How to build an email list in WordPress

How to Build an Email List in WordPress – Email Marketing 101

Do you want to create an email list in WordPress?

Email marketing is the best way to stay in touch with your readers. And it’s much more effective for reaching your audience than social media alone.

In this email marketing guide for beginners, we’ll show you how to easily build an email list in WordPress.

Because this is a longer article, we put together a table of contents below to navigate each section.

What is an Email List?

An email list is a group of people who’ve requested to get regular email updates from you. Typically, people get onto your email list by adding their information in an opt-in form on your site.

Building an email list allows you to stay in touch with your readers and customers by using an email marketing software.

And because email is a reliable form of communication, you can easily let your readers know about anything coming up, such as new products, sales, or special announcements.

Why Email Marketing is Important?

On our websites, email marketing outperforms social media marketing in the number of clicks.

We have tested this repeatedly and the result is always the same: Emails get us 10 times more clicks than all social media combined.

But why does email perform so well? The answer is simple: email is private and personal.

If this is not a good enough reason to start building your email list, here are some major benefits.

  • Guaranteed Reach – When you use Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, your updates are bound to be missed due to the very nature of social media algorithms. However, people tend to check emails a lot more carefully than their social networks.
  • Access and Ownership – You don’t own the content you post on social media. At any time, your account can be suspended and you lose all your followers. Or what if your favorite social media platform goes out of business? We’re not saying they will, but your email list is something that you own. Second, you are not limited to the rules of the social platform, such as character length or hashtag rules. You set the limits yourself. You can integrate email newsletters within your WordPress blog with more effectiveness than embedding social platforms (we will show you how later in this guide).
  • Better Targeting – The best part about building your email list is that you can use it to target your audience locally (for folks in specific countries, cities, states). If you are launching a product in select locations, then email is the best way to reach your subscribers in that area.
  • Increase Revenue – The bottom line is when you have guaranteed reach, better targeting, and attention of your users, then you are definitely going to increase revenue.

But isn’t email dead? Haven’t you heard social media is where everyone’s at?

It’s a common statement but if email use was truly dead, then why does every social media platform require you to sign up with an email address?

Email has been the most reliable form of electronic communication for the past two decades, and it hasn’t slowed down. Plus, building an email list is a lot easier than building a following on social media platforms.

Facebook and Instagram both limit the reach of your pages to a small percentage of your followers unless you want to pay for ads. Similarly, your tweets only appear for a limited time on a user’s feed.

On the other hand, when you send an email, it reaches all your subscribers and stays in their inbox until they take action.

We are not saying you should abandon social media. These sites are great for building user engagement, but email will bring you more visitors, conversions, and sales.

Lastly, a social media site can disappear or become less popular (remember Myspace?). When they disappear, they will take your followers with them.

On the other hand, email has been around since the dawn of the internet. And it’s still the most popular way people communicate online.

How to Get Started Building Your Email List

The first thing you need is a reliable email service provider.

These companies specialize in email delivery, and you need them to ensure your email reaches the inbox of all your subscribers (instead of having your email marked as spam).

Even though you can use WordPress to send emails, we strongly recommend against that (see why you should never use WordPress to send email newsletters).

These professional email service providers spend a lot of money and resources on their email delivery infrastructure to make sure that your email does not end up in your subscriber’s junk folder.

All major companies like Facebook, Apple, eBay, and Amazon use a third-party email marketing service.

Apart from deliverability, these companies also provide you with email marketing tools that you’ll need to make your emails more effective.

Which Email Marketing Service Should You Use?

There are many great email marketing providers out there.

It’s a very competitive industry which means companies are always trying to keep their costs low while offering a lot of features.

Below are just some of the providers that we have worked with and highly recommend.

Build Your Email List with Email Marketing Software

Constant Contact is the best email marketing service provider for all sizes of businesses and websites.

It lets you send emails, manage subscribers, track emails, view analytics, set up autoresponders, create beautiful email templates, target subscribers, and split test your campaigns.

This software allows you to capture email addresses, works easily with WordPress, and has integrations for all the top WordPress plugins and tools.

Constant Contact homepage

The best part is that Constant Contact comes with a two-month free trial. This gives you enough time to set up your email list and start capturing email addresses.

By the end of the trial, your list will be paying for itself. Sign up for FREE!

Other alternatives are SendinBlue, Drip, and ConvertKit. They all work well with WordPress and are easy to use for beginners.

For the sake of this guide, we’ll show you how to set up an email list using Constant Contact. However, the process is quite similar regardless of which email service you choose.

Create Your Email List in Constant Contact

Let’s set up your email list. This is simply a list where you will store contact information of all users who sign up for your email newsletter.

Go to the Constant Contact website and click on ‘sign up for free’, and then fill out your information.

After the sign up, you need to click on the ‘Contacts’ button at the top of your Constant Contact dashboard.

Contacts button in Constant Contact

Now, you’ll see the contacts page. On this screen, click on the blue ‘Create List’ button.

Create your Constant Contact list

At this step, it’s time to name your email list. It can be whatever you want, but we’ll call it ‘My Email List’ for this example.

Name your Constant Contact email list

You’re done creating your list people can subscribe to. The next step is to add an email subscription form to your WordPress website where your readers can sign up.

For more details on setting up your email list, see our guide on how to add email subscriptions to your WordPress blog.

Add Subscribers To Your Email List with WPForms

While Constant Contact comes with an email signup form builder, the fastest way to get started is to use the WPForms. It integrates seamlessly with Constant Contact to set up an optin form easily.

First, you need to install and activate the WPForms plugin. If you need help, then follow our guide on how to install a plugin for detailed instructions.

Note: There is also a free version called WPForms Lite, which includes Constant Contact support but it has limited features.

Upon activation, head over to the WPForms » Add New page and then select the ‘Newsletter Signup Form’ template.

Add new WPForm

You’ll see a sample newsletter signup form inside the form builder interface.

On the next page, you’ll get a notice to connect your email marketing service in the marketing tab. More on that in a second.

Make sure to change the name of your form by clicking on the title. For this example, we called it ‘Subscribe For Regular Updates’ but you can name it whatever you want.

Click on the orange ‘SAVE’ button. Now, you’ll want to set up your confirmation message. Click on ‘Confirmations’ on the left under ‘General’ and we’ll update that.

You’ll see this:

WPForms confirmation message

The default confirmation message reads “Thanks for contacting us! We will be in touch with you shortly.” but you can put anything here you want. This is the message your readers will see after they subscribe to your newsletter.

Now, click the marketing tab on the left:

WPForms marketing tab

Now, you’ll see the ‘Constant Contact’ button. Click that to connect your new email list to the form we’ve created.

WPForm email list connection

For the next step, click on the ‘Add New Connection’ button and you’ll see a popup that asks you to name your connection. We’ve named it ‘My Newsletter Form’ but you can name it anything you wish.

After that, you’ll see this:

Register your form

Click on ‘Click here to register with Constant Contact’ link to enter your Constant Contact details. Now, you’ll see a message that asks you to let WPForms to access your account. Click on the ‘Allow’ button to continue.

You’ll be given a long authorization code to register your form.

WPForm authorization code

Enter your code, along with the account nickname (make sure it’s something that is familiar) into those fields. Click ‘Connect’ and you’re done.

On the next screen, you can select the fields you want to pass from your WPForm to your Constant Contact list. We chose ‘email’ and ‘full name’ but you can select as many as you want.

Just be sure those two fields are on your optin form.

Email fields

Click the big orange ‘Save’ button when you’re done.

Now your form is set up and it’s time to place it on our WordPress website. For this example, we’ll put it in the sidebar.

Go to Appearance » Widgets page to add the WPForms widget to your sidebar.

Add WPForm widget to sidebar

Give your widget a title and select your newsletter sign-up form. Click on the ‘Save’ button to store your widget settings.

When you visit your website, you’ll see your email subscription form in the sidebar.

Form in the sidebar

Now, any time someone inputs their name and email into your form, they’ll be added to your email list.

Grow Your Email List Faster with OptinMonster

Did you know that more than 70% of your website visitors will never visit it again? The Internet is just too big and there are tons of websites and competition is fierce in most industries.

You get just a few seconds to convince a website visitor to stay and look around.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. It is the best conversion optimization software in the world and allows you to easily convert website visitors into subscribers and customers.

OptinMonster homepage

With this optin software, you can set up welcome mats, exit-intent popups, slide-in forms, floating bars, and more optin styles to capture the most email subscribers possible.

From there, you can customize your form in style, and use smart targeting rules to display it at the precise time and location.

OptinMonster exit-intent popup

Here’s an example of a subtle and polite slide-in form used on the OptinMonster blog:

OptinMonster slide-in

One thing here is key: user experience. At WPBeginner, we have successfully used this lightbox popup and noticed a 600% increase in our subscribers without affecting the user experience or seeing any decrease in pageviews.

OptinMonster comes with a 14-day money back guarantee, so if you use it and don’t see an increase in your subscribers, then you can get a full refund.

Interacting with Your Subscribers

Once you’ve started building your email list, it’s crucial that you engage with your subscribers.

Ideally, you’ll make it a habit to send them regular emails, whether it’s weekly or monthly.

Not every email has to be promotional. You can send emails requesting feedback, giving helpful tips, or letting them know of new content you’ve created.

We hope this article helped you learn how to build an email list in WordPress. You may also like our list of tested and easy ways to grow your email list faster, and our proven tips on how to grow your website traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Comment