Review: Using WP Subscribers To Gain More Email Marketing Leads

I recently started getting serious about building my email list, but the process of gaining new email subscribers really worried me at first. I use AWeber for my email marketing, so I need to be able to make money with my list in order to help pay for the $20 a month price tag. It takes a bit of work to build up a list you can start making money from, but once you get 100 subscribers or so, getting people to purchase affiliate products from you is a piece of cake – assuming you are recommending good products.

When I first started using AWeber, I was using their built-in form creator because it was convenient and functioned properly without any editing. Even though they have some nicely-themed forms, I was not happy with them. They didn’t integrate into WordPress very well, customization was lacking, and they were not converting very well. In fact, after one week I only had 5 subscribers and I consider my blog fairly popular, so these free forms from AWeber were obviously not working. I needed something that would capture readers’ attention and make them want to enter their email address into the opt-in spot.

I know a lot of bloggers that use the wildly popular plugin called Popup Domination. Basically, Popup Domination includes options to create the basic popup boxes (like the one shown in the image above) to integrate with almost any mail autoresponder such as MailChimp or AWeber. I was about to purchase Popup Domination, but I came to my senses and decided that $77 for a popup box is too expensive. I began to do some research and found WP Subscribers, another WordPress plugin that creates popups almost identical to Popup Domination. In addition to just having popups, however, WP Subscribers includes opt-in forms that can be placed within posts, in the blog header, in the blog footer, or when the reader tries to exit. They also have a referral system where you can reward your readers for getting other people to sign up for your list, Facebook integration for easier signup, WordPress integration to add your users to your list, and integration with the WordPress commenting system. The biggest advantage is that WP Subscribers has all of these features for only $47.

The Basic Popup

The whole reason I was searching for this plugin was to find a decent popup plugin. Most of the free ones have terrible designs and annoy blog readers. The thing I originally liked about Popup Domination was that the popups were so elegantly designed that anyone who visited the website would just have to look at it for a second or two. What really astounded me was that the popup designs included with WP Subscribers are equally as elegant. WP Subscribers includes 12 different popup designs that you can customize with 8 different colors.

I chose to use template #5 (shown in image above) with the red color and I was able to customize it to fit my needs easily. The content area allows you to include anything from simple text to an embedded YouTube video. You can also upload images and choose where it will appear on the popup with the click of a button. It’s really simple – I had my popup up and running within 10 to 15 minutes.

The Footer Bar

One of the main things that sold me on WP Subscribers is the footer opt-in form. I tried a free plugin that claimed to offer similar results, but I wasn’t able to even get the free plugin to appear on the page properly. With WP Subscribers, it was once again very simple and I had it running in 10 minutes or so. The footer bar is a widget that slides in from the bottom of the page and stays there even if the reader scrolls down the page. I was able to upload an image, enter some text, customize the color of both the box and the submit button, and choose the animation the footer box has when it slides into the screen.

I feel that this footer opt-in form will be incredibly successful because you can’t really ignore it. People have conditioned themselves to automatically close out the basic popup boxes, but when this footer box appears on the screen, they will most likely take notice of it without automatically heading for the close button to hide it.

Advanced Settings To Prevent Annoyance

Whenever I visit a website that has a popup to join their email list on my first visit, I always close it out without paying any attention. The popup had appeared before I even read the content, so why would I want to subscribe to the blog’s newsletter? It just doesn’t make sense. The thing I like about WP Subscribers is the fact that they let you control these factors. For example, my footer opt-in box does not appear unless you have viewed 2 pages on my blog and the popup box doesn’t appear unless you’ve gone to 5 pages. This ensures that I will not be annoying first-time readers and I am only targeting people who will actually be interested in signing up to receive the newsletter.

In addition to having options for when the popups will display, they have options for when it will go away. Once you subscribe to the list, the popups should never reappear unless you clear the cookies from your web browser. Also, the footer box will only appear 3 times a week and the popup box will only show up 2 times a week. This is another measure I am taking to prevent reader annoyance.

Referral System, Facebook Integration, and More

I was really excited to see that WP Subscribers included a referral system. Simply put, your subscribers can earn points by referring others to join your list. For example, if you have an eBook that you wrote, you can offer it on your blog to subscribers who have earned 50 points. You can then set it so each subscriber will earn 10 points for each new subscriber they refer. So if Jimmy signs up for your list and wants the eBook, he will have to share the link to your opt-in page on social media to try and get 5 people to sign up via his referral link. Once he earns the 50 points, the download link will be available to him and he will get his eBook. This is a simple way to turn 1 subscriber into 6.

The Facebook integration that WP Subscribers has included makes it easier for people to opt-in. Instead of having to enter their name and email, their Facebook data (assuming that they are logged in) will automatically will these boxes in, so all they have to do is click “Subscribe” because their information is already entered. This saves your readers time and can encourage more subscribers because they don’t actually have to type anything.

WP Subscribers also includes integration with the WordPress comments system. If you choose to display it, an additional checkbox will appear in the comments area that you can make say “Subscribe to our newsletter” or something of that nature. If that box is checked when they submit the comment, it will take the email address and name they used to write the comment with and add it to your list. It’s just one more way to suck people in.

Overview

Overall, I’m really happy with my purchase of WP Subscribers. I’m using it with AWeber, but it also works with MailChimp, iContact, GetResponse, FeedBurner, and tons of other services. I have a feeling that the amount of subscribers I will gain from this plugin will quickly pay off the $47 I spent on it. Everything is so simple, nicely designed, and it is truly the only popup plugin that doesn’t annoy readers. I recommend this plugin to anyone with an email list that needs some growth.

AWeber Review

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I recently had to make one of the biggest decisions in my blogging career and I feel that I made the right choice… The big decision was to stop using MailChimp’s free email service and switch to AWeber’s professional email marketing services. Please allow me to say that this was not an easy choice for me – not only does MailChimp cost nothing and AWeber is $19 a month, but I was truly worried that email marketing and the process of list building would be something I’m not ready for and my email list would fail. However, after playing around in AWeber and gaining a few subscribers, I am very confident and I’m glad I chose AWeber to service my email list.

It’s $1 To Get Started

Like I said before, it was a very hard decision for me to sign up with AWeber. I went to the “Sign Up” page and left it open on my computer for at least five hours hoping that some magical fairy would lower the price for me. I also went ahead and asked many blogging groups I belong to (one of them being Blog Engage) if AWeber was even worth paying $19 a month. I figured that almost every “professional” blogger I know uses AWeber’s services, so there’s got to be something that makes it worth the money when you can use services like MailChimp and SimplyCast for free. However, both MailChimp and SimplyCast are only free if you stay under a certain amount of subscribers. Once you exceed that amount, they start charging you to build a bigger list. If you do the math, AWeber will eventually be cheaper in the long run. I didn’t want to have to use MailChimp until I reached 1,000 or more subscribers then try to move to AWeber, so I decided to start building my list there from the get-go. Besides, AWeber makes the first month of service only $1 so I won’t be paying $19 until I have used the service for a good while.

AWeber Is Simple To Use

My biggest complaint about MailChimp is the complexity of their control panel. Doing simple tasks like setting up an RSS newsletter requires many clicks, digging through menus trying to find the right place. AWeber is actually really easy to use and if you can’t figure it out on your own, they have a wizard that will guide you through the steps. I actually opted to use this step-by-step guide to make sure I was doing everything right and it made setting up my email list, opt-in form, follow up messages, and everything else a breeze. Basically, the wizard says “Step 1: Create Your Email List” and it will show you exactly what to do. Then it will say “Step 2: Design Your Confirmation Email” and help you through that, and so on. Everything was so easy!

Additionally, I had a representative from AWeber call me to make sure everything was set up the way I wanted. This is nice because if you are getting stuck, the representatives from AWeber can help you through it. I did not sign up or opt-in to receive this call at all. They just called me to ask if everything was working the way it was supposed to and to let me know that they have support available if I’m ever stuck. This just goes to show how committed AWeber is to your success.

Follow Up Messages

Perhaps my favorite feature about AWeber is the follow up message feature. Basically, follow up messages are emails that you can set to send to your subscribers after they subscribe. For example, immediately after subscribing to my list, my subscribers receive an email from me thanking them for signing up and explaining what the Omega Web Newsletter is about. Then a week later, I have an affiliate offer set to release to my subscribers. Then two weeks after that they will receive a different affiliate offer, and so on.

The reason these follow up messages are so powerful is that they go to each subscriber. So it doesn’t matter if you have somebody sign up in September 2010 or February 2013, they will still get Affiliate Email #1 one week after subscribing and Affiliate Email #2 three weeks after subscribing. This is better than sending standard email campaigns with affiliate offers because if you send an email in September 2010 to your 230 subscribers, those people will receive the email. If you have 500 subscribers by February 2013 though, only the people who were on the list in September 2010 would have gotten your original email. The advanced follow up message system that AWeber uses allows for maximum exposure and hopefully maximum profits.

Reliable Delivery

One thing that barely ever comes up in conversations about email services is email delivery. Lots of email marketing companies flash fancy features like rich HTML designers, but they never mention how often emails are delivered to subscribers. If you think about it, this is an important problem to assess. All of my emails I receive first go through HostGator’s servers and have to pass the spam filters there, then they have to be delivered and pass the spam filters on my email client, Apple Mail, which is great at catching spam and only spam. However, more primitive email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird will mark anything suspicious as spam and may cause your email to not be delivered to your subscribers. This is something that AWeber specifically addresses and they boast a 99% email delivery rate.

Helpful Analytics

One of the main features I liked about AWeber in the first place was their first-class analytics information. AWeber collects information about each one of your subscribers – who opens your emails, who doesn’t, who clicks links (and which links people are clicking), how much money each email brought you, who unsubscribed from your list (and from what email), and so much more. This information is helpful because you can see which subscribers are making you the most money. Then you can group these specific subscribers together to be sent special affiliate offers because they are the people who are actually buying things from your emails. AWeber’s statistics tracking also lets you know which emails are most effective and which aren’t. For example, if your subscribers receive follow up affiliate email #1 and it has a 100% readership rate, that means everybody opened the email and was generally interested. However, if affiliate email #2 only has a 43% readership rate, you may want to consider removing it from the sequence of follow up emails to keep from annoying your subscribers.

Rocking Affiliate Program

Before I buy any service for my blog, I always check out their affiliate program. This is one of the main ways I make money from Omega Web and I want to make sure I can still do that promoting these new products. As it turns out, AWeber has a great affiliate program with recurring commissions which means if I have a customer I referred pay for AWeber for 12 months, I not only make a commission from when he signed up, but I make a commission for each month he keeps paying for AWeber.

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