Here’s How To Create An Email Subscription Form for Your Website Without Using Feedburner

How cool is permission marketing? Being able to communicate with people who already want to hear from you!

So how do you get their permission to send them your newsletters, blog posts and other marketing material?

The easiest way is to have a subscription box somewhere obvious on your website. The most common and effective places are:

    • In your sidebar (best at the top)
    • In your header
    • At the bottom of every blog post

And you’ll see at the Micro Business Hub we use all three.

Already offering blog subscriptions? Here’s how to send them your newsletter too. Click to Tweet

Most email marketing platforms (such as MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact) can take your blog feed and email it to your subscribers. Therefore you can use the one service to do both. And this means visitors to your website will only have to sign up once to receive your blog posts and marketing material.

In this post I am going to concentrate on using an RSS feed management service with MailChimp because its the system I am most familiar with and for businesses with less than 2000 subscribers sending less than 12,000 emails a month, it’s free.

1. Feed Management Service

If your website doesn’t have a blog you can skip this step.

If you do have a blog then the first thing to do is to redirect your native RSS feed to a feed management service. Until recently most people used Feedburner because it’s free but since Google took it over there has been little development or support. And now there are rumours that the service may be closing.

An alternative is FeedBlitz. It’s a paid service but they do promise better service and support. Therefore I will run through quickly how to set up FeedBlitz.

  1. Go to FeedBlitz and open an account. They have a 30 day free trial and if you are going to use them for just RSS subscriptions then the price is currently is $1.49 per month.
  2. Once you are in your account dashboard click the Add A New Site button.
  3. If you are already using Feedburner then click the FeedBurner Login button and follow the Feedburner to FeedBlitz Migration Guide.
  4. Otherwise, enter your website URL and click Add Site to FeedBlitz.
  5. When it finishes scanning click Next Steps.
  6. Cick the Finish Setup underneath the RSS feed icon.
  7. Go through the various options (here’s a YouTube video from FeedBlitz) and click Save Changes.
  8. Take a note of your Feed URL.

2. Get Your Subscription Form Code

  1. Create an account with MailChimp.
  2. Click Create A List.
  3. Give the list a name and complete the rest of the details.
  4. Click the Design Signup Forms.
  5. Select SignUp Form.
  6. On the Build It page add and remove the fields that you really need. Research has shown that the fewer fields a subscriber has to complete the more subscribers you will get. But if you want to personalise your emails with “Hi FirstName” then you will need this information. Also if you want to segment your list, (for lead nurturing) then you need to ask the relevant question on this form.
  7. Click through to the Design It page – you can change the colours and fonts of all the elements by clicking the page, body and forms tabs.
  8. Click through to Translate It if you need other languages.
  9. Click Share It and click the Create HTML Code button.
  10. Copy the code in the box from <!– Begin MailChimp Signup Form –> to <!–End mc_embed_signup–>.
  11. Now go to your website and insert that code in the appropriate place. If you are using WordPress create a text widget and insert the code there.
  12. There are a number of plugins and other integration apps available at the MailChimp Integrations Directory.

3. Complete the Subscription Process

Now you have the subscription form on your website don’t forget to go back and sort out the other pages and emails that are automatically generated when a person subscribes.

  • Signup Thank You Page – I like to redirect this page to a special page on my website. Means I can track in my website stats when people complete this step. You just need to enter the URL into the “Instead of showing this thank you page, send subscribers to another URL” box. Alternatively you can build and design this page as you did the signup form.
  • Opt-in Confirmation Email – MailChimp uses double opt in so once a person completes your signup form they get an email to confirm that they want to subscribe. Write something in here about what they can expect to receive from you and how it will benefit them. You don’t want this email getting caught in their spam filters as they won’t complete the subscription process.
  • Confirmation Thank You Page – When a subscriber clicks the “Yes, subscribe me to this list” button in the email above, they get taken to a thank you page. Again I like this page to be on my website so I can track it (and track that the signup thank you pages equal the confirmation thank you pages).
  • Final Welcome Email – This is the last email of the process and unless you’ve set up an auto responder it will be the last they will hear from you until your next newsletter or blog post. Again say something about what they can expect to receive from you and the benefits that it will bring.

4. Set up your RSS to Email Campaign

If your website doesn’t have a blog you can skip this step.

To send out your blog posts as emails to your subscribers you need to create an RSS to Email Campaign:

  1. Click Campaigns.
  2. Click Create Campaign and select RSS-Driven Campaign.
  3. Enter your feed’s URL
  4. Set the frequency and time that your emails will be sent (no matter what time you publish your post it will go out the same time everyday)
  5. Click Recipients and select the list you created above and click send to entire list (or segment)
  6. Name your campaign, give it a subject, from name and reply to email (please make it an email address you check – none of this no-reply@domainname.com)
  7. Take the tick out of Personalize the To Field if you have not collected subscribers first names.
  8. Click through to Design and select a template, personally I stick to the Basic templates
  9. Now go through all the design options, making the headings, background, body text, etc the exact colours and fonts you want.
  10. Click to edit the main text part of the email
  11. You need to enter which bits of your blog post need to go where….This is the source of the Micro Business Hub campaign (click the <> button at the end of styling ribbon)

    *|RSSITEMS:|*
    <div>
    <h1>
    <a _zipidx=”6″ class=”tpl-content-highlight” href=”*|RSSITEM:URL|*”>*|RSSITEM:TITLE|*</a></h1>
    </div>
    *|RSSITEM:DATE|* | *|RSSITEM:AUTHOR|*<br />
    *|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|*<br />
    <a _zipidx=”6″ class=”tpl-content-highlight” href=”*|RSSITEM:COMMENTS_URL|*”>Leave a comment on this post</a><br />
    *|END:RSSITEMS|*

    Where

    *|RSSITEMS:|* = start individual feed items
    *|RSSITEM:URL|* = Post URL
    *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* = Post Title
    *|RSSITEM:DATE|* = Post date
    *|RSSITEM:AUTHOR|* = Post author
    *|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|* = the full post (there are options to just show the post excerpt if you prefer)
    *|RSSITEM:COMMENTS_URL|* = link to the comments section on the post
    *|END:RSSITEMS|* = end individual feed items

    There are many other options and a here is a tutorial from MailChimp

  12. To check what you have created click the Preview & Test button and select Open Popup Preview.
  13. When it’s looking right in the popup preview select to Send a Test Email.
  14. Once it is all looking as you want it then click through to Plain Text. If you’ve given your subscribers the choice of plain text emails then check that the plain text email content is as you want it.
  15. Click Confirm and check through all the options you have choosen.
  16. Finally click Start RSS Campaign.

 5. Set up your Newsletter Campaign

As your subscribers are now in a list in MailChimp you can also send them your newsletter without having to post to your blog. To do this you to create a new campaign:

  1. Click Campaigns.
  2. Click Create Campaign and select Regular Ol’ Campaign.
  3. Select the list you created above and click send to entire list (or segment if you are using segments).
  4. Give it a name, subject, sender name and sender email address – do use a valid and active email address that you check.
  5. Take the tick out of Personalize the To Field if you have not collected subscribers first names.
  6. Click Design and choose a template.
  7. Now go through all the design options, making the headings, background, body text, etc the exact colours and fonts you want.
  8. Click to edit the main text part of the email.
  9. Enter your content using the defined styles and click Save Now.
  10. To check what you have created click the Preview & Test button and select Open Popup Preview.
  11. When it’s looking right in the popup preview select to send a test email.
  12. Once it is all looking as you want it then click through to Plain Text. If you’ve given your subscribers the choice of plain text emails then check that the plain text email content is as you want it.
  13. Click Confirm and check through all the options you have chosen.
  14. Finally select whether to send now or to schedule.

6. Set up you Auto Responders

You can also set up auto responders to send messages to your subscribers at set times after they have subscribed. Here’s a tutorial from MailChimp on how to do that.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Phew it’s been a bit of a mammoth tutorial! So just take it step by step and if you have any questions please comment below and I will do my best to answer.

And if  you are reading this post in a RSS Reader please note that our feed will be changing to FeedBlitz at the weekend.

Jo Waltham

Jo Waltham is the techy person behind the Micro Business Hub. She builds websites for micro businesses and bloggers at Callia Web where she also provides general tech support with WordPress, email and hosting. So if you are looking for a little techy help then do get in touch.

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Comments

  1. Hi Jo
    Such a useful post.
    With all the rumours about Feedburner we all have to start looking at alternatives.

    I’ve heard good things about FeedBlitz and Mailchimp.
    Decisions, decisions….
    Keith Davis recently posted..Catalyst – the ultimate WordPress theme frameworkMy Profile

  2. I’m in the process of moving mine over once I change my home page from my blog. Bookmarked this for later as there is a dearth of simple easy to follow blog posts about how to set up RSS to Email, feeds and subscriptions (having looked!).

    Thanks.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..Save 2%: don’t be in the workhouse when you retireMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] written a tutorial for the Micro Business Hub on how to create an email subscription form on your website, to get permission to send your blog posts and marketing material to people, […]

  2. […] Creating An Email Subscription Form for Your Website 1 Upvotes Discuss Flag Submitted 1 min ago Chris Dyson Email microbusinesshub.co.uk Comments […]

  3. […] Here’s How To Create An Email Subscription Form for Your Website Without Using Feedburner From http://www.microbusinesshub.co.uk – Today, 6:57 PM […]

  4. […] If you are setting this up for the first time now – don’t use feedburner. Please see my post at the Micro Business Hub. […]

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