The Ultimate WordPress Email Marketing Guide

Email marketing makes it easy to stay in touch with your customers and prospects. It’s an essential element of your digital marketing strategy right alongside your website and social media.

In the ultimate WordPress email marketing guide, we’ll explain how to set up forms and backend information to power email collection through your website and trigger automated emails to your followers. We’ll also offer some insights on what to include in your email newsletter to help you get started.

What is a Newsletter? 

An email newsletter aims to inform and update your audience. It provides the latest news about your company but also helpful tips, insights or product updates.

You can choose to distribute your newsletter at a set interval that works for your company or whenever you have new and relevant news to share. Some companies choose to send weekly newsletters to stay top-of-mind while other, smaller organizations opt to send them monthly or even quarterly. 

Before starting an email newsletter, you should consider what your goals are for adding in this digital marketing element. That will guide you in developing valuable content for your audience.

Why are Newsletters Important for Digital Marketing?

Email provides a personalized way to connect to your audience. When someone visits your website, you can’t guarantee they’ll find their way back there without a little nudge.

And unlike social media, no changes in algorithms can impact whether you reach your audience. With email, you can own your processes and distribution model to reach customers when and where it makes sense for them.

Email is also extremely effective at driving traffic back to your website to learn about new products, features or company updates.

The Benefits Using WordPress Email Marketing

One of the first steps in setting up a WordPress newsletter is to decide how you’ll power that newsletter. Tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact make it simple for beginners to get started with email marketing. 

While these options will seem attractive and interesting — especially for beginners — building out a solution directly through WordPress will help you avoid having to set up and manage another 3rd-party software. 

Here are the benefits of using WordPress plugins for email marketing:

  • All-in-one solution: By setting up email marketing through WordPress, you can go to 1 central location to manage your online presence and engage your audience.
  • Fast setup: Many plugins can help you get started with designing your email  by pulling in elements from your website, such as colors, fonts and your logo.
  • Speed: With direct integration into your website, your emails will deliver quickly and directly to customers after they sign up. You won’t have to worry about connections breaking and missing out on opportunities to connect with your audience.
  • Ease of conversion tracking: Because you aren’t sending your customers to a 3rd-party page or location to sign up for your newsletter, you can integrate your sign-ups into your website metrics. This will give you more insights into your most valuable pages where website visitors sign up for your emails and track visitors from start to finish on your website.

How to Use WordPress for Email Marketing

WordPress plugins make it simple to set up forms and manage send rules for your email marketing list. We’ll explain in a step-by-step format how to set up an email newsletter in WordPress.

Step 1: Choose a WordPress Email Marketing Service/Plugin 

The first step in setting up your WordPress email marketing is one of the most important steps. Choosing the email marketing service and plugin that will power your email collection and automation will be a large factor in your enjoyment of using WordPress for email marketing.

You have many options when it comes to email marketing services and plugins. Some integrate more with WordPress than others, meaning some applications will require that you log in to the third-party website directly to get access to your tools and templates. Others allow you to manage more from your WordPress dashboard. 

WordPress Email Marketing Plugins Suggestions

  • Newsletter: Build and send your emails directly through WordPress using Newsletter. The drag-and-drop email composer makes creation simple, and you’ll have advanced tracking options to learn more about your customers and their needs. You can get started for free with the plugin, but as your needs grow, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid account to continue to get access to the tools you need.
  • HubSpot: Small businesses can get access to free tools within HubSpot for up to 2,000 emails per month. The integration between HubSpot and WordPress is very good and will be easy for new users to start with. Plus, the company offers free tools for a variety of other business functions, such as sales tools and customer-service management.
  • MailChimp: An extremely simple and easy-to-use service, MailChimp offers good integration with WordPress to enable you to collect email addresses and other contact information from your website. The company offers pre-built templates to help you get started with email marketing fast, and it offers its tools for free until you reach 2,000 subscribers or want to take part in advanced features, such as email scheduling.
  • SendInBlue: This email marketing tool offers excellent automation options, simple management and advanced features that will grow with your company. The drag-and-drop interface makes for an enjoyable email-building process. The integration with WordPress through a plugin is very effective and easy to use. Send up to 300 emails per day for free with the platform as you work to get started building your email list and newsletter strategy.
  • Sumo: This plugin connects to a variety of email marketing services, including MailChimp, HubSpot and Constant Contact. The great benefit of using this plugin is that it generates pop-up messages based on a user’s behavior on your website. This helps you avoid having users bounce from your site without entering contact information so you can stay in touch.
  • OnePress Opt-in Panda: Another plugin like Sumo that connects to a variety of email services, this plugin helps you use analytics and insights to learn how a customer interacts with your business. Improve your content to reach your target audience based on your online interactions with your customers.
  • OptinMonster: This is another plugin that allows you to connect WordPress to a variety of 3rd-party email marketing services. It provides pop-up boxes and notifications that look great on mobile devices and encourages users to provide their contact information to stay in touch with you regularly.

Step 2: Gather Inspiration

Before you start designing and sending emails, you should find some inspiration for your content. One way to do this is to sign up for your competitors’ emails. This will show you what others are doing in your industry. That doesn’t mean you should copy their tactics, but you’ll find great inspiration there.

Additionally, sign up for some emails that are known for being the best in the business. HubSpot emails will provide great inspiration as they are masters at connecting with their customers and offering valuable content regularly. 

While you’ll likely get some sales content from HubSpot, the majority of its content is focused on education and engagement with its target audience. That’s what you should focus on in your emails, too, as it’s how you showcase your expertise and the value you offer your customers.

Pay close attention to your personal email inbox. Look at the emails you get from your favorite brands and newsletters. Think about what design elements you like and why. Consider how you can create sidebar information and callout boxes to engage your audience with your emails.

Step 3: Design Your Template

Now that you’ve reviewed emails from the best brands out there as well as some of your favorite brands, you’re ready to start designing your email template.

The most important thing to consider when building your template is that it matches your business branding in other locations. Look to keep these design elements consistent so your audience can easily identify that the email is coming from you:

When designing your email template, bring in plenty of white space. You shouldn’t feel like you need to add color and content to every part of the email. 

Step 4: Set Your Email Newsletter Size

Some email marketing services default to a specific email newsletter size. But generally, a good rule of thumb is between 600 and 700 pixels wide. This will make for a good viewing experience in a variety of email services, including Outlook and Gmail. 

If you make it too wide, you’ll find that some of your content gets cut off on the sides. Too narrow, and you’ll require more scrolling than is necessary.

While considering your email newsletter size, also consider the content areas to include. Most newsletters open with a main article or general update. But then they might have a section on product updates, news articles where your company was featured, praise for your staff, etc. 

As you work through the aspects of your newsletter, keep your target audience in mind. Consider what they’ll find important and how best to highlight that information to build a relationship with them. Tell customer stories, and highlight new company reviews to connect with your audience.

Step 5: Add Your Body Content

Fill out the content in your email newsletter with valuable information for your customers and prospects. Highlight interesting stories, and provide valuable information.

If you have a company blog, your email newsletter is a great place to highlight recent articles and other valuable company content. 

Your body content should change from email to email, though you might have recurring content, such as contact information or invitations to schedule a demo or consultation as your call to action. 

Step 6: Add Personalization Tokens and Smart Content

Personalization can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your emails. When personalizing just the email subject line, companies see a 26% higher open rate, on average. 

Personalization also impacts conversion rates in emails. On average, marketers experience a 20% increase in sales when engaging in personalization

Get started with simple personalization, such as a person’s first name. As you become more experienced in this area, you can create smart content that matches your customer’s interests.

For example, a retail company might showcase women’s clothing in its emails to customers who have purchased this type of apparel before or children’s clothing when that’s the primary product the customer has engaged with on their website.

The more tailored your emails are based on your customers’ interests, the more likely they are to have an impact on your marketing.

Step 7: Choose Your Subject Line and Sender Name

You want it to be very clear to your audience who the email is from. Your sender name should be very clear and include your brand name or your name if that’s what you’re known for.

Sending from a salesperson or customer service representative can also be impactful as these are people that your customer has a relationship with. But don’t get too cute in the sender name as you want this to provide a clear explanation of why the customer is getting an email from you.

You’ll also need to draft a subject line for your email. This is an extremely important element of your email as it will dictate whether your customers open the email or not. Some elements that impact open rates include:

  • Subject line length: Shorter is generally better
  • Asking questions that speak to the customer’s interest
  • Using numbers
  • Addressing customer interests
  • Showcasing new features or products
  • Highlighting something new

Be careful with trying to shock and wow too much in your subject lines. Some words and phrases send emails right to a user’s junk inbox, which means they’re unlikely to see your message.

Step 8: Send Out Your Email

Now you’re ready to send out your email to your list. You can send the email right then and there, schedule it for a future time and date or create an automation that triggers when a user takes a specific action, such as signing up for your email list.

When you’re just getting started, you’re likely creating emails for immediate distribution. But as you advance your email strategy, consider triggering emails based on a user’s actions, such as cart abandonment. Targeting actions instead of general email content will help you get more value out of your content. 

Newsletter Ideas

One of the most challenging aspects of getting started with an email newsletter is knowing what content to send out. There are a variety of content types you can use to engage with your audience. Here’s a look at some newsletter ideas to help you get started:

  • Blog content: If you publish blog articles, you should distribute those to your email list. Your newsletters can be completely focused on blog content, or this could be one element of your newsletter. Generally, when you send out blogs in your newsletter, it’s just a preview or short paragraph introducing the blog article that links out to the full text on your website.
  • Industry updates: Highlighting what’s happening in your industry might be helpful for your customers. HubSpot’s email strategy includes a lot of this. It’s less about the company itself and more about driving factors in the marketing industry that could lead you to purchase the company’s services. Helping your audience stay up to date on industry information can be great for building relationships.
  • Customer testimonials and use cases: Customers enjoy seeing themselves in newsletters. Prospects that read these stories might be able to see similar use cases and scenarios that push them toward becoming customers as well. Highlighting customers is a great way to engage newsletter recipients.
  • Promotions: Ideally, all your emails should not be promotions. If they are, you’re likely to see higher unsubscribe rates. But exclusive email offers and deals can also be a great way to entice people to sign up for your email newsletter and keep receiving it to ensure they never miss a deal.

Get More Value from Your Website with Email Marketing

On average, it takes 8 touches after an initial introduction to your business to earn a sale. You can’t expect that people will find your website and immediately make a purchase with you. 

Instead, you need to find a way to start a relationship with those customers, and email marketing is a great way of doing that. Explore the step-by-step instructions in this ultimate WordPress email marketing guide and get started earning more value through your website with email marketing.

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