In the age where Tweets can be whizzed past and Facebook notifications turned off, email is toughing it out as the most direct form of internet communication - in addition to being able to convey more information than a 140 character blast ever could.
For many websites the answer to their online marketing needs has been use of a dedicated email marketing company or an email software provider, and for large websites with thousands of hits paying out for top-quality service is the best solution. However for smaller websites and blogs using the WordPress blogging platform, it could not be easier to emulate big company email strategies for little-to-no cost simply by using WordPress plugins. Here are 5 of the top WordPress plugins that can help to create a simple email marketing campaign made up of newsletters, round-ups and new post notifications that can significantly boost your traffic.
Pros: Mailpress is an extremely well developed newsletter plugin that has expanded massively since its inception. Bursting with features, once configured it can certainly be considered one of the best email marketing plugins out there. Best of all, despite containing more features than almost all the paid plug-ins on the market, it’s free!
Cons: The tradeoff of Mailpress being stacked with features is that it can be a little tricky to set up. Although great once everything is in order, the amount of time needed to get the plugin running may lead some to give up before they even start using it.
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Pros: Wysija simple drag-and-drop interface has made it a favourite with newcomers to newsletters and email marketing, yet it is versatile enough to adapt to even the most experienced email newsletter sender. One of the top-rated Newsletter plugins on the WordPress Plugin directory, Wysija themes look great not just on a computer but on mobile devices as well. It is also one of the best supported newsletter plugins; a great bonus if you ever run into any problems with the tool.
Cons: Although Wysija boasts about having 20 themes available, people making frequent use of the plugin might actually find that amount of themes limiting. Although customisation is possible, more themes and more ability to adjust said themes wouldn’t have gone amiss.
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Pros: WP Autoresponder true stand-out facility is its customizable autoresponder that allows for the creation of followup emails to, for example, thank a person for subscribing. The intuitive interface is extremely easy to work with, collecting information about your subscribers that allows you to directly tailor your email marketing plan.
Cons: WP Autoresponder does have the capabilities to do more than just auto-respond, but it is rather obvious that the autoresponder is the centerpiece of the plugin. Therefore while the auto-respond function is excellent some of the other features leave something to be desired.
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Pros: ALO is a great piece of kit if you are using multiple mailing lists, allowing users to subcribe to them individually allow you to cater better for your audience. Combined with its multilingual capabilities, ALO allows for sending out different newsletters in different languages - great if your website or blog has bi/multilingual needs.
Cons: Making use of the standard WordPress GUI, it is extremely easy to write and send newsletters and other messages out to your visitors. However ease has the trade-off of complexity. You may find that ALO is a lot less customisable than some of its competitors.
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Pros: If you’re worried about annoying your visitors with unsolicited emails, then Subscribe2 is definitely for you. As implied by the name, Subscribe is an excellent subscription manager that allows you to send notifications of new posts as well as more complicated emails to your subscribers.
Cons: Subcribe2 doesn’t have all the functionality of other email marketing plugins, and works best as a new post notifier rather than a fully-fledged newsletter plugin.
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In conclusion, what plugin is best for you depends largely on your needs. If you’re looking for the ability to create masterful newsletters, then a more advanced piece of kit like Mailpress might be the best option. However if your needs are simpler, then something like Subcribe2 might be a better option. Before you lay out money, assess what exactly you want to get from an email marketing plugin. Just making a mental list of your desired features will help you decide which of these great plugins would be of the most use to you.