optin monster reviewMINE WERE TOO! LOL. In fact, maybe they still look ugly to some, lol, but at least I can now say that THAT part is MY DESIGN and not OptinMonster's fault. Ha!

What in the WORLD is happening to “marketing” of email marketing systems and their forms!!?? For Pete's sake, they lure you in with these beautiful “easy” forms you can display on your blogs and websites and then you bite and you get there and you are soooo excited to FINALLY have awesome, easy looking forms and then “what da?”. Yeah, you get me. I won't even call out any names because that's not nice, but chances are, you know who (plural) I am talking about! Unless you got some CSS skills, which “I” do and it takes forever to make some of these work right, then forget about it! Or you can pay a developer to code this, but that's NOT what was advertised to me!

So I started looking for 3rd party optin form providers and tried a couple of them to no avail (I really, really wanted to like PopupAlly but there was soooooo much to tweak in there, and it didn't play nice with my theme. Boo, I love Natalie!). It just wasn't working for me. Sigh.

optinmonsterI started seeing OptinMonster forms EVERYWHERE all of the sudden, as in that little green monster popping up in my face on sites I was visiting, and the forms were so nice and easy to either optin to or IGNORE (lol). Sometimes I just have to ignore, my inbox is a hot mess I tell ya!

So I thought I'd check it out and see what it was all about… and it's about AWESOMENESS! Although at a bit of a larger $ ticket than what I had encountered so far. And to be honest, I totally ignored them for a while. But I kept struggling with my options and seeing it everywhere, so I decided (after 2 months of avoiding it) to just try it out. They do have a 14 day money back guarantee and I am very good at marking my calendar with THE DATE this must be canceled by so I don't forget (Pro tip – has saved me hundreds of dollars cuz I AM exactly their prey who always forgets then I get charged). But I digress…

Setting up OptinMonster was SO EASY. You DO need to have an email marketing provider though but the good news is they support A TON, including the most popular ones nowadays like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Aweber, etc… Basically you connect using your credentials through OptinMonster, THEN, you create your form. If you have WordPress, you can (and should) download the OptinMonster plugin that helps you add the form(s) you have created anywhere in your blog and TAH-DAH! Very cool.

The software comes with pre-designed options or you can go create a graphic of your own and use that. And hey, if CSS “IS” your thing, you can design these from scratch as well! They even give you the correct suggested dimensions your images should be so it fits in the optin window. Hello? You can hop over to PicMonkey (free) and hook yourself up easily by resizing and cropping your images there then import to OptinMonster to add to your form(s).

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I have a referral code (affiliate) with OptinMonster and I am super proud to share it. If you look through my blog posts you won't see many (or any) reviews for affiliate programs. I am not an affiliate marketer. I am reviewing this one because I was REALLY STRUGGLING with Optin forms AND this truly made a difference to me!

But wait, there is more…

I always over share, I know, however I think this part is important. OptinMonster offers a few different price points, depending on how much functionality you want and/or how many websites you want to install it in. And before I go any further, there is a Black Friday discount for 35% OFF deal right now on their site (if you are reading this during another time of the year, there may be other discounts posted but I can't guarantee one. Sorry :(). This discount is what made ME move forward with it LOL. That's a chunk of change right? Click here to check it out.

Ok so, I selected the ONE website BASIC package (for now). I wanted to see if that would be sufficient for me and if I would “miss” the additional functionality that comes with the next level up. Also, as a web designer I also want to make sure my customers can work with this if they choose to. I try to keep my personal site pretty simple and don't have a lot of things popping in and out usually, so I gave it a swirl. Basically, I don't have the “exit intent pop-up” or the “sidebar form” option. Booo. HOWEVER, the basic package DOES come with tons of options, including a form that will show up after a visitor lands and stays for at least 20 seconds – or whatever length of time you tell it to. Plus I figured out a way to include a workaround for the OptinMonster form to be “sort of” on the sidebar too WITHOUT the upgrade. YAASS! Not by cheating, just by being creative and using the functionality they offer me. 🙂

You see, the Basic comes with TONS of options for how that form can be displayed, one of them being that you can add a button, image or text link that when clicked will make the form open. Soooooo, instead of using an “image widget” to add an image to my sidebar, or a form, I used WordPress TEXT widget and added the OptinMonster code in there to make an image I created open the OptinMonster form on click. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the convenient fields on it for people to subscribe right from the sidebar; that would come with the middle package (which I might still upgrade to before this discount is up), but FYI.

I know I said at the beginning you don't have to code to make your forms pretty. And I stand by that, you do not. This is just a workaround if you don't want to upgrade to the package that DOES include this feature with a click of a button (or widget) and zero code.

Here are the basic steps to creating an image to place on your sidebar and have it open your OptinMonster form on click:

1- Make a DUPLICATE of the form you created for your PopUp (I assume you want a separate form to popup on its own, if you do NOT, then forget this step and use the form you got. Basically, a form can't be “scheduled” to popup AND be linked to a click action so you gotta create two.

2- Go to picmonkey or any graphic editor and create that sidebar image with the dimensions of your WordPress sidebar. Mine is 300×350 (I think). Save it and upload it to your WordPress blog library.

3- Under the Display Rules menu of the form in OptinMonster, select the MonsterLink Click action. This will generate a short code snippet for a “text link”. Adding this to your blog widget WON'T work. We need to make that text link into an IMAGE link instead. Note: you can use this text link AS IS though and add that to your post content too! That's what it's for.

4- So basically, check out MY code below but use YOUR OptinMonster code instead (so you get your subscribers) and replace the location of the image to where YOURS is at on your blog. I do all this in word or some text software first cuz there is more than one copy/paste that needs to happen but here is how I would create this code (it's very easy):

First: Go to the image you uploaded to your blog library and click it or click on Edit. Look to the top right and you will see the entire file path to your image. Copy/Paste this file path into a blank word document
Second: Copy YOUR Optinmonster code you created with the MonsterClick action as is and paste it below where you pasted the image path and leave one line empty in between. Just to keep them separate.
Third: Copy MY final code below and paste it on another separated line on that same word document.

<a href=”#” class=”manual-optin-trigger” data-optin-slug=”kdckjzsmgtxvddlw”><img src=” http://www.aymeebuckhannon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Optin-Side-Image.png”/>

Fourth: Examine MY final code against yours and notice the words Click Me! are removed and replaced with the location of my image. Ok, now copy JUST this image file path part from my code in red below and add it to YOUR code replacing YOUR Click Me! words. Do leave the </a> at the end untouched.

<a href=”#” class=”manual-optin-trigger” data-optin-slug=”kdckjzsmgtxvddlw”><img src=” http://www.aymeebuckhannon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Optin-Side-Image.png”/>

This is what your original code (mine below) looked like

<a href=”#” class=”manual-optin-trigger” data-optin-slug=”kdckjzsmgtxvddlw”>Click Me!</a>

This is what my final code and yours should looks like (but with your own Optin slug code in there)

<a href=”#” class=”manual-optin-trigger” data-optin-slug=”kdckjzsmgtxvddlw”><img src=” http://www.aymeebuckhannon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Optin-Side-Image.png”/>

Yours will look similar except that it will show YOUR OptinMonster code (slug) and YOUR image source location. Now every time someone clicks your image on the sidebar, that popup form you created will open. You can test what this would look like by clicking my image below, which btw I added here by adding that code to the text tab in my post. Neat right?

Of course if all that copy/pasting blew your mind, then just get the second package and you can simply then just use the widget function to drag and drop an actual form to your sidebar without any coding involved. I think it is TOTALLY worth the money either way, to be honest. Especially if you have been pulling your hair out trying to make your forms look decent for a while.

And that is all I got for you. I hope this gave you a good idea of why I chose OptinMonster and now you also a workaround that may save you some funds if you are not ready to plunge into the second upgrade. 🙂


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