Podcast Episode

448 – Plugin Review: OptinMonster

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Full Transcript

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On today’s episode, we are going to talk all about OptinMonster. We’re gonna do a full review of it, and we’ll talk about a way that you can win a free license for OptinMonster, right here on Your Website Engineer podcast, episode number 448.

Hello and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler, I’m excited to be here with you this week, as it is getting to the heat of the summer here in Ohio, and it is all hot, hot, hot outside, and I’m glad that I’m inside, and it’s cool and recording. And I’m just trying to get back in the swing of things; I still have about three or four weeks off, I go back to work on August 1st, so a couple more weeks going on there. And I’ve got a deck project I’m working on, and I’m doing some other household projects at home, I’m trying to get all of those things done in the next month, so I don’t have to worry about them once I go back to work.

All right, today we’re going to talk about a plugin that I used way-back-when when it was just a WordPress plugin. And then, it moved to a SaaS model, and I used that for a few years, and then, like ah, I don’t really need to use it to grow my email list and my Optin list, and so, I stopped using it for a little while. And then, they reached out to me—the team over at OptinMonster—and wanted to know if I wanted to give away a few licenses, and we’ll talk about that in a little bit.

And I said, “Well, I’d love to, but I’d like to get another refresh of how this plugin works, and do another trial run with it,” and so, they gave me a free license so I can run this trial, and I could do some experimentation and see what happened. And the good news was: even if you have been an OptinMonster user in the past, like my same user name and password worked when I logged in, and all of my campaigns, all of my buttons and everything that I’ve created in the past, automatically came up and just started working just perfectly. So, that is really good news if you have been an OptinMonster customer in the past.

So, let’s talk about OptinMonster a little bit: it’s a plugin if you really want to focus on building your email list, this is a great plugin for that because it basically, allows you to create optin forms to show-up exactly when you want it to happen. You know, you go to some of these websites, maybe you stumble upon a website for a Google site, and you’re on this site about like three seconds, I guess, and then all of a sudden you get a pop-up. And it says: subscribe for more information, and you’re like, “I haven’t even found the information that I want.” So, I find that that was one of the most annoying things for me when creating these pop-ups or some sort of animation on your website to say, “Hey, look at this, login to my site, or sign-up for email updates.” And with OptinMonster, it gives you the perfect ability to customize every need, and then, so that’s why I really liked OptinMonster. OptinMonster is also created by the folks over at WPBeginner, Syed Balkhi is the main developer, or he’s the one that kinda started the company or whatnot. And so, OptinMonster is a great, great plugin and it’s built by people who are in the WordPress space.

Recently, in the last few years, they changed it to a SaaS model, so then, not only does it work with WordPress, but it works with a ton of other content management systems and platforms that are out there, and it makes it really, really simple to use. Okay, so let’s go ahead and talk about it, how it helps you build your list. A few things that I came up with when it says: how do you build your list? You can create multiple types of optin forms, using their visual editor, and their visual editor is awesome.

I used that, and it was so handy and so easy, it’s kind of – it’s almost even better than like the Block Editor or the Customizer inside of WordPress, they’re kind of a – you basically, have to design everything outside of WordPress, you design it all on the OptinMonster website. And then using API credentials, then that’s how it connects to your WordPress site. So, you can use their great visual editor that works really well; you can display those forms for your favorite email marketing services—there’s a whole bunch that work for them.

You can also display the forms with triggered – detailed trigger and targeting rules, so you could say, “Oh, this person has been on this page for 10 seconds, prompt them to sign up for the email list.” Or you can, say, if they’ve been on this page, and then this page, and then this page or they’re a third page that they visited, and they’ve been on the site more than a minute, then pop-up. You can specify it very, very specifically. And then, you can view analytics and AB tests from your forms to improve them.

And so, one of the cool things is: every week since I’ve been using this for the last couple of weeks, OptinMonster will email me, and it will say, “Here’s your conversion rate; here’s what – X-amount of people saw your optin, and X-amount of people subscribed,” and it gives you some ideas of which forms are working the best, and you can go in and tweak them and make them a little bit better. So, those are some of the tools that are built into OptinMonster. Now, some of the specific features that I really, really like and let’s go through these too: OptinMonster’s interface is streamlined, and like I said, it is awesome. There’s not really – you don’t have to click around like you do in a WordPress screen for optin plugins, OptinMonster just pretty much works. There’s a left-hand sidebar where you can customize everything; you basically click on the thing on the right, you customize it, there’s no refresh, there’s no page reloads, it just automatically updates, which is really nice.

It doesn’t really feel cluttered, even though it is only a single interface. It is something that works really, really well, and I liked the interface, it works super-nice. The other thing that I really like about OptinMonster is that you can create a variety of different campaign types. And so, you can do – normally, there’s the normal standard pop-up or whatnot, but you can also do a slide-in, and you can specify a slide-in comes up from the bottom after somebody has scrolled halfway down the page, for example. Or you can do a floating bar that’s across the top. Or you can do an inline or after post form. Or you can do a sidebar form.

And you can do all of these things very, very simply, you can design them with what my next point is: the very great email templates or the OptinMonster templates. This is one of things that I haven’t found anywhere else when I’m looking across the web for optin forms. There’s tons of optin forms that you can create, even like ConvertKit, and Mailchimp, and AWeber, these places have the forms that you can build right on their interface, and then you can embed their codes. But nothing looks as good as the OptinMonster templates. It makes it really easy to get started; they’ve got dozens of pre-made templates for each of the different options.

So, whether it’s a regular pop-up, or a slide-in or whatnot, you have all of that. And the other option, like I touched on before, is the detailed targeting options, and you can apply multiple rules. And so, I really like this, this really allows you to hone-in, you don’t want to bombard somebody with an optin when they haven’t even really been on your website very long, or maybe they’re looking at a specific post. You can highlight if somebody has a – back-in-the-day, I had the WordPress Developer course, like if somebody landed on that page, then I could send them to a specific campaign, then I could track old messages about: oh, hey, you wanna learn this, or you wanna learn this, or whatnot.
And so, you very, very detailed targeting options, and you can specify exactly each person and where they go on your list. And they also have a dedicated WordPress plugin, and so, this is a little bit different than – it’s not a WordPress plugin per se, like I said, it is a SaaS-based company, so it is an online subscription, we’ll talk about pricing here in a little bit. But basically, you create everything on their site, and then, you install the WordPress plugin, and then you have access to all of the – you can see all of your forms inside of WordPress itself.

And then, you can connect those to certain posts, or pages, or then you can specify them right there in the options, and you say: oh, I want this to show up at the end of every post, or I want this one to show up on this page, you can do all of that right inside the WordPress plugin. They also have AB testing, which makes optimization accessible to anyone. It allows you to improve your effectiveness of your optins by allowing you to test two or more variants against each other to see which one performs best. You can create an AB test from your optins right in the dashboard, it takes a couple clicks, and then, you can go ahead and change the button colors on one, or change the text, or whatever.

And then, you can do an optin and see which one has the better options. So, that works really, really well. And the other thing that’s really nice is: if you have multiple websites, OptinMonster is great because it allows you to – since it’s a Cloud tool, rather than just one WordPress plugin, you can build things all in the dashboard of OptinMonster, and then, you can bring them in to the specific websites. You can organize them within OptinMonster for the different websites as well. Okay, how would you create an OptinMonster email optin?

Well, it’s pretty simple: you would go into OptinMonster; you create a new campaign; then you pick which kind it is—whether it’s a lightbox pop-up, or a floating bar on a specific page—so you basically, pick that first. Then you pick the template, and you’ve got up to 25 different templates for each of the different options. And you can figure the form; you customize it: you type in the text that you want, you can change the fonts, you can make it bigger or smaller, or change the color from red to blue, or whatever, you can do all of that. You do the display settings which basically, determines how long the form will be hidden if somebody closes it, or if somebody actually submits the form, which is really nice.

So, if you could, say, like: oh, if they close the optin, don’t show it again for another 30 days; or don’t show it again for seven days. And if they submit, then maybe never show that again as long as that cookie is still saved in their browser. You can also – the optin part of the form in the display settings actually shows the different colors, the fonts, the things like that. You can also do a “yes or no” temp, a lot of times it says build your tool, or grab this free e-book, and it says yes, I need this; or no thanks, I don’t wanna improve my sales, or whatever; you can say a yes or no button, which I like as well.

Let’s see what else we have here: they do have the display rules, like I said. It gives you tons of options that you can trigger your pop-up by time or exiting intent. This one’s really nice because they trademarked this feature, this is one of OptinMonster’s most well-known features. So, basically, if you were on an OptinMonster page, and you go up, and you leave the page—whether you go to the side off of your browser, or to the top like you’re gonna close or hit the “back” button—it automatically pops-up that window.

You can do – if somebody scrolls so far down the page, if they click on a page, or they click on something, if they have inactivity—maybe they’re sitting there, and there’s no activity for 30 seconds—then you can pop-up a pop-up. You can base it on a user’s time if you want to. This is kinda unique, and I don’t know if you’d ever want this one, but if you’re running a sale that starts at noon, at 11:45 you could say: okay, I’m gonna pop-up this pop-up to say get 10 percent off this extra sale, or whatever. You can do all of those types of things. You can also – let’s see, what else can you do?

You can also do multiple things, so you can say on page – if they’re on this specific page and they triggered an exit intent, you can do that. Or you can use the same campaign, so if you’re adding people to the same exact list but if they’re on page Y, and then, after two seconds and they are from the United States, then you could pop-up and give that information to them as well. So, the integrations are pretty large, almost all of them major companies: AWeber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and ConvertKit, all of those are built right in, and you can integrate with an API key to integrate with OptinMonster.

And there’s an analytics tab that you can look at, and it basically, hooks into your Google Analytics account. It’s a bit odd that it forces you to use Google Analytics, but it makes it so they can use the power of Google Analytics to see your analytics and what’s happening. Then, when you’re ready your publish form once it’s all customized, you have a couple different options: if you were going to put it on any website, it gives you the code that you can copy and paste in; if you wanted to use a – they call them “Shareable MonsterLinks,” and so that’s if you wanted to share it on Facebook or Twitter you can use that, and it gives you a specific link.

And then, if you’re using it on WordPress, it gives you the short code that you can use. I’m sure that within the OptinMonster plugin they’re working on bringing up blocks, so you can bring your specific things in with the blocks. And then, there’s also the campaign embed, which gives you the ability to embed that code anywhere so those forms will pop-up and whatnot. And so, it’s awesome!

I mean, I talk about this, and I don’t do a very good job of actually running this stuff on YourWebsiteEngineer.com, but the tool is there if you can see value in it, and you can spend some time setting it up and working through the plan or working a system that you know, and you can capture emails addresses of those who are coming to your website. It’s not super, super-expensive, it starts at $9.00 per month, which is $108.00 billed annually; and it can go all the way up to $49.00 per month, and that’s billed annually as well. It all works based on the different price points, the different things that are there, and let’s pull that up real quick.

Those price points at the $9.00 price allows you to do lightbox pop-ups, and you can do list segmentation, it’s got some basic integrations, it’s for one site and up to 5,000 page views, and three different campaigns. So if you wanted to put people on three different lists, or three different things, that’s what that’s for. And then, as you go up, the next one up is the Plus Account, it is $19.00 per month, it’s got a 15,000 page views and it goes up to two sites. The Pro Plan goes to three sites with 50,000 page views; it’s got everything you really need, and it’s got a lot of things with the MonsterLinks, the full-screen overlays.

Oh, I didn’t even talk about those, you know, sometimes there’s like—I think they also call them “homepage takeovers,” which basically, when you come to the website, it has that full-page like you sign-up here, get more information before they actually see your website. So, they’ve got more than 700,000 active subscribers, and when I installed the plugin from the WordPress repository, it showed that there was over 900,000 active installs. And so, it’s definitely – if you see the value in capturing people’s email addresses, for $108.00 per year, it’s probably worth it, you can probably make that return on investment pretty quickly with selling a product, or selling a course, or selling something online. Even if it’s part of your business, you can probably justify that to get in on the ground-level with a basic site. $30.00 a month is gonna be a little bit more of a sell to do, but it is definitely something possible that you could do, and you could do that with OptinMonster.

Okay, now about the contest: if you’ve been on-the-fence, or haven’t wanted to try it out, let’s go ahead and get you signed up for the entries that you can win a free license for OptinMonster. So, I have the authorization, and they’re going to allow me to give-away three one-year licenses for OptinMonster. And then, they’re also going to give me, let’s see, for those who don’t win this part of the contest that are convinced that they need to try OptinMonster, you can get 50 percent off. And so, I’m not sure – they haven’t given me a coupon code or anything about that, so we’ll go ahead and find out more there.

You can see all of the details on how to sign-up and how to get entered into the drawing over at YourWebsiteEngineer.com/448, and that’s the show notes for episode number 448. And I’m excited to see how this tool continues to evolve, and how it helps my optins if I continue to use it, and use it well, and see how that helps me to grow and have more people on my email list. So, that’s what I wanted to share with you today. Like I said, the whole sabbatical that I’ve been going on has been all about taking the time to go through some of these premium plugins and look at them and see if they’re worth the money, and this one definitely is.

And as long as you are making money, or you have plans to make money with your website, I think it’s a crucial plugin and an essential one that you can add to your collection, and it is definitely worth the price point of using it. So, that’s my full review. Again, head on over to YourWebsiteEngineer.com/448 for all the details of the contest and how you can enter, and we’ll talk again soon. Take care, bye-bye.