We love marketing, and we love helping small businesses out.  That’s why we’re starting a brand new feature called “Marketing DIY”.  There are a ton of different things that you can do yourself with just a little bit of time.  Sometimes those things are confusing, but with our step by step DIY guides, we’ll help you make it happen.

First up, the thing every single business should have – a mailing list.  A mailing list is an incredibly valuable tool, and is the cheapest, and most effective way to market to your customers.  This is an update to a previous post called “How to Create an Autoresponder That Delivers a Download…for Free“, but this version is revised with some amazing updates that Mailchimp has made sine then.

Description: This project contains instructions on how to build a sign up form, an email list, and a newsletter to begin engaging customers and building a list you can market to. You can follow along the instructions to complete your project.

Who Can Use This: Small Businesses or entrepreneurs who want to build a database and generate leads

You can easily start generating leads and building a database that you can engage, communicate with and hopefully sell to. You don’t need a lot of experience or skill, you just need to roll up your sleeves and follow this guide. If you own a meat market, or your business is you’re selling hand-made knitted dolls you can still benefit from building and communicating to a list.

To get started you need:

Mailchimp account (Sign Up For Free Here)

Please create this account, and familiarize yourself with the layout. This is where you will create your form, lists, automated emails and batch-style emails. Keep in mind MailChimp is free if your total records from all your lists is less than 2,000.

An offer (Hubspot Guide)

You’ll want some reason for your customers and potential customers to sign up. Your offer could be to just join your newsletter, or it could be a free download. It could be anything really, but it needs to be compelling for your customers. At Manage Comics we offer a guide that helps you get started.

Step 1: Create a List

The first thing you want to do in Mailchimp is to create a list where we will store the records who complete the form. We will also use this as our main mailing list.

It’s easy to create a list, though there are several bells and whistles for experienced Mailchimpers, such as segmentations and new custom fields.

Here are the definitions:

  • List – A list of subscribers who have opted in to hear from you.
  • Groups – A category within your list that organizes your subscribers by their interests and preferences.
  • List Fields and *|MERGE|* tags –  Extra information about your subscribers is stored in list fields. Just like Groups, this data can be hidden or visible and can be used in your content via the *|MERGE|* tag. You can also add your own custom fields.
  • Segments – A specific set of your list subscribers with common qualities. Segments can be created to target subscribers by location, engagement, activity, and more – with a maximum of five filters selected.

To create a list click <Lists> and then <Create Lists>.

It will give you the following options to complete. Keep in mind that when you email a list it will use these settings by default. Give your list a name like Newsletter Subscribers.

Step 2: Create a Signup Form

The next thing you need to do is create a signup form. You can easily do this from Mailchimp. Experienced users may wish to use a form that you can embed directly into your site. But this is not necessary. You can easily link directly to the Mailchimp form.

Let’s say all of your marketing is on Facebook to your followers. If you have a post with an offer you just use this URL that Mailchimp gives you.

You can even embed a form into a Facebook page but we’ll save this topic for another day.

The options when creating a form are as follows:

  • General forms – Build, design, and translate signup forms and response emails
  • Embedded forms – Generate HTML code to embed in your site or blog to collect signups.
  • Subscriber pop-up – Design a pop-up signup form that can be embedded on any site.
  • Form integrations – Create signup forms using one of our integrations.

Click on <Lists>, choose your list, then click on <Signup Forms>. Select <General Forms>

Let’s go ahead and create a General Form.

There are many design options. I encourage you to keep it simple. Only ask the questions you need, and keep the colours, fonts and style to a minimum which should match your brand.

Remember, you’ll get better at this, and you can always edit it later.

Here is what I came up with after 2 minutes.

You’ll use the link this page provides when you drive your customers and prospect to the form page.

Here is my 2 minute form: http://eepurl.com/dcePV9

Step 3: Create an automation

If your offer is a free download, or you want to send a thank you autoresponder you can use automation to accomplish this.

You can actually do all kinds of cool stuff with automation, but we’ll stick to the basics for this project. Once you learn how to do the basics you’ll be able to create all kinds of fantastic programs. But beware, automation is a bit of a jelly donut.

There are plenty of options that can be chosen here and I hope you play around with the possibilities. For now we’re just going to create a welcome email for your new subscribers that automatically sends when they complete your new form.

Click <Campaigns> in the main navigation, <Create Campaign>, <Create an email>.

In this screen you will want to click <Automated> then <Welcome new subscriber>.

Select the list you created earlier and click <Begin>.

Congratulations you now have an automation! Before we’re ready to go there are a couple of options here. We want this email to send immediately but it’s currently set at 1 day. Click <Edit trigger> and from the dropdown on this screen select <immediately> followed by <Update trigger> to save it.

Step 4: Create a email

The last step is to create an email. This sounds incredibly daunting but rest assured MailChimp makes it easy for people like you and me. You don’t need to know how to code (though it helps), you don’t need to be a designer (though it helps), and you don’t need expensive image editing software (that helps too however.

For your simple welcome email we just need the tools MailChimp provides.

Click <Design Email> in your workflow settings.

Enter details something like this and click <Next>.

Here is where you pick your template. You’ll be tempted to want to do something fancy. My own personal piece of advice here is to keep it simple. Remember these are actual people you’ll be communicating to. I chose the Simple Text template. Click <Next>.

This is where you’ll write your Welcome message. If you have a free download to deliver you can link it here in the body of the message. Write your message. When you’re done click <Save and Continue>.

You’re done. Click <Next> on the bottom right and then click <Start Workflow>.

Final Notes

I recommend you test your list, email and flow by completing the form with your own email address. Your signup form link can be used anywhere, in your social media channels, in blog posts, on your web site. Driving traffic to your new form will be a future DIY topic.

If you have any questions about this DIY please fee free to send me an email at craig@northiq.local