Jetpack is firing up a new suite of email marketing tools in partnership with Endurance International Group’s Constant Contact brand. Last week version 8.9 of the plugin introduced a new newsletter signup form inside its Form block, based on an integration with the Creative Mail plugin that Constant Contact recently launched as a solution tailored specifically to WordPress and WooCommerce.
The release post highlighted the ability to add WordPress posts and WooCommerce products into email marketing campaigns, but today the Jetpack team elaborated on where they are taking the integration. The features Creative Mail has on deck for future releases are heavily geared towards e-commerce stores. The initial launch includes the ability for store owners to sync their contacts to their email lists in order to market to them directly. Curt Raffi, Senior VP of Product Innovation at EIG, said WooCommerce-triggered store emails are on the way.
“Soon, we’ll add automated customer lifecycle marketing journeys that are geared toward more advanced marketers and eCommerce seller,” Raffi said. The planned features include the following:
- Create triggered, multi-step customer lifecycle marketing journeys
- Send WooCommerce abandoned cart emails
- Send post-purchase follow-up emails
- Send emails about related products
Email marketing is a critical piece of the puzzle for online store owners looking to connect to customers, as they adapt to the pandemic with reduced foot traffic for brick and mortar locations. Stats from Campaign Monitor show that email send volumes increased by 31% for a random selection of their customers with mid-sized email lists during the 30-day period after March 17 versus the 30 days prior to that. Despite a sizeable increase in send volumes, average open rates for these decreased only slightly, from 31% to 30%, while click-through rates remained the same at 4%.
Even with all the perfunctory messages acknowledging “these uncertain times,” email is still an important channel for reaching customers. As social networks are becoming increasingly hostile and unfavorable environments for advertising, email stands as one of the few remaining direct lines where content won’t get instantly buried by potential customers doomscrolling their news feeds.
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg commented on Twitter last month about the value of having a follower’s email address vs a connection on a social network. “So many of these people with newsletters should really be blogging,” Mullenweg said.
“I do think that a follower you have an email address of and a direct relationship with is worth 1,000x a follower on a social network. Maybe it’s just about making things more website-first than email-first, especially for younger audiences that don’t use email.”
One response to his tweet caught my attention – a suggestion that Jetpack make it more convenient to manage a website-first solution for email marketing. It looks like this idea was already in the works with Creative Mail and the Constant Contact partnership.
Although Constant Contact already had an official plugin for WordPress, it only has 40,000 installs. Compare that with MailChimp, which is far and away the market leader when it comes to email marking providers. Mailchimp has many third-party plugins for WordPress, which collectively have more than a million users, including an official Mailchimp for WooCommerce plugin, with 800k+ active installs. Constant Contact stands to have a better chance penetrating the WordPress market by partnering with a highly successful plugin like Jetpack.
Email marketing is not an easy plugin niche to break into, which is evident by the slow growth of newcomers like Newsletter Glue. The plugin is marketed as a Substack alternative, with its “Send as newsletter” feature inside the WordPress editor. It connects to different emails services, provides easy-to-share past issues, and creates a search engine-friendly newsletter archive. Despite all the promotion and buzz on social networks, the plugin only has ~30 active installs after one month in the official directory.
With its deep integration with Jetpack and WooCommerce, Creative Mail has the chance to quickly become a contender among established WordPress email marketing plugins like MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress (1 million+ installs), MailPoet (100k), Email Subscribers (100k), and Newsletter (300k). Creative Mail has a broader scope of features that it will be supporting, but it may be able to find success on the basis of Jetpack’s ubiquity.