Put a Little Woo in Your Next Newsletter

Written by Mark Forrester on June 21, 2013 Blog.

kim-gjerstadToday we have Kim Gjerstad, co-founder of Wysija, a newsletter plugin for WordPress as a guest… (Please note the below is not a sponsored post.)

We’re thrilled to announce our first collaboration with Woo. Our newsletter plugin now includes 12 newsletter email themes, all based on popular WooThemes.

Let me first step back a little, and introduce Wysija. Our plugin allows you to create newsletters, autoresponders and post notifications, all within your WordPress.

We’d like to think the days of email frustration are now over for WordPress users. Straightforward configuration, fun user experience. Constant improvements.

Our free plugin reached nearly half a million downloads in just over 1 year. Blistering start. We even surpass Akismet in top rated category on the repository. Obviously, we’re doing something right.

In more humble terms, we’re simply answering a huge demand. Maybe yours too.

You might ask: What in the world is “Wysija”? It means What you send is just awesome. We love the name, but we know it’s a difficult one. Expect a new name this summer.

Wysija Meets Woo

I got the chance to meet Woo’s 3 co-founders at PressNomics last year, a conference for WordPress businesses.

At the end of the event, someone threw a simple idea to the crowd: “WordPress businesses should collaborate more”. Consider this guest post a direct result of this call.

There’s a little more to it though. The Woo founders are South African or Norwegian. Half of my own family is from Norway. And I’ve spent nearly a third of my life in Africa, where I’ve met plenty of skillful and creative South Africans.

The Woo success story always hit home for those reasons. Every new milestones they reached, I secretly celebrated them.


Woo’s Themes Come to Our Plugin

So, we’re officially releasing 12 newsletter themes for Wysija based on these popular Woo themes:

  1. Canvas
  2. Scrollider
  3. The One Pager
  4. Superstore
  5. Function
  6. Definition
  7. Whitelight
  8. Hustle
  9. Sentient
  10. Kaboodle
  11. PixelPress
  12. Mystile

They are all available for free, accessible directly in our plugin. You can view them on our own site as well.

Both Woo and ourselves are very happy with the results. Their designs are adaptable to nearly everybody’s needs.

The nearly 150,000 downloads of our other newsletter themes show that users are looking for exactly what WooThemes offers: clean designs, focused on fonts, often with a white or grey background. Spot on.

Don’t Use a Plugin for Newsletters, They Say

This post is also an opportunity to break a taboo. Many bloggers or experts will recommend relying on a third party, like MailChimp, if your project has serious newsletter requirements.

There are good reasons:

  1. better deliverability
  2. more control on design
  3. powerful marketing tools

Times have changed, thankfully. Dare I say, for the better.

Deliverability issues can be easily fixed by sending with a third party SMTP, like SendGrid or Amazon SES, instead of your web host. We definitely recommend taking this step.

We’ve created mail-tester, a free spam score tool to help you along the way. It will immediately tell you what’s wrong with your email, and give good advice.

Sending with a delivery service turns out to be a huge cost killer, to top it off. Emailing with MailChimp, Aweber & co. will often cost you more than hosting once you’re off their free plans.

In regards to design, our plugin controls the HTML output. Your newsletter will always look good across all email clients.

And finally, we provide stats for open, clicks and unsubscribes. Soon, a new stats dashboard will be available to give you a better picture of your emailing performance.

Get 25% off the Premium

Still not convinced? We’re offering you a rare deal, since we’re coupon-shy.

For the occasion, and until the end of the month, we’ll knock off 25% off the Premium version of this plugin.

Simply use the following coupon on the checkout: woosija2013

What the Future Holds

Wysija is just beginning. At least, that’s how we feel. Many improvements are scheduled for the next 12 months.

So what’s in store?

  • Better segmentation of lists
  • Custom fields for subscribers
  • Better autoresponders
  • Add-ons for other plugins, notably WooCommerce
  • Constant improvements of existing functionalities

In the meantime, don’t hesitate, download our plugin, and test drive it.

We’re always looking for detailed feedback on existing features. We spend quite a bit of time improving what we already have.

More importantly, does it fit your current needs? If not, please do tell us in the comments below.



35 Responses

  1. Picxel
    June 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Yes baby! Thank you, guys!
    I’ve just started using Wysija 2 weeks ago, so this is just perfect timing. So cool :·)

  2. Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen
    June 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    This is a cool approach to newsletter sending, and I will take a look at the plugin. However, you are only solving part of my problem.The first part of the problem – easily create newsletters from my content, you seem to have sorted out. I appreciate the time that would save me. The second part of the problem – worry free delivery without technical headache I think still needs work. The integration with a third party might be easy for you, but I would need to learn to do that. Link wyjisa to one of the STMP services mentioned and you would be solving my problem, and should be top of your list of improvements.( Only started looking at this, because there is an add-on for the restricted content pro plugin.) Good luck!

    • Kim
      June 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      We hear you loud and clear.

      In fact, we spend lots of time on support guiding folks through the sending setup.

      There are inevitable pains, like configuring SPF and DKIM. The words themselves are scary!

      For now, you can count on our speedy support and we’ll be more than happy to help you get on your way, even free users.

      • Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen
        June 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

        Thanks for the reply. Testing locally, and I am impressed.

    • 4thedesign
      June 22, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Ebrahim, 100% correct on sorting out delivery…I purchased this plugin last year and ditched it when I discovered the delivery issues. I emailed them expressing my unhappiness about that and never got a reply back.

      Mailchimp and aweber mighty be pricey, but delivery is perfect and not handled in batches…

      Sort out the delivery concernes and you’ll have a perfect product.

  3. daltonrooney
    June 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Very nice plugin, I’ve used the free version on a couple of sites. I’m purchasing the premium version now!

    I’m looking forward to hearing about integration with WooCommerce, it’s one of our most heavily used plugins.

  4. maadbiker
    June 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Looks like a great plugin! I tried the coupon code but its not working for me? Is that the correct on posted?


    • Ben
      June 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm #


      Sure I’ve just tried it and it worked for me.
      The coupon you need to enter is : woosija2013

      If you’re having issues get in touch : http://www.wysija.com/contact

  5. Aurélien Denis
    June 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    That’s a great news!!!

    Wysija is an incredible plugin and their support is simply the fastest one in the world.

    I remember in 2011 when I met Kim at WordCamp Paris when he was teasing us with a new plugin… since this moment I have followed this team and the success is here!

    And I’m glad to know that Mystile is supported cause I just switched my blog to this one. 🙂

  6. hoodoofactory
    June 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Wysija is great. I’ve turned a lot of my clients onto it. Glad to see that Wysija will continuing developing with Woo in mind – and can’t wait to see what WooCommerce stuff will be coming out!

    I would love an extension to make newsletter subscription management available through the “My Account” page.

    • douglsmith
      June 22, 2013 at 2:54 am #

      I’ll second that request for newsletter integration in the WooCommerce My Account page.

  7. Patrick
    June 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Hi guys,

    I am sorry for asking something off topic and hijacking this post, but where did the woothemes showcase go? Last week or so I was still able to find it, now all the links just sent me to the woothemes homepage!

    Again sorry for the off topic post, but I would really appreciate any news!

    Cheers Pat

    • Ryan Ray
      June 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      We’ve moved to calling them Customer Stories. – http://woocommerce.com/customers/

      We’re aiming for quality over quantity here, so fewer posts there (at the moment) but much more in depth on how each site was built using our products. 🙂

      • Patrick
        June 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

        Thank you Ryan, I will take a look there.

        Cheers Pat

  8. tomharrigan
    June 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Hey Kim, really happy to see this plugin come to fruition, I know it’s been in your brains for a while now 😉 Really like the direction you went in with the newsletter themes mirroring the WP themes.

    • kim
      June 22, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Tom! You guessed it right, there’s a lot on our minds!

  9. darkpollo
    June 22, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    That looks great.
    Are the themes responsive? I mean, will the themes adapt to the different emails program on iphone, android, etc?


    • kim
      June 22, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      There’s no true responsiveness in the email client world, unfortunately.

      This said, Wysija displays well in the majority of them. We do adapt for a new client, or an update in others.

      It often requires the user to actually make a little effort at times. For example, keeping the images under 300px wide.

        June 29, 2013 at 2:43 am #

        Well, i have already setup a responsive theme for one of my pages, and it is really responsive. Not as good as the webpages but it changes size of buttons, hide some items, resize tables and images and adapt the text to smallers screens.

        • DARKPOLLO
          June 29, 2013 at 2:44 am #

          I am not sure how this is done, i just receive the theme and setup on mailchimp. 😛

          But i am sure could be done. 🙂

  10. Maire
    June 22, 2013 at 4:09 am #

    This is great! i’ve been using wysija for ages – just tried Mad Mimi for a little but coulldn’t be bothered, and have gone back to Wysija. It’s so easy and convenient and has improved A LOT since I started using it.

    Would LOVE to see:

    – gravity forms integration
    – definitely woocommerce integration!!!

  11. Jonas Wiesel
    June 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    We’ve been using it and it’s quite easy to use.

    I’ve just had issues with w3tc.


  12. Carl Hancock
    June 23, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Great collaboration and I perfect fit.

    I gotta be honest, I didn’t realize Wysija relied on th users host or them to sign up with a 3rd party service to actually send the emails. I always assumed Wysija handled this with just a full WordPress plugin frontend.

    Email deliver ability issues are one of the single biggest support issues we encounter get with Gravity Forms because of the fact we also rely on the users host. I’d hate to think what our support would be like if our product did newsletters.

    Email deliverability, reliability and reputation issues are such a major issue that we’re partnering with one of the major email providers to provide a SaaS solution to offload sending the email notifatuons via our API. Initially as a plugin, longterm we want it to be a core feature. That’s how big of an issue relying on a WordPress users host to reliably send email has been for us and we’re only dealing with form notifications… not mass mailing lists.

    You guys should strongly consider creating your own SaaS service and providing the deliver via an API. Email deliverability, reliability and reputation management is such a complex and intricate thing that there is a reason why companies like SendGrid, Mailgun, Postmark, Mandrill and many others exist and thrive,

    The more popular Wysija becomes and the more users you have the bigger support related to email deliverability is going to be.

    I’m speaking from 4 years of experience supporting Gravty Forms. It’s such a support drain for us that we’re looking at providing our own service via an API for free. So included with the cost of a license. So it’s going to cost us money. But if it eliminates the support issues we currently encounter relying on the users host or WordPress setup it’ll be money well spent.

    Because our user base is very large and I couldn’t imagine supporting a user base as large as ours if our product was a mass mail newsletter product that relied on the users host and/or setup to send email. Based on the support issues we encounter with our product using this type of email deliverability, supporting your product with the volume of users we have would be unsustainable for us.

    I dont know how large your user base is but if you ever want to chat more about this, I’d be glad to.

    • Kim
      June 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      Carl, we couldn’t agree with you more. It’s the logical next step.

      Why haven’t we done so by now? Most of our resources were concentrated on creating a great free plugin, and becoming ubiquitous.

      Professional SMTPs abound already, so it’s not a show stopper. Having your own SMTP still involves infrastructures, and some level of support. Folks still need to setup their SPF records. Some ISP stil block you.

      I’ll follow up on your offer to chat.

  13. Brian Meagher
    June 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Thank you, Kim, for the discount code!

  14. jplepez
    June 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Great plugin… But the yearly subscription model = expen$$$ive. I understand subscription models for theme clubs were there’s new content periodically but for plugins I’m not sold.. This is the main reason I chose Formidable Pro over Gravity for my forms (besides the fact that Gravity has NO custom displays)..

  15. webert
    June 25, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    oi blz

  16. Ted Folkman
    July 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Don’t change the name! I like Wysija.

    I am a big fan of Wysija, which has helped me improve my email subscription service dramatically. I use the Canvas theme, and so I am happy to hear about the new themes. One question: can we now use some of the shortcodes built into Canvas in the newsletters? For example, if I have an image and I use the caption shortcode to create a caption, will Wysija now display the caption in the email newsletter?


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