Email Subscriber Lists: Thunderbirds are go

Thunderbird One

I’d had someone last week ask where the “subscribe” button to my blog was. I didn’t have one. Also conscious that I need to get an email out to a portion of my LinkedIn contacts, I thought it was time to invest in a proper email platform. The WordPress WPMU Dev Community always appear to be in awe of Mailchimp, which has all the features to run professional looking email campaigns and which is free to use for subscriber lists of less than 5000 contacts. It also has excellent integration with WordPress.

I have downloaded my LinkedIn contacts into one list, which I will only use one time as part of my next role landing effort. I was taught many years ago that 70% of all roles tend to come by personal referral and which tend not to get advertised – and hence a small one time plea for referrals. Mailchimp¬†allowed me to customise the email subject lines with people’s Christian names (Surname available also) and to lay things out very neatly. I then spent quite a considerable time laying everything into one of the many provided templates to look nice, and added pictures of some of my accreditation certificates on the end.

The dialogue you go through to finally release the email (in both HTML and Text forms) is really quirky and amusing (it shows a chimps finger dripping sweat about to press a big red button, and afterwards high-fives as the email send goes underway). 5 minutes later I have 21 out of offices and my first reply. Looking good.

The reply email action also allows you to pre-populate the subject and the message field, so it minimises the amount of work the recipient has to enter to reply back to you. Overall, very well thought out from start to finish.

I created a second “Simplicity Sells” mailing list which is totally empty – but which is populated by people who want to subscribe to this blog. After adding in the WordPress Mailchimp for WP Plugin, I put the widget in the right hand bottom footer. That, however, is right at the bottom of a potential very long list of posts, so I elected to add a custom “Subscribe” page using a short code and linked this onto the top menu. All worked first time, and confirmed my email address correctly – and into the mailing list things went.

Reading more on the Mailchimp blog and their knowledge base, you can see a lot of the hoops they jump through on your behalf to run a mailing list for folks that willingly subscribe to your content. Impressed.

All running fine so far. Let’s see how this rolls over the next few days.