May 27, 2019
A Guide to Exit Popups for WordPress
Getting people to your site is only half the battle. Once someone reaches your site, you need to keep them th...
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?
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.
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 (MailChimp.com).
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 (MailChimp.com) and follow their sign up instructions. We’d print those instructions here, but it’s easy, really!
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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.
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 http://yourdomain.com/rss or http://yourdomain.com/feed. In the case of this site, it’s https://fatcatapps.com/rss. 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.
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.