Multiply Your Email Subscribers Like Rabbits (with this simple trick)

In this post I am going to show you why your list is not growing as fast as it could be. How you accelerate your email list growth with one simple trick. And more importantly what tools you can use to achieve this.


Your email list is one of the most important marketing tools you have!

And building that list is getting harder and harder as people become immune to our amazing offers.

Where have you tried to get them to sign up to your email list?

  • The sidebar of course
  • At the bottom of your posts. Probably.
  • Using a Hello Bar style bar (at the top of your site)
  • On your About page (A Pat Flynn trick)

So, are these optins working for you?

Is your email list growing as fast as you would like?


Mine wasn’t either. So I started experimenting with a bunch of different tools over the last few months, to find what works, and what does not.

And now I am going to share with you the number one way I have found to increase sign ups to your email list.

But first, you need to know why people are not signing up to your list as fast as you would like…

People Don’t Notice Your Optin Forms Anymore (Time To Use WordPress Popup Plugins)

When you see something all the time, you don’t notice it anymore. You have probably experienced this yourself.

A recent chat with a friend really brought this home when I asked him about the ads on the side of Yahoo Mail.

His response: “What ads?”

He told me he had learnt to ignore them. And, he had no idea what ads I was talking about when I brought up an example of a women’s clothing company – wasting their money advertising to me of course!

People no longer notice your optin forms in your header, sidebar or many other places on your site. They have seen them too often. They are no longer surprising and they just don’t catch their attention.

But there is one thing that is hard to ignore on websites – popups!

They might be annoying, I know. But they get results.

In fact, you just have to be a little strategic about how you use them. Then they become not only powerful, but also something that doesn’t scare your visitors away.

And they are really easy to create, if you use the right tools (more on that further down).

Want Proof That Popups Work?

Rather than take my word for it, let’s see what some of the more “famous” bloggers out there have to say.

David Risley from Blog Marketing Academy, a man who teaches blogging for a living, had this experience:

I use the “ad tracking” feature of Aweber to track where subscribers are coming from. Overwhelmingly, they are coming in from the popup.

Ok, so popups are his best way of getting more email subscribers on his list. So who else can we ask?

What about Dan Zarella, a guru in the field of web and social media analytics.  He found that his email

 signup rate doubled with the popup and there was an insignificant change to my bounce rate

This is even more amazing, right?

Not only did he get way more emails signups through popups, it didn’t drive people away from his site.

Is it the perfect solution? The email list building holy grail?

A Few Words of Caution

Popups definitely work. But of course it is not quite that simple.

You also have to be careful how exactly you use popups on your website.

Blatantly annoying every visitor on your site just when they arrive, and on every single visit, will not win you any friends.

So don’t be that popup user. There are enough of those already! (Yes, I am talking to you, evil popup user!)

Let’s take a look at the different types of popups that you can use, and which ones are going to work the best.

Multiply Your Email Subscibers with One Simple Change


What Are The Different Kinds of Popups?

There are a lot of different ways you can implement popups on your website, many of which will help you overcome the “bad karma” people associate with them.

Let’s start from the bottom…

The Standard (Annoying) Popup

This is probably the most common popup around on the web today, with even Forbes using a form of it which annoys the hell out of me when I visit their site!

It’s the “every single freaking time, and right before I do anything” popup. You know the one. Blocking your every move. Testing your patience.

You land on the page, and bang!  Hello popup.

Where’s the exit button? Help!

You might get more sign ups this way, but it is not cool my friend.

Don’t be that popup guy! Keep reading…

The Timed Popups

This kind of popup alleviates most of the pain of the standard “right away” popup, but still gets kinda annoying.

Basically, you put a specific time on when the popup shows up. For example: after 10 seconds, show the popup.

It’s better than the “annoying” popup, but still not ideal.

What if I am in the middle of an amazing paragraph? Will I continue reading?

Or leave your site annoyed?

The Scroll Triggered Popup

There are a few variations of this, with scroll-in boxes and the like. But let’s stick to just popups.

This kind of popup shows up after you have read a certain portion of a page. The idea is that you are obviously quite interested in the content, so you might like to subscribe at this point.

It’s similar to the timed popup, but it waits for a specific place on the page, so does not bug people as early on.

Slowly getting better, but still not awesomeness yet.

The Exit Intent Popups

Hint: This is my favorite.

People are leaving the page or site. They move their mouse towards the edge of the browser – Hang on my friend, here comes the popup!

This is great. You don’t annoy people when they are deep in your content, or busy browsing around. You just catch them as they are leaving.

And given that many will never return, why not give them a chance to get your amazing offer, and sign up to your email list.

They leave with a smile on their face (hopefully) and are now on your list as well. Win-win.

Please Don’t Show Again Popup

Another feature of most popups you really want to have enabled is the “don’t show again for x number of days” which ensures that you are not showing the popup again for a while, or perhaps forever.

How many days until they next see a popup is really up to you. I recommend at least 30 days.

Remember, your popups are there to entice/drive people to sign up to your email list, but you want to keep a balance between – getting signups and bugging your visitors.

This is the feature to help you do that.

What Do I Recommend?

Given that popups can be annoying, but are still the best way to get people onto your email list, what do I recommend to my customers?

Exit Intent Popups with a 30 day delay until they are next shown.

That way you catch people as they are leaving (so minimally annoying them) and you don’t bother them again for a while.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also have popups based on categories or pages, with specific offers, to get maximum signups.

With that in mind, what are the best tools available and the juicy features they offer?

Best Tools to Create Popups

Now that you know the kinds of features you want to look for in a popup plugin for your WordPress website, I wanted to show you the different options that are available.

Thrive Leads Plugin

Thrive Leads (My Personal Favorite)

This is only matched by LeadPages below, and that costs about 5-10x more. So if you want an awesome list building plugin at a reasonable price, then keep reading.

Thrive Leads follows on from Thrive Content Builder (more on that below) and both can do exit popups. The difference, this one is focused only on optin forms, Thrive Content Builder has landings pages and a page builder. When using them together, you have everything you could ever need!

So what can this plugin do, well Optin Forms like:

  • Popup lightbox optin (with exit intent and lots of other options)
  • Sidebar Optin widget
  • Optin forum within posts and pages
  • Header ribbon/ Hello bar optin
  • Slide in optin form (could replace a popup)

Other Features:

  • A/B Testing built in to all forms and options
  • Analytics to easily see what is working
  • Templates for all form types (built to convert)
  • Easy filtering of optins to a specific page/post/category and more

If you want to focus on building your list and don’t need landing pages, this is the one.

read Review

leadpages logo


I am a huge fan of LeadPages, but if you only want popups, then this baby is definitely overkill.

If you want easy to create landing, sales, welcome, thank you pages, as well as all the popup types, A/B testing and more – then this tool is one of the most feature-rich and professional around.

I have reviewed it in the past, if you want to learn more about it. And I use it all the time on most of my sites, and my customers. But it’s expensive.


  • Popups (Exit Intent, Timed, Button/Link/Image Click)
  • Don’t show again for x days.
  • Can load different popups on different pages 
  • Landing Pages (this is the focus of Leadpages)
  • Lead Magnet deliver (can delivery/host your giveaway files)
  • Host lead pages without a website (great for startups with no site)
  • Use LeadPages on Facebook, WordPress, HTML Website
  • Detailed A/B Testing in Pro Version


  • Standard $17-37 per month (depending on monthly, yearly or two years)
  • Pro Version $34-67 per month (includes A/B Testing and some other features)
read Review
Optin Monster Logo

Optin Monster

Optin Monster is an extremely comprehensive plugin that gives you almost all the features you would want for optin forms in any location, and popups.

They also offer A/B testing which can really make a difference. The only downside is that Exit Intent only comes at the Pro Level.


  • Lots of Optin Forms options with great templates and easy to use editor
  • Exit Intent Popups available if you buy the Pro Version
  • Also comes with Page, Post or Category targeting so you can use different ones on each
  • Comes with great A/B Testing and Analytics so you can see what is working
  • Offers modular features, so only install what you need – faster load times etc


Without Exit Intent Popups

  • $49 for a Single Site (one website or blog)
  • $99 for 3 Sites

With Exit Intent Popups

  • $199 Unlimited Sites
  • $499 Unlimited Support
Pop Up Domination

Popup Domination

The Popup Domination plugin is designed to create popups only. But it does do that very well, including Exit Intent style popups.


  • 12 popup designs that are mobile ready
  • Easy to customize the designs
  • A/B Split Testing and analytics
  • Can optimize for page or category targeting
  • Includes Entry or Exit intent popups
  • Don’t show for x days
  • Can also lock content with a popup

Note: This tool can also be used with Non-WordPress sites


  • $47 for a Single Site (one website or blog)
  • $77 for Mutliple Sites
  • $97 Unlmited
Thrive Content Builder Landing Pages Popups

Thrive Content Builder

This is my current favorite of all the plugins that I use (I just reviewed it last week), but it does require a little more work than the above three because you build your popups yourself.

Don’t let that put you off –  it’s very easy.

And the content builder gives you so much power to create any pages (landing pages, posts, standard pages) with a huge library of great elements (maps, pricing tables, testimonials, optin forms, and more).

So this plugin is far more flexible than the rest. It can almost build whole sites.


  • Easy to use Popups (Timer, Exit Intent, Standard)
  • Fantastic Page & Post builder with lots of features
  • Landing Pages with numerous templates


  • $59 for a Single Site (one website or blog)
  • $87 for Mutliple Sites
  • $199 Agency License
read Review
sumo me list builder

Sumo Me List Builder

This is a simple plugin designed to do one thing. Add popups to your site. They are not so easy to customize and you have to buy templates to really be able to do it.

But if you just want to try out popups (including Exit Intent), then this is a great place to start.


  • Popups with Timer, Exit Intent (Smart Mode)
  • Simple editor (Limited Customization)
  • Use templates to change popups significantly


  • FREE
  • Custom Templates $6 each

Which Plugin Should You Use?

With so many options, it is sometimes hard to know which tool is the best for you. None of the above are a bad choice, it just depends on what you want to do. So here is a quick breakdown from my experience.

I only want to add a quick and dirty popup to my site, with no costs.

Try the Sumo Me List Builder just to get you going. It is not the simplest to use, or the most powerful, but it is free and will get you started.

I want the ability to heavily customize my popups (and pages, landing pages etc). And I definitely want Exit Intent Popups

Thrive Content Builder is the simplest around at the moment, and the most feature-rich and powerful. And they keep adding things for free all the time. It also has Exit Intent popups for a really cheap price.

I want a very quick and easy to use landing page builder with options for popups (including Exit Intent)

LeadPages is insanely easy to use, with high converting templates (many created by top marketers). It is not cheap, but it is powerful, with loads of features -including the ability to use with Facebook Ads, which none of the others can do. This is really the Porsche version of them all. I still use it all the time to make quick 5 minute landing sales pages.

I want lots of optin form templates and editing of popups in WordPress

Thrive Leads and Optin Monster are both direct competitors here. Check them both out. Hybrid connect does not have Exit Intent yet, and Optin Monster costs $199 to get that option. So if you want that feature, Thrive Content Builder is better.

I just want a cheap plugin that does Popups well (Including Exit, Don’t Show Until, Page Category Targeting)

Popup Domination might be the best bet, but for similar money you can get optin forms in all different forms for other parts of your site (and A/B Testing) with Thrive Leads. I use this plugin for all my cients.

And if you are still confused, feel free to get in touch with me and I will share my experience and knowledge to help you make the right decision.

Final Thoughts

Many people are totally against popups, but with the power of things like timed popups or even better, exit intent popups, you now have the power to get more email addresses without annoying your visitors.

So stop wasting opportunities (visitors to your website) and start building your lister bigger and faster today.

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).

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