List Building Ideas and WordPress Pop-Up Plugins

WordPress Popup Plugins

Do you want to build an email list of 25k, 50k, or 100k subscribers? I sure do as it would increase my sales and profits. For starters, I would announce product launches to more subscribers to stimulate a flurry of purchases and buzz. Also, I would drive more traffic to my site through newsletters and email campaigns.

Subscribers can have a significant impact on any business. Suppose your new product or service launches in a week, and you decide to offer presale pricing of $49 (regular $79) to your 70,000 subscribers. Here are the sales that would occur at different conversion rates. As you can see, even low conversion rates lead to excellent results.

Conversion rate Subscribers Sales
1% 700 $34,300
2% 1,400 $68,600
3% 2,100 $102,900
4% 2,800 $137,200

What Exactly Is a Subscriber?


A subscriber is an individual who has signed up and consented to receive information from you. He or she has done so under the assumption that information coming his/her way will be of interest and value. Also, a subscriber is a lead and potential customer of your products and services. On the other hand, someone who you add to your email list or “list” without prior consent is an unofficial subscriber. For instance, you add a LinkedIn connection to your list without her approval (doing so is not a wise approach). Adding subscribers without their permissions will diminish your brand, trust, and put your email marketing at risk. Nonconsenting subscribers may report you to your email marketing provider. Also, you could be fined by regulators, depending on your country’s email and SPAM policies.

My Focus

Increasing my subscribers hasn’t always been a top priority, but it is now. I use Bloom and MailerLite, which are two fantastic email marketing tools.

The DNA of List Building

There are many ways to grow your email list, and you should consider the following:

  1. Deployment
  2. Form design
  3. Sign up incentive, offer, or bait
  4. List building plugin or service

1) Opt-in Form Deployment

I love the definition of deployment, “to arrange in a position of readiness,” and as it applies to opt-in forms, we need to focus on the location, quantity, and frequency.

Location–A commonly used opt-in form is a pop-up that appears to visitors either upon entry or exit to a website. Also, it’s quite common to see an opt-in form in a side panel widget. However, there are many more places to position forms such as:

  • Top of a page as a ribbon or smart bar
  • In-line with page content
  • Footer area or below content
  • Slide-in
  • Content lock overlay
  • Screen overlay or scroll mat
  • Page or content-specific

Learn more: A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Opt-in Form

Quantity–The last thing you want to do is scare away visitors and potential subscribers by inundating them with too many forms. I experience this occasionally, which makes for a bad visitor experience. I’ve adopted a strategic less-is-more approach of activating two to four forms at any given time. For example, I currently use fly-in, below content, and content lock forms. If you’re only using one form, this won’t be enough to achieve desired results.

Frequency–I’ve set some of my forms to appear each time a visitor comes to my site whereas others are set to reappear weekly. Consider how often you want your forms to appear, for example, too often can annoy visitors while too infrequent won’t achieve subscriber conversion goals.

2) Form Design

The flattening of design continues, and we see big-name companies such as Amazon and Facebook leading the way. Flat design is a style of an interface without any stylistic elements that give the illusion of three dimensions–such as drop shadows, gradients, or textures–and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography, and flat colors. I’ve adopted flat design principles for this site and my opt-in forms because it improves readability and visual flow.
Amazon Button Design

Many list building tools provide templates, but you should customize these templates with personal touches. This will help to differentiate your forms from those used on other sites. If minor changes are made to templates, they’ll blend in with the rest and won’t have an impact. For example, I see many SumoMe pop-ups that all look the same.

A/B testing your forms is another approach to take. The idea here is to have two or more forms, that are different in appearance, compete against each other to see which converts higher. Running a split test over a month or until you have sufficient impressions will lend credibility to your experiment.

3) Sign Up Incentive

It’s creativity, copy, and value that stimulates folks to subscribe. Individuals want to subscribe to unique offers that have attractive value propositions. My landing page for WordPress affiliate programs has a 7.69 percent conversion rate, which exceeds my goals.

Another important consideration concerns copywriting and the wording on your forms. We must sell visitors on why they should subscribe without overdoing it. Trigger words such as access, exclusive, secret, hacks, special, and limited project urgency to become a subscriber.

There are several items you can offer to encourage sign-ups including:

  • Checklist
  • Cheat sheet
  • eBook
  • Online course
  • How to guide
  • Report
  • Member or subscriber-only content
  • Video or webinar
  • Freeby or discount
  • Access to a private Facebook group or membership

4) List Building Plugin or Service

Deployment and design will depend on the WordPress plugin or service you use. A good place to start is in understanding which plugin features are critical to list building.

Feature Description
Form types The number of different forms you can implement. For example, pop-up, top bar, and slide-in would count as three.
Form customization The degree to which you can customize templates.
A/B testing A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of an opt-in form to see which performs better.
Reporting and analytics Subscriber data and how it ‘s presented to help you make better decisions.
Display rules and targeting The ability to control opt-in forms based on rules and preferences that affect visibility and frequency.
Integrations List of email marketing services and apps for integration purposes.
Pricing The cost and value proposition compared to similar products and services.

Given these critical features, let’s compare four WordPress pop-up plugins.WordPress Pop-Up PluginsBloom–Premium Plugin

Bloom gives you all the tools you need to turn visitors into loyal followers and customers. Not only is Bloom going to convert extremely well, but it’s also going to look great doing it.

MailMunch–Free and Premium

Create beautiful lead capture forms to grow your email list. Convert abandoning visitors into subscribers with exit intent and other marketing tools.

SumoMe–Free and Premium

SumoMe is a suite of free tools to grow your website’s traffic. The SumoMe tools are easy to install and work on any website.

Thrive Leads–Premium

Thrive Leads is a list building solution that’s created by a team of people who are obsessed with conversion optimization. Build your mailing list faster than ever before.

Feature Bloom MailMunch SumoMe Thrive Leads
Form types 6 4 4 10
Form customization Medium Low Medium High
A/B Testing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Analytics Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display rules and targeting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrations 16 8 14 21
Pricing model Subscription or one-time Subscription Subscription One-time
Pricing *$89/year or $249 one-time Free to $49/month Free to $119/month $67 to $97 one-time

*Bloom is only available with the purchase of an annual or one-time membership from Elegant Themes, which also includes access to numerous themes and plugins.

Winners: Bloom and Thrive Leads

Features such as A/B testing, reporting, and display rules are standard with most list building plugins. Integrations are necessary to the point the plugin can connect with your current or future email marketing provider. Therefore, the main differentiators are form types, customization, and pricing.

It’s clear that Thrive Leads provides the most forms alongside a high degree of customization. Thrive enables you to create forms from scratch without knowledge of coding. Bloom provides an excellent set of forms whereas SumoMe and MailMunch are lacking. As for pricing, Thrive Leads charges the least. In fact, you can purchase a Thrive membership to gain access to numerous themes and plugins.

If you’re just starting to build your list and want a free solution, MailMunch and SumoMe will suffice. However, SumoMe is overpriced for what you get compared with MailMunch, which is decent and affordable. If you’re ready to invest in your business and are serious about building your list, I recommend Bloom and Thrive Leads. Please read my comparison between Thrive Leads and Bloom, for more insights.


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