Issue #240

Sent to members on January 16, 2019

Thrive Leads vs OptinMonster?

Optin Form Plugins – And Thrive Leads Vs OptinMonster

As we continue with our grand tour of the “perfect” set of tools for a blog-based online business (we’re calling it the “tech stack”), we need to dive back into the subject of email list building.

See, in the beginning, we talked about creating landing pages with Wordpress. And these standalone pages will be used to build your list, make sales, and do any number of things in your business.

However, what about the blog itself? We need to build our list there, too. In fact, our blog posts is where most of our incoming traffic will come, so it is obviously pretty prime real estate.

So, we need a way to build and manage opt-in forms on your blog, too. Here are the requirements for a good opt-in form system:

  • Must be fairly easy to use and design opt-in forms that jive with the look and feel of our site.
  • Needs to be able to insert opt-in forms inside of content and deliver content upgrades
  • Needs to be able to manage opt-in forms easily
  • Needs to be able to manage split testing of forms so you can improve the conversion rate over time

Let’s look at some viable options for our tech stack….

Now, this list deserves a few comments…

First up, this is far from an exhaustive list of opt-in plug-ins. In fact, you’ll also find many freebies out there. Thing is… they’re not as good. Since my goal here is to talk about the “perfect” tech stack, I’m going to mention the tools that I think are most worthy of that. But, if you want to give a free opt-in form plug-in a try, by all means. 🙂 In the end, it is about getting the job done. The tool you use to do it is up to you.

Secondly, many email list hosts offer a built-in way to do opt-in forms. However, in most cases, I don’t recommend you use them. The opt-in form designers of the email list companies are not designed (mostly) to work tightly with Wordpress. In most cases, any opt-in form you design with them will stand out like a sore thumb on your site…. and not in a good way that converts. 🙂 I’ve seen many people, for instance, using a free Mailchimp account and will use the free Mailchimp opt-in forms on their blogs. It looks like crap and doesn’t convert, so why do it?

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Now, the one exception to this, in my opinion, would be ConvertKit. When I was recently evaluating ConvertKit as an email list host, I was rather impressed with their Wordpress plug-in. This makes sense, though, seeing as ConvertKit was designed specifically for bloggers. The forms you design with ConvertKit are actually pretty nice, and integration with your site is as simple as dropdown menus. Impressive about this integration is that you can even personalize content on your blog based on what tags are on a person’s profile inside of ConvertKit. I’ve not seen any other system that can do something like that until you go up into higher-end paid tools.

Now, in terms of real opt-in form plug-ins, my top recommendation is Thrive Leads. This is what I use personally across much of my own site. It does everything you need it to do and is, indeed, a professional tool.

OptinMonster is also pretty popular. No doubt, it is a great plug-in and very professional. The fact that it is a hosted solution that integrates with Wordpress rather than fully-hosted on your own site also gives OptinMonster power and flexibility that others may not. The tradeoff, however, is that OptinMonster costs more. For the cost of one year of membership in the Plus level of account at OptinMonster, you could get an entire Thrive Membership. With that Thrive membership, you’d have access to far more than just an opt-in form plugin. Plus, Thrive Leads does everything OptinMonster does without the limitations. So, I take absolutely nothing away from the power of OptinMonster. It is indeed a great tool. However, Thrive is just a much better deal and better bang for the buck.

So, we’ll leave it at that for today. Optin form plug-ins is indeed a topic that has been discussed many times already. 🙂 But, it is part of our stack and it needs to be addressed.

Let’s end off with a look at where our full stack stands so far…


We’re adding things onto our stack, piece by piece. We’ll move things around as things become more complete. 🙂

So far, with this set of tools (and bear in mind, you only need to choose one tool per box), we already have ourselves a pretty well functioning marketing stack. Our Wordpress site has the ability to make sales, deliver paid content, and build our list. Those are the basics.

But, there’s more. At least if we’re moving this toward “perfection”. 🙂 After all, we’ve got the matter of integration of all these things, metrics, social media, and more. So, we’ll keep moving along. 🙂

Next time, my young grasshopper. 🙂

In fact, this stack is now getting big enough where it could become a little unwieldy. Next issue, let’s talk about putting some kind of order into it.

– David

Tech Talk

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