With all the buzz around Facebook Live, it’s easy to forget about building your email list.
Yet email remains the best way to market your offers and build a sustainable business because consumers, like you and me, are more comfortable with that communication channel.
But if you’re going to focus on building your email list, then you need the right tools.
Choosing an email service provider is only the first step. After that, you’ll need a WordPress plugin to help you create and publish the right opt-in form in the right place on your site.
And in this review, we’ll take a look at how Thrive Leads can help you do that quicker and smarter.
What is Thrive Leads?
Thrive Leads is a lead generation plugin for WordPress; an all-in-one list-building solution that accelerates your list-building efforts.
Unlike the poor selection of opt-in forms you get inside email marketing software, Thrive Leads provides you with an arsenal of conversion-focused opt-in forms to help grow your email list.
It has direct API integrations for the most popular email services. Plus, you can use it with any system that creates an HTML signup form:
And don’t worry about connecting your service because Thrive Leads has tutorial videos for each one.
Let’s take a closer look at what it can do.
Managing your opt-in forms
Once you’ve installed Thrive Leads, you start with an empty-looking dashboard screen:
At the top is the Summary Reports section that’ll fill up when you start creating and publishing your opt-in forms.
Underneath that are four placeholders to manage your opt-in forms.
Let’s take a look at each one in turn.
Lead Groups determine the type and position of the opt-in forms you display on your site.
Using this feature, you can test various forms against each other and set rules for targeting options. (More on this later…)
To use Lead Groups, hit the “Add New” button and label it for your reference only.
When you add a new group, a window will appear listing the type of opt-in forms you can add to your site:
At the moment, there are 9 forms you can include in the group:
- In Content – A static banner-type form that you can place, as the name implies, anywhere in your content.
- Lightbox – An overlay (a.k.a. popup) that is displayed in a new window above your content when triggered.
- Post Footer – A static banner-type form that you can place at the end of each blog post.
- Ribbon – A ribbon type form which shows at the top of the screen and remains “sticky” as the visitor scrolls down the page.
- Screen Filler – The “unignorable” opt-in form to make sure you get your visitor’s full attention on your offer.
- Scroll Mat – A unique type of screen-filling offer that appears from the top of the page and pushes the content down.
- Slide in – Less intrusive than a popup, this form slides into view from the corner of your screen.
- Widget – An opt-in form for your sidebar or any other widget area on your site.
- PHP Insert – An advanced feature that you should only use if you know what you’re doing.
You can add and remove forms from your Lead Group at any time. In this example, you can see I’ve added a Lightbox.
Next step is to design your opt-in form and configure your display options.
But we’ll come back to that later…
With Lead Shortcodes, you can include one type of opt-in form anywhere on your site using a shortcode.
You’ll have to copy and paste the code into the area where you want to display it.
A shortcode form looks exactly like the post footer form. You can’t create any other type of form, but you can place it on different pages around your site.
ThriveBoxes are 2-Step Opt-in forms that display a popover on top of your page. They also work via a shortcode, so it’s easy to add them to any of your posts/pages.
The idea behind the 2-Step opt-in process is a psychology principle known as the Zeigarnik Effect, which states that those who start something are more likely to finish the process.
Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: A visitor clicks on a link, a button or an image
- Step 2: A popover opens up asking them to subscribe
Because a visitor clicked the link in Step 1, they’re more likely to complete the opt-in form in Step 2.
ThriveBoxes are useful when you want to add a Content Upgrade to your post.
Signup Segue is a unique feature in Thrive Leads that simplifies the sign-up steps for various services like a webinar.
The standard model works something like this:
You send an email that contains a registration link to your subscribers. When they click the link, it takes them to a landing page where they need to enter contact details, confirm their subscription, and finally receive webinar details.
That’s a few too many steps. And chances are, you’ll lose people along the way.
Signup Segue allows you to send people a link that signs them up directly to the service you are promoting without any other steps.
You enter the details of the webinar you want to promote and get a custom link that you can share with your subscribers. Now they only have to click the link, and the remaining steps complete in the background.
Designing your opt-in forms
Now you know where to use the opt-in forms, it’s time to look at creating and publishing some.
Thrive Leads has some great-looking pre-designed templates:
But good looks aren’t everything and Thrive designed these templates with one purpose in mind: to convert your visitors into subscribers.
The templates are grouped into sets to create a consistent look throughout your site. For example, you can use the same design in a Sidebar Widget and a ThriveBox:
You can use any of the pre-designed templates and then customize them to fit in with your own branding and opt-in offers.
Thrive Leads has a built-in visual editor – Thrive Architect – so you can make changes quickly and easily.
For example, you may decide to modify the background color in the form above:
All of the Thrive Leads templates are mobile responsive. But you also you get 3 levels of mobile-specific customization.
1. Show or hide particular opt-in form types
Some opt-in forms are more suitable for mobile devices than others. Plus, Google penalizes sites that use intrusive interstitials, like screen fillers, on mobile devices. You can read all about interstitials here.
In Thrive Leads you control which type of opt-in form you want to display on desktop and mobile. For example, here the Ribbon displays on Mobile and the Screen Filler displays on Desktop:
2. Show or hide individual elements on the opt-in form
Sometimes you want to show the same opt-in form on both desktop and mobile, but you don’t necessarily need all the elements.
In Thrive Leads, you can hide some items on mobile and tablet. For example, on this 2-Step ThriveBox the image element is visible on desktop, but hidden on mobile:
So it looks like this on desktop:
And like this on mobile:
3. Tweak any detail with mobile responsive editing
The third option for mobile-specific opt-in forms lets you change any detail while editing in the mobile view. For example, you could modify the Font Size, Line Height, and Margins to make the text look more compact on mobile devices:
Deploying your opt-in forms
Having designed your opt-in forms, you’ll need to decide where and when to display them. And when you’ve cracked that, you’ll need to test which of your opt-in forms is the best.
Thrive Leads offers Advanced Targeting and A/B Testing to help maximize your conversions.
You’ve already seen how you can choose to display opt-in forms on mobile and/or desktop, but Thrive has some more targeting options.
The advanced targeting settings in Thrive Leads boost your conversions by showing relevant, highly targeted offers to your visitors based on posts, categories, tags and more.
Let’s take a look…
Thrive Leads has a red exclamation mark to remind you to set up your targeting options:
When you click the gear icon, you’ll see a popup window where you make your selection:
There are two overarching display logic rules – inclusion or exclusion.
If you want your opt-in form to appear everywhere except for one or two places, then choose the exclusion method. Otherwise, pick the inclusion method to pinpoint precisely where your opt-in form should appear.
Here are 3 ways to target your offers:
This is an excellent way to display opt-in forms for specific blog post categories.
Imagine you had categories for Themes, Plugins, and Hosting. You could create an opt-in offer for each category, and then only display that opt-in on the relevant posts in that category. For example, 5 Hosting Selection Mistakes To Avoid would only show on your posts in the hosting category.
This option is even more precise and might be relevant if you had a specific content upgrade for one post. For example, Download the PDF of this post plus the bonus Cheat Sheet.
Use this option for specific landing pages, your homepage or even your 404 page.
Perhaps you have an opt-in form that you don’t wish to display on your sales pages, so you can choose the “Show on All Pages” option and then exclude any page you don’t want.
However you decide to display your forms, showing the right opt-in offer to the right visitor will not only give you a better conversion rate, but it also enables you to create segmented email lists at the same time.
Now you’ve designed your opt-in forms, and you’ve decided where to display each one, there’s one significant step remaining. And that’s to measure which opt-in form performs best.
When you know which opt-in forms are working and which aren’t, then you can make adjustments based on facts.
Thrive Leads lets you split-test your opt-in forms in four different ways.
Different form types
Test different opt-in form types against each other; for example, a Lightbox popup vs. a Screen Filler Lightbox, or a Widget vs. a Ribbon.
Test when your opt-in forms should appear. For example, should you display a popup immediately on page load, after a user scrolls 50% down the page, or when a visitor is about to exit your site? You can test all permutations and see which one wins.
Different design and content
You’ve seen how easy it is to change the headline text, add or remove an image, or switch background colors. You can test each variation to see what your visitors prefer.
Not sure whether your audience prefers an ebook or a video course? Test different offers and see which one proves more popular.
If you’re strapped for time, you can switch on the automatic winner settings and let the plugin choose a winner after an evaluation period.
Thrive Leads monitors the performance of each variation and once it finds a statistically proven winner, all the losing variations are archived, leaving you with a winner.
More Thrive Leads features you’ll love
You’ve seen so many of the amazing features that Thrive Leads has to offer, but there are more:
- Multi-Step Forms– Don’t limit yourself to a 2-Step opt-in form. You can add more steps that follow a Yes/No decision path.
- SmartLinks – Instead of showing your existing subscribers the same opt-in forms as your new visitors, you can show them custom offers.
- SmartExit+– Makes it possible to trigger the exit intent only when certain conditions are met.
- Daily Overview– See a snapshot of your progress on a regular basis.
- Built-in Reporting– Easily monitor how well your opt-in forms are performing.
- Email Marketing Platform Integration – If a platform supports custom HTML forms, you can use it with Thrive Leads. Plus there are many API connections available too.
- Built-in Video Tutorials – Links to help videos within the plugin make it easy to find your way around and learn how to maximize the tool.
Thrive Leads – the good and the bad
- Easy to use and manage
- Supports all types of opt-in forms
- Choose from a wide selection of pre-designed templates
- Customize forms with the intuitive visual editor
- Supports a large selection of email marketing services
- Custom HTML forms available for email services they don’t have API integrations for
- Access helpful video tutorials from within the plugin
- Powerful split testing functionality
- Built-in reports dashboard
- Includes lifetime updates
- Takes time to get up to speed with all the features and functionality if you haven’t used a list building plugin before
- Some templates are a little outdated.
You can get Thrive Leads for a one-time fee of $67, which includes lifetime updates.
The price also includes 12 months support with the option to renew each year for $40.
Alternatively, try Thrive Membership for $19/month, which includes all the themes and plugins from Thrive Themes.
Thrive Leads is an excellent list-building solution to work with. Everything is easy to manage from the central dashboard; from creating and publishing through to targeting and testing.
It includes all types of opt-in form and an extensive selection of conversion-focused templates. Plus you have the additional mobile-specific design options and advanced targeting logic.
If you’re serious about building your email list and generating leads – you’ll love Thrive Leads.