One of the best things I’ve done for my business in years is starting an email newsletter.
Here’s how you can do it in under 15 minutes:
Step 1: Signup For an Aweber Account
There are a number of options when it comes to signing up with an email marketing service, but Aweber is one of the most popular and the one I use. I’ve used numerous other services and I think Aweber is the best.
I have been really impressed with how easy it is to use, and their outstanding customer service.
Here’s a short video showing you what the inside of my Aweber account looks like:
(I am an affiliate for Aweber because I use and like their service so much. So if you sign up using my link, I’ll get a small commission – without increasing your cost.)
So I highly recommend you sign up for Aweber. They even have a free trial so you can try it out, risk-free. There’s no reason not to try it out.
You can also use the same Aweber account to manage several lists from different websites, if you like.
Step 2: Set up Your First Email List
After you register for your account and sign in, you’ll be taken to your control panel. Now, we need to set up your list.
First, click on “Manage Lists”:
Next, fill in the settings for your list. The “From” Name, and “Email Address” are all things that your newsletter subscribers will see when they get your emails. The “List Name” and the “List Description” are mainly for you for internal purposes.
Lastly, the “Contact Address” is the address that is in your account settings. It will be shown at the bottom of all of your outgoing emails, as required by the CAN-SPAM Act.
If you don’t have a business address, you can simply insert your home address, but just be aware that whenever you send an email to your subscribers, your address will show up – so you may want to use an address other than your home address if possible (such as a P.O. Box).
Here’s what mine looks like:
Step 3: Personalize your List
Next, you can personalize your list with a few details about yourself or your business. You can insert your website and your logo. Here’s what mine looks like:
Step 4: Bypass Your Confirmed Opt-In Email
Aweber allows you to require people to click on a confirmation email before they are added to your email list. This is also called “double opt-in,” because people have to basically confirm they want to “opt-in” to your email list two times before they will be added.
The confirmed opt-in email contains a link that is used to confirm that the person who signed up is indeed a human and is someone who is interested in joining your list.
I disabled this for all of my lists because a number of people will never click on the link in the confirmation email. So it slows down your email list growth (which is a bad thing, right?).
Aweber says you only really need to use “Confirmed opt-in” emails if you have a high rate of people marking your emails as “spam,” but this should not be a problem for you.
I have been told that requiring double opt-in does NOT increase email deliverability rates.
Step 5: Write Your Welcome Message (Follow Up #1)
Next, you need to draft your first follow up message. This first followup message is always sent out immediately after someone subscribes, so it’s good to put some kind of welcome message within this email.
In it, you might want to include:
- A formal welcome and thank you for signing up for your newsletter.
- Any links to any freebies that you might be giving away.
- What to expect in the newsletter (i.e, what your subscribers have to look forward to).
- Again ask your subscribers to “white list” your email address.
- A way to contact you.
To create your first followup, click on the “Messages” tab, then “Follow Up Series.”
Then hover your mouse over “Create a Follow Up” and select “Drag and Drop Email Builder.”
Now, you can choose from a variety of different templates. I generally only use “Plain” template because I like to keep my emails feeling more personal and less like a big business.
I find this encourages more subscribers to engage in conversation with me via email. However, it’s up to you what format you want to use for your emails. AWeber has numerous very dynamic and beautiful email templates.
I suggest using the Drag and Drop Email Builder (and not the “Plain text” emails) because doing so will enable you to get statistics on open rates, which will eventually help you to figure out what your subscribers most want to learn from you.
Here’s a short video from the inside of my Aweber account showing what this looks like:
Step 6: Do a Test Message to Yourself
After you finish writing any email, you should always send yourself a test message first so you can see exactly what your subscribers are receiving from you, and so you can re-read your emails and check for any errors too.
When you click on “Test”, you’ll have the ability to send a test email to any email address that you want. If after you receive your email you want to update or change a few things, you can always go back and click on your message to edit it. Make sure you save it for any changes to actually take place.
Step 7: Set Up Your Opt-In / Sign-up Form
Next, you’ll need to set up a web form on your website where you can collect email addresses.
If you’re not very “techy,” then you may want to have a web designer or developer do this for you.
Aweber has numerous different templates, and as you get more advanced you can actually easily split-test these forms to figure out what people really resonate with.
Click on the “Sign Up Form” tab, then click on the first option “Create Sign up Form”
You can choose from several options, fonts, colors, etc. to create your own form. You can play around with this until you finally come up with a design that you like. The most popular places to put these forms are in the right sidebar and on high-traffic pages such as your “About” page.
You can create multiple web forms for several different pages of your site.
Typically, people collect just the name and email address of the subscribers, although you can add different fields, including phone number or address. Just keep in mind that the more information you ask for, the fewer number of people who will sign up for your email list.
Optional: You can Split-Test Forms
Alternatively, you can select the second option down, “Split test your sign up forms,” which allows you to test different language and see what resonates. I love this option, although honestly, I didn’t use it until after I’d been using Aweber for months and got familiar with using it.
After you’re happy with your web form design, you’ll need to customize your settings. Under the settings tab, you’ll see the following screen:
The Form Name is a unique name for the specific form you just created.
The Thank You Page can either be Aweber’s basic default page or it can be a custom page you set up.
This is the page that people arrive at immediately after clicking on the “submit button” while the confirmation email is being sent to them at the same time.
There are other options here as well, but I wouldn’t worry about them at this point.
Inserting the Signup Form on Your Website
After you finished designing your sign up form and finished with the settings, then, you’ll need to insert the code for the form (or the split test) onto your website. If you’re technically inclined you can do it yourself. If not, then you can ask a web developer or designer to do it for you.
If you want to do it yourself, then click on the “Publish” Tab and select “I Will Install My Form.”
Then copy the code and go into your wordpress website and
Here is a screenshot of what this screen looks like:
You can see the code above which starts with “<script type” and ends with </script>. Copy and paste this code into your website where ever you want the webform to show up.
If You Have a WordPress Blog, you can use these two easy options:
1. Copy and Paste the Code into the HTML Editor for a Post or Page: If you want your form to show up within a blog post, or within a page that you create, you’ll have to copy and paste the code into the html editor, which can be found next to the “Visual Tab” in the upper right hand of where you write your posts/pages:
2. Copy and Paste the Code Into a “Text Widget” for Your Sidebar: If you want your form to show up in the sidebar, probably the easiest thing to do is go into your WordPress account, and under Appearance > Widgets, create a new “Text Widget” for your sidebar and copy the snippet into there, as shown below:
Then insert the code into a “Text Widget,” which should look like this:
And that’s it! After you place the web form onto your website, you’ll then have the ability to begin growing your email list!