Important update! Google announced that it would penalize pages with obstructive pop-ups starting in August 2016, specifically for mobile users. We strongly recommend using the inline or below post types of form offered in Bloom.
There are so many plugins out there to help manage your subscribers, ranging from tools that help you grow your subscriber list, to beautifying your existing forms.
Since we needed more opt-in forms ourselves, we decided to review Bloom by Elegant Themes, which works with MailPoet right out of the box!
Bloom is a Premium plugin. It costs $89 per year for the Developer Account, which also includes all of the extra themes and plugins.
Having tested a few other subscription form plugins in my time, I found Bloom to be incredibly easy to set up. It’s simple to create beautiful looking subscription forms with minimal effort.
Creating & customizing your Bloom subscription form
Bloom offers six types of signup forms:
- Pop up
- Fly in
- Below post
- Locked content
I won’t be covering them all in this post – you’ll get the gist pretty quickly. I’ll be focusing on the Pop Up subscription forms.
Connecting MailPoet with Bloom
On your site, go to Bloom -> My Accounts and select New Account, in the top right.
- Select Email Provider: MailPoet
- Account Name: MailPoet. It actually doesn’t matter what you put here, since you don’t have an account/login.
- Click Authorize and you’ll see your account lists. Then click ‘Save & Exit’. That’s it, MailPoet is set up!
Creating a new signup form
The great thing about Bloom is that it has plenty of design styles ready to be customized with your own colors and font settings. No fussy coding or hacking required. This means you can get set up very quickly!
- Go to Bloom -> OptIn Forms and click the New Option button, in the top right.
- Choose a new OptIn form type. Let’s pick a Popup.
- Give your new OptIn a name, choose MaiPoet from the list of Email Providers and your “Account Name” then select the list you want your subscribers to be subscribed to.
- Click the “Next: Design your OptIn” button and choose from various styles. You’ll be able to customize them further in the next stage of the setup.
- Now the fun begins! You can play with the styles and add first and last name, or just a single name field. Note that you can only have name and email fields. Don’t forget to customize the OptIn titles and change/remove the image if you want. You can even give the image a little animation.
- You can check how your form looks as you’re designing it by clicking the eye button on the right as you progress.
- Finally, move on to “Display Settings”. This is where you can fine tune when and where your new popup form will appear. For other OptIn types, you might have different settings (e.g. popup vs below post).
- Click “Save & Exit” and that’s it, you’ve created a new OptIn!
The final result
Our top tips for politely achieving signups
We strongly recommend that you enable, “Display once per session” for Popup and Fly-in OptIn forms. Why? These types of forms can be seen as invasive and annoying. You don’t want to put readers off your site because you are pestering them for a signup. We recommend a session duration of at least 14 days, which means that your popup won’t reappear for another 14 days after it’s been closed.
In addition, add a good delay to a popup appearing. We all have seen poor use of these types of signups, which are presented as soon as you get on a site. A 20 second delay means 20 seconds on a single page. If a user changes pages, the countdown starts again. If a user signs up to your newsletter after a delay of 10+ seconds, you can be sure they are interested in your content.
Finally, don’t use one popup form across all pages and post. Target the messaging to the place you want it to appear. Take the following situation:
You have a landing page for a specific product. You want people to sign up to your newsletter to get them to eventually make a sale. You might even send them a targeted drip campaign when they sign up. Best practice would be to make a new MailPoet list specifically for these signups and your Bloom form will subscribe users to it. You’d also customize the messaging on the form such as “Want more information about the [product]?”
The downsides of Bloom
Whilst I think Bloom is an awesome little plugin, there are 4 minor downsides:
- You always need to click on the Preview button to see what the final result will look like. In other words, you can’t do a live preview of your form.
- Once you select a template, you can’t easily change it.
- I can’t add additional fields. I can only have first name, last name and email address. This means that we can’t give the user a choice of lists to opt in to.
- Bloom doesn’t allow multiple lists. With the standard MailPoet forms you can opt a subscriber into more than one list at once, whereas the dropdown form in Bloom forces you to choose just one.
Bloom gets 4/5. Super easy-to-use and well-designed plugin. Half a point is docked only for the above issues, but in 95% of cases, they aren’t needed.