Mailing lists are a necessity for any internet marketer and in this Hybrid Connect review I’m going to tell you why you seriously need to consider this plugin as your number one go to for mailing list optin boxes.
Mailing lists are powerful. They can allow you to break away from your reliance on Google and other search engines and enable you to promote your products and services directly to a targeted and interested group of people, increasing sales and brand awareness.
Social networks are powerful. Once more they assist in breaking away from the need to use Google to power your online business. Facebook boasts 900 million users, who connect and share with each other on a daily basis. Breaking into that area can improve your business bottom line astronomically.
Hybrid Connect is powerful. It fuses these two functions together, allowing you to build a mailing list via the traditional email option or by allowing users to connect in two clicks with their Facebook account and add the users Facebook email to your list.
Installing Hybrid Connect is as easy as any plugin, but to start with you will need to add some important information.
After validating your account you will need link your site to your Facebook account via a Facebook Application.
Now this can be a little techy, but the Hybrid Connect website has a video that walks you through the process, making you wonder why you thought it would be hard.
Once thats done, you need to connect the plugin to your AutoResponder. Once again the website has a videos for each autoresponder the plugin supports and these guide you through the process really smoothly, in fact I was impressed how easy it was to set these up.
One bonus is that you can set up numerous mailing list clients at the same time and choose which one your form will use.
Create An Optin Box
Now for the fun bit!
Adding a new Connector. A connector is just the plugins term for optin box.
Going to the Hybrid Connect menu and click the Add New Connector button brings up a pop up. Here you can name the connector, and add an option type.
This was my number one concern with the plugin before I installed it: will people be forced to only use the hybrid function? And the answer is, thankfully, no!
At this point you can select whether to use the hybrid option, just Facebook or just a standard form, which is perfect!
It will ask you to add a Thankyou page, so you may need to cancel the form creation and go an create a page to use as currently you can’t edit it later. Hoping that will be fixed in later versions.
If your site allows users to register you can also incorporate this into the the form, and select which level the user will be registered as. One disappointment was that this registration feature only seemed to work with the core WordPress roles, so for my membership sites that run something like S2Member it is a little lacking.
Hopefully they can improve on this in the future. Once the form has been created you can then connect that form to the mailing list of your choice (it would have been nice to been able to add this when you initially created the form, but its only a couple of extra clicks).
If you run webinars you can instantly sign the person up for it via the form too! Awesome!
This area provides your Shortcode and PHP code depending on where and how you want to place the form on your site. Clicking the Shortcode Design Edit button, brings you to the actual editing section. The editing area consists of 3 images (for the 3 types of forms) and 4 sections:
Templates – The plugin comes with about 30 pre designed templates that you can use as is or use as a springboard to creating your own designs.
Customise – This section is absolutely chock full of options to allow you to tweak, change and perfect your optin box: size, font colour, background colour, field settings, the text format, shadows, preset buttons, custom buttons. The level of customisation is overwhelming, but is very easy to use. Any changes you make are display instantly.
Enter your Text – Here you can add the title and description text. One excellent addition, is if you create a list of items the plugin comes with prebuilt bullet points so you can have various different tick marks. I would have loved to have seen a custom option available here though.
Images – Change the images on the form. You can save your design and also save it as a template which is handy for when you want to add a widget, lightbox or squeeze page design. Just load in your template and tweak away.
At A Glance Stats
The plugin also comes with built in stats, so you can see at a glance, how the sign ups are going without having to log into your Aweber or whoever. Of course this is just for sign up and not drop outs etc but still a useful feature.
During my Hybrid Connect review, I couldn’t help but compare it to OptinSkin which I have previously reviewed. Whilst the two plugins differ in the fact that OptinSkin’s unique selling point is it’s ability to A/B test and Hybrid Connect is more about the Facebook connection, comparisons came up. For me, Hybrid Connect wins out in the usability and customisation area. It really is fully featured, easy to get going and powerful in what it does. I think you will find the ease of optin box creation to be better than its rivals.
One thing I definitely miss from the plugin, is the lack of A/B testing. Again, perhaps I’m comparing it to OptinSkin too much, but knowing that slight changes can boost or reduce your optin sign ups, it seems like a logical thing to include.
Even with that I cannot really fault this plugin, it does what it says on the tin.
So to finalise my Hybrid Connect review, I will say this, it is well worth purchasing. It gets a 5/5 from me, and I think with some further work and feature enhancements by the creators, it will be a force to reckon with in the Optin Box niche.