Creating an email newsletter is of utmost importance for businesses nowadays; the ability to seamlessly reach your subscribers in one email is a great asset to any company, particularly as they may number in the thousands or millions.
Email addresses are a powerful form of contact information to have – we live in a world where catching someone’s attention is harder than ever, and you can’t rely on social media to reach out to your followers. Building an email list is much more useful and allows you to send direct messages to your customers, straight to their inbox!
Newsletters are a great way to sell your products, update on new releases, and send any news you want to share. All they usually require is a pop-up subscription box on your website which asks for visitors email addresses – once you have collected their email address (and permission) you are on your way to building an email list.
Traditionally, websites place a subscription box in their websites sidebar, footer, or within an article or passive ways of collecting emails – they don’t prevent the site visitors from continuing what they are doing, like reading an article or browsing your site. This all changed with newsletter popups – these are active ways of collecting emails, causing visitors to the site to stop what they are doing and either subscribe or close the popup.
Be aware – it can irritate your audience to be asked for their email upfront. You should aim to provide something of real value first, like good content, and then later ask them for their email address! Once your visitor has benefited from your content they are, after all, more likely to subscribe for more. The visitors have now shown willingness to continue listening to you by signing up for your newsletter – just keep a record of who they are with a good newsletter service and you’re good to go!
WordPress have many newsletter plugins that you can use to view your total user base and email users – you can even send a newsletter right from your WordPress dashboard! This makes the entire process a whole lot easier, as you don’t have to use a different program to manage an email list, craft and send newsletters. WordPress newsletter plugins will make your life a lot easier by providing you with all the tools you need to get going.
So what features should you look for in a WordPress newsletter plugin?
Well, you need to first decide on what is important to you – maybe you are looking for an entry level email marketing service, so something free or cheap to try out. If you are already an established business, investing in premium newsletter plugins can bring you a good return on the investment by engaging your audience more.
Ask yourself the following questions: How often do I send emails? What will I be promoting in my emails? Do I have a content marketing strategy/ plan?
Consider what features you really need, how much customization you want versus ready-made templates from the plugin, and of course your budget.
At a bare minimum, a good email newsletter plugin allows you to create subscription boxes and forms, manage subscriber’s data, craft and send emails, and view who has opened your emails.
The following plugins all have their positive and negatives – some are free and compromise on certain features, whilst others contain a range of analytical features and themes to choose from (at a premium price).
At the end of the day, it depends on your business or website and your needs! Here are the top 14 newsletter plugins for WordPress.
The Thrive Leads Optin WordPress Plugin is probably the best and most powerful of all plugins and is my recommendation and is what I have on this site.
Thrive Leads is a plugin specifically for getting email subscriptions – not for creating the newsletter itself.
They have many helpful features built in – ten different types of opt-in forms, which include content locker, sticky ribbon, full-screen filler, scroll mat and multiple choice forms. Drag and drop editor, trigger options including time, exit-intent, scroll depth and click. You can also target specific people in your website based on the post, page, tag, category and URLS. There is of course A/B testing and analytics to allow you to easily analyze and improve your newsletter subscription form!
As the name suggests, Newsletter is a newsletter plugin for WordPress – it’s a great option for everyone, given the range of options available in both the free and paid for versions, allowing you to easily create and send newsletters from your WordPress installation. Newsletter is a full-scale email distribution service – all you need to do is install the plugin on your site!
Newsletter features a subscription widget and form, so you can easily add these to your site and begin building your subscriber list. The sign-up form also includes a single or double opt-in setting, and a privacy checkbox to keep your WordPress site GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant. Just add a new field, text or HTML code to the subscription form and place it on your WordPress site.
In terms of newsletter creation, Newsletter is full of options – use a drag and drop editor to customize the layout of your email newsletter, easily add content blocks, hero images, headings, footers and calls to action.
Newsletter also includes delivery speed control, so you can for example send your newsletter in batches of 10 (or any other number) instead of emailing everyone at one. You may have unlimited subscribers and send unlimited newsletters – there’s no restrictions! With the free version, you can view statistics (so you know who is opening your emails), segment your subscribers, integrate WordPress User Registration forms and access custom themes.
Newsletter is SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) ready so your emails make it to visitor’s inboxes. You can use this to ensure better deliverability by using SMTP services like Mailgun.
You can also use most WordPress translation plugins with Newsletter, like WPML, Polylang, and TranslatePress.
With the premium version, you can have data reports, auto responses, Google Analytics, geolocation, and add on support for WooCommerce. Access to premium features starts at $65.
Mailster starts at $59 and is a powerful, cost-effective newsletter plugin for those looking for more premium features. It aims to be a full-service email newsletter solution, helping you to grow your email list and then email that list of subscribers.
Mailster uses newsletter software on top of WordPress and third-party services like Mailgun, SendGrid, Mangrill and Amazon SES to send emails to subscribers.
Like Newsletter, you can create your emails using a drag and drop editor. You can also include content from your site, such as blog posts or WooCommerce products.
What’s great about Mailster is that the emails you send from it are really professional-looking – the build-in email builder is top of the range, allowing you to craft a whole email campaign with a simple drag and drop menu. There are over 120 amazing templates available for you to find the perfect fit for your next newsletter.
It also features 6 different types of auto responders, real-time tracking of mail open rates and click-throughs. This means you can create custom action based emails – you can select a specific date, action or other option to choose when a certain email is sent to your subscriber. You can see the statistics of individual subscribers and see what actions triggered them to open or click through your emails – so you can see what strategy works best in an email campaign.
There are no fees or limitations in terms of subscribers, so you can create unlimited amounts of lists and subscribers without paying extra! In comparison to other newsletter services which charge tiered fees depending on subscriber numbers, this is an obvious plus for Mailster.
MailPoet is another great option for email marketing – it’s also free up to 2,000 subscribers! It’s super easy to set up – you just install and activate it like any other plugin and you can start sending newsletters.
You can effortlessly create newsletters, announce new live articles, set up automatic emailing and enable newsletter notifications. Everything on MailPoet is carried out from their platform, which makes it much easier to work with your subscriber database, whilst being seamlessly integrated with WordPress.
With MailPoet, you can choose an automatic signup welcome email or automated ‘new post’ notification, choose from a variety of templates, social buttons, customizable themes and also a scheduled posting option for new articles.
With MailPoet premium, you can access WooCommerce integration, and send customers product upsells, new product notices, abandoned cart emails and customer rewards! With Premium, you can also view stats on audience engagement (clicks and opens), advanced analytics, send emails through SMTP methods and have access to quicker support agents should you have any problems.
MailPoet even has its own translation system – Transifex can translate in 20 languages, and are working on more!
The MailChimp plugin allows you to connect your MailChimp service to WordPress – this means you can’t use it for any other CMS (custom mail service), but it’s an excellent choice if you do use MailChimp (as many people are). It’s a great plugin to help you grow your Mailchimp list on WordPress.
With the plugin, you can connect your Mailchimp lists, create your own email opt-in forms, or use other plugins from WordPress to do so and add list-building functionality from them. You can add email subscribe checkboxes in multiple locations, like in your comment or registration forms, to people can easily choose to sign up to your email list. You can also add a subscribe option to the WooCommerce checkout process.
Newsletter wise, you can segment emails and view statistics on campaigns, set up auto responders, and maintain a database of up to 2,000 subscribers for free. In terms of designing your newsletter, everything is done through MailChimp, which includes a simple drag and drop editor and a range of templates.
Premium version includes more functionality, detailed reports, and the ability to tag subscribers based on what they purchase.
Icegram is a simple, free plugin, Email Subscribers & Newsletters does what it says on the tin – the plugin allows you to send emails, create newsletters and collect leads from a single hub.
Although the subscription form in this plugin isn’t as customizable as other options, it’s a good option for those not looking for too many advanced features. You can, for example, send notification emails to new subscribers, collect emails with a subscription box, and have double and single opt-in options. You can also of course keep subscribers regularly updated via newsletters.
SendPress is another simple and easy way to send newsletters from WordPress. You can use a simple code-free editor, track and schedule your emails, access many customizable themes and signup forms/widgets, and have single and double opt-in settings.
What’s unique about SendPress is that you can create newsletter lists according to WordPress roles – that means newsletters can be customized depending on who your subscribers are, as well as weekly notices to your blog writers. You can use SendPress to stay in touch with your team, as well as your weekly readers!
SendPress is also compatible with SMTP, and you can upgrade to get access to API sending via addition SMTP options such as automated bounce management. Upgrading also gets you access to reporting, customizable HTML newsletter templates, spam score and priority support.
Another good free option, MailOptin is simple to use and allows you to integrate your own newsletter services, like MailChimp or AWeber.
MailOptin allow you to create various newsletter signup forms – popups, slide-ins, notification bars and sidebar forms. MailOptin uses WordPress Customizer as its form builder, and you have the option of many different templates you can customize to your heart’s content. This is good news if you are already experienced with WordPress, as you don’t have to relearn all of the settings from a new plugin! It’s not a drag-and-drop editor like Newsletter or MailPoet, but it’s still an easy enough editor to use.
All the usual features are there- auto responders, email notifications for new leads, and you can also send automated newsletters to your list subscribers each time you publish a new post in WordPress.
MailOptin analytics are all stored in the WordPress dashboard, offering quick visuals of your progress, conversions and subscribers!
Moving on from MailOptin Lite, the premium version involves greater analytics, A/B slit testing for your forms, event-triggered newsletter sending, additional opt-in forms, and Ad Block detection features.
JackMail is a great ‘freemium’ service – you can send a lot of emails for free, and then plans start at as little as $5 a month!
JackMail is good because it has a built-in SMTP server integrated in the plugin – that means your newsletters have a better deliverability rate, and also less chance of ending up in your subscribers spam boxes!
There’s opt-in forms or the ability to connect with other email opt-in tools, a drag-and-drop email builder to easily craft and customize your emails, and a whopping 48 newsletter templates!
There is also the option to send automatic newsletters based on triggers, for example if you have published a new post or product, or a weekly newsletter drawing attention to all content you have published in a week.
This all in one newsletter option supports mailing lists, paid subscriptions, bounce handling and SMTP authentications.
Posts are easily created – as easy as making a WordPress post! You can actually send a post as your newsletter, which is pretty neat, or use any of the included templates. You can queue posts to send in batches and set up auto responders.
There are also all the usual features: Post/Page opt-in, Sidebar widgets, Email history, Email attachments, Bit.ly click tracking, WordPress dashboard widget and Premium extensions: WooCommerce, Google Analytics, Contact Form 7, s2Member, etc.
In terms of pre-built templates, OptIn Monster is a winner with 94 themes to choose from! You can create stylish and colorful opt-in forms, which can be embedded in side panels or in message text – no need for popup windows here.
The editor is somewhat limited in being a point and click editor, which can make customizing your forms cumbersome. It also doesn’t include features like creating landing pages, but there are good split testing and reporting capabilities.
It should be noted you cannot craft and send emails using OptIn Monster – it’s just for creating opt-in forms, as the name suggests!
Like OptIn Monster, PopUp Domination is a standalone tool that you can integrate into your WordPress site to help you grow your email newsletter list.
With a lot of unique features like geo-targeting, countdown timers and redirect themes (ie. Popups redirecting clickers to another site). You can also have popups based on the referring source, which is pretty cool – this means you can have different popups depending on whether your visitor has entered your site from Facebook or LinkedIn.
There are also all the usual features – split testing, customizable designs, page-specific popups.
What’s nice about PopUp Domination is also the pricing structure – you are charged per total popup views you have on all of your sites, rather than by website. This can work out very well if you have a handful of low-traffic sites. If you have one single high-traffic site, you’re better off with another plugin like OptIn Monster. With PopUp Domination, you can have 10,000 views for $9 a month.
Icegram is a good option for those looking for a more premium service – the free version is limited, and only allows you to create welcome bars, opt-ins and lead gen forms. It lacks a drag and drop builder, and in short, there are much better free options out there (like Newsletter or MailPoet).
The premium version, starting at $97 per year, allows 12 different calls to action types, trigger and targeting rules, built-in analytics and a split testing tool. If you’re willing to pay, you get great analytical features as well as all the expected newsletter tools.
Bloom wins for one thing – design. They have hundreds of templates to choose for and can seamlessly integrate with 19 different email marketing tools, making them a popular choice for professional email marketers.
You can also choose from a range of popup forms: popups, fly-ins, widget area, in-line with content, below content and content lockers. You can also have unique triggers for popups, like if a visitor leaves a comment.
Bloom starts from $89 a year, which also gives you access to all of Elegant Themes products.
These WordPress newsletter plugins are just a few of the many out there – but they all made the cut because they include good features for free or reasonable prices.
Starting off with a good email marketing service is incredibly useful to your overall marketing strategy – if you know yourself and your content marketing strategy, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right plugin for yourself!
Premium plugins can deliver a good return, if you’re sure you need them. Having access to better analytics on leads is always useful if you are further down the line of SEO and content marketing.
Consider your budget and your skills, the features you need, and then get ready to dive into the world of newsletter plugins for WordPress!