Over the last few months I’ve had over a dozen emails asking if I could write a post, outlining exactly how I set up Thrive Leads with MailChimp on my blog.
So in this post I’m going to share with you step-by-step, how I have my email opt-in forms setup so that my visitors can sign up, confirm their email address through my email service provider (MailChimp), and download my free eBook.
If you don’t yet have an email subscription option on your blog, then you’re really missing out, plain and simple.
You’re not only missing out on new business, but more critically, you’re missing out on opportunities to drive targeted traffic to your blog, increasing readership and engagement and your chance to really connect and learn more about your blog audience.
I’m going to automatically assume that you’ve never set up email opt-in on your blog or website before, so here’s the list of things that I use to make the process of signing up, simple and attractive for my visitors:
- MailChimp – Simply the best email marketing service provider on the web, that’s mu humble opinion of course.
- Thrive Leads – Simply the best email opt-in form builder and list building plugin for WordPress, period!
- eBook – The end value, incentive that I give away to visitors that sign up to my email list. (If you have email set up on your blog but don’t have an eBook to give away, and you want to learn how to create one, grab my other eBook here.
OK so let’s begin.
The Email Service Provider That I Use (MailChimp)
First of all, MailChimp rocks! It provides me with everything I need to build a solid and active email list for my blog, and all my other online businesses.
What I love most about MailChimp is that it’s so simple to use, and the user interface is simply gorgeous and easy to navigate around, the tools and features are exceptional, and to top it all off, MailChimp is free, that is the big bonus here, you can send up to 2,000 emails per month before you have to pay anything!
If you’re not using any email service provider, I do recommend you try MailChimp (aff).
Setting Up MailChimp & Creating A List
If you’re using MailChimp for the first time, once you’re signed up the first thing you want to do is create a new list, which is pretty self explanatory.
It’s important that you add some essential credentials about your list, such as a recognisable name so that your subscribers know who the email is from when sending out newsletters, and of course your contact information. See screen shot below.
Once you have created your list, it’s time to create a signup form in MailChimp.
Customising Basic Forms & Response Emails In MailChimp
Now when I’m customising signup forms, response emails and even my email newsletter through MailChimp, I like to make sure that I brand everything so that visitors can instantly recognise who the emails are from. I like to make the logo, text and background colour and other elements similar to what is found on my blog.
Some bloggers don’t do this at all, some prefer to make their response emails and forms appear just in plain text. You can provide the option to your subscribers to pick which email format they’d prefer to view with MailChimp.
The screen capture below will show you some of the tools and design options you get in MailChimp, these can be used to customise the look and feel of your response emails and forms.
With MailChimp you can customise every single form and response email. The screen capture below shows you a list of them:
Redirecting Subscribers To Your Incentive Download Page
Now if you’re planning on giving away a free incentive to new subscribers like I do on my blog with my eBook, here’s how I do things.
I create each response email carefully, ensuring that I make it as personal as possible whilst keeping audience interest. I use words like “you”, “your” and “I” throughout.
On the Confirmation “thank you’ page and Final “welcome email, I’ll have a short paragraph thanking and welcoming my new list member, as well as adding the critical link to the download page on my blog, where they can access their free eBook. Here’s a screen capture of that welcome email.
Putting Your Product Download Page On Lockdown
I have created my download page using a static page within WordPress and the Thrive Landing Pages template.
You might have also noticed from the image above, I provide a password for new members to access this download page. This is because I don’t want anyone to just be able to access this download page willy-nilly. The only way to access the content of the page is via a password. The password is only provided once the new subscriber has confirmed their email address.
To create a password protected page within WordPress, you simply create a static page as you would normally, then add your content and download link to your eBook, then publish the page. Then under visibility, you simply select password protect and create a password. See image below.
Also don’t forget that if you’re uploading your PDF’s to host on your blog, to ensure that you’re no-indexing the actual file/attachment itself, so that it doesn’t end up appearing on search engine search results.
None of this helps you to prevent non-subscribers bookmarking your PDF download page if they were to find it, but it’s the closest thing you’ll achieve to securing the download page without spending money on software.
Creating A Call-To-Action Opt-In Button Form In Thrive Leads
Now as I mentioned earlier, I don’t use the embed forms provided by MailChimp to place on my blog, just the raw HTML code. What I do use is one of the best list building plugins on the market for WordPress called Thrive Leads (aff).
Thrive Leads is compatible with MailChimp along with many other email marketing service providers. You can check out my review here of this plugin.
Thrive Leads allows you to build custom email opt-in forms to match the rest of the design of your blog, brand. If you look at the top of the sidebar, and the footer of each post you’ll see an email opt-in box with a call-to-action button. When users click on this button, a pop-up opt-in form will appear where they can sign up, now this process is called a 2-step opt-in.
You don’t have to do the same as what I’m doing, you can just design an opt-in form instead of a box and button, check out my video tutorial of Thrive Leads here.
How To Create A Call-To-Action 2-Step Opt-in Form Or Box
Before we paste our raw HTML MailChimp form embed code anywhere, the first thing we need to do is create a custom opt-in form or box. Once again, to do this I’m using a list building plugin called Thrive Leads (aff).
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create an opt-in box with a button, the 2-step opt-in process I talked about earlier.
Step one is to design a button. I use a pro graphic design software called Affinity Designer for the Mac, but you can use just about any image creation / editing software you can get your hands on. A great free one would be PhotoScape. There is also a version available for Windows.
OK here’s the button I created for my opt-in box: If you click on the button you’ll see a pop-up opt-in form will appear. I’m going to show you how to do the same using Thrive Leads, and after which I’ll show you where to paste your raw MailChimp form code when creating your pop-up opt-in form.
So once you’ve designed and created your button, you can then upload it to your image file in WordPress.
Step two is to create a 2-step shortcode in Thrive Leads. We need to create a “2-step lightbox” shortcode in Thrive Leads, then copy and paste the shortcode, along with the HTML source code for the button image into our custom opt-in box.
Confused? OK let’s take one step at a time.
Go to Thrive Leads >> Scroll down the page until you see “2 Step Lightboxes” >> Then click on “Add New”… Once you have generated a shortcode, hit Copy. See image below.
Now we haven’t quite finished yet, we cannot just paste this shortcode into a new custom form. First we need to create a HTML source code to display the “button image” you created and uploaded earlier. Then paste the HTML source code into the shortcode.
Confused again? Let’s break it down.
What I usually do to generate a HTML for the image I want to display, is open up a new blank post, then hit “text” to view the text version.
Then I simply click “Add Media” to add the button image I just uploaded, it should appear as HTML. All I need to do then is strip only the image source code and paste it inside to replace the “trigger goes here” text in the shortcode. See below for example.
Now we have our new shortcode with the new trigger (button image) ready to be added to our custom opt-in form.
Step three is to design your opt-in call-to-action box and paste the shortcode inside a HTML element. So once again I’m using Thrive Leads to build my forms and boxes. You can check out the walkthrough video I created a while back of Thrive Leads here, which will show you how to build your opt-in forms.
OK so to add the call-to-action button you created earlier to your form, you simply drag and drop a Custom HTML element anywhere on your form, and paste the shortcode you created step 2 inside this element, see the two screen captures below for examples.
When you’re done, save all changes and test to check that all is working fine by hitting preview in the form editor.
Step four is to design and customise your 2-step pop-up opt-in form. So we’re done creating our call-to-action boxes, now let’s move onto the pop-up forms.
So just to be clear what this is again, it’s the pop-up form that people will see when they click on your call-to-action button within one of your opt-in boxes, where ever you have your opt-in boxes displayed. I have two, one displayed in my sidebar at the top, and one below this post.
To edit your 2-step form, simply go back to Thrive Leads >>Scroll down to 2-step Lightboxes >> Click on Edit. The page will load containing your 2-step form >> Click on Edit Design and the editor will load into a new window where you can design and edit your pop-up form. See screen captures below.
You can always go back and make necessary tweaks and changes here and there until you get it just right, but asides from that peeps, that’s the process of how I set up MailChimp with Thrive Leads on my blog.
I have tried to be as thorough as possible, and to to explain it as simple as I can too, but if you get stuck and require assistance, read the next part below.
Need help with your email setup? If you have any questions or need any help with your email opt-in form design, setup, configuration etc, then please do check out my design services page here. Get in touch with me and I’d be happy to help you out.
Enjoy and as always, happy blogging.
Fabrizio Van Marciano.