I'm receiving loads of questions from my visitors who want to learn how to add an email signup box to their blog. It could be a headache for a beginner who has just started a blog. To save your precious time, I decided to dedicate a whole blog post on that topic.
>>You will need to sign up for Constant Contact to follow this guide. Right now they have a 60 day free trial (no credit-card required). After that their pricing starts as low as $20/month but I was able to get you 20% off by clicking here<<
The main problem for starting bloggers is getting visitors and making them come back for more. I tend to discover a LOT of great blogs (and blog posts) on a daily basis but I never go back for one simple reason:
They don’t collect emails and I simply forget about them.
Bang, you've just lost me for good.
This is where we ALL lose a lot of visitors. The solution for this problem is collecting email addresses from YOUR visitors. I'm preaching email marketing and I also have a free blogging course where I collect emails from my visitors. In my opinion, email marketing is way better than social media marketing. However, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to leave social media behind… but email brings better results, here’s why:
Email is personal, private and cheap.
Imagine for a second how much more visitors you’d have if all the happy folks who enjoy your posts come back regularly. That’s probably a lot. This is exactly what email marketing helps to achieve.
You simply add an email subscription box below your posts or in a sidebar and ask people to sign up so you could notify them via email about new posts, announcements, products etc…
I bet you've seen something similar on different blogs and websites:
Here’s how you can add it to your blog as well. The current tutorial works well for WordPress blogs (if you don't believe me, go through the steps and see it yourself.) and I'm sure you will get it working in less than 15 minutes. I'm using Constant Contact in this example because I believe it's one of the best products in the email marketing world. They have some great advanced features like tagging and automation.
Let's get straight to it…
How to set up your email subscription box on your WordPress blog
There are 5 steps you need to complete.
Step 1: Sign up for a free trial at Constant Contact , Login and click “Set up your first list”. Fill in a memorable list name and add your own email under the “add some email addresses” section to get started.
Step 2: Head over to your WordPress Plugins section search for, install, and activate a plugin called Constant Contact Forms. After activation, click Connect Plugin. This will send you to a page where you can login to your Constant Contact account, login and it will auto connect to the plugin.
Step 3: Create a new optin form by clicking on “add new form.” Fill out the information. I recommend adding a field for “First Name.” Click “Publish” and copy the shortcode.
Step 4: Add the sign up box/form to your blog pages or sidebar widgets by pasting the shortcode (example [ctct form=”20″]) to the posts and pages. Make sure the Editor is switched to Text, not Visual, otherwise the form won't show up.
Step 5: Start writing emails in Constant Contact under “Campaigns” and see how your earlier visitors come back to your blog:)
How to send emails and start new campaigns on Constant Contact
Here's how you can get started with sending emails in Constant Contact:
1. Pick Campaigns and “Create“. On the pop up that asks to select a type, pick “Email”
2. Select the format you want to use. My suggestion is to go with the Blank template. It can be read on every device that allows to check emails. It's a bit risky to develop newsletters with very advanced design elements because each email provider may display these differently.
Search for “Blank” and select the template.
3. Now fill in the heading and other details. The subject is the most important part of every newsletter – it determines whether a person opens the newsletter or not. Delete the top image (unless you want to put in a header image). Add a Text by clicking the “Text” button.
4. Write the text for the newsletter. Keep the body part short if you're linking out to your latest blog post. It can be longer if the reader doesn't have to go outside of the email. Also, make sure the newsletter is personal by adding the first name, for that you can insert contact details (see on the picture below).
5. Click “Continue” to schedule the email to send later or send it now.
Some Do's and Don'ts You Should Know
You're excited to start collecting email addresses by now and sending emails to your visitors but wait for a second. To use email marketing effectively, you need to send campaigns from time-to-time. There are a couple of important rules you should always remember:
1) Don't spam. Never.
The number one reasons why people unsubscribe from your list is because they are getting way too much emails, offers, news etc. It's just overwhelming and in some cases information overloads inboxes. Start off slowly, 3-4 emails per month is more than enough (usually).
2) Be personal.
When you start writing an email, use “Hello, NAME.” instead of “Hello visitor!”. People want to get personalized emails, otherwise they will delete it or just don't care about it. Be as personal as possible and make sure you check this blog post as well: “11 Ways to get personal in your email marketing“.
3) Build trust and offer help.
Whenever you start building your email list, your ultimate goal should be building trust among your subscribers. If they don't trust you, they won't read your posts nor buy your products. Quite simple, eh? So start off with offering free help (just like I'm doing). In that way your list will get way more engaged and grow faster.
4) Every email has to have a purpose and bring value.
Make sure you deliver what you promised. If you blog about choreography, readers won't be interested about topics that have no connection to it. Explain them WIIFM (what's in it for me). For more reading, check this article.
5) Copy what others are doing.
Here's a really awesome tip that could help you to get better knowledge about email marketing for blogs. Simply sign up to two or three highly relevant yet professional and successful newsletters and see how they operate. Track what they offer, how long the emails are, how often they send them and what's their wording etc. That gives you a lot of insights what works for others. It's a great way to get some new ideas, modify them and use for your own newsletter.
Now over to you: Leave a comment whether you're planning to add a subscription box and put effort in email marketing? If not, what's the reason?