Mailster, from developer EverPress, gives customers a tool for writing and sending email newsletters while at the same time maintaining their subscriber lists all within their own WordPress installation.
For a small one-time fee people who buy this plugin get a fully featured addition to their normal WordPress interface that rivals what you will find in most big name newsletter providers.
Mailster features a drag and drop editor for composing email campaigns and automation tools to handle sending emails as auto responders, follow ups and more. It also offers the typical analytics you have come to expect from any newsletter service including open and click rates. As I mentioned above, all subscribers are integrated directly into the WordPress user system so you can manage and segment them into lists without difficulty.
The plugin integrates with third-party services like SendGrid to handle the actual delivery of your email. Mailster also ties into a variety of other WordPress plugins. For example, the makers of MemberPress recently announced integration with Mailster.
Mailster is yet another example of the ongoing trend of huge plugins that extend WordPress beyond its core capabilities as a simple content management system. The idea is fascinating to me but also seems like an incredible amount of work in development time, marketing and support.
Jon Goldberg, from EverPress, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about what goes into supporting a huge plugin such as Mailster and how their decision to sell through CodeCanyon has helped them.
First, I’ve got to know what made you decide to take on a plugin that operates in a space with heavy hitters like MailChimp and ConvertKit?
Email marketing is a challenging but very important and essential market for businesses. There are companies out there that are increasing their revenue thanks to smart email marketing significantly so in our opinion this is one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools you can use to grow your business.
WordPress is a great platform with an even greater community but we felt that there is no intuitive and powerful email marketing tool for it so we decided to build something that would let people store and manage their subscribers inside WordPress without the hassle of having to pay a subscription. The majority of email marketing tools charges you per subscriber and an additional charge whenever you send out emails. Since many WordPress sites already store users it was just an intuitive and logical way to create a plugin that lets you handle and manage all your email subscribers from within WordPress. That way you own your data and there are no costs involved as Mailster is a one time fee.
We believe that simplifying and reducing the amount of tools a business or individual needs saves time which the person can then use to do other things like growing their business or just taking some time off to get the energy to build great things. Being able to manage your website and email marketing in the same spot is for us the logical step when thinking about an efficient way to work.
Can you give me some insight into what kind of customers you have? What drives people to look for self-hosted solutions instead of going with a third-party service to handle email distribution?
There is no stereotype of who uses our plugin. We have big businesses or small blog owners that love and use our plugin on a daily basis. We’ve built a tool that can be managed by someone without technical knowledge but integrated advanced features so even pro users have all the tools required to run the best and most efficient marketing campaigns possible.
A lot of our customers are coming from third party services and compared it to our tool and noticed that it provides them with the same amount of features but without the additional costs and the peace of mind that they have all their customer information stored in their installation without any 3rd parties involved so the benefits outweighed and they made the switch.
Support for a plugin of this nature must be very critical. What tools do you use to manage support requests?
Support is one of the most important things to us as it’s the part where you can provide a customer with a great product experience or a bad one. We strive to help each and every customer in the best way possible and by using a custom built member area where people can manage their licenses and open support tickets we’ve built a interface for an efficient support flow.
Internally we use HelpScout to manage those tickets but we’ve built a front end for this email based system so customers see their tickets and status inside their member area on our website.
You’re selling Mailster on CodeCanyon with great success (#17 in all-time sales for WordPress plugins). Can you talk about what went into that decision and the benefits and cons of selling your plugin there?
CodeCanyon is a huge marketplace with a lot of traffic so it made sense to us to release our plugin on a platform that provides us with the exposure needed to build a customer base. Having CodeCanyon handling billing is also a great benefit as they are handling millions of requests and have the expertise to be a powerful partner.
CodeCanyon is a marketplace which rewards people with great ideas and products and provides transparency due to their review/rating system so customers know instantly if they are buying from a reputable author or not. We joined Envato in 2009 and experienced the growth in person and are happy to be part of it.
What does the future hold of Mailster? Are there any big updates or features coming soon?
Mailster is an always evolving plugin. We have feature ideas for the next few years and prioritize them on customers need. One big thing we are currently finalizing is a WPML integration which enables users to send out emails in different languages.
With Mailster updates are free for lifetime so customers who buy from us have the guarantee that their product will get more and more features over time which is just a great value and something we are very proud of. We want to treat all your customers in the best way possible and help them to grow their email audience. That’s why we’ve built Mailster and are continuing to push the plugin even further.