Email lists have always been a pain point for me. On the one hand, they’re an excellent way to connect with your regular audience and make them aware of content, offers and information that they might not otherwise come to know about, but on the other, there’s no elegant way to make your users aware of your email list, or to capture new users. And I’ve always refused to add a pop-up to the screen: I find them incredibly infuriating, especially when they show up before I’ve even had a chance to look at the content that I’m trying to look at.
So when OptinMonster came on the scene, I was intrigued to see what Syed and Thomas were doing to make increasing email signups simpler and less obtrusive.
As I went through the process of setting up OptinMonster here on Do It With WordPress, it was clear that the whole process behind setting up campaigns had been rethought. The user interface and user experience in setting up campaigns is incredibly fluid and simple. For example, instead of first adding your email service to the plugin and then setting up a campaign, you set up a campaign first. When you get to the point of indicating where subscribers to this campaign should be sent to, you have the option of either reusing an existing email service, or adding a new one, which will then be available to choose from when setting up future campaigns. A small change, but a real time-saver. Everything is given to you or asked of you when you’ll need it.
Other nice features of the plugin include pre-built templates to help you set up professional optin forms, without scouring the internet for some source code. The optins that I have setup on Do It With WordPress are largely based on pre-existing templates, and barely took any time at all to set up, and I think they look pretty good.
There’s also an array of optin types to choose from, depending on which license you go for. I don’t care for popups, but I do like the more subtle Slide In (which is what is active on this site), allowing the user to get to the content and optionally look at the signup form if they choose. I see a lot of sites experimenting with the Exit Intent addon, which brings up a full-page takeover, when the user’s mouse leaves the browser window (as if to navigate to another page, or close the current tab) – I’m experimenting with it on another site of mine to see how effective it is.
Another feature that I’m loving is the A/B Testing feature. Syed and Thomas have done well to create a set-it-and-leave-it A/B testing system. First, you create a clone of an existing optin which will become your B option. You modify it to suit your needs, and then save it. From here, OptinMonster delivers the two options equally until it starts seeing some conversions. When it becomes apparent that one variation is doing better than the other, it automatically starts displaying it more often, so that your optin is optimised without the need for you to intervene. Pretty cool, huh!?
There’s a whole bunch of other features, including reporting, targeting (show campaigns only on posts, pages, certain categories, or even just a single page), compatibility with all major email services (including my favourite, MailChimp), options like loading the optin on a second pageview (instead of the first) and the large choice of templates and optin types that make this a bit of a game-changer as far as email subscriptions in WordPress go. I’m excited to keep trying it out and testing it to see what works best for me, but I encourage you to take a look if you’ve tried other email subscription options before and just been disappointed at what’s on offer.