I think we can all agree by now, that email marketing is one of the best marketing channels to master to create a successful website. Not only will it become one of your best traffic sources, but it will likely drive the most sales for you as well.
Plus it's not subject to the whims of random algorithm changes like you would from Google search or Facebook Ads.
But for email marketing to be effective you need to be continuously adding more and more subscribers.
So what is the most effecient way to collect more leads on your site?
That's right...the optin popup.
Optin popups work because of a couple of factors. They are highly visible (the website dims when they show up) and they present a clear call to action. Sure, they can sometimes be annoying to your visitors, but the benefits still outweigh the negatives.
For example, blogger Nikki McGonigal used both a lightbox popup and a sidebar optin form on her site. She found she got over 1375% more signups via her popup than her sidebar form.
That's a huge difference!
In this post, I'm going to take a look at 5 different products that allow you to create optin popups: SumoMe List Builder, Leadpages LeadBoxes, Thrive Leads, Optin Monster and Bloom.
Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of each and see which one I've chosen as the best optin popup product.
SumoMe List Builder
The SumoMe WordPress plugin actually gives you access to a whole suite of marketing apps, and its List Builder app allows you to easily create optin forms.
You'll see sites using their popups a lot, mostly because of their free version. Plus, it was created by Noah Kagen who is one of the most popular marketers around.
The free version of List Builder only includes one optin form template design which looks like this.
The form editor is pretty basic and allows you to customize the few elements of the form in real-time. So the headline, form body text, button text can all be changed, as well as the colors and fonts.
The popup can be configured to show up on your site via 'Show Rules' or excluded via 'Don't Show Rules'. So you could have your popup display on your homepage, or just on pages that have an article for them.
List Builder includes a 'Smart Mode' feature (aka Exit Intent) which shows your popup when it detects when a visitor is about to leave your site. This is a good way to capture some additional email addresses that you might not normally get.
Reporting is pretty simplisitic. You can only see the past 30 days worth of stats and you'll need to manually download a csv file if you want to collect this data over a longer period of time.
There's also a Pro version of List Builder. It costs $20 a month and it unlocks more templates and split testing features.
SumoMe List Builder Pros
- Simple and Fast to get started
SumoMe List Builder Cons
- Only one optin template
- Limited targeting options
- No split testing in free version
- Basic reporting
- Aggressive upsells to Pro version
LeadPages is one of the most popular landing page creators out there. And it also includes it's own optin popup called LeadBoxes.
Currently, there is only one simple template, so you will find that most LeadBoxes look pretty similar.
Customization is pretty basic. You can modify your headline, change the image and other simple settings. LeadPages did recently release a new drag and drop builder, so hopefully it can be used for more extensive customization to your LeadBoxes in a future release.
You can also do basic split testing with LeadBoxes. It's simple to create variations to your existing LeadBoxes and then compare the conversion rates of each in your dashboard.
LeadBoxes are a bit more flexible than say the SumoMe List Builder. Not only can you have them display as a standard lightbox popup, but you can also show them when a user clicks on a link or button as well. Coupled with LeadPages Lead Magnet delivery, this makes them perfect for implementing content upgrades.
Since you build your Leadboxes on the LeadPages site itself, installing the Leadbox on your site requires pasting in some generated html code on each post or page you want it to appear. This means that it doesn't support the same targeting options as some of the other products.
Reporting is pretty nice. You get nice looking graphs of your optins and conversion and you can drill down by specifying a date range.
- Simple, Easy to create
- Supports 2-step Optins (great for content upgrades)
- Good reporting
- All LeadBoxes look the same
- Expensive, monthly fee especially if you don't use the other LeadPages features
Optin Monster has been out for quite awhile now and has a lot of fans. Its sole focus is to generate leads for your site and you can create 8 different optin types, including its lightbox popover.
The lightbox popover has 13 different themes, and they are all nicely designed.
Each of the themes can be edited in the real-time visual editor. Customization is quick, but you are limited to changing designs within the limitations of the template you've chosen. So you can't drag and drop elements around or anything like that.
Once completed, your optin form can be deployed over to your WordPress site via the companion WordPress plugin. Or if you're not using WordPress you can copy and paste the generated html code manually.
You can trigger your popups in a few different ways. Optin Monster supports Exit Intent, so you can show your popup when visitors are leaving your site. You can also show your popup when a user scrolls a certain amount of your page.
Split testing is also supported in Optin Monster. It's similar to LeadPages' implementation of split testing so you can see the stats of each variation and manually decide which one is the winner.
If you want to use content upgrades on your site, then you can use the Monster Link feature to make implement 2-step optin.
Price wise, Optin Monster is a bit on the pricier side. The Pro version, gives you access to all the features and allows you to use it on unlimited sites for $29 a month.
- Can trigger popups on Exit Intent
- Support Content Upgrades via Monster Links
- Small set of starter templates
- Editor not as flexible as others
- Monthly fee. Only Pro plan has all features
Bloom is a WordPress plugin from the makers of Elegant Themes. If you are part of their membership, then you will get access to Bloom automatically.
Bloom allows you to create a wide variety of forms on your site, including your standard lightbox popup.
Bloom uses a wizard type interface to create your forms. To start you first choose your optin-type, then pick which email service provider you want to integrate with and finally pick your template.
What makes Bloom stand out are the wide variety of beautiful templates you can pick from. There are currently over 100 different design variations you can choose and they all have that distinctive Elegant Themes style.
The form editor is a little different in that it just displays the different settings that you can change on a single page. So you can adjust your optin headline, add an image, change colors, fonts and backgrounds.
What I don't really like about the editor is that you can't see your form in real-time as you tweak the different settings. Instead, you have to click the Preview button to see what your form looks like. It's a small thing, but it really makes a difference in the user experience of designing your form.
Bloom supports quite a few triggers for showing your popup. Standard ones like popping up after a certain time, and unique ones like triggering after commenting and triggering after purchase (when used with WooCommerce).
Curiously though, Bloom doesn't support Exit Intent like most of the other products do. Nor does it support 2-step optins so you can do content upgrades.
You can't purchase Bloom separately, so if you want it you will need to get the full Elegant Themes developer package. This is $89 a year and you get access to Bloom as well as all the other themes and plugins that are part of the Elegant Themes membership.
- Over 100 beautiful looking templates
- Integrates nicely with the rest of Elegant Themes ecosystem
- No real-time editing of designs
- No Exit Intent trigger
- No 2 step optin-in
- Cannot purchase standalone
Thrive Leads bills itself as the Ultimate list building plugin for WordPress. And after using it, you will figure out why. It essentially includes all the good things from all the other products mentioned above and makes them better. Plus it includes some unique features of its own.
Like Bloom and Optin Monster, Thrive Leads allows you to add multiple types of optin forms on your site, including a few varieties of popup forms.
It also includes a large number of template designs to start from. Not as many as Bloom but there's quite a bit of variety to each, so you can easily find one that fits any niche.
Where Thrive Leads really stands out from the pack is its editor. It's based on Thrive Content Builder and it gives you complete customization of your forms in real time. That means you can drag elements around and insert different Thrive Elements in your form.
So you have full control and freedom to create a lightbox design that fits your vision. None of the other popup plugins have this, and it's a big differentiator in my opinion.
Thrive Leads also supports all the triggers that you would want including exit intent, trigger on scrolling and more. You also get total control of which pages or posts of your site that your popup shows up on.
Split Testing is also another feature where Thrive Leads goes the extra mile. Along with allowing you to easily create split test variations, the plugin will keep track of the conversion rates of each variation, and automatically pick a winner when it collects enough data reach a valid conclusion.
This is an awesome feature that will definitely increase your conversions.
Thrive Leads also supports 2-step optins for content upgrades, lead magnet delivery and multi-step optin forms.
Thrive Leads can be purchased separately for $97 and used on unlimited sites. Or you can get it as part of the Thrive Themes membership which is currently $19 a month.
Thrive Lead Pros
- Fully customizable popup designs
- Nice variety of templates to start from
- Split testing will automatically choose best performing design to show
- One time fee
Thrive Lead Cons
- There is an additional learning curve to the Thrive Editor
Each of the products in this roundup support a lot of the same basic features. They allow you to create nice looking optin popups, with not a lot of effort. They are all mobile responsive and they all work with the major email service providers.
If you are just starting out with email marketing, then the free SumoMe List Builder plugin is a good place to get started. It has all you need to get your feet wet to start collecting leads.
However, if you want to take your email marketing to the next level, then List Builder becomes outclassed (even the Pro version).
Instead, the clear winner of this optin popup roundup is Thrive Leads. It gives you the a number of great optin templates to start from and gives you the most flexibility in creating the forms you want.
Not only that but you get a host of other important benefits like automatic split testing and 2-step and multi-step optin forms. And it provides incredible value at a $97 one time fee, and it's continuously being updated with new features.
If you want to add a popup optin (or any other optin form) to your site, then Thrive Leads is definitely way to go.
Have an opinion on your favorite email optin popup? Let us know in the comments below.