One of the first things you should do after publishing your first blog post is to setup an email mailing list. Having an email newsletter is the ideal way to turn one-time visitors into regular readers of your site and potential customers of your business. Recently we looked at some of the best free newsletter plugins for WordPress. These plugins allow you to get started with building a mailing list for your site, for free. However, while these plugins will be enough for some users, many people prefer to manage their email marketing and newsletter efforts externally from their WordPress site.
One of the benefits of doing so is that you can manage the lists of subscribers, for multiple sites and projects, from one location. Using a third-party service in most cases also gives you access to many more powerful features.
Today we are going to cover the most popular and feature rich email newsletter services, for bloggers and small to medium business owners, which can be easily integrated with WordPress. By using one of these services you can take your list building and email marketing abilities to the next level.
Mailing List Services for WordPress
While these services are all separate entities from WordPress, and allow you to manage multiple subscriber lists from a central external dashboard, they do all support easy integration with your WordPress site. Some have their own official WordPress apps and plugins to handle this, while for others, third-party plugins exist. Whichever offering you choose, rest assured that it will be very easy to configure it for use on your WordPress site.
AWeber is perhaps the most popular email marketing service out there. While the service isn’t free, you can get your first month for just $1 and then $19 thereafter, which covers up to 500 subscribers. If you are managing more than one site, the ability to work with an unlimited amount of subscriber campaigns means you can split your allotted maximum number of subscribers over many separate mailing lists for multiple sites.
Using AWeber with WordPress allows you to easily track your subscriber activity. These analytics cover metrics like:
- Who opened each message
- What email links where clicked any by whom
- How much revenue each message generated
- How many people unsubscribed after a particular message was sent
As well as getting detailed information covering how your subscribers interact with your newsletters, you also get access to lots of other great features, such as:
- 100s of editable signup form templates
- Easy to use form builder with up to 25 fields to make use of
- In content or lightbox popup signup forms
- Split testing of your signup forms
- Over 600 HTML email templates for your newsletters
- Auto segmenting of your list based on subscriber actions
- Deliver follow up auto responder sequenced messaging
AWeber has everything you need to start building a mailing list from your website. The auto responder and sequential mail outs are ideal for online course delivery, or drip feeding content to your subscribers on a time-release basis.
There are also a couple of plugins available for integrating AWeber with WordPress so you don’t miss out on any of the ease of use that comes with using a newsletter plugin for WordPress, despite getting access to many more powerful features. The AWeber plugins available include:
- AWeber Web Form Plugin: make it even easier to display your signup forms on your site
- AWeber Form: add forms to your site with ease
And of course, you can use AWeber with any of your favourite opt in form builder plugins for WordPress too.
Verdict: affordable with easy integration for WordPress, along with detailed user stats, a fully functioning auto responder and auto list segmentation, make AWeber easy to recommend.
MailChimp is another popular choice for managing a newsletter or mailing list of subscribers. The company offers a free service, until you reach 2,000 subscribers, which does sound tempting. However the free service is limited compared to the premium price plans and does not include some of the features you get with AWeber.
The main omission is the lack of an auto responder on the free plan. This means you can’t auto send out sequential follow up messages at timed intervals to your new subscribers. If you want to build a sales funnel or deliver an online course, the free version of MailChimp won’t cut it.
Despite the more attractive user interface, the service in general also lacks some of the more sophisticated tracking and analytics features of AWeber. MailChimp also doesn’t allow use with affiliate marketing campaigns so bear that in mind. When it comes to AWeber vs. MailChimp, only those looking for a free solution would be happy here.
Verdict: free limited version for up to 2,000 subscribers makes this a tempting offer, but lack of features makes it recommended for the cash-strapped only.
GetResponse is often considered a step up from AWeber. For those looking for more features and tools at their disposal, in order to manage a more efficient and powerful mailing list, then GetResponse seems to be the logical next step. If you decide to follow the traditional route of AWeber to GetResponse, the good news is that it is possible to import your subscribers directly into your new GetResponse account. This isn’t always possible with email marketing services so make sure you check before signing up if you are planning on taking your list of subscribers with you.
Some of the popular features that attract people to this service include:
- 500+ newsletter templates designs for a wide range of business types
- Responsive email design with mobile message preview
- A/B testing of message elements including subject line, send times and from field
- Updated auto responders: auto send on subscriber birthdays, custom follow-up cycles, 1-to-1 communications, plus more
- Landing Page Creator to build your own custom landing pages
- Free access to over 1,000 stock photo images for your mail outs, from iStock
- Schedule messages according to subscriber’s time zone
- Use the App Center to integrate with a number of third party services including WordPress and WooCommerce
The service has been recently updated to include responsive emails. This means that when you send out an email newsletter, it now has the ability to be viewed on a range of small-screen devices just as well as it would do a laptop or desktop screen.
Verdict: massive amount of features and ease of use have made this the choice of email marketers and list builders, not wholly satisfied with their experiences of AWeber.
While there are many more competing email newsletter management services out there, the above options represent three of the most popular choices with bloggers and small to medium businesses promoting their services and products online.
While AWeber is a very popular choice and comes highly recommended from many top bloggers and online marketers, GetResponse appears to be tempting many users over to its service, thanks in part to its more sophisticated and growing list of features.
AWeber is a safe choice that you will undoubtedly be happy with, but if you want to take things a step further, then signing up with GetResponse now, might save you some time and effort in the long run.