It’s time for another question for the blogger advice column! This one is from Geraldine from Coralling Books and it’s about a topic I’ve been meaning to talk about for a long time. Let’s go!
I hear a lot about email subscription systems (sorry idk the actual name for them!! Mailing lists maybe?) being really important, and how you need to set them up and stuff. Do you use one? And if so, why? And which would you recommend?
-Geraldine, Coralling Books
I definitely agree that email subscription is really important. I’m trying to focus on growing my email list this year. I use Mailchimp for email subscription, and I really like it. It’s free for up to 2000 subscribers as well, and is really easy to customize.
Here’s how I set up my email list through Mailchimp.
1.Create An Account
This is pretty important! Visit the Mailchimp website, and create a brand new account for yourself. It’s 100% free, and is a really easy process. Once you’ve set up and confirmed your account, you’ll be able to access your Mailchimp dashboard for the rest of this tutorial.
2. Create A New List
Once you log in, you’ll find yourself on your Mailchimp dashboard. Using the menu at the top of the screen, select “Lists” and then the grey “Create List” button. From there, fill to the list details with the name of the list (“Blog Subscribers”) default email (use your own email address) and default From name (you can use your blog name for this). Then write a short reminder about how the recipients are receiving this email because they opted in at your website. Click the “Save” button.
You don’t have to do anything else with your new list right now, but this will be coming in useful very soon.
3. Create A New Campaign
From there, you want to create a new campaign. Do you see thee “Campaigns” button at the top of the screen? That’s the one you want. From there, click the arrow on the dark grey “Create Campaign” drop-down menu, and select “RSS Driven Campaign.” Got it? Click Next.
4. Enter Your RSS Feed URL
Once you’ve created a new RSS campaign, you’ll find yourself on the screen you see above. Enter the URL of your RSS feed for your blog above. Not sure what the URL of your RSS feed is? Don’t worry, it’s super easy to find. Typically, it is the URL of your blog and then /feed at the end. For example: http://www.yourblog.com/feed. Once you’ve done that, click Next.
5. Add Your List
Remember in the 2nd step when we created a brand new list for your blog followers? This is where it becomes important. In this step, you’ll just select the list that you want to send your emails to, and click Next. In this example, I selected my old Bookish Serendipity list (not the one that has my current subscribers on it) to use as an example. One you’ve chosen your list, click Next.
6. Fill Out Your Campaign Information
This one looks complicated but trust me, it isn’t. Just name your campaign (just something simple. I used Bookish Serendipity’s Blog Posts) and give it a subject. You can decide if you want the emails to show to the recipients as a) from your name or b) from your blog’s name as well. If there’s anything else you want to customize, do it and then click the Next button.
7. Choose Your Campaign Template
Since you are running an RSS-driven campaign, you’ll want to choose a template that works for that style of campaign. On this page, scroll all the way to the bottom, and you will see several options that work for RSS campaigns. I chose the “Basic RSS” option for my campaign, and it works well for my purposes. If you want to do something a little fancier, feel free to check out the other options available. Once you’re done, click Next.
8. Customize Your Template
You’re probably looking at this page and going “WHAAAT?” Trust me, I did the same thing the first time I set up my email subscription. Don’t worry, it’s easy. To edit any of the elements on this page, just hover over it, and you’ll see a little box where you can select the little pencil. An edit function will pop up. While you’re filling out the elements on this page, there are a few things you have to do on this page (the rest you can leave alone):
- Add a feature image that will appear in each of your emails. For my emails, I use my blog logo header, because it fits really well in the box. You can do this by dropping the image on the area near the top where it says “Drop Image Here.” Simple, right?
- Add a quick preview of your email. At the very top of your email, you’ll see some text that says “Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content.” Fill it out! I just use something simple like “Hey check it out! It’s a new post from Bookish Serendipity!”
That’s it! The rest of the mumbo-jumbo is actually just telling the Mailchimp system to fill that space with your latest amazing blog post. You don’t have to touch it at all. Just click Next.
9. Confirm the details of your campaign
This is basically just confirming everything that you’ve entered throughout the process. Sometimes, there will be an error you’ll have to fix, but most of the time you’ll be all ready to go! From here, just click the “Start RSS button” at the bottom of the screen, and you’re good to go.
Now whenever you write a new post and put it up on your blog, your email subscribers will be automatically notified via email. They’ll get the whole post, right in your inbox. Pretty great, right?
10. Add A Sign-Up Form
If you want people to be able to join your mailing list, you need to have a way for them to do it! The way to do that is to create a sign-up form that you can add to your website. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to “Lists”
- From the dropdown arrow by the “Stats” button, select “Sign-up forms”
- Choose “Embedded Forms”
- Edit and customize your sign-up form.
- Grab the code and put it on your website.
It really is this easy to set up your email subscription for your website. If you follow the steps of this tutorial, you should have it up and running in less 20 minutes. Great, right?
Having email subscription available for your blog is super important because it provides an alternative to sites like Bloglovin. Not everyone has a Bloglovin’ account, but who doesn’t have an email address they can use? It has made a huge difference for connecting with readers for my blog, and I know it will be helpful for your site as well.
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Oh, hey! Do you also want some pretty awesome bonus content to help you GROW your mailing list? Join my mailing list below and get your free copy of “25 (Totally Epic) Ways To Get People To Subscribe Via Email.” It’s part of a library of freebies available ONLY to my email subscribers. Get it now!
Do you have email subscription available to your blog readers yet?