Feel free to scroll down or go to a specific category of tools in this post:
Here Come the List Building Tools
While this blog focuses mostly on eCommerce, the following tools can be used for almost any type of online business. For platform specific tools, I’ve added the proper information so you don’t get your hopes up and waste time. That’s why I also took the time to categorize and list the most useful tools, apps and services that can help you grow your list.
1. All-in-One Solutions
There are some platforms that simply need to be mentioned on toolkits such as this one. These are great choices if you want to avoid using too many tools for your email marketing / list building activities. Personally, I prefer the do-it-yourself or -connect-them-yourself approach when it comes to digital marketing simply because there are many specialized tools that do just one thing perfectly and can be connected, but I’ve never found an open platform that does everything perfectly.
There’s so much I could and should say about Hubspot, but I’ll stick to a short intro: it’s a complete sales & marketing platform that focuses on inbound marketing and includes a powerful content management system. Email marketing for example is just a tiny component in Hubspot’s system.
While Hubspot doesn’t present list building tools as a main feature, there are a nice variety of tools you can use to grow your list with it.
If you want to find out more, check out this in-depth review/experiment if you’re not convinced that Hubspot is a top of the line solution.
There is only one case I would advise against choosing Hubspot (or the other similar platforms): if you don’t plan on sticking with it for the long run, it’s quite a risky choice because you do not have control over the platform and if you need to close your account…well…everything is pretty much gone. Let’s just imagine your business has a bad year and you need to bootstrap: you can rack up thousands of dollar in monthly costs on SaaS that you just can’t avoid spending after a year or two of building on top of platform X.
Personally, I would recommend Hubspot to larger companies (especially due to its pricing) that have a dedicated team running their digital presence (especially due to its higher learning curve).
Feel free to: Find Out More | See Pricing | Start a Trial
I’ve been using GetResponse since 2011 for various clients and I think and I’ve seen it evolve from one of the best email marketing services to a more complex solution that can bring a lot of value to SMEs at a very competitive price.
You can actually “sense” that GetResponse started out as a specialized email marketing service when using its platform.
GetResponse is my favourite when it comes to email marketing for SMEs, since it has the following features:
- Intuitive landing page creator
- A/B testing for emails and landing pages
- Responsive design support
- Email & form creator
- A list booster feature
All in all, it’s a great platform, with a feature set suited for most SMEs and very attractive pricing.
Feel free to: Find Out More | See Pricing | Start a Trial
LeadPages has become quite popular lately, with more and more SMEs and marketers adopting it due to its feature set, its focus on lead generation & list building and its flexibility. LP now features 3 products actually:
- LeadPages – the landing page builder
- LeadBoxes – the subscription tools
- LeadLinks – an instant registration link tool
The LeadPages builder is an intuitive landing page builder that works well and lets you create highly converting landing pages. Coupled with LeadBoxes, a customizable popup, you can grow your list without too many headaches.
The LeadLinks tool is incredibly useful – while every other tool tries to add more bells and whistles to landing pages, subscription tools etc., this simply gets the job done as fast as possible.
I love LeadPages because it does not try to lock you in. As opposed to other platforms, LeadPages does its best to integrate with 3rd party services and other popular CMSes such as WordPress. The integration marketplace is an added bonus. That being said, I wholeheartedly recommend LP if you’re looking for a platform that’s safe to use in the long run.
Feel free to: Find Out More | See Pricing | Trial Not Available
WishPond is slowly turning into a complete marketing platform (and experiencing the usual growth pains from what I’m seeing). Its main features include:
- Landing page builder w/ A/B testing
- Contests & promotions tools
- Email marketing automation
- Ad campaign management
- Subscription tools.
WishPond is an incredibly popular solution, used by over 100.000 marketers, mainly due to its useful yet simple to use tools.
Warning: There seem to be some complaints about WishPond’s customer service and some deceptive advertising / signup practices. I could not independently confirm this though.
Feel free to: Find Out More | See Pricing | Start a Trial
5) Ion Interactive
I won’t go into much detail about Ion Interactive, since its feature set is extremely large and oriented towards enterprise customers. II is practically a marketing app creation platform oriented towards interactive experiences and…as you guessed…it has many applications and you can build pretty much anything on it. So, if you’re working for a large company and you’re inspired by all the tactics mentioned previously and all the features of the tools in this toolkit and want to build custom apps – try out Ion Interactive. Otherwise, keep to the tried & proven platforms above or adapt your tactics with the tools below.
Feel free to: Find Out More | See Pricing | No Trial Available
2. Smart Popups
When done right, smart popups can be the main driving force for your list building strategy. Although there are hundreds of solutions depending on platform, I’ve taken into account only those that actual provide more advanced functionality, such as exit intent detection and even A/B testing.
6) Ninja Popups
Ninja Popups are my personal favorite for WordPress and I’ve used them on many sites with great results so far. On the design side, Ninja Popups comes with a lot of pre-designed templates that look and feel great.
Some of the most notable features are exit intent functionality and the ability to trigger the popup on % of page scroll. Coupled with a lot of other useful features, it’s quite easy to tweak & test your way to a highly converting. The cool part is that you can easily use it to increase the number of social followers you have (easily integrates with Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook).
Platform: WordPress | Price: 20$ | Website: get it from CodeCanyon
7) Optin Monster
Optin Monster is the self-proclaimed leader in WordPress popup solutions.
Its main features include an easy to use popup builder, detailed user targeting options (including user exit intent) and A/B testing.
Platform: WordPress | Price: starting from 49$ | Website: optinmonster.com
Ah, Pippity. This plugin has quite some beautiful designs and I’ve seen only positive things about it around the web. My experience with it pretty much confirms what I’ve heard. It’s behavior settings are quite refined and the extra A/B testing functionality coupled with decent reporting make it a good choice.
As an added bonus, Pippity has 12 popup templates and a notification bar feature which comes with 6 templates. Also, I’ve seen they’re still active, so you can expect more features to come in time.
Platform: WordPress | Price: starting from 49$ | Website: pippity.com
OptinSkin is probably the most beautiful popup out there. Their designs are carefully crafted and they’re not just limited to subscribe forms and custom HTML, being easily mixed with social buttons. With over 18 customizable designs, I’m pretty sure you can find a default one that works great for your site.
Notable features for OptinSkin:
- It has a fade animation option which helps conversion
- It can be easily inserted in other locations of the theme
- Accurate reporting & impression data
It’s not the cheapest solution out there though. At 83$, this might be a little pricey for users on a tight budget.
Platform: WordPress | Price: 83$ | Website: optinskin.com
SumoMe is more than just a popup solution. It offers a whole range of traffic tools and it was just too good to pass on this list since some are quite rare solutions that are impossible to find under one plugin/SaaS.
Main tools offered by SumoMe:
- List builder (including popup)
- Scroll box w/ subscribe form (similar to PadiAct)
- Smart bar w/ fubscribe form (similar to HelloBar)
- Incentive based lead builder
- Content highlighter & image sharer
The tools built in SumoMe were used to grow AppSumo to over 730.000 subscribers. That alone makes it worth to check out.
Platform: SaaS & WordPress | Price: FREE! | Website: sumome.com
11) Wise Pops
Wise Pops isn’t the most feature packed in this list, but it’s a nice & easy to setup service that won’t give you much headache. Since it’s a SaaS, it will work on mostly any platform. Couple its visual builder with some extra personalization options and a couple of triggers and it’s quite a decent solution for most websites.
It lacks an A/B testing feature, but at least their reporting feature will help you figure out if you need to tweak it or not. Or you could just use a different service for that.
Platform: SaaS – works on any site | Price: starting from 20$ | Website: wisepops.com
Honorable Popup Category Mentions:
12) Ad Plus List Building Popup
Ad Plus Popup has the standard feature list for a modern popup solution, but it pretty much fails to differentiate itself from others in the list. Fortunately, there’s a series of additional plugins available to make it more attractive, such as Non-WP exit popup, Non-WP header box, but all in all what can you ask for 20$? Check it out on CodeCanyon.
13) Conversion Monk
If you’re looking to shell out some money for custom services that range from popup design & copy to integration, be sure to check out Conversion Monk. I’ve heard good things about them in the last period. Feel free to check out their website.
14) Popup Domination
Popup Domination (3.0 now) is one of the oldest solutions around and it got incredibly popular, still being used on many websites. I can’t say I will put too much time in trying it out since some of the campaigns promoting them seem a little bit spammy and their brand hasn’t seen a refresh in a long time.
Pricing starts from 47$ (one time payment). You can find out more on their website.
15) Multi Events Subscription Pop
It has a long name and a rather short feature list, but the cool thing about this plugin is that it supports quite a lot of triggers, being able to activate on page load, on external link click, on copy content, on context menu, on scroll down, on idle, on click and it integrates nicely with major email marketing services like MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, iContact, Campaign Monitor.
With just 16$, you can get this nifty popup solution on CodeCanyon.
3. Content Lockers
Content lockers were all a craze when they first appeared, but they’re not used so often lately. Either way, content lockers work in combination with the right content & tactics and few know that there are content lockers that work based on email input, not only social buttons.
Here are some of the cool solutions available to lock specific parts of your content or downloadable resources and ask the user to give you his email:
16) Opt-in Content Locker
I use this cool plugin for WordPress on KommerZen as well and it does its job perfectly. The setup is fast and easy, its design is crisp and modern and after a whole series of tests it never failed. Also, it behaves great on mobile.
An added benefit of this plugin is that it has a “regular” and “soft” mode – meaning that you can keep content visible to search engines (careful though: I would advise not to lock more than 20% of your content either way if SEO is of a big concern to you).
Platform: Wordpress | Price: 14$ | Website: Get it on CodeCanion
17) Layered Popups
There are many, many popup solutions, but few(er) opt-in content lockers around. What’s great about Layered Popups is that you can create actual layers of popup content and you have 4 types of triggers to activate the popup (on scroll, on exit, on load, on click).
But the actual beauty of it is that you can use it as an opt-in content locker as well. For example, users won’t be able to finish a specific piece of content before subscribing to your newsletter (the popup can’t be closed unless the user can inspect & delete elements on page).
Other notable features:
- Users can subscribe using Facebook & Google+ instead
- Social Locker included (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Awesome A/B testing options + Analytics & KissMetrics tracking integration
- Lots of other features that make it a competitor to the above mentioned popups
Just remember it’s important to avoid annoying your visitors with content lockers and take an extra couple of steps to make content locking work for you.
Platform: Standalone + WordPress | Price: 18$ / 16$ | Website: Standalone version & WordPress version
18) Subscribe & Download
The Subscribe & Download doesn’t do much other than let you place a form that requires users to…subscribe…in order to…download. Hmmm. Anyway, this is pretty nice because it’s not a classical AJAX content locker that disappears
Yes, yes I know – this can be done with a normal landing page, a subscribe form and an automated mail, but this can actually save you some time if you regularly publish files that your visitors want to download. It’s up to you to decide if that saved time is worth the 14$ for this plugin.
Platform: WordPress | Price: 14$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
19) Subscriber Content Locker for WordPress
As an alternative to Opt-in Content Locker is this little plugin. While it’s not as flexible as my first choice, it does have a feature that makes it stand out: it doesn’t unlock the content just as easy, requiring users to actually check their emails for the content link, so that means you’ll have less fake emails in your list. The unfortunate part: I am not sure if this will be updated anymore.
Platform: WordPress | Price: 17$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
I had a hard time adding Chimpy to the opt-in content locker category since it does a lot of cool things such as:
- WordPress user sync
- Customizable popups
- Subscribe to unlock
- Opt-in Checkboxes (Registration, Comments)
The forms are absolutely beautiful and it’s extremely easy to use. The only downside to this solution is that it’s limited to Mailchimp, but then again, MC is the most popular email marketing solution out there.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it’s really easy to integrate interest options and let users subscribe to certain lists with this plugin.
Platform: Wordpress | Price: 21$ | Website: WordPress version
4. Form Builder / Integrator
Basic, un-styled forms just won’t cut it anymore lately. Also, there are a number of cases that require you to build more or less complex forms and just a newsletter widget or a sneaky exit popup won’t help much. No matter what you’re asking for: just a name and email address, or a whole set of details, good form builders ensure your forms are usable, look well and are compatible on major browsers.
Besides that, with all the platforms and plugins out there, most solutions can benefit from extra integration between platforms. So let’s take a look at some of the best form builders & integration solutions available out there:
Typeform’s designs simply blew me away. If you’re looking for aesthetic, highly converting form solutions, this is one of the best picks.
What makes me choose Typeform as the best form is the fact that they’ve built a lot of interesting features & solutions around their main platform, actively helping you build a list. Compared to other platforms, it’s incredibly versatile, having a focus on engagement, not the technical aspect of forms.
When it comes to list building specifically, some of the most interesting features are the Product Teaser (an interactive teaser you can embed forms in and collect data) and its contest feature.
The pricing is awesome as well: unlimited data collection with its core forms for FREE and just for 25$ a month – unlimited data collection with all existing forms and features.
Platform: SaaS| Price: FREE! + Pro starting from 25$/month | Website: typeform.com
Wufoo is one of the oldest SaaS form builder around and they’ve amassed an impressive collection of features and themes. The main strong points of Wufoo are:
- Over 150 pre-designed themes for forms
- Easy payments integration
- Built in analytics
You can rest assured that Wufoo will be constinuously improved, since it’s been acquired by Survey Monkey in 2011 (hint: easy integration between the two as well).
Platform: SaaS| Price: FREE! + Pro starting from 15$/month | Website: wufoo.com
Feature wise, Formstack is one of the most powerful solutions for form building and it’s strengths are in mobile forms, social media integration and powerful conditional logic options. On the integration part, Formstack has over 35 popular marketing / CRM, payments and document storage apps on the integration list.
There are quite a few integrations available for more powerful analytics, but Fromstack is rather limited on this aspect. But with the launch of LaunchPad, its collection of web apps and tools for small businesses to do more with the data around their forms, Formstack seems to be growing in the right direction, turning into a more flexible platform.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 39$/month | Website: formstack.com
24) Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is undoubtedly the best premium forms solution for WordPress on the market. Gravity Forms excels on 3 areas:
- Ease of use (really fast & easy to setup & forget)
- Quality of design (and integration with popular themes)
- A large number of advanced integrations with other platforms
While it’s mainly used a a beautiful contact form solution, it has the power to create extremely complex forms with ease and the additional addons availble on their website can add great features on top of the core, such as payments, surveys, polls & quizzes, email marketing services integration, Zapier integration and so on.
Platform: WordPress| Price: starting from 39$ | Website: gravityforms.com
25) Ninja Forms
The Internet would probably end without a decent, free form builder for WordPress. If your budget is tight, Ninja Forms is the best alternative to Gravity Forms. Basically, the main difference between Gravity Forms & Ninja Forms is that Gravity has more powerful addons and the polls / quizz / survey features.
The worst thing about Ninja Forms though is that they lack an integration with Zapier, which limits a lot of useful use cases. But either way, it’s the best free solution around so there’s not much to complain about (but addons are paid).
Platform: WordPress| Price: FREE! + paid addons | Website: ninjaforms.com
26) Sendy Widget Pro
Sendy Widget Pro is quite a nice addition to your email marketing efforts, supporting easy integration, multiple lists subscription. and the use of shortcodes for extra flexibility. Its differentiating feature is that it acts as an integrator between the Sendy service and your website (it’s not actually a form builder per se).
Also, if you haven’t heard about Sendy’s service you should check out their website. Their pricing is fantastic (100x cheaper than most solutions) due to their infrastructure relying on Amazon SES.
It integrates flawlessly with:
- Easy Digital Downloads
Also, it works alongside Visual Composer, which is a big plus if you’re a non-technical person. In any case, if you run a store under WooCommerce, or a community with BuddyPress, this nifty plugin is a must.
Platform: Wordpress | Price: 21$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
Bonus #1: Mobile & Offline Subscription Solutions
As web & mobile technologies evolve and most popular tools start to adapt to these new conditions, I’m sure that mobile support and offline subscription will become a common feature. In the mean time, we have to consider alternatives to work well for a mobile workforce and other dynamic conditions:
Event Matrix offer quite a unique mix of features aimed to make data collection a truly pleasant experience (for both sides).
But don’t get your hopes up if you’re not looking for enterprise solutions: this isn’t a cheap 30$ solution, it’s a custom priced platform aimed at bigger brands.
Platform: SaaS | Price: Custom pricing | Website: eventmatrix.com
FormHub is one of the few open source mobile web form solutions (I think the only one actually and it’s built by a research group at Columbia University) so if you want to build on top of an open source solution and customize things to the feel of your brand, it’s a good place to start.
Feature wise, FormHub is surprisingly flexible, being built mainly for surveys and offline data collection, but it can be easily adapted for list building and connected to 3rd party apps.
Platform: SaaS | Price: Free! | Website: formhub.org
iFormBuilder has a lot of niche use cases, especially targeted towards companies that feature a highly mobile workforce, but many of its features can be used for list building (online & offline).
Other than that, iFormBuilder has a dedicated iPad app (Kiosk) that works perfectly offline and you can use it to turn tablets into lead capturing devices. It’s extremely easy to setup up and it’s great to have if you’re doing any offline events such as expos or conferences.
It doesn’t stand out from the rest, but it has quite a lot of versatile widgets you can use for your own specific use cases and it’s actually quite financially accessible, starting from 50$/month.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 50$/month | Website: iformbuilder.com
Fulcrum is basically a less powerful (but much cheaper) and more beautiful alternative to iFormBuilder. When it comes to offline list building (be it through surveys, newsletter signup or feedback forms) it gets the job done and it’s available for iOS and Android.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 29$ | Website: fulcrumapp.com
GoFormz claims to be the most complete mobile form solution. Not really, but close enough. Its product is quite intuitive, powerful and affordable at the same time. While most of its features (like collaboration or workflow management) are useful if you’re using it for list building, it’s still a good solution to have handy if you want to collect subscribers on mobile.
With its API, you can connect it to any 3rd party app you want.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 10$/month | Website: goformz.com
Bonus#2: Form Optimization, Testing & Analytics Tools
Formisimo is one of those beautiful analytics services that actually deliver valuable, actionable insights
Some of the key features that make it one of the best solutions for optimizing your forms:
- Includes engagement tools to either guide or tell the user to takehe’s not taking the desired actions on forms
- Automatically detects forms and works with multi-page forms and AJAX forms
- Powerful segmentation options to allow you to dig deeper into data
- Besides powerful reporting features, it automatically annotates changes to forms
Granted, some of these features are available deep down more complex analytics solutions, but if you value your time you’ll go with Formisimo: it’s extremely fast to setup, no hassle in configuring form tracking and you can start collecting data within the hour (if you’re going at it very slow).
At 7$ a month, it’s too good not to use to be honest.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 7$/month | Website: formisimo.com
33) Inspectlet Form Analytics
Inspectlet provides some nice usability / CRO tools under one platform and one of its features is a form analytics solution. It’s not Clicktale, but it’s really affordable. One of the features that got my attention was highlighting fields that are confusing and get refilled by users.
Coupled with recorded sessions on form pages, it can be quite a handy optimization tool. Since it has a free plan, you should at least give it a try for 100 sessions on your checkout or one of your more complex forms and see what it can do for you. Also, it’s worth noting that on Pro plans it works with extremely dynamic websites built with technology such as Angular.js.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro starting from 39$/month | Website: inspectlet.com
34) Hotjar Insights
Hotjar Insights caught my attention this year because it’s quite a feature rich analytics / CRO platform that contains tools like heatmaps, funnel analytics, form analytics, visitor session recording, polls and chat. I’m waiting for it to go out of beta and I’ll be back with a full review.
Although the service is in limited beta at the moment, I highly recommend you to subscribe (I’m sure you’ll get some perks in the long run). It’s an extremely promising product that can save you (and ultimately make you) a lot of money.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 29$/month | Website: hotjar.com
RevRise is specialized in form optimisation, especially lead generation forms and shopping carts. But it’s not available as a pay-as-you-go SaaS – it’s actually a combination of customer expert services and their proprietary form analytics tool (but I can’t vouch it’s their solution though).
While it’s quite pricey and not something a small business owner should pay for, for bigger brands that do a lot of business online it’s probably worth the price since you get an actual expert to review all your forms and analyze the data.
Platform: SaaS | Price: Custom pricing – starting from 1490$ | Website: revrise.com
36) LuckyOrange Form Analytics
LuckyOrange is yet another platform that mixes in some tools that are more or less connected such as LiveChat, Form Analytics, Polls & Surveys and Heatmaps. It’s not the sexiest product out there, but it’s an interesting mix and it might be worth checking out if you find yourself using these apps from separate providers. Initially it started out as a LiveChat tool from what I’ve seen and as an added bonus, it features a WordPress plugin (even easier to setup).
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 10$/month | Website: luckyorange.com
5. Landing Page Builders
Hand in hand with form builders, landing page builders are a vital tool for an efficient marketer that doesn’t have a developer and a design just standing around. What’s even better, some landing page builders have great form building functionality so if you want to limit the number of apps in your toolkit, you can easily find something flexible enough.
I’m going going to go into “review mode”, but some of the best landing page builders I’ve tested these years include:
When it comes to landing page builders, Unbounce is the most known solution out there and for a good reason. They’ve been among the first in this market, they have an awesome product team and they’re constantly updating the service. And it’s the solution behind many successful campaign case studies you read around the web.
I might come off as cheap, but the only thing that bothers me with Unbounce is its traffic limitation for small businesses: 49$/month for 5.000 visitors seems a little bit much taking into account there are so many alternatives on the market (and so many ways to bootstrap). But nonetheless, it’s an awesome product and you’ll end up making that money back tenfold if you use Unbounce right.
Defining features: it’s a full featured platform that includes everything you need from collaboration tools to A/B testing and a big list of 3rd party app integrations.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 49$/month | Website: unbounce.com
While it’s not as feature rich and advanced as Unbounce, InstaPage is a nimble contender that focused on ease of use, rapid deployment of landing pages and it features over 20 useful integrations with other marketing tools. If you’re pressed by launch dates and need something that doesn’t require a big learning curve, InstaPage is one of the best choices.
Another thing I love about InstaPage is that it gives you a lot of freedom with the subdomain support feature and its WordPress integration.
Defining features: it helps you build landing pages incredibly fast and it features some email marketing automation features that come in handy.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 29$/month | Website: instapage.com
When I first heard of KickoffLabs I thought “Great, yet another revolutionary WYSIWYG LP builder” but they’ve actually built a product that manages to stand out as a campaign builder, not just a page builder. There are 4 features on which they put accent that turn it into a really effective campaign builder:
- Mobile ready landing page builder
- Social media integration and the Viral Boost system
- Marketing automation through email
- Personalization layer
One of their most interesting feature is Magic Contact Data – you just need to get the user’s email addresses and they enrich data data with a name, social network profiles etc. which is extremely useful if you’re planning on using some personalization tactics later on.
Also, it boasts a decent number of integrations and it works great combined with WordPress (which is always a big plus).
Defining features: complete platform that features an unique viral boost referral feature (it’s actually really cool), flexible opt-in forms and some marketing automation features
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 29$/month | Website: kickofflabs.com
OptimizePress is one of the bloggers’ sweethearts and there are quite a few reasons for that. It’s very powerful and if your marketing revolves around lots of content and community creation/management, it can save you a lot of time.
Some key features of OptimizePress allow you to:
- Create landing pages & product launch funnels
- Create free training and course pages
- Create high impact webinar pages
- Everything’s mobile ready
Other than the video that auto-plays on their site, everything seems to work quite well with OptimizePress.
Defining feature: easily create more complex community oriented solutions, such as membership portals, webinars and training/courses pages
Platform: WordPress | Price: starting from 97$ (one time) | Website: optimizepress.com
At a first visit on the LanderApp website you might be impressed by the clean and sharp design and rightly so. Their templates are quite beautiful (with conversion in mind, of course) and can be modified pretty fast to suit your campaign’s needs.
Their templates are nicely ordered and can be used for events, portfolios, coming soon pages, eCommerce and pretty much any service you’re offering.
Warning: LanderApp promises speed, not complexity or a huge feature set. If you’re looking for something to help you create aesthetic landing pages as fast as possible based on templates, it might be a right fit for you. Otherwise, you should take into account it lacks advanced features, especially related to forms.
Defining feature: building aesthetic landing pages fast
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 9$/month | Website: landerapp.com
Bonus: Mobile Oriented Landing Page Builders
There are cases when the above landing page builders might not be up to the job. Although many have mobile ready templates, when it comes to older phones/platforms, the user experience might be a little bit off. That’s where mobile oriented builders might help you.
MobileConvrrt is one of those shiny new startups that shows a lot of promise. Its product is fully focused on mobile landing page creation and as it focuses on features like Tap 2 Call, Tap 2 Text, QR Code Generator (and easy integration) it’s a good tool to have if you run mobile targeted campaigns often.
Also, they focus on a wider range of platforms when it comes to compatibility, including Blackberry, Windows and Symbian (yes, it’s still alive).
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 9$/month | Website: mobileconvrrt.com
JaeMobi is one of the established players in the mobile website builder category and it has evolved over time into a very attractive solution for local businesses that want to expand online. The feature set is pretty standard, but well implemented and it includes:
- Mobile commerce integration
- Email & SMS marketing support
- Lead capturing solution
Platform: SaaS | Price: Price: FREE! + Pro starting at 10$/month | Website: jaemobi.com
To be honest, it’s a little unfair to call TappInn just a landing page builder. It’s quite a complete mobile first marketing solution that includes some rare(r) features such as:
- Mobile rewards builder
- Mobile coupon generator
- QR Code / NFC support
- eCommerce integration
All these are very valuable features to any online business, but they can especially complement and expand the usual list building tactics.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro starting at 10$/month | Website: tappinn.com
For teasers, pre-launches and just building up hype, having an awesome coming soon or teaser page is a must. While you can clearly create a nice coming soon page, there are some really cool solutions that are built for this specific use case, such as:
Ah, LaunchRock. I fondly remember using LaunchRock for my first pre-launch campaign. The impression it gave me then, still stands today: a beautiful, reliable and easy to use service. While it hasn’t the largest feature set out there, it’s pretty much the “go to” service when it comes to building a pre-launch page.
In any case, if you want to start gathering new subscribers with a pre-launch page, you can get a LaunchRock page up and running in less than 10 minutes if you have the content ready.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! | Website: launchrock.co
45) Launch Effect App
If you’re bent on using WordPress like the rest of us mortals for most of your pre-launch campaigns, the Launch Effect App is one of the most beautiful solutions out there. It has a built-in viral referral engine (including useful stats) and all the sharing options you need to make sure you have a shot at going viral.
Other than that, it’s mobile ready and integrates perfectly with services such as MailChimp, Typekit, Aweber and Campaign Monitor.
The free version is light in the sense that you can’t easily integrate multiple pages, but that’s not always a requirement for most campaigns.
Platform: WordPress | Price: FREE! + Pro version starting from 35$ | Website: launcheffectapp.com
46) Coming Soon Pro
SeedProd’s Coming Soon pro WordPress plugin is a feature rich maintenance & coming soon solution . It has pretty much everything you need to build a good coming soon page:
- Advanced editing & design options (including themes, CSS/HTML editing, Google Fonts integration and more)
- Advanced access controls (based on user roles, IPs and more)
- Email marketing integration (quite a few)
- Simple yet powerful referral system
If you build coming soon pages quite often, it’s worth getting to know this plugin. It’s well worth its money.
Platform: WordPress | Price: starting from 29$ | Website: seedprod.com
LaunchGator caters to the “I don’t want many headaches or too many options” segment and their presentation pretty much reflects that. It’s free, easy to use and a good option if you’re in a rush and don’t want to bother with all the options that LaunchRock / Launch Effect or Coming Soon Pro throw at you.
While I haven’t tried it yet, I’m guessing it can be integrated with Interakt (built by the same company), a customer engagement platform. It’s quite interesting, but not that relevant to the current toolkit at the moment.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! | Website: deskgator.com
48) WordPress Launcher
WordPress Launcher is a nice to have free theme from MyThemeShop that looks great and is really easy to customize. While it lacks the options that can give pre-launch campaigns a viral boost, it’s handy when you’re bootstrapped. It comes with all the basic options a pre-launch/coming soon theme should have, like countdown timer, subscription box and it has a couple more extras like a Twitter stream integration option.
It’s quite cute that they’ve added the “Rocket Launch Effect” to their features. That’s actually a rocket…that’s animated. Yeah.
Platform: WordPress | Price: FREE! | Website: mythemeshop.com
Another hidden gem from around the web is LaunchSoon – it’s got a huge and interesting feature set, but they’ve got a lot to work on the design part before being featured. If you’re willing to do some work on the design part, it’s worth checking out.
7. Contests & Promotions Apps
While sweepstakes are a headache free way of increasing your list, contests require a lit bit more work & creativity, but can boost your list in an impressive manner. The best contest I ever made netted more than 10.000 participants in the first 24 hours and the churn rate with them was pretty much the same with the rest of the list.
Some of the best apps & solutions to help you build a contest:
With so many apps & tools to build social media oriented contests, Antavo really manages to differentiate itself from the bunch. Calling itself the Tesla of contest platform, it really stands out through:
- A large variety of campaign options – from video contest to group offers
- Advanced viral mechanics – from gamification to like-gating
- Its multichannel approach
There are a lot of big brands using Antavo already and it’s pretty much poised to become the leader in this segment from my point of view.
As far as pricing goes, it’s surprisingly accessible. Even a small fashion blogger could afford to run contests using Antavo.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 20$ / month | Website: antavo.com
50) Agora Pulse
After working with Antavo, it’s pretty hard to be completely objective about other tools, but Agora Pulse is my second preferred choice when it comes to building contests simply because it has an interesting approach to managing everything that comes with social media contests.
Agora lets you create quizzes, photo contests and quite a lot of other campaign types that have viral potential built in. These are complemented by various reporting, CRM and moderation tools.
One of the great things about Agora is that it really helps small brands get started with it’s free tools and the resources published under its Facebook Marketing University.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro version starting from 29$/month | Website: agorapulse.com
Where do I start with Votigo? It’s basically a social marketing platform that stands out through its contest tools and the business model that combines software, API access and lots of customized services. It takes some effort to completely evaluate Votigo’s services and solutions and decide if it’s actually the best fit for your business.
I’d go recommend you go with Votigo if you’re willing to spend money to integrate all its services and make a long term commitment towards social marketing.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 250$ /month | Website: votigo.com
Heyo is pretty much the “working man’s” contest tool and it’s used by quite a few agencies and freelancers from what I’ve seen. But don’t underestimate what you can do with Heyo: it’s fast, beautifully designed, easy to use with its drag & drop system and turnkey contest apps and it’s completely mobile friendly.
Also, the pricing is straightforward, which is great. Everything for 30$ a month.
Platform: SaaS | Price: 30$ / month | Website: WordPress version
Disclaimer #1: these are the apps I’ve had some experience with and worked as advertised. There are many, many more apps out there, but I’d say you’re safe choosing one of these.
8. Sweepstakes & Giveaways Apps
As previously said in the series, when you’re out of ideas for user generated content based contests or you just don’t have the time to develop a full fledged contest, a sweepstake combined with a viral hook can do just fine.
There are several dedicated solutions to easily manage and make the best out of your coupons and giveaways:
The first time I saw a KingSumo giveaway page (long time ago, though) I was so impressed I spent an hour looking for the tool it was built with. The point is that KingSumo has pretty much figured a high converting layout, a workflow that works best for most giveaways and it built everything into a great WordPress plugin.
In my view this is the perfect giveaway plugin. Yes, it’s 198$, but most likely you’ll make your money back after the first giveaway and compared to monthly fees that rack up with most SaaS services – it’s quite a good deal.
Platform: WordPress | Price: 198$ | Website: kingsumo.com
RaffleCopter might actually be the world’s easiest way to create a giveaway. It has some nifty features like easy embedding, 1 click Facebook app, poll & survey support, blog integration and it’s dirt cheap, built with for the common SMB budget in mind. At 7.99$ a month, you just can’t ask for more.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 7.99$ / month | Website: rafflecopter.com
ViralSweep is the somewhat more powerful brother of RaffleCopter and it brings custom forms, easy translation and more integration partners to the game.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro plans starting from 49$/month | Website: viralsweep.com
Disclaimer #2: There are more solutions listed in this article that have contest / sweepstakes creation capabilities, such as WishPond for example. If you’re looking for a complete solution, check them out.
9. Referral Engines
Right from the start I’d like to clear up a couple of things you might have in mind: 1) referral engines are used mostly for referral sales and it’s pretty hard to configure most of them to work with other goals such as email subscriptions and 2) they’re best used if a secondary goal to your referral program is to gain more subscribers (which in turn means you need to design a proper experience with this in mind). Ok, let’s see what tools are best suited for referrals:
56) Referral Candy
Referral Candy is pretty much the first choice these days when experimenting with a new referral program. The bottom line for RC is that’s incredibly easy to setup & use and it support multiple refferal program types such as:
- Retail referral
- Lead generation referrals
- Subscription & SaaS referrals
The lead generation referral system combined with contests or raffles can net you a huge number of subscribers if done right. Also, RC can be easily integrated with over 20 popular carts, which saves you a lot of money and headaches.
Platform: SaaS | Price: based on usage | Website: referralcandy.com
57) Invite Box
Invite Box is a must use tool if you’re planning on using social, contests and list building tactics together. Some of IB’s main features that make it quite valuable:
- Share based instant reward option
- Goal based (i.e. number of referrals) reward option
- Referral contests, giveaways and sweepstakes
Looking at their website, IB seems rather simple, but it’s very flexible in terms of what you want to do and if your main goals is gathering more mails, it’s a great option.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 19$ / month | Website: invitebox.com
58) Add Shoppers
The first impression that AddShoppers gave me was that it’s owned by AddThis (quite a few similarities in its approach). While it’s not as flexible in terms of using it for list building as Referral Candy or Invite Box, it’s an interesting mix of social referral tools, which in turn can help you grow your list. Some of the features that may help you with list building (not as primary, but secondary tactics):
- Social login
- Social rewards
Coupled with other features such as ROI tracking, Discovery walls (most shared products), purchase sharing, social retargeting and more, this becomes quite a powerful toolset for an online store. That being said, it’s more than worth trying out.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro plans starting from 17$ / month | Website: addshoppers.com
59) Invite Referrals
IR has been in the referral business for a while and it has built over time a 360* referral software, with a complete feature set. The beautiful thing about IR is that on each major feature they’ve worked a lot of offer granular options. For example, when it comes to embedding widgets, you can choose between popups, floating buttons, sliders, iframes etc. For the pro marketer that doesn’t want to dive into code, this is awesome!
Anyway, jumping into the feature set, you have:
- Extremely flexible integration options
- Customizable user interface
- Multiple referral campaign types
- Multiple referral options
- Mobile compatibity, Facebook integration and much more
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 19$ / month | Website: invitereferrals.com
60) Referral SaaSquatch
RS is the only SaaS oriented referral software that I’ve discovered and it’s actually worth writing about. It’s not as flexible when it comes to goals or other feature sets, but it’s a great tool nonetheless if you have a SaaS business. If you plan on experimenting with it to grow your subscriber base (especially with SaaS, where you see a longer purchase cycle and list building is vital), try to capture as many leads as possible by offering clear subscription options and exclusive valuable content on landing pages.
Platform: SaaS | Price: based on usage | Website: referralsaasquatch.com
10. Social Media Oriented Tools
This couldn’t be named a decent list building toolkit without some social media focused tools and some niche tools I’ve discovered during my list building efforts.
ShortStack is one of the most flexible social media app creation tools and it has a very email marketing friendly approach, which makes it my pick for this category. And they have a free plan, which is always an extra point in my book.
Available social media integrations:
One of the coolest features of ShortStack is the “embed your campaign” anywhere option. Alongside Twitter, Facebook & other social network integrations, this turns ShortStack in quite a powerful multi-channel tool – a feature that can pretty much make or break your campaign.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro plans starting from 29$ / month | Website: shortstack.com
TabSite is quite powerful to say the least and the number of apps listed on their site might feel overwhelming at first sight, but after a couple of minutes after playing with their tools you realize that it’s really user friendly.
Sweepstakes, deal shares, social review, pin deals, surveys etc. – they’re all integrated into their offering.
Platform: SaaS | Price: starting from 30$ / month | Website: tabsite.com
Promosity is a nice to have tool for your promotional tactics. It’s basically a freemium SaaS social locker that’s linked to various promotions you create with this tool.
The only catch here is designing an experience that lets you gather emails easy. In any case, it’s a simple & easy to configure tool worth trying out.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro plans starting from 60$ / month | Website: promosity.com
In the email marketing tool that actually integrates with social media we have a contender. StreamSend has a solid feature set, but what pops up is:
- Its ability to repurpose email newsletters fast as landing pages, tabs etc.
- Dynamic content support
- Social shareboard that you can use to turn posts into newsletters
- Centralized tracking
These were the features that made me start some tests with it – I’ll be back with more details in a separate review.
Platform: SaaS | Price: FREE! + Pro plans starting from 20$ / month | Website: streamsend.com
65) Facebook Viral Content Locker
Yet another plugin that’s hard to put in a specific category. This is a simple one: it locks your content and forces users to subscribe via Facebook in order to be able to access it. On the plus side, it’s easy to make sure you get a valid email (since it’s linked to Facebook). I would stay away from the auto-post feature – it tends to annoy a lot of people.
Platform: WordPress | Price: 14$ | Website: WordPress version
66) MailChimp Social WordPress
This is actually an extremely useful plugin for mobile visitors. Form conversion tends to be much lower on mobile (and error prone), so having this plugin and enabling users to subscribe just with a couple of taps should help. Plus, their email is already confirmed and you know it’s their main email.
Platform: Standalone + WordPress | Price: 6$ / 7$ | Website: Standalone & WordPress version
11. Niche & Various Tools
There are several tools that aren’t that easy to categorize (or too few for a specific category), but they are worth checking out – I’ve used all of them and they do their job as advertised.
If you have a store (or more) and you’re providing free WiFi to your customers, you can use this as a tactic to either get more mails, customer data, more social media followers etc. There are quite a lot of solutions to do this and the first one that pops to mind (in my case at least) is HotSpotSystem.
The cool part is that they have Zapier support, so it’s quite easy to hook it up with most email marketing services. If you’re feeling overly creative, there are many more combinations you can try out in order to offer your new subscribers various benefits and overall a nice experience.
The only thing I would add here: don’t make the whole subscription part too pushy. People like free WiFi, but not enough to give you too much data.
HotSpotSystem is fortunately a freemium service so there’s nothing to lose by trying them out. If your location doesn’t have more than 10K visitors a month, probably you’ll manage with a free account a long time.
As per usual, if you have a lot of time on your hands and a hack it attitude, you can try using a Sputnik account (less than $50 lifetime) – it’s much more technical, but manageable in the end.
68) Signup Anywhere
I wanted to put this in the Mobile form builders category, but I figure it’s got a lot of various uses so I’ll just drop a couple of paragraph here about it. Basically, Signup Anywhere is a free HTML5 app you can use to subscribe people to your newsletters. It’s an extremely handy app if you’re on a budget and want something slick & easy to use for in store subscription (or wherever you’re advertising your newsletter).
As for integration, it syncs automatically with MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. It’s free forever so check it out.
If you’re willing to spend some money and you’re looking for something similar, but more powerful – check out iCapture (I’m recommending it only because I’ve seen quite some big brands use it – haven’t tried it yet).
PadiAct was one of the first solutions on the market to bring slide-in forms and advanced triggers and for some time it was regarded as one of the top solutions to grow your list. Things have winded down since then, but PadiAct remains a really good solution to use on your website.
Main features of PadiAct:
- Smart targeting & customizable triggers
- Easily customize data collection & forms
- Segmented content personalization
- Accurate reporting
- A/B testing
Until now, they’ve helped collect over 5.000.000 emails and they’re still counting. Also, it’s worth mentioning that they integrate with most major email service providers.
Platform: SaaS – works on any site | Price: starting from 25$ / month | Website: PadiAct.com
No list building toolkit would be complete without HelloBar. This nifty little service creates an aesthetic notification bar above your site where you can add pretty much what you need. This was the first solution of this kind on the market and it’s evolved a lot over time, so I’d keep my eyes on them while they develop even more features.
At the moment its use cases include growing followers through social follow buttons, gathering subscribers, getting attention to a specific piece of content or offering and it includes A/B testing.
Platform: SaaS – works on any site | Price: FREE! | Website: HelloBar.com
71) Opt-in Panel
Optin-in Panel manages to differentiate itself with some cool positioning options (12 variations to be precise) and it’s basically a subscription panel in which you can add incentives, forms and other elements that can increase your subscriber base growth rate.
Unlinke many other floating gimmicks, this one actually puts a strong focus on being responsive and not screwing up mobile visitors’ experience. So, if your traffic is seeing a lot of mobile traffic, this tool won’t hinder your list growth.
Platform: Standalone + WordPress | Price: 18$ / 16$ | Website: Standalone version & WordPress version
72) MaxBlog Subscribers Magnet
MaxBlog features a nice all-in-one plugin that basically integrates subscription options in:
- A footer bar
- A header bar
- In content
- On sidebar
- In a popup
It lacks other noteworthy features at this point (such as A/B testing, advanced personalization etc.) but it’s worthy of this toolkit and a lot of bloggers stand by it as a lightweight & trustworthy solution.
Platform: Wordpress Price: 37$ | Website: maxblogpress.com
There’s not much to say about FooBar other than that it’s a HelloBar clone aimed specifically at WordPress users. Nonetheless, it’s quite cheap and it does its job well.
Platform: Wordpress Price: 16$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
74) Royal Footer Bar
I find it a bit ironic, but Royal Footer Bar is pretty much a HelloBar that you can use for your footer. It comes packed with a couple of nice features such as A/B testing, social integration and advertising support.
Platform: Standalone + WordPress Price: 15$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
75) Lead Player
Lead Player is quite an unique solution to integrate subscription forms into your videos. If you’re running on WordPress and publishing videos, you should consider integrating Lead Player in order to maximize list growth. Although it’s a feature of LeadPages, it’s definitely worth mentioning as a separate entry.
Platform: SaaS and/or Wordpress | Price: starting with 37$ /month | Website: get it with LeadPages
76) Subscription Countdown
It’s a nice subscription countdown for WordPress. If you’re not happy with the plugins you’re using for countdowns or the current tools that you’re using don’t have this feature and don’t want to code – check it out.
Platform: Wordpress Price: 11$ | Website: get it on CodeCanyon
77) Conversion Lightbox
Recently, the guys at AddThis have launched a Conversion Lightbox (which is basically a popup) that’s bundled with the Pro Version of AddThis. The tool is new and it doesn’t have the huge feature sets of tools listed at the popups section, but hey – it’s fast to setup, a lot of people already use AddThis on their site and it works on any site. Maybe this is one feature that will get you to upgrade to their Pro plan.
Platform: SaaS | Price: 12$ / month | Website: AddThis.com
12. Sync & Automation Tools
Chances are you’re using at least 7-8 tools for various marketing channels and mostly likely they’re don’t feature very simple ways to connect to each other. Fortunately, this is where services like Zapier help a lot. Lets say you’ve hastily put up a Google Form to collect some surveys and you’d like each entry to automatically be added to your CRM if it contains an email and to your project management app to make sure your community manager reaches out. Just an example…
The possibilities are endless and depending on the platforms you’re using and the type of campaigns you’re running, these 3 tools will surely help you keep your sanity (and save a lot of time):
“Zapier connects the web apps you use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks.”
From GetResponse & Hubspot to MailChimp, FormStack and many more solutions that are relevant to your list building efforts, Zapier supports hundreds of use cases and combinations between these services so you can focus on growing your list and implementing new tactics, not wasting time exporting and importing data or other tedious automatable tasks.
Zapier is a freemium SaaS, with 100 free tasks a month and Pro plans starting from 15$ / month. Find out more about Zapier.
IfThisThenThat is the best automation service that doesn’t require much technical knowledge. I can’t do a better job at explaining this than their WTF page. Bottom line is that you can do some really, really awesome things with email marketing tools and IFTTT. You can add in your tactics social tools, email marketing tools, your CRM etc. The sky is the limit.
IFTTT is free and I sincerely hope it remains free (although it’s an incredible tool that would be worth its money).
Elastic.io is an integration platform as a service. In common language, it’s a business oriented service that allows you to connect pretty much everything that can be connected and it’s pretty much a pure version of a B2B oriented Zapier / IFTTT. If you’re not a developer or you don’t have a fairly technical person to make the best out of this platform, don’t bother though.
Plans for Elastic.io start from 19 EUR/month.
13. The Perfect Combination
Maybe perfect is a bit overstated, but I spent a lot of time figuring out a great combination of tools in order to be able to maximize list growth without burning a hole in your wallet (especially with monthly subscriptions, costs add up fast). Most of the tools below are actually the best, but some are not shown in the categories above.
The best 10 tools to grow a subscriber database fast are:
Why: The main reason I’ve chosen Hybrid Connect is that it’s pretty much the most complete solution if your blog is running under WordPress and there’s rarely a point in using 4-5 different plugins to achieve what HC offers in one package.
Main features that make it the best pick:
- Easy to integrate in many areas of the website
- Includes sidebar widgets & in-content shortcodes
- Includes popups (some great designs as well)
- Includes slide-ins (similar to PadiAct)
- A/B testing for all forms
- Awesome reporting
Why: As I’ve said in the previous tactics guide, you need to focus on building a community, not a list. OptimizePress comes packed with community oriented features and I’ve yet to see another theme that delivers these features.
Why: Simple. Beautiful. Foolproof. It just works. Opt-in Content Locker.
Why: The tested and proven solution. Great choice of templates. Optimized and stable product. Used and recommended by some of the best marketers (and me, hah). Yes, Unbounce is not the cheapest solution, but landing page software shouldn’t be one of the things you want to save money on.
Why: One of the best feature sets I’ve ever seen. Powerful, yet intuitive, Antavo can help you build potentially viral promotions and contests without burning a hole in your wallet.
Why: There are very few financially accessible tools available that can create interesting product teasers and all sorts of interesting experiences (while allowing you to easily capture data) and TypeForm is the most flexible tool I’ve discovered so far.
Why: Events are one of the best opportunities to gather truly engaged subscribers (attendees are very likely to accept being subscribed to your newsletter) and ensuring an optimum experience throughout the whole event registration, participation and post-participation is a must. Attendify is one of the best choices to create a web & mobile app to take care of the whole process, albeit it has a higher upfront cost than other SaaS solutions.
If you’re bootstrapping or don’t think the price for Attendify is justified, you should simply go with EventBrite, since it has all the tools you require to provide a decent experience and there are ways to easily process data.
Why: Personalization is not easy and it’s just starting to go mainstream, but Evergage is the best tool to get started with basic & intermediate level personalization tactics.
Why: Extremely flexible features at a great price. Proven results. Intuitive interface. I could go on, but I think you’re already sold on trying out Referral Candy.
Why: To quote them, “Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics tells you who’s doing it.” Knowing more about your audience and who’s doing what, how and when is vital Also, CrazyEgg is a must. You’d be surprised how many insights you can extract from a single heatmap.
Why: Well, they’re pretty much the only tools that make sense for today’s marketer and they’re absolutely great at what they do. So there’s no reason to say more. Find out more about Zapier & IFTTT.
14. Bonus Tips, Tactics & Best Practices
Even if you’re an experienced digital marketer or just starting out building your list for your online business, I’ve wrote an epic guide that contains more than 68 ideas & tactics (best practices and additional resources included) – part of The List Building Guide for eCommerce & Beyond – that should help you boost your list considerably if applied properly. Just check out:
Next in the Series
I’m currently writing “The Form Testing & Optimization Toolkit“ , “10 Proven List Building Strategies”, “50+ Content Ideas for Your eCommerce Newsletter” and a secret content piece everyone working in eCommerce will want to read.
Simply subscribe to the KommerZen newsletter and you’ll get them as soon as they’re published.
Have any more tools you think we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll feature them (mentioning you as well).