Email marketing is the oldest and still the single most powerful technique available to online business owners and Internet marketers who want to connect with their leads and customers.
In this lesson (taken from my ‘Market Your Business with WordPress’ training course) you will learn how to plan and setup an email marketing campaign from inside your WordPress dashboard.
Email Marketing Explained
A staggering 95% of consumers have and use an email address (Source: mashable).
Furthermore, according to Convinceandconvert.com, 44% of web users made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
There are a number of powerful strategies you can use to deliver value and grow your business with email.
- Blast out a newsletter – Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with customers and prospects. A friendly email coming up to an event (E.g. Valentines day, Christmas, Mothers day) is a great way to promote any deals or promotions to your loyal community.
- Deliver blog posts by email – When someone finds a blog post on your website they like then you can offer to send them future posts via email. This can be very convenient for the visitor and a great way for you to build a relationship
- Drip-feed emails you prepared earlier – Emails are a perfect way for people to learn something (whether it’s a new skill, or background information about your services). Why? Because the info can come in small, manageable chunks – which the user can read whenever it suits them.
Email marketing benefits include:
- Delivery Rates – Email is far more reliable than social media for sending someone a direct message. There is way too much noise on social sites like Facebook and Twitter to guarantee all your followers will see your message. Unlike theses social platforms, people check all their emails.
- Tracking – You can track how many people open your email. And you can also track how many people clicked on a link contained in your email. This is powerful because it allows you to measure performance and make improvements.
- You’re in control – Facebook and Twitter change the rules whenever it suits them. When you have a prospects email address – you can decide when and how to send them a message.
- Segmentation – you don’t have to send out the same email to all your customers at once. You can “segment” your subscribers based on how they subscribed or actions that they have taken in the past.
In this lesson you will learn to use a free WordPress plugin called Mail Poet (formerly called Wysija) to:
- instantly send a bulk email to everyone on your list
- setup an automated campaign to send pre-prepared emails to subscribers
- automatically send new blogs to your community
- grow a list of email subscribers
- increase the likelihood of prospects opening your emails
Ready? Let’s get started…
Configuring the Plugin
There are a two main options for WordPress users when it comes to automating email marketing:
- Mail Poet (formerly Wysija)
Mailchimp can work out expensive for small businesses with large subscriber lists. So we’re going to focus on Mail Poet.
Step 1. Install the plugin
- Go to plugins > Add new
- Search for “mailpoet”
- Install and Activate
When you first activate the plugin, you will have to skip the welcome message.
Step 2. Configure the Basic Settings
First, you must set details such as what address your emails are sent from and who appears as the sender.
- Once activated, you will see a new MailPoet option on your dashboards menu.
- Select MailPoet > Settings
Set the following settings on the Basic Options screen
- In the field email notifications, enter your email address and configure the system to notify you when someone subscribes and unsubscribes
- Check subscribe in comments – to encourage people who comment on your blog post to also subscribe
Don’t forget to save your changes
Step 3. Send your emails with Gmail
The next important screen (very important) allows you to configure how your emails are sent.
- Hit Send With…
- Choose Gmail
- Enter your email address and password
- Send a test mail
When you get confirmation everything works, then hit Save Settings.
Step 4. Configure Sender Details
Finally, you have one or two small updates to make in the Advanced Setting tab.
- Enter the Reply-to details (which is the name and email address that you subscribers will see in their inbox).
- You can also allow your subscribers to edit their subscriptions – allowing them to update their details and manage what emails they will receive.
Select the settings depicted below and Save.
By default, the plugin has one list (called My First List) and at least one Subscriber (You, along with any other members of your website)
You can have all your subscribers join one list, or you can sub-divide subscribers into specialized lists based on their interests or demographics.
For example, you might have a blog or website with separate categories for Men and Women. In such a scenario, you might wish to build two separate lists to target both sets individually.
Step 5. View details of your list(s)
- From the MailPoet > Subscribers
- Select Edit List
- View the number of people who have subscribed and unsubscribed (figures highlighted below)
For future reference; from the MailPoet > Subscribers you can also:
- manually add a subscriber to one of your lists
- Edit a subscribers details (E.g. first name and email address)
- create a new list
- import/export subscribers to and from a spreadsheet
Now that you have a list with one subscriber – you’re ready to send out your first newsletter.
Growing your List
There’s a bunch of ways you can grow you list:
- You can add people to the list manually
- You can add people who post comments or create accounts on your site
- You can import a spreadsheet of existing customers or people who filled out your contact form
In this exercise, you’ll create a form which you can place on your site allowing visitors to subscribe themselves.
Step 6. Create a Subscribe Form
To start growing your list from this point forward however, you should actively encourage your sites visitors to subscribe by prominently positioning a sign up form on your website.
- Go to MailPoet > Settings
- Select Forms
- Create a New Form
Step 7. Edit the Form
The form builder works similar to Gravity Forms (which we covered in a previous exercise) – by allowing you to drag fields from the right sidebar and position them in the form (on the left).
- Click Edit Name and change the name of the form to “Special Offers”
- Drag over the first name field
- Drag over the Random Text or HTML field
- Edit the Random Text or HTML field to display “Join our mailing list to receive discounts and special offers 3 days before everyone else”
- Hit Save
Step 8. Add the form widget to your sidebar
- Go to Appearance > Widgets
- Drag the MailPoet Subscription widget into the Main Sidebar
- Select the Form you just created
- Hit Save
Step 9. Test your new form
Visit the Blog page of your website to view your new form.
If you have a second email address then why not test it out?
Step 10. Test the Comments Section also
In MailPoet> Settings > Basic you also allowed visitors to Subscribe in comments
Select any blog post from the blog page, and scroll down to the comments box underneath to view this powerful technique for growing your list of subscribers in action.
Send a Newsletter
Now, imagine you’re ready to blast out an important offer to all your subscribers
Step 11. Create a newsletter
- Go to MailPoet > Newsletters
- Select Create a New Email
- Select a Standard Newsletter
- Enter the subject line “My Latest Promotion”
- Hit Next Step
Step 12. Write / Edit your email
- In the email, click on the top section to start editing
- Select the icon of a person (highlighted in above image) to insert the subscribers first name.
- This shortcode can be used to add a personalized salutation when the email is sent out.
- Please take a second to write a short message for testing purposes.
The email builder also allows you to
- add sections containing text
- add Dividers between sections
- add images
- change the email template
- add social media buttons
- rearrange and remove sections
- insert WordPress Posts directly into an email
Step 13. Send yourself a preview of the email
Enter your email address and send a preview email
Check your inbox and if everything is ok, hit Next Step.
Step 14. Send out your newsletter
Other options available in the final step include:
- assign this email to a list
- edit how your details will appears in the subscribers inbox
- schedule the email for a future date – or send it right away
Email Posts Automatically
You can also configure MailPoet to send out your emails automatically.
This can be very handy if you want to send a series of emails to build rapport with new subscribers – or – if you want to automatically email new blog posts.
- automatically email any number of recent blog posts
- set the email to grab other types of content – including pages, products or coupons
- only send posts assigned to certain categories
- Email is a more effective form of direct marketing that social media because you own your list and people still check their email every day.
- The two best options for sending newsletters are MailPoet and MailChimp. MailChimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers – but once you go over 2000 the price climbs quickly. MailPoet allows you to do everything from inside WordPress.
- To grow your list; a) prominently display a sign up form in the sidebar of your website (along with a strong value proposition and call to action to encourage people to sign up) b) automatically add all new registered site users and c) allow commenters to sign up by adding a checkbox to the comments box
- Use a third-party email service – Once your list begins to grow you should consider using a specialist provider to ensure your emails don’t get caught in spam/junk folders in people inbox’s. Sendgrid are arguably the best in the business and handle emails for large clients like Facebook. Check out their free plan.
- Make your welcome email a good one – MarketingShepra featured a company that increased their CTR by 450% by changing their welcome process.Instead of one long welcome email, Savvymom sent three welcome emails spread over ten days
- The trick is to only send helpful information and only occasionally should you try to “sell”. The bulk of your email should be educational, helpful, thought provoking and/or interesting. Sending educational, value-rich emails to your subscribers allows you to slowly build relationships with them – and acts as a regular reminder of your status as an expert in your space.