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list building plugins

9 Best List Building Plugins for WordPress 2021

Written by Casey Burridge

Last updated:

Categories General, Gravity Forms

Email is one of the oldest and most effective online communication methods. It’s also one of the most important marketing channels!

Every day around 4 billion people check their email inboxes. That’s a lot of potential leads! 

But people don’t hand over their email addresses for anything. There’s an art to growing an email list and it begins with using the right tools. 

In this post, we review the top 9 WordPress list building plugins. Some of them are full-featured marketing solutions while others are more lightweight. Keep reading to find the best email list building plugin for your business.

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

WordPress Email List Building Plugins vs Email Marketing Providers

It’s important to understand the difference between email list building plugins and email marketing providers and why you need both to build a successful email list.

A list-building plugin for WordPress allows you to place opt-in forms on your website in order to capture users’ email addresses. The plugin then sends that information to your email marketing platform where you can manage your list and schedule emails.

Why Not Send Emails Using WordPress?

A question that many people ask is “why can’t I just send emails from WordPress?” The answer to that question is “you can, but you shouldn’t!”

You see, although WordPress comes with a built-in mail feature, it relies on the PHP mail() function which is inconsistent and unreliable. Emails sent using WordPress will often land up in your users’ spam folders.

There are several reasons for this. First off, spam catching tools will check the IP address associated with the incoming email and if it’s a known spam IP, your emails may not be delivered at all. 

If your website is on shared hosting, there will be multiple sites all sharing the same IP. If any of those websites engage in dodgy activity, spam-catching tools will flag the server, compromising your email deliverability.

Furthermore, your hosting provider may have a limit on the number of emails you’re allowed to send. If you have a large email list, this can cause major problems. 

On the other hand, professional email marketing providers ensure that your emails end up in the inbox and not the spam folder. They follow email best practices to guarantee optimal deliverability. Email marketing providers have servers spread across the world sending emails at all times of the day so you never have to worry about your emails being delayed or failing to send.

What to Look for in a List Building Plugin

WordPress email list plugins are all different when it comes to design, functionality, price, and support. Here are some of the most important factors to look for when evaluating and choosing your ideal WordPress list building plugin. 

Ease of Use

It’s important to choose a list building plugin that is both full-featured and easy to use. There’s nothing worse than installing a new plugin on your WordPress website and having to spend hours figuring out how it works. Ease of use means that settings are neatly organized, and forms are easy to build.

Mobile-Friendly Design

Did you know that mobile traffic accounts for around half of all internet traffic worldwide? The increasing use of mobile phones to access the internet prompted Google to announce a switch to mobile-first indexing in September 2020. Choosing a list-building plugin with a responsive design is key to capturing more leads.

Customizability

When adding an email opt-in form to your website, it’s always nice to match styles so that your website has a consistent look. That’s why you should choose a list building plugin with style and layout options. Some plugins also contain pre-designed templates, allowing you to save time and get a headstart on the design process.

Integrations

This is arguably the most important factor involved in choosing a list building plugin for WordPress. As we discussed above, capturing email addresses and sending emails are two different processes. Look for a list building plugin that integrates with your chosen email marketing software so that you can send users marketing emails after they subscribe.

Subscriber Management

Your WordPress list building plugin will send your subscribers’ information to your email automation software. However, it’s still beneficial to be able to monitor form submissions inside your WordPress website. This allows you to check when somebody subscribed and keep a backup of their data on your web server.

Advanced Functionality

Getting someone to subscribe to your email list or sign-up for your free ebook is harder than you think. Advanced features like exit intent, conditional logic, and pop-up forms can help you capture leads before they leave your website.

Support

When choosing a new plugin for your website, support should always factor into your decision-making process. Check user testimonials and look for a plugin that offers 24/7 email or live chat support.

Visual Form Builder

When constructing your email sign-up forms, it’s helpful to have a visual form builder. This gives you full control over your form layouts and allows you to build custom designs for use on different pages. 

Flexibility

Choosing a flexible plugin that supports multiple integrations makes it easy to migrate to a new email service provider in the future. Flexibility allows for multiple use cases and a wide range of features.

1. Gravity Forms

The Gravity Forms logo

Without a doubt, Gravity Forms is the most powerful form plugin for WordPress. This makes it an ideal plugin for collecting leads and building your email list.

Gravity Forms includes a visual, drag-and-drop form builder, making it easy to build forms with different layouts. Gravity Forms also contains a wide variety of form fields ranging from simple text inputs and dropdowns to more advanced fields like file uploads and radio buttons.

Gravity Forms integrates with a wide range of email marketing providers including Aweber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, EmailOctopus, Mailchimp, and more! It also integrates with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms such as Hubspot and Agile CRM.

With Gravity Forms, you can create as many forms as you need, each with different fields, settings, and customizations. While you’re not likely to need any other features, there are numerous add-ons available that allow you to turn Gravity Forms into more than a form plugin.

To learn more, read our ultimate guide to using Gravity Forms.

Price: Starting at $59/year. 

Key Features:

  • Accessibility – create accessible forms usable by people with physical or visual disabilities. 
  • Conditional logic – Gravity Forms supports conditional logic, allowing you to hide/show fields based on certain conditions, send personalized confirmations and notifications, and much more.
  • Lots of integrations and add-ons – extend Gravity Forms with powerful add-ons and build diverse applications!
  • Store entries on your site – form submissions are saved locally on your site so you can access and manage them from inside your WordPress admin.
  • Send custom notifications and confirmations – set up confirmation messages and notification emails after a user subscribes.
  • Spam prevention – there are numerous ways to prevent spam in Gravity Forms.

2. Bloom

Bloom - an email opt-in and lead generation pluginf or wordpress

You’ve probably come across Elegant Themes before. You know, the company behind the ultra-popular Divi WordPress theme? Well, they offer other exciting products too and Bloom is one of them.

Bloom is a full-featured list-building plugin for WordPress, allowing you to build forms that attract and convert. One of the advantages to using Bloom is that you get access to 100+ different templates that are all 100% customizable so you can change the fonts and styles to match the rest of your site.

You can also set up inline forms, popups, or fly-ins and control when forms appear using complex rules such as timers, percentage of page scrolled, and more. Finally, Bloom integrates with over 20 different email marketing providers including popular options such as Mailchimp and MailerLite.

The downside to using Bloom is that it does not come with a drag-and-drop form builder, which means you’re limited with regard to the types of forms you can create. Bloom is still one of the best WordPress email subscription plugins, so why not give it a try?

Price: You can get access to the Elegant Themes suite for $89/ year or a one-time payment of $249.

Key features:

  • A/B split testing – test your opt-in forms to figure out which one performs best.
  • Stats and tracking – monitor the performance of your forms thanks to Bloom’s built-in analytics.
  • Targeting – display your forms on specific pages, posts, or categories.

3. OptinMonster

OptinMonster, a list building plugin for wordpress

Ease of use and a range of powerful features make OptinMonster one of the most popular list building plugins. In fact, some people would argue it’s the best email subscriber plugin for WordPress. 

OptinMonster offers a robust popup solution for those looking to boost sign-ups and grow their email list. Although it started as a WordPress plugin, OptinMonster is now a standalone SaaS tool that you can use on any website (even if it’s not running on WordPress!).

The WordPress plugin alone has over a million active installs with a 4.5-star rating on WordPress.org showing why it’s highly regarded in the industry. However, some users have complained about the need to input your credit card upon registration.

OptinMonster comes with pre-made templates making it easy to set up your first popup. The plugin also has a visual, drag-and-drop builder for building custom forms.

If you’re running an eCommerce store you’ll love OptinMonster. The plugin integrates with WooCommerce allowing you to display different pop-ups based on the items in a user’s cart or the total value of their order.

Price: OptinMonster starts at $9/month, though you’ll need to invest in a higher tier for more advanced features.

Key features

  • Analytics – monitor behavior in real-time and track conversions.
  • Exit intent – capture more leads by triggering a popup right before someone is about to leave your website.
  • Custom styles – add custom CSS to your forms.

4. Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads, a list building plugin for WordPress

Thrive Leads is a powerful list building plugin that includes a range of pre-made templates to help you get started building high-converting opt-in forms.

One of the features that makes Thrive Leads a front runner for the best WordPress list building plugin is its visual builder. Simply drag and drop form fields to construct the perfect, mobile-friendly opt-in form!

Thrive Leads allows you to create different form types, all mobile-friendly of course. This includes:

  • Lightbox pop-ups
  • Welcome mats
  • Notification bars 
  • Slide-ins

After you start collecting leads, you can use Smart Analytics to compare your opt-in forms, discover your most valuable content and understand the user journey.

You can also set your forms to appear based on various triggers such as exit-intent, time on page, and more. Finally, Thrive Leads integrates with popular email marketing platforms as well as some well-known webinar services.

Price: Thrive Leads comes as part of the Thrive Suite which costs $19/month.

Key features:

  • A/B Testing – split test different opt-ins to optimize your conversions.
  • User-friendly dashboard – Manage your form submissions and check your analytics.
  • Integrations – Integrates with popular email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp and ConvertKit.

5. WP Subscribe Pro

WP Subscribe, a list builder wordpress plugin

If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight opt-in solution for your WordPress website, look no further than WP Subscribe Pro.

WP Subscribe Pro is a no-code email list building plugin for WordPress. It’s not only effective at increasing conversions but it’s lightning-fast and won’t slow down your website. 

However, what you gain in speed and simplicity, you sacrifice in features. WP Subscribe Pro does not include a drag-and-drop visual form builder. It also comes with fewer features than some of the other plugins mentioned above.

Having said that, it does integrate with popular email marketing providers and it also supports exit intent and page-level targeting. 

Price: WP Subscribe Pro costs $29. Alternatively, you can purchase a membership to My Theme Shop for $99.

Key features:

  • Responsive designs – popups display perfectly on tablet and mobile devices.
  • Widget support – add your opt-in form to a WordPress widget area.
  • Live preview – preview your opt-in forms before publishing them live on your website.

6. OptimizePress

OptimizePress, a WordPress landing page builder

OptimizePress is a suite of WordPress tools that help you create funnels and drive conversions. It’s also one of the best WordPress plugins for boosting email subscription rates.

OptimizePress 3 includes a powerful visual drag-and-drop editor allowing you to build custom landing pages and email opt-in forms. There is also a range of templates to help you get started. OptimizePress is perfect for any online business as it’s highly customizable.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution for building complete funnels as well as landing pages and opt-ins, OptimizePress is for you. You can also extend OptimizePress by installing one of the many add-ons that are available.

After installing OptimizePress, you can integrate it with any of the following platforms:

  • AWeber
  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • 1ShoppingCart
  • iContact
  • Google Analytics
  • iMember
  • …and much more!

Price: OptimizePress starts at $99/year for a single site.

Key features:

  • Analytics – track conversion data for all of your landing pages.
  • 2-step forms – create 2-step opt-in forms to help increase subscribers.
  • Ease of use – create attractive forms in just a few clicks.

7. Convert Pro

Convert Pro, a WordPress email list plugin

Convert Pro is a powerful WordPress conversion plugin. Convert Pro allows you to create and deploy a range of different opt-ins using a visual drag and drop builder. 

Form types include popups, widgets, slide-ins, and even some more advanced types! There is a library of form templates to get you started and you can trigger popups based on a variety of targeting options.

Convert Pro integrates with all the main email marketing platforms including ActiveCampaign, AWeber, SendinBlue, GetResponse, MailChimp, and more. Convert Pro is optimized for speed and won’t slow down your website.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded plugin to help build your email list, Convert Pro is a great choice.

Price: Convert Pro starts at $99 per year with a Lifetime license available for $399.

Key features:

  • Behavioral triggers – this includes exit intent, time on page, inactivity, and much more
  • Design options – the visual builder makes it easy to create and style your own, unique opt-in forms
  • A/B testing – create variants of your opt-ins and test them to see which one performs best

8. Leadpages

Leadpages, a list building pluginf or WordPress

Leadpages is a landing page builder that helps you connect with your audience, collect leads, and close sales.

Leadpages is not a WordPress plugin, it’s a SaaS app, but that doesn’t mean you should discount it. You can either host your landing pages on Leadpages or use their WordPress integration to publish opt-ins and landing pages directly to your site.

With Leadpages, you’ll get access to over 100 landing page templates allowing you to kickstart your design process. You can manage all of your landing pages and opt-in forms from one central dashboard so you can see what’s working and what’s not.

While Leadpages is certainly a powerful tool, due to its nature as a SaaS solution, it doesn’t give you as much flexibility and control as some of the other options mentioned above. However, if you’re looking for a landing page builder with advanced functionality, you can’t go wrong with Leadpages.

Price: Leadpages starts at $37 per month for a standard license.

Key features:

  • eCommerce integrations – Leadpages integrates with Shopify and SpendOwl, allowing you to create an instant online store.
  • Payment integrations –  Take advantage of payment integrations such as Stripe and PayPay to start selling products on your website.
  • A/B testing – compare and analyze landing pages and opt-ins to determine which one is performing the best.

9. OptiMonk

OptiMonk, an email list building platform

OptiMonk is an email list building platform that specializes in retargeting. In other words, OptiMonk, allows you to show personalized opt-in forms and offers to users who have previously visited your site.

Although OptiMonk is a SaaS product, you can integrate it with your WordPress website by installing their WordPress plugin. With a drag and drop visual builder and a range of premade templates available, OptiMonk allows you to get up and running in minutes.

OptiMonk also integrates with a number of other popular tools including WooCommerce, Shopify, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and more.

Price: OptiMonk is free for a single domain and up to 3000 page views. After that, paid plans start at $29 per month.

Key features:

  • Advanced integrations – integrates with a variety of third-party platforms including Google Analytics
  • A/B testing – contrast and compare the performance of your opt-ins
  • Cart abandonment – detect visitors who are about to abandon their cart and show them a secondary offer

Choosing a WordPress Mailing List Plugin

Choosing the right WordPress list building plugin depends on the needs of your business and the functionality you’re looking for.

Also, keep in mind how your needs may change in the future and choose a plugin that has those features now. This will save you a good bit of hassle down the line.

The best overall form plugin for WordPress is Gravity Forms. Not only is it packed with features but it’s easy to use (drag and drop!) and easy to extend using add-ons, of which there are hundreds! So if you’re looking for a list building plugin that can solve all of your web form needs, look no further.

If you’re already running the Divi theme on your website, then consider choosing Bloom as your email list solution. Bloom integrates seamlessly with Divi, the form templates look great and it’s easy to link it to your email marketing platform.

In truth, you can’t go wrong with any of the plugins mentioned above. WP Subscribe Pro is a great solution for anyone that needs something simple and lightweight, without all the bells and whistles. On the other hand, OptinMonster, OptimizePress, and Thrive Leads are all robust plugins with immense functionality.

Best WordPress List Building Plugins: Final Thoughts

Building an email list is one of the most important aspects of running a successful online business. But building a list isn’t easy unless you have the right tools. 

The WordPress list building plugins mentioned above are all powerful solutions for collecting email addresses, building landing pages, and more. Choosing the right one for you depends on the current (and future) needs of your business.

Now it’s time to get started! Choose a plugin and start building up your email list! 📧