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 plugin for WordPress that 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.