In order to begin building a list of emails for your newsletter list, we first have to begin collecting those emails. List building is hugely important when you’re first starting your website because you have control over your newsletter list when social media decides to change algorithms and affect your sales and how you reach your customers.
There are many list building companies out there, but I typically recommend MailChimp and Convert Kit depending on the level you’re at or what you’re wanting to offer through your list. If you’re just starting your site and you just need the basics to get started, MailChimp is the way to go! MailChimp is incredibly user friendly and is free up to 2000 subscribers which is really wonderful when just starting out. If you’re needing something a bit more robust, Convert Kit may be for you, so you’re welcome to read the 5 reasons we made the switch from MailChimp to Convert Kit earlier this year and then you’ll want to see this tutorial on syncing Convert Kit with your site.
I will do another blog post in the future on ways to grow your list, but in this post we are going to talk about getting your MailChimp account set up and then getting it synced up with the Genesis Enews Extended plugin, which is used in all of our themes, in order to start collecting those emails!
Let’s get started!
Sign up for a free MailChimp account
The first thing we need is to actually have a Mailchimp account established. It’s completely free to sign up, so go here and create your account. Once you’ve entered your details and hit Get Started, you will get an email at the email address you provided and you’ll need to Activate your Account through that email.
Once you activate your account it will take you through a series of questions to complete your account creation.
Create a List
Now that your account is all created, we need to create a list for your new newsletter. Login to your new account and navigate to the List tab. Once there, you’ll hit the button to Create List. Enter your information on the next screen for your newsletter list.
On this screen you will see your address listed and the short answer to your question of “Do I have to include my address in my newsletters?” is Yes. Here is an article from Amy Andrews on why you need it and how to not use your home address.
Let’s get your form embed code
At this point we have our new account created and we have a list created which is needed for this step. Now that we have your list created we will click go the List tab and then click on the name of your list. Once there you’ll see a tab up top that says Signup Forms. Click that and then select the embedded forms option. Once there, choose the Unstyled form option.
Now you’ll see the code that you need in the bottom right of the screen.
Copy all this code and now we want to paste it into Notepad (if you’re on a PC) or TextEdit (if you’re on a Mac). Now look through this file for the section of code that looks like this:
<form action=”//restored316designs.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=32fc950bd3e70f0d5a6ebc957&id=7761724301” method=”post” id=”mc-embedded-subscribe-form” name=”mc-embedded-subscribe-form” class=”validate” target=”_blank” novalidate>
The link I have highlighted in bold above is what you’ll need for the next step.
Sync your list with the Genesis Enews Extended plugin
First you’ll want to download the Genesis eNews Extended Plugin. Once this plugin is installed and activated, you will now have an extra widget in your Appearance > Widgets panel. Drag this widget into whichever space you are needing to place your newsletter sign up form.
In the Form Action field you’ll enter the link from the last step that is in bold above.
Make sure that the link is preceded with https: and that there are no quotations at the beginning or end of the link.
Next, make sure that your Email, First Name, and Last Name fields match the screenshot above.
Save your widget!
Make sure it’s working
Now go visit your site and do a test on your new form to make sure all is well! If something isn’t working, see the steps above again or leave a comment below!
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