. It’s a great feature since popups become welcome guests rather than annoying pests.

And much more…

Above features are just scratching the surface. For advanced marketers, there’s features such as MailChimp single optin and the ability to do two-step optins.

As you can see, Optin Cat is much more powerful than just a simple MailChimp popup plugin, but still very affordable. Click here to learn more about growing your MailChimp list with Optin Cat.

MailChimp Newsletters + WordPress (No Plugin Needed)

We could go on about how amazing Optin Cat MailChimp / WP plugin is, but hopefully you get the idea. It’s an excellent way to get the email list you need for email marketing with MailChimp.

Speaking of MailChimp, we’re not done discussing it just yet. We still need to talk about that great feature alluded to previously. The feature to which we’re referring is the WordPress RSS Newsletter. That’s kind of a mouthful, so let’s break it down.

In essence, MailChimp has a feature which enables you to send updates to your email subscribers.

“Wait, can’t I just do that by manually sending an email from MailChimp?”

Well you could…but why? Unless you do it to honor a dying man’s last request, there’s no reason to send manual updates via MailChimp. You can automate the process instead. (Actually, there are some advantages to manually sending emails about new posts, but in our experience most people are too lazy and don’t end up sending these emails at all. That’s why we recommend setting this up.)

MailChimp will let you create automated email campaigns which blast your recent WP blog posts to subscribers. The collection of posts that gets sent is referred to as an RSS newsletter.

To set up your RSS newsletter, begin by entering your MailChimp account. Inside, click on the Campaigns button and “Create Campaign”.

You then get a variety of types of campaigns. Make sure you pick the “RSS-driven” option.


After this, paste in the URL for your RSS feed, so MailChimp has it. Usually your RSS URL would be or In the case of this site, it’s You should also pick out how often (daily, weekly, etc.) and at what time you want the email sent out


From here, it’s just a matter of selecting which list you want to use for the newsletter and designing the template for the email messages. You may get lost in this process, but we highly doubt it. If you do get lost, though, feel free to consult MailChimp’s own support section.

Wrapping Up

With that being said, we’re now at the end of our discussion on MailChimp in WordPress. We’ve covered quite a range of topics here, from the silly (elephants) to the serious (getting subscribers to grow your business). Going forward, you should definitely consider email marketing, using the two tools mentioned here – MailChimp and Optin Cat. Best of luck in that pursuit and keep us posted on how it goes!

PS, We’ve also put together a free 5-day email course on how to drastically grow your MailChimp list with ease. Click here to get instant access.

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