The Bloggers’ Guide to Creating MailChimp Forms

MailChimp is a popular and easy-to-use email marketing platform, and one of its many features is the ability to easily design a signup form so your site visitors can subscribe to your email list. Appearance counts, and MailChimp makes it easy for you to design a form that fits in with your site and is simple to use.

creating forms on mailchimp

Why Signup Forms Matter

Forms allow you to gather addresses for your marketing lists.

To maximize the number of people you reach with your email marketing campaigns (and by extension, the number of people who continue to engage with you and are likely to do business with you), it’s important to maximize the number of people who complete your email list signup forms.

From the time someone lands on your site or blog, each additional step they have to take is one more opportunity for them to navigate elsewhere. People prefer to do the minimum amount of work required to accomplish something (especially on the internet), so if you force them to jump through too many hoops, they’ll simply abandon the task at hand.

To maximize the number of people who sign up for your email list, you want to create an easy-to-use signup form.

This article will cover how to build MailChimp forms and provide you with resources for advanced techniques.

Currently, MailChimp offers four ways to create a signup form:

  1. Use the general MailChimp form
  2. Embed a form onto your blog/site using auto-generated HTML code
  3. Embed a pop-up window containing a form using HTML
  4. Integrate with one of MailChimp’s partners to create forms

Except for the final option, all setup and configuration takes place in the MailChimp dashboard.

mailchimpdashboard

Using MailChimp’s Signup Form

The easiest way to get up and running is to use MailChimp’s General Signup Form. By default, the form is very simple and includes fields for the user to provide their:

  • Email address
  • First name
  • Last name

You can easily add additional fields to your form to request information such as visitor’s birthday or phone number, and you can enable an option that lets users pick their email format (HTML or plain-text).

If you want to jazz up your form a bit, you can also set the form’s color scheme, font size, and margin size. If you need your form in another language, you can translate it using MailChimp’s tools.

Once you’re done configuring your form, you can share it with others using the unique URL provided to you by MailChimp.

Creating Other Types of MailChimp Forms

MailChimp comes with built-in forms for various subscribe, unsubscribe, profile update, and other scenarios. Configuring some (or all!) of these is very similar to configuring a sign-up form. If you are interested in customizing and using these form options, this is the only method by which you can do so.

The other three ways to obtain forms are strictly used for sign-ups.

Embedding a Form Using HTML

For more control over the design of your form, you can use MailChimp’s form editor to generate an HTML snippet you embed onto your site or blog.

This option is quite powerful, in that you can control:

  • How your form looks (even across devices of different sizes)
  • What fields your form contains
  • The advanced features on your form, including those related to JavaScript, HTML, and spam prevention

Once you’ve finished building your form, you can copy and paste the auto-generated HTML snippet that renders your form onto your blog or website.

Using a Pop-Up Window for Signups

This option is similar to embedding just a form onto your site/blog.

Using MailChimp’s form editor, you can craft a pop-up window that asks users to provide the details necessary for you to add them to your mailing list.

mailchimp popup

MailChimp’s popup editor allows you to customize your popup.

Within the form editor, you have the ability to:

  • Set design characteristics, including layout, font, color schemes, and alignment
  • Decide which of the following three fields you want to include on your form (and whether they’re required): email address, first name, last name.
  • Add any additional content to the body or footer of the email
  • Set the pop-up window’s settings, including the width of the pop-up and the amount of time you want the pop-up to be delayed.

When you’re finished configuring and you’ve clicked Save and Exit, you’ll see a pop-up window containing the HTML you need to embed the pop-up form onto your site.

Integrating MailChimp with Wufoo or Squarespace to Create Forms

MailChimp offers integrations with Wufoo and Squarespace. If you’ve used either service to build your website, you can easily create a form for your site that will add subscribers to your MailChimp list.

In either instance, you will not be using MailChimp to create your forms, but Wufoo or Squarespace.

More MailChimp Resources

Still stuck on which option you should opt for or what you should do next? Here are some resources you might find useful.

Helpful Resources

The first place you should look when you have any questions or issues is MailChimp’s own How the MailChimp Form Builder Works guide.

MailChimp also has a helpful guide on creating forms using Google Forms, if that’s something with which you’re already familiar.

Smashing Magazine also has an excellent tutorial on design patterns for signup forms (there are two parts: part 1 covers placement and design, while part 2 covers functionality).

Sources of Inspiration

Advanced Techniques

Because MailChimp allows you to use HTML forms, you can implement fancier forms with highly-customized styling created using software suites like Gravity Forms. Alistair Gill, a Search Engine Optimization consultant, has written up an excellent guide for using Gravity Forms with MailChimp.

Takeaways

Forms are an important part of getting people to sign up for your mailing list. If you’re using MailChimp as your email marketing provider, you have access to built-in tools that make it easy for you to develop attractive, easy-to-use forms for your users to use.

However, though MailChimp’s tools are quite powerful on their own, there are more advanced tricks you can use to improve your forms, both in terms of design and usability, to reduce the chances of your users abandoning the signup process.