My Favorite WordPress Lead Generation Plugin

So, you're blogging but not getting email subscribers? Welcome to the club! It's easy to think that, with the right WordPress lead generation plugin, all your problems are fixed.

Let me explain why this couldn't be further from the truth. Once we got that misconception out of the way, I'll share what I think is the best WordPress lead generation plugin.


Let's first do a brief analysis of your situation.

There are a few key metrics you need to understand where you're at and what next steps are most important.

Even the best WordPress lead generation plugin is no cure-all

Let me emphasize this again. No lead generation plugin in the world will grow your list if the foundation is broken.

What I mean by that is, getting strangers to enter their email address on your website is a huge ask.

Your website needs to check multiple boxes to convince your visitors to sign up to your list.

Remember, that everybody's email inbox is already cluttered. We're getting more and more careful with adding more emails to the daily havoc of incoming emails.

There's a psychological process of convincing a complete stranger that your newsletter is worthy of signing up.

As Josh Spector wrote in his post on Medium:

Nobody’s going to subscribe to your newsletter as a favor to you — they need to know what’s in it for them.

The description of your newsletter has to express a clear value proposition to give people a reason to subscribe.

With this in mind, and before you do anything else, there are a few key things you can do to assess your newsletter strategy. And no, installing a different WordPress lead generation plugin is none of them (yet).

Think through your lead generation strategy:

  • What benefits does your email newsletter deliver to your audience?
  • How clearly are you conveying those benefits to your readers?
  • Are you sure your lead-magnet resonates with your audience?
  • How easy is it to find your opt-in forms?
  • What website elements are distracting from the opt-in forms?

This is by no means a complete list but should give you a good starting point.

Hint, if you're not sure if list building or monetizing your blog in other ways is more important, check out this fantastic podcast episode by my friend Matt McWilliams. He is the affiliate manager for guys like Michael Hyatt, Hal Elrod, Chandler Bolt, works with the Ziglar Family, and many other rockstar entrepreneurs.

How do you choose the right WordPress lead generation plugin?

Now that we've got the elephant in the room out of the way, let's break down the criteria for choosing the perfect WordPress lead generation plugin for your website.

Remember, your website has a unique branding - whether built consciously or unconsciously. Thus, not all lead capture methods you see on other WordPress sites will work on yours.

Also, depending on the theme that you're using, you might have to do customization work (or hire somebody to do it for you) if you want functions that your theme doesn't support out of the box.

Functions like that could be a floating sidebar that shows an opt-in form while the user scrolls through your website.

You likely already noticed, that it's not easy to pick the best WordPress lead generation plugin.

I'd go so far to say that there is no single "best" plugin for capturing leads in WordPress. The choice always depends on your specific needs.

However, there is a WordPress lead generation plugin that I find to be very versatile.

I use a plugin called Thrive Leads on almost all of the websites I build.

Here's what I love most about capturing leads with Thrive Leads:

  1. It is working with all major email marketing services.
  2. As of April 2018, you can add eleven (!) different types of opt-in forms to your site
    1. Popups that are triggered by time
    2. A ribbon that goes across the entire header
    3. A widget to be placed in sidebars or other widget areas
    4. A welcome mat
    5. In-content opt-in forms
    6. Post-footer forms
    7. Slide-in forms
    8. Screen-filler lightboxes
    9. Forms inserted via PHP
    10. Two-step popups inserted via shortcodes
    11. One-click sign-up links
  3. Thrive Leads has great looking pre-designed form templates which you can customize with a visual builder (no coding)
  4. It works on mobiles and desktops alike
  5. Their pricing is very fair

These were just five reasons why Thrive Leads is my favorite WordPress lead generation plugin - but I could go on 😉

Let me briefly walk you through how I set up the opt-in forms on WP Mastery.

My personal WordPress lead generation setup

As of the time I'm writing this article, I'm using Thrive Leads in multiple places on WP Mastery. Namely in the sidebar, in a popup and below the content.

I chose these three place, because I think that is where most of my readers will see the opt-in forms. With Thrive Leads, I can evaluate the performance of each of these forms, but more on that later in this post.

All forms are connected to my email marketing service of choice, Mailchimp.

Thrive Leads - WordPress lead generation plugin setup with Mailchimp

Inside Mailchimp, I have a list set up for WP Mastery, where all subscribers are collected.

Whenever a visitor subscribes to that list, the email gets added and an automated sequence of emails gets triggered. The purpose of that email sequence is to introduce myself to the new subscriber and to set the frame for what they can expect from being subscribed.

Even though the automation is not directly related to any WordPress lead generation plugin, I wanted to bring it up. It's important to not just set up a plugin that collects email addresses but to build relationships with those people who subscribe to your list.

Remember, those people are humans like you and me... and they expect you to deliver content that's worth their time.

Back to my Thrive Themes setup.

The opt-in form configurations on WP Mastery

At the time writing this post, I'm showing multiple opt-in forms on this page.

So far, the conversion rate on the popup form is best. In contrast, the sidebar form barely converts any leads.

I can see that statistic easily in Thrive Leads:

Statistics showing in my WordPress lead capture plugin

As you can see, those numbers aren't ideal. But at least I know that my current lead generation strategy is not converting as well as I'd like it to.

This screenshot lets me draw multiple important conclusions:

  1. My lead magnet is not ideal and does not fit the expectations of my readers. Otherwise, the conversion statistics would be higher.
  2. The "post footer" opt-in needs to be ignored, I just added that a couple of days ago (a frustrating evidence of how far my traffic has dropped).
  3. The lightbox performs better than the sidebar widget
  4. The sidebar goes unnoticed in 99.93% of all cases. A clear evidence that it is not needed when I'm redesigning the WP Mastery layout.

It's one thing if you can set up your WordPress lead generation plugin to show forms, but getting visitors to subscribe is a totally different story.

Getting visitors to subscribe isn't necessarily a matter of which WordPress lead generation plugin you're using, but how you're writing the copy on your forms and what lead magnets you're offering.

Therefore, you'll want to use a plugin that makes building nice-looking opt-in forms as easy as possible.

And that's exactly what Thrive Leads is doing:

Thrive Visual Editor for opt-in forms

This is the visual editor you can use in Thrive Leads. It makes customizing your forms incredibly easy.

Thrive Leads, my favorite lead generation plugin for WP, not only offers pre-built templates for the various types of lead generation forms - it also comes with an easy-to-use visual content builder.

If you're interested in seeing how I'm building my forms, let me know in my Facebook group!

Testing and comparing lead generation forms

The last reason I want to give for Thrive Leads being my favorite lead generation plugin for WordPress is the ability to test and compare forms against each other.

By running split tests, you can compare:

  • lead magnets
  • headlines
  • call to actions
  • colors (e.g. on buttons)

Just these four examples highlight areas in your lead generation strategy you should pay close attention to. It's important to always be optimizing for the best performance.

Here's a screenshot of a prepared split test I'm currently working on. It's not yet ready to launch as of writing this post - but I'll be comparing two variations of my popup form.

Split Test with Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is able to show the first popup to 50% of my visitors and the new popup to the other half. By then comparing the statistics on sign ups, the plugin can calculate which version of the popup will likely perform better in the future.

As you can probably see by now, Thrive Leads is a cornerstone plugin in my online strategy. That's why I wanted to share how I'm using it and give you guidance to decide whether it could benefit your business as well.

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