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.
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 Mailchimp in this example because I believe it’s one of the best products in the email marketing world for beginner bloggers. If you have a business or need advanced features, you could check out Aweber or GetResponse instead. MailChimp is free for the first 2000 users. Pretty good deal, uh?
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 at Mailchimp and create a new list under List section.
Step 2: Head over to your WordPress Plugins section and install a plugin called Mailbag.
Step 3: Edit the settings and insert API Key from MailChimp. It’s located under My Profile -> Extras -> API Keys. If there are no active API keys, just generate one. Now format the button text that visitors see and click. You can use something like “Get updates” or “Sign up to my blog newsletter”. Just use your imagination.
Step 4: Add the sign up box/form to your blog pages or sidebar widgets by pasting [mailbag_mailchimp] 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 Mailchimp under “Campaigns” and see how your earlier visitors come back to your blog:)
Here’s a quick video that covers the whole setup process:
How to send emails and start new campaigns on MailChimp
Here’s how you can get started with sending emails in Mailchimp:
1. Pick Campaigns and “Create a new one“.
2. Select the format you want to use. My suggestion is to go with a Plain Text Campaign. It can be read on every device that allows to check emails. As long as there are tens of different email softwares used, it’s a risk to develop newsletters with very advanced design elements – each software can display it a bit differently.
3. Now fill in the heading and other details. Heading (also known as subject) is the most important part of every newsletter – it determines whether a person opens the newsletter or not.
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, for that you can use special tags (see on the picture below).
5. Send out the campaign and see how returning visitors come back to read your blog.
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?