We use MailChimp to send and manage the EfficientWP newsletters. While this post focuses on MailChimp, there are plenty of other great and affordable services out there, such as Constant Contact. However, MailChimp is completely free up to 2,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails per month, which should be more than enough for most small businesses.
Common Beginner Mistakes
A common beginner mistake is to use your normal email program to send an email out to everyone you think is interested. But you should never use the “To” or “Cc” fields to send emails to a large group of people. If you want to be professional, you need to keep your recipients private, safe, and free from spam. When you send an email in this manner, every recipient will see the email address (and potentially the name) of every other recipient. Sometimes, people will hit “Reply All” or copy those email addresses and spam them. If one of your recipients’ email accounts gets hijacked or infected with a virus, all of your subscribers will be vulnerable. The bigger your list, the higher the chance that this will happen.
If you use the “Bcc” field, the recipients are kept private. But you could accidentally use the wrong field when sending out your emails. It only takes one time for your list to become public and open to spam. In fact, it’s best if you don’t use a standard email program at all when sending to a list. When there are a lot of email addresses in the “To,” “Cc,” or “Bcc” fields, it increases the chance that the email will be labeled as spam. Additionally, standard email programs often build in recipient limits to combat spam, so if your list gets too big, you could get error messages.
Manage Your List Professionally
If you use an email service like MailChimp, your recipients won’t see the names and email addresses of anyone else on the list. Furthermore, you won’t have to manually add and remove names and email addresses from your list. You can put a form on your website where people can subscribe automatically. People can unsubscribe or change their subscription information by clicking a link in one of your emails.
With MailChimp, you can track valuable statistics on each email you send out. MailChimp tracks who opened the email, how many times they opened it, and what links they clicked on. You can compare the relative performance of your email campaigns by comparing open rates and click rates.
Customize Your Email Appearance
You can choose from a number of preset email templates and layouts, and even customize them if you like. You can add your logo, use background images and colors, organize your email content into sections, and more. With MailChimp, you can make your emails look a lot nicer than what can be done in a normal email program, and then you can easily reuse your template for later emails.
Integration with WordPress and Gravity Forms
MailChimp integrates with the Gravity Forms plugin for WordPress, when you activate and configure the Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On plugin. You can automatically add email addresses to your list when people fill out select forms on your website. The visitor will get an email to confirm before they are added to your email list, but we also recommend using an opt-in check box for additional verification.
To sign up for a free MailChimp account, please click here.