Build an Email List with Constant Contact

One of the most important things you can do with your custom blog or website design is to start building an email list.  Even if you do nothing with it to start, you still want to start creating your base of subscribers and readers that love and follow your blog and content!  

Fortunately, Constant Contact makes it super simple to get your email marketing campaign off on the right foot!  

Right now, Constant Contact is offering a free trial to start, so you can test it out without any commitment.  In my opinion though, Constant Contact offers one of the easiest and most attractive email builders out there however, so you’ll probably want to stay! 

  1.  To get started, click here to start your new account. (note: I am a Constant Contact affiliate and will receive a small commission if you choose to sign up)

Then, it’s super simple to complete the easy 3 step process to start:

2.  Now, we’ll move on to setting up our first test list.  In the first section, click on “Set up your first list.”

Give your list a simple name that is clear and definitive.  Then, add some email addresses.  You can add your own, or a few friends (who are okay with being your guinea pigs!).  You can also paste in email addresses if you already have a list (make sure you have permission and people actually WANT to be on your email list).  

3.  Add your organization information.  CAN-SPAM laws require that you add a physical address.  Some people are not comfortable providing their home address, but if you are planning to expand your blog or website, you might consider a PO Box or alternately perhaps you have a business address or alternate address where you can receive mail.  

4.  Now, the exciting part, it’s time to create our first email!

This is the super-fun thing that I love about Constant Contact, they have so many awesome email templates you can pick from.  And if you’re getting a custom blog design, you probably already have an eye for aesthetics so you’ll have fun customizing your email template!  Once you choose your template, you’ll be directed to the drag and drop email generator.  

This is the really fun part, you can change out the colors to match your blog or site design (be sure to ask your designer for the right hex colors), add your logo or your own photos, customize fonts, so many options!  In my opinion, Constant Contact has the best and easiest email customizer.  Once you’re done designing, click Continue to get to the Final Options page:

This is where you can select the list that your email will be delivered to, select the “from” email address (remember you can use GSuite for just $5 a month to create a customized email address with your own domain) and set the time that you want your email to go out (remember to consider time zones, an email delivered at 7 a.m. EST will in effect be delivered at 3 a.m. PST with the time difference). 

Now, we want to be sure we can easily collect email addresses from our blog or website.  Constant Contact makes this easy as well.  For the sake of this tutorial we will focus on WordPress, so head over to “List Growth Tools” in the Constant Contact dashboard header. 

Then click the “Create Sign Up Form” option to be directed to the sign up form creator. 

Give your sign up form a name, first.  This name will only be visible to you.  The “Form Title” and “Description” fields are what the public will see, so give some thought to what you want to say and how to encourage people to sign up.  You might offer something free from your blog or site to encourage signups. 

Then click Continue and head to the Contact Fields tab. 

This area will allow you to select the information you want to get from your subscribers.  No one wants to fill out a million questions so probably First Name, Last Name and of course Email is good.  Or you can keep it simple by just selecting Email.  Then click Continue. 

Now you can upload your site or blog header or logo and choose your form colors (remember, hex colors that match your blog or website are great!).  

Finally, we want to add the signup form to our site or blog.  Click on the Actions dropdown next to the Sign Up Form that we created on the “List Growth Tools” page. 

Then select the “Embed Code”

A popup will appear with the embeddable code you need to add to your blog or website for the form to appear.  Copy this code and then proceed to your WordPress dashboard.  

Go to Appearance > Widgets in the dashboard.  The most popular areas for placing signup boxes are the Primary Sidebar or one of your Footer Widget areas.  Select the Text widget and paste in the Constant Contact Code.  You may also use the Custom HTML widget for this as well.  

Click Save and now go to your live blog.  You’ll be able to see your new signup box in the widget area where it was placed.  

Now, one of the main questions I get as a custom blog designer is “How do I send out blog posts by email?”  Well, Constant Contact allows you to do this really easily!  

Head back to your Constant Contact dashboard and go to the Campaigns page. 

There, click “Create” and “Send an Email.”

Now, just choose a template for your email (back to the design fun!).  On the email design screen, click Add-Ons and then “Read More.”

Here you can paste in the URL (copy from your browser window of the post you want to promote).  Constant Contact will pull in the Featured Image and teaser text which is good because the teaser will drive readers back to your blog to read the full content, resulting in post views.  Now you can send out your email.  

In short, there are tons of email marketing options out there.  Though it is not free, Constant Contact has one of the best and most user-friendly design templates which makes it really fun to create attractive, engaging emails that will drive traffic to your blog or website and build your subscribership!