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To successfully maintain a website or to launch a successful digital advertising campaign, you need a powerful and reliable email service and while there are great email and newsletter distributor services on the internet, I personally think MailChimp is one of the best.
Not only does MailChimp provide all the necessary tools to build and manage a mailing list, they offer a free plan which allows users to manage up to 2,000 contacts and send 10,000 emails per month.
However, to fully leverage this communication service, it’s imperative to understand how to integrate it with your WordPress website properly…which is why I’ve put together this MailChimp tutorial.
Do you prefer watching a video tutorial instead? No problem, check out my in depth YouTube tutorial below.
Signing Up with MailChimp
As with other mainstream email service programs, the MailChimp sign-up process is incredibly streamlined. All you are required to do is enter your desired email address, select a username, and produce a password. An activation email will be sent to your email address and all you need to do is open the email and click on the activation link.
You will then be redirected to the set up page where you will be required to provide some information about yourself and your business. If you already have a list of emails from another source, you will have the opportunity of importing them. There are a few extra steps such as connecting to social media and finding your marketing path, all of which you can skip and just finish the sign up process.
Configuring your Email List
By default, the free plan of MailChimp will automatically create your one and only mailing list by using the name of your business and will also add your email address to that list as a contact. You can of course edit all these by clicking on the settings link on your main audience page.
Click on the Audience Name & Campaign Defaults link and you will be able to change the name of your list. I also recommend you tick the Enable double opt-in box. This will prevent spammers as subscribers will now to have to confirm their intention of joining your mailing list.
I also recommend you click on the Required email footer content and your website’s URL at the bottom. Keep in mind that whatever information is displayed on this particular page will appear in the footer of every email you send to your list.
If you are working with a paid plan, you can begin creating your own lists such as your existing customers or a prospect database. To begin, click on the button titled “Lists” in the main menu. From there, select “Create List;” this will allow you to preset your recipients, auto-enter your name, and craft other elements of your emails.
Setting up Automated Emails
Whenever a new subscriber is added to your mailing list, it’s a great idea to send them an email welcoming them but you already know this. The big question here is how do you do this with MailChimp.
One your home page, click on the Campaigns link and you will be taken to a page where you will be prompted to create your welcome email.
You can also create other types of emails configured for special occasions such as birthdays.
I will also strongly recommend you create a goodbye message for those who wish to unsubscribe from your list. To do this, go back to your main audience page and click on the Manage Audience button and then the sign-up forms button. This will take you to the form builder.
Select it and from the drop down box, choose goodbye email.
Connecting MailChimp with WordPress
Now that you have got your MailChimp account, list and automated emails all set up, its time to connect your account with your WordPress website.
There are a few ways to do this but I recommend using a plugin and more specifically, the MailOptin plugin. This is a plugin that integrates well with just about every major marketing service provider and offers a ton of additional features such as pop up forms, calls to action, page level targeting and so much more. They do offer a free version as well so I recommend downloading and activating it on your site.
Once you have done this, you would need to go Integrations, choose MailChimp and then add your API key. Save your changes and you are done.
To learn how you can generate your API keys please check out this tutorial – Get your MailChimp API keys.
Creating a Sign-up Form
To start getting subscribers or prospective customers, it’s a great idea to add a registration or sign-up option on your website. You can either create the form directly on MailChimp or with the MailOptin plugin.
On MailChimp, you can create your signup form on the Audience page by clicking on the Signup forms link.
You will have access to a variety of signup forms you can create and then embed the code on your website.
With MailOptin, simply go to Campaigns, add a new one, choose your type of sign up form and select one of the prebuilt templates. Note that with the free version, you are limited to your template options.
Once you’ve designed your custom sign-up form, you will be taken to another page where you can customize the form and also choose when and where to display it. Make sure you activate the form at the top of the page and you are set.
For a very detailed overview of the MailOptin form plugin, please check out my tutorial on Youtube – MailOptin Review
Once you have started populating your list with subscribers, you may want to send out an email offering fresh content or to promote your products. To do this, simply head over to Campaigns, click on create campaign on the right and choose the type of campaign you want to send out.
You will then need to give the campaign a name and choose which subscribers you want to send the campaign to. You can also a choose template for your campaign. A template is a sort of preset aesthetic “shell,” which comes with a set of colors, graphics, layouts, pre selected fonts, and other elements to make your emails stand out in your subscribers’ inbox. Not only will these custom themes encourage your subscriber to open every email you send, but they are also likely to increase subscriber participation and conversions.
You can use the pre-existing templates found on MailChimp, as well as ones available online; you can also utilize the “Create Template” option. Fortunately, just like using WordPress to create a custom site, MailChimp’s custom template creation elements are easy to use and can be tailored to match your website’s aesthetic.
MailChimp is a great tool for starting and growing your mailing list. You can take advantage of their free plan and then upgrade to one of their paid packages once you have a healthy list of subscribers.