Many people out there think that running a website and running an online business are basically the same thing. Yet, as every WordPresser knows, building a site or starting a blog is the easy part—turning it into a successful and lucrative venture on the other hand is a whole different deal.
Two central aspects of going from the former to the latter are promotion and lead generation. The first serves to attract people to your website, the latter is the first step in their journey from window shopper to paying customer.
On the Internet, lead generation usually means getting people to hop on to your email list. Having a direct line to your readers’ inbox makes it so much easier to send them your offers, notify them about new content, and overall grow your site’s traffic.
One tool that aims to make all of this as easy as possible is SumoMe. The app suite, designed by the folks at AppSumo, has been making a big splash in the marketing world. For example, I mentioned it a bunch of times in articles on this site (for example here).
While the tool stack is usable with any site, it also comes in form of a dedicated SumoMe WordPress plugin. Reason enough for me to take an in-depth look under the hood and see if all the fuss is justified.
What Exactly Is SumoMe?
SumoMe is not so much one plugin but a collection of several apps with different capabilities. The WordPress plugin gives you access to the Sumo Store from which you can then install everything that is contained in the suite.
Currently, SumoMe comes with ten free tools that fall into four basic categories:
- List Builder – Lightbox popup with email opt-in form
- Scroll Box – Reader-triggered slide-in email form
- Smart Bar – Top or bottom bar for email opt-in or social sharing
- Welcome Mat – Full-screen call to action pop-up
- Share – Share buttons for many social platforms
- Image Sharer – Share tool for visual content
- Highlighter – Generates shareable text quotes for Twitter and Facebook
- Content Analytics – Visualize how far visitors are reading your content
- Heat Maps – Find out where readers and visitors are clicking the most
- Contact Form – Receive messages from visitors from anywhere on your site
Why Should You Consider It?
Ten tools in one? Not bad, right? Plus, they can be used completely free of charge. What more could you wish for? Well, here are a few extra points:
- SumoMe integrates very well with WordPress
- All apps are easily customizable
- Easy to set up through a clear and understandable interface
- No coding knowledge required
- Trusted by more than five million users, including Airbnb
- Fully mobile optimized
SumoMe Premium Features
While SumoMe is generally free to use, the entire suite and a few of the apps on their own are also available as premium versions.
For the Starter Pack ($10/month) you will receive VIP support and have the possibility to hide the SumoMe tab on the frontend of your website (more on that below).
The next ladder, dubbed Pro Pack, gives you A/B testing, pro insights, advanced configuration options, and access to the pro templates. However, with $100/month the price is also a big step up. A 14-day free trial is available.
Beyond that is the unlimited plan (for websites with 1M+ monthly visits), which can be discussed upon inquiry.
How To Install The SumoMe WordPress Plugin
The SumoMe app stack can be installed like any other WordPress plugin. Either go to Plugins > Add New and search for SumoMe or go to the WordPress directory, download the plugin, and install it manually.
Once installation is complete, a big blue arrow will point you to the SumoMe panel, a small blue square in the upper right corner. This is where you do almost all configurations for the plugin, so get used to it.
(Side note: With the free version of SumoMe, the SumoMe badge will also be visible on the frontend for any visitor. It’s a bit annoying and their incentive to get the Starter Pack. Clever, huh?)
Upon clicking the button, you will have to create a SumoMe account. All you need for that is an email address and a password. Providing your name and phone number is optional and can be skipped.
After that the installation is pretty much done. You are taken to the main dashboard of SumoMe which looks like this:
Your first port of call should be the settings (icon with the gear on it). In the free version, basically all you can configure here is where you want the SumoMe badge to show up (left, right, top, bottom).
If you close the SumoMe menu, you will also see that the plugin has created an additional menu item in the WordPress backend. A click here brings you to the SumoMe settings.
(Technically, it takes you to Settings > SumoMe. In my opinion, if you are going to place the settings there anyway, I don’t see any need to add an extra item to the already cluttered side menu. Small improvement suggestion.)
All you can do here is check out your site ID. The ID is important for exporting your existing settings to another site. It is therefore equally important that you don’t touch it in order not to mess up your current configuration.
Installing The Apps
Alright, now that you have successfully installed the plugin on your WordPress site, it is time to add the first app. After all, SumoMe itself is really nothing but a gateway to its other plugins.
After registration you get access to the app’s Store. You can find it by clicking on the SumoMe badge. Find the icon that says Sumo Store beneath and click it to get to the following screen:
Let’s say we want to install the List Builder app. Nothing easier than that. Just click on the List Builder icon, which will take you to the app’s page where you can find additional information on its functionality.
After that, just click the big button that says Free in the upper right corner and the app will be available within a matter of seconds. You can now access your newly installed app from the SumoMe dashboard.
Click the icon to get to the settings for each app. Be aware that the first time you use any of them, you will be shown the payment plans. You can go with the free plan for the beginning.
The app settings are pretty self explanatory and you should have no problem setting up your desired SumoMe plugins. Once you are done, make sure you switch the button on top from off to on to actually see the new features on your site.
Side Note: Uninstalling SumoMe Apps
I’m just mentioning this here because it took me a while to figure this out myself. Of course you can also uninstall SumoMe apps should you not have use for any of them. However, the process is not necessarily intuitive.
To get rid of any one app, just open the SumoMe menu and hover your cursor over the service you want to remove. After a couple of seconds a red X will appear at the top right corner.
One click here and the app is history. You’re welcome!
The Different SumoMe Apps in Detail
Since you now know how to install and uninstall SumoMe apps to your WordPress site, it’s time to figure out which ones shouldn’t even be there in the first place. To make that decision easier, here is an overview over every part of the SumoMe stack.
List Builder is a lightbox popup with an email sign-up form. It integrates with all major email marketing providers and can be set to appear after a set amount of time or when visitors get ready to leave your site.
- Support for dozens of email marketing services (MailChimp, AWeber, Campaign Monitor and many more)
- Analytics for the number of popups displayed and the number of new subscribers generated
- Form can be completely customized (size, colors, fonts etc.) or alternatively set up with a custom form from your email marketing provider
- Customizable display rules: Show on all pages, post pages, certain URLs and other configuration options
- Dozens of form templates
- Additional form fields for collecting first and last name, zip code or other information
- A/B testing
- Tracking and conversion pixels
Personally, I don’t like pop-ups too much. However, List Builder’s setting to show the form when a visitor is about to leave is a genius idea that is much less “in your face” and should definitely be tried out.
This app is another way of prompting visitors to kindly hand over their email address, yet a much less obtrusive one. The box with the sign-up form slides into the screen after the visitor has gone through a certain percentage of your website. Perfect for retaining those readers already interested in your content!
- Determine manner and frequency of the box’s appearance as well as the content percentage after which it is displayed
- Easy integration of all major email marketing providers
- Fully customizable form design
- Mobile optimized
- Unlock design templates
- A/B testing for different designs and calls to action
- Multiple or different popups for different pages or visitors
- Additional field support
- Pro insights
- Removal of SumoMe branding
I have seen the Scroll Box active on a great number of sites and find it a quite pleasant way of asking for someone’s contact information. Definitely a thumbs up!
Smart Bar is the third app that helps with lead generation. What it does is add a bar at the top or bottom of the screen that can be used to collect email addresses, add a call to action or show a button for following your Twitter account or like your page on Facebook.
- Two different templates—broad and slim
- Able to use an HTML form from any email marketing provider
- Customizable behavior: Sticky (stay on screen during scrolling), static (anchored at top or bottom of the page), or smart (show on scroll up but not scroll down)
- A/B testing
- Tracking and conversion pixels
I can imagine using it in combination with either the List Builder or Scroll Box. Using all three would be a bit overkill in my opinion.
The newest addition to the stack (just came out this month), the Welcome Mat, will show a full-screen popup to your visitors with a call to action.
- Customizable colors, fonts and button graphics
- Setup for different behavior and display rules
- Works on both desktop and mobile
- Fully-customizable design with background images and more
- Ability to code your own layout
- A/B testing capabilities
- Tracking and conversion pixels
Adds a share bar for multiple social platforms in chosen places of your WordPress website.
- Add buttons for a wide range of social platforms (from Facebook to Hacker News) via drag and drop
- Customize the look and feel of your share bar and set display rules
- Choose many different positions (floating sidebar, above or below content etc.) for desktop and mobile
- Smart sorting of social platforms to maximize the ones that bring in the most traffic
- Ability to choose a different set of sharing services for mobile visitors (e.g. SMS and WhatsApp)
- UTM tracking and URL shortener for social links
- Downloadable sharing data for further analysis
Easy to use, lightweight, elegant and customizable—I like everything about this app. If I could only disable the SumoMe advertisement for less than a hundred bucks a month…
Visual content is all the rage in the social sphere. Image Sharer makes it easier for your visitors to share images from your website with a link back to your articles. What’s not to love?
- Choose up to five services to share images to
- Customize position and design of buttons and set display rules
- URL shortener for easier sharing
I know how much of a pain sharing visuals to social networks can be (right click, save as, compose social update, browse to file, attach image, share). Image Sharer provides a comfortable solution to this problem.
If you know Click to Tweet, you are familiar with this concept: Visitors can quotes and central ideas from your content directly to social platforms. Highlighter makes this even easier. Visitors can mark any text on your site and a popup box will appear with sharing options for Twitter and Facebook. Neat, right?
- Customize design and display rules
- URL shortener
What I like about this solution is that it allows visitors to share anything from your content without you having to configure it beforehand. Readers can decide by themselves what they feel is shareworthy.
The Content Analytics allow you to record how far readers scroll down posts and pages. This knowledge allows you to determine the ideal spot for calls to action, bonuses or email sign-ups.
- Visualizes visitor behavior
- Allows you to track several pages at the same time
I can definitely see a use for this feature for landing and squeeze pages. It’s also a dream come true for those of us who like to track EVERYTHING.
Similar to Content Analytics, this app lets you figure out how exactly your visitors interact with your site. However, instead of tracking their reading habits, Heat Maps shows where people are clicking.
- Track visitor interaction with your site
- Run an unlimited number of campaigns
- Also works on mobile
- Track more than 1000 clicks per page
Same as Content Analytics, this is one for data nerds. See where visitors are clicking (or not) to improve the positioning of your CTAs and other elements for better conversion.
A lightweight contact form that can be added almost anywhere on your site and contains an autoresponse functionality.
- Single inbox for all inbound messages
- Customizable colors, fonts and more
- One-click placement on website
- Additional templates (note: they have to be purchased one by one)
With so many high-quality contact forms for WordPress already on the market, it is hard to imagine why there would be need for another one. However, the thing that SumoMe has going for itself is the easy implementation on the page. Quite useful for all non-developers out there unwilling to deal with templates.
SumoMe, The Multitool For WordPress Marketing
It’s quite a package the good people of AppSumo have put together here. The tools in SumoMe are thought out well, easy to configure, and have been field tested on thousands of websites.
The app suite makes it easy to add call to actions and email sign-up forms anywhere on the website without any coding. Even newbies will have no problem setting up the tools and start growing their email list in minutes.
Veteran WordPress users might scoff at the fact that while the plugin does work well with WordPress, it is not very integrated. SumoMe comes with its own dashboard and therefore appears more like a standalone product than a WordPress extension. This isn’t a huge problem, yet spoils the experience.
The only real qualms I have with SumoMe is the pricing model. Paying $10/month just to get the badge removed from your frontend seems a bit like friendly blackmail. I am sure there are many users out there who will attempt to come up with their own solution to get rid of it for free.
Asking for a hundred bucks to remove the SumoMe branding is a little steep, especially if you don’t want any of the other stuff contained in the Pro Package. Having one more pricing ladder in the middle would go a long way.
Despite all that, SumoMe offers lots of value for a set of professionally maintained tools. I definitely recommend anyone who is serious about building or growing an online business to give it a shot.
Are you using SumoMe or considering it? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments.