Every blogger knows how important it is to build a solid optin list for their website. Not only can a highly targeted list provide a source of invaluable traffic. It can also help drive sales on your products and services.
Building a good email list however, requires some experimenting to find the best tools. On WordPress for example, there’s hundreds of plugin options for collecting the email addresses of your visitors. But how do you know which is the best one to choose?
To help make your decision easier, let’s take a look at two of the leading optin plugins for WordPress on the market. These are Bloom by Elegant Themes and OptinMonster, two premium plugins used by thousands of WordPress users the world over.
OptinMonster dubs itself the ‘Best WordPress Popup and Lead Generation’ plugin for WordPress. Created by Retyp, LLC it’s packed full of features to help you grow your email list from the ground up. Including a live optin customizer and a number of templates to start with, it’s a popular choice for many people. Most notable of these features is the ‘Exit Intent’ functionality, which triggers an optin popup at the moment a visitor goes to leave your website.
Bloom on the other hand is part of the Elegant Themes range of plugins. As a recent addition to the market, it boasts hundreds of pre-made templates in an effort to make creating your optins as straightforward as possible. While Bloom doesn’t include exit intent functionality, it does offer time delays and trigger points for displaying your optins.
How Much Do They Cost?
When looking at how much each of these two plugins cost, you can see they vary widely. Because OptinMonster is a standalone product, it works on pricing system based on a number of different plans.
These plans are:
- Basic: Costs $49 for 1 site. Includes updates and support for 1 year. Does not include Exit Intent, Canvas or Priority Support.
- Plus: Costs $99 for 3 sites. Includes updates and support for 1 year. Does not include Exit Intent, Canvas or Priority Support
- Pro: Costs $199 for unlimited sites. Includes updates and support for 1 year. Includes all features.
Ultimate: Costs $499 for unlimited sites. Includes lifetime updates and support. Includes all features.
In comparison Bloom is part of a wider package of Themes and Plugins offered as part of an annual Elegant Themes subscription. There are three subscription plans on offer however the basic (and cheapest) plan does not include access to Elegant Themes Plugins. To take advantage of the Bloom plugin you need to at least subscribe to the Developer plan.
Qualifying plans include:
- Developer: Costs $89 per year. Includes all Elegant Themes Plugins, Themes and features.
- Lifetime Access: Costs $249 for a one time payment. Includes all Themes, Plugins and features. No recurring yearly fees.
This could potentially be a deal-breaker if you’re on a limited budget, considering the starting prices for OptinMonster. Although it’s worth taking into account that should you opt for Elegant Themes, you also gain access to much more than just an optin plugin.
How Do They Integrate With Mailing Providers?
Integration with your favorite mailing provider is essential for any optin plugin claiming to help you grow your list. Therefore it’s a good sign that both Bloom and OptinMonster integrate and support all of the popular 12 providers.
Aweber, Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, Infusionsoft, iContact, GetResponse, MailPoet, Feeblizt, Sendinblue, and Ontraport are all fully supported by both plugins.
OptinMonster however go one step further here, by supporting all custom html form scripts, should a provider you use not be included on the list. As far as I can tell, Bloom doesn’t provide this functionality.
What Are The Display Options?
When I say ‘Display Options’, I’m referring to where your optin forms can be placed and displayed on your website. Being able to have your forms in multiple places can help increase your optin rate by targeting people at specific points on their journey through your site.
In the case of Bloom display options include an automatic popup optin, a flyin at the bottom of the page and an inline form which can be placed within the content of a blog post. Similarly forms can displayed beneath the content of a post and as a widget in your sidebar.
There’s one other form of optin Bloom provides. This is the optin to unlock option. It can be used to lock your content behind an optin form, meaning users have to subscribe to gain access to the rest of a post. It’s something that’s incredibly useful for membership sites that contain subscriber only materials.
Now let’s compare this to OptinMonster. Similar to Bloom they offer a lightbox popup optin, a slide-in optin, after post form and a sidebar widget. Where they differ is in the inclusion of a floating footer bar and canvas popup.
The floating footer bar acts in a similar way to HelloBar by placing a horizontal bar along the bottom of the page. This includes a call to action and form for users to optin and is a great way to catch users when swapping windows.
The canvas popup is where things get interesting. Instead of limiting you to using just optins in this space, you can use it to showcase anything you like. An example of this might be a limited offer, buy it now buttons or an important announcement. Bloom doesn’t include either of these two last features, so it’s something worth noting down for when you’re ready to buy.
What Templates And Designs Are On Offer?
The way your optins are designed can play a key role in how many people end up following through and subscribing to your list. A poor design that doesn’t stand out, can mean the difference between slow and speedy growth.
Bloom comes pre-loaded with 115 templates all ready to be tweaked and customized to suit your needs. Each design set includes 3 form orientations, multiple borders and edges, as well as image positioning options.
There’s a lot of templates to choose from and every single template can be further customized with room for custom CSS styling. You can upload your own images, or use the pre-loaded icons while the built in color pickers make selecting different shades straightforward.
OptinMonster has a less cluttered approach to their templates. With a maximum of 10 styles to choose from, they prefer to let you make your own decisions on styling and customization. This is where the WYSIWYG customizer comes in.
The customizer provides you with a live preview of how your form will look, as you’re building it. Upload images, pick colors using the color picker and change fonts using integrated Google web fonts and see the changes take place live before your eyes. There may be less choice in terms of pre-mades than Bloom but how many templates do you really need? OptinMonster I would say has enough customization options to balance this out.
What About Timings And Triggers?
Timing your popups and flyins can be crucial to catching your readers before they leave your page. Time a popup too soon and they may simply click the ‘X’ button, however time it too late and they might similarly be uninterested.
Bloom handles this by allowing you to set multiple time delays triggers, based on your personal preferences. You can set optins to show when a user reaches the bottom of a post or after scrolling a certain length of the screen. Popups can be triggered after a comment has been left or a purchase made. Alternatively it can be set off after a certain period of inactivity.
OptinMonster takes a different approach. While all plans ship with time delay and trigger options, users of the Pro and Ultimate OptinMonster plans can take advantage of their exit intent technology. This technology tracts a users movements across your website and catches them right at the moment they’re about to leave. This then triggers your optin popup, prompting them to sign up.
This is a key feature that isn’t present in the Bloom plugin and I feel they’re missing a trick here. Exit intent can have a dramatic effect on your number of signups – I’ve personally used this on my own website in the past with great results.
How Can I Track My Statistics?
Being able to track the success rate of your conversions, will help you further target the areas where you need to improve your optins. Both Bloom and OptinMonster have A/B split testing functionality, so you’ll be able to carry out testing regardless of which plugin you opt for. In terms of your statistics however, each plugin takes a radically different approach.
Bloom by far provides the most information regarding your stats. Not only do you get an overview of all your current optins, it also provides details on conversion rates, your conversion rate percentage, number of subscribers and your subscriber growth over a certain period of time.
Delving in further, Bloom then goes on to show details of new signups over 30 days, and again for 12 months, giving you a larger snapshot of time to compare. Finally you can see details of your highest converting pages, which is helpful when pinpointing what’s going wrong on other pages.
OptinMonster has a far simpler approach. Instead of bombarding users with a host of stats and figures, they display only those statistics that matter. These include the number of impressions each optin has had, their conversions and their conversion percentage.
I personally prefer this streamlined approach. There’s nothing like a whole load of stats staring you in the face if your goals aren’t primarily aligned with building a list as fast as possible. I appreciate however that for many other people having as much information as you can get, can be vital in a business or website’s success.
Having used both plugins personally in my own time, and having tested them for the purpose of this comparison, it feels a bit like comparing apples to apples. Both Bloom and OptinMonster offer similar functionality with a few key exceptions.
For me OptinMonster has the upper hand in terms of the exit intent technology. However Bloom’s vast array of options is incredibly attractive to those users who don’t want to faff around with customizing every inch of their optins. Still convinced see the following posts on list building plugins:
- The Best 7 List Building Plugins for WordPress Compared
- 10 of the Best List Building Plugins for WordPress In 2016
Each has their perks and flaws and I think it’s great that there’s more choice available. The question remains, which one is your favorite?