If you’ve been using MailChimp to send out newsletters or your latest posts, you’ve probably already realized the importance of reaching your readers in their inboxes. It keeps you in front of their eyes and can help grow your traffic, reach and also gives you an opportunity to share any bonus content. Bonus content is a great offer if you’re trying to get more people on your list.
But, you might have also found that not everyone likes getting emails in the same way. Some people prefer a weekly roundup, while others want those posts in their inbox as soon as possible. The good news is that you don’t have to pick just one way to send emails. In this post, I’m going to show you how to create Groups for your Lists to keep your readers organized on the backend. Once they’re grouped, you can tailor which emails go to which groups.
I used to think that I needed different lists for each email type that I wanted to send out, but groups keep all of your contacts for a specific list in one place, and allow you to target specific groups within that list for different email types. If you’ve created multiple lists already, combine them all into a single list before making groups. The only reason you would need multiple lists is if you have multiple sites that have totally different audiences. For example, let’s say I had both the BFK list and my personal blog in the same MailChimp account. I would want two separate lists in this instance because the audiences are completely different. Of course there may be some overlap, but you get the drift! Also, setting up groups instead of multiple lists will make it possible for readers to select the emails they want to get straight from the sign-up form—easy, right?!
1. Create List
If you haven’t started your list yet, login to MailChimp and navigate to Lists. If you don’t have MailChimp, you can create an account for free, so go ahead and sign up. Once you’re in Lists, hit the Create List button in the top right corner and fill out the following information.
Under Contact Information (in the blue box), you might wondering if you really have to put your address in, the answer is YES. It’s technically against the law to not have an address in there. I used a business address instead of our personal address though! You can use a P.O. Box as well, but you do need to have something in there, otherwise MailChimp won’t allow you to send your emails.
2. Create a Group
Once your list is created, we can start with creating those handy groups! If you have an existing list, you can add Groups within that list and then import your current subscribers to specific groups afterward.
Click on the list you want to add groups to and then hit the dropdown menu titled Manage Contacts. Select Groups from the list and hit the Create Groups button.
Here I’ve created a group titled Email List. Depending on which option(s) your readers select, they’ll be placed on one or more of the lists. As you can see, you can change the options above to allow them to select multiple groups, or only one. I would avoid giving readers too many options, but it’s up to you how many different groups you’ll need and want to create.
After your Groups are created, you can import Contacts into them, or hit the Done for Now button.
3. Create Sign-Up Form for your Sidebar
Go to your new list and hit Signup Forms and select Embedded Forms.
As you can see, there are LOTS of options! I typically uncheck Include Form Title, and only display required fields instead of all. I do think it’s great to collect the first name though, so if you want to make the first name field required, hit the link underneath Show only required fields to edit that in the Form Builder.
Once you’re in the form builder, you can click on an element and to the right side, you’ll be able to make it Required. Just make sure to hit save before going back to your Signup Forms builder.
Here’s what my final Signup form settings looks like in MailChimp.
4. Add Signup Form to Your Sidebar
Before you leave that page above, copy the code below and login to your WordPress blog. Navigate to Appearances > Widgets and add an empty Custom HTML widget to your sidebar.
Paste (Command + V) your code into the box, add a title if you feel so inclined and hit Save.
Now, go to your homepage, or anywhere your sidebar appears and hit refresh and you should see your email signup form with group options. Pretty sweet, right?! If you’re handy with code and CSS, you can tweak the colors, fonts and spacing if you so desire! Just make sure you save a copy of your original signup form in case you mess something up and need to grab that again. If not, no worries! Your form will still work great and thankfully looks pretty nice right out of the box.
5. Subscriber Pop-up with Group Options
Navigate to your list and select Signup forms again. This time, pick Subscriber Pop-up from the options below. MailChimp has greatly improved this feature over the years and it looks so much nicer than it used to! By default, it only shows the email address. You can leave it as is, but we already made those groups, so I suggest you let your readers pick which lists they want to be on.
Hit the Fields tab and select the fields you want to display and move the check box to on if you want them to be required. Next, hit the Design tab and let’s make it pretty!
The first option you have here is Display. It might be tempting to select Immediately, but I actually recommend against that. Letting readers interact with your page a little bit before trying to get them to sign-up is more beneficial. I’d suggest the After 20 seconds option or scroll to middle of page option.
Next you’ll be able to change the orientation. Play around to see what you like best. Here I picked the option with the image on the left (you can add your image under the Content tab–I checked the Edge to Edge box. More on this in a bit!). Change the font and buttons to match your site as best as possible, and change the opacity of the overlay if you want.
Lastly, hop over to the Content tab. Here you can add your image and add any extra text above or below your form. When you’re all set, hit Generate Code.
Grab your code and place it just after the opening < head > tag in your code. In some themes, you might have a spot to drop header scripts, so you can add it there. If not, go to Appearances > Editor and find your header.php file. Once you’re in there, search for < head > (there won’t be spaces in between the < & head within your code!) and paste the code just after that. Hit save, clear your browser cookies and refresh your page and you should see your popup form!
6. Sending Campaigns to the Groups
The final step is making sure you’re sending emails to the right group. Go to create a campaign and select your list. When picking who to send to, you’ll see three options, select the one that’s titled Group or New Segment.
Click on the first dropdown menu under Contact matches any of the following and navigate to Groups and select your Group—here mine is titled ‘Emails’. Once you hit that, you’ll see your group options and select the group that you want to send your email to. Once you’ve selected it, hit Next and create your campaign like normal!
You can do the same thing for any RSS feeds you have going out as well. Simple enough, right? Happy MailChimping!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Even if you’re not using interest groups, you can use this tutorial to get your signup form in your sidebar and create a popup. If you have any other MailChimp questions or things you want to learn how to do, let us know below!