Many people enjoy getting their favorite new blog posts via email. As such, I have created mailing lists using MailChimp for both this blog (Websites for Small Biz) and my other blog, Sketching Out. MailChimp is only one of many mailing list services (Constant Contact and AWeber are two other popular ones). I’m sharing two mailing list tips that you might be able to use: creating a subscription box on your site and setting up the timing and frequency for mailing your blog posts.
Subscription Boxes on Your Site
One way of getting people to subscribe to your mailing list is to post an attractive subscription box on your site. Here’s how to do it with MailChimp.
From the MailChimp dashboard, select Lists. Select your list. From the top menu, pick Sign Up Forms.
One of the choices is called Super Slim. Here’s how it looks:
You can then take the code MailChimp gives you, dump it in a sidebar widget, and you have an online subscription form.
But if you know a little CSS or you have a web developer with CSS skills, pick Naked. Then jazz it up. I found some great examples online of blogs with fancy subscription boxes. The key is to create a good, eye-catching background image with some blank area to place the subscription button and input box.
For those comfortable with CSS code (add this to style.css – change details as necessary):
background: url('images/tea-cup-watercolor-bg.jpg') no-repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;
margin: 0px auto;
On Sketching Out, you can see my mailbox makeover. Here is how my initial mail link looks:
And here is the makeover:
I still haven’t done one for this blog, but here is the link if you want to subscribe to the Websites for Small Biz mailing list.
Timing and Frequency of Your Mailings
When I originally set up my mailing list for this blog, I thought, oh, I only post once per week, so I will select Frequency – Weekly. That certainly sounds like the right thing to do, but what if you set the email to go out on a Monday morning, for example, and you hit publish on a new post on Tuesday? The new Tuesday post won’t go out as a mailing until the next Monday morning. Here is how to solve this problem: from the MailChimp dashboard, pick Campaigns. Pick the campaign you want to edit. You will have to pause it. Select Frequency – Daily. Then select the days. Here’s how it looks when you pick daily initially:
So I then turned off some of the days, so now it will only think about sending on Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Note it only sends new posts, and since I only post once per week (on a good week) anyway, subscribers will only get one post even though I have three days checked. This would not be the case for a blogger who posts daily or every other day.
Then be sure to save your campaign so it will continue to operate.
Your Turn, Please
Do you have a mailing list for your blog? Do you have a mailing list for your business? If not, what stops you? How do you get people to sign up? Any tricks to share?