Email isn’t going away and it’s still a really useful marketing tool. I often subscribe to newsletter via email still, as I find they are easier to prioritize in my life rather than just subscribing to the RSS of a site.
So you’re looking to offer email subscriptions for your RSS feed on your WordPress site. Where do you even begin?
I’m a huge fan of MailChimp. One of the great things I love about MailChimp is that they offer a forever free plan, up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. No contract, no credit card required, free and simple.
Let’s dive into how to exactly setup an RSS to Email subscription service.
Before starting any of the steps, make sure you sign up at MailChimp.com.
Step 1: Create Campaign
Clicking the dropdown menu to create a new campaign. From that list, choose “RSS-Driven Campaign.” Choosing this option will make it easier to get started.
Step 2: RSS Feed and Send Timing
First setup your RSS feed to pull content from. Next, setting up the day and time. This is really important. Why? There have been numerous studies done on click-through rates regarding day and time of day, about when to send email. MailChimp has a study about it.
Personally, I choose every weekday and generally around 10am ET. This would mean 7am PT. If you have a paid account, MailChimp offers a feature called Time Warp which let’s you choose which time specific to the user’s time zone.
Step 3: Create your mailing list
The campaign you just created needs to know who to send the emails to. You probably don’t have an existing list, so just create a new one. Enter all the values it’s asking for to get started.
Step 4: Name the campaign, track social media
Here you can ensure that you track your open-rate, click-through rate, even add optional Google Analytics tracking. MailChimp even makes it easy to hook and auto-tweet upon sending the campaign.
Step 5: Design it!
MailChimp offers 4 methods of starting the design: Drag and Drop Editor, Basic, Predesigned (easiest), and My Templates. Going with the predesigned is the simplest way to get started. If none of those strike your fancy, maybe give the Drag and Drop editor a shot and create your own.
Step 6: Setup a plain-text version
Early on in the process, you had the option of choosing HTML or just plain-text emails. I prefer HTML emails as they are far more beautiful and compelling than just text. While I prefer HTML, not everyone does. So having an option to choose plain-text is still helpful for those people that can’t accept HTML emails.
In this step, you need to setup a plain-text version of your email so everyone can easily access your emails.
Step 7: Mailing list ready.
You’ve completed all the steps to getting your RSS to email mailing list ready. Now you need subscribers.
Setting up a web form
MailChimp offers an easy way to create web forms to help drive new subscribers to your mailing list.
You can exit wherever you are by going to the top right and clicking “Save & Exit” and this will safely bring you out of the current page. From that Save & Exit dropdown, click Lists.
Next up, “Design Signup Form” so you can start driving new subscribers.
Add the webform to your site
After you’ve completed the design of how you want it to look, simply add the code that MailChimp provides you to your website — for example, in a text widget — and your website will be ready to drive new subscribers to your RSS to email mailing list.
Any questions, let me know in the comments!