How to Create a Mailing List with Mailchimp and Why I Failed Using it at The Beginning of my Blogging

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Hello Dusers aka dUS blog readers, today I want to share with you how to apply a mailing list system onto your blog by using Mailchimp.

After you’ve finished reading this post you should be able to collect your readers’ email address and send them an email afterwards. Hopefully, it will connect you with your readers closer and increase your blog traffic in time.

If you want to dive directly to the technical stuff you can jump to the 9 steps to prepare MailChimp mailing list. If you want to know more about this strategy please read the next paragraph.

What is a mailing list strategy?

A mailing list strategy is a strategy to reach out your audiences through email. In this strategy, you will gather your blog reader’s email and create a list.

To catch you reader’s email address you’ll place a signup form on your blog at a certain locations or you can use a pop-up.

What is the benefits of using a mailing list strategy?

This strategy is used by many big bloggers. They use it to keep in touch with their readers. Professional bloggers don’t just keep finding new audiences, they keep their old ones coming back and make their fans spread their contents. That’s why their traffic can grow.

The advantage of the mailing list strategy in the eyes of big bloggers are:

  1. It gives them the permission to contact their readers – The email addresses they have collected come from the people who allow themselves to be contacted by the blogger.
  2. It increases traffic – When a reader subscribes, it means he already like the content of the blog. So when the blogger sends another content through email, the person is more likely to check it out, share it or maybe even backlink it. At the end, it will bring more people to the blog and subscribe.
  3. Control – Email gives more control than the other platforms over your reaching power. Do you still remember what happens to Facebook. Suddenly they just change their policy and we can no longer reaching out all our fan page fans.
    As long we are in the other platform belonging to someone else, then we are the mercy of the land lord.
  4. Reduce the dependency on Google traffic – A mailing list strategy is one method to acquire traffic without Google.

How to execute a mailing list strategy

To broadcast emails in a large number, you’ll need an email marketing provider. They have the ability to send email in large quantity right into people’s inbox (and not to the Spam Folder) in high rate.

Furthermore, they have additional features, such as:

  1. Sending automatic email in sequence.
  2. Applying A/B testing.
  3. Segmentation.
  4. etc.

Some of the email marketing providers recommended by the big bloggers are Aweber dan Getresponse. Meanwhile, Mailchimp is often times mentioned as an alternative. It’s not because it’s cheaper, but because it offers a free service up to the first 2000 subscribers, while the others aren’t.

Why you should use Mailchimp first

If you want to use the paid email marketing providers, be my guest. There’s no problem.

Here is my opinion of using Mailchimp first. At the beginning you’ll probably make some mistakes. Besides, there’s a big chance it may take you some times before you can collect a significant number of subscriber. By using Mailchimp you can learn with a very minimum cost of $0.

Don’t expect that after you implement the mailing list strategy, suddenly your traffic will go off the roof. A mailing list is a tool. The result will depend on how skillful you are in using it. The price of an email marketing provider service won’t affect your success rate.

Why I failed using a mailing list strategy at the beginning of my blogging? 

When I started this blog, I immediately implemented this strategy as suggested by the masters. But when I see the open rate and the click rate kept moving downward and some unsubscribed, I thought to myself, “Oh my God, they hate me!” My confidence shattered. So I stop using it.

This could happen to you too.

I suspect the reason of my failure is the content and relevancy. In the beginning, the direction of my contents are unclear and I don’t know how to create a good content.

Then, why I use the mailing list again?

Because I want to grow. A blog grows alongside with the growth of the blogger itself. And I don’t want to get stucked.

If I were to make any mistake again, let it be my lesson. What’s important is I can master this strategy.

Can Mailchimp be used to offer an incentive?

Usually in order to get the email address of your address, bloggers offer an incentive, for example, an Ebook. So if a reader wants it, he has to trade it with his email address. Later, an email containing the URL link to download the Ebook will be sent.

This is called an Auto Responder.

This can be done with MailChimp using its final welcome email. You don’t have to pay for a paid service for this purpose.

The subscription flow

The flow that your readers will go through when subscribing to your blog:

  1. They sign up
  2. They will be led to a “thank you” page + receive a confirmation email.
  3. The confirm
  4. They will be brought to the second thank you page
  5. They get a welcome email (optional)

9 Steps to prepare Mailchimp mailing list

MailChimpOk, you’ve understood the subscription flow. There are 9 things you need to prepare in order for your readers to go through the flow:

  1. Create an email account through cPanel – an email with your own domain will make you look more pro, for example, juanfeju@dapur-uang.com.
  2. Create a forwarder – with a forwarder, you can forward the incoming email to another email you generally use.
  3. Create a list – a list is used to store email addresses of your subscribers.
  4. Create a sign up “thank you” page this is the page where you say thank you for subscribing and ask the subscriber to click a confirmation button in a sent email.
  5. Prepare an opt-in confirmation email this is a confirmation email where the subscriber needs to confirm his subscription.
  6. Prepare a  confirmation “thank you” page this is the page where the reader is officially subscribed.
  7. Prepare a final welcome email (optional) this is an email saying welcome and you can also use it to deliver your digital incentive.
  8. Set up the fields for the list – this determines what data you want to gather from your subscribers
  9. Place the signup form on your blog – this form is to catch the email addresses.

After you’ve gone through these 9 steps you should understand how to prepare yourself the unsubscribe process as part of your exercise.

1. Create an email account through cPanel

Creating an email with your own domain will make you look more professional. This email will appear when you broadcast emails to your subscribers. If you prefer to use yahoo, gmail, etc. it’s up to you.

I need to inform you, that the appearance of your cPanel may differ from the image below. Because it depends on the “skin” that the hosting provider uses.

Now to create an email let’s follow these steps:

  1. Enter your cPanel. Click Email Accounts.Email accounts
  2. On the next page, fill the Email, Password, and Confirm Password.
    Next, click Create Account. Thus,  a new email account will be created.Buat akun emailOptional:
  1. To create a strong password, you may use the password generator.
  2. To change the email quote, you may change the 250MB to your desired size.
  3. Choose unlimited if you don’t want any limit.
  • If an account has been created you will see a list as shown in the image below.Akun user

2. Create a forwarder

A forwarder is used to forward an incoming email to another email address.

To set it up follow these steps:

  1. Go back to the front page of your cPanel. Click Forwarders.Fowarders
  2. On the next page. Click Add Forwarder. Add fowarder
  3. Fill the Address to Forward with the email account you’ve just created.
    Fill Forward to email address field with the email address you want to use.
    Tambah forwarder baru
  4. After you’ve finished, on the forwarders list you will see similar something like the image below. Forwarder

Now, test it. If you send an email, in this case to juanfeju@dapur-uang.com, thus the ekajuan@yahoo.co.id account will receive its forwarded email.

3. Create a list

Now, it’s time to create a list to store the email addresses. After you’ve logged into Mailchimp, on the right top corner, click the create list button.

Next you will fill a form regarding the list.

create list formFill:

  1. List Name – The name of your list, give it a good name because this name will be seen by your subscribers.
  2. Default “from” email – Fill it with the email address you’ve created on cPanel
  3. Default “from” name – Use your name if you want to be more personal.
  4. Remind people how they got on you list – A reminder why the get into the list, in case they forget or wonder why they get an email from you.
  5. Company/Organization – If you are a blogger, fill it with the name of your blog.
  6. Address – You can fill with your domain. You don’t need to use your real address.
  7. City – Your city.
  8. Zip/Postal code – Your zip code.
  9. Country – Your country.
  10. Phone – This is optional if you want to provide your subscriber with your contact number.
  11. Notification – You can choose how you want to receive the notification when someone subscribe or unsubscribe.

The no.1-10 data will appear when your reader receives your email.

4. Create the Sign up “thank you” page

This is the page basically saying, “thank you, please confirm your subscription.” There two options:

  1. You may use the template page from Mailchimp.
  2. You may use a page of your blog.

In this tutorial, I will show you the second option. Please follow these steps:

  1. Create a WordPress new page, give it a title, for example: “You’re close.” You may change the URL, it’s up to you.
  2. Craft a message saying your readers need to confirm their email address through an email sent to them. Then, publish it
  3. On the Mailchimp dashboard > Click the lists menu > Choose the list > Click the Signup form > Choose the general formsCreating thank you page in mailchimp
  4. On the next page, choose the Signup “thank you” page
    creating thank you page in mailchimp2
  5. Enter the URL of the page you’ve created on no.1, for example:
    Creating thank you page in mailchimp3If the URL is valid, thus this process can be saved, else you’ll get a warning.

5. Setup an Opt-in confirmation email

Still on the general forms page, now, choose Opt-in confirmation email.

creating opt-in confirmation email

You will setup an email confirmation that will be received by your subscriber after he gives you his email address.

Here you will edit the email according to your need.

6. Create the Sign up “thank you” page

This is the last page basically saying, “Congratulations, your email address has been confirmed.”

How you create it, is the same with the step no. 4. Create the Sign up “thank you” page.

On this page you can also place an Ebook URL you’ve promised or place links to your useful articles. So rather then letting your readers lost their way, you can lead them to a place in your blog that may benefit them.

7. Preparing the final welcome email

This is optional. If you still want to send your subscribers a final email, you can do it here. The way you do it, is similar as preparing the confirmation email

You can use this email to send the Ebook URL you’ve promised.

8. Set up the fields for the list

The fields is to collect the data you want to get from your readers. Usually people only ask for the email address and the name. Some may only ask for the email address. The purpose is to reduce the resistance of people to subscribe.

Because the more things to do, may discourage people to give away their email address.

Then why asking for the name?

Because you can use it to get more personal when you send them an email by using their name.

Ok, let’s delete the last name and save the changes.

Mailchimp fields

9. Place the signup form on your blog

From  Mailchimp dashboad > Click the List menu > Choose the list you want to use > click the Signup forms

Here you have 4 kinds of signup forms:

  1. General forms – you  use a link to direct people to Mailchimp signup page.
  2. Embedded forms – you embed HTML code to your blog.
  3. Subscriber pop up – you  use the basic pop-up sign up form.
  4. Forms integration

In this tutorial I will teach how to use the embedded forms.

1. On the list page > signup forms > choose embedded forms Mailchim embedded formsOn the next page there are 4 types of sign up forms:

  1. classic
  2. slim
  3. naked
  4. advanced

Each has its own use. For this tutorial we’ll use the “Classic”

2. Tick the Disable all Javascript. If you use your own page to display the thank you page, this option has to be turned off.

disable javascript

The appearance of the classic form can you see on the image below.

Classic signup form

3. Next, you copy paste the code pointed by the above red arrow, to the widget text on your WordPress.

If you want to have a better look, you need to understand CSS.

If you want to place it after the content, there are a few ways:

  1. If your theme provides a place to put widgets after the content, you can use that.
  2. You can also use an Ad Inserter or Ad Injection plugin to make it appears after the content.

How to send an email to your readers

To send an email, you need to create a campaign. Click the campaigns menu .

Campaigns

On the next page click the small arrow shown by the blue arrow.

create a campaignYou will see a few options. To simplify this tutorial, choose the regular campaign. Because this option allows you to track.

The process of campaign creation is:

1. choose to which list you want to send the email.kirim ke list mana

There are a few options. For now we use the existing list, in this case dUS Indonesia, and we choose Send to entire list,” thus the email will be sent to that list.

2. On the next step you will be asked to fill some information regarding the campaign. Basically you just need to fill two fields pointed by te red arrows:campaign info

3. On the next step, you choose your template. Which one you want to use is really up to you. If I may suggest just use the simple text. Especially if you don’t understand design.

Simple doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Even big bloggers use text email  and get straight to the message. If you want to make sure which one is working for you, you need to do an A/B split test, after you have many subscribers.

simple text

4. Compose your email – here you design your message. You can explore yourself what you can do here.

desain email

5. Confirmation – Here you can preview your email and send a test email, and edit things you need to fix.

If you’re ready you can schedule your launch or send it immediately.

sukses kirim

Final words

Have you ever watch the American Got Talent? Many people from everywhere show their talent. The contestant who manages to appeal the audience get a warm love and the juries say, “Yes” and send him to the next round.

But what happens if someone gives a bad show? He receives a “Buuuu” and “X”-ed by the juries. And the journey is over.

The same thing with the mailing list. You can’t send crap. Because they will judge you based on what you send them. And they will decide whether they like or not.

If they like it, they will come again and again, and maybe spread your content. But if you send them junk over and over again, you may receive and “X” and they unsubscribe.

It can be a nerve wrecking for some people, I know, I’ve experienced it. But if you want to grow, you need to do better and better each time. You need to step up.

Ok, Duser I hope this post is useful for you. If you have something to say, you can comment below, and I will appreciate it if you can do it on the dUS forum.

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