How to Create Fake Leadpages Popups for Mailchimp

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

**this post contains affiliate links that I could make commission off of. all opinions are my own

If you’ve been in the blogging world for any amount of time, you know Leadpages is a big friggen’ deal. But it’s got an equally big friggen’ cost to it.

And really, when your blog is just a hobby or isn’t quite making money yet, who can afford $37 per month just on one program? Ain’t nobody got money for that!

So I was super pumped to discover that the lovely Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog came up with a FREE way to create fake Leadpages! The only downside: you had to use ConvertKit to get the Leadpage-esque popups. At $29 per month, ConvertKit isn’t exactly in my budget either.

Womp womp.

Luckily, after some research, I found out how to create similar popups for a whopping $21 total. That’s a one-time payment of $21 to create infinite fake Leadpages landing pages, popups, and thank you pages, as opposed to $37 for one month’s worth. Yes please!

Want to find out how? Let’s get started!

Project 1: Fake Leadpages Thank You Page

It seems weird to start with the last page they’ll see, right? But it makes sense, trust me.

For the tutorial on the thank you pages using the Parallax Gravity plugin, head over to Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog, where Marianne will hook you up!

Then come back for the Mailchimp portion. I’ll wait.

cue Jeopardy music

Done? Great! Let’s make a popup for Mailchimp.

Project 2: Popup Email Subscription Boxes

So far so good, right? Free plugin, relatively easy setup.

Now we have to spend a little bit of money. Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Purchase, Download, & Install Layered Popups for WordPress

You’ll want to head over to CodeCanyon and download the Layered Popups for WordPress Plugin. It’s $19, but unless you have Envato Market credits ($20 increments), there’s a $2 service charge. So you can either make a deposit of $20 into your account and have $1 to spend later, or you can pay $21 on Paypal and not have the $1 looming over you.

Related:  Why Your Blog Needs a Style Guide (+ A Free Worksheet!)

Totally up to you.

Note: DO NOT PURCHASE the $15 Layered Popups option. It seems super tempting to save $4, but it’s not configured as a WordPress Plugin. Only purchase the $19 Layered Popups for WordPress Plugin.

Once you purchase it, you’ll be able to download the file. Don’t unzip it—simply go to your WordPress Dashboard and navigate Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin (in the top left of the Add New page). Here is where you’ll upload the .zip file you downloaded from CodeCanyon.

Once it’s uploaded, activate it and we’ll be good to go!

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

Step 2: Design Your Fake Leadpages Popup

After it’s activated, you’ll see a new option on the left side of your WordPress backend called Layered Popups (it’s got a gear icon next to it).

Click on it and go to the Popups page. You’ll see a slew of popup options that are all marked as “BLOCKED.” That’s just to prevent 50 different popups from appearing on your homepage at once. To preview the popup, click on the first icon in the righthand column.

I recommend sticking with the Subscription Form Popup options, because that’s what we want included in our popup.

If you see one you like, great! Click on the second icon to edit it. Otherwise, you’re welcome to create one from scratch (which is what I did).

One of the main selling points of Layered Popups is the animation capabilities, meaning different elements can “swoop” in on the page. I wanted fake Leadpages, though, and they don’t have animation. I just wanted everything to appear at once, so I made sure to change all of the Animation settings to:

Animation: Fade In
Duration: 0 ms
Start delay: 0ms

P.S. Want to get all of the settings you’ll need to use to make your popup look like Leadpages? Download the cheat sheet below!

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

Step 3: Configure Your Fake Leadpages Popup

Once you’ve got your popup looking like you want it, we’ll have to configure it correctly.

Related:  How (and why!) to Clean Out Your Email List

On the same page as your popup preview, scroll down until you find Redirect URL:. It’s one of the very last setting options at the bottom of the page.

This is where you’ll paste in your thank you page for your content upgrade that you made with Marianne. (That’s why you make it first! Then you’ve got the link good to go.)

Next you’ll go to the top of the page and go to Integration. Here’s where you’ll link the popup to your Mailchimp account.

Check the box saying you want to submit the contact details to Mailchimp so it all goes seamlessly into your account. No manual imports or exports required!

You’ll then need to get your API Key from Mailchimp. Simply go to your profile, then navigate to Extras > API Keys.

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

On the API Keys page, simply click “Create a Key” and copy and paste the code into the Mailchimp API Key space in Layered Popups. I also recommend labeling the API Key in Mailchimp so everything stays organized.

Once you enter your API Key, choose the appropriate email list from the drop-down menu.

Don’t have the budget for Leadpages? No problem! Here’s how to create fake ones, via @caitlincheevers

Step 4: Deliver the Content Upgrade

The next step can be done a few different ways, depending on how your Mailchimp account is set up. I pay $9/mo for automation, so I use Groups within my list to trigger emails with the content upgrades in them. But that’s another topic for another day.

Conversely, if you didn’t want to pay for automation (I hear ya!), you could simply have them join your email list and include a link to the content upgrade on your thank you page. They’ll be redirected to the page anyway, so you could easily include a link to the content upgrade right from there. Easy peasy!

Related:  Tech Gadgets for Blogging + a FREE Worksheet!

Depending on what you do, set up your Mailchimp integration appropriately. I check the corresponding Groups box, but you might not have to depending on how you choose to deliver your content upgrade. (See how I deliver my content upgrades in this tutorial!)

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

Once you’re done, click Save Popup Details at the bottom of the page!

Step 5: Link to the Fake Leadpages Popup in Your Post

Now that we’ve got your popup all set, it’s time to link to it in your post!

There are two main ways you could do this: create a button with HTML or link an image. I personally like linking an image, because I want to show off the content upgrade they’ll be getting if they subscribe. It’s more enticing that way!

No matter which way you set it up, you’ll want to link to the popup. To do this, simply link to #ulp-POPUPID (yes, you want to include the hashtag at the beginning). To find your popup ID, go to the Popups page of the plugin. It’s the jumbled mess of letters and numbers in the ID column.

Once you create that link, hit save / publish and you’re good to go!

Project 3: Fake Leadpages Landing Page

Conversely, if you don’t want to link to the content upgrade in a blog post, you can create a landing page for your optin. (You could also do both if you wanted!)

For the full tutorial on how to create a landing page, go back to Marianne’s tutorial and she’ll walk you through it!

Just remember, instead of using ConvertKit for the button link, use the Layered Popups link of #ulp-POPUPID!

Check out the tutorial so you can make fake Leadpages and grow your list!


Whew, that was a big tutorial. Are you excited? Get cracking on those fake Leadpages!

And don’t forget to pick up the cheat sheet with all of the settings to make your popup look just like Leadpages!

Love Leadpages, but hate the cost? Good news! I've teamed up with Marianne of Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog to find out how to get fake Leadpages for Mailchimp for only $21 total! Much better than $25/mo, amirite? Click through for the tutorial and a FREE worksheet to get your popup looking just like Leadpages!

  • This is brilliant! I was really bummed to learn that ConvertKit is a monthly payment and I’m like…I already have Mailchimp and I’m cheap…whatever will I do?? Caitlin to the rescue.

    • Exactly, Angelica! I really like the idea of ConvertKit, but I don’t have the budget or the time to make it really work for me. So I found a work-around! 🙂

  • I loved it! It was very useful! Thanks!

    • I’m glad I could help, Magdalena! 🙂

  • Caitlin, I went through your whole tutorial and just published my pop up. Your directions were SO helpful, I don’t think I could have figured out the styling on my own.

    I had some trouble with the images showing at first, but used the free support from Envato to figure out my parenthesis were the wrong style.

    Just wanted to say a serious thank you for providing great material!

    • That’s great, Eliannah! I’m so glad I could help! 🙂

  • Heather@BostonGirlBakes

    This is great 🙂 question though- with the layered popups can you have multiple popups specific to different posts? I would like to be able to add different popups to different posts depending on what the content is. Does this plugin allow this?

    • Hey Heather! Yes you can! 🙂 I just duplicate the popup and change it for the new content upgrade information and I’m done!

  • Adrienne Luedeking

    Caitlin, is there any way that once someone submits their information, the popup kind of just says “Thanks! You’ll be getting an email with your free [name of upgrade]” instead of taking the reader away from the post and to the thank you landing page?? The reader can just submit their info and then exit the pop-up and keep reading the post?

    • Hey Adrienne! Yes you can! In that case, you’d just duplicate the popup and change the copy to have a thank you message. Then, instead of a redirect URL, you’d choose your thank you popup from the dropdown next to Thanksgiving Popup (it’s right below Redirect URL in the options). So you’d just have to make two popups for each content upgrade, rather than a content upgrade and a thank you page. 🙂 That’s a great idea!

  • Jenni

    This is so cool! I just have one question though, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to link the pop up to my lead page!!! I know this is probably a piece of cake for everyone, but I have been stuck for a week now! I know you said to not use the convertkit code, and to use #ulp-POPUPID instead, but I can’t get it to work? Am I missing something? THANK YOU!!

    • Hey Jenni! Are you trying to link to the popup or to the thank-you page? For the popup, make sure you’re replacing POPUPID with the actual ID for the popup you’ve created. And for the thank-you page, there should be a place to put a redirect link when you’re creating the popup. I believe it’s near the bottom. I hope this helps! 🙂

  • AuthZH

    I don’t have WordPress! Is there a way I could do this too?

  • Ste Lea

    Caitlin this works on my home page but when I use a pop up on any other page I have problems with it re-directing, did you have this problem.

    It redirects to the current URL of the page followed immediately by my thankyou URL resulting in a 404 error

    • Hmmm, I didn’t. I recommend sending a message to the Layered Popups developers via CodeCanyon to see if they can help!

  • Thanks so much!!! I’ve been desperate for a post like this! Setting it up this weekend!

    • So glad I could help, Toyin!! Let me know if you have any questions as you’re setting it up! 🙂

  • Blonde Roast

    Hi Caitlin!! I’m with you right up until Step 5. Are you supposed to link your image to a custum URL which is your #ulp-POPUPID? When I click on that image, it just duplicates the window I’m already in without opening a popup. Please help me out whenever you get the chance, thank you!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3dec01c717a650040662a6979b4a0b53d29aa05e5eb82ff5ee7b32740f44842c.png

  • Hey Caitlin! This is awesome! Question for you – when I go to Integration, already entered my API key, the fields that show up are just FNAME and LNAME… no email. Any idea what that might be? I tried going into my Mailchimp account to figure it out, but I don’t know what’s going on. I tested it with my email to see if it worked and it didn’t!

  • Hey – I used your cheat sheet (thank you!!) but none of the images are showing up, while I’m building and in the preview. Can you help? Thanks Caitlin!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/72908bc4a57146b2c4007199f876347560f43e02f73261c6579c0e0ba39151e3.png

    • Hmmm… that’s odd. Can you send me an email with a screenshot of the coding you’re putting into those fields?

  • Adrienne Luedeking

    Hi @caitlincheevers:disqus! I switched to ConvertKit and now I’m wondering if all my work is lost in terms of my landing page and my popups. With regards to Step 3, it says MailChimp integration, but is there any way I can switch it to ConvertKit? The essential question is can I keep the setup I created using your tutorials now that I’ve switched to ConvertKit? Or do I have to go back to the drawing board and find other plugins, etc.?