I’ve said before how important it is to build an email list. Apart from actually typing in your blog’s name (which is less effective in getting return visitors), setting up a newsletter is the main vehicle for getting people to return to your site after they’ve been there for the 1st time. Return visitors or readers need an easy way to be able to come back to your blog without actually having to type in your blog’s name, because let’s face it, unless you’re really good at coming up with a catchy blog name that people will remember, 1st time visitors won’t remember how to get back to your blog.
That’s not to say that they didn’t like what you had to say, it’s just that with so much information being thrown at us each day, it’s hard to remember little things like a blog you happened to run across a week ago, which is why newsletters are essential. Once a reader enters their email into that subscription box, all they have to do is wait for your newest entry to be sent to the inbox. Simple, right?
I can’t tell you how many great blogs I’ve run across that didn’t have an opt in form of some kind. No, literally I can’t tell you, because I can’t remember their names. See, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s sad too, because I would’ve been a loyal reader of some of them, but because they didn’t take time out to quickly and easily set up a simple newsletter, they were forgotten. That’s why I thought this would be an important post to do for this series.
I use the Mail Poet plugin for my newsletter and I’m going to show step by step how to use it. Once you follow each step, you’ll be able to easily set up your own newsletter and eventually start racking up some subscribers. I won’t go into the basics of setting it up though, because that part is self explanatory.
Once you’ve installed Mail Poet and set up the basic information for sending out your newsletter, you’ll want to start by going to the newsletter section of Mail Poet which is where you’ll create your newsletter. As you can see above, I already have a newsletter made, so for the purposes of this demonstration, I went ahead and created another one. If you look at the top by the word All Newsletters, you’ll see a tab that says create a new email. Click on that to begin setting up your newsletter.
From here, you will decide if you want a standard newsletter or an automatic newsletter. Mine is set up as automatic. The subject line is going to be what pops up into your subscribers emails, so you’ll want to make sure it’s eye grabbing. Obviously you also want it sent to your email list, which is why I have that box checked. After you through with this, click to the next step.
At the top of this newsletter, where it says drop your logo into this header, you’ll see that I added my blog background image as the header by clicking on the images tab on the right hand side of this setup and once the image was uploaded, I just dragged the image onto the space where I wanted it to go. You don’t have to add an image here, you could add a title or phrase, whatever you like best, this is just how I have my newsletter set up.
After creating my header image, the next step was to add what posts I wanted to be featured in my newsletter. I did this by clicking the content tab right beside the images tab and where it says WordPress post, I dragged the icon over to the part of the newsletter I wanted it to show up in.
Once you’ve dragged that block over to the newsletter, a screen pops up asking you to select what type of post you want to show up here. As you can see from this screenshot, all of my posts are there for me to choose and you can select as many as you want. You can repeat this step by adding more posts in separate sections, or you can add them all at once in this step.
As you saw in the step above, after I added the post block to my newsletter, it automatically set the link color to a default setting, but you can change that by clicking on the styles tab to the right of the setup. You can change the colors and font to pretty much anything in this newsletter.
In my footer, I don’t have anything because I don’t like to clutter my newsletter too much, but you are given the option to create one if you choose to. As you can also see, at the bottom, that is where you have a unsubscribe button for your subscribers. That’s the one thing you can’t modify. It’s a good thing too, because if you don’t have an unsubscribe button for your readers to opt out of emails, then your just entering into spamming territory, and that’s something nobody wants. From here is also where your subscribers will be able to edit their subscription. Once you’ve completed this last section you have the option to send a preview to your email so that you can see what your newsletter will look like before you finish it. I always do this step because your newsletter looks slightly different in your email and you might want to change a few things.
In this final step before saving your newsletter, you’re able to edit the subject line again if you’re not happy with what you had before and you have the option to schedule your newsletter to be sent out automatically or as soon as you complete this step it will be sent right away. That was pretty simple right? I know there are other newsletter plugins that a lot of people like and use, but this is the one I use.
I hope you found this semi-tutorial helpful, and if you have any questions about setting it up, please feel free to leave me a comment below.
Question of the day: Do you have a newsletter set up?