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I'm Kristy! A graphic & web designer in sunny Florida. Simply put, I LOVE ALL THINGS CREATIVE. My 3Peppers are Crafts, Cooking, and Color... What are yours?

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Using Mailchimp for Managing Blog Subscribers

How to use Mailchimp for your Blog Subscibers #blog #howto #wordpress #mailchimpMailchimp is a super useful tool for email marketing with your blog.

For years now I have relied on Jetpack subscriptions to keep my followers up to date, but i’ve gotten to the point i would like a lot more control in my design, as well as the timing and tracking of e-mails, so it was time to make the switch. I was already very familiar with mailchimp from using it for http://kristy-o.com clients, but never on any of my personal sites, so the switch was easy, and i’m super pleased with the results.

I really liked that when I posted new content, my followers were automatically notified by e-mail without having to design and schedule a new e-blast each time. I wanted to keep that functionality while using mailchimp. Here’s how you do it.

First, sign up for a Mailchimp account. It’s free up to 2,000 followers!

Once in mailchimp, you’ll need to set up a new list. I called mine “site subscribers”. Then I imported all of my previous subscribers from wordpress into the new list. You’ll need to be signed into wordpress.com to download a .csv document of your subscribers. Import that into mailchimp.  I think the easiest way to import your subscribers in is by copy / paste from excel.

Next, you’ll want to add a subscribe form to your website. In wordpress, this can easily be done a couple different ways. The easiest is using a plugin. A plugin will give you the option of a mailchimp widget for your sidebar. Here are 2 mailchimp plugins to try; Autochimp and Mailchimp Widget. The second option is an embed code. I prefer this option because it gives you more control over the design of the form.

To embed a form, go to your list in mailchimp. Click sign-up forms >> embed forms. You will then be given a couple of options. For a blog, I normally use their “super slim” options. This gives just a field for e-mail address. If you would like people to subscribe with their name as well I would use the “classic” or “naked” options.

setting-up-a-list

Now, working with the super slim form, Mailchimp gives you code similar to this and you will copy / paste that into a “text” widget where you would like the form to appear.

<code><link href="//cdn-images.mailchimp.com/embedcode/slim-081711.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
 <style type="text/css">
      #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
      /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
         We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */
 </style>
 <div id="mc_embed_signup">
 <form action="http://3peppers-recipes.us3.list-manage1.com/xxx" method="post"
id="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" name="mc-embedded-subscribe-form" target="_blank" novalidate>
      <label for="mce-EMAIL">Subscribe to our mailing list</label>
      <input type="email" value="" name="EMAIL" id="mce-EMAIL" placeholder="email address" required size="35">
     <!-- real people should not fill this in and expect good things - do not remove this or risk form bot signups-->
     <div style="position: absolute; left: -5000px;"><input type="text" name="b_45c99088a842e63aa7a3ae9da_b49272311f" value=""></div>
      <div><input type="submit" value="Subscribe" name="subscribe" id="mc-embedded-subscribe"></div>
 </form></code>

Now here’s how you style your form:

Removes the line to get rid of the Mailchimp style sheet:

<link href="//cdn-images.mailchimp.com/embedcode/slim-081711.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">

Edit this line to change background, font:

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }

For the advanced you can add new CSS here between the lines:

<style type="text/css"></style>

or add them in your themes CSS file.

Add the size attribute to:

<input type="email" size="35">

This will determine the length of the e-mail form field.

You can also style the “submit” button by adding a new CSS “class” and adding it here:

<input type="submit" value="Subscribe" name="subscribe" id="mc-embedded-subscribe">

These options give you a TON of control on how your subscribe form looks and Mailchimp will give you a lot of options on controlling your subscribe list and sending messages with your site’s content.

Now that you have a subscribe form on your blog connected to a mail chimp list, you’ll want to set up a recurring campaign to message your subscribers with your new blog content. Here’s how.

Click on “campaign” from mail chimp and create a new one. Select the 4th option for an “RSS-Driven Campaign”. You’ll first be prompted to fill in your RSS feed. If your on wordpress and don’t know how to find your RSS feed, check here: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds. You’ll want to select your “site subscribers” list as where to send and schedule how often you would like it sent. I tend towards weekly newsletters. Follow the Mailchimp prompts for required information.

rss-template example

rss-template example

Next in the design, pick “e-mail designer” then select a template that has the RSS image over it. This will allow your content to be automatically formatted into the e-mail blast.

Once you’ve selected your template, Mailchimp takes you to a screen where you can customize your template design. You’ll want to add a header (this must be sized to 600px wide). You can also control your background colors and fonts here as well. When editing the content do not get rid of the crazy looking codes (merge tags) that have been inserted in there. This tells Mailchimp where to display your content from the RSS feed. Here’s Mailchimp RSS e-mail merge tags: http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/rss-to-email-merge-tag-cheatsheet/

So here’s what you’ll see in the e-mail designer and what the e-mail looks like:

e-blast-design

I hope this helps everyone interested in making the switch from Jetpack subscribers to Mailchimp. If you have any questions on how to make this transition, or even help styling, please feel free to ask, I’m happy to help! Subscribe to this blog to receive updates on more posts like this.

Also, for all you wordpress bloggers out there, I offer wordpress coaching, drop me a line if you are interested!

kristy o

About Kristy O

Hi! I'm Kristy O! I'm a graphic & web designer working from home in sunny Florida. Simply put, I LOVE ALL THINGS CREATIVE. 3Peppers is my place to share my creations with you... My three peppers are crafts, cooking and color, what are yours?

Comments

  1. Great post. I am considering starting a monthly email marketing campaign. *Pinned
    Stephanie

    • Thanks Stephanie! If you have any questions on the transition or set-up feel free to ask, I’m more then happy to help!

  2. Pinned! This is so helpful and easy to follow! Thanks, Kristy!

    ~Abby =)

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