If you’re a WordPress user who is still paying money for AWeber or some other email service you’re in luck. Now you can integrate a far superior, free, email marketing service called MailChimp with your WordPress installation.
I’d also like to share with you a few WordPress autoresponder plugins which I’ve tried that might suit your needs if you’re not interested in MailChimp.
Frankly, I used AWeber for years, and I’ve also used Mailchimp, GetResponse and Constant Contact. While all of these are great in their own way, there are a few reasons I believe Mailchimp is a better service:
- Built in spam checker gives specific feedback as to what parts of your email are “spammy”
- Ability to send follow up emails to readers who didn’t open your original email
- Ability to import contacts directly from WordPress (Amazing!)
- The Mail chimp interface is much easier to use, especially if you’re designing html emails
- MailChimp is free for the first 500 contacts
If you’ve used AWeber, you already know what the biggest problem is with importing contacts; they make you send the activation email all over again. So if your customer never gets that email or if they never respond, they’re no longer an active member of your list.
You can’t mail to them, they just become a dead lead. Well your friends at WPMU DEV have solved that problem by creating the MailChimp integration plugin for WordPress. It works with multisite and with BuddyPress, and it takes literally 30 seconds to integrate.
Check it out…
Once you’ve input your MailChimp API code, you can import your WordPress contacts automatically into MailChimp AND set up the option for them to be automatically added when they become a member of your blog. Then, you simply manage your email marketing from inside the MailChimp dashboard.
Now, let’s check out a few of the other WordPress autoresponder options…
3 WordPress Autoresponder Plugins
If you don’t want to manage your email marketing from a separate dashboard and you’re looking for an autoresponder plugin that works directly from within WordPress, I think I can save you some searching and testing. Here’s a short list of some of the better WordPress autoresponder plugins I’ve tried, as well as a few of their key features:
WordPress Autoresponder #1:
- Build and schedule autoresponder series
- Build html emails using WordPress’s WYSIWYG editor
- Import or export leads using CSV files
- Send email broadcasts to your WordPress hosted mailing list
This is a good free WordPress autoresponder plugin, my main issue is that it has a few bucks and since it’s free the support isn’t exactly dynamite. It also has no statistic tracking which isn’t something you should do email marketing without.
WordPress Autoresponder #2:
- Integrates with AWeber or GetResponse
- All features of AWeber or GetResponse available in your WordPress dashboard.
This might sound a bit hard to believe, so here’s a screenshot of the plugin in action:
They’ve not yet added MailChimp, but they do have a voting system where you can request it and if they get enough votes they’ve promised to add it. Of course, this means you still have to have an account with AWeber or GetResponse to make this plugin work. But I’ll tell you in a second why that might not be such a bad idea….
WordPress Autoresponder #3:
- Ability for users to update or unsubscribe their listing
- Subscriber details stored in YOUR WordPress database
- Ability to customize your SMTP server; good for protecting your IP address
- Sign up form creation and customization
- Ability to convert your RSS feed to an email newsletter
- Layers of double opt in and unsubscribe features to ensure that you’re compliant with anti-spam laws
This is a feature rich plugin and with the exception of tracking, it has pretty much the same features as a service like AWeber or GetResponse. So it’s a good deal if you want everything under your WordPress roof. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind before opting for one of these ^ three options…
Why I Still Suggest Using the WPMU DEV Plugin to Integrate MailChimp
If you’re going to manage your email marketing from withing WordPress, the first thing you’ll need is a dedicated hosting solution. Shared hosting almost guarantees that your emails will end up in your users’ spam folders.
However, once you get a dedicated IP, you have to protect it from being “spam listed.” If you get too many spam complaints from users with gmail, yahoo or Hotmail accounts, your IP address could end up worthless for sending emails.
But with MailChimp, you have all the tools you need to spam check your email body and your headlines and to make sure that you’re not throwing up any red flags. I’ve yet to find a service which rivals MailChimp on these kinds of features.
Another thing to remember is tracking and statistics. The MailChimp tracking features are the best I’ve seen so far, and tracking results is crucial to success in email marketing.
Bottom line, sometimes it makes sense to bring everything under one roof, but other times you’re better off using a service that’s already getting great results. Most important, the WPMU DEV plugin comes with a lifetime of updates and support, which is something you’re going to need long term.
If you opt for one of the free plugins, you might find yourself in need of help that just isn’t there, and your email marketing could suffer.
Anyway, I’ll let you decide that for yourself. I hope this blog has been helpful. Here are some links to the solutions we’ve discussed so you can do your own homework from this point:
- WPMU DEV MailChimp integration plugin.
- Autoresponder gwa
- Codebanter WordPress autoresponder plugin
- G Lock Double Opt in for WordPress