How to Let Blog Readers Choose Their Email Frequency

In the comments of a post discussing our recent FeedBurner integration, Mike Hill asked a great question about email subscription options:

“The scheduling would be more useful if it can be setup by the subscriber, not by me as the publisher. Is that a possibility with any subscription services on email?

To me, this would be far more useful to my readers than me picking when to get it. I’d even consider subscribing some of my blogs on email instead of RSS if this was available.”

While creating a signup form that gives subscribers an unlimited number of frequency options would be tough to pull off without making the form look awkward and intimidating, it’s easy to offer them a couple of different options.

All it takes is a little HTML know-how and a few minutes to set up an extra list or 2.

First, Create 2 Lists

In this example, we’re going to give our blog’s email subscribers the option to sign up for daily emails, or weekly ones.

First, let’s create lists for each of those subscriptions. I’ve named mine blog-daily and blog-weekly. You’ll need to choose different names, but you’ll probably want to follow a similar naming scheme.

2 Lists Shown

(Need to learn how to create a list? See the Getting Started section of our Knowledge Base.)

Next, Set Up 2 Blog Broadcasts

Now, you need to create 2 nearly identical Blog Broadcasts (one in each list).

The only difference? You’ll schedule emails for your daily list to be sent daily, and the ones for your weekly list to be sent weekly.

Daily Posts (list blog-daily)
Daily Posts
Weekly Posts (list blog-weekly)
Weekly Posts

Now, Set Up Your Web Form

Note that our Web Form Generator has changed a bit since this blog post was written. Take a look at our knowledge base for updated instructions.

Create a web form in one of the lists. It doesn’t matter which one, because we’re going to edit the HTML to let our readers pick which list to subscribe to.

Need help creating a web form? We’ve got a Knowledge Base entry on that, too. :)

Once you’ve created/saved your form, get the HTML for it:

Form HTML

Note that we use the HTML in the lower box, not the JavaScript in the upper box.

We’re going to let our subscribers choose daily or weekly posts from a radio button.

Find the line of HTML in the form for the box where subscribers put their Email Address:

<tr><td >Email:</td><td><input type=”text” name=”from” value=”” size=”20″/></td></tr></td>

Just beneath it, paste the following:

<tr><td align=”center” colspan=”2″>Send Me Posts:</td></tr>
<tr><td align=”center” colspan=”2″><input type=”radio” name=”unit” value=”blog-daily“/> Daily <input type=”radio” name=”unit” value=”blog-weekly“/> Weekly</td></tr>

Replace my sample listnames (blog-daily and blog-weekly) with your daily and weekly lists.

Finally, delete this line of HTML from your form:

<input type=”hidden” name=”unit” value=”blog-daily“>

and publish the form to your site. You’ll get something like this:

Form With Radio Button

Whenever subscribers fill out the form, they choose how often they want to hear from you, and the form adds them to the appropriate list (in this case, to get daily emails or weekly ones).

What If I Have a Message I Want to Send Everyone?

No problem — just create a broadcast and use our send to multiple lists feature to get in touch with all of your blog’s email subscribers.

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