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:
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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.
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… 🙂
Excellent post and information Rob!
I regard Thrieve as one of the best companies on the IM scene. They produce only the best most comprehensive products, instead of the bucket loads of gimmicky stuff we too easily fall for …. ‘ shiny object’.
Appreciate your comment Paul – thanks for taking the time. I agree with your sentiment – their stuff is like the anti-thesis of gimmicky.
Nice review here with the main features.
I’ve been using Thrive Leads over the past week, but not to the extent of testing everything.
Actually the specific bit of 2-step Lightbox functionality I wanted for my current post is not quite smooth yet, but the guys at Thrive are working on it! That’s what I love about the Thrive Themes – on top of everything else they actually respond and understand your problems when you request support!
Once the integration between Thrive Leads and Thrive Content Builder is complete this will be an awesome combination.
Totally agree David. I’ve filed a few enhancements and bug reports for their products and the response and action taken has impressed me. That’s all I ask for really because no product is perfect it’s a rare thing for a company to be so focused on user drive development and customer support. Also very good point on the TL/TCB integration, things are just going to get better in that respect.
Hey Rob great article and great timing thanks! Your message about it arrived in my inbox shortly after an email from Shane Melaugh with an offer to upgrade my copy of their deprecated product – Hybrid Connect – to the new Thrive Leads for a much reduced price, which is nice.
Plus they have committed to support Hybrid Connect going forward so I am happy that they are choosing to look after their customers properly.
So while your article has helped greatly I am still unsure that to do, mainly as I suspect that I might want to buy into Thrive Themes and Thrive Content Builder at some point in the future so will then probably get this Thrive Leads product included at that time.
Makes sense Darren and glad you found the post useful too 🙂
As a matter of interest where do the leads get stored, as it isn’t Aweber or anything like that do the leads get stored in WP, is it limitless, can you then have the same functionality as Aweber for emailing etc. ?
Thanks for stopping by on the blog and taking the time to comment 🙂
Thrive Leads doesn’t store any leads at all. Instead it just provides the functionality I’ve described in the post and then integrates with lead storage email services like Aweber, Get Response etc. So if someone subscribes to my list using the Thrive Leads form on this page then behind the scenes Thrive Leads ensures Aweber captures that lead. From there you control what pages are shown to the subscriber and what emails are sent as follow ups is all determined by Aweber.
Another vote for Thrive Themes and their products.
I also use Thrive Content Builder and their (now-retired) Hybrid-Connect, but I will be moving across to Thrive Leads based on what I’ve read.
As David says above, when TL & TCB are fully integrated this will be a dynamic combination… and at an affordable price too. 🙂
Great work by Shane, Paul and the rest of the Thrive team!
Hi Paul, It’s all good stuff isn’t it?! There are a couple of small issues I’d like to see fixed (one I mentioned in the post) but I’m sure these will get dealt with in the updates before too long. Really overall though very impressive and more to look forward to as you say.
Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
I use Thrive Themes and Content Builder and will definitely use Thrive Leads. All the products are awesome. We are all guilty of not testing enough to improve our conversions. This will make it much easier.
Couldn’t agree more Paul, especially your point regarding testing. I’m really not sure why we don’t all test more and I’m as guilty as anyone! It doesn’t really take that long to set up in the grand scheme of things and it can be so valuable. I’ll definitely be doing more of it in 2015.
How does this compare to PopUpDomination.com?
I’m haven’t used popupdomination for a long time so I’m not really qualified to comment. Checking out their sales page it looks similar. I have a strong feeling the integration of Thrive Leads and the Content Builder components would make TL far more flexible though. This said the sentiment of both products looks similar.
Thanks Rob, I value your views here. I have to hold my hands up and say that I haven’t progressed beyond Aweber yet.but, based on what you say and the commets to the post, I’ll look into the Thrive products further.
Thanks for your comment, great to see you on the blog 🙂
One step at a time. As I said in the post I’d recommend focusing on sales and squeeze pages before you tinker with blog optin forms. Until you are at that stage just use the Aweber form editor to design your forms.
Hi Rob. Great review thank you. One thing that it doesn’t appear to have is the 1-click optin via a Facebook button like Hybrid Connect …or have I just missed that?
Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
I believe that this has been discontinued. I suspect it was a popular when it came out but as people actually started testing it didn’t really add much to the conversion. I could be wrong though so might be worth checking with Thrive to get the official line….
Thanks Rob …yes, I’ve since seen that Shane has said exactly that …that it isn’t really converting better than an email address these days, and by eliminating it, they have been able to make the plugin leaner and meaner. 🙂
Hey Rob, very cool review on Thrive Leads man, I just bought it today but being a Hybrid Connect buyer I got a nice discount.
What I found super annoying is the jump to the top of the page that you mentioned on your article.
I’m pretty sure it should be a minor fix but I’m seriously hoping that Shane can take care of this asap.
Apart from that minor thing, I can’t wait to get started dabbling with it!
Thanks for your feedback that all sounds good and congrats on getting your copy!
On the jump to the top of the page feel free to add a comment to my enhancement request in their forums. If you search for “Enhancement Request: Maintain Scroll Position When Lightbox Is Triggered” you should find it.
Thanks for this review, Rob! I agree that the jump-to-top problem is annoying. We’ll get that fixed asap. 🙂
It’s a pleasure Shane and thanks for a(-nother) great product. Appreciate your comment on the fix too 🙂
Actually it’s already fixed and will be in next release (later on today)
Cheers for the thorough review Rob and for bringing this bug to our attention!
Excellent and thorough review, I appreciate this, as I am doing my “due diligence” before shelling out money for a premium plugin – something I rarely do, what with all the many great free plugins there are.
But your explanation of the versatility of this one if quite convincing. Thank you.
Thanks Marvin, glad you enjoyed the post. Thrive’s products are top of the tree for WordPress but of course whether you need one or all of them comes down to your own situation too. So you’re very wise doing your due diligence first and taking your time.
Appreciate you taking the time to comment 🙂
I already own this and it works just as Rob described. It’s got more features than a lot of other similar products and these are features you’ll want to use if you’re serious about your marketing.
Appreciate you sharing your views. Good to hear from an established user 🙂
There’s so many like these nowadays that it can be difficult deciding who to go with. I achieve many similar technical feats on my Market Secrets Blog by figuring the coding out myself which is self gratifying but sometimes takes longer to implement. The only thing that catches my attention on this one is how other commenters say how good their support is which is very rare online.
Thanks for your comment and great to hear your perspective. I know what you mean about the self gratification of building things by hand – I’ve often been tempted to learn things like this in the past even when I know it’ll take me away from more important tasks (i.e, marketing!). On the support from Thrive I can certainly vouch for the quality and timeliness – I’ve really not seen any other company match it.
So for just an extra $10 for the sigle license you can buy the Content Builder which includes Thrive Leads as wel!
Wow I was just about to buy Thrive Leads but i think ill move over to TCB
Yes, the prices do seem pretty reasonable to me. Good time to get in before they get jacked up!
Thanks for commenting 🙂
Where can you actually purchase Thriveleads? The links take me to an area to sign in but I don’t see where to become a member.
I think this should do it: https://thrivethemes.com/leads/more/
Cheers – Rob
Did you have trouble getting optin forms to display when you first installed this product? I can;t seem to get this working at all :(.
Thanks for your comment. No trouble with that myself.
I recommend posting the problem in Thrive’s forums – I’ve found them very useful for bugs/questions etc.
Hi Rob, thanks you a great article. Im thinking to buy Thrive Leads, but cant find if there is a possibility to make an opt in just before a user downloads some file from a website. I want to let file be downloaded – not send it to the users email.
I saw such popups on some websites, seems LeadPages plugin can achieve this.
Thanks Alex, glad you found it useful 🙂
Yes, you can do that with Thrive – shouldn’t be a problem at all. If you want to double check just shoot their support a quick message 🙂
The problem with Thrive Themes as I am finding is the coding. All of the themes have a severe coding error that stops spiders properly crawling and indexing pages. Just set crazy frog spider or the W3c checker https://validator.w3.org on any thrive theme page and you will see what I mean. There is a recursive loop somewhere. What is means is that google won’t index the pages properly, throws up error and stops indexing. I have tested every theme and it is the same.
When I contacted them they said they ‘may’ fix it in Thrive 2.0. When I asked when that will be they said they don’t know. I have had to get a different theme.
Secondly some of the plugins like the brilliant headline optimiser causes critical errors with Google’s AMP Accelerated Mobile Pages. Considering the number of mobile views most sites get these days this isn’t good.
I love TT but it really needs sorting and badly. As a result I am using fewer and fewer features and slowly coming to the realisation that I may need to switch to another system.
Thanks very much for your thoughts here. I can see errors listed on the site you linked too. I do nothing with Google/SEO etc myself and the technical side of this is way over my head. Although I have to say I’ve never had a problem getting my Thrive pages indexed by Google, they all have been very quickly as far as I’m aware.
Appreciate your input and hope this gets solved for you.
I have focusblog & architect which I love but they dont work with AMP – some posts have the content missing. No product is perfect I guess.
Thanks for the information Gareth, I’m sure that will be useful for others reading this. Cheers, Rob.
Excellent review of Thrive leads and the new Architect plugins. I still haven’t switched to Architect yet ‘cos I am kinda used to the old content builder for building landing pages.
Thanks for your comment Collins. I am also reluctant to switch to newer systems sometimes for the same reason. I think you’ll find it well worthwhile with Architect though. Cheers, Rob.
Nice and really informative review I am working on Amazon affiliate site where I need thrive lead in every post I have got almost every plugin from thrives but thrive leads is one of my favorite plugin.