Sumo Review: Marketing Tools to Grow Your Email List & Site Traffic

Sumo ReviewFor most businesses and bloggers, email marketing is one of the primary drivers of traffic to the site. It’s also an effective way to communicate with your website visitors. According to Kissmetrics, email reaches three times more people than Twitter and Facebook combined. 

For email marketing to work, you need to have a robust email list. And one of the smartest ways to grow your email list is to create a quality offer (ebook, checklist, etc.) and strategically place email capture forms on your site, promoting that offer. Some of the best brands use this tactic in the most effective fashion. Often, when you’re browsing the web, you may come across a stunning subscription form that boasts of an offer (you can’t refuse).

Like this form at HubSpot.

HubSpot Email Capture

So it goes without saying that building and nurturing an email list should be top priority for small business owners and bloggers to get people back to your site on a consistent basis.

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To perform this task effectively, you’ll need two things: a reliable email marketing service provider (ESP) and a multifaceted list-building tool which can be integrated smoothly with your ESP, offer several design options, be mobile-optimized, and provide you with in-depth stats and analytics.

Luckily, the tool we’re going to review here fits all the requirements… and then some more. It’s a tool used by names you’ll probably recognize (Airbnb, theChive, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss).

It’s called Sumo, a set of tools that helps automate your website’s growth and grow your all-important email list. These tools are among the best marketing and email capture tools in the market that are designed to increase your newsletter signups, grow your site’s traffic, and boost your social velocity.

In this review of Sumo, we’ll evaluate the key features of each of the Sumo tools, its pricing, and help you decide whether it’s worth upgrading to their paid plans.

What is Sumo?

You may have already heard about Sumo or at least seen some of the optin-forms designed via Sumo while browsing the web because they are used and trusted by so many. But if you haven’t, here’s a small glimpse of the product.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Noah Kagan, Sumo is a suite of tools designed to increase your traffic, build a following, and track your success every step of the way. Sumo has been aptly described by TechCrunch as “an App Store for tools to grow your online traffic.”

Noah Kagan developed these tools just for internal use at AppSumo (the popular entrepreneur deals site) to increase signups and spread the word about new deals and offers at AppSumo. After achieving phenomenal growth and 1 million loyal subscribers in 4 years, Kagan decided the make the product available for everyone.

Called SumoMe until recently, the company dropped the “me” in 2017 by purchasing the domain name for $1.5 million.

The tools offered under Sumo fall into three broad categories: email, social sharing, and analytics. Currently, there are 12 tools being offered by Sumo and the basic features for all these tools are available for free as Sumo follows a freemium model. We’ll discuss pricing in detail later, but for now here are all the tools you’ll get access to after signing up for Sumo:

  1. List Builder
  2. Welcome Mat
  3. Smart Bar
  4. Scroll Box
  5. Live Chat
  6. Contact Form
  7. Content Analysis
  8. Google Analytics
  9. Heat Maps
  10. Highlighter
  11. Image Sharer
  12. Share

In the next section, we’ll reveal each tool’s functionalities and explore some of the key features.

Sumo Tools: Key Features

The first 5 tools featured above are probably the ones you’re going to find the most useful in accelerating your site’s growth.

List Builder

Sumo List Builder Review

List Builder is the flagship tool of Sumo. It’s an easy-to-use email capture tool with tons of advanced features, helping you convert one-time visitors into lifelong readers and customers.

As the name suggests, List Builder is essentially used for building your email list. However, in addition to collecting emails, List Builder can also help you set up calls-to-action to specific URLs and get more social shares.

With List Builder, you can create professionally-designed pop-ups that can be triggered on clicks, timers, and before users are about to leave your site.

Key Features

  • Time Your Popup – List Builder lets you time your popup to show to your most engaged visitors. You can also use Sumo’s Smart Mode technology to show a popup the precise moment a visitor is about to leave your site.
  • Complete Customization – List Builder gives you total control of the background/button color, text color, text font, and more so you can completely match your popup to the design of your website.
  • Mobile-optimized Popups – List Builder ensures your popups look just as good on mobile as they do on desktop.
  • Pre-made Templates for All Your Goals – Once you select a specific goal for your popup (capture emails, social shares, etc.), you get access to dozens of pre-made templates tailored to hit your specific goal.
  • Capture Your Most Engaged Users – You can show different popups for different visitors. For instance, if you get a lot of visitors from Facebook, then you can set up a pop-up just for them.

Check out the demo of List Builder here

Welcome Mat

Sumo Welcome Mat - Sumo Review

Welcome Mat displays a full-screen call to action that shows up when visitors land on your site. This prompts your visitors to join your email list or check out your most popular blog post.

It’s a simple and effective technique to double your email conversion rate. According to data from Sumo, several sites have seen their daily email conversion rate double or triple after using Welcome Mat. Some of these sites that display a full-screen call to action before showing anything else include Uber and Spotify.

Key Features

  • Custom Designed Templates -Like all under tools offered by Sumo, Welcome Mat templates are gorgeous. If you’re a design pro yourself, you can change the CSS too.
  • Completely Customizable Design – The tool gives you total control of elements such as the background color, text color, text font, and more so you can completely match Welcome Mat to the design of your site.
  • Mobile-optimized – Welcome Mat is 100% mobile-optimized.
  • GIFs, Videos, and More – You get complete customization of the Welcome Mat background. Upload whatever image you’d like, even add GIF’s or videos if you’d like.
  • A/B Testing – Test different copy, templates, buttons, behavior and more to get more conversions.
  • Pick Exactly Where It Shows – You can show different Welcome Mats for different visitors. For instance, if you get most of your traffic from Twitter, then you can set up a Welcome Mat just for visitors from Twitter.

Check out the demo of Welcome Mat here

Smart Bar

Smart Bar - Sumo Review

Smart Bar sits beautifully at the top of your website, reminding your visitors to join your email list, check out your new blog post, or even promote a special offer.

Key Features

  • Collect Emails, Link Out to Your CTA, and More – Smart Bar helps you get more people to join your email list, more people to click on your Call To Action (CTA) button, and more people to follow you on social media.
  • Mobile-optimized – Smart Bar is 100% mobile-optimized.
  • Control How Smart Bar Shows – You can pick exactly how Smart Bar shows on your site. For instance, you can only show it when a visitor scrolls down to 50% of the page or after a visitor has been on your site for more than 60 seconds.
  • Pre-designed Templates – 15 gorgeous smart bar templates to meet your marketing goals.
  • Advanced Display Rules – You can show different smart bars for different visitors.
  • A/B Testing – Test different copy, templates, buttons, behavior and more to get more emails.

Check out the demo of Smart Bar here

Scroll Box

Scroll Box - Sumo Review

Scroll Box is a popup that is triggered when a visitor scrolls down the page. It’s a polite way to ask your visitors for their email address as they finish reading your latest blog post or learning about your product. Sumo allows you to set a percentage of how far down a visitor has to scroll before viewing the popup.

Key Features

  • Total Control – You control exactly at what point of the page the Scroll Box needs to pop up.
  • Fully Customizable – Scroll Box gives you total control of the background/button color, text color, text font, and more so you can completely match Scroll Box to the design of your site.
  • Mobile Optimized – Scroll Box is 100% mobile optimized.
  • Custom Designed Templates – Scroll Box offers 15 unique templates.
  • A/B Testing – Test different copy, templates, buttons, behavior and more to get more emails.

Check out the demo of Scroll Box here

Contact Form

Sumo Contact Form

With Sumo’s Contact Form, you can make it easier for your prospects and customers to reach out to you and ask questions about your products or services.

Key Features

  • Create an Auto-Response for Every Contact You Receive – Once someone sends you a message, Contact Form can automatically email them and let them know you get their message.
  • Custom Templates to Match the Style of Your Site – You get total control of the background/button color, text color, text font, and more so you can completely match Contact Form to the design of your site.
  • Visual One-Click Layout to Place Contact Form Easily on Your Site – You pick exactly where Contact Form shows on your site. With one click, you can move Contact Form to wherever you want on your site.

Other Tools

  • Social Share – Sumo’s Social Share plugin makes it super easy for your visitors to share your content with their friends, family, and others with built-in social media buttons for your site. The more people share your site and content, the more viral traffic you get.
  • Image Sharer – Right now, it’s insanely hard for visitors to share the images on your site. This means that you’re missing out on a ton of easy viral traffic. Image Sharer makes it really simple for your readers to automatically share the images from your site on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and link back to you, driving you viral traffic!
  • Highlighter – With Highlighter, your visitors can highlight sections of your articles to share with their connections on social media. As a result, you can drive more social traffic and highlight popular sections of your articles for your readers.
  • Google Analytics by Sumo – Google Analytics plugin makes it super easy to view your Google Analytics data directly in the Sumo dashboard. This means you no longer need to dig through your data to find the number that matter Sumo also highlights your most important stats so you can easily track and grow your traffic.
  • Contact Analytics – If you have a blog, then you probably think your visitors read your blog posts all the way through. But in reality, that’s rarely the case. With Sumo’s Content Analytics plugin, you can see exactly where your readers stop reading and then improve on the content based on the data obtained.
  • Heat Maps – Heat Maps shows you EXACTLY where people are clicking on your site. With this information, you can then improve your pages to show your visitors what they want to see.
  • Live Chat – A new addition to Sumo’s marketing tools, the Live Chat tool is a more effective way for you to engage with site visitors.


Sumo Review - Sumo Pricing Plans

Sumo is more than just one tool, it’s a suite of tools. As such, when you subscribe to any of their plans, you subscribe to each and every one of their tools. You can’t pick and choose the tools. You get access to all. Now that may be a hindrance to some users who may already be using similar services with other service providers.

On the plus side, however, you do get to save money in the long run as Sumo’s tools will eventually replace the services that you’ve been using until now.

Here are the 5 pricing plans that Sumo offers:

  • Just Starting (Price – Free Forever) – Ideal for small businesses and people who are running a side project.
  • Professional aka Sumo Pro (Price – $48/mo) – Ideal for professional bloggers and consultants.
  • Small Business (Price – $79/mo) – Ideals for small teams and local businesses.
  • Ecommerce (Price – $199/mo) – Ideal for ecommerce and SaaS companies.
  • Team (Contact Sumo for Pricing) – Ideal for bigger teams and content networks.

If you opt for annual pricing, then you get a 40% discount on all these plans. For instance, if you opt for annual pricing for Sumo Pro, you’ll need to pay $348/year (i.e. $29/mo).

To unleash the full potential of the tools mentioned above and get access to powerful features, you’ll need to upgrade to Sumo Pro. The question is: is it worth paying $48/mo for Sumo Pro? This is something we’ll cover in the next section.

For a detailed comparison of the Sumo pricing plans, click here.

Is It Worth Upgrading to Sumo Pro?

Here’s the thing: If you’re serious about growing your email list, site traffic, and business, then you need to eventually upgrade to the Professional plan at some point or another.

But if you’ve never tried Sumo before or this is the first email capture software you’re using on your site, I suggest you first sign up for their free plan to test the features of all the tools mentioned above. Since Sumo follows a freemium model, you get access to all the tools, but keep in mind that there are several restrictions, such as limit of 500 subscribers, no integration with ESPs, limited templates, less control over design, and so on.

So if you’re on a shoestring budget, then Sumo’s free plan is perhaps the best option for you to try out opt-in forms on your website. There are very few free tools in the market which provide the same level of functionality and sophistication that Sumo does.

But if you’d like to use your website as an inbound machine and generate relevant leads at a rapid pace, then upgrading to Pro would be the best option. Also, if you’re a blogger looking at growing your email list rapidly, then upgrade to Sumo Pro as you’re not going to like the restrictions placed on the tools under the free plan.

Final Verdict

Sumo’s tools help you strategically place professionally-designed opt-in forms on your website, making it easier for you to grow your vitally important email list. The email capture services are smoothly integrated with all the top email marketing services and the team behind the product keeps releasing new innovative features from time to time to build on an already excellent set of email marketing tools.

Furthermore, Sumo goes beyond list building by offering additional social media and analytics tools, making it an ultimate inbound marketing solution for your website. Not only can you build and nurture your email list, but you can improve the overall content and CTAs on your site through data collected from Heat Maps, Content Analytics, and Google Analytics; and increase social shares of your website using Image Sharer and Social Sharer.

If you’re serious about accelerating your site’s growth at a rapid pace, give Sumo a try today.

Click here to try Sumo for free

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Are you a user of Sumo? Do you have any feedback to share on some of its features? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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99signals Editorial
99signals Editorial
Editorial Staff at 99signals is a team of bloggers and marketing experts led by Sandeep Mallya.


  1. Very nice clear review.
    Who are the main competitors to Sumo. Noah Kagan is a hilarious guy and believes in his product for sure…but are there any other (email list builders?) that come close or is it a no brainer to use Sumo. Sumo seems to have such a suite of features that it seems very well rounded. I don’t much (anything to be honest) about other competitors?

    • Thank you! 🙂 Yes, Noah is an extremely funny man and that’s reflected quite well in his articles and videos. The closest competitor to Sumo would be OptinMonster which is also quite popular with bloggers. But it’s an email capture software, that’s all. They don’t provide marketing and analytics tools like Sumo does, but they probably have an edge over the design of opt-in forms. They look a little more polished than Sumo’s forms. With respect to value for money, you can’t beat Sumo.


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Sumo's tools help you strategically place professionally-designed opt-in forms on your website, making it easier for you to grow your vitally important email list. The email capture services are smoothly integrated with all the top email marketing services and the team behind the product keeps releasing new innovative features from time to time to build on an already excellent set of email marketing tools. If you're serious about accelerating your site's growth at a rapid pace, give Sumo a try today.Sumo Review: Marketing Tools to Grow Your Email List & Site Traffic
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