MailPoet is one of the most powerful tools on your website, keeping supporters and interested parties aware of what you are doing within your organization. Here are the basics of how to get started with this reliable and user-friendly plugin.

When you log in to your Dashboard and select MailPoet, a splash screen will show up that contains a tutorial video.  It’s a good primer for how to use the plugin, but it falls short in a couple of notable ways.  The first is that the video rolls along, but you end up with no tangible notes, the second is that they assume your host has no experience with reliably sending emails so they shamelessly “plug” their own service.  (Critique / Response) We have quite a bit of experience sending newsletters (thank you very much) and do it better than they do.  Besides, your organization doesn’t need more expense by using their service.  (End of critique.)

There are four basic areas to address when getting MailPoet set up. Once you have taken care of each area, the newsletter portion of your website can run practically HANDS FREE for a long time.  Here’s the checkoff list, followed by details on what to do:

  1. Subscriber Lists
  2. Subscriber Import
  3. Newsletter Formatting
  4. Sign up Form

Subscriber Lists

This task does not apply to individual subscribers, it addresses the need to group subscribers by their source or by the type of message you want to send them.  Individuals can be a part of multiple lists, so your donor who also helps out as a volunteer can receive messages directed to both groups.

You will be able to add as many lists as you like, but for now let’s just do the basics.  Add a list for Donors, Volunteers (or Employees – your choice), and Site Visitors.

Once you have created these lists, you are done with this portion of the setup.  Exhausted?  I didn’t think so.  Let’s move on!


Subscriber Import

To get started, click on MailPoet ==> Subscribers.  You will see a list of WordPress Users for your site.  You will also see that each of these individuals is a part of the “WordPress Users” list.  Pretty logical, don’t you think?  You can click on “Edit” for any individual’s listing and make them a part of additional lists.

If you want to add email addresses, you may do so individually by clicking on “Add New” at the top of the screen.  If you want to add a larger number of emails by clicking on “Import”, then selecting the method you would like to use for adding a bulk list.  Here is a link to MailPoet’s “Import” guide:

In this process, you will be asked which list you wanted the imported addresses added to, so management down the road will be quite simple.  This is the toughest part of the setup process, so once you are through this … you’re well on your way!

Newsletter Formatting

This is where you can get in touch with your creative side!  Setting up the look of the newsletter you will be sending can be fun & fulfilling.  Before you get to design the newsletter, though, you need to select the type of newsletter which will be going out.  For this task, please click on MailPoet ==> Emails.

There are three Newsletter formats.  The one-off newsletter (which later can be coped, then update the text for another) would be created using the “Newsletter” tab.  The next tab over is “Welcome Emails” which seems pretty self-explanatory, and finally the most powerful feature of this plugin … the “Post Notification”.  This final tab provides you the ability to create a newsletter template and set specifications so that whenever a new post is added to your site, a newsletter will be sent out to all the subscriber lists you specify!  You can manage when these newsletters go out as well.  We typically recommend selecting an early morning email broadcast so the messages are ready and waiting in your subscribers’ Inbox when they check their email at the start of their day.

No matter with format you choose, you’ll be working with the same formatting tool … here’s a guide to setting up the email formatting:

Sign Up Forms

Inviting site visitors to become newsletter subscribers is a great way to “make new friends”.  You don’t know who is visiting your site without asking them for some information, then you can stay in touch with them to ask for donations, engage in events, or give them more info about your services.  That’s the point of a Sign Up Form.  To get on with the final step in the process, please select MailPoet ==> Forms from the left-side menu on your dashboard.

Keep it simple.  Ask for their info, don’t ask for too much, don’t use a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA (it’s too much of a turn-off to people who don’t know you), and assure them that their info will remain confidential.  You can specify which list or lists they can subscribe to … experience here has been that it’s a good idea to simply subscribe them to the “Site Visitors” list and then add those subscribers to other lists as their relationship with your organization grows.

Here’s a quick tutorial on creating a form:

Once the form has been created, the EASIEST way to include the form on your site is to use the MailPoet Form Widget, including the form in your site’s sidebar or footer regions.

As always, we’re here to help!  If you run in to an issue along the way or have a question about best practices, please send a message from our help form on the right!