There are a lot of online systems to manage your newsletters, however you have to try hard to find one that is better value for money or comes close in functionality to our favourite – MailChimp.
As well as a great user interface for building email templates and sending and recording stats of email campaigns, one of its real strong points is the ability to integrate with many different systems. Lucky for us that WordPress is included in this!
There are a couple of different ways to have a user sign up on your WordPress site and have the data placed directly into MailChimp. The most powerful involves the form plugin Gravity Forms.
If you’re not familiar with it, it is a very popular form creation tool that allows for simple, through to very complicated forms to be easily created in a point and click interface, right inside WordPress.
Gravity Forms also has a plugin available that supports MailChimp and this is a combination that we use all the time for our customers. It gives you the ability to create a form for a signup, a user submits it but stays right on your site and in the background the signup is passed over to MailChimp. You don’t have to go for it but Gravity Forms has the option of an Ajax front end that does all of this while the user remains on the same page.
One thing that we have found is that if you combine say a contact us form with a newsletter form you have a situation where people can send you a message and you can give them the option right there to sign up for your newsletter as well – in our experience this does increase newsletter sign up.
Here is an example.
The trick is in Gravity’s ability to have logic in a form, so it says “if the newsletter option is ticked I’ll send this one to MailChimp, if it’s not ticked then I’ll just send the enquiry through”.
The below screen shot is MailChimp plugin for Gravity and shows this logic being configured.
MailChimp also provides another two methods of integration, the first is just a simple link that you place on your web site that moves a user through to a page that is hosted in the MailChimp system where the users then does the sign up. You’re able to customise the look of this page, with logo and other simple branding.
The second way involves MailChimp creating a HTML form that then is embedded info the WordPress site. While this method is easy to do it can often have problems in getting the form supplied to fit in with the rest of your WordPress theme.