Getting Started with Email Marketing on your WordPress Website

Here are the notes from my WordPress Pittsburgh presentation on email marketing.

In this presentation, we’ll discuss:

  • Why email marketing
  • Choosing an email marketing platform
  • Setting up your email marketing account
  • Adding forms and popups to your website to get people on the list
  • When to email people and what to say (welcome emails, standard campaigns, automations)
  • Driving people back to your website and how your website + email marketing platform can support each other

I’ll demo with MailChimp and MailerLite in this presentation, but you can use any email marketing platform.

Why Email Marketing

  • Everyone uses email (it’s still relevant in world of social media)
  • You own your list
  • Email converts better than social media
  • It’s easy to measure ROI
  • You build loyalty, trust and brand awareness
  • You stay top of mind
  • It’s inexpensive
  • You can reach many people
  • You have more control

Email Marketing Platforms

Other Interesting Stuff

Creating an account

Sign up and confirm your account. Create a list, if applicable. Decide which fields to collect — I like first name and email address.

Adding a form to your site


The MailChimp for WordPress plugin will allow you to connect your MailChimp account via an API key. (Find the key under Account, Extras, API keys in MailChimp.)

You can also build a form, generate HTML to embed a form or create a popup under Audience, Manage Audience, Sign up forms. Paste the code wherever you like on your site.


The Official MailerLite sign up forms plugin will allow you to connect your MailerLite account via an API key. (Check under Profile, Integrations, WordPress in MailerLite to find your API key.)

You can also create a form, popup, landing page or embedded form in MailerLite under Forms. Paste the code wherever you like on your site.

If you’re using Elementor Pro, check Elementor, Settings, Integrations and you can add your MailChimp or MailerLite API key there. Then you can use Elementor’s built-in forms.

Where to put your signup form

Here are a few common places — the home page, sidebar, above or below an individual blog post or as a popup. Put the form in multiple places!! (Check out this post on 29 sign up forms.)

When to email people and what to say

Welcome emails

Standard campaigns

  • Be consistent!! (Weekly, monthly, quarterly)
  • Same time of day (what works best for your audience)
  • MailChimp Create a regular email campaign
  • MailerLite, Campaigns, Create Campaign, Regular Campaign
  • Value, value, value


  • If you’re just getting started, save the automation for later
  • Ideas for automation
    • Birthday email (with coupon)
    • Post-purchase email
    • Reminder email (after X amount of time)
    • Follow up sequence after downloading free gift
    • What else can you think of?

Subject lines and preview text

  • Your subject line can determine whether your email is opened or not
  • I read somewhere that you should write 30 (!!!) potential subject lines before choosing one
  • Browse some awesome ones (according to HubSpot)
  • Use a generator (or like this one or this one)
  • Test your subject line

Driving people back to your website

  • Make sure your site has valuable content (that there is something to drive back to)
  • In your weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletter, link to new blog posts or videos
  • Email blog posts via RSS feed

Other tips

  • It takes time to set this up, to write and send the content and to build the list. Carve out time regularly
  • Think about your strategy — what are you trying to accomplish? What do you want visitors and email subscribers to do?
  • Use a professional email address: [email protected]
  • Consider a plain text email that looks more like a real email vs. an overly designed email
  • Subscribe to newsletters! Visit sites, look at their sign up forms, opt ins, see what they’re giving away. Look at how and when they email you and from what service. (I recently signed up for Spoonwood Brewing’s brewsletter.)
  • Get permission! Don’t add all of your existing contacts or contacts from networking events. Spamming people is not okay. It’s okay to add your current customers.
  • Ask people to sign up. Include a link in your email signature. Have a sign up form for events or in-store.
  • Follow through with great content. Be helpful. It’s not about you, make it about them.
  • A small, engaged list is better than a big list. Unsubscribes are a good thing!
  • Test, test, test. Emails look different in different clients and on different devices.
  • Check out this free course on email marketing from HubSpot or these two courses (drip campaigns and email and newsletter marketing foundations) from (free membership with Carnegie library card)
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