Ok, you’ve made the decision to start sending out newsletters as part of your marketing strategy. Excellent choice! Email marketing is one of the cheapest and most rewarding forms of marketing nowadays.
The next choice you have to make is whether to use an online service provided by companies who specialise in email marketing, or install a plugin that can handle all your needs from within WordPress. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Email Marketing Service – Pros and Cons
- High degree of deliverability
- Excellent support
- Best feature set
- High quality templates
- Can be expensive
- Limited integration with WordPress
- Usage restrictions
WP Integration plugins / guides
- How to integrate Mailchimp with WP using Wishlist Member
- Mailchimp list subscribe form plugin for WordPress
- Aweber form plugin for WordPress
- iContact form plugin for WordPress
- GetResponse form plugin for WordPress
WordPress Email Marketing Plugin – Pros and Cons
- Cheaper (Free or one-time purchase)
- Security (you don’t share your list)
- Greater level of customisation
- Integrated with WordPress
- Might have problems with deliverability
- Not recommended for huge lists if your site is hosted on a shared server
Best WordPress Newsletter Plugin?
Have you decided to go down the plugin route? Great, you have a few options, here are the most mature WordPress newsletter plugins:
After trying them all out, I can safely say that Tribulant Newsletter is the one that impressed me most. It has a clean interface, is easy-to-use and has all the features you’d expect from a solid email marketing system. It’s development is also very active so it will probably be improved further with new features in the coming months.
Would you like to put Tribulant Newsletter through a test drive?
Go to http://tribulant.net/newsletter/
We had a brief chat with the developer of Tribulant Newsletter (Antonie Potgetier), who told us that the plugin is under constant development, with a new version being released very recently. New features are already planned for the next release, so this project is definitely alive and promises well for the future.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you use an online service or a WordPress plugin for your email marketing campaigns? Which plugin do you like best? Let us know in the comments section!
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I always use Gravity Forms (with the Mailchimp addon) & Mailchimp.
– Gives you ultimate flexibility with the form(s)
– Allows you to gain insight into referring pages that drive sign-ups
– Allows for conditional sign-up e.g. have a checkbox after a contact form “also sign me up to receive latest posts by email”
– Gives you ownership of the list rather than relying on 3rd party tools e.g. FeedBurner or WordPress.com follow
– Mailchimp’s RSS-driven campaign connects beautifully with WordPress RSS feeds for seamless and easy delivery of blog content by email – almost completely hands-off except for a little set up
Actually, I meant to mention that I had also tested two other plugins – MailChimp Widget (James Lafferty) and Newsletter Sign-up (Danny van Kooten), and discounted both, primarily because of the way they handle errors. MailChimp Widget did offer the choice of lists for each widget added which is brilliant, but the form completely disappears if you send an empty form.
Perhaps I’m placing too much emphasis on something that doesn’t happen often (after all, people generally don’t leave empty fields before sending), and I’m in no position to criticise bad coding (I couldn’t write this stuff myself), but surely error handling is Programming 101?
Also, even the official WordPress plugin also had needed a hack to fix a disabled button after sending an empty form, so none are ideal yet.
Well, Yes it does have a plugin to integrate it with a standard WordPress installation, and that will give you a form to use at a side widget where people can subscribe to the list.
Example Link is at the home page of LatestWP itself:
However, It’s not a total integration though. For example, everything that you perform when handling your mailing list such as sending messages and managing your list subscribers is done entirely through the MailChimp website itself.
I would love to see all of that done from the admin dashboard at WordPress someday (without over killing it though) 🙂
I’d recommend MailChimp to everybody.
Specially that it has a free plan if your subscribers list is lower than 2000 users.
Ayman do you integrate it with WordPress in that case? It would be nice to have a plugin that offers more integration with WordPress, similar to the plugins offered for Google Analytics maybe.
I have used the MailChimp plugin for WordPress on certain projects, but the only issue I find using it is that you’re restricted to only one list at a time. Sometimes we have more than one campaign running at any one time on our main website, so until MailChimp develop it further so you can select a separate list for each instance of a form, then I find I have to manually paste the code into the sidebars – easy for me, but not so easy for Jo Bloggs.
The plugin seems like a bit of an afterthought, and from what I can tell on the forums, it doesn’t get much development time either. Pity.
Thanks Ayman and Andy, that confirms my impressions that the plugin is not so well developed, so there we go, it’s an opportunity for someone to take this up and develop a great plugin for WordPress-MailChimp integration. There’s always something to improve 🙂
I just started using MailChimp – easiest to use for me…. 🙂