Today is mainly for newbies, and we’re going to cover how to create lists and working opt-in forms.
First off, there are the only two ESPs I recommend for bloggers with under 1,000 subscribers:
Drip is also fantastic, but more expensive. I do NOT recommend Aweber, Mailer Lite, Active Campaign, or Constant Contact.
Their products are NOT as good for bloggers. Period.
- On a budget? Use Mailchimp. (MC) It’s free up to 2k subs
- Rockstar? Or otherwise willing to pay $29/mo? ConvertKit 10,000% (CK)
This lesson will only cover MC and CK.
Step 1 – Create your account
You can do this step on your own, yes? 🙂
MC Step 2 – Create your “list”
- Go to lists, then click “create list.”
- You’ll have to enter a bunch of information about you, your site, etc! Follow the instructions.
FAQ: Do I HAVE to enter my address to be included in every email footer? YES. It’s the law! Most bloggers I know rent out a P.O. Box so they don’t have to use their home address. I pay $30 a year for mine.
CK Step 2 – Create a form
- Click “create form”
- Edit the copywriting (keep it very simple for now!)
- Make sure to save the form.
MC and CK Step 3 – Decide HOW you’re going to embed forms on your site.
There are 2 options available to you:
- Use your email provider (MC or KC) – This is WAY easier with CK…it’s pretty much what it was built for! However, you can still do it with MC as well.
- Use a 3rd party opt-in tool: Sumo, Thrive leads, Opt-in Monster, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms…..there are a TON of these, and they should all integrate with CK and MC.
My honest recommendation:
- Using CK? Use their forms. They’re spectacular.
- Using MC? Use their form if you’re BRAND new….else use a 3rd party tool once you’ve settled in a bit (and can figure out how to integrate and install it on your own)
The rest of this article assumes you’ll be using the service provider’s built-in forms.
With CK, you can create as many different opt-in forms as you want…and have them all trigger different functions (more on that later maybe).
With MC, it’s a bit more limited…essentially just ONE signup form for your list. That’s cool for now though.
MC Step 4 – Edit the form for your list, and embed!
Quick tip: On WordPress, you can also make things a bit easier and download a Mailchimp plugin…and use THAT for embedding forms! Use this one.
Again, this is where I’d suggest using the Mailchimp WordPress plugin, because after you’ve edited the look and feel of the actual form, you’ll need to embed it on your site.
Yes, it IS an easy as copying and pasting that huge embed code…but whether it looks the way you want it to or not is. DIFFERENT STORY.
It’ll depend on your theme, where you’re putting the forms, etc. It can be a pain, no doubt.
MC API Keys
If you do use a plugin (and I think you should), you’re going to need your API key to copy and paste into the plug-in settings:
They’re right here:
CK Step 4 – Embed your forms
Great news if you’re a CK user. This is SO DANG EASY.
- If you’re on WordPress, download the plugin, then you can copy/paste the “shortcodes” anywhere on your site pretty much 🙂
- With no plugin, you can copy/paste the embed code for each form wherever you can enter HTML 🙂
If you go the WP plugin route (and I think you should), you’ll likely need your API keys.
It’s found in your account settings.
Also, CK forms automatically adapt REALLY well to wherever you put in on your site, including your sidebar!
The above image shows the CK plugin in action…it comes with a CK widget 🙂
[Copywriting] What should my forms say?
Really….anything BESIDES the default language.
“Subscribe here” doesn’t do ANYTHING for anybody.
Include 2-3 sentences on WHAT your emails cover and WHY they might want to join.
Be sure to join our infrequent newsletter, where we send out exclusive content you won’t even find on the blog, as well as updates, deals, and other really useful content on [your topic].
Our emails don’t stink 🙂
Just be yourself, and be personal. Give people a reason to opt-in.
Troubleshooting and further learning:
Hopefully that’s enough to get a simple opt-in form on your home page, about page, side bar…or at the end of blog posts.
Start there, and we’ll add more complications as we go along 😉