How to Effectively Utilize Popup Ally to Grow Your Email List

Hey y’all!  For my non-bloggy readers, you may not enjoy today’s post too much, but I’ll have more DIY goodness for you in a couple days!  For all of you bloggers out there, this is for you!  It should be no secret by now that I’m obsessed with all things “email marketing” – heck, I even wrote a book about it!  I sing the praises of Popup Ally for collecting email addresses so today I thought I’d show you (a) how I set it up and (b) why I think it’s so awesome!  So sit back, my bloggy buddies, and learn How to Effectively Utilize Popup Ally to Grow Your Email List.

How to Effectively Utilize Popup Ally To Grow Your Email List  |  Sweet Tea & Saving GraceMaybe you attended one of my sessions at Haven Conference in which I made mention of my undying love for Popup Ally, or perhaps you heard me on the Brilliant Business Moms podcast where I may have convinced Beth Anne & Sarah to try it themselves for 30 days, or you might have bought my book and read about Popup Ally there!  Wherever you’ve heard it, you should know that I love it, and highly recommend it to all of my clients as well.

Today I want to give you what I call a “quick & dirty” tutorial to install & set it up yourself, then share with you various reasons why I love it so much (and a couple things I’d honestly like to change to make it even better).  Let’s get started.


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?  No?!  Email me – we’ll chat.)


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:

Popup Ally 11 – 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:

popup ally 2First, go to Display Settings, and you’ll see a screen like this:

popup ally 3Now, 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: (My personal preference) 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 utilize 2 popups because I have 2 mailing lists – 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.  On blog posts such as this one, which is geared more towards my blogger folks, you’ll see the popup for my email marketing list.  On my DIY and home decor posts, you’ll see the popup for my regular newsletter list.

Get it?  Ok good – moving on.

After determining your delay 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?

popup ally 41 – 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:

popup ally 5To 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.

popup ally 6Select “Embedded Forms” from the sign-up form options.

popup ally 7Copy the code for the embedded form from MailChimp…

popup ally 8… 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”:

popup ally 9I’m going to show you how to set up “Tried-and-True”, which is the actual popup box you might be familiar with:

popup ally 10The 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 golden, pony boy!


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, which is great because I have two lists!  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 been using Popup Ally for about a year now and I’ve 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 regular 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.  No biggie, though – I just pop into MailChimp once a week and drop all of the subscribers who signed up through Popup Ally into both the RSS-driven segment & the weekly segment.  Every email I send gives them the option to update their preferences if they decide to do that later.
  • 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.

Honestly, that’s it.  Those are the only real issues I have with the free version of Popup Ally.  It’s just that good, folks!

Now, if you’ve never been here before, or if you haven’t visited in a while, you’re going to see one of my popups here in just a minute right before you exit.  I’d love for you to sign up for my Email Marketing email newsletter list.  I send out periodic emails with updates about future webinars (like this one), tons of free blog resources and tips, and a link to a private Facebook group for bloggers and small business owners interested in learning more about email marketing.  If you don’t want to wait for that popup, just click HERE to sign up right now!

popup ally 11If email marketing and all things “MailChimp” just leave you scratching your head, you might be interested in my 160-page ebook called “An Inbox of Opportunity”, or perhaps a 1-on-1 consultation would be better fit.  Find information on my ebook and how to schedule a consulation by visiting THIS PAGE.  I love to help!

For even more bloggy goodness, you might also like these posts:

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Advice for Bloggers About Stats & Numbers (seriously, a must-read)

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3 Responses

  1. AHHH! I just did this and I love it! Thanks so much- it was easy and I’m a big dummy when it comes to all this WP stuff. My site is not live yet…so you can’t see it- but my preview looks awesome!

  2. I just wanted to let you know I used your tutorial and I hope it works. Thank you for the tips today! I signed up to your list today also. I would love to know though which pages you think are best other then front page to have it pop up?


I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!