What is App Sumo?
To give its official title I would actually call it Sumo, though this particular set of tools belongs to the App Sumo family. Throughout this article, I will show you a number of FREE tools that Sumo offers that can help you really help you when it comes to both monetising your blog and increasing your traffic.
Sumo is a set of pretty awesome list building, website traffic increasing and social media blitzing plugins and add-ons that can be installed and set up for just about any website you can think of. They offer plugins and add-ons for Shopify and WordPress (including on WPEngine so be sure to check out that little post). They can also be added to other content management systems such as SquareSpace. So really you have a number of options.
What does Sumo include in their tools?
So, Sumo provides users with 4 key tools that can be used to either build your email list or increase social shares and social traffic. They include;
The simplest, but one of the most effective of the Sumo tools, is one called the ‘List Builder‘. It actually comes in a number of different formats.
The core functionality of the list builder is to provide some kind of pop-up or box that allows you as a website owner or blogger to grow your email list and either give something in return or just allow people to sign up to a newsletter.
For example, the List Builder can be created to capture emails via the following ways;
Popup – a simple email collection field will be shown a number of seconds after a visitor has been on your site (this can also be configured to display as the visitor is about to leave – This method is called the Popup with Smart Mode)
Embedded – The next way of using the List Builder from Sumo is to use the embedded, which allows you to as the name suggests embed an email collection field within an article, post or page. Useful if you want to send people a free e-book or article after they have read a similar article.
Popup CTA – This works the same ways as the standard Popup tool, but provides the reader or visitor with a Call To Action. For example, you can prompt users to download a PDF or Cheat Sheet after they have visited a page!
If you get a chance, make sure you check out the demo page with the Popups on them.
Scroll Box & Scroll Box CTA – A brilliant way of ensuring that your readers are fully engrossed are have read enough of an article that they may want to sign up to learn more or get extra information. By adding the scroll box you set a point in which a popup will appear. This tool can be really useful when you have long articles and don’t want your Sumo list builder appearing straight away before someone has even had a chance to read your stuff.
Casino – One of the newest additions to the Sumo List Builder arsenal is the Casino and it is by far one of my favourites. The Casino list builder app allows you to capture a customers email and in return, they can play a casino slot game to ‘win’ a prize. This can be anything you choose, from discount codes to free shipping or even a free product. Visually it looks awesome and can really capture a potential customers attention. It can be really effective for those on the fence or about to leave.
This app is targetted at e-commerce or store customers.
You can check out an awesome version of the Casino list builder here.
Ok, so you have seen the popups, but they are not quite what you fancy. Maybe they are a little too intrusive and you want something a little more sleek? I hear you and so do Sumo. I hereby introduce to you, the Smart Bar!
This bar is positioned at the top or bottom of your screen/window and can be used to either capture emails the old-fashioned way. You can see an example of that at the top of this page, psst you should totally sign up! The other is via CTA and can be used to provide information straight away such as an e-book, cheat sheet or video.
This simple little tool can be massively effective, as it doesn’t interfere with the readers, and will be shown to them if they reach the top of the page or start scrolling up (or down if you choose the bottom bar).
If you want to see the Smart bar, then either look at the top of the page or check this one out.
We start to move on to the slightly bigger List Building tools.
The welcome mat is one of those tools that you would have seen everywhere. It can appear much like the List Builder in a number of different flavours, but all very similar.
The Welcome Mat as the name suggests and appears on either a scroll or a page load and takes over the whole of the screen (or large space in the middle of an article).
As with the other two, it can be used to capture an email straight off the bat or be used to provide an instant download in exchange for an email.
The added advantage of the Welcome Mat is that you can add either parallax email capture or full page video background pages. The parralax displays when a visitor scrolls through your page and they are shown an email form and then as they carry on the form disappears (seriously, it looks awesome).
The video background Welcome Mat can also be useful. Maybe you are writing an awesome article about Sumo wrestling, and you want to have Sumo wrestlers in the background, do it. It will capture peoples imaginations and they may sign up for useful content!
If you want to see the demo if the Welcome Mat, I suggest looking here.
Finally, we come to one of the more simple, but still really effective tools offered by Sumo. It’s called the Social Share, and it does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It gives your readers the ability to share your articles, pages or products on social media easily.
They can be set up in a number of different ways, from appearing on the side of the users’ screen (or mobile device) to appearing at the start and end of articles or products.
Again, you will see ‘The Online Student’ has a simple social share list on the left-hand side of your screen that allows you to share any page on this website.
By doing so it increases the social traffic and increases the level of trust and reliability. You are more likely to view or click a link that a friend has shared than one that a Facebook page or Twitter account has shared!
What else does Sumo offer?
When I tell people about Sumo, they always tell me they only know about the social media stuff or the list building tools, but they are always surprised when I tell them that Sumo can be used for a few other things as well.
Yes, the Sumo suite gives you access to a Live Chat functionality, that allows you to communicate and talk to your readers, or potential customers.
The live chat can mean you could turn a potential lost customer who is confused or annoyed into a paying happy customer with zero effort. Maybe they are having issues with the checkout? Or they can’t find the correct phone case that they need, you can turn that annoyance into happiness with ease!
Again, a lot like the Live Chat scenario, having a contact form that ISN’T just held on a contact page can be potentially vital. As with some of the other items on this list, you will see the Sumo contact form on the Online Student website. I added the contact form to the bottom right-hand corner of every page.
Why? Because I felt if someone needed to chat or get in contact, then I wanted to make it as easy as possible. Maybe you want to chat about Shopify or the ecom-turbo theme and needed some extra help. The contact form gives you that ability, quickly and easily without having to go off to a different page, fill out a ton of details and then forget why you even sent the email in the first place!
You can even add auto response emails back to the people who email in telling them you will be with them shortly. Absolute gold.
How much does Sumo cost?
To get the basic tools from Sumo is actually free. So you can grab things like List Builder, Welcome Mat and the social shares for no cost at all.
You can sign up to the website for free and start adding email list building forms or contact forms instantly.
If you decide that you want more functionality, such as the Live Chat, the Casino List Builder or you really want more reporting functionality, then Sumo offers a number of different pricing options (all of which are pretty good).
Just Starting and Small Business
As you can see from the image below, the ‘Just Starting’ plan is free forever, up to 500 subscribers and gives you all basic email integrations and forms. A lot of the websites I start or run, use the free Sumo plan. Once they reach 500 subscribers, I will then switch over to the Professional Plan, as this then allows me to the build out my email list, plus gives me access to more targetted list building opportunities.
If your blog or small business kick off, and you want to start Live Chat with customers and increase your overall reporting capabilities, then you may want to consider looking at the small business package. Personally, I would not look into this, unless you are making at least the $79 a month from your email list. Though you should be if you are over that initial 500 subscribers mark. Bear in mind that you can use other plugins to achieve the Live Chat functionality, and should not be upgraded for that offering alone, though it does give you an all in one package that puts your subscribers and live chat customers in one place!
The final package, without touching the ‘team’ package is the eCommerce plan. This plan opens up the use of the cool Casino Forms, allows you to directly embed discount codes within the form. Both of these could be massively useful for e-commerce sites. It can also increase cart conversions massively by offering a seamless experience. It also gives you the ability to remove the Sumo branding, which can be a nice little touch. As with the Small Business package, I would not look at this option until you have a healthy email list that is responding to emails. They should be purchasing either product you recommend them or services you have mentioned and are providing you with that $199 a month.
Keep in mind other apps on Shopify that give you these options for gamifying discount codes without the $199 price tag. The downside is they only give you that option.
All in all Sumo and the App Sumo tool ranges are brilliant starter tools. With a small investment, each month can instantly prove their worth.
I would recommend reading the How to Build a 1k email list if you haven’t already (you can sign up to view it below!)
James started The Online Student as a typical blog telling people about his struggles and woes with DropShipping, Amazon FBA and even Affiliate marketing. He then decided that blogging about it all would give people the skills, knowledge and apps to get up and running (while making a little extra on the side). After a few months he realised it was quite lucrative and decided to work his ass off making it a bit more than just a hobby!