One of the best ways for companies and websites to generate revenue and keep bringing back readers and customers is with a powerful email list building strategy.

The market is filled with plugins and tools for building your mailing list, but not many of them match up to the professional stylings and quick lead generation tools offered by the Thrive Lead plugin.

You want to get that email list buzzing with interested leads, right? Then let’s take a look at our in-depth review of  Thrive Leads.

Thrive Leads – Optin Monster Alternative!

thrive leads review

Once I started playing around with the Thrive Leads plugin I realized that the company is all about helping its customers and making things easy for you. The dashboard interface is fairly easy to navigate and the support options from Thrive are as solid as the best companies out there. For example, when you login to your membership dashboard it gives you various options for accessing forums, watching product demos, and reaching out to the support team. They even have webinar recordings for you to refer back to.

Pricing Advantages

Let’s start with the good part of the Thrive Leads Pricing. They don’t charge you monthly fees, so once you pay for a license you don’t have to worry about paying again. This is how every premium plugin should work. The only area that kind of stinks is the pricing difference between the Single Site license and the Unlimited Site license.

In my opinion there’s no reason not to pay the extra $28, since you would be able to use the platform on any of your sites in the future. This isn’t really a bad thing, but a company pricing strategy that gets you to spend a little more money.


The big question with list building is how quickly and efficiently you can build your lists. I wouldn’t say it’s all that easy to test one list building plugin compared to another, but you can go through and see how quickly you can setup a form and if the forms are effective enough to start boosting enrollments on your email list.

To start, the templates and designs are stunning. I would venture to say that they are some of the best forms I’ve seen in a list building plugin. They also place well on your website, which has always been important to me, since I don’t want to mess around with any code when putting enrollment forms on my sites.

The only area I didn’t like was the form editor. It took a while to figure out what all the buttons were for, and even after that there were times where I tried to change some text and the cursor just wouldn’t let me select the text area. I’m not saying the usability wont improve, but when I played around with it I found myself wanting to punch the screen. In short, it was a tad finicky.

The Clean Interface

Moving throughout the dashboard is quick and easy, since the Thrive team clearly wanted to ensure that plenty of white space was prevalent. I also noticed that the reports and split tests don’t flood you with unnecessary information. Thrive obviously understands that website owners only look at a few metrics when testing out how to build their email lists.

The Bottom Line

I’d choose Thrive Leads if you want striking forms to start building your email lists. The setup is straightforward, and I wouldn’t worry about some of the form editor features coming to fruition. Overall, it’s a new plugin, but promising and affordable.

That’s it for the Thrive Leads Review.

Get Thrive Leads Plugin

How to Setup Thrive Leads for Rapid List Building

Step 1: Creating Your Account and Activating the Plugin

Start by going to the Thrive Lead landing page. Click on the Build Your List Faster button to check out the pricing options for this plugin.

Since Thrive Leads is a powerful premium plugin you must pay for a site license. What are the plans?

Single Site License ($39)

  • Only works on one site
  • Free and unlimited updates
  • All features included
  • One year of support

Unlimited Sites License ($67)

  • Use the plugin on all of the sites you own
  • All features are included
  • Unlimited updates for free
  • One year of support

Agency License ($127)

  • Use the plugin on your own sites and client sites
  • All features included
  • Unlimited updates for free
  • One year of support

Choose the plan that works best for your business, and complete the checkout process. This allows you to create a membership account and go to the Membership Dashboard. This is where you find the list of products available to you.

Scroll down to the Plugins list and select the Download button next to Thrive Leads. You’ll also notice that the ThriveThemes company provides nice tutorials and a forum if you have any problems along the way.

Once you download the Thrive Leads zip file to your computer you can upload it to the backend of your WordPress website. Go to Plugins > Add New in your toolbar and upload the Thrive Leads zip file to your dashboard. Activate the plugin after that.

This brings up a dedicated Thrive Leads tab on the left hand side of your dashboard. Click on this button to move forward.

In the membership area of your ThriveThemes account you can find a License Key that needs to be punched into your WordPress dashboard. Click through the warning label on your dashboard and paste in the License Key and email address to activate the license. Now you’re ready to start building your list!

Activate Your License

Step 2: Creating Lead Groups

Navigate back to the Thrive Leads dashboard to view a few steps to start building your email list acquisition system. The first step is to add a few Lead Groups, so click on the Add New button.

Add New Lead Group

Lead groups help you separate different promotions or giveaways you might hold on the site. So, for example, one might be called “Weight Loss Report,” while another might be “20 percent off coupon.” I’d recommend naming these groups after the items or discounts you plan on giving away in exchange for an email address.

I’m going to call my group “eBook Giveaway.” Click on the Add Lead Group button to proceed.

Now you’ll see a list of all the lead groups you currently have. On the far right hand side of each lead group you can find three little buttons for making changes. The first one looks like a “+” sign, and this lets you view details and add items like widgets, ribbons and slide-ins for this group.

ebook Giveaway

Click on this icon to open up your options.

Let’s say we want to add a Slide In box that shows up at the lower right corner of your website to collect email addresses. Click on the Add button to the far right of the Slide In option.

Click on the Create Form button.

Name your form to specify what the form looks like. For example, I am going to name my form “Blue Variation” to remind myself that this particular form has a blue shade. This comes in handy when you try to test which forms work best down the road.

Once you save the form name you will see a list of your forms. You have the option to change things like display frequency, position on your website and the trigger. Right now, I’m going to stick with the default trigger, frequency, and position, so it will display immediately on page load, pop up every seven days, and display on the bottom right of my website.

Step 3: Editing Your Form

The most important area is the blue pencil button on the far left side. Click on this to edit your form.

Orange Form

This opens up a new page where you can select from one of the pre-designed templates. Select the one you like the most. Once you check off one of the templates you need to scroll down and click the Choose Template button at the very bottom.

Choose Template

Now you can edit the slide in form to match your branding and display a call-to-action that prompts people to punch in their email address.

This gives you a pretty cool visual editor for you to click around and change just about every element you can see on the form. Feel free to click on the form and change the text shown. You can also click on the image to upload your own image or choose a solid color background. Whenever you click on an area in the form it reveals a General Options module.

For example, if you click on the form image you can go in and upload a new image, change the background color, and modify the border type.

Step 4: Input Your Autoresponder Code

One of the most important parts of the form setup process is to include your autoresponder details so that when someone punches in an email address it gets registered in your email list provider and the system sends them an autoresponder. For example, you can paste in your MailChimp or AWeber codes so that those systems are completely integrated.

In order to do this, click on the field where people can type in their information like email addresses and names.


This reveals another module for making changes, but you want to focus on the Autoresponder button. Click this button, then paste in your autoresponder code so you can collect email addresses and other information seamlessly. The code depends on your email provider, but you’ll want to find the Raw HTML Embed form code to paste in here.

Click on the Generate Fields button to proceed.

Insert Autoresponder Code

Just to the right you can find a giant list of content elements that you can add to your form. Do you want to include an additional image in your form? Click on the Image button. You can scroll through these to see which ones apply to your website or company, but some of the cooler ones include a countdown ticker, a star rating, testimonial and pricing table.

If you screw something up or just want to test out what these elements look like you can always click on the Undo button at the top of the editor.

Once you have the form looking just the way you want it, click on the Save Changes button. After that, you can click on the Preview button to see what the form looks like on your site. Then, you can navigate away from your editor and go back to your Thrive Leads dashboard.

Preview and Save

Step 5: Set Your Targeting Options

Once back in your dashboard you can click on the little icon to set your targeting options.

Targeting Options

This page asks you where you want the form to show up on your site. For now, I’m just going to have the lead page come up on my homepage. Once this is activated, go to the frontend of your website to see the slide in form work its magic. You can also test the various other pages on your site depending on where you decided to target.

Thrive Leads sidebar optin

If you really wanted to you could stop here and just use this single email capture form to start building your list, but that’s not where the true power of Thrive Leads comes into play.

Step 6: Creating Lead Shortcodes in Thrive Leads

The next big step is to create Lead Shortcodes for quickly placing lead forms throughout your website whenever you want. In the dashboard, click on the Add New button next to the Lead Shortcodes header.

Lead Shortcodes

Create a name for your shortcode to remember what it refers to when you go back and look at your stats.

Add Shortcode

You need to create a form before generating a shortcode, so feel free to create one if you haven’t done so already. In this tutorial we’ve already created a form, so the plugin automatically generates a shortcode for us.

Ebook shortcode

Every shortcode has a set of brackets, like this: [ ], with some text and numbers between the brackets. What’s the point of this? You can copy the shortcode and place it anywhere in your website. So, if you created a form in the previous steps and now you want to drop the same form in the middle of one of your posts, all you have to do is paste this shortcode into that post.

It minimizes the need for coding on your end. Use these shortcodes in your pages, posts, sidebars, and widgets.

Step 7: Setting up 2-Step Lightboxes

The final major step is to create two-step lightboxes. What do these do for your site? They work with links so that users have to click on a link in order to view the lightbox email subscribe form. In short, instead of forcing a popup on the screen, this gives your user the option to click on a link and view the subscribe form.

Click on the Add New button next to the 2 Step Lightboxes header.

Once again you will have to create a name for your lightbox. As long as you have a form already created the plugin makes a shortcode for a two step lightbox. Copy this and use it in your posts, pages or wherever on your site.

Lightbox code

What’s different about this shortcode? Well, it gives you two sets of shortcode brackets. Why? Because you can punch in text between the two shortcodes. This text turns into a link, which your user can click on and view the lightbox.

Click here

How is Thrive Leads Different from the Competitors?

Thrive Leads has a few differences and advantages compared to competitors like Optin Monster, SumoMe, LeadPages, Plugmatter, and OptinForms.

  • Price, functionality, and ease of use is generally where Thrive Leads excels.
  • You can customize things easier with Thrive Leads, whereas it’s a little tough to make lots of changes with tools like Optin Monster.
  • Thrive Leads is fairly easy to setup, whereas tools like Plugmatter are a little less intuitive and require you to add a line of code during the setup.
  • The pricing is reasonable with Thrive Leads compared to Optin Monster where it gets a little pricey when you want to add additional form types.

Final Review

That’s just about it for learning how to setup Thrive Leads on your WordPress website.

You can also change fonts and icons to better suit your branding strategy. Feel free to check out your reports for when you start testing which forms are working best for you.

Visit Thrive Leads Plugin

We hope you found our Thrive Leads review useful. You may also to check out our comparison on top 10 WordPress landing page plugins.

Overall, the Thrive Leads interface is rather intuitive, and it gives you professional templates for rapidly boosting the potential of your email list. Share your thoughts in the comments section if you have any questions about Thrive Leads.

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