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How We Increased Our Email Subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster

Everyone who has a successful blog or an online presence will agree that building an email list is very important. Over the years, we’ve tried numerous techniques to get more email subscribers. After trying several WordPress lead-generation plugins, our founder Syed Balkhi partnered with Thomas Griffin and decided to create a perfect solution that delivers result. In this article, we will show you how we organically increased our email subscribers by 600% in less than a month by using OptinMonster.

Some of you would think that 600% growth probably meant that we weren’t getting many subscribers before. That’s not true. On a daily basis, we would get around 70 – 80 new subscribers from the sidebar form, contact forms, and other landing pages on the site. By making one single change on the site, we were able to increase our daily email signup rate to around 445 – 470 new subscribers per day. That’s a 600% growth with the same amount of traffic that were getting before.

So what changed? Well, we started using OptinMonster.

What is OptinMonster?

OptinMonster is a lead-generation software and the best WordPress popup plugin. It allows you to easily create and integrate highly effective optin forms on your website.

It integrates with all major email service providers, and it comes with powerful features such as page-level targeting, A/B split testing, and exit-intent technology.

Using OptinMonster we were able to create a smart lightbox popup with exit-intent.

Wait, don’t all popup sucks? Yes, most popups suck because they’re not done right.

What is a Smart Lightbox Popup?

An average popup is usually opened on a separate window (normally when you visit a website or when you click on the screen). Those are freaking annoying as heck. Then there are the other lightbox popups that you probably see a lot of bloggers using. These are boxes that open within the same window usually right when you visit the website. These are not as bad, but they can definitely annoy some users. Then there is a smart lightbox popup.

Smart lightbox popup is a targeted message that opens on a specific page right when the user is about to leave.

How is that not annoying?

We ran a split test on WPBeginner to see how lightbox popup effects our bounce rate and whether we get any user complaints.

The first thing we found was that the bounce rate on a page with an exit-intent lightbox was the exact same as the page with no lightbox. Second, we had absolutely zero user complaints. Last but not least the amount of new email subscribers we got with exit-intent lightbox were significant.

Exit-intent Magic

The key reason behind these phenomenal result is exit-intent. Why? Because the users who were going to leave your website will leave anyways. Using the exit-intent technology, we were able to convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.

OptinMonster’s exit-intent technology track user’s mouse gesture and velocity as they browse through your website. This allows the plugin to detect the precise moment the user is about to leave, and prompts them with a targeted campaign.

Unlike other annoying exit popups, it does not prevent the user from leaving. They can close the window like they normally would. But what this does is give you a new real estate, technically an extra pageview, to retain that visitor and potentially get them to subscribe.

Most visitors leave your website without subscribing even when they like the content. Why? Because they have a short attention span, and there is no clear call-to-action on most pages. Also because of the short attention span, they probably won’t ever return to your site.

Now if you make it easy for them to subscribe and give them a gentle reminder, then they’re much more likely to subscribe. If you offer them a free bonus, then that’s even better.

How to Use OptinMonster to Get Maximum Benefits

You’re probably thinking that it will be a complex setup. Well, it really isn’t. It took us less than 10 minutes to get this all setup. First thing you need to do is get OptinMonster. It is a commercial WordPress plugin with 3 different levels. The exit-intent technology that we mentioned above is in the Pro level plan. It does come with a 14-day money back guarantee, so you can use the product to see if it increases your email subscribers or not. If it doesn’t, then simply ask for a refund.

Once you get the plugin, install and activate it. The process is similar to any other plugin. The next thing you want to do is connect with your email marketing service such as Aweber, MailChimp etc. Although that process is fairly intuitive, there are documentations available. Below is how our configure screen looks:

OptinMonster Exit-Intent

On the setup screen, we made sure that we require double-optin to adhere with the MailChimp rules. We also made sure that our cookie duration is 30 days, so once the user closes it, they will not see it for another 30 days. Last but definitely the most important, we made sure that exit-intent is turned on. Yup that powerful technology takes only one checkbox to activate.

Next, we used the built-in “Case Study” theme that comes with OptinMonster. Select the them and click Open Design Customizer button.

OptinMonster Lightbox Themes

The design customizer works exactly like the WordPress theme customizer. Use it to customize your optin. Below is a preview of how our optin looks:

OptinMonster Design Customizer

Lastly, we enabled it to show only on single post pages on the site.


So this 10 minute setup resulted in close 3200 new subscribers this past week. See the stats below:

OptinMonster Stats

Note: Optins are not running site-wide. It is only on single posts.

We’re now working on creating targeted campaigns for specific pages, categories, and custom post types, so we can build a hyper-targeted email list.

Final Thoughts

Yes, we hate popups just like everybody else, but this is different. When you create a targeted campaign and give users what they want, then they will happily subscribe. The data above is proof of that.

We didn’t get any extra traffic nor did we do any special campaigns. We simply used OptinMonster to turn abandoning visitors into subscribers.

OptinMonster also has other optin types (footer bar and slide-ins) for those who don’t want to use the lightbox popup. More optin types are also in the works and will be released in the coming months.

If you want to get more email subscribers and improve your lead generation efforts in WordPress, then we highly recommend that you start using OptinMonster.

Oh and here is a 10% off OptinMonster Coupon, just type the code WPB10.

What techniques have you used to build your email list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Reader Interactions

114 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hi. I have OptinMonster and I have successfully set up an optin page. However, I could not integrate it with my MailChimp account. I retried and retried but it kept spinning for hours and hours. I’m using OptinMonster 2.1.7, is there an error with this version?

  2. okay someone help me out here…i’m starting to get confused with all these opt in/subscription options.

    So Mail Chimp is for if you want someone to opt in to your newsletter?
    Jet Pack is to add an option so someone can subscribe to your blog that’s on your website?
    OptinMonster is for if you want someone to opt in to receiving emails from you?

    Are all 3 really necessary to cover all 3 of those opt in options, or is there some easier way to accomplish all 3 things?

    Also how does one get the newsletter or any other item to the subscriber once they opt in? Do you have to upload the form to Mail Chimp and then tell Mail Chimp which email addresses to send the information to?

    Sooo confused…help me out please!

    • MailChimp is an email service provider. If you are building an email list, then you will need an email service provider that specializes in sending mass email.

      JetPack lets you add a signup form and it can also send your posts to readers. But it is not an email newsletter service, which makes it very limited.

      OptinMonster connects your WordPress site to MailChimp or any other email service provider. It helps you create beautiful signup forms that appear in sidebar, popups, slideins, footer bar, etc. This helps you get more subscribers and signups for your mailing list.

      hope this helps.


  3. The idea of saving subscribers data on/with a third party is not something we like to do.

    Much prefer to be able to save the data on our own server thus in ‘control.

  4. I wonder if this still works, or whether it’s been so saturated it actually puts people off now? I know it puts me off.

    • We still use it and works really well for us. OptinMonster comes with options that allow you to make it less off putting. For example, you can load it on exit-intent, increase cookie duration so that it is not bothering users on subsequent visits, you can launch it on second-page view, and many more.


  5. This is really a helpful article

    But I will love to know how to stop the pop up box is you are already a subscriber to avoid annoying your reader?

  6. Hmm, this makes sense in the short run. But in the long run won’t visitors get really annoyed by repeatedly getting the exit message even though they already signed up? Is there any way to set cookies or something so if someone subscribes this lightbox window won’t ever show up again? Thanks.

    • You can just have what ever php action that is being used to record the emails set a cookie that never expires. Or use javascript to set a cookie that won’t expire on whatever thank you page the form redirects too after submit.

  7. OptinMonster is really interesting me. But how it look like? It pop up like this page, right?

  8. Can it create optin like this website ? Pop up asks question then leads people to different paths? One of them is the optin.

  9. Would you ever consider offering this on the Shopify platform as a Shopify app? I would love to have this on my store’s site.

  10. I was finally decided to buy the plugin and after I installed it and made my first lightbox, when Im integration it does not allow me to connect to mailchimp. After i insert the API number it gets stuck and keeps trying load. You have any idea what could be causing this?

  11. Hey, I love the look of some of the optinmonster exits I have seen, I was wondering is there and option to link directly to the pop up (eg from an image on wordpress), I have leadpages and I do not really like the look of the popup.

  12. OM can accommodate additional fields only with custom HTML form option or Canvas. If you use the default integration, it will only work with 2 fields (Name / Email).

    You can use Canvas and integrate with Gravity Forms and add as many fields as you like (note you will have to customize the design yourself).

  13. Syed, my aweber form has an additional custom field. Can OM accommodate that field in the available forms within OM.

  14. So this plugin sounds really good. I’m keen to try it. But I’m wondering if there is a comparable plugin to encourage site visitors to follow a twitter account in a similar fashion?

  15. 2 questions – Does OptinMonster work with Jetpack subscription service? And once someone subscribes, is there a way to make it so it never pops up for that IP address again? I’d hate if my subscribers got the same popup 30-90 days later (or whatever I set it to) when they’ve already subscribed. Thanks for the info.

  16. That’s incredible. As much as I used to be opposed to lightboxes/any form of popup, I may have to do some testing after reading this.

  17. We tried multiple different ways of comment lead-gen, but none to very much success.

    – We added a checkbox below the comment submit button that was automatically checked “Subscribe to WPBeginner Weekly Newsletter”. This worked to an extent, but it confused users. We put a cookie setting in place, but people clear cookies, use different browsers, etc. Regular users started complaining that they had to uncheck the box every time they leave a comment because they’re already subscribed. Essentially it created a bad UX, and we don’t want that.

    – We changed the checkbox from auto-checked to giving users an option to check it. This had negligible optin rate compared to the amounts of comments we got.

    The reasons for switching to Disqus has been outlined in our article (which far outweighs the lead-gen benefits)

    P.S. I’m sure if you were to go 100% blackhat and optin everybody without their permissions, then comments would be huge lead-gen source… but we don’t believe in doing that.


  18. Interesting that you’re using Disqus for commenting, but it doesn’t allow for lead generation? Any reason you feel that using Disqus outweighs that potential lead source? I know it’s slightly off topic, but this is a post about increased lead generation :D

  19. Hi
    i need plugin which show popup up at the end of page saying (thanks you for reading the artical ) is there any pliugin which remove on scroll up with out disturbing the whole page .hlep me getting this.
    thanks in advance.

  20. Hi,

    I was wondering how OptinMonster compares to PopUp Domination?

    For instance, if I want to put an email collection form on my 1 site with the exit intent what benefit do I get paying $199 for the pro version of OptinMonster versus the $47 I’d pay for the standard version of PopUp Domination?

    I can’t see how a WYSIWYG customizer and some extra fonts is worth $152, so maybe there is something I’m missing?


    • Speed // Code Quality is what makes us better. We also offer other add-on types such as Footer Bar, Slide-ins, Sidebar Optins, After Post Optins, and more to come. OptinMonster offers much better support as well.


  21. When I saw the exit intent technology, I was really blown away. I can’t help thinking that you’d get a lot more buyers–more than enough to make up the reduced revenue per sale–with a lower price. Exit intent I’d buy, but I can’t afford that price.

  22. Does this work on mobile devices since there is no mouse movement to detect?
    I usually browse the web from my iPad.


  23. Syed,

    Thanks for your wonderful blog.

    I just wanted to know, how is your experience with normal popups (the ones that pop-up after ‘n’ seconds of page load) vs exit pop-ups? Which you found providing better conversions?

    • Hey Ankur,

      The popups that are triggered after X seconds can work as long as you can nail down the perfect time setting. So it’s not as simple as plug and play. You really have to test out the settings to get the best results. Whereas exit-intent is plug and play. A friend of mine recently tried exit-intent vs timed popup. The time popup for him didn’t convert as well when compared to exit-intent. My reasoning there was because he didn’t experiment with the time setting. I think you can get it right if you try hard enough, however exit-intent is just so much easier.



      • For me, personally, the in-content targeted opt-in works best. Though I keep experimenting with the pop-ups, I don’t like their invasive nature.

        Also, a humble suggestion, you may want to have a ‘Subscribe to comments’ feature enabled in your blog. It becomes easy for the commentor to track responses on the comments made.

  24. Opt-in Cookie Duration for an email signup pop-up on a website home page… Does anyone know the recommended optimal cookie duration for an email signup pop-up? Is “30 days” the accepted time frame before an email signup pop-up is displayed again to a repeat visitor?

  25. Wow great. I first saw your video in the interview with Jame Tardy.
    You really walk the talke. This optin form is a great idea. Actually I do not even get 1 subscriber from 200 visitors. I get only very few….

    So, but I am using Wysija for my Email Newsletter and I do not want to change it, as I am not so keen to changing it….

    Is it possible to use your Plugin with Wysija?
    If not, kindly implement that :p


  26. Hi, I use a delayed buy button in my video sales page. To avoid losing returning customers that don’t want to wait for the button show up, I’ve placed a pop with exit intent bringing the visitor to the text version of the sales page, which shows the buy button right away. This way at least returning visitors know that they have this possibility to reach buy button instead of waiting for the button loads below video. Then I’d like to know if there is a way to disable cookies on exit intent feature only for visitors who have closed the pop, and not for those who have already subscribed to the mailing list (and consequently accessed the buy button into the text version of the sales. Thanks!

  27. Although it seems that it will be annoying for some visitors, i really want to try it! I just need to know how the plugin will work without the exit intent. Can you describe it please?

  28. Hi guys,
    So the pop up webform that I just got before leaving your site is Optinmonster? It must really work becaue I just signed up!

      • It is a wonderful plugin and the first time i noticed a Exit Intent technology on the blog. I signed up right away because i knew this blog is something special and it really is.

        I have a wordpress website with mailchimp mailing list, i will invest in this plugin very soon.

        Thanks for the knowledge.

    • Hello, I would like to promote the Optin Monster, but Shareasale is probably one of the worst afiiliate tracking software I’ve ever worked with)
      There is one called and it is much more flexible in terms of affiliate management from one side, and affiliate link tracking from another, and it is standalone, so you don’t depend on any external website…

  29. I have purchased the pro version of this plugin thinking I had full control over the pop-up. I want to include my own text, image and a link to another site in the exit intent pop-up.

    I can’t for the life of me work out how to do this with Optin Monster.

    Is it possible?

  30. Hey Guys~~ Loving this, I am seriously looking at adding this across my site portfolio. Quick question, does it allow people to sing up using either their facebook or twitter login??

    Thanks so much!! Just found your site last night and am loving the content!!

    Have an awesome day!


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