MailChimp have developed their own WordPress and WooCommerce plugin. While it may seem like a good idea to use their free plugin, here is why not.
Connecting MailChimp to your blog and/or online store is a very powerful tool. You may want to drive newsletter signups and automate your email correspondence. However, it is easy to inundate users with popups and sign up forms. If you have an online store, you want to be able to reach users depending on what they bought and when, so that you can retarget them.
I’m going to list a few plugins that I’ve found to be most effective, and what I commonly use with my clients. Most of them are paid, but it is money well spent.
Popups are one of the best ways to drive new subscribers to your newsletter. However, it may not always be a great idea to distract users from your content. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to control when, where and how the popup appears so that you can fine tune it to appear just in the right moment.
One of the most customizable popup plugins in Boxzilla. The point of a popup is not to be content blocking, as Google Search will penalize sites that block the UI. So a subtle box at the edge of the screen that appears after a while of interaction. Also, if the users is already signed up to your newsletter, there is no need to bother them again. The aforementioned plugin offers all of these things. It detects if you are already subscribed and doesn’t display the popup. You can also set it to appear after a certain amount of time, when the user has reached a place in your page or site, and on certain pages. The popup can even be set to appear on exit intent, which is when the user moves the mouse outside of the page. However, you will have to pay for the pro version to get the advanced features listed.
If you use the theme Divi, Bloom is another excellent plugin. It does a lot of the things Boxzilla does, but it is already incorporated into your design and editor.
Inline Signup Forms
Sign up forms should be sleep, unobtrusive and feel natural. They should have the ability to pre-segment the subscribers so you can target them better.
The theme I use extensively is Enfold, it meets a lot of requirements, can be extended and is very fast. It has an editor that yields a lot of flexibility in layout and styles, while keeping everything very uniform. It comes with a default MailChimp integration, and allows you to quickly click together sign up forms. However, it’s not very customizable; if you want one form to segment users in a specific way, you are out of luck.
MailChimp for WordPress
One of the hands-down best plugins for MailChimp is MailChimp for WordPress. While the pro version allows for many more integrations, it already comes a long way with the form builder. You can easily integrate the forms into your site, and if you have a theme, you can edit the HTML directly so that it will look like the already styled elements belonging to your theme. You can also create very specific segmented forms by generating some of the segmentation options and then either hiding them using hidden fields or allowing the user to choose themselves.
The default MailChimp for WooCommerce plugin is very limited. It will track some of the purchases, but it lacks the categories.
MailChimp for WordPress
MailChimp for WordPress comes with a great extension for WooCommerce. It will integrate directly with the store, and users can choose to sign up when they buy something. There is a really great interface which allows you to sync the products and orders. This means that when you create your newsletters, you can not only add your products directly, but also target users who have purchased something similar. The categories, lifetime value and purchase times are also synced. This allows you to retarget users by automatically sending an email to users who have not purchased in a while or create a custom drip campaign depending on their previous purchases.
While setting up MailChimp with WordPress may seem trivial at first, thought and planning are vital to creating a successful integration. Be clear on why type of customers you have, whether you are working towards loyalty or driving new signups.
If you would like tips and pointers on what strategy is best for you, feel free to contact me!