Are you one of those people that uses the default web form from your autoresponder and sticks it on your site? Do you then wonder why your conversion rates are always so low?
The truth is, I’ve yet to find a decent form builder with any autoresponder. Aweber and GetResponse might have the best of the bunch, but they still give you form designs that look old fashioned and out of touch.
While it’s not quite released yet to the public, I’ve been playing around with an early access release and I’m certain it’s going to become one of the best plugins to build up your email list fast.
What is Thrive Leads?
Thrive Leads is a wordpress plugin that lets you design and create different types of opt-in forms on your site.
It takes a lot from what made it’s predecessor Hybrid Connect so great, adds in the easy customizability of Thrive Content Builder (TCB) and turns this into the ultimate wordpress plugin for anyone doing email marketing. Mix in some well integrated split testing capabilities and there’s a lot to be excited here for anyone trying to build a bigger email list.
For the design challenged like me, Thrive Leads currently comes preloaded with a small set of nicely designed templates which you can start your designs with. And knowing how Shane operates, I’m sure plenty more will be added in the future.
Then, using the drag and drop TCB editor, you can edit these templates and mold them into any look and feel that you want.
It’s really simple to get the hang of, and I was able to quickly create a few nice looking optin forms while testing the plugin.
Thrive Leads supports several different types of optin forms.
You can create a HelloBar-like top ribbon form like what you see at the top of this post.
There is also your standard LightBox popup.
You can also create a Post footer opt-in form that will collect emails at the bottom of your posts.
And then there is the Slide-In widget which has gained popularity recently on many sites.
Thrive Leads organizes these forms using what it calls Lead Groups which allows you to add different form types in a single group. You can have a Lead group’s forms displayed on every page if you like, or target specific posts, pages, and categories.
What’s unique about this is that you can split test different form types together via Lead Groups and figure out what form type works best for collecting emails on your site.
Thrive Leads also supports shortcode forms. When you create one of these, you will get a shortcode that you can embed inside your individual posts, pages or even any widget area if you like.
Thrive Leads allows you to create 2 Step Lightboxes as well. Step 1 is to provide some sort of call to action with a link, button or image. Only then will it trigger your popup LightBox asking for the email address.
The Two-Step Opt-In Process has been popularized by LeadPages and has been shown to improve your opt-in rates considerably.
The logic behind it is that someone who clicks on your initial call to action will more likely fill in the opt-in form because they feel compelled to complete the action that they just started. It’s a little pop psychology in action, but it works and Thrive Leads makes implementing this easy to do.
Designing Your Optin-Forms
The big win you get with Thrive Leads is with true customizability of your forms. Compared to Optin Monster, which is a similar plugin, you can do so much more in terms of making your forms look exactly how you want.
Optin Monster’s form design editor is quite basic in that it only allows you to change basic parts of their form template like the headline, colors, and font sizes.
With Thrive Leads you can do that, plus insert new elements like images and buttons, and move things around to exactly where you want them.
Thrive Leads is built using the same core live editor that Thrive Content Builder is based on. That means you get the smooth drag and drop ability of the various elements and the extensive customizability of each. All this is performed in real-time so you can see your changes as you make them.
I especially like the integration of the Font Manager. This gives you additional access to 600+ available Google Fonts. Choosing the right font can make your headlines and sub-headlines pop, so having a wide selection to choose from is crucial.
Triggers can be specified for each form you create. This is the criteria for when your form will show up. The common triggers are Show on Page Load and Show after a certain period of time.
However the LightBox form type has some additional triggers which allow it to show when:
- Your reader scrolls to a certain point in your content
- Your reader scrolls to a percentage of the way down your content
- Your reader is about to leave your page (exit intent)
These triggers give you total control over when your opt-in forms get displayed to your readers. And coupled with the split testing features I discuss in the next section can really have a dramatic effect on improving your optin-rates.
I’m also happy to report that all the forms that you create with Thrive Leads are mobile responsive. This is such an important feature these days and I’m amazed when people add opt-in forms (especially lightboxes) that don’t work on mobile.
Just the other day, I was using my iPhone to read this really interesting guest post on CopyBlogger while I was riding to work. The content was compelling enough that I actually clicked on the author link to get the related bonus content they were offering. A LightBox popped up to collect my email and I entered my email address on the form.
However the LightBox wasn’t designed for mobile, so the submit button didn’t show up! It was so frustrating trying to submit that form that I eventually just gave up.
Morale of the story. Whatever opt-in forms you use, test them first on your mobile phone and make sure they are mobile responsive!
The true power with Thrive Leads comes from its A/B split testing capabilities. By being diligent with your testing of every form you create, you will be able to have optin forms on your site that will build your email list faster.
It takes a little bit of extra work, but Thrive Leads makes it easy as pie. You can tell the entire plugin was designed from the ground up to make split testing seamless and easy.
First, next to every form you create, is a button which you can click to clone your form. Then you can make some quick edits to your cloned form and make the variations you want to split test against.
Pressing the Start A/B test button allows you to create a new split test. Give your split test a name and then you can choose whether you want to use the Automatic Winner Settings.
Here you can set the conditions for declaring which form is the winner. Once a form is chosen as the winner, the rest of the forms in your split test will be archived and only the winner (your highest converting form) will continue to be shown.
Not only can you split test forms of the same type together (ie. Lightbox vs Lightbox), but you can split test against different form types (Lightbox vs Ribbon vs Slide In). To do that, you can go to your Lead Groups page and press the Test Types of Form Against Each Other button.
ThriveLeads vs SumoMe
There are quite a few tools for generating different opt-in forms on your site. One of the more popular is the SumoMe wordpress plugin. SumoMe is basically a suite of tools for building traffic, and a couple of them, List Builder and Smart Bar allow you to create something similar to Thrive Lead’s lightboxes and ribbon forms.
Of course the main selling point of these SumoMe tools is that they are FREE.
If you are looking to start collecting emails right away, with little effort on your part, then both these tools are perfect. You can quickly edit your headline, call to action and colors and have these tools working on your site in under 10 minutes. There’s a lot of benefit to that.
The downside to both is that they lack the customizability of Thrive Leads. The free version of List Builder for example only includes one template. If you want access to other templates, then you will need to upgrade to the Pro version which is $20 a month.
Even the Pro versions of these tools don’t include the split testing capabilities that Thrive Leads offers. So yes, while you may be collecting emails, are you really sure you’re getting all the emails you should be getting? Without split testing, you would never know. You could be leaving a lot of email addresses on the table.
For an early access release, I am very impressed by what I see from Thrive Leads already. It has everything I’m looking for in a list building plugin, including easy customizability, support for different for a variety of form types like lightboxes and slide-ins, mobile responsive designs, and split testing.
Since I own many of Shane’s products, I know that what we are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg. Thrive Content Builder now is much improved over what it was when it was first released. And I’m certain this will be the case for Thrive Leads as well.
During this launch phase Thrive Leads is selling for $67 for an unlimited personal site license. Compare that to Leadpages which is $67 a month and Optin Monster which is $199.
It’s a great price on a great product, so don’t hesitate to give it a try.
Which list generation plugin are you using on your site? Let us know in the comments below.
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