One of the most important commandments of marketing, as every WordPress user is aware of, is keeping your readers updated about your news, posts and publications. Sure they will check your site on their own sometimes, but a little nudge never hurt anybody, right?
So what do you do?
One option is to go to your mailbox and send each subscriber a notification about every post you upload. This might work if you have about 50 subscribers (and I’m being generous here!).
But what if this number increases to a 100? 1000? or 5000? You get the idea.
Sending an update manually about every post you write, to all these people is nigh impossible. Not only would it be difficult for you to keep track of all the bucket-load of e-mails, but it could irritate your readers too if they have an e-mail from you every time they turn around to check their inbox!
An obvious solution to sidestepping this problem is: e-newsletters.
Fortunately, several enterprising plugin developers for WordPress have created newsletter plugins that help you send selective updates periodically, informing users about the latest happenings on your website.
One of these is Newsletter, an out-of-the-box newsletter plugin for WordPress.
One of the very first newsletter plugins, Newsletter is a great tool for creating user lists and preparing, sending and tracking e-mails to your subscribers. With over 200,000 downloads, it is by far one of the most popular newsletter plugins for WordPress.
What are the Advantages of Using Newsletter?
The advantages of the Newsletter plugin lie in the features. So, let’s explore the plugin features in detail.
Newsletter is a free plugin supporting unlimited subscribers and unlimited emails. It lets you create and maintain user lists and categorize them so that you can send newsletters in a more systematic manner.
It also comprehensively analyses user statistics including who were the last visitors to your site, what are your subscribers’ preferences, which of them opened the e-mail and areas wherein is your site performing better, all to help you create targeted promotional campaigns.
Newsletter allows you to configure the number of emails sent out to subscribers in a given amount of time. To avoid clogging your server, and maintain optimum sending speed, the plugin sends emails in batches, at regular time intervals of five minutes.
Privacy and Security
Newsletter is diligent about security. You have an optional double opt-in functionality for secure user log-in. Additionally, it lets you lock website content, blocking it from unsubscribed users and making it available only after your users have logged-in. This works for individual posts as well as complete categories.
Compatibility and Customization
A responsive plugin, Newsletter is highly flexible in terms of customization. Incorporating a drag-and-drop newsletter builder, it lets you create a unique flyer every time. Or alternatively, you can set up the plugin to intuitively select the latest posts by default and automatically create and send the newsletter.
Practically everything is customizable; the contact forms, the themes, the message templates and the subscription forms.
Newsletter is compatible with WP Mail SMTP, WP Mail Bank, Easy SMTP Mail, Easy WP SMTP and Postman. It also integrates well with WordPress User Registration to add a subscription checkbox directly to the main page of your WordPress website.
Documentation is one of the aces of the Newsletter plugin. The plugin support site has extensive information regarding any of the queries you might have while setting up and using the plugin. And if not there, the support forums almost always come up with an answer.
Apart from the free plugin, Newsletter has a host of premium extensions that add extra functionality to your site. These include extensions for generating follow-up emails and autoresponders, Facebook, external SMTP providers like Mandrill, SendGrid and MailJet, WooCommerce and Amazon SES integrations, Reports, Feed by Mail and Contact Form 7 add-ons.
Here’s digging deeper into the functionality of some of these:
Integrating with one of the largest e-commerce platforms, – WooCommerce – Newsletter helps you turn customers to subscribers easily and quickly. You can enable automatic addition of customers to your subscriber list when then log-in to your store on WooCommerce. Additionally, the Newsletter-WooCommerce integration lets you assign customers to user groups according to their purchases so that newsletters can be sent according to customer preference. This can be of enormous help in marketing your store!
The Amazon SES extension for the Newsletter plugin lets you control your newsletter sending capabilities successfully. This extension includes the Amazon Simple Notification System which tracks your bounce reports and helps you manage them directly in the control panel.
Feed by Mail
Feed by Mail is a handy little extension that helps you generate automatic newsletters at periodic intervals. All you have to do is select the number of posts to be included in the newsletter and the time interval after which they’re to be sent; Feed by Mail for Newsletter instinctively selects the latest posts, decides the layout and mails it off to your subscribers!
Reports for Newsletter is an extremely useful extension for tracking the newsletter activity in your subscribers’ inbox and drawing statistical conclusions based on the same. This extension lets you check who has received, opened or clicked your newsletter and even the IP address from where it has been accessed. You can classify user preferences according to gender, location and geography so that targeted marketing campaigns can be organized.
Often, sending too many emails from your site on shared hosting may seem like an abuse of the web host, which could be problematic. As opposed to this, email marketing services like MailChimp, do not impose any such restrictions and let you send mails indiscriminately.
Also, e-mail service providers automatically update your marketing systems as per the new compliance acts and laws being enforced, so that your newsletters don’t land in spam. Using your own newsletter plugin makes it imperative for you to check and update yourself about these so that uninterrupted newsletter flow to your subscribers can continue.
These are minor drawbacks though, and can be easily overcome if you spend some dedicated time developing and improving your site regularly.
Newsletter is one of the best free alternatives to the other expensive e-mail marketing services available for WordPress. It triumphs in terms of ease-of-use and user list management and is great for websites and businesses with limited requirements.
Besides, Newsletter has enough and more premium extensions which can be used for any extra functionality.
On the whole, Newsletter is a great newsletter creation and marketing plugin. What do you say?