Whether your WordPress website is a personal blog or the online hub of your business, the only thing that you want more than a new visitor is a visitor who can’t wait to come back. To create a website that people remember and want to return to later, you need to build a brand — and that can take time. Until you’ve built up a significant level of brand recognition, you need another way to keep people coming back to your website — and that means launching a newsletter. If you’re a blogger, a newsletter is the perfect way to build a following and keep your readers informed of your latest content. If you’re a business owner, a mailing list can become a consistent source of profitable traffic that no Google algorithm change can ever take from you.
The best part of building a mailing list is that it is extremely easy. All that you need is an account with an email marketing provider, a subscription form plugin and compelling website content. Once you have all of those elements in place, building a large list of subscribers is only a matter of time.
Finding an Email Marketing Provider
An email marketing provider performs two primary services:
- Integrates with your website to collect form submissions and give you a means to maintain your mailing list
- Allows you to compose messages and send them to your list
Although it is possible to save your collected email addresses in a spreadsheet and send mass messages through any email client, there are many reasons to use an email marketing provider instead. These are just a few reasons:
- Email marketing providers comply with anti-spam laws, so messages sent through them reach more inboxes and less spam boxes
- Email marketing providers are inexpensive
- Email marketing providers have templates that make it easy to compose attractive, professional messages
MailChimp, AWeber and Constant Contact are three of the most popular email marketing providers.
Adding Subscription Forms to WordPress
Once you’ve created an account with an email marketing provider, you’ll need a WordPress plugin that integrates with your selected provider. MailChimp and Constant Contact both offer official plugins, but you may find something with more features if you look for a third-party plugin that integrates with your email marketing provider via an API.
After you install the form builder plugin of your choice, you’ll need to enter the API key from your email marketing account. The API key allows the plugin to interface with the email marketing provider and add new entries to your mailing list. You’ll find it when you examine your account information on the email marketing provider’s website.
Next, you’ll need to create at least one form with the plugin. The plugin may allow you to embed forms in posts, add a form to your website’s sidebar or create a form that pops up while users view your website. If you create a pop-up form, you’ll use the settings in the form builder plugin to determine when the pop-up message appears. If you want the form to appear in your website’s sidebar, you can add it as if it were any other sidebar widget.
If your form builder plugin lets you embed forms in posts, it’ll provide a shortcode — a short phrase in brackets like “[form]” — when you create a form. To embed the form in a post, type the shortcode in the WordPress post editor where you would like the form to appear.
Integrating WordPress with a mailing list — and giving readers a way to subscribe to that list — is relatively easy compared to the task of getting readers to subscribe. If your website receives hundreds of visitors per day, only a handful will join your mailing list. The better your website’s content is, the more subscribers you’ll gain. Many website owners also organize random giveaways or offer digital goods such as e-books to encourage newsletter subscriptions. Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged if building a mailing list seems like a slow process. If you treat them well, the subscribers that you gain will be yours forever — so building a mailing list is worth the time and effort.