How many times have you read a blog post telling you that you need to build an email list? If you’re doing the math, I’m guessing you might be running out of fingers and toes. But this advice is so popular because it’s actually…true. Search engine rankings may rise and fall, but email lists are an evergreen traffic source that, if nurtured, can always drive traffic and revenue. So, you should probably build a list. And to do that, you need a good list building plugin, which is that this post is all about.
So, join me as I take you through all of the best WordPress email list building plugins. And if you’re coming to this post from the wplift newsletter, well…hopefully you see why email lists are important!
What To Look For in an Email List Building Plugin
Here’s what you want to consider when you pick a plugin:
- Opt-in form types– Back in the day, all you needed was a “subscribe” box in your sidebar. Now you have welcome mats, notification bars, popovers, flyins, and probably five new options by the time this article gets published. Pick a plugin that has the specific form types you want.
- Email marketing integrations – make sure that the plugin you choose integrates easily with your email marketing service of choice.
- Form templates – most plugins come with templates to help you quickly build your list. Make sure these templates match the style of your website.
So now that you know what you should be thinking about, let’s dig into:
The best List Building WordPress Plugins
OptinMonster – SaaS With a WordPress Plugin
Created, in part, by Syed Balkhi of WPBeginner fame, OptinMonster is a SaaS list building tool that integrates well with WordPress thanks to its dedicated plugin.
One of the major benefits of OptinMonster is that they include a drag and drop form builder which helps you create subscribe forms from a variety of options like popups, slide-ins, sidebar forms, and more.
You can have your forms display immediately or based on a user’s behavior (one of the common options being exit-intent popups).
To optimize your forms, you can take advantage of built-in A/B testing for different form elements. You’ll be able to see analytics data for all your forms to base decisions on.
And you can even target different forms to different pages if you want.
OptinMonster integrates with all the major email marketing services and pricing starts at $19 per month ($9 per month if billed annually).
Bloom from Elegant Themes
Bloom helps you build your email list with six different form types, including slide-ins, popups, widgets, and more.
In addition to a number of other form triggers, they also include my favorite form trigger: “After commenting”.
This allows you to display your opt-in forms to users who are already highly engaged with your site (because they left a comment!).
Other features include form A/B testing and page-level targeting.
Bloom is part of the $89 Elegant Themes Developer package. Go to Elegant Themes.
MailOptin – Uses The Real-Time WordPress Customizer
MailOptin is a flexible list building plugin that comes in both a free and premium version. The free version is plenty usable, but the premium version tacks on lots of helpful functionality, like A/B testing.
Let’s start with the basics, though…
MailOptin lets you create:
- Before/after post content
- Sidebar opt-ins with widgets
- Slide-ins (premium only)
- Top/bottom notification bars (premium only)
To create your forms, you’ll choose from the included templates and then customize your opt-in using the real-time WordPress Customizer (yes – the same type of interface that you use when you customize your WordPress theme).
You can trigger/target your opt-ins by criteria like:
- Scroll depth
- # of page views
- Time on site
- Adblock usage
- Referral address
- New vs returning visitors
MailOptin can connect to all the popular email marketing services. But it also has some built-in functionality that can help you directly work with leads and send emails.
MailOptin stores all of your leads in an in-dashboard “lead bank”. And it can also help you set up email automation in conjunction with your third-party email marketing service.
For example, you can have MailOptin send out new emails via MailChimp whenever you publish new content.
Finally, MailOptin hooks you up with in-dashboard analytics, as well as A/B testing to help you optimize your lead generation forms.
SumoMe – Three Different List Building Apps
I already dug deep into every feature of the SumoMe WordPress plugin in a previous post, but it’s worth highlighting its list building features once more. SumoMe includes three apps to help you build your email list:
- Welcome Mat – display a large, slide-down welcome mat for your readers.
- Smart Bar – creates a simple notification bar at the top of your page.
- Scroll Box – displays an opt-in form as your readers scroll down the page.
With all of these apps, you can customize your forms and targeting options.
SumoMe is a free plugin with a premium version. Go to SumoMe.
GetSiteControl offers various ways to collect emails. You can build a list using subscription forms, contact forms, and survey forms. On top of that, each form can be set up to appear as a pop-up, a slider, a bar, or a button – depending on how eye-catching you want it to look.
Now, I’ve already reviewed GetSiteControl WordPress plugin in details, but as a multipurpose lead generation tool, it deserves to be mentioned here once again.
While the free version provides up to 50K monthly views, basic customization, statistics, and scheduling – the premium plan is the way to go if you’re serious about growing the audience of email subscribers.
First, it only costs $19 per month which is more than affordable compared to many solutions. Second, it allows you to create a more efficient lead form. Not only can you add custom images and start triggers (think exit intention, time spent on page, and scrolling), but you’ll also be able to target specific audiences based on their browser, OS, location, language, referrers – you name it.
The main benefit of GetSiteControl premium version, however, is integrations. The tool connects to all the popular email marketing apps, Google Analytics, and hundreds of other solutions via Zapier.
Plus, the package includes branding removal. Go to GetSiteControl.
WP Subscribe PRO – Free and Premium Versions
WP Subscribe Pro comes from MyThemeShop, who are one of my favorite WordPress development shops thanks to their emphasis on clean, efficient code.
The plugin mainly enables you to create opt-in popups, though you can also display static opt-in boxes above or below your content. You can then animate your boxes and trigger them by scrolling, timing, or intent.
You can also configure cookie display limits and choose to exclude certain pages. While there is a free version of the plugin, I think you should go with the pro version if you’re serious about building your email list.
WP Subscribe Pro costs $29 for use on unlimited websites. Go to WP Subscribe Pro.
Ninja Popups – All About Popovers
As the name suggests, Ninja Popups is focused on one type of email opt-in form: popovers.
Ninja Popups has over 24,000 sales at Code Canyon, which is no surprise given it’s packed with features like a drag and drop form builder, 50+ pre-made opt-in form themes, social lockers, and lots more.
If you’re just looking for a quick way to implement some beautiful popup opt-in forms, Ninja Popups is a great option.
Ninja Popups costs $26 at Code Canyon. Go to Ninja Popups.
Plugmatter Feature Box – Create Gorgeous Feature Boxes
Feature boxes are eye-catching forms that sit right below your post’s title. They’re the first thing your readers see and, done right, can convert very well.
Plugmatter Feature Box is a free way to quickly create these types of forms. You won’t be able to create the full variety of form types offered by plugins like Bloom or OptinMonster, but if all you want is a feature box, this plugin is a great option.
It includes templates and integrations with all of the major email marketing services to make set up easy. And if you go with the pro version of the plugin, you’ll also get access to A/B testing as well as a number of other features.
Optin Forms – Lightweight, Free Plugin
Optin Forms is a free option to create a variety of in-content opt-in forms.
It’s lightweight and includes a number of stylish templates. Once you create a form, you can choose to display it after the first or second paragraph in your post, or at the end of your post. You can also exclude certain pages, posts, or post types from displaying forms.
Optin Forms definitely doesn’t have as much functionality as the other plugins on this list, but it’s a nice free option for those who aren’t ready to pay for a premium list building plugin.
Final Thoughts on List Building Plugins
If I had to go with one email list building plugin, I would recommend Bloom for the variety of form types and trigger options.
If you already have a specific type of form in mind, you can pick from Ninja Popups, Plugmatter Feature Box, or other single form type plugins.
And if you’re already using SumoMe for social media, you can take advantage of its list-building features without needing to install another plugin.
Do you have a favorite list building plugin? If I missed one, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!