If you send out an email newsletter – if you’re even THINKING about sending out an email newsletter – you should have a way for people to sign themselves up for your list on your website. Being able to sign themselves up is a far lower threshold for responding than say, calling or even emailing the church office. You will get more signups if people can sign themselves up.
If you’re using a service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, they make it easy to generate a bit of code, and you can drop that into a text widget for your sidebar.
If you’re not yet using a service – perhaps your thinking that you will start an email newsletter in the next few months – you should still get a sign up onto your website, so that you can start to build up your email list.
You can do this by creating a special contact form for email sign-ups. Pro tip: add in a way to store these submitted emails in your database, so that they can be easily exported into a CSV file, and quickly uploaded to the email service of your choice. The free way to do this would be to use the Contact Form 7 plugin, plus Contact Form DB plugin. If you use the premium plugin Gravity Forms, submitted info is automatically saved for you. (ACWP participant sites have automatic access to Gravity Forms through our developer license.)
Actually, if you use something like Gravity Forms, you can get much more sophisticated in your email sign-ups. You can sign people up for multiple specific lists, for example, all from one simple form.
If all this sounds a little complicated for your technical-ability, shoot us an email – this is a relatively low-cost job to outsource.