How to Set Up a Complete Lead Generation Funnel

Hanne   184

Updated on August 15, 2023

In today's video, follow along and watch over my shoulder as I build a complete lead generation funnel from scratch.

And it's not just any old funnel, it's one that's optimized for high conversions and built to give your new subscribers a satisfying and smooth signup process. First impressions count and with this method, you'll make a shining first impression!


What Is a Lead Generation Funnel?

Every business needs to generate leads. A well-known lead generation technique is to give away a free report in return of email an address. The process of getting people to find, get interested in and sign up for an email list happens though a lead generation funnel

You will need to build the following pages to create a lead generation funnel:

  • A Lead Generation Landing Page
  • A Confirmation Landing Page
  • A Download Landing Page

Let's see together how to build up these pages with Thrive Architect. Then, we'll go though the process of connecting your lead generation landing page with your email provider, so your lead generation machine can work seamlessly.

Funnel Building: The Tools

In the video, I'm using Thrive Architect to create the landing pages and Active Campaign as an example of how to integrate with an autoresponder system.

The Resources

PDF Guides and Opt-in Offers

To convince visitors to sign up to your email list, you'll need a bribe. This bride is most often a PDF of some sort.

If you're not sure what to include in the PDF, you can follow our free Thrive University course that explains how to create a compelling opt-in bribe in 6 steps.

If making the actual PDF is where you get stuck, take a look at this article on how to create a designer-worthy PDF (even if you have no design sense).

A good image to represent your PDF guide will make the offer more enticing. You can learn how to create one following this article.

And finally if you're looking for something more creative than a simple PDF, check out our article about 13 brilliant opt-in incentive examples you can use in your business.

Connecting Your Email Service

In the video, I show you how to set up the funnel using Active Campaign, but you can use any email provider you like.

We integrate with all major email services and have tutorials on how to connect with API here.

The Landing Page Funnel: Step by Step

Lead generation funnel step-by-step

1. The Lead Generation Landing Page

Create a new page on your site, give it a title (for internal use) and open Thrive Architect.

Go to page settings in to bottom menu and click on "change landing page template". This allows you to choose from one of the hundreds of landing page templates.

In the tutorial we use the set Elementary.

Once the landing page template is loaded you can customize the details and save the page.

2. The Confirmation Landing Page

Because we're setting up alead generation funnel with a double (or confirmed) opt-in process, you'll need to send new subscribers (right after they clicked the submit button on your opt-in form) to a page asking them to go to their inbox and confirm their subscription; a confirmation page.

Create a second page on your site call it confirmation page, but this time use the Yoast SEO plugin to put the page to NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW. This will avoid search engines indexing the page.

Open Thrive Architect and load the confirmation page from the set.

Customize and save the page.

3. The Download Landing Page

After your subscriber clicked on the "confirm subscription" link in the email, you want to redirect them to a download page.

Create a new page on your site, call it download page and add a random string of numbers to the URL. This will avoid the URL to be "guessable".

This page too, make sure to NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW with the Yoast SEO plugin so that your download page will not show up in search engines.

Edit the page with Thrive Architect and load the download page template. 

Customize and save the page.

Now you have all the pages you need in the funnel, time to set everything up.

4. Configure Your Email Provider

You'll need to configure your email provider so that a confirmation email is sent and when clicking on the link in the email your subscribers are redirected to the download page.

This is different for every email provider, but a quick Google search should help you out.

5. Connect Your Lead Generation Landing Page With Your Email Provider

Connect your email service through API. You will only need to do this once for the first opt-in form you set up.

You can find tutorials for all major email providers here.

Go to your Lead Generation landing page and click on the opt-in form. In the sidebar, click on "Connect form with service" follow the set up wizard.

You'll be able to configure the fields you want to show (yes or no first name field) and you will also select the action after opt-in.

This action will be redirect to the URL of your confirmation page.

That's it, your whole funnel is set up and working!

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth tutorial and if you have any question of comments you can leave them below.

by Hanne  October 13, 2018


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    • Hi Abdul,

      For our images, we use a combination of stock images (Fotolia, Graphicriver etc.) and custom design work made by our designers (using Photoshop).

  • Hi Shane,

    I use thrive content builder on several website, but how to import our custom template create for a website into an other one ? And why not the featuer to save these templates on the cloud ?

    Thrive content builder is really amazinf now, great job!

    • Hello Cedric,

      The way you can carry over designs from one site to another is by copying the entire source HTML of the page and pasting it in the source view on the other site.

      More options for saving, importing and exporting templates are on the roadmap.

  • Very nice topic and perfect timing for me today. I am still very much interested in learning what to offer as a lead magnet so If you guys ever come out with that I would be all ears 😉 thank you

    • Hello Juan,

      Yes, that sounds like an interesting topic to cover in a future post or webinar. Thank you for the suggestion!

  • HI Shane. Let me just say I’m not a ‘techie’ and I’m often unable to quickly figure out some of these tools. Are ‘Content Builder’ and ‘Landing Pages’ the same tool? I own ‘Thrive Content Builder’ but haven’t began using it. Do I have access to both ‘Content Builder’ and ‘Landing Pages’?

      • It’s funny because i was just following along your tutorials while I worked on some sample pages and found an old video from you that was not very good compared to how you present yourself now. I guess practice makes perfect.

        Love your themes and TCB – limitless possibilities.

      • Yeah, you’re a great trainer, perfect measured pace and pronunciation. I’m an English teacher and you have got what it takes to train. I love your products. Keep innovating to smash the competitors and keep us happy. Much prefer you to the over hyped Americans, haha!!

  • Thanks Shane, Excellent tutorial! Just a couple of suggestions for Content Builder: It would be good to have a text shadow option for headlines created from the Paragraph / Text element box like you have done for content boxes as it would enable headlines to really stand out.

    Also a colour dropper would be handy to pick out an existing colour on the web page in addition to the colour picker. Sometimes it’s frustrating swirling around with the colour picker trying to find the right colour to match up. Just a thought;-)

    • Hi Stephen,

      I love the idea of the color dropper. I have no idea about the technical implications of this but I agree it would be a great tool to have. 🙂

  • I really appreciate your tutorials Shane … I know you’ve created a great product but I have to work at understanding it all!

  • Super great tutorial Shane…love it. Do you recommend saving the customized funnel pages as templates for the future? That way you’ve got your structure and the custom branding.

    Also, I noticed you upload the opt in gift to your wordpress site…do you think that is preferable to using something like dropbox (that’s what I currently do and I’m slowly and surely following the things you’re teaching).

    • Thank you!

      About saving the templates: yes, that’s what the saving feature is for. 🙂 Personally, I often start from scratch for every new funnel, because I love testing new things. But I still save and load templates to make the creation of split-test variations faster.

      I don’t think the upload location of the PDF matters… at least, I can’t think of any way it would matter. Maybe someone will correct me on this. But there’s no particular reason I upload it to WP, other than convenience.

  • Shane, excellent post and training! Very timely for me. Through your training, I keep learning more and more on how to better utilize your products. After today’s training, I am more confident to design my landing page funnel from scratch using Thrive Themes and Content builder than going with an external service. So you educate and saving me money. I know the more I use the products the more proficient I will get. Your training and insight are invaluable.
    Thank you.

  • Shane.

    It looks to me like you are trying to put all those other WP plugins and themes out of business. Every time I get an email for the shiny new bell and whistle that is available via WP, YOU seem to already have a solution available (as part of my Thrive membership) for free! LOVE this new video. Takes all the guess work out of what to do. Thanks for adding more value every month.

    I would like to request a tutorial that takes us through the TCB elements (I know you keep adding more). In detail with real world examples in the tutorial that use said elements. Such as the difference between a Content Box vs Content Container and using the design elements when to use the right tool for your desired look.

    Thanks again!

    Last 2 requests… 1) My AR gives me the opportunity to let the client choose the correct AR based on their menu choice in a drop down menu. I’d love to see this incorporated into the Thrive Opt-In. I know I can just copy the HTLM form and use that now, but I’d like something that would keep the same look on the page.

    2. Being able to move (or float) the menus of elements when working on that element would be GREAT! Sometimes the menu of choices gets in the way of the content I am trying to edit. (Quick, but inefficient hack for anyone who is having the same problem – Zoom in or out of your browser to be able to edit content that the menu is blocking – this is my solution until they give us floating menus.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you for your comment, Harvey!

      And thanks for your suggestion, as well. I think a single video with all the elements would simply be too long (there are so many of them!). But I agree that we could do a better job of providing tutorials for each of the elements.

      Your first request has just been fulfilled today. The lead generation element in TCB now supports drop down menus and check boxes.

      The second request is something we’re working on in the scope of a redesign of the UI. It won’t happen very soon, but it will happen. 🙂

  • Hi Shane, excellent step-by-step presentation, very informative as usual. What I’d like to understand is if TCB can place a small opt-in form inside a WordPress theme sidebar, rather than starting the opt-in process from a landing page, if you see what I mean…anyone visiting my blog will have the option of opting-in directly from the sidebar.

  • What a valuable tutorial! I think I MIGHT have figured out how to create my first sales funnel, but this surely saves me hours of trial and error. Thanks again for a superb training session, Shane.

  • Really great video. What is missing is how do we implement it? I go to various websites and get the opt-in pop-ups, but don’t know how that is done.

  • Hallo Shane, endlich mal jemand, der step by step alles gut erklärt. DANKE !
    Best greetings from Bavaria, Steve ( Page is in development, i follow your good instruktions and you give me a line..)

  • Sooo Very helpful. Many explain this but leave so much out. My Thrive Themes subscription comes with the best how to use WordPress course I have seen Thank you.

  • Hi Shane,

    Any tips on using the double opt-in confirmation step in a sequence with InfusionSoft.

    InfusionSoft doesn’t have lists, instead it groups people and sets of actions via tags. I can get the form submission to add the ‘bonus-thing-XYZ’ tag and know who has been sent what down the track.

    Where I get stuck is the double opt in.

    If a person is confirmed already in my account, InfusionSoft doesn’t send out the opt-in confirmation email the second or subsequent times. And just sends people to the next step directly.

    Do I skip this step on all sequences? Or keep it in and have it only fire if people are signing up for stuff from me for the first time and modify the ‘go to your inbox and click the link’ video/instructions to explain this quirk?

    Suggestions, ideas or work arounds welcome.

    PS. Thanks for being so committed to speed, conversions and style #Love

    • Hello Fiona,

      Personally, I think the double-opt-in step in Infusionsoft is terrible and it doesn’t let me customize the subscriber experience the way I want. Because of that, I use a “self-made” confirmation process in Infusionsoft where the confirmation link adds a new tag and the tag starts the next sequence. This means that even existing subscribers have to go through the same process again, which admittedly isn’t great either. What you could do is add a condition to your campaign, where existing contacts will get the email with a link to the download page immediately. But then the opt-in process doesn’t quite add up anymore, because they’ll still see your confirmation page with the message about having to confirm the address.

      What I can say is that so far, no one has complained about having to go through the confirmation process more than once.

  • Hi & thanks fora very valuable tutorial on making a list building funnel! I tried Aweber earlier but struggled to use it so I changed to the free version of mailchimp. T therefor did not succeed in following that part of your instructions. So – are there another tutorial on this or would you recommend me to go back to Aweber? I see that mailchimp also offer a pro-version that is half the price og aweber. Well – I want this to be as simple a poosible – and would like your advice – whats the easiest for me working from thrive themes :)?

  • Hello Shane. Great video and information on how to use this. I shared it via Twitter but the document remains locked. Can you send across to my email (which is in you db since I own Thrive).


  • Just watched this video … WOW … wish I’d seen it much earlier!! Incredible value Shane and much appreciated is the clear and detailed advice on improving what is already a great product.

    Can you tell me: will the double opt-in process work with sendinblue? If so, do you know how to implement this?

    Thanks again for the great advice you offer. As a new member and one who has ‘tried out’ many self titled mentors, I can honestly recommend you and Thrive Themes as head and shoulders above most.

    • Hi Ron,

      Thank you very much for your comment!

      I’ve not used SendinBlue myself, but I assume this process will work with them as well, yes. It’s a standard practice for email marketing.

  • OMG, I am using sendreach autoresponder and they don’t even have an option to redirect them to the download link after they click the confirmation link. Pfffff don’t buy sendreach guys…it is rubbish

  • Wonderful tutorial. I would like to skip the email opt-in step, and instead have a user fill out my opt-in form, and if it validates upon clicking the submit button it will auto redirect to my download page. I don’t always setup my newsletter platform (mailchimp) to double opt-in, so it’s nice if I can simply redirect the user after they fill out the form in my lightbox.

    Is that possible? Thanks!

    • Yes, that’s possible as well, although I’m not sure if it works with our current integration and MailChimp.

      We are working on API integrations, which give you more freedom in choosing what happens after the opt-in.

      • Hi, Shane! Where can I learn how to do this (redirect the user to a Thank You page after they Opt in with the lightbox) with ActiveCampaign?

      • Hello Lisa,

        When you connect your form to ActiveCampaign, you can set the thank you page URL right inside Thrive Leads. You can find tutorials here and here.

  • The share button feature for the cheat sheet isn’t working guys. Used with Chrome so not sure if it is a browser-specific issue.

  • Hi thanks for the video.Can you please describe the last part of video(integrating pages together) for Mailchimp? I can’t find them on Mailchimp.

  • Great tutorial.
    The content reveal in this article, is it the Content Builder one?
    If not what did you use?
    If it is any tutorials on how to set up?

    • Hello Keith,

      Do you mean the content lock? If so, you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we release a plugin like that to Thrive customers. 🙂

  • Thanks shane I want to add If anybody has Apple there are some applications for free E-cover too. . Just search EBOOK COVER

  • Since you asked…

    I love the indepth tutorials, but can you please break them up into shorter and more targeted videos. Perhaps a series. I dont always have an hour or two to watch videos at one time. I would love for the videos to be labeled with exactly whats in them.

  • Great training video Shane! Every video I watch I learn how to use something on ThriveThemes that makes building my sites easier! Thanks

  • Hi Shane

    Awesome tutorial and can’t wait to implement it for our landing pages. I would love to see some more content on Active Campaign integration too. Could you also let me know if you intend to have integrations in Active Campaign beyond lists? Thanks again

  • Hi Shane – I may have missed something blindingly obvious…in Aweber when you create the custom list settings for the free download (adding your own subject line and message) how do you make sure only this email goes to the people who have requested the download, not others who have signed up another way. Can you create multiple email responses all feeding into the same list? Please help!

  • Great video, but how do you get them to the first opt-in page? I’m used to working with Hubspot (in the past), and you need a call-to-action on the front page or at the end of a blog post that sends readers to the opt-in page. This funnel doesn’t show that. Where does the opt-in page go so that people will see it?

    • This would be the same here Gail.
      You can put links on your website, have a button linking to this page, share the page on social media etc.

  • Hi shane,
    Great video.However as I understand there are 3 pieces to the puzzle of a successful sales funnel ( Landing Page +Email Autoresponder+Payment Processor). will you consider doing a webinar clearing all the nuts and bolt of the process. It may look like Thrive themes +Aweber + ClickBank or GumRoad etc.
    Looking Forward to hear your opinion.

  • Shane this video tutorial is awesome…here’s my main question…does this have to serve as a separate landing page that you are providing the link to or can you use it as a pop up when people come to your sight randomly and it pop ups after they click on site or scroll a little down the page etc…I am not clear on that part and that is what I am looking to do with my thrive content builder/landing pages. Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

  • Fantastic, thank you. New to WP. I’ve just bought content builder. Have WP theme installed (clunky). Was recommended to buy content builder and can see how to create landing pages as just demonstrated. Question:- do I need thrive theme rather than WP theme, and can I upgrade to membership if that’s the case?! Feel like that would have been the better recommendation from the get go…but have yet to work with content builder in my (new) WP site.

    • Hi Michelle,
      You do not need our themes for this to work. But if you like them, of course we’ll happily welcome you as a member!

  • This was really helpful. I recently bought Thrive Leads and Thrive Content Builder. I was already planning to use the landing pages to redo my opt-in funnel, but while watching your video, I realized that I am making several unnecessary mistakes. I’m planning to work on this today, so this was great timing as well.

  • Thanks Shane, very clear – knocks the socks of Click Funnels at a fraction of the price (and gives users more control). But please could you give a guide to choosing an auto-responder, an essential partner for the landing page: the choice is bewildering and a lot of the comparisons online are tainted by affiliation deals. Can you help people choose between AgileCRM, Aweber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, GetResponse, iContact, Listwire, MailChimp, TrafficWave or Infusionsoft? – Are there some you wouldn’t touch, and others which are better for different purposes? – It would be great to know which are best with Thrive.

    • Thank you for your comment, Titus!

      I’ve answered the question about autoresponders in a different video that you can find here. Hope it will help!

  • Hi Shane! I love your tutorials! How do you do the circle video on top of your presentations? Would love to know thank you! Carole

  • Hi Shane,
    Nice tutorial.
    Can you please show us how we can do it be Mailchimp? I am having no such features at mailchimp.
    Kindly create a tutorial on it if you guys can
    ~ Shakir Hassan

  • HI Shane thanks for this!
    I have created all the diferent pages, however I am using active campaign instead of aweber and got really confused. I couldn’t link the whole thing together. A video on this would be very much appreciated. Thanks

  • Thanks for this tutorial, Shane. One question – on your opt-in, confirmation and downloads page there are no links to the rest of the website, and this is true for my pages too. By default in my theme, each page includes a Menu bar at the top, but it would appear that the use of TCB overrides this. Do you recommend having links to the rest of the site, and if so how is this done in TCB? Is there a way to add the default menu in? As my pages stand, there is no way for people to access the rest of my site. Many thanks in advance, Mark

    • Hi Mark,
      On landing pages it’s generally a good idea NOT to have a menu. You want your visitors to be focused on the conversion goal (the sign-up) and not browse around on your site.

  • Hi Shane, thanks for the awesome tutorial. How does it work with mailchimp? I’ve tried it, but i can not „tell“ the opt-in confirmation e-mail to send the user directly to the download page. Mailchimp is sending the user to the recaptcha by default, and after that to the download page. Do you know any workaround? Thanks in advance Mike

  • So u recommend double opt in, but then usually the confirmation email goes into junk mail. How do u go around it? What do u think of disabling double opt-in?

    • Hi Anastasia,
      What makes you say that the confirmation email usually goes to junk?
      The only way “around” this is to tell people to check their junk email.
      If you disable the double opt-in, we suggest you send people to a “relation building” thank you page where you tell them some more about you and your brand and that you send the thing they requested (free ebook, video course,…) via email. This way you train your subscribers to open email and you bypass the confirmation email.

  • Which is better, to use an opt-in form or a landing page? In the case of an opt-in form, I can use one or more of the 5 different types provided in ThriveLeads and have them display on an existing page. If I use a landing page as the opt-in form, however, I’d (1) have to create a completely new page and (2) I would be limited in the kinds/types of opt-in form types I could use. Am I overthinking this and confusing myself or is there actually an optimal strategy that I’m missing here?

    • Hi Joel,

      Both option can be used and probably for different cases. Let me try to clarify:
      – An opt-in form on your website is perfect to capture traffic that is already on your site. Eg. People who are reading your blog. They came to the site via organic traffic (search engines) or via social media and are now ready to become a subscriber. Showing them an opt-in form (any type of opt-in form) is easier than having them go to a different page and sign up there. It’s more convenient to give them the option to sign up right from where they are.

      – A landing page is perfect if you want to send traffic to a lead generation form. So if you’re using paid traffic (Facebook ads or Adwords) or maybe you’re doing a guest post or you have a link in your social media profile. In that case it is better to link to a landing page with an opt-in form on it. Because people are not on your site YET and if you send them to a random page on your site and hope that they will find an opt-in form and sign up, you’ll probably loose a lot of leads in the process.

      Hope this clears things up a bit!

  • Hi Shane,
    Really love your way of teaching….looking to digest all your posts.
    One question: how do you set up that unlocking option with a facebook share for a download access. I see that on the Rapid Landing Page Builder on the bottom of the page.
    Thank you

  • Hi Shane if I purchase this do have a service where I can pay a member of your team to set all this up for me on my website? Best wishes Victoria

    • Hi Victoria,
      No we do not have such a service, but if you go to a freelancer platform you’ll find people who have experience with Thrive products!

  • Hi Shane, thanks for the tutorial, i was able to follow and implement the process , however the integration with your mailout program was a bit confusing. Are you able to offer thee same (last 2 min ) for mailchimp ?

  • my screen doesn’t look the same.
    when i click in elements the edit options don’t come up the same so i am having trouble following the tutorial

  • Excellent tutorial!! I love what I see with Architect! I do hope you update the templates to use global colors. Change the header bar color on the landing page and it should automatically update that header bar on all pages within that template set. It’s a big waste of time to have to manually make the exact same changes in multiple pages of the same template set.

    Otherwise, nicely done!

    • Hi Karen,

      That’s an interesting idea about global colors. We do have something like that planned. However, for color changes between different elements: do you have an idea of how you’d want to decide which colors are updated and which aren’t?

      • Why not use the concept of Styles as it is used in Microsoft Word or Excel? A “Style” is applied to an object, then any object that has that named Style changes its appearance when the Style definition is changed by the owner.

  • Another great video. How/where does this Sign up Page fit in with a standard website such as an eCommerce site that has a home page?

    • Hello John,

      The opt-in page would be linked to from one or several locations on your site. For example, you may have a “free report” or “get coupons” link in the main navigation, which would take people to your opt-in page.

      There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this. It depends on your site and your offers.

  • Hi
    Want to know more about API Connections, I am confused about it, if you have video or base article pls provide to me, thank you

  • Hanne

    Thank you this was so helpful! I am still trying to figure out how to create an upsell with your landing pages. My main concern is putting another CTA on the thank-you page. Basically, the subscriber hit the button to download the freebie. But I also want to say “hey sign-up for a free consultation.” Is there a video showing this? Is it possible?

    • Hi Joi,

      I would simply put the “upsell” as a secondary call to action on the download page (I don’t think we have a tutorial for that).

  • Great Video, thank you! Can you please let me know where I can find information about current subscribers that want to download the same or another asset from my website but they have already signed up so they can not receive the same asset again or another asset sometimes because they are already on a list within my provider.

    • Hi Channon,
      There are different ways to go about this. If you’re using Thrive Leads you can actually use an “already subscribed state” and Smartlinks. Another option would be to have one download page for all of your opt-in offers so that any subscriber gets access to all of them.

  • Hello Hanne,
    I ‘ve got everything ready but I am completely stacked on how to set up my confirmation email with Mail Chip to this group??? I’ve been searching for the last hour or so to find resourses but nothing… Not sure how to create this confirmation email in Mail Chip and where to add the link to the pdf download… Please help. I am a Thrive Themes member. Thanks. Violeta

  • Hi. Awesome tutorial! Thank you Hanne. I love Active Campaign and WebinarJam. The more integration the better.

    I would love to see some content on how to segment people and show different landing pages to each group.
    Is it possible to do that using some Thrive plugin?
    Something like Unbounce and do related to their areas.

    Thanks again and all the best from Brazil!

    • Hi Rosinaldo,

      The closest you can get to is by using Thrive Quiz Builder. Quiz Builder allows you to segment users based on their quiz answers.
      And of course, every landing page can be used as a different segmentation.

  • Thank you Hanne, I think this tutorial may well have saved me from pulling out more hair.

    I am new to WordPress and still figuring out what’s what but with Thrive I am learning and working on creating a website and blog but it won’t happen for me overnight.

    I am active on social media and have been busy gaining the attraction, attention and then interacting with my target audience but so far doing so without a website or blog in place to redirect that attention too.

    In the meantime I do need to start capitalising on the audience I am building by at least starting to build an email list of these interested people in readiness for the website being completed.

    I assume that the process you demonstrate above and the page set you chose to use can be kept separate and independent from the installed theme and separate from the pages, posts and content that are being created, prepared and added in the background for my website/blog –
    that isn’t ready to be published yet? If that makes sense.

    If I have this correct, using my current circumstance I will essentially be setting this funnel and this ‘Lead Generation Landing Page’ as my websites static ‘Temporary Home Page’ until my website is complete? Is that correct?