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Are you ready to grow an email list for your online business? Starting from scratch to build an email list can feel very overwhelming, and I get it. You’ve already put yourself out there by creating a product and building a sales page. And we all know what the email list is for: direct contact and marketing.

It’s another stretch of your comfort zone in an already vulnerable situation. There are many new questions that come with building an email list, but a high number of interested subscribers practically guarantees success in online business. It’s a must. If I haven’t convinced you by now, an email list is mandatory for growth and profit, and I’m determined to get you started today! After all, getting started is the hardest part.

For example for one of the businesses I work with, we found that every email on the subscription list was worth $1 during a promotion. In other words, when there were 250 people on that list, a promotional email with a coupon code inside generated approximately $250 in profit. The same thing happened when there were 500 people on the list, and again when there were 750 people. The dollar amount profited continued to increase with the number of people who subscribed.

For a lot of people the dollar amount each email earned either exceeds or comes very close to the number of people on the list! That is how valuable each subscriber for your mailing list will be! When the customer had an excellent month at their shop it was because they connected with their mailing list subscribers and offered them a special promotion.

Choose an Email Marketing Provider

Running an online business without an email list is the equivalent to building a home without installing the foundation; your efforts are guaranteed to sink!

I have two favourite email managers, MailChimp (a great starter option that’s free up to 2,000 subscribers) and Convertkit (starts at a low monthly fee), but there are many to choose from.  Simply Google “email marketing” for a comprehensive, current list of options.

In this section, I’m going to walk you through the MailChimp sign-up because it’s free to open an account that has features and integrations that will allow you to create great looking campaigns and manage your audience.

Set up your account

When you sign up for a Mailchimp account, you’ll enter your name and email address, and they’ll send you an activation email. When you receive the activation email, click the link to activate your account.

The next time you log in to mailchimp, they walk you through the rest of the setup steps. You’ll input profile details, such as your website and physical address, and connect your social media accounts. If you sell products online, you’ll have the option to connect your store to Mailchimp.

sign up with mailchimp



Activate your account

After you receive the account activation email from Mailchimp Client Services, you can complete the account setup.

  1. Open the account activation email and click Activate Account.
  2. On the Confirm Humanity screen, check the I’m not a robot box, and click Confirm Signup.

Set up your audience

The foundation of great marketing is a clean, up-to-date record of your contacts, also known as your audience. When you create a Mailchimp account, they will use your setup details to automatically generate your audience for you. You can edit the default information for your audience if you need to, or immediately start adding contacts.

Mailchimp was designed so you should only need one audience. There are a number of audience management tools so you can organize and separate contacts. If you do decide to create another audience, keep in mind that data isn’t shared across audiences, and contacts who are in more than one audience will count separately toward your subscriber limit.

Customize your signup form

If you don’t have any contacts yet, don’t worry! Mailchimp automatically generates a signup form for your audience, which you can post on your website or social media, so you can start collecting contacts right away. You can customize the design of your signup form, to fit your brand.

To access customize your signup form, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Audience tab.
  2. If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
  3. Click the Manage Audience drop-down and choose Signup forms.
  4. Select Form builder.
  5. Click the Forms and response emails drop-down menu, and choose which form you want to edit.
  6. Click the Design it tab.
    Cursor click on design it tab
  7. Click through the PageBodyForms, or MonkeyRewards tabs to review the customization options. Use the fields and drop-down menus to make any changes you want to the styles, colors, and fields. We’ll save your changes automatically.
  8. When you’re done, click Save & Close.  For in-depth instructions, read the article How the Form Builder Works.

Share Your Signup Form

After you customize the signup form for your audience, you’re ready to start collecting subscribers. A simple way to promote your audience is to share your signup form to social media and other communication channels. All Mailchimp forms are mobile responsive, so potential subscribers can sign up from any device.

In this article, you’ll learn how to copy and paste your signup form URL to share on social media, your website, or anywhere else you can add a link.

Find share options

  1. Navigate to the Audience tab.
  2. If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
  3. Click the Manage Audience drop-down and choose Signup forms.
  4. Select Form builder.

General forms select button

In the form builder, you’ll see a Signup form URL field along with three icons for built-in sharing methods: Facebook, Twitter, and QR code. The URL is a direct link to your hosted signup form.