When you only use a platform like italki to offer your lessons, you don’t necessarily need an email list. Some teachers ask their students for their email address in order to send them material by email. However, according to the laws of many countries, this doesn’t give you the right to start sending marketing emails without asking for permission.
Why email marketing?
But once you start with your own website, you need to start building your email list, too. Why? Because email gives you the possibility to communicate directly with your audience. Sure, not everyone who signed up will read or even open your emails but at least you know that the person has received it while social media is quite unpredictable. Facebook constantly changes its algorithms, so you never know who sees your posts. Tweets are extremely short-lived and not everyone’s cup of tea.
When I started my blog Do you speak Deutsch, I implemented the possibility to sign up for my newsletter from the very beginning. It looks like this. With that website, the direction has been quite clear to me, so it was easier.
With Language Journeys it’s been a bit more difficult. I’ve actually wanted to give my readers the possibility of signing up for a newsletter for quite a while but it became one of those things I continuously postponed. Well, now it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. And I’m inviting you to follow along.
Choose your email marketing service
There are several email marketing services and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m absolutely no expert and so I will just list the ones I know in alphabetical order.
I chose Mailchimp because it’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers. Sure, the free version doesn’t allow you to send any automated emails but in the beginning, all I want is being able to send newsletters. While I do think that it’s necessary to invest in your business by buying an appropriate theme for your blog or have a coaching session with someone to get a strategy, I’m very reluctant to spend money on monthly subscriptions at this point. Your situation may be different, so have a look at various email marketing services and then make your decision.
Getting started with mailchimp
If you’re as tech-savvy as I am, you will manage to sign up with mailchimp and then you will stare at your screen having no clue how to continue. I used this video to help me get over the first hurdles:
But I will also show you quickly what I did to implement the very basic newsletter opt-in here on Language Journeys.
1. Create a list
That’s the first thing you have to go. So click on “List” in the menu and then on “Create list” on the right. Next, you will have to fill in a form. This is what mine looked like:
Once you have saved this, you have your first list. I’m sure that you have already signed up for a newsletter somewhere. So you know that afterwards you receive an email and have to confirm your subscription and once you’ve done that you receive another email or are redirected to the website where you can download your freebie or watch/read a welcome message.
Mailchimp provides the forms you need to compose these emails, you just have to edit them a little. Click on the scroll-down menu next to Stats as you can see on the screenshot and select signup forms.
Opt-in confirmation email
First, we need to design our opt-in confirmation email. Just choose the template as shown on screenshot:
You can edit the form as you wish. Just click on the part you’d like to change and an editing window will open. I kept mine simple and it looks like this now:
By the way, you can edit everything afterwards, too. For example, I made a typo writing “tipps” instead of “tips” and have just edited the list name to change this.
Confirmation thank you page
This is the second email your subscribers will receive, it confirms their subscriptions and you will receive an email from Mailchimp telling that you have a new subscriber. As you can see on the screenshot, you can also send your new subscriber to a page on your website instead of sending them an email. I chose a simple email solution again.
Connecting Mailchimp and your blog
Now you have to connect Mailchimp and your blog. You can create a simple opt-in form on the Mailchimp site but I chose a solution which is a little bit fancier. If you want to do the same, you need to install and activate the plugin Optin Forms by FancyThemes.
Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you will be able to connect your blog with Mailchimp without any problems. The plugin offers detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures. At one point you will have to copy a URL from Mailchimp and you will notice that you can only copy the complete text. Just do it, paste that text into a wordpress post (the text version) and then you can select the URL you need.
After you have done that, you can quickly change the design of the optin form and then choose where you want it to be displayed. Mine is now shown under all my posts.
It doesn’t look that fancy yet but hey, you’re just getting started. Your blog is a work in progress. Don’t wait until everything is perfect because that day will never come.
And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You will not only receive useful tips and resources but I will also keep you informed about my way from a teacher to a teacherpreneur. Once the BlogMomentum is over at the end of October, I will write less about these processes on the blog but will rather use my newsletter to share what’s going on behind the scenes.
If you already have a blog, please don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.