If you’re like most marketers or small businesses, you probably have an email opt-in form on your site to build your subscriber list. You’ve heard the phrase the money is in the list and you don’t want to be left out.

Let’s be honest, though, are you really killing it in the list building department?

It doesn’t matter the niche or business you’re in, I’m sure you could always use more email subscribers and a bigger list. Email marketing is enjoying a bit of a rebirth lately – likely because it works so well!

You’ve probably seen the typical opt-in or CTA boxes usually found on a blog’s sidebar – maybe that’s where yours is located. If you haven’t seen them in a while, you’ve probably just got a case of banner blindness. Believe me, they’re still there, and they’re very easy to overlook.

So, you know you need to grow your email list, but if everybody is skipping over your opt-in box and not subscribing, what can you do?

Luckily, WordPress has some great list building plugins available – both free and paid – that you can use to add call-to-actions throughout your website and breathe new life into your old, boring opt-in box.

Let’s look at 5 top WordPress popover list building plugins that can be used to explode your email list growth.

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads

One of the most popular WordPress list building plugins is Thrive Leads by Thrive Themes. It’s extremely powerful, includes many features and the developers keep adding new features to help you grow your subscriber list.

And, it’s easy to use, too. Even an absolute beginner can create unique and attractive email opt-in forms and popovers with their built-in visual content builder.

You can pick from the many templates included, and can also add or customize things like headlines and buttons by clicking and dragging.

Thrive Leads

The detailed reporting features are top-notch, and complex marketing tests can be carried out with their built-in A/B split testing.

Are you not sure what headline or time-delay works best? Just clone an existing opt-in box, make the change, and let Thrive Leads alternate between the two versions and report back the conversion rates.

Direct integration with most popular email service providers from MailChimp to Aweber to Drip makes adding new subscribers to your lists a cinch. And, if you’re using an unsupported service, you simply paste their provided HTML form code.

Ever clicked a link in an email newsletter only to arrive at the website and be bombarded with popovers or opt-ins asking you to subscribe to the newsletter you’re already subscribed to?

With a recently added feature called SmartLinks, Thrive Leads creates a special link to use in your newsletters that when clicked, sends visitors to the desired page without displaying the opt-in prompts.

Thrive Smart Links

And just recently, a new opt-in form type was added to Thrive Leads called Scroll Mat. Even though this is a brand new addition, you’ve probably already seen this style of lead capture on websites before.

It’s an opt-in form that triggers on page load and scrolls down from the top to fill the entire screen. Your visitors have no choice but to view the opt-in offer.

Thrive Leads has many other opt-in popover styles and you can use shortcodes to embed them directly in your posts or pages, or you use any of the included methods to display them such as:

  • Time-delayed popup lightboxes
  • Exit-intent popups (only appears when a visitor moves the mouse to leave your site – desktop only)
  • A sticky ribbon/top bar that persists when a visitor scrolls
  • An inline form below a post
  • 2-step popup forms that only appear after clicking a link or button
  • Popups that slide in from the corner
  • Widgets (normally used on a sidebar or footer)

All this comes at a very reasonable price: $67 for a single site, $97 for use on all your sites and a $247 agency rate for use on client sites. Each plan includes a year of support and free updates.

Get Thrive Leads  Review



Bloom – developed by Elegant Themes – is another powerful WordPress list building popover plugin with a feature set similar to Thrive Leads.

If you’re a fan of the flat design trend, you’ll love Bloom’s templates. It includes over 100 well-designed ones, all with the flat design look – all mobile-friendly and retina-ready. Also, you can easily customize the colors, fonts, orientation and many other aspects of the general look and feel.

If you’ve ever seen websites that make you opt-in before reading certain content – called content locking – Bloom enables you to add this to your website as well.

You can also use shortcodes to embed opt-in forms directly in your posts, or choose from any of the following display options:

  • Automatically triggered popups and fly-ins (based on time-delay, user action or inactivity)
  • Below-content opt-in forms
  • Opt-in form widgets placed in your sidebar or footer

And, you can customize where and when each type of form is displayed, all the way down to a per-page level.

At the heart of the plugin’s reporting interface is the Boom Dashboard. Attractive and functional, it is here where you view conversion rates, A/B split testing results, email list statistics and more.

Bloom Dashboard

When it comes to pricing, Bloom isn’t offered as an individual purchase. Elegant Themes is traditionally a WordPress theme shop, so for $89/year or a single $249 lifetime fee you get unlimited use and access to all themes (currently 87 high-quality designs) and all plugins – including Bloom. All in all, it’s a tremendous deal.

You can learn more about Bloom extensive features below.

Get Bloom  Review



OptinMonster is one of the oldest and most popular WordPress email list building plugins. Before there were plugins like Thrive Leads and Bloom, it was probably the most well-known one.

But recently, OptinMonster has changed its business model to a Software as a Service (SaaS) type. For the end user, this means easier management, new features and potentially better performance for those on limited shared hosting providers. Of course, WordPress users can still interact with the service by using the OptinMonster WordPress plugin.

With their new SaaS infrastructure, OptinMonster now includes detailed reporting, conversion and referral tracking. Enhanced analytics – including integration with Google Analytics – makes data analysis a breeze.

For 2-step opt-ins – often called content upgrades – OptinMonster has renamed and revamped its manual trigger option into MonsterLinks.

Along with their famous exit-intent popover technology, OptinMonster enables you to trigger a popup when a visitor scrolls past a certain predetermined point – great to lower bounce rate by not pestering visitors the second they arrive on your website.

Other features include:

  • Multiple opt-in types like popovers, ribbons, slide-ins and more
  • Easy integration with most major email service providers
  • Page-level user targeting based on various factors such as referral source
  • Easy-to-use built-in A/B split testing so you can test and optimize sales copy to improve conversions
  • Mobile-only popover forms and lightboxes
  • Over 25 built-in MonsterEffects to add fancy animation to your popovers

Lastly, one of the most important time-saving features of the new OptinMonster – especially for heavy users with multiple websites – is the ability to manage all of your opt-ins from a central dashboard location.

Pricing starts at $19/month (or $9/month when paid annually) to use the Basic version on one website, all the way up to $39/month (or $29/month when paid annually) to use the Pro version on unlimited sites – with a number of price points in-between.

As you go from the Basic to Plus to Pro version, the price increases, and more features are included. But, if you’re just looking for a quality popover list building plugin with powerful reporting and split testing features, the $9/month version should be an excellent start.

Get OptinMonster  Review

Sumo List Builder and Welcome Mat

Sumo Homepage

Sumo consists of a set of free tools (they call them apps) that can be used to grow your website’s traffic. Two of their popover apps, List Builder and Welcome Mat, can be used to quickly and effectively grow your email list.

Sumo’s apps are not self-hosted on your website (they’re a SaaS), but they provide a handy WordPress plugin that enables you to sign up, add and configure the apps from within your WordPress back end.

List Builder is a traditional popover plugin that comes with all the features you would expect like A/B split testing, display rules, conversion tracking, a drag-and-drop form builder and plenty of professionally designed opt-in templates.

Sumo Editor

So, like most of Sumo’s apps, List Builder is provided on a freemium basis. This means the free version does its intended job of displaying a popup to capture email addresses and sending it to a service provider like MailChimp or GetResponse.

But, it’s heavily branded with Sumo’s famous logo and with Powered by links – something that can negatively affect conversion rate by sending curious visitors away from your site.

To remove the branding, heavily customize the popover box and unlock many of the useful advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid List Builder Pro.

At a recurring cost of $48/month or $348/year, it can add up, and with Thrive Leads or Bloom providing much of the same functionality for much less cost, there is a decision you have to make.

If you’ve gone to a website lately, and the entire screen is overtaken by a giant email opt-in, you could be seeing SumoMe’s Welcome Mat.

Sumo Welcome Mat

Welcome Mat contains much of the same back-end functionality and features as List Builder as it’s also primarily an email subscription list builder.

But, the main difference – and it’s huge, literally – is the display method. When visitors arrive at your website, Welcome Mat appears as an in-your-face, full-page call to action takeover prompting the user to opt-in or perform another action. It works well – SumoMe states it can “double your email conversion rate” – probably because it’s not something you see every day.

If you’ve read the Thrive Leads review, then its look is similar to Scroll Mat – although Welcome Mat was the first plugin to offer this style of opt-in form.

SumoMe Welcome Mat Example

And, like Sumo’s other freemium apps, the advanced functionality, customization options and professionally designed templates need to be unlocked by a paid upgrade subscription to Welcome Mat Pro – at the same $20/month or $192/year as List Builder Pro.

Get Sumo

Scroll Triggered Boxes

Scroll Triggered Boxes

While not overly flashy, the Scroll Triggered Boxes plugin include the basics of what a useful popover list building plugin should provide. It’s less intrusive and doesn’t have visual builders, endless templates or advanced reporting capabilities to the extent most of our other reviewed plugins do, although some of this functionality is available as a premium add-on.

It enables you to design your popover in the familiar WordPress post editor, with added options to change colors, borders, sizing and text. So, if you have experience working with manual CSS, nearly any aspect of the popover can be customized.

Scroll Triggered Boxes Design

Options are available to configure on what pages you want the popover to appear and fine-grained, manual conditions can be added to achieve precise control over when and where it’s displayed.

Boxes can be set to appear from any corner of your website with a fade-in or slide-in animation, and a familiar centered popover is available as well.

You can choose to automatically show the popover box, have it appear after a set period of time, or have it displayed when a visitor scrolls down your webpage or reaches a certain section – like comments – on the page. Also, you can also choose whether or not it gets displayed on mobile devices.

If you enjoy the simplicity of Scroll Triggered Boxes but require a bit more functionality, the developer currently sells the following premium add-on pack for $49 (1 site) to $99 (5 sites), with a yearly recurring charge of 50% of the price:

  • Theme pack – a set of additional themes
  • MailChimp – if you use the developer’s MailChimp for WordPress plugin, this allows you to hide opt-in boxes from already-subscribed visitors
  • Google Analytics – easily integrate Google Analytics to track users’ interactions with your opt-in boxes
  • A year of free plugin updates and priority email support

Get Scroll Triggered Boxes

Note: Scroll Triggered Boxes has been succeeded by Boxzilla which is based on the same principles but with a few improvements.

Wrapping up

Growing your email list is one of the most important – if not the most important – thing you should focus on in your online business.

Getting quality traffic to your website is no easy task. SEO can be unreliable and when you pause or stop buying advertising, your traffic can come to an abrupt halt.

By capturing your visitor’s email address using a popover plugin, you have yourself a valuable asset that you can contact and market to many times over.

Thrive Leads is the best all-around value for your money, with Bloom coming in a close second. OptinMonster is a quality solution but slightly more expensive.

If you want a freemium solution – or have a fondness for the Sumo brand – Sumo’s List Builder and Welcome Mat plugin are popular, although the Pro upgrades can become expensive when compared to the alternatives.

Finally, Scroll Triggered Boxes is a great solution if you’re looking for something completely free. You’ll have to determine if the small extra functionality added by the premium add-on pack is worth the yearly fee.

Posted by Elna Cain

Elna Cain is a freelance writer who offers ghostwriting, copywriting and blogging services. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases their search engine visibility. Check out her new free email course for bloggers and writers, Get Paid to Write Online.