Using a plugin for WordPress and Gravity forms, you can allow people to sign up for your newsletter right from your website. This will automatically populate your MailChimp contact list.
Step 1: Set Up MailChimp
First, you will need to login to MailChimp to do the following two things:
1. Get an API Key
Without going into too much detail, you need MailChimp to give you a way to talk with your WordPress site. This is called an “API Key.” This is very easy to do:
Login to MailChimp and go to Account > API Keys and Authorized Apps:
This screen lets you set up an “API key.” That’s a fancy way of saying it creates a unique number, like a password, that unlocks your MailChimp account for your WordPress site. With this number, or key, MailChimp and WordPress can exchange information with each other. Pretty darn cool. So, click the “Add A Key” button to get an API Key:
As you see, you will immediately get a row added to the API Key table, with a long number and a blank field to rename the key. I’m going to name my key here “My Newsletter Signup.”
Then, you’ll want to copy your API Key Number and save it somewhere — maybe Notepad or TextEdit. You’ll need to get it for the next step.
Now that your API Key is created, move onto the next step in MailChimp: Creating the mailing list you will use for your newsletter.
2. Create your list
You can have an unlimited number of mailing lists in MailChimp. Your WordPress site will need to know which mailing list to use when people sign up through your website. So, you’ll need to make sure you’ve actually CREATED a list in your MailChimp account. Follow this tutotorial to set it up (NOTE: Ignore anything after “Add Groups to Your List” — you just need to create and name one first!)
You are now done with MailChimp’s setup. Here is how to set up your website in WordPress to work with MailChimp.
Step 2: WordPress Setup
1. MailChimp Connection and Settings
Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins:
Activate “Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On” plugin:
Now, you’ll need to set up Gravity Forms to talk with MailChimp. Go to Forms > Mailchimp:
This will take you to the screen that asks you to set up your MailChimp Settings.
Now you’ll get the screen asking you to paste in your MailChimp API Key, which you saved on our last step. Then Click “Save Settings.” You should now get a green check mark next to the API key. If you don’t, you may have mistyped it, so double-check and try again.
2. Form Creation
Go to Gravity Forms and create a form with the minimal fields you’ll need for your MailChimp mailing list. Simplest is First Name/Last Name (“Name”) in Gravity Forms, and Email. Make all of these required fields!
Save your form. Then, go to Forms > MailChimp. You’ll see a screen that allows you to create a MailChimp feed. To create your first feed, click “create one!”
3. Connect MailChimp with Gravity Forms
The first screen will ask you which MailChimp list (see above) you want to use. Remember what you are doing is setting up a way for folks to subscribe to your newsletter via your WordPress site. So, you want to tell WordPress which list to add their name to. In this particular case, I’m using my “UMW Web Content Managers” list.
Once you make a selection, another list will appear asking which Gravity Form you want to use to collect subscribers to your list. In this case, I’ve selected “Subscribe to the UMW Webmaster Newsletter” form:
The rest of the form will appear. It will ask you which fields in your MailChimp list match up with which fields in your Gravity Form. I’ve completed it below, matching up my email and name fields appropriately. Also, keep “Double Opt-In” selected — this allows your users to confirm they are joining the newsletter and protects you from being accused of spam. When you are done, click “Save”:
Now place your Gravity Form into a page on your site as you would with any other Gravity Form, and you will have an online subscription page for MailChimp!