Beyond the Simple contact form 7
So now you have setup a simple Contact Form 7 on your WordPress website. People can use it to send mail to communicate with you. They use the Contact form to send me their questions which are delivered to your linked email account.
So what if you want to;-
- Send/ broadcast an email to all the people on my website?
- Create and add a newsletter subscription form to your website
- Manage your subscribers and subscriber lists in WordPress
- Build and send newsletters with WordPress
- Create automatic emails to send new post notifications
- Send automated signup welcome emails (now in free)
Well those functions are a bit beyond the scope of a lowly Contact Form 7. We need a mailing and Newsletter plugin to achieve them.
Add a Newsletter plugin to augment the Contact form
There are many options free, paid, and *Freemium. Some do the job better than others.
(*Freemium plugins have a free, and a paid premium version with more functionality.)
The free versions usually allow you to do most of these things quite simply once you have set them up.
Limitations are usually the number of templates, integrations, and advanced configurations available.
But having said that, the free versions often cover all the bases the average user could need.
You will also see many of them offer their own mail service you can subscribe to for sending mail in high volume.
If your website starts to scale larger than you expected, and maybe you build a business around it, then the Pro versions may become a consideration later.
One of the most talked about considerations with all of these plugins is the number of emails that can be sent at any one time.
This issue is directly linked to our last post where we spoke about Why Keep Email and Website Hosting Separate?
Many Hosts throttle or restrict how much mail you can send per hour or day using their service.
In the post we showed how to skip the mail system on your host and use Google to send the mail.
To carry that one step further, many of these Newsletter/Buk mail plugins allow you to set how many emails to send per hour.
Also the number of subscribers allowed by the free versus premium versions of the plugins.
While there are many, here I will talk about two very popular options.
MailPoet is a plugin you install on your site. It allows you to:-
- sign up subscribers
- write and send Newsletters
- bulk notification,
- automatic notifications when you publish a new blog post.
- free version has a lot of scope and may be all you need.
- allows you up to 2000 subscribers before you have to consider the premium version.
MailChimp is a bit more complicated and requires an external connection and interface:-
- You sign-up for a free account on their website.
- It has all the tools to create newsletters, promotions and advertisements.
- You compose you mail on their site.
- You install a MailChimp plugin on your site.
- You connect that plugin to you MailChimp account using a API key.
- You connect your existing contact form to that plugin(CF-7, WP-Forms, or whichever you are using)
- Subscribers sign up on your site but are stored in your account at MailChimp.
- Mailchimp is a newsletter service that allows you to send out email campaigns to a list of email subscribers. It is free for lists up to 2000 subscribers.
So which to choose? I actually have both but prefer MailPoet as a simpler solution for most people.
MailChimp has a lot of scope if you currently have, or plan to have, large regular marketing campaigns.
MailPoet is also scalable to cater for this. The benefit with Mailpoet can be you keep all your lists and Newsletters on your website.
If you followed the previous post talking about Google and G Suite, you already have a scalable external mail service with high deliverability and authority.
Adding the MailPoet plugin will complement this and in no way interfere with the regular contact form function.
MailPoet can save a lot of work compiling mailouts. It can send an email your selected subscribers list automatically each time you publish a new Blog Post.
That’s it! You just set it up one by ticking a few boxes. It does the rest. No intervention by you to make it happen.
Mail Poet lets you create newsletters using their template. You make the adjustments you need. Then send immediately or set a future date to send.
The future send is an ideal way of managing your workload. Create your newsletter ahead of time. Set the send schedule and forget.
Nothing to stop you from starting the next Newsletter even before the current one is sent.
In fact you can create a series of articles to deliver by mail. Then set separate send dates to be sent in correct order daily, weekly or monthly.
You can save any newsletter or copy it to use the same layout in your next newsletter. Just make a copy, change the content but keep the layout, then send.
You can create a new newsletter, import recent posts as content or add new content, its up to you.
You can see MailPoet Menu in the image to the left.
Emails:- are the list of mail you have created. It includes your drafts, sent mail and scheduled mail. (this is separate the email in the Contact form 7) If it is a sent mail, you can see various statistics about how successful the send was. It can show successful delivery, number of opens, number of bounced emails. From this you can see if you have a problem with some recipients and need to take some action.
Forms:- are the subscriber etc forms you have made for your site
Subscribers:- are all the people who have subscribed to your site
Lists:- you can have lists for newsletters, post notifications etc. You make lists and assign people to only the lists relevant to them. Or on your sign-up form you can let them subscribe to one or more list i.e. Newsletters, Promotions, latest posts etc
I think Settings Help and Premium are self explanatory so I wont go into them here.
And the golden rule? As always you can try either option – if it does not suit your needs then deactivate it and try the other.
Just do so before you are tempted to signup for premium access for either, but i think either have enough volume at the free level for most people.
MailPoet and contact form 7 both have a place on your website and their own functions to perform.
Hopefully you now have the solutions to supplement the simple contact form with a powerful Newsletter plugin.