How to Build Your Mailing List With WordPress – Best plugins of 2018

You already know that email marketing plays a crucial role for blogger’s incomes and for other online businesses.

Creating a regular newsletter keeps your subscribers updated and interested. It gives you a huge extra opportunity to reach out and sell anytime you feel like it.

The hard part is building a list of regular subscribers who are eager to read your emails.

Gathering emails can be an easier process if you are using WordPress, this is because using one of the best mailing list plugin’s can help you manage and collect email addresses with minimal effort.

You’ll be able to create clever opt-in forms and optimise each one for maximum visibility.

What is The Best Mailing List Plugin?

The problem is that there are so many WordPress plugins to choose from.

Before you start spending money on a mailing list plugin, glance over my reviews below. Make sure you read through the benefits carefully to ensure the tool has the features you want and will meet your needs.

Some plugins are easier to learn, whilst others have more features.

Here are my picks of the best mailing list WordPress plugins, starting with my top choice.

Bloom9/109/10 Check price
OptinMonster8/107/10 Check Price
WP Subscribe4/102/10Free
MailChimp for WordPress2/102/10Free
Thrive Leads9/100/10Not Recommended

Bloom Review

Bloom ReviewBloom is a very straightforward plugin that allows users to select a wide range of opt-in forms.

The templates are very well-designed and can be used in almost any situation. Each design offers “Elegant Design Options” that allow for full customisation. Whether you want a pop-up advertisement or a small line of text encouraging users to sign up, you can arrange it with Bloom.

Much like Thrive Leads, you are able to control when your opt-in forms are displayed. One common practice is to use a timed delay or trigger a pop-up after inactivity. Both of these features can capture a reader’s attention and encourage them to opt-in.

Bloom from Elegent Themes does have several unique benefits:

  • Basic reporting
  • Eye-catching templates
  • Multiple display options
  • Easy integration with other plug-ins and services

For a yearly fee, members can gain access to all themes and plugins produced by Bloom. A one-time Lifetime Access fee can help you save money in the long run, but it is still a large upfront fee.

A benefit of this structure is that themes and plugins can be applied to as many websites as you wish. This can make Bloom the cheaper option for those trying to build a large network of websites.

Bloom vs Thrive Leads

A huge advantage they have over Thrive Leads is that they have a good support system that treats you as a valued customer. Thrive Themes have a terrible support system (read my Thrive Leads Review later down this page for more info).

This makes Bloom the best for overall value on this list. I know because I have tried both.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=”optin_3″]


OptinMonster Review

OptinMonster ReviewOptinMonster’s website doesn’t look as flashy as Thrive Leads’ or Bloom’s; however, this shouldn’t defer you from exploring this mailing list plugin. On the outside, it looks like a fairly basic plugin, but it offers cloud-based technology that can make organisation a breeze. This allows you to retrieve information, develop and change forms remotely.

OptinMonster also places a strong emphasis on mobile conversions. While Thrive Leads has a very responsive design, OptinMonster boasts that it can increase conversions with a mobile-specific popup. This is great for those trying to encourage a download. The responsive popup can also be used to encourage purchases or collect emails, making it a very valuable addon when used properly.

Testing is also far easier with OptinMonster. The plugin doesn’t just allow for A/B split testing, it tracks key metrics long after implementation. This helps you select the results that perform the best and identify ones that need work. Customised messages can help further improve your conversion rate, providing you with a powerful tool.

The overall price of OptinMonster is what turns most people off. If you are running a single WordPress site and don’t need access to a lot of features, the subscription price may be affordable. The average user is going to want the Plus or Pro package which is designed specifically for growing businesses. The Pro package is the most expensive, but it provides access to full screen takeovers, campaign scheduling, referral detection and mobile-specific forms.


WP Subscribe Review

WP Subscribe ReviewWhen you first start building your email marketing list, you might not see the need for advanced features. WP Subscribe is a free plugin that offers very basic features and simple templates. Because the basic version is free, it can be installed on any WordPress site. It is also designed to be used alongside popular mailing services, such as MailChimp.

One of the benefits of using WP Subscribe is that it is easy to integrate more advanced features later. WP Subscribe Pro is a responsive plugin that includes exit intent, further customisation features and more. Both plugins are designed to be downloaded and instantly used, making them a smart choice for people in a hurry.

The pricing is very affordable – after all, nothing beats free. Choosing WP Subscribe Pro isn’t too much more expensive, especially when you consider it is one of the few plugins that don’t charge regular usage fees. The only downside is the lack of features, especially when compared to services like Bloom or Thrive Leads. Users may need to invest in multiple plugins to get all of the features they want.


MailChimp for WordPress (Free) Review

MailChimp for WordPress ReviewMailChimp is one of the most trusted names in marketing automation, especially when it comes to building and organising a mailing list. It only makes sense that they would want to create a WordPress plugin that allows for easy integration with their services.

Like the free version of WP Subscribe, MailChimp for WordPress has limited customisation options. This can make modifying forms a little frustrating; however, it is possible to create a theme based around your logo or company colors. Premium versions of the plugin allow for further customisations, which will be a necessity for most people trying to build their brand.

If you aren’t using MailChimp for other automated marketing services, you won’t get much out of this plugin. You’ll be able to create a very basic form and collect some information, but it won’t be as optimised. The only way to create multiple forms is with the premium version.

Premium pricing is also a big turnoff.

While the premium version includes e-commerce integration, the style builder, and additional reporting features, it doesn’t cost that much more to get Bloom or Thrive Leads. MailChimp is great for those seeking a very simple solution on a single website.


Mailing List Plugins I Can’t Recommend


Why I Don’t Recommend Thrive Leads or Thrive Architect

It’s always a shame when you have to write a negative review. However I don’t want to give dishonest accounts. I originally put Thrive Leads at the top of the table and I was an affiliate for them.

I honestly believed they were the best wordpress mailing list plugin on the market.

However, when the time came to ask for some support, that’s where everything went wrong. At first I was ignored. It took almost 5 days and the responses I got were short, combative and unhelpful. It definitely was not the experience I was looking for or expecting with a premium plugin.

On their website they state they are compatible with a particular email sending service – when in fact they only connect with the old version. They tried to make it look like it was my fault when in fact it is not my fault at all. This is definitely ambiguous on their sales pages which should be updated.

25th September 2017 – I am yet to receive a refund (I have opened a PayPal dispute).
28th September 2017 – they are now deleting my posts on their support forum
3rd October 2017 – I am still yet to receive a refund and it looks like I will have to wait for the PayPal ruling.
5th October 2017 – Finally received my refund via PayPal dispute.

Amazingly, I found this article on their blog which completely contradicts my experience with them.

It also looks like I’m not the first or last to have these problems, as another frustrated user chimed in on my support thread that he was having a negative experience too. They ignored him as well. And on further inspection, their forums are full of unhappy clients.

In the interest of transparency, here’s my review how it stood previously (before I needed their support):


Thrive Leads Review

Thrive Leads ReviewThrive have a wide range of plugins and themes available for WordPress. Everything they produce is high-quality, so it is already easy to see why Thrive Leads would take the number one spot on this list.

The biggest benefits of Thrive Leads is that it is meant to be used right away. After installing the plugin, you can start building and using forms to grow your mailing list. A straightforward visual editor lets you build your first form in just a few minutes.

Some of the advanced features are unique to Thrive Leads.

Animations are a prime example. By making your forms more visually appealing, you are encouraging visitors to provide you with information. Several customization options help you create the eye-catching look you want, all through a drag and drop editor.

Thrive Leads also allows you to easily lock content. This feature allows you to make it impossible for users to access certain parts of your website without providing you with an email address. While some marketers use this on their entire page, many people use this feature for eBooks, downloads, or lengthy blog posts. This gives people more of a reason to provide you with an email address.

A few other benefits of using Thrive Leads includes:

  • Easily-accessible statistics
  • Integration with email providers
  • Pre-made templates
  • Placement recommendations and precise targeting

Thrive Leads is available on its own or through a membership program. The monthly Thrive Membership grants access to all of their products, making it a great value for marketers trying to build the ideal website.


When Should You Start Building Your List?


Waiting for the right moment is a fallacy and is something nearly all bloggers regret.

Don’t wait until your blog becomes popular – have your optin boxes ready for when it does. For example, in my case, I wrote an article discussing and reviewing lots of different tools, bots and apps. It took off. All of a sudden I was getting massive amounts of traffic, but I didn’t collect emails on that page for quite some time (months!) and I missed out on potentially thousands of email addresses – and that’s not an exaggeration.

Start today.


How to Build an Email List in WordPress

If you are trying to build a large mailing list, you need to figure out the ideal locations on your website for your opt-in forms.

Not only do you need to experiment with placement, you need to be able to create a visually-appealing form that attracts and keeps people’s attention.

This means avoiding basic forms and templates as much as possible. One thing you will have noticed above is that mailing list plugins with little customisation rank towards the bottom of the list.

For you to unlock the full potential of your mailing list, you need to be able to heavily customise your forms and reinforce your brand image with them. Being able to include your logo or company colours can go a long way in terms of brand recognition.

It isn’t uncommon for marketers to try multiple plugins before selecting one that best suits their needs.

Many plugins offer a 30-day money back guarantee or have free versions that you can try.

Look for advanced features like A/B switch testing, content locking, multiple display options or visual builders to make creating the perfect form a simple process.

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