When you publish a new post, it's important to let all your users know about it in as many ways as possible. That's why it's so important to actively use social media like Facebook and Twitter to publicize your latest posts so that all your followers will know about it. However, it's easy for them to miss an item on their newsfeed or their Twitter stream. E-mail is a much more personal way of informing people of new posts. And since they've explicitly signed up for it, the chances of them coming to view your content is quite high.
In this article, I take a look at the "MailPoet" plugin to show you how to create subscribers and send them new posts by e-mail. Here's how to go about it.
Step 1: Install the MailPoet Plugin and Create a New List
Once you've installed it from the plugins page, go to the "MailPoet" tab on the left hand side of the dashboard and click "Lists". We're going to create a new list to which we can add our subscribers. Click "Add New", and give your list a name and description as shown here:
Save your changes. Now that we have a separate list for latest post notifications, we can move to the next step.
Step 2: Create a New E-mail with the Content
Luckily for us, MailPoet gives us a graphical way to design the e-mails that get sent, as well as a whole bunch of handy widgets to help us craft exactly the look we want. To set up the e-mail that gets sent to users on the "latest posts" list, click the "Emails" sublink under "MailPoet" like this:
Click "Add New", and then select the "Latest Post Notifications" section:
Click "Set Up". Now you can select the frequency. You can choose to send e-mails once a day, or once a week, or even immediately. The last option will send e-mails as soon as new content is published on your blog. On the next screen, you'll be presented with a large number of templates for your e-mail. Scroll a bit down to find the one labeled "Post Notifications: Blank 1 Column" as shown here:
Select this template and a screen will show up with the default content for latest post notifications. Here, you can edit the heading and all the other content of the e-mail. It's already populated with the widget called "Automatic Latest Content" that's found on the right hand side:
By default, the content shows 5 latest posts, but you can customize the number by clicking the "gear" icon. Once your e-mail looks exactly the way you want, you can finalize your settings on the next screen and specify the list to which you want the e-mail sent as shown here:
You're almost done! Now we just need to create a subscription form to get new users into our list.
Step 3: Create a Subscription form for New Users
What's the use of sending e-mails to a list when you have no subscribers yet! Don't worry - MailPoet has you covered. In the "Forms" section of the MailPoet settings, click "Add New". Here you can create a new named form, and drag and drop the fields you wish to include. Only the e-mail is mandatory:
Further down, specify the list to which the new subscribers must be added:
Give your form a title and save it. Now when you visit your "Widgets" section, you'll see a new widget called "MailPoet Form". Dragging this widget to your sidebar will open the configuration screen and you can select the form you just created.
One potential problem you might face is that the color of the label might not match your sidebar background. It might look out of place or even invisible!
To fix this, open up the form you just created and click the "Styles" section. Here, you can add CSS to make the labels look the way you want. The CSS handles are already created for you.
Here, I switched the label color to white and now they're visible as you can see:
When a user enters their e-mail ID and other details and clicks "Subscribe", they will receive an e-mail notification informing them that they've been added to your list as shown here:
All they need to do is click on the confirmation link and they're done! Our set up is complete.
Now whenever you publish a new post, MailPoet will send a notification to your users based on the frequency you've selected. It's a simple plugin that works perfectly for up to 2,000 subscribers. The only thing to be careful about is that your e-mails can easily be sent to people's spam folders. To avoid this, MailPoet has a premium option that ensures delivery to the mailbox instead. If you're willing to spend the additional cash, it's definitely worth it if you have a lot of subscribers.