The combination of WordPress and MailChimp is a dream come true for many website owners.
Even though there are many email delivery platforms to choose from, over five million users rely on MailChimp. If you use WordPress to power your websites, there’s a pretty good chance that you use MailChimp to communicate with your email list. (We do!)
However, if your WordPress and MailChimp integration begins and ends with a basic subscription form, you’re leaving a lot on the table. In this article, I’ll show you how to best integrate MailChimp and WordPress, whether you’re looking to master your subscription forms or unlock hidden elements of this match made in heaven.
Diving Into MailChimp
If you’ve made it this far, I’m guessing you have an integral understanding of MailChimp.
However, you may also be thinking about switching your list over to MailChimp from another provider. We won’t be covering how to do a direct import, but the overwhelming list of features we’ll cover below may help you make the decision.
The main types of integration are split up into two categories:
1. Email Subscription Forms
This integration process will have you using widgets, plugins, or just plain copy and pasting source code.
2. Plugins, Analytics and Everything Else
This is where the integration process gets fun. This involves setting up new post notifications, adding commentors to your list, installing special themes and even using specialized analytics software.
Integrating Subscription Forms
The most common type of integration deals with subscription forms. Before we jump in, it’s important to know some of the plugins I mention could create a conflict within your current theme, so do any experimentation at your own risk. That being said, the plugins we reference do have very high ratings and quality support across the board.
The Way Of The Plugin
MailChimp for WordPress is one of the highest rated options for subscription form integration. The subscription forms this plugin produces are very clean and highly customizable.
After installing this plugin you need to obtain an API via your MailChimp account. You enter this on the MailChimp Settings tab of the plugin.
This will ensure the plugin and your account are communicating properly and users are subscribing to the correct list.
Upon configuration you have the option to enable checkboxes, which you can customize to your own liking. You can even have users choose which list to subscribe to, if you have more than one.
After the basic form setup you’ll want to tweak the actual styling of the form. At this stage you’ll be presented with the usual HTML customization options.
When it comes time to decide how to display this plugin, you can either use the shortcodes you’re given or utilize the plugin widget option.
Overall, this plugin is one of the highest rated WordPress and MailChimp subscription form plugins. There is a premium version of the plugin, but the free plugin is still completely useable and very helpful.
MailChimp’s official plugin for WordPress was created by Crowd Favorite. However, this plugin does have a very low user rating and a ton of bugs that have gone unfixed. If you’re going the plugin route, we’d recommend MailChimp for WordPress.
Using The Old Fashioned Method
If extra plugins aren’t your thing, or you’re worried about having a possible plugin conflict, there’s always the classic installation. Although this isn’t as easy as simply installing a plugin. It’s what most webmasters and web designers opt for.
In the Signup Forms section of your List, go to the Embedded Forms tab. Under this menu you’ll see that you can customize your form and are given HTML code to work with.
Once you’ve customized the form to your liking, just copy and paste the code into any section of your site. It’s not the smoothest transition, but it does get the job done.
Setting Up New Post Notifications
Sometimes you don’t want to login to your MailChimp account every time you want to inform your list that a new post is live. The are two plugins which can help you complete this task automatically.
1. Autochimp Instant Emailing
MailChimp allows you to automatically send content from an RSS feed at given interval. However, beyond RSS you may need to send an email regarding your post the moment it goes live. Autochimp allows your posts to be immediately broadcasted to your subscribers the moment they are published.
The plugin’s options give you the ability to custom tailor every aspect of your campaign. You can choose to have all of your posts sent immediately, to a certain group of subscribers, or to every person on your list.
This plugin also integrates with WordPress categories nicely, so you can set certain schedules based upon the category of your post.
2. MailChimp For WordPress Subscription Form
The other way to alert your subscribers to new posts is to, once again, utilize the MailChimp for WordPress plugin. The process is as follows:
- Create a new list in MailChimp.
- Create an RSS campaign using the RSS feed from your site and the list your just created.
- Use the MailChimp for WordPress plugin to create a subscription form that’s dedicated to this specific list.
Similar to the first method, subscribers will now receive a post delivered to their inbox the very moment you publish your post.
Going Beyond Email Forms
If you’re looking for an all-in-one integration, Launch Effect may be your best option – it’s a WordPress landing page theme with built in MailChimp integration.
All you need to do is obtain your API key from your MailChimp account and have a list that’s created specifically for this account.
Although Launch Effect isn’t a full-fledged theme, it’s a great way to build a list while you build out your website. There is also a paid version of this theme that has more customization options, but the free version can handle more basic websites.
Get Launch Effect for WordPress.
From Comments To Community
Did you ever wish you had a way to encourage your commentors to join your list?
With the MailChimp Comment Optin plugin, now you can. This simple plugin adds a small checkbox to the bottom of your comment box. That way when a visitor leaves a comment they have the option to also subscribe to your mailing list.
The only downside to this plugin is that it’s currently unsupported. So try it at your own risk. However, the reviews of the plugin still remain very good.
That being said, if you want a simplistic way to offer your users another way to subscribe this plugin might be worth your time.
The other great thing about this plugin is it won’t add duplicate subscribers.
Get the MailChimp Comment Optin plugin.
Start To Track Your Success
I’m sure you already have analytics available on your website. However, there are some really cool ways to link your MailChimp account to your current site analytics.
This will help to track the success of your email campaigns and the traffic they’re actually sending back to your website.
Analytics360 is an official MailChimp plugin that links your Google Analytics and MailChimp accounts. This plugin makes it easy to see when your new posts were published, what time your email campaigns were sent, and the overall results of your efforts.
The plugin keeps some of the original analytics features and adds a few more, such as, the ability to track how your list has grown over time.
Get Analytics 360 for WordPress.
Email Still Remains the Top Player
Any savvy marketer or owner of a successful website will tell you the power of email. Even though email is one of the older forms of digital communication, it still reigns supreme when it comes to communicating with your customers.
People cherish their inboxes. By having smooth integration between your WordPress website and MailChimp email service, you’ll ensure you have a way to keep in touch with your audience. No matter how complicated, or large your business may grow.
Having steady integration allows you to stay in touch with your audience while you focus on producing quality content.
How far have you gone with your MailChimp and WordPress integration? Share in the comments.
I want to use content in The Events Calendar posts, and to send emails to my membership list on MailChimp. Ideally I would like to schedule these emails well in advance so each event could be publicized a couple of times before it takes place. The Events Calendar (the one I am presently using) doesn’t appear to offer any integration with MailChimp (also the system I am presently using). I’d be willing to load events data in a second plugin if needed.
Thanks a lot for the information. It helped me a lot to connect some plugins on my website to mailchimp. Thanks a lot once again guys..!!!!
Hi,i need to build a extremely easy system for creating the campaigns. It is for people with that are not friendly with computers. We can build the system and generate an html or search a plugin that makes that,this no problem. My question is, is there any way of exporting and sending automatically this news letter, that we have designed from wordpress, through mail chim, without needing to get into Mailchimp site? can we export the html that we generated and send it just from a plugin? we considered the option of sending the mails through our own server but it seems that it is very difficult to scape the spam filter without Mail chimp or similar. Thanks in advance
Fernando, I know your issue has probably resolved itself. But if you still need to know, there are integration apps like Zapier that could do the job for you. Just make sure you pick an integration app that supports both MailChimp and WordPress (and preferrably the other software the client will be using) and set it up so that your WordPress-made mail campaign automatically gets posted via MailChimp. Integration apps sort of hang between other applications and make them communicate where they otherwise couldn’t. Other forms of integration app features include auto-Tweeting certain e-mails, converting your Evernote notes into Asana projects and more.
Thanks for sharing this article. It really cut off a lot of my work. I was struggling a lot on creating my email list. Hope it helps! Thanks again. 🙂
here is another free plugin for mailchimp subscription https://wordpress.org/plugins/another-mailchimp-widget/ it allows to embed a form into post or page content
Hi there. I can’t seem to make the widget work properly. I copy and paste the embedded form code from Mailchimp, but it doesn’t come out right. The words are there, but so is a lot of gibberish and the form doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong.
Also, to install plugins, do I have to upgrade on WP?
I’m not a fan on MailChimp for WordPress. The features are a bit limited. For a better all in one solution I’ve found https://wordpress.org/plugins/yikes-inc-easy-mailchimp-extender/ to be a better and more feature rich.
I am struggling with the double opt-in. The confirmation emails are sent from ‘unknown sender’ and end up in spam everytime. How do I solve for this?
Yep, having the same problem, but they don’t provide support to free accounts. Why would I want to upgrade to a paid account with something as useless and buggy as this happening?
Hi Lauren and Cheryl – I was having the exact same problem with all 3 of my Mailchimp subscribe lists. At the beginning of September 2015, all of my subscribers were suddenly no longer getting the confirmation for the double opt-in and I stopped getting subscribers (after typically getting several new subscribers per day). Turns out the confirmation was getting dumped into SPAM because my Sender Name wasn’t being recognized and was showing as UNKNOWN SENDER.
I finally got around to looking into the issue after a few people emailed this week to tell me that they hadn’t received their confirmation email.
So I just spent literally all afternoon troubleshooting the problem and finally figured it out!
The issue is with the DEFAULT SENDER NAME you have assigned to your mailing list (ie the name that will show in the Sender box when a person receives your email).
If you have any syntax EXCEPT for letters and spaces in your SENDER NAME, gmail will not recognize it.
For example, if you have any commas or ampersands (&), gmail will only show the letters after that including the comma, and it won’t recognize that the letters after the comma are a name so you’ll get the dreaded UNKNOWN SENDER classification and automatically get dumped into SPAM (often with a warning to the user that emails like this are often Phishing Scams and telling them to not open the email).
In my case, my Sender Name which worked for years without any problem, used to be Leanne Venier, Color, Light & FLow Expert
As soon as I changed it to Leanne Venier Color Light and Flow Expert, the problem was solved in all 3 of my mailing lists.
To change your DEFAULT SENDER NAME:
Log in to your mailchimp account
Click on LISTS
Choose the LIST you want to edit
Click on SETTINGS
In that dropdown you’ll see LIST NAME AND DEFAULTS – click on that
Go to your DEFAULT “FROM NAME”
If you have anything in that box except for letters and spaces, GET RID OF THEM.
theN click SAVE LIST AND CAMPAIGN DEFAULTS (at bottom of the page)
Do a test subscription to your mailing list using an email address you own (one that isn’t already in your mailing list – if it’s in your list, delete it before you do the test). Once you subscribe using your email, you’ll see that the problem has now been fixed.
One other related issue that suddenly started happening:
make sure you CLICK on the SEND A FINAL WELCOME EMAIL so it is highlighted (mine got turned off by Mailchimp somehow).
This is also in your SETTINGS TAB. If you don’t highlight this (ie put a checkmark in this box), your emails will be sent via Mandrill (a new Mailchimp thing – which I think may be the origin of the new syntax non recognition issue).
Thought I’d share this since I don’t know how many hundreds of subscribers I missed out on during the month of September and thought you’d like to have a solution to this new problem.
I think it’s an issue directly within mailchimp since all of my subscribers (including those who use hotmail, yahoo, etc) were having my double optin confirmations sent from Unknown Sender which automatically sends them all to Spam (ie it wasn’t just happening with gmail addresses).
Anyway, hope this helps!
International award-winning artist, Engineer & Science of Color, Light & Flow State for Optimal Health, Creativity & Productivity
hhttp://LeanneVenier.com – Healing Art & Color Therapy
hhttp://CatalyticColor.com – Leanne Venier’s Science of Color, Light & Flow State
Your article is very good , easy to understand and clear purpose . I am happy to read it .
allow me to read your article other than an article on Diving Into MailChimp
Thanks for your article!
Just a quick link to another similar (but free) plugin which we developed and released recently:
I’m sure your readers will enjoy it too.
Is there a replacement for Autochimp? It is no longer being supported, and the plug-in doesn’t work properly anymore.
I need to be able to pop-up a newsletter subscription form on my site, AND to port blog posts to that email list. Cobbling the pieces and parts to do this has been challenging, as there isn’t a plug-in that I can find that does both parts of that.
I haven’t personally tried this one, but it should do the trick:
The AutoChimp plugin has now not been updated since August 2013 and appears to be no longer supported by the plugin author.
Several recent posts in plugin support forum are asking for alternatives to this once popular plugin, e.g. https://wordpress.org/support/topic/can-anyone-recommend-something-other-than-autochimp and https://wordpress.org/support/topic/is-autochimp-dead.
Given these comments and the number of very negative recent reviews at https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/autochimp, indicating significant problems with this plugin, it is probably no longer appropriate to recommend this plugin here.
Hey, thanks for this post. I am using WP and AutoCHimp with a MailChimp account, it is integrated, but how do I send multiple blog entries in a single email? I want to send the latest set of articles, not three separate emails. If I do it as an RSS feed I lose my images…?
I am trying to integrate Mailchimp campaigns into our wordpress site. I am using Chimp Express but the HTML version of the blog post is distorted. Is there any other way?
Hi Tom, I have lately been trying to add a mailchimp optin form to my website but come across a few problems, especially when it comes to displaying the form. I have pasted in the generated code but either filed are missing, or fields are doubled etc..I have tried many different variations around this, with plugins etc but to no avail..I am using the Twenty Fourteen theme and wonder if this theme actually supports the mail chimp script?
I would love your input on this one Tom..I have you bookmarked for return because if I do manage to get this one sorted, I will start implementing some of your techniques..
Awesome article. I think this will be a great plugin for our WordPress site. We have a weekly newsletter and weekly blog posts. We want to send the weekly blog posts out to subscribers with the same HTML format as the weekly email? Wondering if that would work or which plug-in we should be using?
Great! I’m just trying to add some optin forms on my blog and your article is so useful.
By the way, I have found a couple more plugins that seem useful: MailChimp Forms by MailMunch and SumoMe. Any opinion on them?
I use Sumo me for the email pop over and I’ve found it works really well for clients, with one client I get more signups from the pop over than from the signup form directly on the website! Not familiar with MailMunch
Thanks Liam, then I’ll give Sumo a try 🙂
Thanks for this post, it’s a great overview of the options for integrating MailChimp with WordPress. Nearly all our clients want some sort of MailChimp integration these days, so it’s great to see such a good overview and some new ways of doing things. Mailbag is also a good plugin for adding MailChimp signup forms.
You’re welcome Katie!
I am contemplating switching over to Mail Chimp for WordPress plugin, as I am using Subscribe2 plugin. My host only allows 500 emails/hour, and I have to pay $10/month for the additional plugin that throttles Subscribe2 mail-outs. Please don’t talk geek to me (“…change you crone settings…’), as that kinda stuff is beyond me.
So, my specific question is, does Mail Chimp have a throttle setting built in? So I can publish a post and less than 500 emails will go out in one hour? I have 750 subscribers, thanks!
I couldn’t figure out how to link my mailchimp account to the comments sections and figured it would be part of the mailchimp for wordpress plugin, when it wasn’t I just gave up. Great to see there is an optin for comments plugin. I am going to install that today. Thanks for this post , you should send it to the Mailchimp guys as well. As much as I love mailchimp their blog could use an article like this one that really simplifies the process and will get their users subscribers. Your probably just made them a lot of money :-)… Thanks again.
Our pleasure Stephen!
Danny van Kooten
Danny here, author of the MailChimp for WordPress plugin. You can actually use my plugin to add an opt-in for commenters as well and do without the other, somewhat outdated, plugin. Adding an opt-in checkbox to your comment form is as easy as ticking the “comment form” checkbox in MailChimp for WP > Checkboxes. You can optionally set a customised label text and whether the checkbox should be pre-checked, the plugin will take care of the rest. 🙂
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the help, Danny!
Thank you for this post! It comes at exactly the right time, I’ve been dreading the research & wasted time to figure out how to do exactly this! Now I know and it only took me the few minutes to read your post.
You’re welcome Elni 🙂
Excellent article on extending mailchimp functionality. I was looking for something on mailchimp but then find this article. Even if it was not related to my site. But this is a fabulous post on some of the most ignored aspects of mailchimp. Even the writing style is very smooth and concise.
Thanks Tom Ewer to enlighten us with your skill.