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Warning: Using pop ups will grow your email list fast

If you are just starting out blogging or waking up to the the power of having an email list then this post is for you. Back in the summer I realised that my personal blog was growing fast and I actually needed to have an email list to support my blogging and maintain relations with my readers.

I did a little research and decided that as blogging is a business – it costs me time and effect to create useful blog posts.  I needed to grow my email list with more than a half-hearted effort. I decided that I would use a pop-up to capture the data as I had read that they were the most effective list building tools.

I know not everyone likes them and some people are Pop-Up blind and just automatically close them but they still work, so I’d give them a try. At the very least I’d have enough research and testing to be able to write blog post about them :)

For the purposes of comparison I only used the basic options of each form, the minimum requirement. All of the list gathering tools have extensive customisation options and can be completely customised to fit the look of your blog or website. All except Aweber require an external email list management software to store the email addresses that you gather.

The killer question: which email Pop-Up system works the best?

I used Aweber‘s lightbox to start with.

The Look –

Aweber  – email list building service with multiple web form options.

Cost – $19 a month as part of using Aweber to build your list.

Technical skills needed – The ability to customise your web form settings and the ability to add HTML to the right part of your theme. Suitable for beginners.

Sites supported: Any site that you can add a snippet of Javascript to (so not just WordPress blogs, but other sites too)

Support: Not used but ample videos and tutorials available.

In a week the Aweber lightbox captured 19 email addresses.

I have to admit that if this was a coaching client getting these results I would have been pleased. But it was for me and I wanted better results. Okay, as we are being honest here I’ll share with you – I wanted more and I wanted the email addresses faster.

Pop-Up Domination

Created and marketed by Michael Dunlop (a fellow Brit) this plugin was next on my list. I’d read great things about Pop-Up Domination in forums and was quite excited by the thought of trying it out. This pop-up is the darling of internet marketers everywhere.

The Look

How Pop-Up Domination is described

  • WordPress Plugin & Stand Alone Version
  • 7 Beautiful themes with 15 Colour Options
  • Works with ALL mailing list providers
  • Works with all caching software
  • Select specific pages for PopUp to appear
  • Exit PopUp functionality
  • PopUp after a certain number of impressions

Cost: at the time of purchasing it was approx $77 for a one site, personal license + taxes

Technical skills: I grabbed a copy. Clickbank doesn’t like me and didn’t make it easy for me to download. I also didn’t like that VAT (sales tax) was added after, I thought I was purchasing at one price point and it turned out to be a higher price point.

I installed it with ease and activated the plugin. I adjusted the settings so the Pop-Up showed after 30 seconds and I tweaked the settings, I did not play around with any CSS, I used the standard look, added the Aweber list code and unleashed it upon my readers. Suitable for beginners to intermediate.

Sites supported: WordPress

Support: Videos and  support system, still awaiting a reply from support ticket submitted in May 2011

In a week this captured another 30 email addresses, another good result.

WP Subscribers

I read a review of WP Subscribers and thought hmm, might be worth a try. So I purchased a copy, again it was from Clickbank and I jumped through the multiple hoops required of me to download the plugin. Jenni R the creator is based in Japan.

The Look –

How WP Subscribers is described

  • Add An Optin Form with a “lightbox” (a popup with the background darkened, so that all your visitor sees is your Optin Offer, so they either have to subscribe or dismiss your form in order to see the page underneath…)
  • Have a Footer Bar or Header Bar Opt-In Form — especially if you want to attract the visitor’s attention, but not hit them with an “in your face” popup requiring them to take action
  • Display hidden content: Rarely seen outside of expensive WordPress membership software, but you can have it — get your visitors salivating to see more, and show it to them after they’ve opted in.
  • Subscribe on commenting: Get the ideal subscribers — those folks already commenting on your blog … this makes it super simple for them to do — all they have to do is click a checkbox…
  • Subscribe on registration: Not something most blogs offer, but if you offer user registration, why not make it so it adds them to your email list (the one of your choosing, of course!)
  • Put a “Subscribe” Box In All Your Posts: Hey, a sweet, quiet, simple request for them to signup to your email list to get more … you just gave them great content, show them how to keep getting more (note from Sarah, I use this option here)
  • Put a “Subscribe” Box In Particular Posts…(shhhh…remember the “Get The Rest Of This” from the Optin statistics above? He split a great post into two, kept the first half in the post and the second half in a pdf. The visitor had to opt-in to the subscribe form in the post to get the second half.)
  • Create a “Cascade” of Exit Popups…under precise “fighter pilot” control…each popup with its own content, each sending the user to a unique URL…and you can add the “cascade” to all your pages or any of your pages…you choose…!
  • Put Your “Subscribe” Form anywhere you want on your WordPress blog…

Cost: Approximate price at time of purchase $97 for multisite license or $47 for 3 site license.

Technical Skills: Uploading caused a small hiccup. The standard WordPress site has a limited upload of 2mbs. This is ample for a normal plugin upload.  I needed to raise the upload limit to have WP Subscribers installed via the WordPress dashboard. Once installed I nearly cried. At first glance it can be overwhelming but there are plenty of videos showing you how to customise the the opt-in forms and after 45 minutes I had an opt-in pop-up and an under content box showing under each post. Suitable for beginner to intermediate.

Sites supported: WordPress

Support: Lots of video tutorials and Jenni the creator is very responsive to potential problems. An issue that was nothing to do with the plugin was resolved by Jenni in 30 minutes – support above and beyond what is promised.

In a day I had 30 new email addresses. In ten days my list was 250 emails.

It converted it’s socks off and I am not using all of WP Subscribers full functionality, I am using  just a fraction. One of the things that I like about WP Subscribers is it’s suitability to capture subscribers under a comment via a tick box (great if your really hate pop-ups) and the ability to add the readers email address and name for them, all they have to do is hit submit!


A gentle pop up for those that don’t really email newsletter pop-ups. I don’t know why I wanted to have Pippity, I find the ability to control when and where the Pop Up appears intriguing. Pippity is created by the team behind the Headway theme.

The Look –

How Pippity is described

  • Create your first popup in 5 minutes
  • Choose from 12 designs (+6 popup bars)
  • Easily customize images, fonts, colors and overlay to craft the perfect popup for your site
  • See your popup in real-time as you edit
  • Quickly add product images
  • Easily add bulleted lists
Cost: $49 for one site at time of purchase, this is for a one year subscription.
Technical Skills: More fiddly than I thought it would be but otherwise suitable for a beginner. Possibly the easiest Pop-Up  out of all that I mention here to customise, no CSS needed.  With the exception of Aweber, the Pippity email form is the easiest to create.
Sites supported: WordPress
Support: Again plenty of video. I emailed a question in and 2 weeks later I am still awaiting a response. Have to confess to being a bit disappointed about that.
In 3 weeks 21 new subscribers.

Conclusion: Which Pop Up Works best to grow your email list?

  • If you wish to build your email list fast, WP Subscribers is the tool to do it. The majority of my list has been built using this highly converting Pop-Up. Zero to 250 subscribers in 10 days.
  • If you have never used a Pop-Up before then Pippity is a good starting point, it is gentle and it does work. If Pop-Ups have never bothered you and you want list building on steroids, the WP subscribers is the way to go.
  • If you have read this and don’t have a WordPress site, the Aweber lightbox is the tool for you to build your email list.
#Notes to the “first time user” you need an email account with a service like Aweber to fully utilise these pop-ups, they work together with the email service and they are not stand alone products
Also if affiliate marketing is your “thing” and you wish to promote the pop-up that you have chosen for your list building, all of the above pop-ups  have affiliate schemes.
This post is a variation on a guest post  that I have written for Denise Wakeman’s blog  – Zero to Email List
Sarah Arrow

Hi, I'm Sarah Arrow and I want to help you increase your visibility. It's time to stop being the world's best kept secret and step into the spotlight. I created my first blogging challenge back in 2007, and I've helped 1000's of bloggers since then increase their presence online. I've been internationally recognised as a top content marketer, Forbes and MSN list my websites as top ones, and I'm the author of many quick-start marketing guides. You can find my books on Amazon. Let me be your guide through the business blogging maze. Join the free 30 day blogging challenge and get the recognition you desire.

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