Podcast Episode

266 – Capture More Email Leads with Thrive Themes


Tip of the week

Many of us have copyright dates on our blogs, websites, newsletters or other types of content. Don’t forget to update those to 2016 if they’re not done automatically!

<? echo "Copyright © ".date('Y'); ?>

Capture More Email Leads with Thrive Themes

Today, I talk with Shane Melaugh from ThriveThemes.com about the different lead capture plugins that his company offers.

– ThriveLeads
– ThriveThemes
– ContentBuilder
– LandingPages

Plus, we dive in to hear how Shane really feel about shortcodes 🙂

Call To Action

I highly recommend checking out Thrive Themes or Thrive Lead to boost your email subscribers in 2016.

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

Hello, everybody, welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer podcast. My name is Dustin, and today we are sending off the new year, and we’ll be talking about how to capture more leads with Thrive themes. And we’ll get to that in just a second.

I do have a couple announcements. You may have gotten an email over the last few weeks from WordPress.com about the annual report, so if you have a website that is hosted with WordPress.com or a Jetpack-hosted site that has Jetpack enabled, obviously connected to WordPress.com, you will have gotten this email all about all the stats for your website. And it’s pretty interesting to see what days you posted over the year, like how many visits you got and all that good stuff.

So if you have that, you want to definitely check that out just to see how well you’ve been posting, and see if you can set any new goals for the year 2016.

Also, I wanted to point out a thing that I saw on WP Tavern, and this is a plug-in called Mailbag, and it is stated to offer dead simple email subscription forms. And so it’s very similar to what Mail Poet was, but this is called Mailbag. And so you want to definitely check that out if you’re interested in doing something along those lines.

I guess it actually is a way to add the form to your website that will actually connect to some of those other services that are out there, like this one says campaign monitor, and other ones are out there as well. So if it’s something that you’re interested in, be sure to take that into consideration.

Another thing that I want to share today, and the last part is it’s doing a plug-in this week. I’m gonna share a tip of the week and I just want to make sure that you have taken into consideration all of those copyright dates on your websites. Want to make sure that those are all up to the latest year.

And there is a little bit of code that I’ve added in the show notes that you can actually add to PHP and it will dynamically update every single year, which is really nice, and then you don’t have to remember to go out and do that every single year.

You will have to put this code inside your function, or inside your footer file, if you will, or you know, there’s probably different ways to do this if you’re using like Genesis Theme or something. You may be able to put some code into those blocks, some PHP code. Otherwise you need to be able, you have to put it somewhere where your theme can run PHP. So that’s something to remember as well.

Okay, in today’s main segment of the show we talk to Shane over at ThriveThemes.com, and we’re going to talk about how their theme shop is different than some of the other Word Press theme shops, and I think you’re actually gonna like it. So with that, without any further ado, let’s roll that interview.

All right, hello everybody. Today I am excited to share an interview with you, and today we’re talking with Shane from Thrivethemes.com, and we’re gonna be talking about what makes Thrive Themes different than other theme shops out there, and just how we can use, and the power and the leverage that this system has, or these themes and plug-ins have so that we can really extend the use of our Word Press site and really capture leads and capture people that are coming to our website.

So Shane, thanks for joining me on this show.

Shane: Hey, Dustin, thank you for having me. I’m looking forward to this.

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. So I guess in a nutshell, can you give me a real brief snippet of just why Thrive Themes is different than other theme shops that are out there?

Shane: Yeah. Quite simply, what we have is we have a marketing angle and we have more specifically a conversion focus, and the whole reason we started Thrive Themes was because – well, first of all, you know, I’m a Word Press user myself. I’ve been using it ever since I built my first website.

And one of the things that started frustrating me as my own business skills were growing and as I was building more and more websites and more and more projects and so on, one of the things that was annoying me is just how there are all these different plug-ins and themes available for Word Press, but for me as a marketer, as an online business owner, most of them weren’t really geared towards me.

So what I saw, for example, with themes is that they usually have a design and technology focus. You can always find themes that follow the latest design trends and use the latest HTML 5 and CSS tricks and whatnot. So we can have whatever it is, right, whatever it is right now. So it could be – these things come and go. Parallax scrolling, full-screen video background sliders, multi-layer animations. This kind of stuff. Right?

It’s exciting from a design and technology standpoint, but if your goal is to have a website that actually converts people, that converts people into subscribers, into buyers, into members, and so on, then all of that is really just a distraction. None of these things are useful for that.

But there are a whole lot of things that are useful for converting people, and I didn’t find any providers in the Word Press space that really had their finger on the pulse in the conversion area and were providing the stuff that I wanted there. And so I decided to become that provider myself.

Dustin: Gotcha. So how do you feel about themes that bundle with like 30 sliders in 92 different colors and all those features? Those are your favorite, right?

Shane: Yeah, well, I know why this happens. I know why this happens. It’s because there’s demand for this, and I think this is just a very typical beginner’s mistake, if I can say that. I mean, because I used to do the same. I remember that in one of my early websites, I purchased a theme that was advertised as being especially customizable, and I spent – I don’t even want to remember how much time I spent making design tweaks and doing all these, making all these small changes.

The problem was – and the end result, it took me weeks to basically build this website with all the customizations I had in mind, and the end result was a really slow and really ugly website. Because guess what? I am not a web designer. And so what nobody told me is that I had no business doing web design work because I’m not a web designer. It takes years of training to be a good web designer, right? I didn’t have that. I just bought a theme.

So I basically wasted unbelievable amounts of time on making a website progressively worse with every tweak I made. And yeah, but I know why this happens. I know why most theme providers do that, right? And they advertise that, they say, “Okay, you have 15 different sliders,” like you say. “You have all these features, you can customize everything,” and so on and so forth. And that happens because there’s demand for that.

But like I said, and you know, that’s fine. There’s a whole big chunk of the market, that’s what they want. They want to play around with customization options and so on. We’re not trying to appeal to them. We’re trying to appeal to those people who go, “Wait a minute. I actually want to make some money with my website. I actually want this to be an effective business website.”

And those are the ones we cater to.

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. It’s like the marketing gimmicks, like oh, the ones with the most features are gonna be the best themes. But in reality, they’re not because there are so many features that have to load every time you’re – even when your dashboard loads, and it just takes forever to get everything set up and perfect, and yeah.

So I used to be in the same frame of mind. I used to buy those themes, customize them. But that just takes way, way, way too much time. And like yourself, I am not a designer, either, and so I like nice-looking themes, but I don’t want to have to program them and get them working the way that I need to. So yeah.

So let’s talk a little bit. So we’ve got – I’ve spent some time just kind of checking out Thrive Themes, and spending some time on your website. But let’s just kind of tackle, you’ve got several different products out there.

Shane: Yep.

Dustin: And let’s just go with the Thrive Themes. And we talked a little bit about earlier that they’re themes that are designed to help people convert either into sales or into, you know, email signups or whatnot. And can you explain a little bit what the mindset is, or what types of features have you added that helps that conversion process?

Shane: So one of the – well, there’s actually two things. There’s two things that we focus on very strongly with the themes, and the first one is readability by default. So that’s another thing that I noticed with many, many themes, and again, this comes from a design perspective, where just the readability of the content isn’t that great by default.

And one of the reasons is that if you’re building a design, and you have a whole lot of lorem ipsum filler text in there, and so it’s not actual text, you’re just building a layout and a design, it often looks quite cool, for example, to have kind of gray text on a white background. Maybe a small font. If you kind of step back and squint your eyes, that looks cool.

The problem is if you actually want to read it, that is super annoying because it’s low contrast. And there are things like what’s the line height? What’s the font size? What font is being used? What does this font look like on different devices? That it only matters once you actually sit down to read 1,000 words written in that font.

Which again, in most cases the designer doesn’t do that. It’s not the designer’s job, right?

And so that’s one of the things where if you install any one of our themes, just by default that is taken care of. By default, any content you create in that theme will have the kind of readability; it will have these details about the typography taken care of so that it makes your content readable.

And this is something that a lot of people never even think about, but it’s actually so important. If you strain the eyes of your reader, then your readers will never engage with your content, and that means that even if you produce the best content and you have amazing sales pages and so on, nobody will want to read it, and that’s the end of it right there, right?

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely.

Shane: And so that’s one of the things that we put a lot of emphasis on. And another one is speed. So that’s one of the most important conversion factors. There are some absolutely spectacular statistics about this as well. So, if you do a search on what kind of factors, or how the loading speed of the website affects conversions, it’s quite shocking, actually. It’s very well researched, and yeah, it’s quite shocking, how it’s probably the number one way to kind of, let’s say, to do damage to the bottom line of an online business, is to make a website slow. It drives people away like nothing else.

And it’s on the one hand, you know, if someone comes to your website and it takes several seconds, like let’s say it takes ten seconds to load, you’ve probably already lost about a third of potential visitors by the time that page loads, right? Because some people, they just won’t stick around for that.

But also, if in general your website is a bit sluggish, the most sluggish it is, the more reluctant people will be to engage with it, right? If I know that every time I click something, I have to wait for ten seconds before something happens, then even if what you write about is interesting to me, or even if your product is interesting to me, I’m reluctant to click on anything because I know that every time I click, I basically get punished with this waiting period.

And again, you know, at first glance might seem, “Oh, come on. I mean, if people want to buy this thing, they’re gonna buy it.” But the reality is that it’s these tiny changes that can make the difference between someone engaging with your site further or not. That can make the difference between someone returning to your site for a future visit or not.

And so because speed is so important, that’s the other big factor we look at. And, well, one of the things we do to increase the speed of themes is we just remove a lot of stuff, right? We try to remove everything that’s not absolutely necessary to keep it as lean as possible.

And we also build in some things that usually – so for example, we have a simple and highly speed-optimized social sharing button feature in our themes, which can replace a potentially slow plug-in, right? You might have a plug-in that, again, you know, some plug-in that adds 5,000 different social sharing buttons to your posts, but it adds also 30 seconds to the loading time, right?

And so, we build in some things like that, where we can say, “Look, you don’t need this plug-in anymore.” That’s an instant speed boost. And you can trust that the feature that we build is super, super speed optimized because that’s the thing we’re totally obsessed with.

Dustin: Yeah, absolutely. That is awesome. So I like that. I love that that’s like your main driving factor, is like making the theme as lean as possible. That’s almost the opposite of what everybody else is doing. Everybody else is like adding all these features, and you guys are doing as much as possible to make it lean and to keep out the stuff – or just build stuff in that you know people are gonna use so they don’t need additional plug-ins and extra things to manage on the back end of their Word Press site.

And so I really, really appreciate that, and I really like that.

Another thing that – another product, if you will, that you guys have is the Thrive Leads, and that’s the ability for people to capture leads. Now, is that a stand-alone plug-in, or is that built in with the themes? Can it be used on our own? I guess can we just kind of talk about what Thrive Leads are, and can I add Thrive Leads to my website that’s not running a Thrive Theme? And if you’re using a Thrive Theme, is that already built in?

I know I threw like 19 questions at you, but –

Shane: Yeah.

Dustin: Ready, set, go.

Shane: Okay, so Thrive Leads is a separate plug-in.

Dustin: Okay.

Shane: That works independently of our themes, but it also works together with our themes. But it is always an independent plug-in. And so yeah, Thrive Leads is, again, we have that conversation approach, and one of the most important or most valuable things that most online businesses can do is build a mailing list. And so we wanted to build the plug-in for building a mailing list in Word Press, and that’s what Thrive Leads is.

And so of course we have the same – one of the important factors is the speed factor. We make sure that whatever you do with this, it’s always as lean as possible; it doesn’t slow down your site. That’s one of the things we also take care of.

But then we also have in Thrive Leads – well, first of all, we also follow the philosophy of this replaces all of your other stuff. Because that’s another thing where I’ve seen on some websites, they’ll have one plug-in to insert an opt-in form and a sidebar, and then a different plug-in that generates a slide-in, and a different plug-in that does a, I don’t know, like a pop-up on exit or something like that.

Dustin: Sure.

Shane: And so you have like, three different plug-ins running at the same time, which again is just not good. It’s just not good for your website, not good for your speed.

So one thing we take care of in Thrive Leads is that you can do all of that, whether you want to have opt-in forms inside your content or opt-in forms that open when someone clicks a button, or opt-in forms that slide in from the top of the screen, or opt-in forms that cover the – whatever it is. Whatever it is, if you can think of it, you can build it in Thrive Leads.

And so you don’t need to have a whole collection of other plug-ins to do this one job, essentially.

Dustin: Yeah.

Shane: And then the other thing is that, again, we take testing, or we take conversions very, very seriously, and that means we take statistics and testing and reporting very seriously. So in most list-building plug-ins will advertise that you can do A/B testing, but if you actually look at exactly what did they measure, how did they measure it and how did they determine a winner in an A/B test, you can quickly poke holes in that.

And anyone who’s spent some time researching conversion optimization knows that the statistical part is very, very important. You can easily make a small mistake in how you interpret statistics and end up with a 100 percent wrong result.

And the truth is that a lot of plug-ins that claim to have A/B testing features make these kinds of mistakes, which means they will produce results and they will maybe even draw nice-looking graphs for you, but they’re essentially just basically gibberish, right? It’s not a real result and it doesn’t reflect anything that happens in reality, and that’s a real shame. If you’re running A/B tests on fictitious data, essentially, and you think that you’re improving something, but you’re actually not improving anything, that’s a real shame.

And so this is something we invest a lot in, to make sure that when you run an A/B test in Thrive Leads, the results are rock solid, and you have very detailed reporting. We show you – I mean, one of the most important things is we show you the entire raw data exactly as it’s collected, right? We don’t just tell you, “Oh, this one converts 50 percent better; you should pick it as a winner.” We show you the exact numbers. You can do your own math on it if you want, right?

We also have extremely detailed reporting. You can see exactly where your leads are coming from, which opt-in forms are converting. We even report the difference between the total conversions we’re measuring on your site and the number of new leads you’re getting, so that if you have multiple opt-in offers and the same person opts into more than one of them, that’s multiple conversions, but it’s one new lead.

And we even, you know, we have a content marketing report where we break down which pieces of content have what conversion rate and generate how many leads for you. We have a report that shows you what referral sources your leads are coming from, and so on.

So this is, in statistics and reporting, this is almost enterprise-level stuff that we have built into Thrive Leads. Because again, that’s our focus. That’s what we take seriously.

Dustin: Yeah, that is awesome, and it’s all located, too, in your Word Press dashboard. You don’t have to go off to some third-party service like Mail Chimp and try to figure out what is going on and all of those things.

Shane: Yep.

Dustin: Because I know A/B testing is difficult to get set up, depending on what system that you’re using, of course. And then to interpret all those results, like it can be mind-blowing, and I think that’s sometimes why people will put on their to-do list, like “A/B test this form,” and then it’s on there for months and months and months because it’s just so tedious to set up and actually figure out what is working and what isn’t working, and all of those pieces of the puzzle, for sure.

Shane: Yeah, and for my own sites, and I would also recommend that if anyone, if you use Thrive Leads, I recommend that you really do all of your lead generations through Thrive Leads because the reporting in most email marketing tools is somewhere between mediocre and nonexistent, right?

And in a way, I can understand that. That’s like not their job, right? Their job is to do the whole email templates and deliverability and all that. Like I can understand that someone, that Mail Chimp or whoever, that they don’t have a lot of spare resource to put into statistics and all that.

But that’s also one of the reasons why, yeah, why for my own sites, I make sure that every single opt-in form on my site is a Thrive Leads opt-in form, so that I have those statistics somewhere. Because I certainly don’t have them in my email marketing service.

Dustin: Absolutely. And the one last big piece of the puzzle that’s kind of housed over on ThriveThemes.com is the content builder, and I love the video that you created. And it said something along the lines of, like, “Beware. If you see this, you may never want to go back to your Word Press normal dashboard.”

Shane: Yeah.

Dustin: Which I’m like, okay, like let’s see what this is. And I saw the video, and I was blown away with how it works. It feels like this is the way that Word Press should work.

Shane: Yeah.

Dustin: And then when I actually got my hands on it, like I got it set up and I started playing with it, I’m like, wow, this is really slick. It didn’t feel sluggish at all, and I assume that it has the same – you guys have the same mindset behind, okay, let’s make it lightweight and only put the exact things that needs to be in there.

And I guess how does this whole fit into the puzzle of Thrive themes, like as a company or as a product service, whatever? Because it does feel like it’s not going along the lines of lead generation or lead capture, but it’s just kind of – is this kind of your way to help people customize their themes instead of throwing all these options? I guess just explain a little bit about Content Builder and some thought process behind it.

Shane: Yeah, so originally Content Builder was actually the first Thrive themes product, and even though – so yeah, like the name implies, it’s there for creating your content, so you can create your blog post in Content Builder or you can create a page in Content Builder instead of in the default Word Press editor.

And yeah, like you said, that might seem like, well, what does that have to do with conversions? But it was actually the original Thrive Themes product because that was the first most frustrating thing that we wanted to solve, is if you are trying to create a sales page or a landing page using the Word Press editor, you will age about ten years, right? It is so, so frustrating.

And basically the best solution you can do within Word Press is work with short code, so you have some plug-in that has all these short codes, and you have this horrible monster of nested short codes, and it actually kind of, in some cases, it’s almost more confusing to look at all this short code nonsense going on than it is to just look at HTML code, right? Because it ends up being kind of the same thing. You have opening and closing short codes and stuff in between.

And that’s what we wanted to solve. Because that was so frustrating, so time-consuming, building sales pages and this kind of, in general, just marketing-driven content in the Word Press editor. So that’s what the Content Builder is for, and the idea of the Content Builder is actually quite simple. Is imagine that you knew nothing about how content on a website is created and edited. What do you think it would be like?

Because if you ask people that, nobody says, “Well, I think what should happen is that if I edit a post, it takes me to a completely different view in the back end, and there I can make changes that in an interface that looks completely different from my website. And then if I want to see how the changes I made, they are actually affect my website, I have to open a separate tab with a preview and find the place where I made the change on the front end of my site, which again, looks completely different from the editor. And then I have to switch back into the tab with my editor and make a change there again, and then update that and wait for the page to refresh.”

Like nobody would say that that’s a good solution, right? But that’s how it works. That’s how content editing works, right?

And so Thrive Content Builder is basically saying, well, what would be the best solution if you knew nothing about this? And our solution is that you look at the page on your website on the front end. You’re not in the admin area. You’re looking at your post or at your page. And if you want to change something, you click on it and you start changing it. Right?

And so if you click on some text, you can start writing. If you click on a button, you can change the color of that button. You can change the text on the button. And so on. And you can just drag and drop stuff. You can drag and drop an image into your content. You can change the size of the image with a slider. And it instantly updates, right? You don’t have to do some kind of mental translation or wait for a page refresh or anything like that. It’s just you edit your website instead of editing the back end of your website. That’s the basic idea behind Content Builder.

Dustin: Yeah, and it is genius. It feels like that’s the way Word Press should be.

Shane: Yeah.

Dustin: And your video was correct, I am not dreading – not really dreading, but like just as you were saying that, it’s like, oh yeah, that is true. If you want to build this, you either have to build your own short code to do this, or you click a button and it generates the short code content, and you’re like, “What does this really look like?” And then even with the visual mode within Word Press, it just doesn’t do justice because it’s just the text, and you don’t see it with the sidebar, and you don’t see it with the header and the images and all that good stuff.

So I think that Content Builder is an amazing piece of technology that people should definitely go and check out, and at least see the video or at least take a look at it and really see how this could make your life so much easier. I know within Word Press support, we all the time get, “Well, how do I change a color for this?” Or, “How do I do this, and how do I do that?”

And it’s just like everybody assumes that when they edit a web page, it’s like editing a Word document. That they should be able to highlight things and go click a button, and it just works like that. Well, the web technology is just a little different, but I think you guys nailed it and really did a really good job with Content Builder and just make it super easy to create that content. Or to create that page of layout exactly. Not even create it like a sales page. Super, super simple.

So I think in kind of a nutshell, like Thrive Themes as I see it, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like it’s kind of a combination of awesome themes, and you guys also have like the ability to let almost like an opt-in monster/all those other opt-in form plug-ins that are out there, plus kind of a little bit of, what’s it – it’s called lead pages, and all of those things.

But they’re all – like usually people have to use like seven different systems to get it all done, but it feels like Thrive themes can do all of it just kind of magically together, and efficiently and quickly.

Shane: Yeah. I mean, our goal is, again, I’m also saying this from a marketer’s perspective. I’ve been working very specifically in direct online marketing for a long time now. That’s my thing. And our goal is to provide all the essential tools that a marketer needs and to make sure that it’s built by people who live and breathe this stuff every day, right? It’s not built by designers who think, “Oh, this would be cool.” Or it’s not built by someone who thinks, “Oh, I know, I could – here’s a plug-in that might be a business opportunity.” It’s none of that.

It’s like we build this stuff because we’re knee deep in this work every single day, and we build the stuff that helps us do our work well, right? And so I think that’s really important. It comes from that right perspective, right?

Dustin: Absolutely. So say somebody has a goal of 2016 of really capturing leads. Or maybe they’re interested, let’s say, in any piece of this puzzle that we talked about. Content Builder, the Thrive plug-in to capture leads, maybe a new theme from Thrive themes. How’s the best way for them to check out more, and what type of pricing structure do you have?

Shane: Okay, so one of the things to do, so basically all of our products are available separately, and you can get them, the prices range from something like $50 to $100 depending on what license you get. But because we know that a lot of people – and also, you know, before we did Thrive Themes, we sold different plug-ins as well, and a lot of people end up buying all of them, basically, because like I say, we build stuff based on user demand and we build stuff based on what’s really needed.

And so to make that easier for people, we created a membership. So you can become a Thrive member, which just gives you access to everything, and it’s for either an annual or a quarterly fee, you can basically be a subscriber to Thrive Themes. And it means you get all of our products; you get all the new products we release, just no extra cost, right? You just pay that one price, and that never changes for you.

So that’s the easiest thing to do, so if you go to Thrive Themes, you can see that one of our offers is just the membership, and you can get that as a standard membership, and I actually don’t know the prices off the top of my head. But I know it’s something in the range of $20 a month or so to just get everything.

And you can also, if you’re an agency, if you build websites for your clients, you can also get that, and that’s something in the range of $50 a month, where you can get agency access and the license to use our products with your clients as well.

And yeah, and if you kind of just want to give it a try first, if you don’t want to like jump in as a full member right away, then you can also just buy individual plug-ins and individual themes to whatever suits your needs.

Dustin: Awesome. Well, thank you, Shane, for coming on today and explaining a little bit. I know that there’s always people that have these goals of building a bigger mailing list, or just figuring out what’s happening on their website, and the data and the metrics that come with Thrive Themes is just amazing, and it’s really interesting to see like what’s working and what’s not and making tweaks and doing things to make things work better instead of just sitting back like, “Oh, it doesn’t work.”

But this helps us to know that yes, it is working, or no, it’s not working, and we know what to tweak and to set up and to change and modify.

And as Word Press people, we’re all super interested in tweaking and playing, but this, doing with actually metric results, like that makes a big deal.

So I appreciate you coming on, spending some time with us today, just kind of explaining things and how they work, and I’m sure we’ll talk with you again soon.

Shane: All right. Thank you very much for having me, Dustin.

Dustin: All right. That is going to wrap up this episode. Thanks so much for tuning in this week, and I hope that you found some value and found some interesting things about Thrive Themes. I’m actually using the Thrive Themes on Your Website Engineer right now, and so after speaking with him, I got really excited about it and I decided to give it a shot on Your Website Engineer.

And I have seen over the last two weeks, I’ve seen a lot more email subscribers to my email newsletter just from implementing the top banner and the banners there.

So that’s all I wanted to share with you. Take care. Bye-bye.

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