Have you ever heard of click triggers?

Basically, this is when you are able to click a link and trigger some action to take place. Usually, clicking the link triggers a popup or lightbox such as an email subscribe form, contact form, video, or image.

My personal favorite way to use click triggers is for content upgrades.

A content upgrade is just what it sounds like. Say you wrote a 2,000 word post on writing “cold call” emails to other bloggers. Inside that article, you could have a content upgrade where, if a user subscribes to your email list, they instantly get an article giving them 10 “cold call” email examples.

These content upgrades are a highly effective form of conversion optimization, as the reader is looking for information on a specific topic and you are offering even more in depth information about that topic in return for their email address.

The tricky part of click triggers and content upgrades is setting them up. You could use an email service provider (with a premium account, of course) and setup tons of autoresponder series and then embed each form individually onto your site inside posts.

I’ve seen people do it that way, and it honestly is just so difficult to keep track of. A big problem with it is that it makes it difficult for a reader to get multiple content upgrades. If they have already subscribed, they won’t be able to subscribe again to get a different content upgrade.

I’m sure there is a way around this, but I don’t know what it would be. I don’t really think it is worth figuring it out as this messy setup is just not worth the trouble of doing, especially when there is a better way (which I am about to show you in this article).

Another option is using a piece of software like SumoMe. They have some awesome click trigger software that works great, but you need a $20/month Listbuilder Pro plan to use it. Now, while that isn’t that much money, and you might want to have a SumoMe pro plan anyways, what if I told you that you can get a similar setup using two WordPress plugins for free? That’s a $240 savings at minimum each year!

In this article, I’ll show you exactly that: How to setup click trigger content upgrades for free!

Step 1: Create your content upgrade and add it to your site

Before we get going setting up the click trigger to the content upgrade, you should actually create the content upgrade and add it to your site or somewhere online where you can direct users to it.

Basically, you need a url that we are eventually going to be redirecting users to. This could be a page or post already on your site (more on that later) or maybe you want to upload some kind of document and grab the url to redirect people to.

Step 2: Install the necessary plugins

The three free WordPress plugins we are going to use to create our click triggers are Shortcodes Ultimate, Contact Form 7, and Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension.

Please note, the way I am setting this up is to work with MailChimp. If you want to use a different mailing list provider, you can try a different plugin to integrate your email service of choice with Contact Form 7. Another option is to use a database to collect all your contact form 7 submissions and then export them manually to your email provider or CRM.

You may (and likely are) already using Shortcodes Ultimate and Contact Form 7. I used both of these for years before figuring out that I could create click triggers for content upgrades as I am about to show you . I never really even thought of doing it until I saw SumoMe offer this as a paid upgrade and realized I could probably do this for free using tools I already had.

You probably know how to install plugins, but just in case, to install a plugin go to the WordPress dashboard, then plugins, then add new. From this screen, search for each plugin individually (Contact Form 7 and Shortcodes Ultimate, possibly Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension). When it comes up in the search results, click install, then activate it.

Step 3: Create your contact form for the content upgrade

Now that you have you content upgrade ready to go and you have installed the plugins we need to create your click trigger, it is time to setup the first contact form.

Just to rehash, this contact form is only going to include one or two fields and a button. Those fields will be the email and maybe the person’s name. You could of course make this much more complicated if you wanted. You could even just use the click trigger to show a full contact form and forget all about the content upgrade.

To setup your contact form for the content upgrade:

1. Navigate to the Dashboard.

2. Select “Contact” from the right side menu.

3. Click “add new” from the top of the page by the title.

4. Name your contact form so you know what content upgrade it is for.

5. Setup the form code how you want it to be. I used:

<p>[email* your-email placeholder “&nbsp; Enter your best email”] </p>
<p style=”margin-top: 10px;”>[submit class:wp-button “Get it now!”]</p>
6. On the second tab (called “Mail”), you’ll want to change the different fields in use. If you are only using an email field, then that should be the only field showing. If you messed up, the form will show a configuration error message at the top to notify you.


7. On the third tab (called “Messages”), you’ll want to change around the messages that can be displayed so they make sense for what we are using the form for. As we aren’t using it for sending messages, that part of the notifications doesn’t make sense. I changed them all to “submit your email address” and the like.

8. On the fourth tab (called “Additional Settings”), we are going to add a bit of code to redirect users that successfully submit their emails to the content upgrade they wanted to get. For this step, you will need to get the link to your content upgrade. If this is a post or page, just go there and grab the url. If it is a media item like a pdf that you uploaded, go to media, select the item, then hit edit, and from the right side you can grab the url of the item. Now, we need to add our redirect code:

on_sent_ok: “location= ‘http://yourdomain.com/page’;”
9. On the fifth tab, called MailChimp, you need to add your field names [your-name] and [your-email], as well as your MailChimp API and List ID. They provide help buttons that show you how to do this if you need help.


10. We have now completed all the settings for the content upgrade contact form 7 form. Be sure to hit save, and then grab the contact form shortcode which we will later be embedding into the post where we promote the content upgrade.

I should mention that, if you wanted, you could use Contact Form 7 to automatically email the content upgrade url to the user by using the Mail 2 function on the Mail tab.

I don’t like doing this because the emails don’t come styled the way you want out of the box with WordPress and they end up in the users Spam or Junk folder. You need to setup some plugin or service like Mandrill to get those to look right (as in professional), which really is only an option for advanced users. It also is just a waste of bandwidth and memory when you could just redirect the user.

If you go the redirect route, you also can just redirect the user to another post or page on your site, which also is publicly available. This makes it so you can get more bang for your content, as you could use either post to bring in traffic and then use the companion post as a content upgrade. I’m currently trying to gauge user’s feelings on doing just that, as I think some people might feel ripped off that they gave you an email address just to be redirected to another publicly available post. For the poster, there is extra value there, but if it comes at the cost of the user feeling ripped off, then it may not be worth it.

Step 4: Add shortcodes to your post

Now, let’s head to the post where you want to promote the content upgrade.

Hit edit and navigate to the spot where you want to add the shortcodes. I actually hit the “text” tab from the top right of the WordPress editor so that I can view the code as I wanted to code my shortcode lightbox a bit to give it some styling. You also can do that in the visual editor by using the WYSIWYG editor tools.

Click in the post where you want the content upgrade to go and add the following shortcode:

A few things about this code.

First, note where I added the contact form 7 embed shortcode. You should of course add your own shortcode there.

Secondly, you can see I added a few different color options throughout it. I used #fefedf (light yellow) as the shortcode ultimate note background color and #f4f7f9 (light blue) as the popup background color. Many people have said that using yellow to make this box stand out is the best way to go, but I think any contrasting color could work. Really, any color will stand out if you have a white background and black text.

Third, I also customized the note corner radius and text color, as well as the popup (or lightbox) font, font size, and font color.

Also, in regards to the shortcodes ultimate shortcodes, you could actually use the WYSIWYG options to build these shortcodes and have them automatically added to your post. Just click the big shortcode button from the top of the editor, then select note and fill out the options. Next, click in the note and repeat, but this time use the permalink. Finally, click below the note and use the shortcode button to add a lightbox.

After you add the shortcodes, be sure to hit update (from the top right of the page) on your post to save your changes.

Here is what my final post shortcodes ultimate note with shortcodes ultimate permalink looked like (sorry, the images are a bit blurry as the image size is slightly larger than the width of the content area):

SU Note for Content Upgrade

And here is what my shortcodes ultimate lightbox with the contact form 7 shortcode in it looked like:

SU Content Upgrade Popup

Again, I highly recommend you customize both the ShortCodes Ultimate note and the click trigger popup to use styling that fits your site.


And that’s all folks!

You now know how to create click triggers that lead to content upgrades in return for an email address. I hope that you can use this guide to implement content upgrades on your own site and significantly raise your subscriber conversion rate.

I think this is an awesome conversion optimization hack for new bloggers and small businesses that don’t want to pay $20+ per month to gain this capability. Using this guide, you can do the same thing those paid services offer but for absolutely free!

Really, this is so simple that I would think lots of people would want to use this. It might seem a bit confusing at first, but once you get the initial setup done, you can fly through creating these over and over again. It really ends up being just a few clicks. If you already have a general comfort level using WordPress and adding shortcodes, I would think this would be quite easy to implement.

I really think this is an amazing tool to boost your conversion rates. Most of my clients seem to start out with ridiculously low conversion rates of 0.5-1%. Using this technique, and using it well, should result in a conversion rate of 3-5% at least. It really does depend on the article and the quality of the content upgrade.

If you have any questions or need help with setting up click triggers for content upgrades, please don’t hesitate to contact me!