Having a Facebook Fan Page for your business is great. You are able to share useful information, engage with your audience of customers and prospects, market your product and services now and then, and create a buzz about your business. Facebook does not have a built-in way to collect the contact information of your fans, however. This would be useful if you would like to invite them to subscribe to your newsletter or opt-in to other email communication.
Many people already have a newsletter service that they use, and those services will often provide html code that you can use on a website to create an opt-in form. You can also use that html code on a Facebook Fan Page by pasting it into an application custom tab. This is great if you are able to customize it easily and understand how to use the HTML application. Unfortunately some people use an email service that does not provide this code. For example, if you are a representative of a direct selling company that has a company-wide email newsletter system, you don’t typically have access to the HTML code for adding an opt-in box, since your company replicated website has that built in.
The option which I am enjoying is using the email service MailChimp. What I love about using MailChimp is that they have a Facebook Application that easily connects to your account, and creates an instant custom tab on your Facebook Fan Page or Profile (though the Profile tabs are going away soon). Now if you already have another service for your newsletters, you can continue to use that for your communication and simply use MailChimp for the opt-in box on Facebook to collect the email addresses, and maybe additional communications in between. MailChimp will allow you to export your contacts into a spreadsheet for other uses.
The following video walks you through the process as I set up a MailChimp opt-in box for one of my clients, Linda Lucas. Below the video are step by step instructions to follow to make this happen. It seems like a lot of steps but any of the email services require a lot of set up to begin with. This tutorial assumes you do not yet have an account or form set up. In a future blog post I’ll show you how to create an opt-in box using the Static FBML application.
Step by Step Instructions:
- Visit MailChimp and sign up for an account, and activate the account via email confirmation
- Log back into MailChimp and enter your basic information, following the instructions on the screen.
- Choose the type of plan – Forever Free works for up to 1000 contacts, 6000 emails total per month.
- On the Dashboard click on Lists.
- Within your List box, click on Settings and fill out the information in each section – List settings, Footer settings, being sure to save each section.
- On the List box click Forms.
- An opt-in box is already built in but you can design a forum with different built-in themes and graphics to add some pizazz. Alternately, you can insert your own header image or graphics, and adjust the colors.
- Edit the blank box under the header graphic, a brief welcome message or instructions that will appear at the top of the form inviting them to subscribe. Style with fonts or colors etc.
- Add fields if desired – Name and Email are already built in but you can add others including checkboxes or text fields.
- Under Forms and Response Emails – edit any of the confirmation emails.
- If you are giving away any kind of free report for subscribing, click Final Welcome Email under Forms and Response Emails – this is what is sent out once someone successfully confirms their subscription.
- Be sure to click Save and Exit
- Go to your Facebook account and log in
- In search box, search for the MailChimp Application (not the fan page)
- Click on Add to My Page under the chimp picture and Add to Page next to your Fan Page name. NOTE: If you have more than one fan page, only do ONE at a time. Go back and repeat this process later for your other pages.
- Click on Go To Application – it will ask to connect to your MailChimp account, click Allow
- Log into your MailChimp account within the window displayed
- On the MailChimp Subscribe Configuration Page you’ll see 2 options – one for your Profile tab and one for your Fan Page tab. (The Profile tab selection is not shown in the video, it was cut off)
- Select your list for each if you want the tab to appear on both (usually just your main list) and click Submit
- Visit your Fan Page and see Email Signup Box
- If needed, double check settings by clicking Edit Page (under picture) and then Applications – then find the MailChimp application and check connections/settings
- If desired, from the Wall of the Fan Page, move the Email Signup tab closer to the beginning of the wall tabs (drag and drop)
- Make any further adjustments on your MailChimp account page. Your main form will always be the form that appears on your Facebook Fan Page tab. (Go to Lists, then Forms, to edit your form)
- To access your Subscriber list, go to your MailChimp account, click on Lists and then View List, and then Subscribers (at the top) and then Download. You can also download specific segments.
- Send emails to your list by clicking on Campaigns and Create Campaigns. You can create templates and customize your newsletter within that area. Check out the Dashboard for tutorials and videos you can use to learn MailChimp.