Let me start by apologizing about the dead horse lying here in front me…but this is the cold hard truth:
You need to build an email list.
I know…you’ve probably seen this advice written ad nauseam, but that’s because it’s a fact.
Your email list helps you boost your new content, revive your old content, and just generally make more money. It’s also an evergreen asset. Search rankings can rise and fall, but your list, if cared for, will always remain relatively stable.
Effective list building requires effective tools, though. The days of coyly displaying an opt-in form in your sidebar are, unfortunately, gone. You need to get a bit more creative than that.
And that’s what this post is all about – giving you the best WordPress email list building plugins so that you can build your subscribers in the most efficient way possible.
I’ll give you two types of list building tools: opt-in form creators and landing page builders. Then, at the end of the post, I’ll tell which you plugins I think you should pick depending on your exact situation.
Let’s get into it…
The best email list building plugins to display opt-in forms in 2018
If you want something in life, research says that you should ask for it. Guess what – that applies to list building, too. If you want someone to subscribe to your list, it helps to actually ask them in a noticeable way.
That’s what the eight plugins below are all about – helping you ask people to sign up for your list with a variety of creative popovers and opt-in forms.
1. Thrive Leads – 10 form types and powerful A/B testing
Like all of Thrive Themes products, Thrive Leads is all about maximizing one thing:
What’s that mean for you? More people signing up for your email list.
To accomplish that, Thrive Leads is packed with list building features. To start you off, it has ten different opt-in forms you can use. Popups, ribbons, sliders – they’re all there. That’s the most form options of any plugin on this list.
You can trigger all these forms by exit intent, timing, scrolling, or clicking. And here’s the really cool thing:
You’re not limited to just one opt-in form per site.
You can create different forms for separate posts, pages, categories, custom URLs, and more. Then, you can sync each form to separate lists to create hyper-segmented subscriber lists.
Thrive Leads doesn’t stop working after you make your form live, either. It helps you test literally everything about your forms. You can test different form types, triggers, content, design and more! Being able to test different form types against each other is a unique feature.
And once a user subscribes, Thrive Leads does two things with its SmartLinks feature:
- It stops annoying your existing subscribers by bugging them to subscribe to a list they’re already on.
- It lets you display special offers that only your subscribers can see.
With these conversion-focused features, Thrive Leads definitely deserves its place at the top of this list.
Price: From $67 for a lifetime license with 12 months support
2. Bloom by Elegant Themes – Two unique placements
Bloom comes with six different form types, including popups, flyins, widgets, and more. You can target these forms by the standard options like time, scrolling, and inactivity. And then Elegant Themes ups the ante with two unique triggers:
“After commenting” and “after purchasing”.
The only notable exception is no exit intent trigger. Because of patent issues, Elegant Themes has shied away from including this feature in Bloom for now.
Bloom also lets you target forms by posts, pages, and categories. And you can A/B test forms to optimize conversions, though you’re limited to testing multiple variations of the same form type against each other.
And, of course, one of the biggest benefits of Bloom is that you get access to all Elegant Themes’ themes and plugins when you subscribe, which opens up a whole treasure chest of powerful tools.
Price: $89/yr or $249 lifetime membership
3. Convert Pro – Great interface and templates
Convert Pro is an opt-in plugin from Brainstorm Force with a great set of templates and a well-designed interface that includes a drag-and-drop form editor.
Basically, it manages to meld deep functionality with one of the better user experiences that you’ll find in a WordPress plugin.
To start with, Convert Pro lets you create 8 different types of opt-in forms:
- Info bar
- After Post
- Convert Mat
- Full Screen Popup
To build your forms, you can either start from scratch, or you can choose from the many included templates. No matter which approach you choose, you’ll be able to use the drag-and-drop editor:
Once you’ve built your forms, you have full control over when and where they appear.
On the triggering front, you can use conditions like:
- User inactivity
- Scroll depth
- Exit intent
And you also get some interesting targeting rules. Beyond simply targeting forms to specific pages, you can also target by:
- New vs old visitor
- Logged-in status (e.g. hide the form for logged in users, but show for anonymous visitors)
Finally, you get a couple of ways to analyze and optimize your forms. You can:
- Connect to Google Analytics to view real-time form analytics
- Run A/B and multivariate tests to optimize your forms, including a helpful automatic winner function
Price: Starts at $99 for 12 months of support/updates and use on unlimited sites
4. WP Subscribe Pro by MyThemeShop – Affordable popup opt-ins
WP Subscribe from MyThemeShop comes in both a free and premium version. While the free option works in a basic sense, to get access to the most effective features, you really need to go with the pro version.
WP Subscribe Pro lets you add a custom popup subscribe box that appears based on a variety of triggers. You can trigger your box by timing, scrolling, or exit intent. You can also choose from a variety of animation effects when your box displays.
If you don’t want a popup, you also get the option to add newsletter opt-in boxes above or below your content.
You can exclude certain posts/pages and configure cookie timing to limit how often individual users will see your subscribe boxes.
Though it lacks A/B testing and the sheer variety of opt-in forms offered by Thrive Leads and Bloom, WP Subscribe Pro is also significantly cheaper.
Price: $29 one-time payment for use on unlimited websites
5. SumoMe – Free with multiple effective form types
SumoMe isn’t limited to just list building – it’s a whole toolbox packed with helpful marketing apps all wrapped up in one plugin.
But the apps I really want to focus on here are:
- List Builder
- Welcome Mat
- Scroll Box
- Smart Bar
Between them, they allow you to create a huge variety of opt-in forms. List Builder adds popups, while Scroll Box and Smart Bar add their titular form types.
But the really unique one is Welcome Mat. It adds a slide-down welcome opt-in form which SumoMe claims can double your conversion rate.
With all the list building apps, you can customize colors and text. And if you go pro, you’ll also get access to detailed targeting and built-in A/B testing tools to optimize your conversion rate.
If you want something that works great even in the free version, SumoMe is a wonderful option.
Price: Free version with pro plans starting at $29/month
6. OptinMonster – Great for managing multiple websites
OptinMonster is a powerful standalone list building tool. But it makes this list because they have a dedicated plugin that makes integration with WordPress 100% painless.
OptinMonster offers up eight different opt-in forms which can be created easily with a drag and drop builder.
These options include essentials like popups, slide-ins, and others. They also offer a helpful option called “Canvas” which allows you to insert any code block in a popup. This lets you easily include quizzes, videos, Facebook “like” boxes, or anything else code-based.
You also get access to OptinMonster’s Exit-Intent technology, among their other targeting options. And page level targeting gives you even more control over where and when your opt-in forms display.
Once you’ve got your forms up and running, OptinMonster’s A/B testing and analytics tools can help maximize your conversion rates.
Price: Basic $19/month (or $9/month paid annually) to Pro $39/month (or $29/month paid annually)
7. Ninja Popups – Affordable with A/B testing
As the name suggests, Ninja Popups is all about creating popup opt-in forms.
To help you create beautiful forms, they include over 50 popup themes as well as a drag and drop builder.
You can target by timing, scroll-depth, or exit intent. Page level targeting also lets you choose where your popups display or use different popups for different pages.
And here’s the big news:
Ninja Popups recently added A/B testing and analytics to the package, so you can fine-tune all your opt-in forms.
If you want more than just popups, you can extend the plugin by purchasing add-ons for notification bars and sidebar widgets.
Price: $25/single site with lifetime updates
8. Boxzilla – Free and lightweight scroll boxes
Formerly known as Scroll Triggered Boxes, Boxzilla is a lightweight plugin for doing precisely that (scroll triggered boxes!).
You can create boxes containing any content you want which slide or fade in. In the free version, you can trigger their appearance by a user scrolling a certain percentage of the page, reaching a specific element, or spending a certain amount of time on page.
Premium add-ons further support exit intent, number of pageviews, and time on site (this time can accrue over multiple pages).
Page targeting allows you to control where your boxes can display. And you can customize how your boxes look via a basic interface.
As far as free solutions go, Boxzilla is a quality, lightweight, plugin. Just don’t expect the same level of detail you get in solutions like Thrive Leads or OptinMonster.
Price: Free. Add-ons cost $6/month or $60/yr
The best landing page plugins for list building
Opt-in forms aren’t the only way to build your email list. Sometimes you need to dedicate an entire landing page exclusively to list building. Yes, that’s true even if you’re only running a blog!
To build a complete landing page, those opt-in form plugins I listed above aren’t your best option – you need something dedicated. To help you out, here are the best landing page plugins for list building:
9. Thrive Architect – Themed templates and Thrive Leads integration
Among the awesome features I’ll discuss below, Thrive Architect has two powerful things going for it:
It includes a powerful drag & drop visual editor AND it integrates with Thrive Leads.
Thrive Architect includes 157+ templates to help you get started. But these aren’t just any landing page templates – these templates are perfect for list building. Here’s why:
While many landing page builders just give you templates for a solitary landing page, Thrive Architect includes themed templates that cover the entire funnel. That means you can have your main page with a “Subscribe” box, follow it up with a similarly themed “thank you” page, and then kick it into overdrive with one more themed email confirmation page.
In addition to the themed templates, you can also create or edit landing pages with the drag and drop editor. And since this is a page builder plugin, you can also create custom layouts within any page or post on your site.
And because you can easily embed Thrive Leads forms within your landing pages, you can combine Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads for powerful full-stack list building.
Price: From $67 (includes lifetime updates and 12 months support)
10. OptimizePress – More than just landing pages
OptimizePress is a full-suite tool capable of creating sales funnels and membership portals. With that being said, its landing page creation tool is what you’ll want to use for most list building efforts.
You can use it to create beautiful landing pages via a drag and drop builder. You get to build your pages from over 40 different elements and see your changes in real time.
If you don’t want to get started from scratch, you can use one of the 30 included templates or extend with hundreds of premium templates in their marketplace.
Full API integrations with AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, and others ensure seamless integration with your email marketing software.
Price: Starts at $97/one-time for use on up to 3 websites
11. Leadpages – Pricey standalone landing page builder
Similar to how OptinMonster functions, Leadpages is a standalone web app that integrates well with WordPress thanks to its dedicated plugin. Because of this, you can easily manage landing pages for multiple sites from one location.
With an extensive collection of templates, Leadpages makes it exceptionally easy to create a page. Just pick a template, customize it with a drag and drop editor, and push your page live.
Leadpages integrates with all the major email marketing services for easy list building.
And you don’t need to rely on just your landing page – Leadpages’ Leadboxes tool helps you quickly add opt-in popovers.
More expensive plans also include detailed A/B testing to optimize every aspect of your landing page.
Price: Starts at $37/monthly (or $25/monthly when paid annually)
12. Yoast Comment Hacks
Yoast Comment Hacks deals entirely with the WordPress comments section. So why am I mentioning it?
Because of this little feature included in the plugin:
The ability to redirect first-time blog commenters to a thank you page.
While this feature gets no fanfare in the plugin’s description, it’s a perfect way grow your list.
From the fact that the person left a comment, you already know they’re engaged. That makes it a perfect time to redirect them to a thank you page that asks them to sign up for your list.
And guess what…those three plugins I wrote about directly above? They’re exactly what you need to create that thank you page.
Which list building plugin should you pick?
For the most effective list building, you’ll want a way to implement opt-in forms AND build landing pages.
If you want a good balance between features and price, you should check out Ninja Popups because it now supports A/B testing and analytics. Convert Pro might also be another good option if you need something for multiple sites. While its $99 price tag is a bit higher, it has deeper functionality and the unlimited site license can make it a great value if you’ll use it on several sites.
And if you want the absolute biggest bang for your buck, you should go with Thrive Leads or Bloom. Thrive Leads because it has the most display options and the best A/B testing system, and Bloom because, in addition to great functionality, it gives you access to all the other Elegant Themes tools.
No matter which you choose, you should also consider Yoast Comment Hacks. It’s 100% free and works great in conjunction with all the other plugins on this list.
We’ve covered both opt-in form plugins and landing page plugins so you can squeeze more subscribers (and leads) from your website.
Now get out there and start building your list!