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How we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

Anyone with a successful blog or online presence will agree that building an email list is very important. Over the years, we've tried numerous techniques to get more email subscribers. After testing various WordPress lead generation plugins, our founder Syed Balkhi teamed up with Thomas Griffin and decided to create a perfect solution that would deliver results. In this article, we'll show you how we organically increased our email subscribers by 600% in less than a month using OptinMonster.

Some of you would think that 600% growth probably meant that we weren't getting many subscribers before. That is not true. On a daily basis, we would get around 70 to 80 new subscribers from the sidebar form, contact forms, and other landing pages on the site. By making a single change to the site, we were able to increase our daily email signup rate to around 445 - 470 new subscribers per day. That's a 600% growth with the same amount of traffic as before.

So what changed? Well, we started using OptinMonster.

What is OptinMonster?

OptinMonster is a WordPress lead generation plugin that allows you to easily create and embed high-performing signup forms on your website. It integrates with all major email service providers, and comes with powerful features like page-level targeting, A/B split testing, and exit intent technology.

Using OptinMonster we were able to create a smart popup with exit intent.

Wait, doesn't every popup suck? Yeah, most popups suck because they're not done right.

What is a smart popup?

An average popup usually opens in a separate window (usually when you visit a website or when you click on the screen). Those are as annoying as hell. Then there are the other lightbox popups that you probably see a lot of bloggers use. These are boxes that open within the same window, usually when the website is visited. These aren't too bad, but they can definitely annoy some users. Then there is a smart popup.

Smart Lightbox Popup is a targeted message that opens on a specific page just as the user is about to exit.

How's that not annoying?

We did a split test on WPBeginner to see how the lightbox popup affects our bounce rate and if we get any user complaints.

The first thing we discovered was that the bounce rate on a page with an exit intent lightbox was exactly the same as the page without a lightbox. Second, we had absolutely zero user complaints. Last but not least, the number of new email subscribers we got with exit intent lightbox was significant.

Exit Magic

The key reason behind these phenomenal results is exit intent. Why? Because the users who were going to leave your website will leave anyway. Using exit intent technology, we were able to convert abandoned visitors into subscribers.

OptinMonster's exit intent technology tracks the user's mouse gesture and speed while browsing your website. This allows the plugin to detect the exact moment the user is about to leave and prompt them for a specific campaign.

Unlike other annoying exit popups, it does not prevent the user from leaving. They can close the window as they normally would. But what this does is give you a new property, technically an extra page, to retain that visitor and potentially get them to subscribe.

Most of the visitors leave your website without subscribing even when they like the content. Why? Because they have a short attention span, and there is no clear call to action on most pages. Also due to their short attention span, they will probably never return to your site.

Now, if you make it easy for them to subscribe and give them a gentle reminder, then they are much more likely to subscribe. If you offer them a free bonus, then that's even better.

How to use OptinMonster for maximum benefits

You are probably thinking that it will be a complex setup. Well, it really isn't. It took us less than 10 minutes to get this complete setup. The first thing you need to do is get OptinMonster. It is a commercial WordPress plugin with 3 different levels. The exit intent technology we mentioned above is on the Pro level plan. It comes with a 14 day money back guarantee, so you can use the product to see whether or not it increases email subscribers. If not, just ask for a refund.

Once you get the plugin, install and activate it. The process is similar to any other plugin. The next thing you need to do is connect with your email marketing service like Aweber, MailChimp, etc. Although that process is fairly intuitive, documentation is available. Here's what our setup screen looks like:

How we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

On the setup screen, we make sure that we require a double option to comply with MailChimp's rules. We also make sure that the duration of our cookie is 30 days, so once the user closes it, they won't see it for another 30 days. Last but definitely most important, we make sure the exit intent is turned on. Yes, that powerful technology only requires a checkbox.

Next, we use the built-in "Case Study" theme that comes with OptinMonster. Select them and click the Open Design Customizer button..

How we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

The layout customizer works exactly the same as the WordPress theme customizer. Use it to personalize your opinion. Below is a preview of what our optin looks like:

How we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

Lastly, we enabled it to display only on single post pages on the site.


So this 10-minute setup resulted in 3,200 new subscribers last week. See the stats below:

How we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

Note:Options do not run site-wide. It's only on individual posts..

We are now working on creating targeted campaigns for specific pages, categories, and custom post types, so we can build a highly targeted email list.

Final thoughts

Yes, we hate popups like everyone else, but this is different. When you create a targeted campaign and give users what they want, then they will gladly subscribe. The above data is proof of this..

We did not receive additional traffic nor did we run any special campaigns. We simply use OptinMonster to convert visitors into subscribers.

OptinMonster also has other optin types (footer bar and sliders) for those who don't want to use the lightbox popup. More optin types are also in the works and will be released in the coming months.

If you want to get more email subscribers and improve your WordPress lead generation efforts, we recommend you start using OptinMonster.

Oh, and here's a 10% off OptinMonster coupon, just type in the code WPB10 .

What techniques have you used to build your email list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.