How to Create Call to Action Forms & the New Multi-State Scroll Mat Templates

Shane Melaugh   59

We recently introduced the Scroll Mat opt-in form type, which is large, attention grabbing and was extremely well received.

Now, we've added a new set of templates that combine the power of the Scroll Mat with the multi-step opt-in process. Watch the video to discover how you can use these new templates and how you can easily transform them from opt-in to call to action designs.​


All of the templates shown in the video are available in the Thrive Leads plugin.

Opt-In or Call to Action?

Any form in Thrive Leads can be turned from an opt-in form to a call to action. It's especially easy with these new Scroll Mats as well as other multi-step templates, since they already show one or more buttons in the default state (instead of showing an opt-in form right away).​

The only question is: when is it better to use an opt-in form and when is it better to use a CTA?

I find it useful to think of it like this: an opt-in form is really just a method for getting a visitor's attention.

There are subtle ways to do it (in-content forms, sidebar forms...) and there are highly attention-demanding ways of doing it (lightbox form, screen filler, scroll mat). But it all comes down to directing a visitor's attention towards a specific goal.

In most cases and for most businesses, the most valuable goal you can direct new visitors towards is the opt in, because that's what gives you the opportunity of building a relationship with them and turning them into fans and customers in the future.

But in some cases, it could be more beneficial to your business to direct that attention towards a specific link and that's where the CTA comes in.

​If you're making use of the SmartLinks feature, it makes a lot of sense to use a CTA as the content you show to your existing subscribers. After all, it makes no sense to ask your existing subscribers to subscribe again. But showing them a bold and clear offer for one of your products or services can make a big, positive difference to your business.

Over to You

I hope you like the new Scroll Mat templates we've added and I hope this post has given you some ideas for using opt-in forms and calls to action on your site.

If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know by leaving a comment below!​


by Shane Melaugh  November 25, 2015


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  • Very cool, Shane. I LOVE that you guys are constantly working on updates/new features and then sending out quick & easy instructions for how to use (not just technically, but strategically, as well!).

  • Another Powerful and well thought out tool from the best team in the business. You guys really are members of our own team, providing useful options with a designer’s marketing edge. Thank you.

  • Nice stuff, but I would suggest if you can add more animation to the lightbox optins. Even if I definnelty like thrive leads, when I was using optin monster I’ve got a bigger conversion rate on the lightbox..

    I think the cause of this was the animation. I’m running a new test now and I see BIG improvement just using the bounce in animation 14%:

    When I was usign optin monster I would have 9-11% conversion rate… with trhive leads around 5-7% and the only thing I guess it makes that difference is the animation. Maybe the fonts, maybe the design… I don’t know but I see the animation plays a major role.

    The swing animation would be nice, and others too.

    Thank you

    • Hello Tudor,

      Do you mean like the 20+ animations that are available in Thrive Leads? Or more like the Event Manager, with which you can add animations to any element on a page or in an opt-in form? 🙂

      When comparing conversion rates between different tools, keep in mind that reporting and calculations can vary.

      For example, in Thrive Leads, we measure every potential impression as an impression, even if the opt-in form didn’t enter the viewport. We do this so that you get the “true” conversion rate and you can accurately test and compare different opt-in form types and triggers.

      As far as I know, there are no other opt-in form solutions that measure like this. In terms of conversion rate numbers, it works against our favor because if you only measure an impression when the form comes into the viewport, the impression count is lower, thus artificially inflating the conversion rate.

      The important question is: did you get double the actual leads before, or did you just see a conversion rate number that was twice as high?

      • Aha, ok I understand now with the conversion tracking.

        Definnelty not get the double leads 🙂 I trully vote with trhive leads beeing the BEST no questions ask ! 🙂

        BUT, i think that adding more animation like swing effect and other animation would improve conversion.

        And yes it’s good ideea to try animation to the optin form elements.

      • Hey Shane, quick question about what you said below:

        Say I’m using a 2-step link optin.

        Will it register an impression just by visiting the page or only when someone clicks said link?


  • I can’t say how impressed I am with every video you release about features and updates within the Thrive arsenal.

    Love what you guy are doing.


  • Hi Shane,

    Looks great. I like it.

    Question: Can we put the scroll mat at the bottom of a page? So, they get done reading the content and then we direct them via link to our thing we want to call attention to.

    • Hello Patrick,

      A Scroll Mat can only be triggered on page load, because of the way it comes into view. If you want to have something similar triggered anywhere else, you can use a Screen Filler form for almost exactly the same effect.

    • Yes.

      However, we only measure opt-in conversions in Thrive Leads. That means that if you create a CTA (with no opt-in action), you can’t test it, since the conversions will always be 0.

  • Shane, you continue to deliver incredible value. It’s relentless and I love it. I teach my clients to focus on their customers in order to blow their competitors out of the water – and that is exactly what you and Thrive are doing. Brilliant and please never stop.

  • Hey Sean, Thanks for the update. What do you use for your video setup? I like how you start with a full-screen video, then switch to the small version. Also, your video quality looks way better than the normal webcam. How do you do it? Thanks!

    • Hello Andrew, the full screen to “bubble” effect is completely custom made. I don’t know of any easy way to do that.

      You can learn more about my video setup and all the tools I use here.

  • How does Google Adwords react to this approach? I know it’s difficult if not impossible to point an Adwords ad directly at a squeeze page. Any tips of designing the best possible sequence that ultimately leads to lead capture, yet is Adwords proof and won’t get your ads banned? I’d absolutely love to see a video on this topic.

    • This is something I can’t give any advice about, at this time. I don’t know enough about AdWords.

      However, I hope we can provide some more insights for this use case in the near future.

  • Hey Shane, it’s stunning how fast you guys develop Thrive Themes and Thrive Plugins. That’s why today I consider Thrive Themes as one of my most important sources with a strategic prominence.

  • Another great addition! I don’t know how you guys keep coming up with new ideas. Now that might be a topic for a new post; your creative ideas process at Thrive!

    • Thank you very much, Keith!

      It’s good to read that. From my perspective, I’m always anxious because there are SO MANY things we want to create and there never seems to be enough time to get to anything…

  • Do CTA and showing buttons instead of forms screw up our analytics?!

    I’ve always wanted to use Thrive leads to create different sidebar widgets etc but thought it would screw up TL site wide conversion rate

    • The only conversion we measure is an opt-in, so when you create a CTA, the conversion for that form will always be 0%.

      It won’t interfere with the analytics for any of your opt-in forms, though.

    • Thank you for your comment, Brayan! We have a plan for such a feature in one of our future plugins. It’s too early to talk about details, though.

  • Why do I open Shane’s emails and and immediately click on the link?

    Because I know there will always be something of value to be found.

    Something I can use immediately.

    Thanks Shane and the team… you are amazing!

  • I am already using thrives leads features as CTAs to drive trafic to my best pages. But What I miss is the fact that you cannot track “conversions” I wish we could state if a conversion is a filled in form or a click on a button, to test best CTA’s

    Shane if you read this…

    • Hi David,

      This conversion issue is one we will solve, eventually. However, it’s nowhere near the top of the list, so don’t expect it to happen too soon.

  • I’m totally confused. Or missing something really key. Patrick S. and I may be worried/confused about the same thing here, Shane.

    No matter how I send traffic to a page w/ a scroll mat on it I fear many of my visitors will back out. Here’s why.

    1) Visitor coming from Google. When someone arrives at my site from Google they arrive based on an article. A blog post. When they don’t see it? They’re gone. They feel like, “hu what? this isn’t what Google just told me was here.” We’re counting on them being savvy enough to

    a) see the little arrow (allowing them to see what they just came for)

    b) understand that the little arrow will get them to where they are
    expecting to go

    c) click the arrow!

    2) Visitor coming from anywhere other than Google. Let’s say my email list of customers I’m nurturing.

    Why would they expect to see a call-to-action? I just made a CTA in my email — to get them over to the Web page. I’ve set their expectation. Not for ANOTHER call-to-action. For whatever I just promised they’d see.

    At best, the call-to-action becomes an un-necessary, additional step.

    In the other scenario (where the scroll mat contains an opt-in) … again, the scroll mat is asking for them to opt-in rather than what they expect — to read the content or view the video.

    I must be missing something massive here. Because I see a scroll mat as big risk in every case.

    Any help? Thanks!

    • The important difference between a Scoll Mat and a full-screen section above your content is that the Scroll Mat appears after the page loads and visually communicates to the visitor what’s going on. So, the scenario is more like this:

      – The visitor comes from Google, looking for a thing on a specific topic.
      – They see the page with the content/post loading.
      – Then they see the Scroll Mat pushing the content down and making an offer.

      It doesn’t look like they’re on an unrelated landing page, it looks like the content loaded and then a new offer was scrolled down from the top. The visitor can also see that they can simply scroll down to return to the content.

      The key to making this work is to make sure that the Scroll Mat presents an enticing offer. As long as the offer in the Scroll Mat is more attractive than the prospect of reading the content below it, you’ll see high conversion rates.

      Of course you’re right that this isn’t something you should show to email subscribers. That’s what SmartLinks are for.

      • Thanks for explaining, Shane. You said success when using the Scroll Mat relies on the offer being stronger than the content. This is a very important distinction as my audience has “offer fatigue” in many cases. Personally, I see Scroll Mat as a:

        a) high risk (for bouncing the reader)
        b) lower value lead capture tool

        For example, I use my content (posts) to qualify leads. Thus, I would rather use a slide-in set for a 3/4 scroll… which tells me the content is being consumed and my lead is highly qualified. This captures a lead that is deeply engaged w/ the content — using a high value offer.

        Higher value than the actual content I just presented?

        In most cases, yes.

        But my people arrive at my site NOT expecting to see what they want pushed off the screen. I’m pretty sure of that. They (and I) would prefer to “prime them” for an offer — and then begin the courtship.

        I really appreciate you taking the time to make the distinction, Shane.

  • Hi Shane,
    I’m very interested to know how you utilized YouTube as a hosting platform for your video without their YouTube branding appearing in the bottom right-hand corner.

    Would love to know how to do that…


  • Hi Shane, I’m very fond of ThriveThemes and all your amazing videos and advises.
    Its easy to implement your stuff, if you are a B2C business with simple products, Ebooks, Webshop, courses etc. I’am in the B2B business helping customers with more complex industrial cleaning projects. Cleaning piping, tanks, heat exchangers, cooling towers etc. You cannot make a form with a button ” Buy Now!” I know your theme and advises work as well for B2B, but I would like to focus a little more how to make it work for this kind of customers as well. Also remember many of our customers are not sitting by a computer all day, they are not spending a lot of time writing long inquiries. They pick up the cellphone and call you. I would appreciate if you could all my kind of companies with marketing too. Most web marketing companies have no focus of our kind of business.

  • Great job. I’ve been using thrive leads for CTAs to my sales pages or down sells.

    The only issue is that thrive leads doesn’t have a feature to track clicks as a conversion rather than opt in.

    This would be great because when we run ab tests we could see which CTA gets more clicks. It would be nice to see that in the thrive leads reporting dashboard.

    I view thrive leads as more than just a tool for email conversions it can be used for other things as well.

  • I’ve just discovered that you have built in the option to have scroll mats.


    I’ve been using Sumome for the last few years, but your scroll mat is so much more valuable because you can choose ‘states’ for subscribed readers. That is, subscribers won’t see the scroll mat after they are subscribed or will see one that doesn’t ask them to subscribe AGAIN.

    I mean, you’ve got this treasure in the Thrive Themes toolbox – and I bet hardly anyone knows about it! That’s a concern for your brand.

    My suggestion is to round up some top-of-the-line affiliates and ask them to be evangelists for Thrive Themes. This is what Sumome has done and this strategy has worked VERY well for them.

    (I’ve written for Sumome, that’s how I know about their strategy…)

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