Looking for a way to display stylish opt-in forms on your WordPress site…without shelling out $70+ for one of the premium plugins?

In my OptinEngine review, I’ll be looking at a WordPress opt-in plugin that allows you to create a variety of stylish email opt-ins for free. And no, it doesn’t skimp out on targeting options!

You’ll be able to choose exactly when and where your opt-ins display, as well as style everything about them.

Seriously – OptinEngine’s quality belies its free price tag. I encourage you to read this review to learn more about how this free plugin can help you.

OptinEngine Review: Feature List

OptinEngine is all about helping your build your email list. Here’s how it does that…

Let’s start with integrations – because if your opt-in plugin doesn’t sync with your email marketing service, you’re dead on arrival. OptinEngine hits all of the popular email marketing services, including some of the newer ones.

Currently, the list of supported email marketing services is:

  • MailChimp
  • Aweber
  • Intercom
  • Drip
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Get Response
  • Active Campaign
  • OptinEngine lead list (a list inside your WordPress dashboard)

The next thing you’re probably interested in is what types of opt-ins you can actually create with OptinEngine. Currently, that list is:

  • Popups
  • Sliders
  • Info Bars
  • Before Post
  • After Post
  • Widgets (Sidebar/Footer)
  • Inline (Shortcode)

Additionally, you can either have your opt-ins include your email opt-in form right away or just display any type of CTA.

All the classics are there. I guess the only one that some people might miss is a Sumo style welcome mat. Personally, I hate welcome mats, so I have zero issue with the exclusion.

Beyond those two core features, OptinEngine also makes it easy for you customize:

  • Styles
  • Colors
  • Fonts
  • Messages

And one really nifty tool they have is the Targeting functionality. It lets you choose specific pages and/or devices to target your opt-ins to. I’ll show you this feature in more detail in the hands-on section.

Hands-on With OptinEngine

Alright! Let’s dig in and see how OptinEngine does in real life.

Once you install and activate the plugin, you get a new OptinEngine tab with all of the options. Right away, I appreciate the design of the interface. You can tell the developer put some effort into styling it so that it’s actually pleasant to use.

optinengine review

There are four tabs:

  • Optins
  • Email Accounts
  • Leads
  • Support

First step? Set up an integration with an email marketing service. I’ll try to connect to my MailChimp account for this review.

Connecting Your Email Marketing Service to OptinEngine

To connect a MailChimp account, you just need to pop over to the Email Accounts tab and click the Add Account button:

That opens up a popup to select your email provider and then enter your API details:

And then you’re good to go! You can see all of the lists included in your account. And you’ll be able to select individual lists later on when you create your opt-in forms.

Creating An Email Optin With OptinEngine

Now that I’ve got my email marketing service connected, I’m ready to go ahead and create my first email opt-in.

To do that, you just need to head over the the Optins tab and click Create new Optin.

Your first step? Choose your template style. To help with that, you can filter by different types of opt-ins:

These are just the default styles – you’ll be able to customize all of the colors and text in the next step.

As far as styles go, I’d say the templates are pretty standard. That is, they look very similar to something you’d get with Sumo or Elegant Themes’ Bloom plugin.

Once you select your template, you need to choose its positioning:

And once you make that choice, you’re into the customization interface!

Customizing Your Email Opt-in Form

First off, let me say that the customization interface is very well designed. Beyond just generally looking nice, it’s also intuitive to use. Everything is logically divided up and easy to access. And it also gives you a real-time preview of all of your changes, which makes it super easy to use.

On the Setup tab, you’ll give your form a name and choose the list you want to connect to. This is also where you set your Goal, which determines whether you’re pushing email signups or a generic CTA.

For example, if you change the Goal from Collect Email to Click Link, the email form will disappear:

You have full control over the button text and destination URL, which makes it easy to use OptinEngine to drive traffic to affiliate offers or otherwise promote something other than your email list.

On the Message tab, you can customize all of the text on your opt-in:

And on the Thank You tab, you can choose what happens after a user signs up:

The Fonts tab lets you choose from the 9 included fonts, which includes great fonts like Lato, Roboto, Merriweather, Open Sans, and more.

And then on the Style tab, you can configure sizing, animation, and colors:

You can see the wiggling button animation in my screenshot above!

On the Image tab, you can add an image and choose its positioning if desired:

And finally, we get to my favorite tab! The Targeting tab.

Here’s where you can set up all kinds of details like:

  • How long of a delay, if any, before your opt-in displays
  • Whether to display your opt-in on all pages, certain types of pages, or just a single post/page
  • Whether to show your opt-in on all devices or just on, say, desktop
  • How long to hide your opt-in after a user hits the close button
  • How long to hide your opt-in after a user actually completes the desired action (e.g. signs up).

The latter two options are especially important because you don’t want to completely destroy your user experience when you use opt-ins. Those throttles help to ensure you don’t annoy your visitors:

Once you’ve configured everything, you just hit the Save & Publish button, give it a name, and you’re done.

Unless you chose a display method that requires you to use a shortcode, your opt-in should now be active:

Using the OptinEngine Leads Functionality

One cool thing about the plugin is the OptinEngine Leads functionality. If you turn it on when you create your opt-in, you’ll be able to view all of your signups from directly inside your WordPress dashboard (as well as your email marketing service).

If you’re using OptinEngine to generate a more narrow list of leads instead of a huge mailing list, this functionality can come in handy.

Managing Your OptinEngine Campaigns

If you ever need to stop or modify your opt-in forms, you just need to hit the Settings icon on the Optins tab and you can:

  • Edit
  • Pause
  • Copy
  • Delete

How Much Does OptinEngine Cost?

Everything I showed you in this review is 100% free. Yup – this is all from the plugin listed at WordPress.org. You don’t need to pay a single penny.

There’s also a premium version that adds A/B testing and detailed statistics starting at $29.

Wrapping Things Up

As far as functionality and ease of use go, OptinEngine feels like a premium plugin. The real-time opt-in form builder makes it stupid simple to create opt-ins, the customization options are divided up well, and the forms work as intended on the front-end.

The only things you might miss when compared with other opt-in plugins are:

  • Exit-intent targeting
  • Welcome mat style opt-ins

Other than that, it’s got pretty much everything you need.

Even if the plugin cost money, I’d still tell you that it’s worth it. But the fact that it’s free and listed at WordPress.org? Icing on the cake.

If you’ve been looking for a quality WordPress opt-in plugin but have been scared off by the price tag on tools like OptinMonster or Bloom, definitely give this one a look.

Download OptinEngine at WordPress.org

Go to OptinEngine Website


Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you, Colin, for the detailed review.
    I was testing out WPMU Dev’s Hustle and tried this one(OptinEngine) today.
    The settings are self-explanatory and the forms also look good.
    The free version is certainly a bang for the buck and does the job.
    Will be using it on client sites.. :)

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