This is my technique that I have taught lots of small businesses and non-profits how to keep things simple with their website and email updates. I teach them how to keep their email marketing easy with RSS feeds. If you have a website with an RSS feed (all WordPress sites do), then you use the post which goes to that feed (usually referred to as a blog post) to automatically send an email to your email list.
How to set it up
I recommend MailChimp because they are fun, friendly and somewhat easy to use. I also like them because they are free for those with small lists. They also have lots of tutorials on how to do things. You just have to learn the lingo.
- Create a MailChimp account
- They will walk you through setting up your first email list. They also school you in the difference between a list and a campaign. You can have multiple lists. You send an email campaign to an entire list or a part of your list. You can create groups within your list such as “interested in events,” “kids club,” or by anything you’d like.
- Set up your campaign. MailChimp will walk you through creating the RSS campaign. Use their pre made template for RSS campaigns. Then you can edit the template. Be sure to save that campaign as a template for yourself in case you want to create a separate email down the road. You should make sure it shares the full post instead of just excerpts.
How it works
You set how often MailChimp checks your feed to see if there has been a new post. You can have it check daily, just a few days per week or once a week. I use daily as I don’t post the same day every week. You also set what time MailChimp will check. I believe the default is 4 AM and is what I use. If there is a post at the time it checks, it will email out to your list.
Getting people onto your list
Anti CANN spam laws require you to have permission before adding someone to your email list. Here are a few ways to get them to sign up:
- Have a place for folks to sign up in your store with the different groups you set up. This could be a computer where they easily input their information or just a piece of paper where they write it down. My clients tend to do both ways depending on where they are or where their customer is.
- Add a sign up box to your website.
- Keep a notepad in your purse or a link to the sign up box on your phone, so that no matter where you are, you can easily have them join the list.
Adding a Sign up Box to your Website
If you use WordPress there are a variety of ways to add this to your site. One is by installing the MailChimp plug in “MailChimp for WordPress” by ibericode. However, due to more and more people using mobile devices, they also offer a “MailChimp for WordPress – Top Bar” which will easily add the sign up box to the top of the page. Either will work and you can use them both. To set it up, you will need to create an API code in MailChimp. It’s easy to do. It basically just tells them where to send the data.
Your weekly schedule
- You write a short “blog post” summarizing all the things you want to mention. You can include links as well where folks can get more details. Examples include a class/event that you put on Facebook or more details about new product offerings. I would not include pictures, or if you do limit it to just one. This is a great place to list out events for the week and any specials you have.
- The next morning MailChimp sees there is a new post in your feed and it emails to your list.
- MailChimp will send you an email saying it went.
If you need some help getting this put together, feel free to reach out. However, please note I don’t have experience with other email service providers so I don’t know if they have the auto RSS feed option.