You might be working round the clock to generate Facebook likes on your company page. You thought that would help you in building an email list. To your dismay, you were so wrong.
Getting your users subscribed is the fastest and easiest way to build an email list. Tools like AWeber or MailChimp will not help you here. Rather, once you have built your list, these tools can perform. So everything boils down to one point: You need to include opt-in forms for your users to subscribe. For that, plugins can be of great help.
By only adding more opt-in methods to my site I’ve increased subscribers by 147.5% in just 30 days
You can read about several other case studies like this here.
Numerous WordPress plugins make it easy to collect email addresses from your readers. I have tried many plugins that WordPress offers. Few have been a waste of money and effort; few were okay while one or two just helped me strike the chord.
Why WordPress Plugins?
Before discussing the WordPress plugins here is why WordPress is winning the game. According to recent statistics in March 2016, WordPress now powers almost 26.4% of the web. It also revealed that daily more than 500 sites go live on WordPress. The statistics also included a count of 44 thousand plugins serving various purposes for WordPress users. If this wasn’t enough, WordPress caters in 56 different languages making it easier for its users to engage and interact.
It has been revealed that over 77% companies are working to create more content that before. So, let’s keep everything aside and take a look at WordPress’s two most powerful email list building plugins: Thrive Leads and Bloom Opt-in Plugin. These plugins can also be used with WordPress Landing Page Builders.
You can also read one of my previous blog- 6 Basic Reasons why I use WordPress for Content Marketing
Thrive Leads WordPress Plugin
Thrive Leads is by far the best list building the plugin from WordPress. It covers everything for a quick list building. Starting with various opt-in forms to excellent templates, split testings to reporting- Thrive Leads has it all. The best part is, it keeps on rolling out new features.
- More than 30 opt-in templates
- Seamless customization with drag and drop editor
- Opt-in form addition to key locations
- Numerous popover triggers
- Targeting options in opt-in forms
- Advanced split testing feature (You can pit one opt-in form against another to make a better judgement)
- Supports email providers using HTML forms
- 2 step opt-in form
- Shortcode placement supported
Thrive Leads also supports multiple form fields, drop downs, radio forms and checkboxes. Two most amazing features that make Thrive Leads stand out are:
- You can add a different call to action to users who have already subscribed. For instance, you can put a download link to some free PDF or redirect them to another product page.
- You can send your new subscribers a free PDF or a free download for signing up with you.
- iContact; and many more!
Update: Thrivethemes now has GDPR related features available in all the forms. You can check complete detail here.
At this price, you will not just get one year of support but also lifetime updates.
GDPR update: ThriveLeads have introduced a set of features to make your website GDPR compliant. Here is the list of features that they have added:
Lead Generation Checkboxes for Explicit Consent in Thrive Leads.
Data overview, export, and removal.
Anonymized Data in Thrive Quiz Builder.
Bloom Email Opt-in WordPress plugin
Bloom email opt-in plugin by ElegantThemes is another favorite list building plugin for WordPress users. With easy setup and dashboard, Bloom helps you start building your email list almost right away.
It has six various display types for opt-in popups. Along with that, it offers automated triggers, customized borders, many color options, different form orientations, and display filters.
The best part of using products from ElegantThemes is their 30 days refund policy. Backed by a strong support team, constant in-flow of new features and updates, Bloom email opt-in plugin is favourited among WordPress users.
- Easy dashboard
- A/B testing enabled for increased conversions
- Responsive and retina friendly
- 6 different opt-in display types
- Over 100 pre-designed templates
- 3 different orientations for opt-in form
- Customised Edges and Borders
- Enables image orientation
- Unlimited colour options
- Advanced and targeted display settings
Bloom allows you to integrate around 16 major email services.
- Mad Mimi
- feedblitz; and many more
Price: Join ElegantTheme Membership club at $89 to download all the plugins that it provides.
Bloom GDPR update: Bloom is fully compliant with GDPR and has ensured that the users have the power to own their data, to get their data erased or decide how it’s used and how it’s sold.
Thrive Leads vs Bloom Opt-in: A Comparison
Rather than imposing my personal choice between these two great plugins, I will let you decide for yourself. I have used both. Hence, it is easy for me to pen down a detailed comparison between these two plugins.
Starting with the creators themselves, Thrive Leads Plugin was created by Thrive Themes while Bloom Opt-in belongs to the clan from Elegant Themes. Both the names are popular among users.
Initially, people used to worry about widgets and pop-ups only. But now things have advanced to another level. There is a host of features that people need when opting for an email list building plugin. Few standard functions that are a must have included:
- Opt-in forms
- scroll mats
- Content lock
- Inline forms
- Options in forms
- And so much more.
Features are one of the strongest criteria that help in deciding which plugin to use. You can check out this blog from Thrive Themes on the best practices in choosing an opt-in form.
Based on features, Thrive Leads takes away the cup. Let us see why-
Here are functions that are common to both:
- Pop-up opt-ins
- Widget opt-in forms in sidebar
- Inline forms
- Slide opt-in forms
- Content lock
- Standard A/B testing
- Report and analytics
Along with these, Thrive Leads also have:
- Sticky ribbons (notification bars)
- Scroll mats
- 2 step opt-in forms
- Screen filler overlay
- Multiple choice forms
- Advanced A/B testing (You can test one opt-in form against another)
However, these features are not present in Bloom opt-in email plugin.
After features, the next concern for a user will be using the plugins.
Easy to use
If you see a complicated plugin, however, beneficial it is you would go hunting for another plugin that is comparatively easy to use. In a war between 7 minutes-to-set-up and 10 minutes-to-set-up, the former will win.
Most plugins these days come with pre-designed templates that can be customized according to your needs. Both Thrive Leads and Bloom opt-in plugins bring a host of templates for its users. However, regarding setting up, Thrive Leads is little complicated in comparison to Bloom opt-in plugin.
Below I have listed down the steps to create a sidebar widget using both the plugins to provide a clear understanding. The steps begin after you have installed the respective plugins and have activated it.
To create a sidebar widget with Bloom:
- Click on Bloom plugin from the left of your WordPress dashboard
- Click on new opt-in
- Select widget opt-in form
- Name your form
- Connect it with your email marketing software from the list provided (If your email marketing software is not listed down, then create a custom HTML form from your tool and use it to establish a connection between Bloom and your email service)
- Click on ‘next’ to proceed
- Design your opt-in as you want. Choose any of the designs, edits fonts, colours, borders, and so on
- Preview your design by selecting the Sticky preview
- Once done, select ‘Save and exit’ at the bottom of the page
- Now go to widgets place, drag and drop it to the sidebar
- Select your form
- And you are done!
Now let us create a sidebar widget using Thrive Leads Plugin.
- Go to Thrive dashboard
- Select Thrive Leads dashboard
- Choose any one option among these- Lead groups, Lead Shortcodes, Lead Thrivebox and Signup Segue. For now, let us pick Lead Groups.
- Select Add New option
- Click on Lead Shortcodes
- A popup opens where you now name your group
- Select Add Lead Groups Button
- Click on the Edit button
- Once you are on the new page, select create form
- Name your form
- Move your pencil to start editing your form
- Pick a design you like and fill in the form
- Connect with your email marketing automation software. Thrive Leads offers a host of integrations. If your email service is not on the list, follow the same method as mentioned for Bloom opt-in
- Now save your form and you are ready to go
Having said that, it is pretty clear that Bloom opt-in plugin is bit easier or in other words simpler than Thrive Leads. However, Thrive Leads have a host of video and text tutorials that comes handy when using it.
We are done with feature comparisons and also looked into which one is easier to use. The next deciding criteria are Support and Updates each plugin has got to offer.
Support and updates
This is a very critical aspect. Without proper support and promises to fix existing bugs or release new features, no one likes to install and use a plugin. Both Thrive Leads and Bloom provide support. While Bloom opt-in plugin provides proper documentation, Thrive Leads give you video and text tutorials.
However, regarding the last update, Thrive Leads released its most recent update sometime in March last year while Bloom opt-in is lagging behind with its last update being in August in 2014.
Both the plugins are great in their unique ways. However, on a close monitoring, it can be safely stated that Thrive Leads is few steps ahead of Bloom opt-in email plugin. I am saying this was referring to the advanced features and mechanics that Thrive Leads provide for list building. An enriched feature list, fast list building and has a host of integrations to offer. However, if you want just the basics and look for a lower budget option, Bloom opt-in is the one for you.
Other list building plugins to try
Apart from these two plugins, you can also try few more new and great plugins like the following.
Initially just a WordPress plugin, now OptinMonster is a cloud-based app. You can have fast split tests without logging in. Since it is a cloud-based app now, you can use it with any HTML based websites apart from WordPress.
- Seamless customisation
- Exit intent
- Can add custom CSS
- Shortcode placement supported
- Page level targeting
- Multiple opt-in form types
OptinMonster Price: Starts from $9/month
Another outstanding email list building plugin is from LeadPages.
Here are a few things that will catch your attention immediately when you start using Leadpages:
- Create interactive landing pages in minutes
- 2 step opt-in forms using LeadBoxes that can increase your conversion rate by almost 30%
- One click join option for your users; this means you can generate a ‘LeadLink’ through which your users can join your list, sublist or subscribe to any webinar in just a click
Apart from these, other features that make LeadPages an excellent WordPress plugin are:
- Over 70 predesigned templates
- Unlimited landing pages
- Unlimited traffic
- Mobile optimised templates
- Entire landing page hosting
- WordPress Plugin
- Digital asset delivery feature
- In-built split testing option
- LeadBoxes and LeadLinks
- In-built analytics
- Supports almost all the key email list providers
- Great support team
LeadPages Price: Starting at $37/month
Using these WordPress plugins, you can build your email list quickly and increase your site engagement by leaps and bounds. Have some other suggestions regarding list building plugins? Tell me in the comments section.