Here comes part 2 of the series “Email Marketing with WordPress”. So you’ve collected a lot of data of your potential customers with the e-mail lead generation plugins or at least you know how to get started? Very good, then it’s time to think about the next step. What do you plan to do with the leads, what do you offer them? The best thing is of course a newsletter. As far as the content is concerned, you have a free hand. Do you want to point out current discount campaigns and competitions or draw attention to a new article or video? There are no limits to your creativity in your marketing strategy.
In our modern and especially fast moving times, people not only check their email inboxes every day, messages and e-mails are now read by almost everyone on the go. The email is therefore still the fastest and cheapest way to reach your customers. With the help of newsletters, a stable and personal customer relationship can be built up and regular contact established.
Provided you provide your readers with real added value that is good for something and arouses their interest, newsletters are actually well received by most customers and are read with pleasure. Of course, the content must not be too promotional or spammy. With a newsletter you create attention for your content and bind the collected leads to your website and therefore to your company. But how do you send this content best?
You can find in this best of compilation the WordPress Plugins which support you.
The big question first: Plugin or external tool?
Before you start, you should know something important about sending newsletters: Basically there are two possibilities to send the mails with the newsletter.
1. send mails via your own webspace – not recommended!
The WordPress internal mail function, which also sends notifications of new comments etc., can of course also be used to send other e-mails. These mails are sent by the WordPress core via PHP-mail()-function, which is unfortunately very often abused by hackers and spammers. Therefore this variant is generally not very recommendable. A risk factor here are especially unprofessional or old plugins for which no updates are available. They are a security hole and thus a potential point of attack for hackers.
A better way is to use the internal mail server, for example by using a plugin like WP Mail SMTP. However, most web hosters have an upper limit on how many emails you can send per day, and you need to establish some level of trust on the IP address of the server and your email address to ensure that the mails are delivered reliably. If you just get started, or forget things like SPF and DKIM keys, it’s very common for your email to end up in the recipient’s spam folder.
In general, you should always check your e-mails for spam BEFORE sending out the newsletter!
2. Sending mails via a delivery service – much better!
This variant is clearly more recommendable! To send your newsletters you either look for an external newsletter software, a plugin with your own sending service or use a big email SaaS provider like Amazon’s SES with a proper SMTP relay!
The SMTP relay is the key to the success or failure of your email marketing. If you decide to use an external newsletter solution and do not send your mails via your own e-mail server, they will reach the desired recipient via a different route. Large newsletter tools therefore allow the sending of several thousand mails per day without security gaps and without being marked as spam. These tools are specialized in sending e-mails and are usually also listed on whitelists. If a server does end up on a blacklist, they take care of it immediately.
Whitelisting ensures that the sender IPs of e-mails are not checked for spam. E-mails sent via servers that are on the whitelist therefore automatically end up in the recipient’s mailbox. A decisive advantage of many newsletter software is that they use whitelisted servers. Delivery rates of over 99% can be achieved through reliable dispatch.
If you have already generated many addresses or leads, a WordPress plugin without an external mail server makes no sense anymore!
So you should either use an external mailing service for sending from WordPress, or transfer the newsletter subscribers via WordPress directly into an external newsletter software or CRM tool!
In the following list I will now introduce you to the best newsletter plugins and providers for WordPress:
You can send up to 1,000 emails per month for free. After that there are three packages, the prices of which depend on the number of emails sent. Lite, Standard and Pro offer three price categories with different features. With Pro you have a personal contact person and an unlimited number of users and media library at your disposal.
Conclusion: If you’re looking for a reliable tool and you’re happy with the standard templates, Sendinblue is for you. If you want to customize your form, Sendinblue has a very nice visual editor!
GetResponse is one of the most comprehensive online marketing solutions, which is fully scalable and can easily handle both small and very large lists (over 1 million subscribers). For over 10 years, it has provided easy-to-use self-service applications and expert support for creating and managing email marketing campaigns, newsletters and autoresponders that turn contacts into customers.
Through fully automated list hygiene, anti-spam rules, and established relationships with the major Internet and email service providers, GetResponse has earned the highest possible deliverability rate for over a decade, ensuring that customers’ messages actually arrive and get the highest possible return on their email marketing investments.
Expand your list, track website visits and send e-commerce data with GetResponse for WordPress.
Turn the visitors and customers of your blog, website or e-commerce shop into highly engaged subscribers. With GetResponse for WordPress, you can add Web site visitors to your contact list, update contact information, track Web site visits, and submit e-commerce data to GetResponse. It helps you constantly expand your list and ensures that you have the contact information and e-commerce data to plan successful marketing campaigns.
WordPress plugin functions
- Add GetResponse landing pages on your WordPress site.
- Easily deploy new webinar, registration, advertising, download, or sales-oriented pages
- Use pop-up, exit pop-up and fixed bar forms on the pages to get more registrations
- Perform A/B testing to ensure that your page design is optimized for conversions.
- Simply publish landing pages under your WordPress domain as a subpage. Add contacts without 3rd party integrations directly after registration via one of your landing pages.
- Add GetResponse forms anywhere on your website and in your blog entries.
- Add an opt-in field for comments and registration forms to add website visitors to your list
- Adding an opt-in box to contact form 7 and BuddyPress forms
- WooCommerce – Add contacts and collect e-commerce data: Through the integrated integration with WooCommerce you can add customers to your contact list and send e-commerce data to GetResponse. Here you see what you can do with it:
- Expand your list by adding customers at the checkout
- Export customer lists to GetResponse (this option allows you to export custom fields and purchase history
- Collect information about customers’ spending habits, products, purchases made and shopping carts.
- Create workflows based on the URLs visited: Use advanced search options to identify people who have recently visited your site. Easily create custom filters and target your email offers.
Functions of GetResponse
- Over 300 templates for e-mails in many sectors.
Choose from over 300 HTML templates to create eye-catching campaigns for any audience and industry. Use the intuitive editor to customize your email communications with cool graphics, fonts, and formatting, then apply your company logo and colors.
- Create A/B tests quickly and securely.
To ensure that you get the best results from your email campaign, test it first! Create up to 5 messages with different personalization techniques, layouts and styles. GetResponse will test each version for you and then automatically select and send the best one! This only takes minutes and can save you money – and lost customers!
- Integrated e-mail analysis.
Make sure that each campaign is better than the last! Let GetResponse track every open, click, unsubscribe and purchase. See the big picture with visual charts, and receive daily personalized reports in your inbox.
- Guaranteed deliverability!
GetResponse applies more than 10 years of expert human and automated system monitoring to ensure that your email marketing messages end up in prospects’ inboxes, not in their junk folders. From automated list hygiene to established ISP relationships and feedback loops, GetResponse ensures that your campaigns – and your brand – are always protected and compliant.
- Social media integration.
Millions of potential customers receive their product buzz via social networks – and you have to be there! With point-and-click integration, GetResponse puts you in the middle of this non-stop conversation. Let Facebook and Twitter deliver instant links to your latest campaigns, coupons and blogs today!
- Create online surveys.
With GetResponse surveys, research won’t cost you a cent more! Ask as many questions as you want and get the data you need to improve products, target campaigns, and stay ahead of the competition! It’s easy to use – just point and click to design, publish and monitor the results.
- Coaching and support.
The experts at GetResponse are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you maximize your email marketing – and your profits. Whether you are a team of one or 20 employees, GetResonse works with you step by step, so you can make your marketing smarter and faster – without additional staff. Get in touch with the team by phone, email or live chat. It’s friendly and free! Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Must Have: OptinMonster
OptinMonster has become famous for its exit intent feature. When enabled, pop-up forms are triggered when a visitor attempts to leave the site. Granted, this is an annoying, but simply very effective feature! Over 70% of visitors do exactly that and never return. So OptinMonster’s plugin turns visitors who would have left the site into valuable subscribers and customers.
However, the plugin has been available as a premium email optin form plugin since 2013 and has always managed to differentiate itself from the competition by offering a user-friendly interface, a selection of clean and attractive designs for its optin forms, and new features.
Conclusion: It doesn’t get any better than this! If you are serious about lead generation, you should use OptinMonster! Priced at $9 – max. $49 per month, it’s not quite cheap, but for this price it offers a gigantic range of features and all possibilities if you really want to get to grips with the finer points of lead generation. Plus, as a subscriber you get access to quality digital content and video training from real email marketing experts.
The many functions and the uncomplicated use make MailChimp one of the best newsletter solutions worldwide. This tool is an external and cloud-based newsletter service and sends the mails very fast and reliable. MailChimp does not need to be installed and can be linked to most lead generation plugins. There is also a very simple plugin to integrate a newsletter form directly from MailChimp.
The respective newsletters are then created, designed and sent online directly in the editor of MailChimp. To keep the handling simple, MailChimp offers many ready-made customizable templates. Of course you can also create your own layouts and templates. Furthermore MailChimp offers the possibility to create different lists, to send newsletters in different time zones and to do A/B-tests.
The price model of MailChimp depends on the number of recipients. The free membership with limited functions can be used for up to 2,000 recipients in one list and newsletters can be sent to these recipients as often as you like. Furthermore, you can choose between Essential, Standard and Premium. Between $9.99 and $299 a month you can choose between three different packages. With the latter you can send over three million mails per month.
Conclusion: If you work for a large, international company, this tool suits you perfectly, because MailChimp is one of the most well-known international newsletter providers – and rightly so! The newsletter service is ideal for professionals and can be easily managed by multiple users. Nevertheless there are some disadvantages, especially the high costs for sending rare newsletters in large email lists. The large size of MailChimp is both an advantage and a disadvantage, because it will probably overwhelm beginners, but leave hardly any wishes open for professionals. Currently MailChimp is only available in English.
The tool from Germany is becoming more and more popular! It is kept minimalistic regarding the functions and style of the newsletter. If you have a company that does not (yet) send many newsletters, CleverReach might be the right tool for you. More than 50 different templates, which are now also responsive, can be displayed on the Smartphone, PC and Tablet. A dashboard widget plugin allows you to display everything at a glance in your WordPress dashboard. CleverReach is available in a free, but also limited version with the Lite tariff. In order to use all features, you have to choose one of the new flatrates. Start with the flatrate 250 for the price of 9.00 EUR. This means that customers with up to 250 recipients can use all functions and have an unlimited shipping volume. This is therefore most suitable for marketers with a high transmission frequency and a relatively small list at the same time. With 10,000 e-mail addresses, for example, you are already at 100 EUR per month.
Conclusion: CleverReach is plain and simple. This may please one person and be too minimalistic for another. In the net, the support is praised for its helpfulness. With CleverReach, you have a good entry model into e-mail marketing. If your company grows, you will probably decide to use a different software, since the costs for larger lists on CleverReach can quickly become unpleasant, if you do not regularly send e-mails as well and earn revenue with it.
MailPoet is a veteran WordPress newsletter plugin and is used by over 300,000 websites according to its developers. MailPoet provides ready-made responsive templates. But you can also use the generator to create your own newsletter templates. The plugin provides you with a double opt-in procedure, a subscription form, administration via the WordPress dashboard, automated emails and statistics about the activities of your prospects. After you have installed MailPoet, click on the plugin in the dashboard on the left side and go to Settings. On the “Send With” page, click on “Configure” and select SMTP. As said before, SMTP is important to avoid getting spammed and to make sure that you can send a larger amount of mails at all. This way MailPoet has solved the problem between plugin and SMTP relay.
With up to 1,000 subscribers, using MailPoet is completely free! Just install it and off you go. For larger numbers, the costs are staggered, starting with premium plans at 12 € per month. Once you have 65,000 leads, for example, it will cost you 271 € per month, 6,000 subscribers cost 58 € per month. Especially the free entry is very interesting for freelancers, non-profit organizations and small businesses. With the freemium version you can use all advanced features.
For large companies, MailPoet can easily be scaled as the company grows, so that you never have to worry about whether the software is still sufficient. The user-friendly interface is intuitive for everyone. By the way, MailPoet integrates very well with WooCommerce. E-mails are sent via different delivery partners. Either you use the MailPoet Email Sending Service (which can send an unlimited number of emails and is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, or you send mails from a third-party service such as SendGrid or Amazon SES or from your own server/SMTP.
- Has a free version and a super easy setup.
- Allows you to manage everything from your WordPress dashboard.
- Features a drag-and-drop email builder and pre-built email templates.
- Has a built-in sending service to ensure that emails reach your subscribers (or you can use third-party sending services)
- One-time e-mails or automatic sequences can be created.
- Provides basic email marketing automation, such as sending WooCommerce emails with abandoned shopping cart
Conclusion: The tool is simple and straightforward. If this is exactly what you are looking for, MailPoet is the right place for you. It is neither external software nor an all-in-one solution, but a plug-in that is installed in WordPress. MailPoet is particularly suitable for beginners, also because up to 1,000 subscribers are free of charge.
Another plugin for embedding in WordPress is Mailster, formerly called MyMail. Simple and intuitive – Mailster promises both. A drag and drop generator allows you to create responsive templates. The tool contacts your subscribers via automated emails, sends birthday greetings, welcome emails and daily or weekly newsletters if you have activated the autoresponder. You can analyze and track your subscribers and campaigns and even see which email clients the subscribers use. You can also see the click rate on your website. Mailster promises to increase your conversion rate. An all-in-one solution in one plugin.
Mailster works with the most popular email delivery services, such as SES from Amazon or Mandrill. The WooCommerce plugin can also be integrated. Especially in e-commerce it is important to stay connected with your customers and to inform them about discount campaigns, for example.
If you decide to use Mailster, you can try the plugin in a free version. Here you have 50 free leads in five lists each. 100 leads and 10 lists cost $39, 1,000 subscribers in 20 lists cost $79 and an unlimited number of leads and lists costs you $179 a year. So the price is manageable and the single packages offer you different features.
- Although a premium plugin, you get lifetime updates after a purchase.
- So you can manage everything from your WordPress dashboard.
- Can be integrated with the most popular third-party shipping services.
- Has a very good drag and drop email builder.
- Allows you to create one-time emails or automatic sequences.
- Has an unsplash integration that allows you to quickly insert royalty-free images into emails.
- Includes built-in analysis capabilities, including an option to track the geolocation of the reader.
- Compatible with many popular list creation plugins such as OptinMonster.
Conclusion: From our point of view Mailster is one of the best newsletter plugins. A disadvantage is that compared to other tools you have only 50 leads for free in the Free Version. Others offer up to 1,000. However, Mailster does a lot of things that other plugins cannot do. It is suitable for beginners and professionals, because it is easy and intuitive to use!
The Newsletter Plugin
This plugin offers another all-in-one solution. With well over 3 million downloads it is one of the most popular newsletter systems worldwide. The redesigned drag-and-drop composer promises to be even easier to use than before and allows you to create responsive newsletters. A spam check ensures that no spam mail addresses get into your form. You can create your own templates and a login widget and login page can be customized. The tool also offers you both double and single opt-in with a privacy box, compatibility with any SMTP plugin, viewing statistics, WooCommerce and Google Analytics integration and pop-ups for even more leads. Plus an unlimited number of leads and mails as well as text and HTML versions of your newsletter. So the newsletter plugin offers everything you need for your email marketing strategy. The prices depend on the type of your business. The German Newsletter-Plugin can be tested for free, after that you can choose from two packages. Bloggers pay 69 $ per year. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as one year access to updates and you may install the plugin on three different websites. But agencies pay much more: 269 $ per year for the same features. But you can install the tool on an unlimited number of websites.
Newsletter Plugin advantages
- Has a free version.
- Allows to manage everything from the WordPress backend.
- Works with the usual WordPress SMTP plugins to allow the use of a third-party email sending service.
- Has a very comfortable drag and drop email builder.
- Allows the sending of one-time e-mails (free of charge) or automatic newsletters (fee required).
Conclusion: The Newsletter Plugin offers many features and is one of the most popular plugins for email marketing with WordPress. If you have your own server, or a correspondingly high-performance web hosting, you can use it to send your newsletters directly from WordPress. In any case, you should use an external SMTP server such as Mailjet, Gmail or Amazon’s SES for sending newsletters with more than 1,000 recipients. Then this plugin is also suitable for larger companies and can be used by beginners and professionals alike.
The external newsletter software Mailjet from Paris enables, in short, the creation and sending of e-mails via its own interface – a very good and professional all-round solution from Europe. The cloud-based tool, an all-in-one email service provider (ESP), is suitable for marketing and transactional emails. The infrastructure is hosted on the Google Cloud, which promises high reliability. Responsive newsletters and other marketing mails can be created with the drag-and-drop generator and a custom image editing program. To do this, you simply choose from a variety of templates. Upload as many contact information of your leads as you like and edit them later in the contact lists. A comment function allows you to work in a team on one or more templates. You don’t need any HTML knowledge and can start immediately. Create opt-in forms, pop-ups and personalised mails according to user behaviour. Mailjet guarantees the secure delivery of your messages via SMTP relay or via Send API. The SMTP server can be integrated into any system.
Up to 6,000 mails per month are free of charge. Including an unlimited number of contacts and contact lists. Also included in the free version are drag-and-drop editor, detailed statistics and all available email templates! For the packages Basic, Premium and Enterprise and stagger the prices according to the number of sent mails. For example, 60,000 mails cost 15.26 € in the Basic package and 29.66 € in Premium. The price of Enterprise is always based on an individual plan.
Conclusion: This external newsletter service really brings everything you need as a beginner or professional. It has many features and is easy to use – you don’t need any programming skills. Another advantage are the four different packages and the 6.000 mails per month in the free version of Mailjet.
MailOptin is also a very popular WordPress newsletter plugin, available in a free version at WordPress.org as well as in a premium version with more features. It comprises two functional areas:
- Lead generation: These functions are designed to expand the list of subscribers.
- Email Automation & Newsletters: These functions help to create automatic newsletters directly from the WordPress dashboard.
Please note that MailOptin does not completely replace a third-party email marketing service, as the plugins MailPoet or Newsletter do. MailOptin can be used to create newsletters, but you always need a third-party service behind it, such as Mailchimp, to manage the lists and deliver these emails. MailOptin is compatible with these services, among others:
- Has the most flexible opt-in/list creation tools of all plugins on this list.
- You still need a third-party email marketing service
- Can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on what you want!
- Allows you to create emails without leaving the WordPress dashboard.
- You can quickly create one-time emails or send automatic newsletters, e.g. a summary of the latest posts.
- Has an integrated A/B test for the opt-in forms to attract more subscribers.
Conclusion: MailOptin offers many options for creating opt-in forms. This is definitely one of its strengths compared to the other tools. With MailOptin you can easily create popups, notification bars, slide-ins and other form forms without the need to use a separate plugin such as OptinMonster. Most other newsletter plugins, however, only offer relatively simple opt-in forms.
My conclusion and recommendations
If you already have many subscribers or plan to expand your email marketing strategy, there is no way around external software. Sooner or later your server will go on strike and the delivery rate will become a problem. So it’s better to change sooner than too late if you still work with a newsletter plugin without an external mail server.
If you still have little knowledge in this area, you can also start with an integrated plugin, get familiar with email marketing and start generating leads. Make sure you have a SMTP relay so that you don’t end up in the spam folder of your leads and your newsletter might never be read.
If you don’t want to use an external newsletter software, my tip would be to install an SMTP plugin in connection with the Amazon SES (Simple E-Mail Service). The decision for one of these two solutions should be made individually, depending on the number of leads, customers and mails you send daily or monthly.
Send newsletter via WordPress-Plugin
I would like to start my recommendation with a WordPress plugin:
Here MailPoet is my clear recommendation! With the built-in email builder, you can design appealing emails with drag-and-drop ease, set up email automation campaigns (such as mail notification emails, welcome emails and automated emails for WooCommerce) and you can manage multiple email lists with an unlimited number of subscribers.
The newsletter plugin also convinced me. Although I am not a big fan of too many plugins, I can still recommend this tool. It will fulfill all your expectations of a newsletter service and is also fair in price. A lot of functions and the possible integration of add-ons like Google Analytics, Ninja Forms, mailprovider, WooCommerce, registration pop-ups etc. make the plugin even more extensive and customizable.
BUT: As with all pure plugin solutions, you need an external SMTP with sufficient sending capacity or you have to send via services like Amazon’s SES, which is of course optimal in terms of performance and delivery rate.
Send newsletter via external software
Here, only the registration is integrated into WordPress, the creation and sending of the mails is then completely done in a web interface of the provider!
As external newsletter software I would especially recommend SendInBlue and Mailjet. With these tools you can easily do everything you need for your email marketing strategy. Mailjet is particularly striking, because no other software offers 6,000 free mails per month with statistics, all templates and unlimited contacts. You can easily start using Mailjet as a start-up and the tool grows with your business and marketing needs. In terms of simplicity, design and templates, I think SendInBlue stands out!
Whatever you decide, plugin or external software, I hope this list makes the choice easier. There are numerous tools on the market, free to overpriced, and especially as a marketing and WordPress newbie it seems difficult to find the right tool. Pay attention to the most important points like regular updates, up-to-dateness, a good price-performance ratio and – very important – SMTP. Choose from the recommended products yourself and you will certainly make the right choice for a tool that fits your needs.