One of our first goals when putting up a website or blog is to attract readers.  What good is a website if no one visits it?  It only makes sense, then, that our second goal is to convince them to come back.

Email marketing through MailChimp may help you do just that.


MailChimp is a great way to send email newsletters to your readers.  The interface is easy to use, and anyone with a basic understanding of the web can put together an email.  With their simplified system, you can create an email in only minutes.

The company has added a bit of humor to their user interface through the personality of their mascot, Freddie.  If you ever tire of Freddie's wit, you can always go into "Party Pooper Mode" and the general silliness will disappear.  Otherwise, it makes a seemingly daunting task a little more fun.

There are just a few steps to creating your first email.

The first step is building a list.  If you already have a list of subscribers in Excel, you can easily import them in.  Otherwise, you can also cut and paste them into MailChimp.  The process is quick and simple.

Next, you need to create a template for the email.  Even with a background in web design, I started with one of their stock templates.  I changed the graphics to match my website, and it looks clean and professional.  Editing the template is as easy as using other text editors, such as WordPress.  If you can post to your WordPress blog, you can easily use MailChimp.

Next, create a campaign for your email.  You can create a one-time email or a recurring one that uses your RSS feed.  I created an RSS email campaign for my Daily Bible Verses, so each day, as I create a new post, it automatically emails my list of readers.  Engagement for these posts has increased dramatically.

Finally, you want to schedule the campaign.  You can choose the days and times to send the email.  For instance, I send an email every day at 10 am.  You could also choose to send a weekly roundup email on the same day each week.  Want to offer both?  Just create a separate campaign for each one.

After you've created your campaign, you will want to grow your list of subscribers.  With a small bit of code to cut and paste, you can add a subscribe box to your website.  On the right hand side of my website, you can see the form in action.  It only took a few minutes, and my list of subscribers continues to grow.

So what's the catch?

With features like these, there has to be a cost, right?  Actually, MailChimp offers a Forever Free plan that is perfect for when you are just starting up.  As your list grows, however, the plans start at $10 per month.  Depending on how many emails you want to send per month, you can actually stay on the free program for quite a long time.

For months, I debated whether to start an email newsletter for my site.  I was worried that it would just be another part of my site to maintain.  Once I set up my campaign in MailChimp, though, I rarely touch it.  I just sit back and watch MailChimp do the work.  The process is completely automated, and it only took an hour or so to set up.

If you run a website or blog with regular posts, creating an email newsletter with MailChimp may be the way to drive repeat visits from engaged readers.  Go over to MailChimp's website and take a test drive today.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2013 Chad R. Torgerson