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Beginner’s Guide to Using MailChimp with WordPress

Most successful bloggers will tell you that an essential part of a successful blog is maintaining an active email list.

Your email list can be an important source of daily traffic back to your blog.

Also, your email list can be used as a built-in audience to sell products to (if your blog has an e-commerce aspect).

A great choice for software to power your email list is MailChimp.

Not only is MailChimp free to use if you have less than 2,000 subscribers, but the interface is very inviting and user-friendly.

Torque, the blog run by WP Engine, just released a great beginner’s guide to using MailChimp that we want to share with you.

It goes into detail on the most important parts of using MailChimp to power your email program – including how to create a MailChimp account, “tie” it to your WordPress site and send your first email campaign.

For the full Torque article of using MailChimp, click here.

For those that want a quick digest of the article, please read on below:

Step 1: Sign -up

To begin using MailChimp, you’ll need to create a free account at www.mailchimp.com. Click the “Sign Up Free” button at the top right corner of the page.

Step 2: Create Your First List

To create your first list, click on “Lists” in the main menu.

Then, click on the grey button at the top right that says “Create List”.

A window will pop up and you’ll need to fill in fields about the list – including the list name, the “From” email, the “From” name, and your contact info among others.

Step 3: Create a Sign-Up Form

The next step is to create a sign-up form that you can place on your blog.

Your blog visitors will submit their info and become subscribers by using the form you create.

In MailChimp, click on “Lists” in the top menu bar. Then, use the drop-down menu next to the word “Stats” and select “Sign Up Forms”. Select “General Forms” on the following page.

Use the “Build It” options to select the fields you want.

Use the “Design It” options to get the look you want.

Step 4: Add the Form to Your Site

There are several options, but the easiest one is probably to install the MailChimp for WordPress plugin.

Using this plugin, you can connect to your MailChimp account (the technical details are handled by the plugin) and display the form you just created on your blog.

For a more detailed article on integrating MailChimp into your WordPress site (from the same author), click here

Step 5: Select a Template

At this point, your list is created and you have a few subscribers.

It’s time to send out your first email.

You need to create the look and feel of your email (don’t worry about the content, that part will come later in a separate step).  For now, we need to create the shell that will house the content.  This “shell” defines graphics, layout, fonts, colors and more of your email – and is called a “Template” by MailChimp.

You can reuse this Template every time you send an email, and change the content each time.

My recommendation is to start with a pre-built Template – as they look nice and don’t require any extra effort on your part.

Click on “Templates” in the main menu. Then click the grey button that says “Create Template”.

Then click on “Themes” and select the one you like.

You now have a Template that you can use over and over with which to send your email messages.

Step 6: Send out Your First Email

Choose “Campaigns” from the main menu.

Then, Choose “Create Campaign” in the top right corner.

Select “Regular Campaign”.

In the next screen, select “Send to Entire List”

In the next screen, fill out the required information.

In the next screen, choose the Template you selected earlier.

In the next screen, plug in the email content for the blast. You may want to summarize a recent blog post as an example, with a link to the full article. Don’t forget to use an image to help attract attention.

In the next screen, confirm the details of the send.

In the next screen, hit “Send Now”.

Congratulations, you’ve just sent your first email to your list!

Conclusion

The instructions in this article will help you get up and running with MailChimp.

For a more detailed explanation of each step along with helpful screenshots illustrating important points, refer to the full Torque article.

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