Keep your customer database up to date with mailing list integration
There are various ways that your website can capture interested visitor details so you can add them to your mailing lists. However you do this your mailing list should be kept up, and easily allow people to unsubscribe if they no longer want to receive it. If you are not effectively managing your mailing list your email accounts may end up being reported for spamming. Most email programs, including web based (GMail, Hotmail etc), have the option to tag incoming emails as SPAM and also report the sending email address. The effect of this is your email address reputation is damaged, and your mailing lists will end up being filtered directly in to SPAM or junk mail folders automatically.
Contact Form Data Collection
At the basic level your contact form will supply you with their name and email address. If you capture this information and add it to your mailing list, you need to make it blatantly obvious that you are doing so. A visitor may not expect to start receiving mail shots from you just because they sent you a general query.
An ‘opt in’ tick box on your contact form should be the absolute bare minimum attempt at harvesting their data. Of course any email you send them will need to have details on how to unsubscribe from your list as well.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend this way of collecting email addresses for your mailing list!
Mailing List Integration with 3rd Party System such as MailChimp
There are many third party mail campaign systems available, but I’ve had most exposure to MailChimp. These online services allow you to maintain your mailing lists and ensure you comply with all relevant regulations relating to anti-SPAM regulations.
The beauty of MailChimp is that mailing list integration with your WordPress system is amazingly simple. Once you have linked your MailChimp account to your website, your mailing subscription form will start collecting details of those who want to hear from you. It will utilise the “double opt in” process, where once their details have been submitted they need to click on an activation link in an email sent to that address.
This has two effects; firstly that the email address they entered is valid, and secondly that they really wanted to sign up!
MailChimp has a host of other benefits included with it including a templating system so you can create your own email templates. This will allow you to send out consistent looking mail shots. You can monitor the engagement with the emails you send out, how many have been opened, how many links were clicked and also how many unsubscribe from your list (remember it’s important that you only send to those who want to hear from you!). The system can even tell you the best time at which to send your mail shot, and then schedule it to send at that time.
Of course you don’t have to use these systems to actually send your mailings as you can download the data it collects, and use it locally.
It’s essentially free to use if you have a small mailing list (up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 mails sent per month). Pricing after that amount isn’t too bad, and you can either pay a monthly fee if you are going to be a frequent user or buy credits if you prefer.
Have a look at their website for more information – http://mailchimp.com/
Mailing list integration through your website
Once you have decided on how you want to proceed, then all we need to do is enable the mailing list integration on your website. It’s not a complicated procedure, but does require you to think how you want it to be visible to your visitors.
Simple things to think about with your outgoing mail campaigns
While we are on the subject, here are some simple things to think about!
- Make sure you have permission to email that person! Preferably using a double opt in system and always provide an unsubscribe link.
- Never use deceptive headers, From names, reply-to addresses, or subject lines.
- Include your physical mailing address.
- Don’t mail too often! People may get frustrated to get an email a day from you, particularly so if it’s similar information each time.
- Proof read what you send. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are not going to impress!