If you have been in the online business world for five minutes, you must have heard something about an email list and how important it is for business.
If you haven’t, let me give you a quick low-down.
An email list is a collection of your readers’/customers’ emails (and often names) that they gave you by signing up for your updates/free gift offer on your site.
Since people open almost all of their emails vs. only sometimes seeing social media updates, email lists are considered gold when it comes to communicating with your customers and marketing to them.
The process of collecting email addresses from people is covered by CAN-SPAM law and you can read all the details, but the main thing to know is that:
- you have to have permission from the person before you add their name to your list
- your business address has to appear in each email you send to your list
- you have to provide an easy way for your subscribers to unsubscribe if they wish so
- and if they unsubscribe, you can’t email them
- also, please don’t buy someone else’s lists
Now with that legal bit out of the way, lets talk a tad more about WHY an email list is so important to your business.
WHY is an email list so important to your business?
In today’s internet world, it’s easier than ever to reach your potential customers, start a conversation, become a friend and form a group. There are so many social media channels that allow you to follow others and be followed, therefore building connections.
We use social media every day and so it seems here to stay, along with all the potential customers that we made contacts with. But, you have to remember one thing: you have no control or ownership over any of the social media platform. If Facebook was to close it doors tomorrow or decided to charge ungodly access fees, all of your potential customers would be gone in an instant.
When it comes to your email list, this is something that you can control and something that belongs to you. No matter what happens to social media and such, you can always contact people on your list (as long as they are OK with it, of course).
So, long story short, you need a list, you need to build a list, you need to respect your list and you need to treat it right.
How do you go about building a list
First, you need to set up a way of collecting the email addresses of people who wish to be on your list.
Of course, you can do it in a very manual way, by keeping them in a spreadsheet of some kind, and emailing them one by one, or using BCC on your group email, BUT that will soon become cumbersome AND your emails might start bouncing as spam due to the number of emails sent out.
Instead, do yourself a favor and sign up with one of the many email services providers who will keep your email addresses safe, give you tools to create professional-looking emails and who are recognized by most email receptors, guaranteeing for your emails not to be spammed.
There are many providers out there that offer this service, but today I will show you how to use MailChimp, a friendly, easy to use service that offers a free account for first 2,000 subscribers that you can use while you are learning this whole email list thing.
Here is how to create an email list and the forms you need with Maichimp.com
First, to get a free account, go to MailChimp.com and click on Sign Up Free button.
To create a list, click on Lists at the top of the screen.
From that screen, on the upper right hand side, click on Create List. The portion of the screen will change, asking if you want to create a list or sub-divide groups. Choose Create List:
Next, the From Email. This is the email that your subscribers will see as your email coming from (and the email they will reply to). Mailchimp wants this email address to be at your domain, rather than a Yahoo account, lets say, and will give you a stern message.
If you haven’t yet, you will need to enter a valid mailing address for your business (it can be a PO Box if you have one).
Next, you need to specify how you want to be notified if someone subscribes or leaves your list.
Now, since you have just created your list, you will have no subscribers on it. However, if you have a list of subscribers that you have accumulated previously (and had the permission from those people), MailChimp allows you to import them into your new list:
Next browse to find the file with subscribers and check mark that you understand that your billing might change once you go over 2,000 people. Press Next to import your existing subscribers.
If you don’t have existing subscribers and you’re starting from scratch, you will need to create a form that you can use to collect names and email addresses.
If you scroll down the page you will see two important areas.
First, is the URL of your signup form. You can copy this URL and paste the link anywhere. People who will click on the link will be brought to the signup form where they can enter their info and sign up.
First, unless for some reason it’s super-necessary, take out the Last Name. The more info you ask, the less people subscribe. To remove the last name, click on the field and then click on Minus sign (-).
Next, move the email and name fields around, so the name is on the top, since most of the people are used to this order. Just grab Email field and drag it down until it’s under the Name field, and release:
The fields are now switched around with the Name field being on the top:
You can now add more of your custom wording by hovering over and clicking on the Edit button:
Once you click, it opens up into a text editing window. Here you can change the font color, size, add verbiage, add logos and other images:
To insert your logo at the top of the form, click on the File Manager button (looks like a tiny picture of a mountain):
In the File Manager menu, choose an existing file or Upload a new one:
Once your image screen comes up, make sure to adjust the image size (something like 400×120) making sure to Keep Proportions.
Save the changes:
Highlight the logo and the text and press Centered button to center everything. Save the changes:
The signup form is now complete:
Next, we want to customize the opt-in confirmation e-mail that your subscribers will receive after the initial sign up.
This is called a double opt-in, where you are basically double-checking that in fact they wanted to sign up with you.
From a drop-down, select Opt-in Confirmation Email:
Opt-in screen has more fields on it and they are basically codes that grab your name and email as “from” info and a generic email subject which is the name of your list + confirm subscription verbiage.
You can change this verbiage or you can leave it as is:
Scroll down further and you will see the form itself that, just like the signup form, can be customized with more text, colors, font sizes and styles and adding the logo:
Next, and final form is the Confirmation “Thank you” Page.
This form can be used in two ways:
- First – the subscriber will receive it as an acknowledgement of signing up and thank you
- Second, and that’s the one you will most likely use – the subscriber will receive it as an acknowledgement of signing up AND it will contain the link to your freebie that you promised at time of sign up
Here is how you create the thank you page and attach the freebie.
While still on the forms screen, from the drop down, select the Confirmation “Thank you” Page.
Scroll down until you see the form itself:
If you notice, you have an option of either sending subscribers to your own Thank you page…
Or you can use the editor and customize the Thank you page that MailChimp is providing you (which we will do in this case):
To attach your freebie to MailChimp’s Thank You page, edit the second half of the form by hovering and pressing Edit:
In the text editor, add related text, highlight it and press the Link:
The Insert or Edit link window will open up and there, from a Link To drop down, select File:
From the next menu, select existing file or Upload a new one:
Once the file is picked, make sure that it opens up in a new window and insert the file:
Your Confirmation “Thank you” Page is now complete with a link to your freebie file.
When your subscribers receive this email and click on the link, MailChimp will deliver their free gift to them.
At this point, your opt-in forms are setup and by providing the URL to your signup form, you can have readers signing up for your list and receiving their emails.
Last step in this process would be to place this form on your actual website.
Almost every WordPress theme provides a spot where you place the Mailchimp form code to make signups work on your website, and if not, there are plugins, including one from Mailchimp, SumoMe or PopupAlly that will provide this function.
All you need is to get a code from your MailChimp form.
Here is how you get the form code from Mailchimp to add to signup form on your website.
Go to the List screen. There, press on Signup Forms:
On the next screen, choose Embedded Forms:
Once there, choose Naked form:
On that screen, scroll to the bottom, until you see a window with a code in it that says Copy/Paste Onto Your Site.
Now you are set up to welcome your visitors’ signups and build that all-important e-mail list!
To learn more about how to set up your email services and email sequences, along with learning how to create and customize your website, set up and learn how to use social media for business, as well as automating your social media marketing, get on the list for Online Framework, my upcoming new course that teaches you everything you need to know to setup your business online.