MailPoet Tutorial: Newsletters from Your WordPress Dashboard

By Peter Nyiri | Email marketing

Sep 09
MailPoet home page

MailPoet 3 is an email autoresponder plugin that is free up to 1,000 subscribers. If you get above that limit, you will need to purchase a license.

Premium costs $149 per year for one site if you send your emails with another service and Premium sending plans start at $10.

This freemium service is totally sufficient if you are a new blogger and you want to get started with your email marketing. By the time you have 1,000 subscribers, you should start making money, you can upgrade.

By the way, email support is provided even with your free plan, to the point where my plugin wasn’t sending emails and a customer support staff from MailPoet fixed the issue by logging into my account and removing the clog from my sending queue. I didn’t really expect such a level of service.

The numbers also tell the story: 200,000 websites are using the old MailPoet 2 plugin (formerly called Wysija) and 100,000 installations for the current version.

The plugin has the following features –

  • Edit your newsletters using the drag and drop newsletter editor right on your WP dashboard.
  • Your latest posts can be sent automatically.
  • The plugin comes with single and double opt in (mandatory if using the sending service).
  • Subscribers from earlier platforms can be imported easily.
  • You can track the opens, clicks and unsubscribes for your newsletter.
  • The lists can also be segmented according to clicked, opened and unopened (Premium version only).
  • The newsletters can be sent through MailPoet itself (for a monthly subscription), from your web host, Gmail or any SMTP like Amazon SES, Sendgrid.

The MailPoet Newsletters plugin for WordPress has most certainly simplifies the entire process of sending newsletters to users.

You can log into the user dashboard of this MailPoet 3 demo site and check out all the features yourself.

You can also sign up for the test email list of this other MailPoet demo site to see how their emails look like:

mailpoet test email

If you prefer text emails like me, with just a small image, you will also find templates you like.

MailPoet 2

To tell you the truth, for me there isn’t a whole lot of difference between MailPoet 3 and 2, other than the ability to send through MailPoet itself, free templates and some DKIM signature in your emails to make them avoid spam filters.

If you are new to the plugin, you should go with the new version.

MailBard created a mirror plugin, which looks the same, without the 2,000 subscriber limit. It is supposedly fully compatible with any MailPoet 2 add-ons that you can find on WordPress.org. I tried Mailbard, but it wasn’t working for me. The test email froze the plugin.

Setting Up A Free WordPress Autoresponder with 100% Email Deliverability

1. Install the MailPoet plugin

First we need to install the MailPoet newsletter plugin.

Login to your WP admin and go to Plugins >> Add New then enter “MailPoet 3” into the search bar.

Once it’s activated you should see it appear on your admin sidebar.

Next we need to customize some of the most important settings for MailPoet.

2. Configure the plugin

Some of the key things you might need to look at are:

  • Go to MailPoet >> Settings >> Basics to set up your sender and reply-to email addresses, new subscriber email notifications and more. There is an option to allow users who register to your site to subscribe on a list of your choice. This is really useful for membership sites.
  • Go to MailPoet >> Subscribers and create a list for your newsletter sign-ups. You can also import any previous subscribers here as well.
  • Go to MailPoet >> Settings >> Signup Confirmation and set up the message you send out to new subscribers. You can also designate a Thank You page if you are promising an ethical and highly valuable bribe for your new subscribers to download.
  • Go to MailPoet >> Settings >> Send With… to configure your sending frequency. This tab also has an option to add a third party SMTP provider, such as Amazon SES or SMTP of your web host (not recommended).  I recommend the MailPoet 3 free plan where they send your emails for free through their own server, up to 1,000 subscribers. Test your connection before you continue.
  • Go to MailPoet >> Settings >> Forms and setup a form to go on your pages. If you want different wording and fields you will need to create separate ones for each.

As an alternative (if you want nicer looking opt-in forms), you can easily connect the plugin with Thrive Leads by going to Thrive Dashboard >> API Connections.  Just pick MailPoet from the drop-down menu and click “Connect“. Check out the API connection video here.

Here is a video that shows how you can easily set up opt-in forms with it:

Thrive also has the ability to easily create landing pages, place your opt-in forms after each blog posts, pop-ups, ribbons, etc. This is the tool I used for all such forms on my blog.

Recommended: Free Tier Email Automation Tools for Bloggers

Sending With SMTP

The email sending service is a key part of the success of this setup, otherwise your messages will end up in spam.

To hook up MailPoet with your SMTP account you’ll need to create a pair of ‘SMTP Credentials’ for your MailPoet plugin. Start by visiting your SMTP provider API settings tab, then copy the Server Name into the plugin’s SMTP Hostname field and the port. Set encryption to TLS.

3. Test your setup

If you connected SMTP directly, go to MailPoet >> Settings >> Send With…, enter an email address and click the Send a test mail button.

Create a test page that’s not public, add a form and sign up with one of your email addresses to test the sign-up process.

4. Create your emails

Go to MailPoet >> Newsletters and create a series of emails that you will send your subscribers will receive.

On the first screen you can pick if you want a standard newsletter, a drip campaign or a welcome email sequence.

Enter your subject line and when you want to send the email. There are three options:

  • When someone subscribes to the list of your choice
  • When there’s new content
  • When a new WP user is added to your site.

Then click “Next Step” – this is where you can create your emails.

You can pick an existing template or upload templates through the “Themes” tab.

You can just create a standard email campaign and call it “Standard Template” or something and then just duplicate each time you create an email.

Keep in mind that short, text only emails tend to convert better and are a lot more mobile friendly.

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