There are many tools out there to help you email your latest posts, however most of them provide you with minimal options and can be a pain to set up.
In this article, I am going to explain which tool I use and why, then take you through the steps for setting up your own system to email your latest posts.
Why you should email your latest posts
So here’s the situation:
You have the best content in the world (or very close too), but very few people come back to read the next article.
You’re not alone, this is the norm.
The reason for this is because people want answers; it’s rare that they will click beyond the page they landed on as the answer is right in front of them!
However there is one thing we can do, and that’s to create an email signup box.
If they enjoy your article, you can encourage them to sign up to your mailing list.
This will deliver each new post directly into their inbox creating more exposure for you, and more clicks through to the content they find interesting.
Email marketing is one of the most effective techniques for increasing traffic and sales as you are putting the content right in front of your audience.
Which email client should you use?
My tool of choice is MailChimp.
Quite simply, this is due to price.
StuffedWeb is new website that’s growing, but right now, it has a very low budget. Therefore I had to find an email client that does exactly what I need, for as little as possible.
My requirements were simple:
- It must detect latest posts and automatically email them
- It must allow for a custom designed theme
- It must allow me to segment lists of users
- It must integrate into my WordPress website
Fortunately, MailChimp is FREE for up to 2000 emails, and has all the functionality I need now, and at a future date when I want to expand.
How to set up MailChimp to email your latest post
The first thing you need to do is create an account with MailChimp.
The following steps will walk you through the set up for your automatic emails:
Create an account with MailChimp
- Click here to go to MailChimp
- Click the button ‘Sign up free‘
- Enter your email, username and password and press ‘Create my account‘ – This will send you an email
- Go to your email and press ‘activate your account‘
- This will open another web page with a Captcha (jumbled letters) – Enter the Captcha and press ‘Confirm Signup‘
- Sign in to MailChimp
- Fill in as many fields on this page as possible as it will automatically generate the content within the footer of your emails
- When you are finished press ‘Save And Get Started‘
- Click ‘Let’s Go‘
You are now set up with MailChimp – Congratulations!
Create your list
The next step is to create a list. When someone signs up to your mailing list, they get entered into a list.
You can have as many lists as you like, but for now we will just create one.
- Click ‘Create A List‘
- Enter all of the required fields and press ‘Save‘ – I would suggest naming the list something like ‘Weekly blog posts’ so you know what it’s for
- You will now be taken to an overview of all your lists
- Click ‘Add people‘
- Enter in your email and details
- Press ‘Subscribe‘
Steps 4 – 6 are to add yourself to your mailing list. This is so you will receive a copy of your email whenever one is sent.
Create your automatic campaign
- Click ‘Campaigns‘ in the top navigation
- On the left, hover over ‘Create Campaign‘ and click ‘RSS-Driven Campaign‘
- You will now need to enter the URL to your website’s RSS feed. If you have a WordPress website, you can find this at http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
- Enter the frequency and time that you would like to send your campaign
- Click ‘Next‘ at the top right
- You should now see your lists on this page. Select the list you would like to send the automatic emails to, and click ‘Next‘
From this point on, you will need to use RSS values. These look like *|RSSFEED:TITLE|*. If you want to use a different value from your RSS feed, then please refer to this document
- You will now be on the ‘Campaign Info‘ page. Enter values into all of the required fields.
For the title, I used – [*|RSSFEED:TITLE|*] *|RSSFEED:DATE|* – *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* - This will come out as ‘[StuffedWeb] 04/05/2012 – Title of post here’
- Click ‘Next‘
- We now need to add a template. For this tutorial, please click ‘Select‘ under ‘Basic Layouts‘ – However you can use your own.
- On the left, click ‘Simple‘ then click on the template named ‘Basic‘
- On this section, you edit the content of your email. You need to use the RSS tags mentioned earlier.
- Hover of the title and click ‘Use Text‘ then add *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* – This will pull the title of your latest post
- Click on the main content and add *|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|* – This will pull the content from your RSS feed
- You can preview your email by clicking ‘Popup Preview’ at the bottom
- When you are happy with your HTML email, click ‘Next‘
- Your plain text email should automatically be created, however click ‘Popup Preview‘ to double check and edit as necessary
- Click ‘Next‘
- Before you click ‘Start your RSS Campaign‘ make sure you send yourself a test email. If you are happy, then go for it!
- Click ‘Start Campaign‘ in the popup box
- Click ‘Go To Campaign Dashboard‘ to return
That’s it! Your email campaign is now set up and will automatically send out your latest post at the time you specified.
How to add it to your WordPress website
Now that you have your automatic emails set up and ready to send, you need to add the form to your website so people can subscribe to the emails.
Here are the steps to add the MailChimp sign up to your WordPress website:
- Click ‘Lists‘ in the main navigation
- On the list that you would like people to subscribe to, click ‘Forms‘
- On the navigation near the top, hover over ‘For Your Website’ and click ‘Signup Form Embed Code‘
- On the left, click ‘Classic Form‘
- Hover over the ‘Options‘ button next to ‘Classic Form‘ and update the details
- When you are happy with your form, click ‘Create Embed Code‘
- Under the ‘Create Embed Code‘, you will see the generated code, copy all of the code
- Sign in to your website’s WordPress admin
- Click ‘Appearance‘ > ‘Widgets‘
- Drag and drop the ‘Text‘ widget into your sidebar
- Paste your code into the text widget and press ‘Save‘
That’s it. You should now have a newsletter signup box within the sidebar of your website. Anyone who enters their email address will be added to the list you created, and will automatically receive emails with your latest posts attached.
Now you need to tell people to sign up to your newsletter and everything will happen automatically.
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Did this article help you? Did you get stuck anywhere? If so, let me know in the comments below!