Newsletters and email marketing can be a tremendous asset because these mediums permit you to communicate from a greater position of trust and credibility than those who engage through social media or search engines marketing alone.
I've been trying out MailChimp since moving to Squarespace 6 because of their codeless integration. As you'll see in the steps to come, MailChimp and Squarespace now work together with virtually zero effort. And with both paid and free options available, they've made it simple to add email marketing to your current blogging and content marketing strategy.
1. Creating a MailChimp Account
I've had a monthly newsletter focused on Squarespace tips for over a year now, but I wanted to give MailChimp a try now this site is built on Squarespace 6. To sign up, I just gave MailChimp an email address, a username, and my password, and I was off and running.
So far the newsletter creation tools, list import and management tools, and overall experience with MailChimp has been outstanding. They have a powerful email tool set for bloggers and small businesses, and their user interface is about the smoothest I've seen in the email marketing space.
For starters, I'll be using MailChimp's free account, which is available to lists up to 2,000 subscribers. After a few months, I'll determine if I want to upgrade to remove the MailChimp badge from my newsletters (or if I want to leave it on to earn MonkeyRewards) and unlock other features such as MailChimp's Delivery Doctor, Inbox Inspector, or Time Warp.
2. Creating a MailChimp Subscription List
Once the account was created and I was logged in, it was time to set up a list of subscribers to the Big Picture Web newsletter. I navigated to Lists, then selected the Create List option in the menu. Since I already had an existing email list, I imported my contacts using an Excel spreadsheet. You'll need at least one active list in MailChimp in order to connect with Squarespace 6.
3. Creating Newsletter Subscription Forms Connected with MailChimp
Next, you'll want to head over to your website where you'll create a form on your Squarespace 6 website that enables people to sign up to receive your newsletters. Take, for example, the subscribe page on Big Picture Web.
Create a subscription page on your website with an embedded form block. Make sure that each field of your form corresponds to a field in your MailChimp subscription list.
Once your form contains all the proper fields, edit your form's settings and go to the Storage tab. Click the MailChimp connection setting to launch the connection wizard.
Connecting Squarespace and MailChimp
The API connection sequence prompts you to log in to your MailChimp account directly from your Squarespace website. Enter your username and password and log in.
Select Your MailChimp Subscription List
The last step is to select your MailChimp newsletter subscription list from the available options in the Squarespace interface. Save your form settings and your connection should now be in place.
From this point on, anyone who fills out the form on the page you've created will now be added to your newsletter subscription list in MailChimp automatically.
4. Link to Your Subscription Page in Squarespace
At this point, you'll want to let people know that your newsletter is available. Find a few strategic places to link to your newsletter signup form on your website, including your blog sidebar, footer or even your header navigation. Change up your creative and calls-to-action to see if there are positive changes in signups from month to month.
Why Create Newsletters if I'm Already Blogging?
Social media can be a cacophony of updates where important information is often quickly lost in the stream. Search engines are a crapshoot and rely on whatever is contextually relevant to the consumer at any given moment. While these channels are important and have their own merits, it can sometimes be hard to sustain a conversation.
Email, on the other hand, provides you with an opportunity to deliver content and information that you deem important it a place where it's almost certain to be seen, the inbox. And unlike other forms of advertising, consumers subscribe to newsletters. If you're doing it right, your audience will permit you to promote your services if your newsletter content provides enough value.
Squarespace's new MailChimp integration made me change my email newsletter provider of choice because they made integrating and maintaining subscribers a breeze. And the email creation and delivery tools they provide haven't failed to deliver yet. So far, I'm really happy I made the move.
What questions or thoughts do you have about email marketing? Do you use Squarespace for your blog and have you tried MailChimp for your email marketing. Do you prefer another service?