Estimated read time: 4 minutes
Email is not dead. People read their emails, and even when they don’t read all of my blog’s emails, it only gets out of their inbox when they delete it. Email marketing was also expected to be one of the fastest growing content marketing channels.
I see great engagement from my email subscriber list and it has continued to grow since my Authentic Storytelling blog launched in late 2013. Every time I publish a new blog post, my subscribers get an automatic email, letting them know a new post has been published. Some people call this blog notifications (not an enewsletter, which is more customized). Bottom line from the end-consumer’s perspective both come through email and I’m calling both interchangeably enewsletters here.
I use the built-in WordPress plugin, though from a marketer’s perspective, the subscriber management system might seem a bit restrictive. It is optimized for the user, though, and assures that they only get the emails they actually intended to sign up for!
- People can only sign up on the site. So you can’t run an offline campaign to get people to sign people up and then add them to the list. They have to do it themselves on the site. Once they sign up they have to click another link to confirm. This is totally a great way of doing it and it ensures that people who signed up actually wanted to sign up. It does hamper us bloggers a bit when we move blogs since we can’t move one list to another blog. At least I haven’t seen that function. Overall opinion: A great way to ensure people aren’t added to emails they don’t want.
- Exporting of emails. There are two kinds of subscribers. The first is those who sign up through their emails only. You can export them into a spreadsheet and import them into another mailing list – though not this WordPress plugin. Make sure you have the proper permissions if you export people elsewhere! The second kind of subscribers have signed up through their WordPress account. They can still get emails with the posts, but can also read the blog in the WordPress Reader. This set can’t be exported. In the case of The Authentic Storytelling Project, this subset makes up about one third of the total subscribers. Overall opinion: User friendly and helpful since a lot of people have WordPress accounts.
How to setup your email newsletter in WordPress
To get going, make sure the Jetpack plugin is activated and that you have linked your WordPress.com account to it. No worries if you haven’t because there’ll be a big message on the WordPress dashboard prompting you to do just that.
Go to the Jetpack plugin (usually on the top left of the dashboard), click on it, find the Subscription option and hover above it. Click “Configure” to activate it. If you click on “configure” you can also customize the welcome emails that people who sign up receive. Everyone gets the same design for their email. It’s simple and works. Here’s how it looks:
Certainly, there are other programs and vendors somebody could use to get a custom-designed newsletter. In my opinion this works.
The common wisdom is that it shouldn’t take people too long to find the enewsletter signup form on a homepage. From the homepage of my blog there are basically three ways to sign-up for the email notifications.
- Drop down menu item that allows people to sign up
- In the sidebar
- In the footer
Then when people read the actual posts, there’s another signup form after every post:
This form is automatically inserted after every post. I use the WP Insert Code plugin (downloadable from the PLUGINS menu) to accomplish this. Once you install the plugin, just use this code to get the form to show up:
I also used to have a popup on the page that would come up after somebody had been on the page for a few seconds and would ask them to sign up. Some sites have found these to be very successful, yet users often find them annoying. Not that many people used the form to sign up, so I disabled the popup.
Promote the enewsletter on social media
It’s OK to promote your enewsletter on social media from time to time. I do tweet around 40 times day, so it’s OK to share this from time to time: “Get my blog posts by email. In real time or as a digest. LINK.”
You might also consider using Twitter or Facebook promotions, meaning you’ll have to pay to reach a wider audience, and ask people to signup for your enewsletter. Just remember to link back to the signup page on your blog so people can signup properly. (The signup page is also created by pasting that shortcut (see above) onto the page and then publishing that page.)
Enewsletters are a great way to stay connected to your audiences, get them to opt into getting your content and it’s an easy way to make sure they get all the new content being published. It’s actually a much better delivery channel than social media, which often moves so fast that it’s easy for people to miss something.
Don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter below. 🙂