Email is important.
Whether it’s building a list or sending transactional emails, you need a good tool to handle everything.
The plugin integrates your WordPress site with SendinBlue so that you can easily create subscription forms and implement in-depth marketing automation (seriously - the marketing automation implementation is pretty awesome!). You’ll also have access to all SendinBlue’s tools for creating campaigns and managing contact lists.
Earlier this year, Oli reviewed SendinBlue’s WooCommerce plugin that allows you to manage all your WooCommerce emails. This plugin differs a bit in that it’s for general WordPress sites, not specific to WooCommerce. If you run a WooCommerce site, you'll probably want to check out Oli's review and SendinBlue's WooCommerce add-on.
Here are some of the main features of SendinBlue and the plugin:
- Easily create multiple email subscription forms in WordPress
- Style forms with CSS and preview them directly in the plugin
- Manage and organize your subscriber lists
- Create and send email campaigns
- Send transactional emails via SMTP or API
- Implement marketing automation tracking to trigger emails based on behavior like page visits, product purchases, email opens, and more.
Let’s dig into the plugin.
Installing SendinBlue for WordPress
Once you've activated the plugin, you'll be greeted with this screen:
You need to create a SendinBlue account to utilize the plugin:
Once you create your account, you'll get access to the API key which you need to activate the plugin:
After entering the API key, you'll see the full SendinBlue dashboard. You can get all this info at the SendinBlue website, but it's also all contained within your WordPress dashboard. I like that you don't necessarily have to leave your WordPress site to do most things.
Creating a subscription form
One of the major benefits of the plugin is how easy it makes creating subscription forms. If you've ever used Contact Forms 7 or something similar, you'll have absolutely no problem creating a SendinBlue form:
When creating a form, you have three main areas to deal with. First, you need to set up the data you want to collect and the styling of the form:
You can easily add new fields to collect SMS information or other details. Remember, you'll usually want to keep forms as short as possible to maximize your opt-in rate. The default is just Name + Email Address, but I added the SMS field to show you how it works.
Note that you can preview your form in real time.
For styling, you can choose to have SendinBlue take the styling from your active theme, or you can use custom CSS styling. If you're a beginner, pulling from your current theme is probably the best idea. But for people who want the flexibility, the custom CSS option is nice to have.
In the next steps, you can choose which list you want subscribers to be added to. You can choose multiple lists or just use one.
You also should set up the opt-in settings. You can choose whether or not to send a confirmation email for your list.
You can also add a double opt-in, which means users have to confirm they want to be on your list. This will probably lower your subscribe rate, but it ensures that everyone who you email actually wants to be on your list.
Finally, you can choose whether or not to redirect users to a specific URL after they subscribe. I imagine you would use this for a custom "thank you" page in most cases.
In the final box, you can customize the various confirmation messages associated with your form.
Once you're happy with all the details, you can click any one of the "Save" buttons and your form is complete. You can then add the form to your site via a simple shortcode.
You can always edit or duplicate your form at a later date if you want to, and you can add as many forms as you'd like.
Like I said, it's a pretty simple process that I don't imagine anyone will have difficulty with.
Creating a contact list
Lists are groups of emails that you can use to send campaigns to. They're also a lifelong resource, so it's definitely something you want to nurture and hold on to.
Creating lists is easy in SendinBlue:
Just click "Add a new list" to create a newly named list. If you already have subscribers, you can import them by CSV, manually, or copy and pasting. If it's a totally new list, you just need to give it a name, and then you can link it up with one of your subscription forms to start growing it.
Once you have a list, it's easy to manage subscribers:
You can search by email address or advanced AND/OR conditions. Not so necessary when you have a two person list like my example, but super nice to have when you start getting into hundreds or thousands of subscribers.
Creating a Campaign
SendinBlue also lets you create an email campaign directly from your WordPress dashboard. As far as I can tell, it's the exact same interface as their website, just inside your dashboard. It's convenient to be able to do this without leaving the dashboard.
You can choose to create a simple HTML/plain text email, or use SendinBlue's page builder-like interface to create more detailed emails. For this example, I chose the page builder interface:
If you're familiar with any of WordPress page builders, you should have zero problems using this feature.
Once you're happy with your email, you can choose where to send it and whether you want to schedule it or send it immediately.
The campaign creation process is pretty foolproof. I can't say I noticed anything significantly different from something like Mailchimp in pure functionality...but again, you can do all this without leaving your WordPress dashboard, which is unique as far as I know.
You can send your emails via SMTP or SendinBlue's API.
Implementing marketing automation
One of the biggest new features is easy-to-implement marketing automation. If enabled, the plugin will automatically set up tracking on your WordPress site. You can then easily send triggered emails to users who fulfill certain criteria. It's really helpful that the tracking is implemented automatically. This feature makes detailed marketing automation incredibly easy to set up.
Here are some of the pre-configured types of emails you can send:
As you can see, the functionality is pretty detailed - and remember, all this tracking is handled automatically. When you click on a specific workflow, you can further customize it using a wizard to get the exact functionality you want. Among other details, you can specify if you want emails to send immediately when triggered, or on a delay.
In my opinion, this feature is the biggest reason to go with this plugin. The fact that I could set up detailed marketing automation in about 30 seconds is pretty incredible. Setting up tracking just takes one click, and creating a workflow is easy thanks to their wizard. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you run any kind of membership site.
The final tab allows you to view your statistics. Because I'm running on a test site without a real list, there's not a lot here for me. But here's what you can expect to see:
Again, this info is easily accessible inside your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin itself is free. But sending emails is not necessarily free. You can send 9,000 emails per month for free, after that you'll need to pay.
How much money you'll pay will depend on the number of emails you send. Unlike Mailchimp, you don't pay for subscribers. You can have unlimited subscribers - you're only charged based on the actual number of emails sent. Personally, I like this approach. The pricing hasn't changed since Oli's review - here's what you can expect to pay:
The feature that most excited me was the easy marketing automation emails. I think marketing automation is going to be incredibly important to the future of digital marketing, so the ease of implementation is pretty awesome.
I also loved that most everything can be done without leaving your WordPress dashboard. It wouldn't be a huge dealbreaker to have to go to an external site, but the added convenience is certainly nice.
This plugin is definitely worth checking out if you run any kind of email campaigns, or if you've been looking to get into marketing automation.