This article will explain how you can add an email newsletter to your WordPress blog. This includes the basics as well as advanced tips and tricks, which plugins to use, how to increase opt-in rates, and more.
Email Newsletter – The Basics
An email newsletter sends an email to your subscribers via email on a regular or fixed basis. What makes email newsletters different from sales letters is that these are used to keep in touch with your blog readers or your existing customers.
Why You Need an Email Newsletter
Email newsletters make your customers and blog readers feel special. This in turn makes them loyal to you and they become active participants of your website. Some website owners give special incentives exclusive to their subscribers, while others make this available on Twitter or Facebook. Here are a few advantages to having an email newsletter set up in your WordPress blog:
• A way to reach your audience – When you use social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, your customers and subscribers may miss your status updates, especially as your status update gets buried down by new ones. Since people often check their emails regularly, they will be able to read your email newsletter and you’ve been able to get your message across.
• Ownership and Access – none of the data on Twitter and Facebook are yours. You can get your account suspended at any time, and you could lose all the information you have. However, an email list is something you can hold on to and call yours. More importantly, you’re not limited to writing just 10 characters.
• Make New Product Announcements – you can use your email newsletters to make new product announcements, and you can even get customer feedback from your newsletters.
• Better Audience Targeting – what makes email newsletters great is the fact that you can choose who to send it to, like you can send an email specific for people who live in a certain state or country. You can reach your target audience better with email newsletters.
• Access to Exclusive Items – you can attract and keep your loyal customers loyal to you by providing items and other services exclusive to your email subscribers. You can offer free eBooks, courses, and other items for your loyal subscribers.
What Email Newsletter Service to Use
There are softwares which allow you to send out email newsletters from WordPress, and there are plugins which can help you do this:
Aweber is one of the leading email marketing solutions for bloggers. This allows you to send emails, track the emails, and manage your subscribers. You can also set up autoresponder emails and create new emails using your new blog posts.
MailChimp is another email marketing solution that allows you to send emails, manage your email subscribers, set up auto responder emails, and even split test your email campaigns. You can even send your subscribers an email every time your RSS is updated.
EmailBuddy is an iThemes plugin that allows you to send email newsletters, collect email addresses into groups, etc. What makes EmailBuddy different is that this service is available for a one-time payment rather than monthly paments.
Madmimi is the one I use for all my Work at Home Mom newsletters. It’s great because it starts with a free amount of contacts and works it’s way up. The usability and themes are top notch!
How to Build an Email List for Free
From day 1, you should have been building your email list already. Even when your website isn’t finished yet and you have a Coming Soon page up, it should have the option for your readers to leave their email address.
One of the ways you can collect email addresses is by using a plugin called WP Email Capture. This plugin enables you to export emails from popular services. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, this plugin does not send email newsletters, it only gives you email addresses.
With FeedBurner, you can create a free email newsletter service with both WordPress and FeedBurner. Although this does work, you don’t have full control of it and you can’t segment the emails.
Another service you can use is MailChimp, and it allows you to both collect email addresses and send emails. With MailChimp, you can send 12,000 emails/month with their free account and if you want more, you can sign up for a higher plan.
Adding an Email Newsletter to WordPress
This post is written with the WordPress beginner in mind, so we will focus on how you can add the opt-in boxes to your WordPress account by using plugins. The locations we recommend where you should add the boxes are proven to give conversions.
Adding an Email Newsletter Opt-In in the Sidebar
Sidebars are a great way to attract the attention of your users and get them to sign up for your newsletter. Aweber and MailChimp have plugins you can use to add the opt-in box as a sidebar widget. You can also simply generate your form from the said service providers and paste it as a WordPress Widget (text).
You can also make use of Subscribers Magnet to add your opt-in box to your sidebar. It even pre-populates the fields for your users, especially for subscribers who have auto-fill activated in their internet browsers.
Adding your Email Newsletter Opt-In in a Lightbox Pop Up
A lot of blogs are making use of the Lightbox opt-in that asks their users to sign up for their newsletters and offer them free eBooks or other gifts in exchange for signing up. This is an effective way to increase the opt-in rate for your subscribers. Aweber and MailChimp have this feature built-in; for MailChimp this service is called the Evil Popup.
There are other plugins you can use to add an email newsletter opt-in to your lightbox pop up:
• Popup Domination
This is a popular plugin that works with all email newsletter services and it comes with great templates you can use on your site. You can set this plugin so that the lightbox shows after a certain number of seconds.
• Subscribers Magnet
This plugin mentioned earlier is a great plugin that allows you to increase opt-ins for your email list. It does not come with a pre-existing template, but it comes with so many features it makes it worth the purchase.
Adding the Email Newsletter Opt-In in your Contact Form
With Gravity Forms, you can create as many opt-in forms as you want and then use MailChimp to include an opt-in option with your contact form. This add-on is available with the MailChimp Business and Developer plan.
Adding the Newsletter Opt-in In Your Comment Forms
When someone leaves a comment in your blog or website, it means they found your site interesting to the point that they had to leave a comment. Giving them a checkbox they can tick on if they want to opt-in to your newsletter list is a great way to increase your subscriber count. You can use Subscribers Magnet for this and it allows you to keep your comments spam free.