One tried and true way to organically build your email list is to make it easy for your readers to sign up. And one of the most effective ways I’ve found to do this is with a popup.
Now before you all gasp in shock & horror at the thought of a popup disrupting your reader experience, hang on a minute. The popup that I recommend over and over again has the perfect features that allow you to set it up so it doesn’t disrupt your reader’s experience, and it’s completely free – Popup Ally.
I’m a huge fan of Popup Ally, and have recommended it to more people than I can count, but one of the biggest issues with this plugin is the fact that you can’t tell it which segment of your list you want these subscribers to be dropped into…until now.
I want to show you how to set up Popup Ally and demonstrate exactly How to Segment Your List With Popup Ally, so let’s get down to business.
Before we dive into all of the technical aspects of segmenting your list using this plugin, let’s have a quick introduction for those of you who haven’t heard of Popup Ally before.
WHAT IS POPUP ALLY?
Popup Ally is a popup plugin for WordPress that was created by Nathalie Lussier, who knows a thing or two about email marketing herself. I personally use (and love) the free version, which comes with a lot of bells & whistles that we’ll cover in a minute.
Popup Ally is a “polite” popup, meaning it doesn’t bombard your readers with constant in-your-face notifications. It’s also customizable, allowing you to edit the color palette, add your logo, and mention your opt-in offer. (You do have an opt-in offer right?)
HOW DO I INSTALL IT & SET IT UP?
So glad you asked, my friend! First, click right HERE and download the free Popup Ally plugin for WordPress. Then, pop into your WP dashboard and install & activate that bad boy. Go ahead…I’ll wait.
If you’ve never installed a plugin this way, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1 – Hover over “Plugins” in your WP menu and click “Add New”
2 – At the top of the page, click “Upload Plugin”
3 – Choose the zip file you just downloaded & click “Install Now” to install Popup Ally. After installation, you’ll be asked to activate it, so be sure to do that, too.
Got it? Ok cool – let’s set it up!
Once you have Popup Ally installed, it will appear as a new menu item in your WP menu, and you’ll see three options, like this:
First, go to Display Settings, and you’ll see a screen like this:
Now, the free version allows you to create 2 popups, so you’ll see this information twice – one for each popup. The steps are the same for setting up each popup, and we’ll talk in a minute about why you might want two popups anyway.
The first section says, “Show this popup as”, and you have three options:
- Time delayed: If you want the popup to appear to your readers after they have spent a specified length of time on your site, choose this option and set the delay in the box provided.
- Exit-intent: (DO THIS ONE!!) Check this box if you want the popup to appear after your readers are finished reading on your site. As they move their mouse to exit, the popup will appear.
- Embedded sign-up: If you wish to use this as a sign-up form embedded on your site, rather than a popup, you’ll check this box.
The next section says, “Show this popup on which posts/pages”. This is just super cool to me – you have complete control over where your popup will appear. You can choose all posts and pages, or only specific ones. You can also tell it which pages or posts NOT to appear.
Real Life Example:
I used to utilize 2 popups because I had 2 mailing lists on my home decor blog – one for all of my regular blog readers who love DIY, home decor and the like, and another for bloggers who love blogging and want to learn more about email marketing. If this blog post were on my other blog, which is geared more towards my blogger folks, you would see the popup for my email marketing list. On my DIY and home decor posts, you would see the popup for my regular newsletter list.
Get it? Ok good – moving on.
After determining your delay (you set it for exit-intent, right?) and where your popup will appear, the final section says, “How to stop showing this popup”. Let’s dig into this a bit, shall we?
1 – Popup Ally tracks the IP addresses of your blog visitors and allows you to set the frequency with which the popup is seen by your repeat readers. The recommended time frame is 14 days. This means that, if I visit your blog today, I’ll see your popup. But if I return any time in the next 14 days, it won’t appear as long as I visit from the same IP address. It’s not constantly in my face and bugging the crap out of me as a reader. Cool, right?
2 – Popup Ally also allows you to create and utilize a thank-you page, rather than your email service provider’s confirmation email. If you don’t have a thank-you page, you can see what that means and how to create one right HERE. If you do have one, you check that little box in Popup Ally and tell it which page is your thank-you page by selecting it from the list of your blog pages.
3 – If you are good with code, you could also just grab the code and drop it onto the code for your thank-you page. This might be good if you use something like Go Responsive landing pages or some other third party landing page creator.
Alright, are you crossed-eyed yet, or are you still with me? Hopefully you’re still with me. We’re moving right along!
Save all of your display settings then head over to Style Settings, which will look like this:
To get your popup to full operating status, you’ll need to pop into your email service provider and grab some code. I use MailChimp, so I’ll be showing you the steps in that platform.
The first section is called “Integration Settings” and you’ll need the Sign-up form HTML. Log in to MailChimp and navigate to the Sign-up Forms for the list you will be using for this particular popup.
Select “Embedded Forms” from the sign-up form options.
Copy the code for the embedded form from MailChimp…
… and paste it into the Style Settings within Popup Ally in the Sign-up form HTML box. It will automatically pull the first name and email field to add to your popup.
At this point, you can choose which template to use. This is “Express Yourself”:
I’m going to show you how to set up “Tried-and-True”, which is the actual popup box you might be familiar with:
The design process is pretty straightforward at this point. You will select your background and text color, add your headline, logo, and intro text, name your fields, and update the subscribe button.
Be sure to keep this brand-consistent, which is something else I like to harp on. Keep the colors and logo consistent with your blog or business branding – if you don’t, you risk having your readers ignore your popup because it may look like an ad from a third party.
With each change you make to the Style Settings, you’ll see a live preview to the right. Once you have it styled the way you like it, simply save it, and you’re done!
I haven’t touched the Advanced Settings but you can pop over there just to see what it’s all about. At this point, you’re all set!
POPUP ALLY PROS & CONS:
Let’s start with the good stuff, k? Here are the things I love about Popup Ally (free version):
- Brand-consistency: (See, I told you I harp on it.) I love the customization options that allow me to use my own color palette, logo, and wording to keep my popup consistent with the branding on my blog.
- Politeness: Popup Ally is not in-your-face and crazy. It only shows up when I want it to, and only on the pages and posts that I tell it to. I also love that it tracks IP addresses so it only shows up every couple of weeks to my regular readers.
- Double your pleasure, double your fun: The free version gives me two pop-ups to play with. This is great if you have 2 lists, or you have 2 segments on one list, which we’ll get to in a minute. However, this feature is also great if you want to use one Tried-and-True template and one Express Yourself template, or one popup and one embedded form. Tons of options!
- One and done: Once my popups are styled and set up, I literally never have to touch them again. If I ever change my opt-in offer, I just update the text. Other than that, it just runs in the background.
- Seamless integration with MailChimp: I’ve used Popup Ally for more than a year and never once had an issue with the integration with MailChimp. After embedding that code, Popup Ally does it’s magic and drops those email addresses right into my list like a champ.
- Major List Growth: (This is what we all want, right?) Since using Popup Ally, my list has consistently grown from month to month. While I can’t contribute all of my list growth exclusively to Popup Ally, I will say that the growth in my list is more noticeable since using this popup. I’ve also heard from clients who have seen their number of new sign-ups double from their normal list growth since installing Popup Ally. (Just like diet pills, everyone’s results will be different. This is just my opinion and what has worked for me so don’t get mad at me if you don’t see the same results.)
- It’s free: Well, this version is free, anyway. And I really like free, don’t you?
Now, as much as I love Popup Ally, nothing is perfect, am I right? Here are a few things I would change to make it better if I could:
- Additional fields: For my home decor blog subscribers, I like to allow them to choose if they want to receive my monthly newsletter, my weekly newsletter, or both. Popup Ally doesn’t give them that option because it only pulls the first name and email address fields.
- Analytics: There isn’t a way to see stats on the effectiveness of my popups in the free version. That’s kind of a bummer, but I can deal.
I’m about to debunk both of these cons, so read on:
SEGMENTING YOUR LIST WITH POPUP ALLY
I saved this part for last because I know a lot of people just starting to build their list don’t need to worry about segmenting, or may not be comfortable with code.
As I mentioned in my list of pros and cons, the free version of Popup Ally allows you to create 2 popups, and with this little trick, you can now use each of those popups for 2 different segments of your list.
And all the bloggers said “Amen”.
This also remedies one of the two cons – additional fields aren’t needed because we’ll set this information in the code. Pretty magical, right? Like a unicorn baby!
***IMPORTANT*** If you don’t understand how to segment your list, please read THIS POST first. This will only be beneficial to you if you already have existing groups and segments in your list.
We’re going to start back in MailChimp in our embedded forms, so grab that code then paste it into the Notepad app on your computer. (Word docs make the code wonky so don’t use that.)
In my home decor blog list, I have a Newsletter Frequency group with two segments – the weekly and monthly newsletters.
I have decided to make my default segment the weekly newsletter for anyone who signs up using Popup Ally. They all have the option to update their preferences in every weekly newsletter if they also want to get the monthly newsletter.
To set this segment as the default, I have to first locate this code in the embedded form code. You’ll find that here:
Notice the lines of code look like this: “mc-field-group input-group”. On your general form, these fields look like this:
To make sure everyone who subscribes through Popup Ally gets dropped into only the weekly segment, I simply delete the monthly group fields on the embedded form code. Now it looks like this:
Easy enough, right?
Now all you do is copy your edited code from Notepad and drop it in the style settings of Popup Ally here:
What if you have hidden fields in your form, like a hidden text field to help you track where your subscribers come from?
If you pop over HERE you can see how to set up this hidden field and track every single one of your embedded forms in every location on your blog. You can use the same trick for tracking which subscribers sign up using Popup Ally.
After setting up your hidden text field, you’ll simply add the line of code within the embedded form code just like the screenshot above.
Now I’m able to drop new subscribers into my weekly segment automatically and I’m able to tell which subscribers used my popup.
One quick tip: If you have radio buttons on your sign-up form allowing readers to choose between HTML and plain text email formats, you will need to delete the plain-text format from the embedded form code before adding it to Popup Ally.
On your signup form, it will look like this – pay special attention to which format is listed first:
In your embedded form code, you will need to delete the second email format line of code to remove the plain text option:
In this case, I will delete the line of code that includes “mce-EMAILTYPE-1”.
When deleting lines of code, be sure to delete the entire line between the open and close line tags – between the <li> and the </li>.
To test your popup, simply go into MailChimp and find yourself in your list, then delete yourself as a subscriber. (And if you’re not subscribed to your own list, you absolutely should be so you’ll know when/if anything ever goes wrong.)
After deleting your own email address from your list, clear your cache then visit your blog. As you exit, Popup Ally will appear. Simply sign up, go through the steps to confirm, then go back into MailChimp and check to make sure everything worked.
As you can see, my signup source shows “popup”, newsletter frequency defaulted to “weekly recap”, and the email format defaulted to “html” – all correct.
Now let’s look again at the 2 cons I listed previously:
Additional fields: For my home decor blog subscribers, I like to allow them to choose if they want to receive each blog post, my weekly newsletter, or both. Popup Ally doesn’t give them that option because it only pulls the first name and email address fields.
⇒ Well, we don’t need additional fields because we edited the code, allowing us now to dictate which segment our subscribers fall into automatically.
Analytics: There isn’t a way to see stats on the effectiveness of my popups in the free version. That’s kind of a bummer, but I can deal.
⇒ We don’t need to worry about analytics anymore, either, because we can now track which subscribers are coming from Popup Ally with our extra line of code.
FINAL VERDICT: Popup Ally rocks my little bloggy socks off.
Are you excited yet? Now go be magical unicorns with all your fancy embedded form code! Have fun! And tell your friends about this awesome-sauce!
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