Thrive Leads Review – The GoTo Plugin to Build An Email List

With all the buzz around social media, mobile marketing and search engine optimization, it almost seems like email marketing is on the verge of extinction, right? Wrong! 

The truth is, email is still one of the best ways to promote anything. It’s inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your marketing strategy. 

But if you’re going to focus on building an email list, then you should start by investing in the right tools. Choosing the perfect email service provider is just half the battle.

You’ll also need a way of creating optin forms to connect with your readers as they browse your website. 

I decided we needed to do a Thrive Leads review as one of the most popular WordPress plugins you can use to create beautifully-designed forms is Thrive Leads. This plugin ticks every box of what you'd want in a list building plugin.

Let’s dig into what makes Thrive Leads the goto list building tool. 

Thrive Leads Overview

Thrive Leads, part of the 'Thrive Themes' group was founded in early 2013 by Shane Melaugh and Paul McCarthy. The leads plugin actually started life as Hybrid connect, but got rebranded after a huge update in 2015.

Thrive connects via API with a lot of email service providers, and is always adding more to the collection, plus you can connect with your email providers html code. 

Ultimate List-Building Plugin for WordPress
Thrive Leads is labelled as 'all-in-one list building software for WordPress'.

Although there are hundreds of WordPress plugins that you can choose from, Thrive Leads certainly kicks things up a notch.  

Thrive Leads delivers exactly what it promises. More specifically, this plugin makes collecting leads via optin forms incredibly easy.

You can use one of the pre designed optin templates or you can design your own. It’s also easy to connect with your email auto-responder service as well as keeping tabs on conversions. 

Thrive has a mission statement of creating conversion optimized themes and plugins. This is a huge benefit as you won’t have to start the design process wondering 'what works?' from scratch. 

So, if creating a powerful and targeted email list is important to your business; if you value time and money; and if you use WordPress, then you'll find Thrive Leads a really valuable tool.

The coolest features of Thrive Leads

Smartlinks- A great alternative to annoying popups

The main concept behind Smartlinks is to avoid bombarding the already existing subscribers with the same email signup forms that they’ve seen before. Popups can sometimes be irritating and your loyal customers are the last people you want to turn off.

Smartlinks is a really handy feature because it lets you decide the specific people who view certain offers. Making this decision will depend on whether the individual visiting your site is a new user or an existing subscriber.

This way, if an existing subscriber is going through your blog post, they won’t get disrupted by the same signup forms they've seen before.

The hidden benefit is the ability to segment certain customers, allowing them to enjoy a completely distraction-free time whenever they visit your site.

But the smart idea would be sending these customers exclusive popups, which are only relevant to them. 

Flawless A/B split testing

The simple act of having A/B split testing in a plugin offers a lot of convenience compared to downloading other options. It’s crucial that you try out and test different forms to find the perfect email subscription form for your needs. 

A/B testing in Thrive Leads is a very smooth process. All you’ll need to do is click one button to clone a form and then tweak your changes to create a similar for to test.  With the two forms created, you’ll just need to click on the Start A/B test button and wait for the results to show.

Grab attention at the right time

Not everyone likes the idea of filling the main content area with a subscription form. Others prefer to ask the website visitors for their email addresses at every turn.

Thrive Leads captures your visitors’ attention using smart features like a SmartExit. This is different from the traditional popup forms, which not only annoys customers but it also rarely yields results. 

Say you have a popup form that’s designed to show up after 15 seconds. It won’t be effective if the majority of your site visitors leave after ten seconds. The best way to go about this is to set a trigger, which can still show the popup before the 15 seconds elapse. Alternately your focused reader doesn't get distracted and has a better UX.

Simple animation testing

Some marketers ridicule the idea of incorporating animations on their sites. Sure, this might look a bit cliché and gimmicky, but when done properly they work, like above. Tons of themes and plugin providers offer this as a stand alone product.

Thrive Leads stand out from the crowd is they allow users to A/B test these animations. This way, if one of your popup forms is sliding out of a page while another is fading in, you’ll be able to evaluate the two forms and see which one works better. 

Better targeted forms 

This feature works in almost the same way as the Smartlinks one. The difference with this one is you can create optins for the content that your users are reading. 

For instance, if they're to read a blog post that recommends the best hosting platforms, you may have a targeted email signup form alongside a discount coupon for a hosting provider.

Even though this is just one example, targeted forms based on what your customers are reading is highly effective, especially because the entire system can be automated.

Triggers for Email Signup Forms

You can determine exactly where and when the email signup forms pop up. Would you like this form to show up only when there’s a new visitor? Or, do you want these forms to show up on the Homepage only? 

Thrive Leads offers you time-based and interaction-based triggers. All you’ll need to do is to click the check box the specific options that suit your needs.

Thrive Leads even lets you decide whether or not to display the signup form on archived posts and landing pages. 

A growing template library

Whether you’ve decided to go with a lightbox, sticky ribbon or slide-in form, you’ll be provided with templates that you can work with. All of their templates look professional and modern, so you’ll have a pretty hard time choosing just one.

Thrive Templates Gif

On the same note, changing up the texts, fronts and buttons is really easy. The only thing Thrive try and do is keep things updated and easy to use. 

Reporting you can use

On your Thrive Leads dashboard, you’ll have at a quick glance all the conversions you’re getting on your forms. Depending on these conversions, you can decide to refine your marketing strategy or tweak your content to improve your lead conversion rates. 

Thrive Leads provides you with a myriad of reports, each of which is easy to break down and understand. The main reports you will get are:

  • Conversion Report
  • Conversion Rate Report
  • Comparison Report
  • Lead Tracking Report
  • Cumulative Conversions Report
  • List Growth
  • Cumulative List Growth
  • Content Marketing Reports
  • Lead Referral Report

What Types of Popup Forms Are Available?

Thrive Leads provides you with a wide range of common optin forms to choose from, so you'll always find one that works for you:

Lightbox Popup- With this layout, your email optin is displayed at the top of your site. 

It’s one of the most popular forms that site owners use today.

Slide-in- This is a popup that slides up from the bottom part of the screen.

Less annoying than a popup, but almost just as attention grabbing, this slides into view.

Widget- This form gives you the ability to embed an optin form in any widget-enabled section of your site.
It’s mostly used for sidebars and footer optins.

Content Lock- You can lock away any content on your page. A great way to add an opt-in incentive right inside your content. Reveal it once the visitor signs up! 

In Content Optin- This is done with the help of the Thrive shortcodes.

You can embed your forma anywhere you want them to be displayed in your content.

Scroll Mat- A complete page of the optin form. Site visitors can dismiss it by clicking on “close” or by scrolling down the page.

The Scroll Mat allows you to turn any page into a full screen opt-in form.

Multi-Step- Asking a question is deceptively simple, but very powerful - and that's one of the things you can do with multi-step forms.

Engage your visitors and boost conversion rates by offering multiple choices!

Keeping Organised

Thrive Leads uses the concept of lead groups. To put it simply; this is a way of organizing optin forms together. You can then target each lead group to a particular set of designated posts and pages.

This is a great feature if you’re looking to have content upgrades now or in the future. You can easily add lead magnets to several pages on your site at once. What’s more, Thrive Leads lets you edit several forms simultaneously. You can determine the specific posts where they show up on as well as configure split testing on all forms. 

Basically, Thrive Leads lets you know how your lead groups are performing compared to other groups. You can also break it down and see how each form is performing. 

Thrive University

I'd be doing you an injustice if I didn't mention the Thrive Themes university in this post. There is a LOT of great value added there, and most of it you can access as for free. 

More importantly the Thrive themes team have lots of tutorials and case studies showing how to get the best form their list building and other products.

Get a free Uni Pass

I've highlighted some of the courses related to list building that Thrive University have available. If you ask me, it's worth registering for a free account

Thrive Leads review uni image

How you use Thrive Leads to collect opt-ins

I must admit that for a while I thought the thrive user-interface a little intimidating, but not so much these days. As new Thrive leads user what you'll need to grasp is: 

  • Lead Groups –  Are forms that you can automatically display on your site. You can target each lead group to specific content, or make one lead group display globally. This includes the features most peeps think of in an opt-in plugin.
  • Lead Shortcodes – Are more basic forms that you can manually insert in your content using a shortcode.
  • ThriveBoxes – These let you create 2-step opt-ins forms.
  • Signup Segue – These let you create one-click signup links that you can send to existing email subscribers. ie, you can let people sign up to a new training webinar with one click.
Thrive Leads review image

Thrive Leads Pricing

Thrive Leads offers a number of pricing plans to suit different budgets and needs. They include:

Single Site License​​​​

With this package, you get Thrive Leads installed on just one site. If you’re only looking to increase conversion rates, the Single Site License going for $67 is an excellent option. Plus, you get round-the-clock support for one year. You can also get help through the forum. 

5-Sites License Pack

This pricing plan allows you to install Thrive Leads on five websites. So with an additional $30, you get Thrive Leads on four more websites. If your company runs multiple sites, this is the best choice. You also get one year of support and extra features and updates.

15-Sites License Pack

Going for $97, this is the most recommended package for affiliate marketers. You get to install Thrive Leads on up to 15 sites, which translates to paying less than $10 for each site. This is incredibly cheap if you’re dealing with many sites. In addition, you will get one year support, unlimited features and updates.

However, if you're thinking of picking up the 15 site licence, I REALLY advice you to take a closer look at their membership package.

Thrive Membership 

This package costs $19 per month and it’s the priciest. On the upside, this plan gives you the best of what this service provider has to offer; from Thrive Architect to Thrive Leads, Thrive Quiz Builder and more. (the RBT review)  If like me you choose to pay annually, this will only cost $228.

Thrive Leads Review Bottom Line

If you’ve been meaning to build an email list, Thrive Leads is a awesomely powerful plugin you can't go wrong with.

It gives you a good selection of conversion-based templates. So if you want to make the most of your optin displays, popup forms and other lead generation assets, Thrive Leads is the goto plugin.

PT - Tony

  • Norman says:

    This is an extremely informative post. I am approaching the point where I am going to build my email lists, and Thrive-Leads is compelling. I’ve learned a lot just by reading your review! One question: If I start by signing up for the “single site” plan and, then, 4 months later, wish to upgrade to the 5 sites plan, can I do so, or would I need to wait for the relevant “year” to play out?



    • PT - Tony says:

      Hi Norman and thanks for passing by, 

      To be honest, getting a single site license is a pointless task, you’ll soon realise that you want to use elements on ALL of your websites you build. I’ve no idea about the upgrade stuff, I just buy a yearly full membership 😉 


  • Katie says:

    This is a really informative article, I was not aware of this wordpress plugin, I would also agree with you about email marketing I feel it will be around for a long time, I have noticed an increase in video emails arriving in the inbox, be interesting to see if this will replace the written emails.
    It is surprising how effective email marketing can be.

    • PT - Tony says:

      Hi Cathy,
      It certainly is powerful, email marketing and Thrive allow us to get the most from it.

      Thanks for dropping by, hope the sun is shining up there in Scotland, and let me know if you tried Thrive leads, or the free Thrive Uni

      Cheers Tony

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