Today in part two of our mailing list series, we’ll be discussing the steps you need to follow to create a mailing list and add an opt-in form to your site. If you didn’t catch part one of this series, be sure to check the links below before continuing.
In this series, we are discussing:
- Why building a mailing list should be your top priority.
- How to create a mailing list and add mailing list opt-in boxes to your site (this post topic).
- How to dramatically increase mailing list subscribers and target your dream audience.
There is a wide variety of mailing list services out there, but the one we’ll be focusing on today is MailChimp because it’s the one we use here at Designer Blogs. MailChimp is super user-friendly, allows you to send automated emails, offers killer analytics, and we highly recommend it.
Best yet, MailChimp allows you to start a mailing list completely free! You don’t have to purchase a plan until you’ve accumulated 2000+ subscribers. From that point on, you can upgrade as your list grows.
So, are you ready to start the magic of a mailing list? Here we go.
1. Create a Mailing List
Step 1: Visit Mr. Chimp
Hop on over to MailChimp and click on one of the big “Sign Up Free” buttons.
Step 2: Create Your Account
Enter your email, a username, and a password and then click “Create My Account.” You will then receive a prompt to check your email to activate your account.
Step 3: Activate your MailChimp Account
Head over to your email account and open the MailChimp email. Click on the red button to get your account activated so you can start the magic.
Step 4: Fill Out Your Personal Information
You will then be directed to a screen that will ask for all of your personal information (name, address, etc.). You must enter this all in before you can continue.
Company name added here will be the name of your subscriber list (this name is visible only for you and can be edited later)
You will be asked to pick a plan. The Free one is checked by default so you can click ‘Complete’.
Step 5: Understand the Dashboard
At the top of the page, you’ll see a menu with several links.
Here’s a summary of each link:
- Create: list of things you can create using your Mailchimp account
- Campaigns: shows all of the emails you’ve sent out to your list(s).
- Automate: allows you to create automated emails (e.g. a welcome email after someone subscribes).
- Audience: this shows the group of people who have subscribed to your mailing list. You can have more than one audience.
- Brand: here you can find all content connected with your brand – email templates, your files, domain settings etc.
- Reports: this will show the stats for each of your campaigns. You can learn how many subscribers each campaign was sent to and how many opens & clicks each campaign produced.
Your Mailchimp account is now set-up and ready to use!
2. Add Opt-ins to your site
To get an opt-in form created, go to your Mailchimp Dashboard and Click the ‘Create’ button located in the top bar. From the drop-down list, pick ‘Signup Form’.
Step 1: Pick the form type
In the new window you can choose between:
- Embedded form – default form which can be added anywhere on your site
- Pop-up form – a pop-up box which can appear when your visitors enter your site
- Signup landing page – a separate page dedicated to your subscribe form
If you have only one audience list added (it is created with your account), then you can click the ‘Begin’ button. With more audience lists in your account, make sure to pick the one you need from the list above the button.
In this article, we will focus on Embedded form type
Step 2: Add the opt-in box to Your Site
There are four style options for embedded form: Classic, Condensed, Horizontal, and Unstyled.
I recommend sticking with the classic form and unchecking the bottom three options, as shown below, to keep your form looking as clean as possible (you don’t want to distract people from signing up by having too much going on).
Leaving the “Form width” area blank will allow the form to take on the width of the area you place the form.
Copy the HTML code it generates and then paste it into an HTML gadget/widget on your site.
Now anyone that visits your site can join your mailing list.
Step 3 (Optional): Design the Form
Need to add some extra fields to your form? When creating your embedded form, click on the ‘Signup forms’ button above the form type menu.
On the new page, click the ‘Select’ button next to the Form builder section.
Here you can edit existing form fields or add new ones. It is useful if you want to collect some more details about your subscribers.
Remember that adding too many fields may discourage people from signing up.
There is even an option to customize the look of your subscription form.
Navigate to the different areas of the form by clicking on the corresponding links. You can then change the colors, fonts, font sizes and font colors.
Make sure the colors you choose compliment your site design!
If you’d like a custom-designed opt-in box like the one at the top of our sidebar, please contact us for a quote.
Ready for more?
With the mailing list ready it is time to grow your audience. Visit the next part of our Mailchimp series to learn how we get over 100 000 subscribers.
And that’s it! You are now well on your way to building a flourishing mailing list. Remember, we love designing custom opt-in forms for clients, so if you want a form that is more customized than what you can create using this tutorial, give us a holler and we’d love to make it happen for you!