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Popup Opt-in Forms: Case Studies & WordPress Plugins for 2020

Do you think popups are annoying? Do you click on the cancel button blindly, without even looking at the content? If you’ve ever done that, then you’re not alone.

But does it mean popups are useless? If yes, then why do marketers suggest using one? Or why do they use it on their website?

Baffled? Don’t know which way to turn? Let’s discuss everything one by one.

Has Pop-up Opt-in Form Ever Helped Anyone?

According to a study, 99% of the people visiting your website won’t buy anything on the first visit. You may ignore this fact by thinking them to be bots or casual visitors who have no interest in your offering. But the reality is that a whopping 75% of them abandon the site with the intention of coming back.

How do you capture this intention? If they don’t buy in the first visit, what do you do to bring them back for repetitive visits?

Capture their email so that you can nurture them.

And why are popups the best way to capture emails?

Studies have shown that popups can get 1,375% more subscribers than a sidebar opt-in. Some popups can get you a whopping 50% conversion rate. On average, a good popup has a conversion rate of around 9.28%, which is awesome. Let’s understand the science behind popups that make it work so well.

Popup Opt-in forms Case Studies 

How AVON increased its sale by 150% – By renewing the existing offers like seasonal campaigns, AVON was not only able to decrease the abandonment rate by 16.5%; its number of orders completed increased by 150% in 2017.

How WPBeginner increased their Email Subscribers by using smart lightbox popup – Using the smart lightbox popup enabled with exit-intent technology, WPBeginner was able to convert 3,200 abandoning visitors into subscribers in just one week.

How Sportique lifestyle E-com company exploded their conversion rates to 58% – They tested the lightbox popup in combination with monster links (I will come to it later, in this article), and the conversion rates were surprising. They had an even better conversion rate of 79% on the cart page.

When popup opt-in forms have helped so many businesses, then why are people raving about its negatives?

There are so many businesses that love popups, but at the same time, you will also hear people saying they hate popups. The truth is that a popup is a tool and whether people like it or not depends on how you use it. 

It is the reality that popups convert extremely well, but it can also hurt your brand if you don’t know how to use the tool well, and you look too pitchy or pushy. Here are a few ways you can avoid the negatives and still enjoy the increased conversion rates-

1. Context Matters-

Will a popup promoting recipe book work on a digital marketing website? Perhaps not, because the context is not right. 

2. Timing Matters-

Similarly, pushing the popup the moment they land on the site won’t work either. The context might be right, but they don’t know that because of the interruption.  Ideally, it should be shown after 50-60% of the average time on page. So, it varies from site to site. 

Exit-intent popups outperform others as they don’t come in the reader’s way of consuming the content.

3. Repetition Matters-

Another way to refrain from annoying your visitors is by using a 30-day cookie that ensures that once the user closes it, they will not see it again for the next 30 days.

I hope you’ve got your answer to why you hated a particular popup and closed it. Now that you know how to use it well, you must be wondering if you can also get the results similar to those case studies.

So, let’s dig in and see what are the different types of popups available.

Different Types of Popups

Simple/ Plain-Vanilla Popup

Have you seen a popup asking you to get on their email list for some juicy tips? That’s a simple popup (with no specific offer). Though not much used these days, it gets conversions in the range of 0.6-1%.

Popups that Offer Incentive (Bribed Popups)

Came across an e-book or a course that seemed to cover everything you always wanted to know? Then you were shown a bribed popup.

Exit Intent/ GoodBye Popup

A Goodbye Popup or an Exit-intent popup gets triggered when the reader is about to leave. These popups sense the movement of the cursor, and when the cursor approaches the tabs area in the browser window, the popup gets triggered.

Here’s an example of exit popup on OptinMonster’s website-

Another exit popup while exiting from a different page.

What a smart way to re-engage the visitor. 

Entry Popup

Have you been shoved a full-screen pop-up the moment you landed on a website? These are called the Entry Popups.

These are the most underrated ones because of their intrusive nature. It is exactly the opposite of what Gary Vaynerchuk says in his popular book- Jab, Jab, Right Hook. In this book, Gary says effective marketing in today’s world is to first give value before you make an ask.

Timed Popups

These are the ones that get triggered after a certain period of time. As discussed earlier, the optimum time varies from site to site.

Scroll Triggered Popup

This type of popup is triggered when the reader has gone through a certain percentage of the page. This ensures that the visitor is interested in the content, and there are more chances of conversion as compared to timed popups.

LightBox Popups

These popups appear on the top of the page. It darkens the webpage in the background, and therefore stands out. Here’s how it looks.

Click Based Popups

These popups are triggered when the reader clicks on the special link. Monsterlinks by OptinMonster is an example of Click based popups.

They are based on the psychological principle called the Zeigarnik Effect. It says that people who initiate a task are more likely to complete it. So, a popup that gets triggered through a click on the link gets more conversions.

Popup Opt-in Forms WordPress Plugins and Their Alternatives

If you’re wondering how you can also create a popup for your site, then a good WordPress plugin can help you.

Here are some other good options you may evaluate –

1. Thrive Leads

If you’re looking to build your email list, then you must have already heard this name before. ThriveLeads is one of the best for popups, specifically if you’re looking for a value-to-money option.

The plugin integrates with the self-hosted WordPress site and lets you create popups by their built-in drag and drop builder within minutes. It is created by Thrive Themes, the same company who created the famous Thrive Architect plugin.  

Its super-flexible builder gives you tons of options and elements to choose from.

Some of the features that are noteworthy are –

  • One-time payment
  • Drag and drop builder
  • Analytics
  • A/B testing
  • Thrive Leads offers a wide variety of opt-in forms – Popup (Light-box), In-line Forms, Two-step opt-in Form, Slide-in, and more.

It seamlessly integrates with all the major email marketing platforms like Convertkit, Mailchimp, Aweber, GetResponse, Active Campaign, MailChimp, Drip, InfusionSoft, etc.

It gives tough competition to its biggest competitor, OptinMonster, on the price, which is a one-time payment of $67.

2. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a robust plugin and probably one of the smartest plugins for WordPress. Being a SaaS-based solution, it works on any website built on HTML, including WordPress, Drupal, Magento, Joomla, and more.

It being one of the oldest players in this field and its availability for so many platforms makes it the most popular popup plugins. Till now, more than 1,000,000 websites have used this plugin to capture leads.

As you’ve seen in the case studies mentioned above, many of them have used this plugin to achieve those results.

Some of the important features are –

  • A large number of templates to choose from
  • User-friendly interface
  • Integrates with all the popular email marketing services
  • Variety of campaigns
    • Slide-in
    • Light-up box
    • After post form
    • In-line
    • Exit-intent
    • Footer bar
  • Detailed targeting options
  • A/B testing
  • Analytics

As all good things have a cost, so is true with this plugin. The only con with this plugin is that it is a little more expensive than other plugins. It has four monthly plans- Basic ($9), Plus ($19), Pro ($29), Growth ($49).

3. Ninja Popups

Ninja form is another popular popup plugin, mostly known for its drag and drop visual editor. This feature-rich plugin is people’s favorite because of its affordability also. The mobile-friendly popups look beautiful and are responsive to all screen sizes.

Key features –

  • Affordable
  • 60 themes to choose from
  • drag and drop form builder
  • A/B testing
  • Analytics
  • Detailed targeting options
  • Variety of campaigns
    • Content locker
    • Social network locker
    • Scroll-triggered popup
    • Lightbox popup
    • Exit-intent

It integrates with almost every popular email marketing service- Convertkit, Mailchimp, Aweber, GetResponse, Active Campaign, MailChimp, Drip, etc.

The plugin comes at an affordable rate of $27 for a single website.

4. Icegram

Icegram comes in two versions- free and pro. If you’re on a shoestring budget, then its free version is the best option. It enables you to create various types of popups like lightboxes, sleek action bars, attention-grabbing toast notifications, and slide-ins. In the free version also, there are several templates to choose from.

If you want to go in detail, then the pro version enables you to create popups like exit-intent, scroll-triggered, and two-step opt-in. With the paid version, you also get access to features like A/B testing, geotargeting, behavior & and advanced triggers, and analytics &reporting, etc. 

Although you can do a lot with the free version, you can access the premium features for $67/year. However, the advanced features like geo-targeting and A/B testing come under their Max plan that costs $147/year.

5. ConvertPlug

This is a powerful yet simple plugin that allows you to create almost every type of popup. Developed by Brainstorm Force (the team that built Astra theme and addons for Beaver Builder), the tool comes with pre-built templates.

It also offers detailed targeting rules like page-level, targeting based on the device, cookie, and new/repeat visitors. This feature-packed plugin comes at an affordable price of a one-time payment of $24.

If you still think that popups will not cut it for you, then you may try the following alternatives.

6. Optin Forms

Let’s start with this awesome and still free option. With Optin Forms, you can display beautiful opt-in forms without writing a single line of code. You can add the form on the desired page or post with a simple click or simply pasting the code at the specific place.

This plugin comes with five pre-designed templates that you can customize according to your brand.

It works with the following email service providers –

  • AWeber
  • iContact
  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • MadMimi
  • Interspire Email Marketer
  • ConvertKit
  • MailerLite

7. HelloBar

It is a simple tool that lets you place a bar at the top of your site that gets traffic to your squeeze page. I have used this plugin on my website and got a conversion rate of 4.4%, which is awesome.

You can use it to collect emails or to get your affiliate link clicked. It converts quite well because of its eye-catchy interface. It connects with all popular email service providers like Aweber, Convertkit, Mailchimp, etc.

This tool used to be free, but now it comes with two pro versions that offer enhanced functionality.

8. LeadPages

Lead pages is not a WordPress plugin but one of the most popular web-based apps for creating landing pages.

It allows you to create beautiful webpages on any HTML website even if you have zero coding knowledge.

The Lead-box feature within the app lets you upload your freebie. After integrating the app with your email service provider the app can even deliver the freebie. With lead pages, you can place lead boxes and collect leads from not only your website but also, landing pages, blog, and navigation bar, etc.

With the help of a plugin, it can be integrated with your WordPress site. After which you can create a mobile responsive squeeze page, webinar page, sales page, etc in minutes.

10. WP Subscribe

WP Subscribe is a powerful tool by MyThemeShop. It comes in two versions – Free and Pro.

The free version is a basic plugin that allows you to create an in-line form. It can integrate with Mailchimp, FeedBurner, and AWeber.

If you need extra features like more types of forms including Exit-Intent, Popups, Page-level targeting, and support for more email marketing services, then go for a pro version.

At the time of writing this article, it’s on sale. It’s available for $29 (previously $39) for 3 sites.

11. Opt-in Panda

This is an interesting plugin that locks a portion of your screen by blurring or hiding. It shows that content to your subscribers only.

Do you think it works? Absolutely, yes. Curiosity is a common human trait. It is an irresistible itch that we are naturally inclined to scratch. At the same time, current subscribers feel special and a part of your team.

Opt-in Panda integrates well with popular email marketing services like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, AWeber, etc. 

But you may disappoint the reader if you don’t share a valuable piece of information in exchange for their email id.

You can get the plugin for $26 with 6 months of free support.

Final Words

Hopefully, you’ve got a fair idea about popups. Yes, they can be a distraction for some people, and you may not like it personally, but it works! It converts cold visitors into subscribers, and eventually, buyers. In the case studies mentioned above, we have seen surprising conversion rates with popups. 

If you are strained, comparing the features and pricing of various tools, and want one good solution, then my recommendation would be Thrive Leads. The plugin’s easy to use interface, combined with its competitive price, makes it the best solution in the lot.

Now that you’ve got a fair idea about the various types of popups, major plugins, and its alternatives, what do you think about it?

You may also want to check our guide on 7 Best Landing page plugins for WordPress.

Do you already have popups on your site? If not, are you considering having one?