I’ve been testing the Thrive Leads plugin on my own sites for a few weeks now and in this post I’m going to set out my findings.
As a result I hope you can make a more informed choice as to whether this plugin is for you or not.
First, 2 important points:
POINT 1: Regular readers will know I am a huge fan of Thrive Theme’s products (especially Thrive Architect – previously called “Content Builder” – which I use all the time).
This said Thrive Leads is something different, as we’ll see below.
POINT 2: If like me you are a Thrive Themes Member, meaning that you have access to all the new themes and plugins that they produce, then the Thrive Leads Plugin is FREE for you and will have already been added to your account.
If you’re a customer but not sure, login to your Thrive Themes account here and check in the product downloads section as you obviously don’t want to pay for the same thing twice!
Ok, so what is Thrive Leads all about, what does it do and, most importantly, is it actually worth using?
(1) What Is Thrive Leads?
Basically, it’s a WordPress plugin which you can use to design and place email optin forms on your website.
It’s also the replacement for HybridConnect which has now been discontinued.
(2) What Can It Do?
Probably the simplest thing you can use it for is to create an optin form for the sidebar of your site.
Cast your eye to the top right now and you’ll see this is exactly what I’ve done.
However, there is absolutely nothing special about this: You can accomplish the same thing (albeit in a less aesthetic and flexible way) using the built in form designer in Aweber, Get Response and most other email list management services.
The real power of Thrive Leads comes when you start using the more advanced features.
What are these?
Well let’s take a look at some of them first and then explain crucially why they can be extremely important.
To start with we have the ability to display our optin forms in a variety of ways.
- Ribbon: A “toolbar” style display which overlays across the top of your site until a visitor clicks cancel on it or opts in.
- Lightbox: A popup overlay. The site content itself is dimmed until the visitor opts in or clicks away.
- Widget: Simply a form placed on the sidebar of your site.
- Post Footer: Allows you to display an optin form at the bottom of specific posts on your blog.
- Slide In: A bit like a Widget but much more eye catching – an optin form that slides in from the edge of the screen.
Fair enough, still nothing too special.
Things get mildly more interesting when you see that each one of the options above can be triggered in multiple ways:
This is handy because we obviously don’t want to risk annoy users by constantly showing optin forms to them.
For example, by choosing “Show when the user scrolls a percentage of the way down the content” we can target only visitors who have already shown a bit of engagement (and hopefully not annoy other visitors who have yet to do so!).
By the way: See the little play icon I’ve highlighted in red on the above screenshot? This is a wonderful feature that appears in all of Thrive’s products. When you click it a 1-3 minute tutorial video will pop up and tell you everything you need to know about the feature in question. Right where and when you need it and such a time saver compared to trawling through long winded documentation
What about frequent visitors though?
It might be annoying for them if we continually show them the same optin forms. This issue can be tackled by adjusting how often you wish to display a given form to each specific user.
Only show a form to each visitor every 7 days for example:
Not bad, but what else is there?
Well you can design custom forms and place them anywhere on your site with a handy little shortcode.
So we can do this for instance:
Quite handy for encouraging visitors to opt in in at the point when they are actually consuming your site’s content.
Or offering a lead magnet (e.g., mindmap or cheat sheet) that is specifically related to the content on the page.
Also, Thrive Leads features “2 Step Lightboxes” which means you can show a lightbox optin when the user clicks something.
For example, try clicking here.
A little gripe: When I click above the WordPress post then jumps back up to the top. At the time of writing, the plugin has just been released so it’s very early days. Nevertheless, I’ve filed an enhancement request to Thrive about this so hopefully they’ll fix it soon 🙂
[UPDATE Feb 22, 2015: FIXED – The latest version has just been released!]
Getting back on track though: It doesn’t have to be a text link as in the example above…
It could be anything really. A banner, logo, image or even a button on a form perhaps.
See when happens when you click the button:
Quick "2-Step" optin example where visitor has to click a button BEFORE the email request field is displayed...
Rather than aim to be exhaustive, I just want to highlight the main features of Thrive Leads to you in this post and the next one that I feel compelled to include is split testing.
Not only does the plugin feature some really great built in (and easy to understand) conversion reporting but it also makes it incredibly easy to set up split tests:
1) Create a form
2) Clone that form with 1-click
3) Change something about the cloned version (e.g., the headline)
4) Click “Start Split Test”
I think this is so important because we are all guilty of not split testing enough. So the ease that it can be done in Thrive Leads is a huge booster.
Even for a site that gets a small amount of traffic, a split test can be created and just left alone. When statistical significance is reached (even if that takes weeks or months) a winner can be automatically chosen by the plugin and applied.
Surely a candidate for the most hassle free way ever of passively boosting list sign ups?!
(3) Why Are These Features Useful?
In a word: Conversion.
I’ve written before about squeeze pages verses blog optin forms and how the latter get a much lower conversion rate.
So any tool that can help us consistently boost the optin rate on our blogs and sites is very valuable indeed. Especially because even very small increments in sign up rates can result in big differences to your long run profits.
(4) What’s The Difference Between Thrive Architect And Thrive Leads?
Thrive Architect allows you to build sales pages, product download pages and all kinds of squeeze pages.
As I mentioned earlier I really love using Architect and I’m now using it very heavily in my business, almost on a daily basis.
Here’s a short video how I used the original Content Builder (the precursor to Architect) to create my Traffic Matrix product:
Click anywhere below to play the video:
(When I have time, I’ll update this video to demonstrate the enhanced capabilities of Architect too).
In contrast, Thrive Leads is designed not for squeeze pages but for optin forms. Just in the way we’ve been talking about.
What is crucial and very powerful though is to know that the same element style interface (with all the components you see in the video above) are ALSO included in Thrive Leads.
So this makes it very powerful indeed in terms of the designs you can create!
In fact, my mind boggles with the possibilities…
(5) Is It Worth Getting?
If you have any kind of Wordpress site that you feel is under utilized in terms of gathering email leads (which probably is the case!) then yes, it’s definitely worth using Thrive Leads.
This said, if you haven’t build a squeeze page yet, or need to get create a sales page for one of your products, Architect is the best choice instead.
I own and use both and I suppose that’s the ideal.
But if you are on a very tight budget then in most cases I would say Thrive Architect would take priority over Thrive Leads.
This is because squeeze and sales pages are generally more powerful than blog optin forms and you can do the latter at least at a very basic level using the form builder in Aweber, GetResponse, etc.
Speaking personally I’m very excited about Thrive Leads.
I hear lots of enhancements are coming too including more 2-step opt-in options, multi-step (survey style) opt-ins, content replacement for existing subscribers, screen-takeover popup and new templates!
As always though it’s your judgement that matters the most…
Did you find this useful? I’d love to hear your views, comments and thoughts. ALL are welcome both positive and negative! Please drop a quick comment below… 🙂