List building should be easy.
But it isn’t.
Regardless of what email marketing platform you choose, integrating the forms with WordPress always ends up being a pain.
Getting the form to display on the right page, customizing the design, and making sure the leads get sent into the email software correctly – it can become a major headache.
If you aren’t especially technical and don’t know how to write code, it’s pretty common to struggle with building a list on your site.
There’s a simpler way.
If any of this sounds familiar then I think this might be the best page on the internet for you to read right now.
I recently got my hands on a copy of MailOptin, and this plugin aims to solve all these problems. In fact, it offers an incredibly comprehensive and flexible approach for list building, and it does it all within your WP dashboard.
What is MailOptin?
MailOptin gives you everything you need for email marketing with WordPress.
Create beautiful optin forms, customize them, and display them on your site all without leaving your WordPress dashboard. You can even run simple email marketing campaigns like new post notifications.
While there are many comparable solutions available, here’s a few things that make MailOptin stand out.
Psst! MailOptin also has a free version if you’d like to give it a test spin before buying.
Why you should consider MailOptin
Here’s a brief overview of the unique benefits of using MailOptin.
Integrated entirely in WordPress
Unlike many email marketing solutions, MailOptin is a plugin integrated entirely within WordPress, so you never need to leave your dashboard.
This email marketing plugin also has a huge amount of customization options. You can select from five different optin types, dozens of form templates, and change every aspect of the design from the copy to the colors.
MailOptin is also a breeze to integrate with the email marketing platform of your choice. All you need to do is enter the API key from your email marketing platform and you’re done.
Now let’s take a closer look at this plugin and exactly how to use it on your site.
How it works
When you activate MailOptin, you’ll have a new top-level menu added to your WP Dashboard.
All of the settings menus are beautifully designed and each tab loads instantly as you switch between them.
You’ll want to take a quick look through each of the four settings tabs to fill out some general info like your From Name and email.
Once you have that filled out, the next step is to add your integration.
Integrate with your email marketing platform
MailOptin currently has 19 integrations including all the most popular email marketing platforms. We recently switched from MailChimp to GetResponse, so that’s what I’ll be using to test the plugin out.
Here’s the menu where I can add my GetResponse API key:
All you need to do is enter your API key and click the Save Changes button to integrate with your email platform.
Once you’ve added your integrations, you can begin creating your first optin campaign.
Create an email optin campaign
The next step is to create an “optin campaign” and this basically means choosing an optin form, customizing its design, and deciding when and where to display it.
Here’s a look at the optin template selection screen:
When selecting a theme, you’re not just selecting the design. You’re also choosing the optin type.
Changing optin types changes how the form is displayed. For instance, a lightbox will popup over top of all the content on your site while a sidebar/widget optin will simply be added to your sidebar (or another widget area on your site).
Once you choose your optin theme, you’ll reach what I think is the best part of MailOptin.
Customize your optin form
In the past, I’ve recommended plugins like MailChimp for WP because they make it pretty easy to add optin forms and customize them. However, none of the WP plugins I’ve seen before come close to the capabilities offered in MailOptin.
MailOptin utilizes the Customizer the same way WordPress themes do to provide you with customization options.
Each section in the Customizer contains additional settings for customizing the content and design featured in the popup.
These features are pretty much what you would expect, so let me highlight the last three sections, in particular, because this is where the flexibility of MailOptin is truly realized.
Pick an integration
When customizing your optin form, you can click the Integrations section, and you’ll find an option to select an integration for the form.
In the screenshot above, I selected my GetResponse integration and the list in GetResponse I want to add subscribers to.
What’s great about this approach is that each optin form can add subscribers to a different list. Each form could even add subscribers to multiple lists on multiple platforms if you wanted. This makes it easy to segment list building on your site.
Pro tip: if you’re adding content upgrades to your site, the ability to create many optin forms with distinct offers is awesome.
Custom success action
Another cool feature in the form customizer is the option to decide what to do after someone subscribes. This is controlled in the After Conversion section.
The Success Action option in particular is very neat.
A simple success message might work well, but the ability to redirect subscribers to a landing page after they signup really nice too. Again, this can be changed for each individual form you create.
You also have the option to send a single email right away when someone subscribes. While this is a practical feature, I’d recommend keeping all your emails in your marketing platform (if you’re using one).
The last section I’m going to highlight are the display rules, and I think they’ll blow you away…
Custom display rules
The “display rules” are used to decide exactly when the optin form should show up. This is especially important for the lightbox optin type since it will cover up the whole page.
MailOptin provides an extremely comprehensive set of options allowing you to decide things like which pages the form shows on and what triggers the display. You can choose to show the form based on:
- How long a visitor has been on the page
- If they click a link
- Their scroll distance down the page
- The number of pages they’ve viewed
- Exit intent (if they are about to leave the page)
On top of all that, you can even schedule an optin form to display on your site during specific dates and times. For instance, you might have an optin run for a Black Friday sale, and schedule it to stop on Saturday morning.
With the form totally customized to match your brand and campaign, the last step is to publish the form.
Publish the campaign
Since you’ve already chosen where and when to display the form, the only step left is to flip this switch to activate the campaign.
Once you’ve customized the optin form entirely, you can simply click this trigger to activate it on your site.
Once the form is activated, it will appear based on the display rules set previously. Everyone who subscribes will be added to your email list via the integration you selected, and all of the stats will begin recording.
View your stats
You’ll want to measure your success so you know how well your optin form is doing.
The Statistics menu has a simple but effective presentation for understanding your performance. You can select a campaign and view graphs for your impressions, subscribers, and conversion rate.
The graph at the top is an overview that includes all three metrics, and there are three more graphs below to get a closer look at each of the metrics.
Split test your forms
There’s not much point in measuring your success if you don’t have plans to improve it.
Split testing, or A/B testing, is a simple way to pit two optin forms head-to-head and see which one performs best. The best part about split-testing with MailOptin is that you can test any element. For example, you could try a different image in your variation, new copy, or you could simply display it after a different trigger like displaying it after 5 seconds instead of 10.
With all of these customization options available, you’ll always have something new to test and improve your optin rates with.
There’s just one more thing to cover before wrapping up this review of MailOptin.
Send email newsletters with MailOptin
In my opinion, the list building features are really where MailOptin shines. However, there is one other major feature included in this plugin.
MailOptin can also be used to send email newsletters. You can choose between new post notifications triggered every time a post is published, and a post digest which can be sent out every day, week, or month, and includes all of your recent posts in it.
These two different methods allow for some flexibility in sending post notifications, but MailOptin doesn’t offer any more complex functionality like custom newsletters.
Considering how surprisingly hard it is to send new post notifications, I think this is a handy feature to have included in MailOptin.
Customize the email templates
When sending emails with MailOptin, there’s a simple template you can use to get started.
You can change the colors, font sizes, and all of the content from an editor just like when editing optin forms.
While there is only one template to choose from, I don’t see a need for anything more complex considering the customization options available. New post notifications should be kept simple.
Quick tip for email deliverability
If you’re going to use MailOptin to send emails from your site, there’s one thing you should know.
Sending emails from your site can be troublesome because they may be delivered slowly and you will get rate-limited by your host. For instance, Bluehost will limit you to 150 emails/hour and some hosts are even stricter. That means that if you have a newsletter with 450 people on it, it will take three hours before everyone receives it.
If you’re just getting started and only have a few subscribers, it won’t be a problem, but it’s good to be aware of this. Plan on signing up for an email marketing platform like GetResponse in the future to use with MailOptin.
Update: here’s a clarification from Collins Agbonghama, the founder of MailOptin, on how the email deliverability works:
“Do note that, aside from the autoresponder that uses your server to send emails, automated emails like new post notification and email digest uses your email service provider eg GetResponse to send the email to your list on your behalf.”
How could MailOptin improve?
The one thing this plugin is missing that I would appreciate is more advanced segmentation.
For example, with every optin campaign in MailOptin, I can choose which GetResponse list I want to add subscribers to. This is nice, but it would be amazing if I could also choose custom fields and tags to apply to subscribers when they signup.
This kind of functionality is honestly very hard to find in email marketing plugins, but it would set MailOptin head and shoulders above the competition IMO.
Update: This functionality is already present in MailOptin for some platforms like MailChimp is on the way for others like GetResponse.
Overall, MailOptin is a very flexible and effective plugin for email marketing.
If you’re looking to build your list, give this plugin a shot.
With MailOptin, you can:
- Create beautiful optin forms
- Choose from 5 different optin types
- Customize your forms endlessly
- Split-test optin campaigns for better results
- Send targeted newsletters to your subscribers
And there are also a few more features I didn’t cover in this review like the AdBlock detection, Google Analytics integration, and Elementor integration, so check out their site if you want to learn more about that.