Last Updated: April 2019.
Looking for the perfect WordPress plugin to grow your email list faster?
Maybe you want to a basic plugin for creating opt-in forms, and landing pages. Or maybe you need a full-featured list building plugin that offer advanced features such as split testing, lead magnet delivery, or multi-step forms, etc.
You’re in the right place!
In this post, you will discover the best list building plugins available for WordPress, and some specific recommendations based on various use-cases towards the end of the article.
Let’s dive in:
The best mailing list building plugins for WordPress in 2019
1. Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is without a doubt, the most impressive list building plugin on the market right now.
The plugin comes with every feature you’ll need to rapidly grow your list of email subscribers.
You get the ability to add a variety of opt-in form types covering everything from popovers and scroll boxes.
Each opt-in form type has a great selection of templates and you can use the drag & drop editor to customize them to look exactly how you want them to. You can create as many opt-in forms as you like and select which pages/categories/tags you’d like to display them on.
Thrive Leads handles split testing in a unique way. Instead of just being able to split test forms against each other, you can split test different opt-in form types against each other.
For example, will a ribbon or a scroll box convert best? You can find out. You can also run split tests to find out which type of form triggers convert best.
Reporting is insightful and comprehensive. You get a general snapshot overview of your progress, but you can then dig into a variety of reports. I particularly like the “content marketing report” which shows me which posts/pages are converting best.
- 50 + Opt-in form templates (including special content upgrade templates).
- Drag and drop editor makes for easy form customization.
- Add opt-in forms to key locations on your blog (popovers, header bars, widgets, shortcodes, slide-ins, and more).
- Various popover triggers such as Exit Intent.
- Advanced opt-in form targeting options.
- Advanced split testing functionality.
- Actionable reporting/statistics.
- Supports any email provider that uses HTML forms.
- API integrations for all popular email providers (they add new ones every so often).
- Supports 2 step opt-in forms.
- Supports shortcode placement.
- Supports multiple form fields, radio forms, check boxes and drop downs.
- Content locking – If you want to hide premium content behind an opt-in form, you can now do this in Thrive Leads too.
- Digital Asset Delivery – Have you ever wanted an easy way to send your new subscribers a PDF or free download for signing up? Thrive Leads will do that too!
- Smart Links – This feature allows you to show a different call to action to your existing subscribers. Now they’ve signed up; you could display a link to a product or something else.
Price: $67+ for unlimited updates and 1 year of support. Or purchase their membership plan to unlock all of their plugins and themes (also includes Landing Pages, Quiz Builder, Ultimatum and more).
ConvertPro is a popular opt-in form plugin from Brainstorm Force. The same company behind the Astra Theme and Schema Pro plugin.
With this plugin, you can deploy a wide range of opt-in form types using a drag & drop editor. And leverage plenty of targeting & behavioural trigger options.
You get access to the opt-in form types you’d expect (popovers, widgets, slide-in, etc), as well as the more advanced types such as yes/no forms, multi-state, and content locking.
You’ll find support for a wide range of email service providers such as Mailerlite, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, SendinBlue, GetResponse, MailChimp, and more (view full list).
ConvertPro is a modular plugin. What does this mean? Well, while it’s loaded with useful features, you can disable the ones you don’t use to improve your website’s performance.
Now, what else does it have to offer? Plenty. Including visitor identification functionality.
… Allowing you to create forms targeting specific countries, all EU countries, or non-EU countries, for example. You can also target specific devices such as mobiles/desktops.
There’s lots to like about this plugin, but I found the selection of templates to be limited for some opt-in form types. That said, the drag & drop editor allows you to customise templates heavily, or start from scratch.
- Straight forward drag & drop form builder.
- Wide variety of opt-in form types.
- Various types of form triggers (exit intent, timer, on-click, etc.)
- Visitor identification triggers (location, devices, and more.)
- Target specific pages or taxonomies on your website.
- Advanced form elements such as countdown timers.
- White label branding.
- AdBlocker detection.
- WPML compatible.
Pricing: $79 for unlimited websites. Their agency bundle for $249 includes their Astra Pro theme, Schema Pro, Starter Sites, and other plugins.
Bloom is a full-featured list building plugin for WordPress, created by the team at Elegant Themes.
You can use this plugin to add various opt-in form types such as popovers, fly-ins, below post, inline and widgets.
You can also use it as a content locking plugin, where your readers can enter their email address into a form within your content, to reveal premium content such as a free download.
You don’t get a visual editor like you do with Thrive Leads, it’s more of a list of settings to work through – you can then use the preview button and the form will appear on the screen.
Bloom doesn’t have the exit intent trigger, but it does have plenty of other triggers for popovers/fly-in forms.
I particularly like that you can choose to trigger popovers after inactivity and after a comment – these types of triggers are rarely found in other plugins.
There are a lot of templates to choose from, but a lot of them aren’t unique designs, they just have different colors. Still, there are plenty for you to get started with and they look great.
- Multiple opt-in form types – popover, fly-in, below post, inline, locked content and widget.
- Multiple form triggers for popovers/fly-ins – time delay, activity, after comment, % scroll, on click and more.
- Large number of integrations with email providers (including custom HTML for any not integrated via API).
- Large selection of templates.
- Page level targeting.
- Content locking feature.
- Import/export plugin features.
- Basic reporting functionality.
Price: $89/year (membership includes access to a social sharing plugin, lots of themes and more)
OptinMonster started it’s life as a WordPress plugin, and is now a cloud-based app.
This means that all your opt-in forms will be managed from a central location – giving you a great over view.
You can edit forms, deploy new ones, start split tests and monitor your progress, all from within the web app.
This is great if you run multiple sites, you can focus on improving conversions without diving into a bunch of different sites. And the WordPress plugin opens up easy page & taxonomy targeting options.
Now, as you might expect, you get a boat load of features at your disposal. The editor is efficient and there are plenty of different opt-in form types you can use. And you get access to advanced features such as dynamic text replacement, content locking, and more.
The only thing is that a lot of features and form types are restricted on lower plans. Either way, OptinMonster is a great platform that excels when it comes to ecommerce. If you have a developer on your team, you can get even more creative with your opt-in form setup.
- Multiple opt-in form types including; popover, slide-in, sidebar, after post, canvas, mobile only popover and footer (only popover included on basic plan).
- Great selection of templates.
- Exit intent feature.
- Easy to customize.
- Supports multiple email marketing platforms and autoresponders.
- Ability to add custom CSS.
- Support for shortcode placement.
- Page level targeting.
- A/B split testing.
- Dynamic text replacement.
- Content locking.
- Advanced display rules.
Price: Starts from $19/month, (or $9/month when paid annually) with additional plans to unlock more features
5. Thrive Architect
Thrive Architect is an impressive plugin – it makes it easy for you to create high converting landing pages, without any of the hassle.
You can use it to create course pages, webinar pages, opt-in form pages, sales pages and anything else you can think of.
You get a full drag & drop page builder so you can customize your pages to your hearts content (you can use it on blog posts too).
What I love about this plugin is how the templates are designed.
With most of these sorts of tools, you tend to get beautiful landing page templates all designed in isolation – so when you come to create a sales funnel and you want a thank you page, confirmation page and an opt-in form page, they all look different.
Thrive has done this right – they design most of their templates in sets so they fit together and make sense for people going through your funnel. And they’re themed, so there are a few specific sets that are designed for podcasters, course creators, webinar hosts and more.
And while there will be a learning curve as you get used to the editor, its lightweight and doesn’t feel clunky.
Thrive Architect is developed by the same team behind Thrive Leads – this means both plugins are designed to integrate well together. For example, inside your landing pages, you can add Thrive Leads opt-in forms to take advantage of its reporting/testing features.
- 150+ templates, most of which are designed in sets for consistent branding.
- Plenty of conversion focused elements – buttons, forms etc.
- Integrations for all popular email providers & custom HTML for any that aren’t supported.
- Create custom page layouts inside your theme.
- Undo and redo functionality.
- 2 step opt-in forms.
- Drag & drop page builder.
- Mobile responsive templates.
- Import/export functionality.
Price: $67+ for unlimited updates and 1 year of support. Or purchase their membership plan to unlock all of their plugins and themes (also includes Leads, Quiz Builder, Ultimatum and more).
Let me start off by saying that while Leadpages comes with a WordPress plugin, you are getting an entire platform from which to build your list.
The plugin is just part of it.
Leadpages will help you grow your list by doing the following:
- Allowing you to create high converting landing pages within minutes.
- Create your own 2-step opt-ins with LeadBoxes. These allow you to turn any link on any website into a link that displays a popover when clicked (can increase conversion rates by 30%).
- Generate a ‘LeadLink’ which allows subscribers to join your list, sub-list or subscribe to a webinar with a single click.
Due to Leadpages being a platform, you can create landing pages to build your list, without them being hosted on your blog at all. So, if you need a temporary landing page for an event that doesn’t need to be on your blog – it doesn’t have to be.
And you can manage landing pages across multiple domains from a single dashboard.
Latest features and updates:
By far, the most significant update to Leadpages has been their drag & drop builder.
Their standard page builder was fairly limited – if the template had one box for a video, you couldn’t turn it into a text box, or add a button below it.
But now, you can customize your landing pages to get the exact layout you want.
- 70+ Landing page templates (sortable by conversion rate).
- Unlimited landing pages.
- Unlimited domains.
- Unlimited traffic.
- Mobile responsive templates.
- Built-in split testing.
- Built-in analytics.
- WordPress plugin.
- Complete hosting of your landing pages.
- Digital asset delivery.
- Supports all major mailing list providers.
- Incredible support.
7. OptimizePress 2.0
We previously talked a bit about how Leadpages can help you create high converting landing pages.
OptimizePress is a solid alternative – it’s a plugin rather than a platform so everything is controlled from your site.
This plugin has a drag and drop page editor that allows you to customize your landing pages and make them look exactly how you want them to.
With Optimize Press you have full control over your content and an impressive array of features.
I love how the editor works in terms of functionality and the number of elements you can add to pages, but despite the plugin making a lot of improvements – the editor still feels a little clunky.
- Over 30 themes to choose from.
- Over 40 page elements to utilize.
- Comes with theme and plugin versions.
- Comes with a membership plugin (could save you $100-$300).
- Create sales pages.
- Create landing pages.
- Create launch funnels.
- Create membership portals.
- Mobile optimized.
- Overlay optimizer (2 step opt-in).
- Works with all email marketing platforms.
- Works with major membership systems like Wishlist, DAP, MemberMouse etc.
8. Optin Panda
Optin Panda is designed specifically as a content locking plugin.
This means you can add an opt-in form to your content, and when someone subscribes, they’ll be able to view the content that’s hidden behind it.
You have the option to allow your readers to access the premium content by signing into a social network instead of entering their email list.
You can integrate with a variety of email providers, but leads are saved directly to WordPress for you to export so you’ve got a few options there.
Optin Panda also gives you the option to cut the locked content from a pages source code – this means that the locker can’t be bypassed if someone views the source code.
- 3 different design styles for content lockers.
- Supports most popular email providers.
- Saves leads in WordPress so you can export and import into another email provider at any time.
- Subscribe via social networks option.
- Content inside the locker can be hidden entirely or blurred out.
- Customize how the locker behaves – add a close icon, timer interval, cut locked content from source code etc.
- Unlimited custom fields.
- Built-in reporting.
9. WP Notification Bar Pro
WP Notification Bar Pro allows you to add a notification bar to the top or bottom of your site.
In the context of building an email list; you can choose to display an opt-in form within this notification bar, or display text & a button that drive’s traffic to one of your landing pages (or any other URL on your site).
Basic analytics and customization settings are included too.
What I particularly like about this plugin is that despite it being a lightweight plugin, you still get some heavy hitting features.
Here are some examples:
- Different bar types – we’ve talked about several bar types already. But, you can also add social follow buttons, search forms, blog posts, a countdown timer style CTA and more.
- Advanced page targeting options – For example, you can choose certain conditions where notification bars will display.
- Easy split-testing – Want to test different copy? What about how a countdown timer converts when compared to another type of bar? You can do that too.
The main limitation with WP Notification Bar Pro is that you can only use a select number of email marketing providers. And there is no custom HTML form option like with other plugins.
Fortunately, popular providers such as MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, Campaign Monitor and Mad Mimi are supported. Still, that does miss out a lot of up and coming email providers – hopefully, more will be added in the future.
There is a free version of this plugin that can be used to link to landing pages (or any other URL) or display custom content, but there is no opt-in form functionality.
- Unlimited notification bars.
- Advanced page targeting.
- A/B split testing.
- Customize colors or choose from pre-defined color sets.
- Add animations.
- Basic analytics.
- Supports popular email providers; MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, Campaign Monitor and Mad Mimi.
- Display other elements such as countdown timer, search form and more.
10. WP Subscribe
WP Subscribe is a lightweight opt-in form plugin for WordPress.
It’s free and designed to be as simple as possible.
Just install & activate, then head to your widgets page and add the widget to whichever widget area you like.
Then enter your details for one of the email providers – currently MailChimp, AWeber and Feedburner are supported.
You can then customize the text used in the opt-in form by clicking the “Labels” option.
On the downside, you don’t get the option to customize color, so you’d have to dig into CSS for that. But, it provides an easy (and free) way to get a basic opt-in form loaded on your site.
Alternatively, you can upgrade to the pro version for $27. This will give you the ability to change colors, add exit intent popovers and more.
- Customizable text.
- Can be added to multiple widget areas.
- Supports MailChimp, AWeber and Feedburner.
- Mobile responsive.
- Color customization (Pro only).
- Support for GetResponse (Pro only).
- Shortcode placement (Pro only).
- Display popovers using triggers such as exit intent (Pro only).
- Page level targeting (Pro only).
Price: Free (unlock more features with pro version for $27)
11. MailChimp for WordPress (MC4WP)
What if you’re a MailChimp user and you’re looking for a straight forward way to add basic opt-in forms to your website, MailChimp for WordPress is a solid option.
This plugin is very basic and comes with none of the advanced features that some of the other plugins we’ve discussed do. However, I particularly like how you can add a ‘tick to subscribe’ box to comment forms, registration forms, WooCommerce checkout, Easy Digital Downloads checkout and more.
You can customize the colors and other elements of forms to fit with the branding of your website.
- Dedicated plugin for use with MailChimp only.
- Basic customization options.
- Mobile optimized forms.
- Integrates statistics from MailChimp into your WordPress dashboard.
- 1-click subscribe feature for comments, registration forms and more.
How to pick the perfect list building plugin for you
Depending on your specific needs, certain mailing list plugins may be more suitable than others.
It’s important to understand exactly what you want to accomplish.
Not only that, but it’s worth considering what you might need in the future – it’s easy to just throw any email plugin on your site when you first get started, but chances are you’ll need something more heavy duty in the near future.
… And switching over means you’ll lose historical data, as well as cost you more time in the long run.
Below I’ve put together a series of scenarios where certain plugins will be more favorable than others.
Want the best opt-in form plugin for your WordPress site?
My go-to plugin for new sites tends to be Thrive Leads. I’m comfortable with the editor, and it’s got an extensive range of features.
But, a great alternative would be ConvertPro. It’s a solid plugin with a great feature set.
Want to create both opt-in forms and landing pages?
For example, you can build opt-in forms in Thrive Leads, and add them direct to squeeze pages, webinar pages, or any other landing page created in Thrive Architect.
Thrive Themes offer a membership plan which gives you access to all of their other products. This includes:
- Thrive Optimize – Split testing add-on for Thrive Architect.
- Thrive Quiz Builder – Create Buzzfeed-style quizzes to get subscribers and followers.
- Headline Optimizer – Split test headlines on your blog posts to grow your traffic.
- Thrive Ultimatum – Add countdown timers to your site to promote your products. If you run sales on your products, this is well worth checking out.
There are a bunch of other products too. Click here to learn more about the Thrive Themes Membership plan.
Need a solution for creating conversion optimized landing pages easily?
Leadpages is a solid option if you have clients. And, it’s especially useful if you need the ability to create landing pages that don’t need to be attached to a specific domain. They’ll handle all the hosting for you without any traffic limitations.
But, in most cases I’d be tempted to go with Thrive Architect. If you’d like the ability to run split tests on landing pages you create, go for the Thrive Optimize bundle instead – it includes an add-on that enables split testing.
So, whether you need to create sales pages, pricing pages, opt-in form pages, webinar pages, or anything else – you’ll find suitable templates to get you started in both Leadpages and Thrive Architect.
The easiest plugin to use with the content upgrade strategy
So, this works by creating a “shortcake” style opt-in, and selecting one of their content upgrade templates.
These appear as a call-to-action box that trigger a popover when clicked. Then, you can use the digital asset delivery feature to deliver the content to your new subscribers.
Want a quick (and free) plugin for adding an opt-in form to your sidebar?
WP Subscribe is a great option but only supports AWeber, MailChimp and Feedburner.
There’s a pro version of the plugin that adds GetResponse integration, color customization, popovers and a few other features.
Email list growth starts here
Building an email list doesn’t have to be hard work.
And with the mailing list plugins listed above, you will be able to make it incredibly easy for your readers to subscribe to your list.
Whether you want to add opt-in forms to your website, or create high converting landing pages – these plugins have got you covered.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to take advantage of cutting-edge features and strategies that will massively increase your email sign up conversions.
So now, it’s time to get started – pick out a plugin and start building your email list like wildfire.
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