If you want to build a long-term asset for your blog or website, you should build an email list. And if you want to do that, you need a way to display opt-in forms on your WordPress site to actually convince visitors to subscribe.
MailOptin helps you do that without leaving your WordPress dashboard. And beyond offering up a variety of form types, triggers, and targeting rules, MailOptin can also help you set up basic email automation to automatically send out a newsletter whenever you publish a new post.
MailOptin Review: What The Plugin Does
At a high-level, MailOptin is a freemium plugin that lets you create email optin forms for your WordPress site via a real-time builder. In the premium version, it also includes functionality that lets you send basic newsletters to your subscribers. And you can, of course, easily connect all of this to most popular email marketing services.
As with other opt-in builders, you can create a variety of different types of forms including:
- Before/after post
- Bottom/top bars (premium)
- Slide-ins (premium)
You also have a good amount of flexibility for triggering your opt-in forms with conditions like:
- Time on site
- Scroll trigger
Other features include:
- Targeting, including page-level targeting
- A/B testing
And one really neat thing is that MailOptin can integrate with the Elementor Pro form widget for easy page builder designs.
You’ll configure all of these settings via the real-time WordPress Customizer, which makes for a user-friendly interface that feels accessible right from the moment you install the plugin.
Hands-on With MailOptin
I have the premium version of MailOptin installed on my test site, so let’s dig in and I’ll show you how everything works.
Connecting To Your Email Marketing Service
If you’re using an external email marketing service, the first thing that you’ll probably want to do is connect it to MailOptin.
This process is pretty painless – you just:
- Head to MailOptin → Connections
- Choose your email marketing service from the sidebar (the list is pretty long)
- Complete the integration process. While this varies depending on the service, it’s usually just a matter of pasting in an API key.
I use MailChimp, which just requires the aforementioned API key. Once I added that, I’m good to go:
Creating Your First Email Opt-in Form
To create your first opt-in, you head to MailOptin → Optin Campaigns → Add New.
From there, you select the type of opt-in form that you want to create. Then, you can see the pre-built templates that fit that form type. You can, of course, customize this template later on:
At the time I’m writing this review, here are how many templates you get:
- Lightbox – 8 templates
- In-Post – 8 templates
- Sidebar/widget – 6 templates
- Notification Bar – 3 templates
- Slide-in – 5 templates
For this review, I’ll stick with the lightbox popup.
Once you select a template to start from, you can control how your form looks and functions using the WordPress Customizer interface.
I like this approach because, like the regular WordPress theme customizer, you’ll be able to preview your changes in real-time. It also eliminates page reloads because everything is in the same interface.
Editing Text And Design
In the Design area, you can configure basic color options for your form and, if desired, add custom CSS:
To edit text, you can either manually navigate to the tabs for each area. Or, you can just click on the text on your form to go straight to the text editor in the Customizer sidebar. While there’s no inline text editing, it’s still plenty convenient:
For all the text, you can:
- Hide a specific section
- Change the font
- Change the font color
For some text, you can also add other functionality. For example, you can make it so that a user can click on the “note” to close the optin, which gives you some nice flexibility for how your form functions:
Customizing Form Fields
In the Fields section, you can change:
You can also:
- Hide the name field to just create a single-field opt-in form
- Hide both fields to only display a CTA button
You can use the latter method to either:
- Create a two-step opt-in form
- Promote another offer that has nothing to do with your mailing list
If you go with this approach, you have four options for what happens after a user clicks the button:
Configuring Basic Settings And Integrations
To configure how your form works, you get a few different sections.
In the Configuration area, you can:
- Hide the close button.
- Control cookie settings. These let you control how long to hide the form after a user hits close or fills out your form. Very important so that you avoid annoying your visitors.
In the Effects area, you can add an entrance animation to your form. As you select an option from the drop-down, you can see a live preview of the animation effect on your form.
And in the Integrations area, you can choose which email marketing service and list you want to connect to. Or, you can use the LeadBank Only option which lets you exclusively store your lead data in your own database:
Configure Autoresponder After Signup + Other Success Settings
In the After Conversion area, you can configure what happens after a user submits a form. You can:
- Display a success message
- Close the optin
- Close the optin + reload the page
- Redirect the user to another URL
You also have the option to set up an autoresponder that users will receive immediately after signing up for your list:
While this feature is nice, you might have more flexibility if you use your email marketing service’s functionality instead.
Configure Targeting And Trigger Options
Finally, the Display Rules section gives you a ton of different options for targeting and triggering your opt-in form:
The page-level targeting area is pretty intuitive:
The other areas are mostly a matter of enabling/disabling the specific rule and configuring a couple of settings.
For example, if you use the Visitor has viewed ‘X’ pages rule, all you need to do is configure two options:
And that’s it! To make your opt-in live, you just save your changes and click the toggle at the top.
And when visitors go to your site, they should see your popup according to the display conditions that you set:
Viewing Analytics And Leads
Once you have some forms going, you can view basic real-time analytics in the Optin Campaigns tab:
If you want, you can also create an A/B test from this interface by clicking on the three dots icon:
And you can also view more detailed stats in the Optin Analytics tab:
I like this area because you can see both your highest-performing pages and opt-in forms.
Finally, you can also view information for individual leads in the Lead Bank tab:
And you can also export this information if needed.
Creating An Email Automation Rule For New Posts
MailOptin is primarily focused on helping you actually collect email subscribers. But it does include an automation feature that can actually help you send emails to your subscribers.
In the Email Automations tab, you can set up an automated email that gets sent out whenever you publish a new post:
When you select your template, you’ll similarly be able to customize it using the WordPress Customizer interface:
A lot of the settings are fairly self-explanatory. But one area that’s worth pointing out is the Automation Settings. Here you can choose various settings including:
- Restricting automated emails to certain tags/categories
- Choosing which email service to use
- Scheduling when to send the email in relation to the post’s publish date
This feature is a nice throw-in to save you time. But depending on your site, you might be better off sending customized emails for new posts.
How Much Does MailOptin Cost?
The basic MailOptin plugin is available for free at WordPress.org.
To get access to the pro features, MailOptin Standard starts at $69 for a single site license. That version has most of the features. But a few – like the LeadBank – are only available in MailOptin Pro, which starts at $169 for a 10 site license.
Final Thoughts On MailOptin
I found MailOptin to be polished and I like that it puts all of the optin form settings into the WordPress Customizer for real-time previews and no page reloads.
I don’t mind the lack of a drag and drop form builder as I find MailOptin’s use of the WordPress Customizer intuitive, but I would like to see a few more templates to give some more flexibility. If I recall, something like OptinMonster has more in the realm of ~25 templates to choose from for popups.
To be fair, MailOptin is also likely cheaper than OptinMonster, especially if you need opt-in forms on multiple sites. Additionally, the integration of automation features for new posts helps add some more differentiation. And upcoming integrations for WooCommerce and EDD should continue to do that.
All in all, if you’re looking for a way to display opt-in forms on WordPress, MailOptin is a quality plugin from an active and responsive developer. You can give the free version a try and then see if you want to upgrade to one of the premium versions for more flexibility.