You’ve built an amazing WordPress website, created a social media marketing strategy, and are now eager to build a mailing list to connect with your customers via regular email newsletter campaigns. You love WordPress for managing your website’s content as well as countless other bells and whistles, so you assume it’s also the best tool to manage mailing lists, newsletter templates, and marketing campaigns. However, in this instance, your best approach is to stick with the folks who specialize in those functions, specifically a professional email marketing service such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber.
Why WordPress isn’t the best tool to send emails
We often take for granted how complicated email delivery is, but just think about how often you get some message in your primary inbox which is clearly junk. Likewise, how often is it that someone says “didn’t you get my email?” only to have to sort through hundreds of messages in your spam folder from unscrupulous senders to find that important and legitimate email. Even the email giants like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft can’t get spam filtering 100% right, so it’s a tricky business. That said, companies like Mailchimp survive on their ability to make sure those messages end up front and center in your customer’s primary inbox, and email hosts like Google work with them to ensure this as well. Their email experts put a ton of effort into assuring that the emails you send out through their services get to exactly where you intend them to: your customer’s inbox. Emails sent by WordPress ultimately are originating from the server where you are hosting the website, and even if you are using a dedicated ip versus the more common shared server, the infrastructure isn’t geared towards ensuring emails get through any spam filters. Email marketing services are 100% dedicated to doing just that, and they are successful in large part due to their consistent ability to do so.
Professional email marketing services have dedicated servers built from the ground up to send countless emails each and every day. They have pricing plans for how many emails and users you send to that start out free, and grow as your lists and number of campaigns grow with your business. Your shared WordPress host likely has limits in place on how many emails can be sent at once, and even if your WordPress newsletter plugin has methods to circumvent this, you still may run into problems as each and every website host is set up differently.
Templates and Usability
WordPress is great for a lot of things, but the content editing tools are made for displaying web pages, not necessarily emails that will arrive in a wide variety of interfaces from Gmail, to Outlook, to mobile email apps. Each of the professional email marketing services mentioned here have fantastic and easy to use email template building tools, allowing you to see just how your emails will look for your users, and will save you a ton of work when working on multiple campaigns. They also are built such that you can easily switch between managing lists, campaigns, email templates, and other email marketing functions in an efficient and intuitive manner. Anything integrated into WordPress is not going to be quite as optimized for these functions as it’s working within the framework of the WordPress content management environment.
Email Marketing Statistics and Tools
In addition to the core function of managing email campaigns, templates, and user lists, all email marketing services feature detailed usages statistics for each of your campaigns, including things such as deliverability, how many users actually opened the email, and even which links were clicked on. This kind of data is extremely valuable, and difficult to replicate with a simple WordPress newsletter plugin.
Customer Preferences and Compliance
Another important feature that companies like Mailchimp excel in is ensuring that users have a legally compliant method for ‘opting out’ of any email campaign. If this wasn’t something that they insisted on, mail hosting companies like Google would quickly label them as a spam provider. This compliance is just as important for you as the originating sender, so knowing that you have a managed service looking out for that shared responsibility is reassuring.
WordPress is known for its built in user system, and many great plugins build off of that framework to enable some wonderful features such as forums, subscriptions, and eCommerce account management. It’s only natural to think that using WordPress to manage a mailing list would be the best approach. However, although WordPress is well equipped out of the box to serve such a purpose, the emailing limitations mentioned above make it not the best tool to do so. Fortunately, you can still use your WordPress site to build your email list, and virtually all WordPress form plugins such as Gravity Forms and WooCommerce have extensions to easily funnel anyone filling out the form or checking out into your MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber mailing list.
MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Aweber
Each of the professional email marketing services mentioned here are an excellent choice for your email newsletter needs, and all have similar features and competitive pricing. There are pros and cons to each, but they all integrate nicely with WordPress forms, so do your research into which features are most important to you and soon you’ll be off and running with an easy to use email marketing service which pairs nicely with your WordPress website.