There are a lot of benefits to gain as a website owner by adding an email subscription widget or growing an email list. Apart from building a relationship with your audience or customers, email communication help increase traffic and sales in any business. WordPress offers different ways to integrate email subscription widget in your site. In this article, we will explain with the popular Mailchimp service and show how to add email subscription widget using Mailchimp signup form and a plugin. If you want to show email subscription widget as a pop-up based on user exit, check out the list of plugins that can help you with that.
Email Subscription for WordPress
The first step is finding an email subscription service that matches your business. There are a lot of them like Constant Contact, AWeber, Mailchimp, but we prefer using Mailchimp as the case study. Then adding the signup or subscribe form and sending an email comes as the final setup.
1. Create a MailChimp Account
Go to the official website of MailChimp and click on the “Sign Up Free” button. Fill in the details of an email, username and password for the account. Mark the checkbox if you won’t like to receive promotional emails of Mailchimp products and services. Then, tap the “Sign Up” button to submit the form.
A message pops up pointing you to check your email for an activation of your account. On checking your email (inbox and spam folder) and you didn’t receive any mail, click the “Re-enter your email and try again” text link. The email message would have a title like “Activate your Mailchimp account” and the sender as “Mailchimp Client Services”. Open the mail and click on the “Activate Account” message button. A dashboard will appear where you run a confirmation that you are a human. You may need to click on the “I’m Not A Robot” button to deal with the reCAPTCHA puzzle. Immediately, there should be a redirection to choose a plan for your account.
Then, choose a suitable plan that matches your business needs. Each plan comes with the number of email subscribers you are projecting for business and the number of emails to send per month. We chose the “Free” plan for illustration here. Also, select the currency you want to pay from the Billed in the “US Dollars” dropdown button and click on the “Next” button once done.
You can now fill in your account personal details having in mind that the first name and last name are mandatory fields. Check the boxes if you find the need for them and click the “Continue” button once you are okay with your inputs.
This will take you through a wizard and you need to fill bunch of details for address, contacts, etc. When you are in the final step, mark the checkboxes to select optional promotional mail you wish to receive from Mailchimp. And click the “Continue” button to finish your account setup. Thus, there is a display of your account dashboard.
2. Setup Tags in MailChimp
Now that you have successfully created a Mailchimp account, the next step is to create your signup form. Before that you need to create tags, which help segment, organize or identify a specific audience. So, click on the “Tags” left sidebar menu and tap the “Create Tag” button. Enter the tag name (we are using “Customer”) and click the “Create” button.
3. Create Sign Up Form in MailChimp
Click on the “Signup forms” menu from the “Audience” menu in your account dashboard. Scroll down and then select “Embedded Forms” from the list of options.
You will have a display page where you can make all configurations. Select the “Form Fields” menu to add more labels to your sign up form as you need.
Use the back arrow once done and tap the “Setting” menu afterwards. Change the “Form Title” to whatever you need, set the form “Width” size in pixels or leave it empty (much preferable).
Hit the back arrow and now select the “Tags” drop menu. Click on the column drop arrow and choose the tag(s) for this form (we created “Customers” in our illustration). Then, click the “Save” button and tap the back arrow.
You can further click the “Referral Badge” drop menu and change its color style. Removal of Mailchimp badge comes with the upgraded plan, and tap the back arrow once done with selection. Now, click the “Continue” button after all these edits to proceed. On the page that appears, click the “copy code” button to have the form embed snippet for your WordPress website, and that’s all.
4. Embed MailChimp Signup form in WordPress
Switch to your WordPress admin dashboard and go to “Appearance > Widgets” menu. Add a “Custom HTML” block then paste the code snippets you copied from the Mailchimp signup form into it.
Finally, hit the “Update” button to save changes. Further, go to your website URL to see the display of the Mailchimp signup form.
At least enter one form detail (for instance, use your personal own) to populate your audience for a test run on how to create and send your first campaign (email) for subscribers.
5. Create & Send Campaign (Email) to Subscribers
Go to your Mailchimp account dashboard, click on the “Campaigns” drop menu, and by default, it highlights the “All campaigns” sub-menu. Click the “Create Campaign” button on the right top of the page.
Click on “Email” menu and choose one of the available options that matches your intent for sending an email. You can choose regular, plain text or template option and we will select plain text option as an example. After that enter the campaign name and then click the “Begin” button.
Proceed to select the option for the set of subscribers you want to receive the email.
Then, click the “setup” text link showing at bottom of the page and fill in the details that you would require to send an email on the page that appears.
Next, go to the “Plain-Text” link to view the email message. Clear the “— ENTER YOUR CONTENT HERE —” text you find on the page and write your email message. Afterwards, click the “Confirm” link below the page.
Do further editing if necessary on the confirmation page displayed and click the “Send” button beneath once done.
Then comes a pop to inform you of the message you are trying to send to subscribers, so click the “Send now” button.
A redirection occurs to the confirmation dashboard that your email is on its way to the subscribers. You can also check your mail if you opted in as a subscriber to verify it’s working.
Integrating MailChimp with WordPress Using Plugin
Using Mailchimp signup form is an easy way though it has lots of limitations. For example, you can’t integrate the subscription widget to default WordPress comment form or your contact form. To handle this and get detailed reporting within your WordPress dashboard, you can use a third-party plugin like MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress. Note that this is an unofficial plugin and not developed by Mailchimp.
You can use this plugin to add email subscription widget in WordPress without the Mailchimp logo, allow category wise subscription and integrate with contact form. When you are in WordPress dashboard, install and activate “MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress” plugin. Hover on the “MC4WP” menu and click on the “Mailchimp” submenu in the admin dashboard. A page requesting an API key comes up, so you have to click the “Get your API key here”. And this redirects you to log into your MailChimp account.
Click the “Create A Client Key” from the dashboard that appears. Set the default audience, the label name and a developer mail for the key. Then mark the terms and conditions checkbox and click the “Create Key” button.
A success message pops up with your key, and now click the “Copy To Clipboard” button below Your Client Key title. Head over to where you left off in your WordPress API settings dashboard.
So, paste the text into the “API Key” field and click the “Save Changes” button to finish the setup. Your status now changes to connected in green color.
Now that you have connected your Mailchimp account, you can use the shortcode [mc4wp_form] anywhere on your posts to show the signup form. Alternatively, go to “Appearance > Widgets> section and add “Mailchimp for WP Form” widget to your sidebar or footer area if you want to show the signup form there.
If you do not want to use an additional plugin, then it is easy to go with the default Mailchimp signup form. However, you need to upgrade to premium plan for removing the logo and get additional features. Otherwise, the simpler option is to use MC4WP plugin and add email subscription widget in WordPress within few minutes.