An Effective Mailing List: The Bread & Butter of the Web
(And with Web Form Builder and MailChimp, a lot of easy fun, too!)

How do you gather contact information and engage people? If you don’t do this at all, you’re missing out on a whole lotta bread and butter!

After all, people are on the web to learn, have fun, purchase, and most of all, communicate. If you’re not interacting with them, your web presence won’t grow. Slowly but surely you’ll end up being that lonely spot of the web nobody ever visits. It’s a scary thought, right? No worries though—we won’t let that happen to you or your customers!

The Era of Web Form Builder and Digital Interaction
Enter Web Form Builder, a tool crafted to facilitate digital interaction with anyone about anything via web forms. A web form is a great way to spark interaction about virtually anything. You can ask your customers/visitors questions, or they can ask you questions, request information, or tell you they want samples or even a product they already paid for though your form.

Whatever the purpose of the form, however the interaction begins, there is one little thing you should always ask: Do you want to learn more about us? Would you like us to send you our newsletters?

This is exactly how you should build your mailing lists. You can’t just start emailing people out of nowhere telling them how great you are or what products you sell. You gotta ask them if they are interested first!

Continued Interaction through Newsletter Marketing
Newsletters and other forms of email marketing are super sweet. We use this method quite a bit and are delighted when people jump on our discount specials or just reply with compliments about our puns. We’re also updating our process to cover a wider range of needs and interests, but we’ll talk about that later.

So, people filled out your form and replied with a big fat YES to your question. Now what? Well, there are whole books written about email marketing and the good people over at MailChimp have an enormous amount of resources and tutorials that we’re not going to repeat. However, we do want to get you started on the basics.

First and foremost, are you sure the people that fill out the form are who they says they are? If they paid for a physical product or service, you can be pretty sure there’s no mistake. But in all other cases, how can you be sure? They could have entered the email address of a skilled hacker who might not be happy about unsolicited messages. You don’t want that!

The solution for this is a process called double opt-in. This means that you send a single email to the address they gave you asking them to verify the subscription. If they do this by clicking a link or replying, great! If not, you can give it another try in a few days, but the smart thing would probably be to forget about these people right then and there.

In theory, this entire process can be done manually, but man, that would be a lot of work (and potentially riddled with errors). You don’t want that either!

Email Newsletter Management with MailChimp
Luckily, you don’t have to do anything manually. Our friends over at MailChimp created a very friendly and highly respected email marketing solution. They allow you to set up mail lists for various groups, design newsletters, send them out, track results, and a whole lot more.

Web Form Builder offers seamless integration with their solution, so when someone asks to be on your list, all relevant information is automatically added to your MailChimp account. They then automate the double opt-in (if you want, Form Builder also allows you to do a single opt-in—no confirmation email), and help you manage your subscribers. It doesn’t matter whether you start with a form or a mailing list!

Go create a mailing list with MailChimp, providing Web Form Builder with the API Key they give you, and automatically generating a form based on your mailing list’s needs. Or, you can build a sweet signup form so you know exactly what you need, then create a mailing list based on that form and use the API Key to match fields. You can take either approach. Next time, we’ll pick a banana and set up the mailing list first.

Now brainstorm some uses for your mailing list, and when you're ready, move on to the next lesson.

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