A great meetup last night. We all learned a lot I think. Focus was on the free tools needed to build your email list. It basically comes down to two general methods.
1. Use an external service like Mailchimp, which provides for 2,500 emails per month and free plugin like Sumome to capture leads with it’s fancy popup form on the website and push the email addresses to Mailchimp. Other email marketing services I also like include AWeber and CampaignMonitor.
Meetup Group Specials
The other non-free popup forms system that’s getting loads of press is optinmonster and we’ve secured a 35% off special discount if you use the checkout voucher code BF2014 Offer valid until 1st December, so get in quick. This brings the single site license down to around NZ$40 and fully featured developer version to approx NZ$165
Popupally pro is an alternative, with most of the optinmonster features. Both of these compatible with Mailchimp, Aweber and others, including Mailpoet mentioned below.
There’s no question these tools dramatically increase email signup rates. I know I’ve signed up for a lot more this year as these special popups become more common.
2. The other option instead of Mailchimp is to use one of the free Newsletter plugins for WordPress, the most popular being Mailpoet. They provide the standard subscribe forms you can place on the site, but popups are becoming popular now and getting loads more signups. One free WP plugin I found today to do this PopupAlly.
So, now you’re capturing leads for your list and Mailpoet has the design tools included, there’s then the issue of delivery of emails. Due to the limits your website host and/or ISP provider places on sending bulk emails. you can use Mandrill, which is part of the mailchimp system. A good tutorial on setting up this is here. But be aware that mandrill may not work on some cheap shared hosts, since the host provider may place limits upon how WordPress connects to outside services. If you have this issue, let me know.
What to write? This is really beyond the scope of this meetup group, however don’t be afraid to keep things personal. Here’s an article we wrote some years back. Click here..
Walk before you run
The other trick with list building is to only ask for their email address initially, nothing else. It’s tempting to ask for their full name, email address, company etc, but this will kill your signup rates. Once they have become regular readers, you can take the next step and ask them for more detail in subsequent email campaigns. Setup a special form on another page with another offer that asks more detail then, which will allow you to segment the list and make the emails more personalised, which in turn will help conversions and sales…