Want to send a WordPress newsletter to your visitors but not sure where to get started? In this guide, I’m going to give you a beginner-friendly look at how you can quickly start sending newsletters right from your WordPress dashboard without any complicated setup or coding.
I’ll use the free MailPoet plugin for the bulk of the tutorial, but I’ll also suggest some other alternatives that are worth looking at near the end of the article.
If you’ve wanted to start sending a newsletter to your WordPress site’s visitors but weren’t sure where to start, let’s get going!
Let’s Start With A Quick Caveat On Newsletter Deliverability
Ok, I’m going to show you how to send a WordPress newsletter from your dashboard in a second. But before I do that, I want to lead with an important consideration:
It’s a bad idea to send a newsletter using the built-in WordPress mailing system.
I talked about this in more depth when I showed you how to set up SMTP for WordPress. But generally, sending newsletters via the default WordPress mail system is going to cause all kinds of deliverability problems.
That is, your newsletters will probably end up in the spam folders for a good portion of your subscribers.
Does that mean this guide is worthless? Of course not! I wouldn’t show you if it was.
It just means that, while the solution I’ll show you is technically free, you’ll likely need to pay for something if you want to ensure your emails don’t go to your subscribers’ spam folders.
I wanted to lead with that point because it’s pretty dang important. Now, let’s get to the tutorial.
How to Send a WordPress Newsletter Using MailPoet
With well over 300,000 active installs, the most popular plugin to help you send a WordPress newsletter is definitely MailPoet.
The core plugin is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. After that, you’ll need to pay if you want to continue using the plugin.
Because the plugin is listed at WordPress.org, you can install it right from your WordPress dashboard. Make sure to install MailPoet 3, as that’s the newest version and MailPoet 2 won’t be around forever:
Once you activate the plugin, you’re ready to start sending your newsletters!
Step 1: Create A Newsletter List to Manage Subscribers
Before you can start actually sending newsletters, you need to complete a couple of housekeeping steps so that people can actually subscribe to your newsletter.
The first step is to create a list. A list is basically a collection of all the people that subscribe to your newsletter. This helps you manage those subscribers as your newsletter grows.
By default, MailPoet creates two lists for you. But to keep things clean, you should create a new list by going to MailPoet → Lists → Add New:
Give your list a name and an internal description. Then, click Save:
If this is your first foray, you can go ahead and move to the next step now.
But if you already have some newsletter subscribers that you want to import, MailPoet makes it easy to import existing subscribers.
Just click View Subscribers under the list you want to manage and then choose the Import option:
Step 2: Create A Subscribe Form So People Can Join Your List
Now that you have your newsletter list, the next thing you need to do is actually give people a way to join your list. To do that, you need to create a subscribe form. This is a front-end form where users can enter their name and email address to join your newsletter.
To create one, go to MailPoet → Forms → Add New:
Give it a name and select the list that you just created. Then, you can add fields and style your form using the drag and drop interface:
Then, to display the form on the front-end of your site, you can either use the shortcode:
Or, you can go to Appearance → Widgets and use the included MailPoet widget (just make sure to select the right form from the widget interface):
Step 3: Send Your First Newsletter Email
Soon after adding your subscribe form, you’ll hopefully start to get new subscribers to your newsletter. It might take a little while, but you’ll get there!
Once you’re ready to send your first email, go to MailPoet → Emails → Add New:
On the next screen, select Newsletter:
Choose one of the available templates or pick one of the blank options:
On the next screen, you can add content to your newsletter using the elements. It’s fairly similar to a WordPress page builder - just drag and drop.
Two elements to keep your eye on are Posts and Automatic Latest Content. These two are especially helpful for sending a newsletter based on your actual WordPress posts.
Also, make sure to add a subject for your newsletter:
Once you’re finished, move to the next screen.
There, you can:
- Finalize your subject line
- Choose which list to send to
- Set your sender and reply-to information
Then, if you’re ready to send your newsletter, just click Send at the bottom:
Step 4: View Stats For Your Newsletter Emails
Once you start sending newsletters, you’ll be able to view open and click statistics for each email by going to MailPoet → Emails:
Remember - If You’re Serious, You Need To Care About Deliverability
While MailPoet is easy to get up and running with, if you’re serious about ensuring that your newsletters actually reach your subscribers, you should consider doing one of two things:
- Subscribing to MailPoet’s dedicated sending service for $10 per month
- Integrating a third-party SMTP service like SendGrid
Jackmail Newsletters Is Another Good WordPress Newsletter Plugin
If you don’t want to use MailPoet to send your WordPress newsletter, another good option is Jackmail Newsletters, which has a fairly enticing perk:
You can send up to 3,000 emails per month via Jackmail’s server for free.
So unlike MailPoet, you’ll be able to ensure deliverability for up to 3,000 emails for free. While MailPoet does let you send emails for free, it doesn’t ensure deliverability unless you pay.
If you’re interested in going the Jackmail Newsletters route, you can read my Jackmail Newsletters review for a more detailed tutorial.
Jackmail Newsletters isn’t anywhere near as popular as MailPoet, but it is a well-polished plugin with great functionality, despite the low active install count.
Other Options to Send a Newsletter For Your WordPress Site
While both these newsletter plugins are solid options to send a basic newsletter right from your dashboard, they’re by no means your only options.
There are a huge number of dedicated email marketing services that can help you build an email list and send newsletters to that list. If you’re serious about email marketing, you might prefer these services for their deeper functionality.
Just be aware that most of them require you to use an external interface and you’ll need to find a way to integrate WordPress with your email marketing service of choice.
Some good options to get you started are:
- MailChimp - a popular option with a generous free plan
- Sendinblue - has a neat WordPress plugin that makes it super easy to send emails from your dashboard. I actually reviewed Sendinblue a while back
- Campaign Monitor - we actually compared MailChimp vs. Campaign Monitor vs. Sendinblue
For all of these external services, you’ll probably also want a list building plugin to help you actually collect subscribers.
Wrapping Things Up
MailPoet and Jackmail Newsletters are two of the simplest ways to send a WordPress newsletter. Both are easy to set up and use - just remember that MailPoet might not have the best deliverability by default.
Additionally, if you want more power and flexibility, you might be better off going with a third-party email marketing service.
Now over to you - what’s your go-to solution for sending newsletters for your WordPress site?