Mailing lists are increasingly important for successful online marketing. Statistics show that direct emails to learners outperform other marketing methods and produce an average return on investment of 420 percent. Yet getting visitors to your website to sign up for your mailing list can be tricky. The opt-in rate for mailing lists is just under 2 percent, meaning for every 100 visitors your site attracts, only about two will sign up to receive emails from you.
OptinMonster is designed to increase that rate using a range of smart targeting tools to encourage visitors to act. It boasts in excess of 200 million conversions across 600,000 websites, improving opt-in rates, decreasing cart abandonment, and providing customized offers for both new and returning customers. OptinMonster calls itself the ideal solution for lead generation for almost every industry, from bloggers to ecommerce sites, marketing agencies, and small businesses.
As an edupreneur, lead generation is critical for attracting new learners and growing your business. If you run a website, OptinMonster has solutions that can help. In this article, I’ll introduce the main features and benefits and you can decide if OptinMonster is right for you.
OptinMonster Review: How it works
OptinMonster is designed to do one thing very efficiently, and that’s capture leads once they land on your website. You’ve already done the hard work creating content, developing a marketing strategy, and attracting interested learners. Yet after all that work, only 2 percent of visitors will join your mailing list and enter your sales funnel. The role of OptinMonster is to increase that 2 percent, magnifying the results of your content marketing efforts.
This is achieved in three simple steps:
- Create your campaign
- Target behavior to automate
- Launch your campaign and review analytics
There are over 100 campaign templates to choose from, including exit-intent popups, welcome mats, floating announcement bars, slide-in scroll boxes, and more. Each template can be customized to match the look and feel of your website using a drag and drop WYSIWYG editor.
It’s easy to import your own images, add text, and create a compelling call to action. From simple signup boxes to flash sales offers, OptinMonster has a template for that.
When it comes to behavior targeting, you might find yourself spoiled for choice. This is the trigger for your campaign to display, and depending on your plan you can choose from a variety of user actions and even set page-by-page rules. Depending on your OptinMonster plan, triggers range from the time spent on site and pages viewed, to exit-intent, inactivity, and geolocation sensors.
Finally, once your campaigns are running OptinMonster’s analytics will provide feedback on performance and success. You can edit your campaigns at any time, and OptinMonster offers A/B testing to determine which factors affect your audience and are most likely to compel them to act.
OptinMonster Campaign Types
OptinMonster offers several types of campaigns, covering every possible visitor action from mailing list signups to completing an abandoned purchase. Actions are driven using targeted messages delivered at key points depending on the site visitor’s behavior.
Lightboxes are the most common form of popup delivered by OptinMonster, and can increase conversion rates by as much as 600 percent. Lightboxes work because they demand action; the user cannot proceed on the site until the lightbox has been resolved. Mailing list signup forms often appear in lightboxes, promoting a user to enter their email address to continue. For edupreneurs looking to expand their marketing lists, these forms are immensely valuable.
OptinMonster offers a wide range of triggers that can deploy lightboxes, including:
- Time on site
- Scrolling trigger
- Exit-intent movements
Additionally, your lightboxes can be tailored to target specific users, including new or returning visitors, users from specific locations, or users browsing on particular devices. Advanced members can also use OptinMonster’s behavioral automations to recapture users who may have ignored previous prompts, and even tailor lightbox messages depending on the source of the incoming lead.
Although mailing list signup forms are the most common use for lightboxes, OptinMonster includes a variety of other features, including promotional coupons and social media integrations.
Full-Screen Welcome Mat
Similar to a lightbox, a welcome mat takes over the full screen with an offer or prompt for action when a trigger is activated. The welcome mat is harder to ignore or click away than a lightbox, and can increase conversion by up to 80 percent. Coded with SEO in mind, the welcome mat acts as an overlay, leaving the page underneath intact.
Welcome mats can be triggered by the same user interactions as lightboxes, and can be used to target specific users based on browsing behavior, geolocation, and referring source.
Floating Headers and Footers
Floating headers and footers are popular with site owners because they don’t interfere with the user’s ability to interact with the site, and the bright colors and movement catch attention without seeming intrusive. Floating headers and footers can be used to encourage newsletter signups, add a countdown for sales periods, and draw attention to new posts and important updates.
You can choose from a library of prebuilt templates and add your own information using the drag and drop editor, or create your own floating bars using OptinMonster’s design tools. Triggers for this form of campaign include time on site and scrolling behaviour, and can be turned on or off depending on geolocation, device, referring link, and more.
Slide-in forms appear alongside page content, making them an unobtrusive alternative to lightboxes. OptinMonster recommends using these campaigns with a scroll trigger to attract the attention of users who are reading your content. A range of animation options enables you to choose how flashy (or discreet) you want the campaign to be.
This campaign option can be used to promote a product or mailing list signup form, but is particularly effective at delivering more content once a user is already engaged. For example as a user nears the bottom of reading one blog post, the sliding box can suggest the next one they should read.
Inline forms are designed to encourage newsletter subscriptions on content-heavy sites — perfect for edupreneurs! The form is embedded within the content, breaking up large walls of text with a colorful and compelling call to action. Forms can also be used in conjunction with OptinMonster’s Content Lock feature to block the reader from continuing with the content unless they sign up.
OptinMonster’s Yes/No forms are founded on data showing that giving users multiple options increases conversion. It might sound counterintuitive — general web writing advice is to lead visitors to a single decision and compel them to act — but OptinMonster says their stats prove that offering two choices in popups and lightboxes can improve responses by as much as 18 percent.
This is because giving users Yes and No buttons to press encourages them to engage with the campaign and make a choice. With a traditional mailing list signup lightbox, users are prompted to enter their email address only. The “No” response is to click away from the lightbox without ever engaging with it. With Yes/No forms, the “No” response is to click the No button — meaning they have engaged with the campaign. And that simple act makes users actively consider the offer, rather than simply dismissing it out of hand.
MonsterLinks™ 2-step Opt-in
Following on from the philosophy of the Yes/No forms are MonsterLinks, another opt-in style lightbox that captures more leads by letting users make the decision how to engage. Using MonsterLinks, you can turn any image or text into the trigger to launch the campaign. Users must click on the trigger in order to activate the popup, and because they’ve already started the process, they’re more likely to complete it. A good way to use this feature is to offer a lead magnet such as a free ebook, and place the signup button behind the “Get it now” call to action.
OptinMonster Targeting Methods
All of OptinMonster’s campaign types can be targeted to increase effectiveness by only displaying the campaign to the right visitors at the right time. Targeting methods can also be combined to fine-tune your campaigns and get the best results on every page.
The simplest way of targeting an OptinMonster campaign is to set it to only display on specific pages. This is especially useful if you are using different landing pages in order to attract a wide range of demographics to your sales funnel. A landing page tailored toward blue collar middle-aged men won’t be as effective at attracting college students, and neither will your OptinMonster campaigns.
Targeting users by their location is a fast and effective way of delivering personalized content and offers. This type of targeting could be especially effective for edupreneurs who are planning a speaking event and are looking for local learners to attend. Location targeting can also help adjust your prices to compensate for varying tax and shipping rates, for example only offering free shipping on purchases of your latest book to visitors who qualify for local mail rates.
How people access the internet is changing, and campaigns that respond to different devices and browsers often produce better results. A signup form placed in the sidebar of your blog might display prominently on your browser but be relegated to the bottom of the page on mobile. That means a significant number of your website visitors might never even see your signup form. Equally, web-based ads and popups often obscure mobile screens and make the site unreadable, increasing your bounce rate.
OptinMonster uses device-based targeting to overcome these hurdles with campaigns designed to display prominently — but not obnoxiously — on mobile. The majority of campaign types can be optimized to display on web, mobile, or both, increasing their visibility and making it easier for visitors to interact with your campaigns.
Follow Up Campaigns®
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to browse a website and being inundated with popups. However, with OptinMonster you can create campaigns that are carefully tailored to incentivize users who have rejected your first call to action.
Think of it like a drip campaign that runs directly on your website. New users are greeted with an initial campaign asking them to subscribe to your mailing list. The vast majority will close the campaign without signing up. However if they remain on your site, a secondary campaign can be triggered to offer a lead magnet in exchange for signing up. If you have a store on your website, Follow Up Campaigns can also be used to upsell and cross-sell products when a user has displayed interest. For example, a user who checks out the details of your online course could be persuaded to buy your book on the same subject.
Personalize your campaigns with reactive tags that use visitor data to add dynamic content to your site. Tags can be based on geolocation and device information, as well as personal information about known users. If a visitor has previously made a purchase via your website, for example, a lightbox can be tagged to welcome them back by name. This is a powerful way of getting a visitor’s attention and encouraging them to respond to your campaign.
This is a great way of upselling to visitors who have already opted in to one of your past campaigns by providing highly personalized offers based on that user’s past activity. Cookie retargeting enables you to segment your audience directly on your website and tailor content that is more likely to deliver results.
The final variable for your campaign is triggers — the action that prompts the campaign to display. By using a nuanced combination of campaign type, targeting method, and triggers, you can create highly effective marketing tools that significantly increase visitor interaction. The most basic triggers are time-based and page-based, displaying campaigns after a visitor has arrived at a landing page or remained on your website beyond the bounce rate. However two other trigger automations provide immense value when it comes to capturing more users.
This technology works by tracking a user’s movements across your site and anticipating when they’re about to leave, and then displays a popup with a final incentive to get them to act. Although designed with cart abandonment in mind, it can be used to boost email subscribers or get visitors to sign up for a course or webinar. OptinMonster claims to achieve 200-600 percent increases in email signups using Exit-intent technology.
Website visitors are typically resistant to popups that appear too early in their browsing journey. While time-based triggers can reduce this annoyance, scroll-based triggers increase effectiveness by only showing campaigns once a visitor has engaged with your content. For instance, a scroll-based trigger can activate when a reader is halfway through your latest blog post or article, when they are more likely to be invested in continuing to read.
OptinMonster also combines scroll-based triggers with a Content Lock feature that requires users to complete an action, such as sign up for your mailing list, in order to continue reading.
Once you’ve created your campaign(s), it’s important to know how effective they are. Extensive analytics reports allow you to see which campaigns get the most interaction, and which are causing visitors to leave your site. You can then adjust the campaigns in order to get the best results every time.
A/B testing is included in all but the lowest tier OptinMonster plan, and makes it even easier to judge how well a campaign is working. Analytics reports compare variations in split tests against each other, as well as against standards for your site and industry.
Although OptinMonster includes native analytics tools, it also integrates with Google Analytics if you prefer to keep all of your data centralized.
OptinMonster Review: Integrations
As well as integrating with Google Analytics and WordPress (via the OptinMonster plugin), OptinMonster works out of the box with 500+ email marketing platforms, including MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, HubSpot, AWeber, and more. This streamlines the process of creating signup and contact forms, and enables you to track more precisely what prompted your subscribers to sign up.
OptinMonster Review: Pricing
So how much does all this cost? Surprisingly, not a huge amount. There are four tiers of membership, from Basic, starting at $9/month, to Growth plans from $49/month. Even the basic plan comes with a host of generous features, including unlimited campaigns, all campaign types, user recognition, and more. That makes OptionMonster a great tool to experiment with even on the lowest tier, rather than having to commit a large sum upfront in order to get any real benefit from the membership.
All prices are based on annual billing, and there’s no free trial option. However OptinMonster does offer a no-quibble 14-day guarantee on all their plans, so if you’re not satisfied after two weeks, you can get a full refund. If you don’t want to pay for a year upfront, monthly plans are available, although the pricing screen is harder to find and OptinMonster discourages month-to-month memberships. The prices for monthly membership are significantly higher, with the basic plan starting at $19/month, and Growth costing $99/month.
All membership tiers also have access to OptinMonster University, a library of educational and informative courses, training guides, and ebooks. OptinMonster claims this feature has a value of $1997, and teaches all aspects of creating sales funnels and conducting email marketing campaigns.
Additionally, subscribers in every tier also get one campaign designed for them by OptinMonster’s in-house team.
OptinMonster Review: Final thoughts
OptinMonster offers a wide range of on-page marketing tools that really can increase conversion and improve your email subscription rates and overall sales. The pricing is not prohibitive for independent edupreneurs and small businesses, and the software is incredibly easy and intuitive to set up. While the best features are reserved for Pro and Growth plans, there are enough options in even the Basic plan for you to experiment with the service and see if it will work for you.
OptinMonster focuses on doing just one thing, but it does it incredibly well, and that makes it a great choice for edupreneurs looking to improve their content and email marketing efforts.