Build Your Mailing List With Thrive Content Builder

Our focus at Thrive Themes is to provide you with tools that help you build conversion-optimized pages, sites and content. Lead generation has always been an important part of this and over the course of the last few updates, the list-building capabilities of Thrive Content Builder have steadily improved.

This post will serve as an overview over all the ways you can use the plugin to capture email addresses.​


The types of list building tools available in Content Builder are:

Here's a look at how to set up and use each of these types:

In-Content Forms

The most straight-forward method available comes in the form of the "Lead Generation" element. With it, you can add an opt-in form anywhere within your content and it works like this:

Step 1: Add the Lead Generation Element to Your Content

​You'll see a default form added to your content. Click it to open further options. You can use the options to change the layout, button color and button text.

Step 2: ​Integrate With Your Autoresponder Service

Next, click on this "Autoresponder Code" button:

In the box that opens up, you can add any HTML form code. Any decent email marketing service will allow you to create a form and then get the HTML code for it and that's exactly what we need for this integration. Here's an example of how to find this code in Aweber and here's the same in MailChimp. The same principle applies to any email marketing service, though.

Set up your form that will add people to the list you want to add them to and paste it in here:​

Next, click on the "Generate Fields" button. This will parse the form code and display all the fields in a table below. In the example above, there are two fields in the form. You can now add labels to each of the fields in your form. Labels help your visitors understand what needs to be entered in each field.

Finally, click on the "Save" button.​

You now have a functioning opt-in form in your page content.​

Step 3: Customize the Form

Click on the form and use the further options to:

  1. Change the button color.
  2. Switch between vertical and horizontal field alignments.
  3. Change the button text.
  4. Change the alignment of the form.
  5. Change the width of the form.​

After some customization, here's an example of what the resulting form can look like:

Note that you can further customize the form by placing it inside columns, content boxes, page sections etc.

2-Step Lightbox Opt-In Form

Using the Thrive Lightbox feature and the event manager, you have a high degree of flexibility in creating 2-step signup processes, triggered from any button or link click in your content.

Here's how to set it up:

Step 1: Add a Lightbox Trigger

First, add a button or link, which will serve as the trigger for the lightbox. In other words: the click on this button or link will be "step 1" in the 2-step process.​

For this example, we'll use a button. Click on the button to open the element options and then click on the "Event Manager" button in the options:

In the modal box that appears, click on the "Add Event" button. 

Set the event trigger to "Click" (1) and the action to "Open Thrive Lightbox" (2). Next, click on the "Create New Lightbox" link (3).

Step 2: Edit the Lightbox Content

You'll see a notification like this:​

Click on the link to start editing your lightbox. A basic lightbox for a 2-step opt-in might look something like this:

To create this lightbox, all we did was add a title, an image and a lead generation element (following the exact steps described above for in-content forms).

But keep in mind that you can create any kind of lightbox content you want. Just like in your page or post content, you can add any of the Content Builder elements to lightboxes, add column layouts, change the background, the size of the box and more.

Step 3: Finalize the Setup

Once you've created the lightbox you want, save the changes and close the tab, returning to the tab with the event manager options.

Here, you can select the newly created lightbox from the drop down menu (1) and assign it an animation (2). The animation determines how the lightbox will appear.

Finally, click the "Save Event" button.​

Once you save the changes on your page, the 2-step opt-in will work: anytime someone clicks on the button, the lightbox with your opt-in form will appear.​

Lead Generation Landing Pages

A very effective way to get more subscribers is to create separate landing pages that have no other purpose than lead generation. These highly focused pages often result in very high conversion rates for any traffic you direct to them.

We've made various lead generation pages available in our Landing Pages feature and here's how to use them:​

Step 1: Create a New Page

The Thrive Landing Page will replace the content of a default WordPress page, so the first thing we need to do is create a default WordPress page.

Step 2: Choose Your Landing Page

In the page editor, click on the "Edit With Thrive Content Builder" button:

In the Thrive Content Builder side menu, click on "Thrive Landing Pages" and "Choose Landing Page":

To make it easier to find a template that fits your needs, you can choose "lead generation", "1-step" or "2-step" to only show specific kinds of templates:

Choose one of the available landing pages, depending on what style and layout you like.

Step 3: Integrate Your Autoresponder

Now, all you have to do is edit the content to match your offer and integrate the opt-in form with your autoresponder. If you chose a lead generation template, the opt-in form will already be created for you, so all you have to do is follow the same steps as described above, to integrate the form with your custom HTML signup form code.

Exit Intent Opt-In Forms

You can create an opt-in lightbox that is triggered upon "exit intent". This means that when a visitor's mouse cursor leaves the the browser area (for example, moving up and about to close the tab), that's what will trigger the lightbox to show.

The setup for this is almost exactly the same as for the 2-step opt-in form. ​The only difference is that the trigger isn't set for a button or link; it's set on the page level instead.

Open the page you want to add this event to in Thrive Content Builder and click on this "+" button:

​Select "Page Event Manager".

As your trigger, select this option:​

The rest of the setup is identical to the 2-step opt-in setup described above. Once completed, this will open a lighbox whenever a visitor shows exit intent.

You can also watch this video for a demonstration on how to set up the exit trigger:


As you can see, with Thrive Content Builder, you have a powerful array of list-building tools at your disposal.

Note that there aren't better or worse types of opt-in tools available here. It's not a question of choosing the right one or the best one. They can all be used in combination and each one has different strengths and weaknesses, depending on context.​

I hope this post helps you make better use of the list building features in our plugin, so that you can grow your audience faster!


Author: Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh is a co-founder and the CEO of Thrive Themes. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he likes to geek out about camera equipment and medieval swords. He also writes about startups and marketing here.

  • Alex M says:

    A timely article for me. I didn’t realize TBC allows us adding exit pops to our pages.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks, Alex! That’s exactly why I wanted to create this post: it’s easy to miss one feature or the other. :)

  • Dean P says:

    I love the lead generation stuff Shane!

    Will you be guys be offering more styling settings for the lead generation forms for TCB at all?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Dean,

      Yes, some more options are planned, but they aren’t high up on the to-do list. When you see some of the things we’re releasing first, you won’t be mad about having to wait, though. :)

  • Laurence J says:

    This is all getting seriously good Shane, I’ve just made a couple of cracking sales pages.

    I may drop a few other solutions very soon and just use your builder and themes exclusively.

    Just a quick question on the exit intent popup – can it be set to trigger on the homepage, when any page you choose is set to be the homepage (if you get what I mean).

    Also, with your themes, can the builder be used to effectively create custom page templates – including changing items outside the ‘main content area’ such as menus, headers and body elements etc?

    Many thanks


    PS – I laughed for about 10 minutes at your idealized description of buying a Ferrari yesterday. I’ve had similar visions :-)

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That’s great to hear! Yes, if you set a custom page to show as you homepage, you can set the exit trigger there as well. You can’t use the editor for anything outside the content area, though.

  • All I have to say is, “Thrive Content Builder” is a must have for anyone with a website. Thank you Shane and team.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you very much, Robert!

  • Paul M says:

    If I want to offer a free report or ebook, how best to set that up using this approach?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hello Paul,

      The best way to do that is to send people to a download page after they’ve signed up. I have a detailed tutorial on the best way I know of doing this, here.

      • Paul M says:

        I followed this tutorial and it’s working brilliantly. Thanks – I appreciate your time to point me in the right direction.

      • Shane Melaugh says:

        My pleasure, Paul!

  • danno s says:

    These are great features and really stick to your message of “conversion.” –Any hope we might see split testing capabilities in the future? I’m realizing that I really don’t need to keep using LeadPages (!), but split testing is one feature I would miss.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Danno,

      For now, this is what I recommend. Split testing is something that we will be adding to specific features or plugins as well.

  • Debra G says:

    Great info, Shane! I have two very popular pages on my website that I would love to add exit intent forms to. I would also like to keep all of the comments on those pages. But I didn’t create those pages with TCB. Any chance I could “cut” the material from those pages, and recreate the pages by pasting the material back in using TCB – this time, to include the exit intent form?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Debra,

      You don’t even have to go to that extent, actually. If you just open that post in TCB, you can add the exit trigger and you can just add no actual TCB content to the page. That means the trigger will still load and the page will just display your normal WP content.

      • Debra G says:

        Excellent! I just tried that out, and it works just fine. Hallelujah! I’m a very happy camper. :) Thanks a bunch!

  • MamaRed says:

    So glad you published this when you did. Am slowly working my way through converting my current site to Ignition. I realize how “used to” my old theme I’ve gotten when I try to figure out stuff, so your tutorials and webinars are a godsend!

    Question for you…once I paste the HTML code in for my autoresponder (MadMimi), I would love to re-order the fields. Unless I’m missing something,that’s NOT something I can do in TCB, is that correct? Figured I would check before I dug out my instructions on how to edit the MadMimi code…

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      You can’t rearrange the fields in TCB. I’m not familiar with the user interface in MadMimi, but changing the field order is usually something that’s quite simple to do in your email marketing service. :)

      • Jerilynne K says:

        Hi there Shane…I suspected as much and know how to do it (although it means mucking around with code…bleck….lol and that is one place where xxx has a drag and drop option).

        Although appreciate seeing your answer to Debra above since I’m adding some ContentUpgrades and Exit Intent forms. Wheee! Had no idea you could do that without putzing around with text.

      • danno s says:

        Jerilynne, it sounds like Shane’s saying that field order matches the form you have set up in your autoresponder. I haven’t used Mad Mimi, but I’ve used several others, and they all let you drag and drop the fields around. Then generate the html to paste into Thrive–easy!

      • Jerilynne K says:

        Hey there Danno…thanks for popping in! Great to “meet” you. At the moment MadMimi doesn’t have the drag’n’drop option for rearranging the fields (although it’s going into my wish list email!). I do know how to edit the html. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Like that “Thrive-easy”

      • Shane Melaugh says:

        That’s quite surprising, to be honest. Maybe it’s something we can add in a future update at some point, although it would be nice of the people at MadMimi to take care of it for us. :)

      • MamaRed says:

        I hear ya Shane and was bummed (since I adore the Mad Mimi folks as much as I’ve come to adore you and your team. I’ve already sent them a note and asked for the feature. We’ll see what happens!

      • Shane Melaugh says:

        Yes, that’s what I meant. Changing the order of fields is usually easy to do in the autoresponder form setup.

      • Jerilynne K says:

        That should be “Also appreciate”…oops, typing too fast

  • Tom says:

    Can you use an own Thank you page (created with Thrive Theme) after email registration – instead being forced to use the autoresponders default thank you page?

    I am using mailchimp.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Yep, you can (and I recommend that you do). I’ve made a tutorial on how to accomplish this in MailChimp – watch it here.

  • Tim says:

    Love the new exit intent. Any plan in the future to roll this out site-wide so that a lightbox can be set to appear once on exit from any page?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Something like that will be possible early next year, yes.

      • Maria D says:

        Hi Shane, if we have no autoresponder yet, if somebody will optin in the form, where will it go?

  • Hugh Harris-Evans says:

    I see that there are many ways to customize the opt-in form, but the one problem I have is that the text in the fields is very small and there does not appear to be any way to adjust this. Am I missing something or is there a simple way to format the text?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      There isn’t at the moment, I’m afraid. Making the lead generation element more flexible is something we have on the roadmap, though.

  • Alek says:

    Is there no integration between hybrid connect and content builder? Can’t you use hybrid-connect inside of content builder?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      There’s no explicit integration between the two, no. But you should be able to just use the Hybrid Connect short code inside any TCB content.

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Shane,
    Just wanted to say thanks to you guys for your great themes and TCB and most of all…. the ongoing additions and training… I have never come across any other theme creators / company who do this, especially to the extent your company does… My gratitide for this.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you for your comment, Jenny!

  • Bamdad says:

    Can we use thrive light box to create a light box which is triggered from an image in the sidebar???? I mean light box show up when someone click on an image in the sidebar!!!!

    I would appreciate if you could help me figure this out!!! I want to buy thrive landing page but I dont know if this can do what I want for me…


    • Shane Melaugh says:

      This is currently not possible, no. It will be possible soon, though.

      • Bamdad says:

        Thank you so much, Happy to hear that, Do you know How soon it’s going to be added ??? It will be a great feature and make thrive content builder even more effective…


      • Shane Melaugh says:

        Sometime in February is our goal.

  • Sparks says:

    Gotta Ask … what share component are you using giving you the cool looking share icons on the left side of the page

  • Imran says:

    Hi Shane

    Can we integrate Sendy with TCB, because sendy is not providing HTML form, but it has API…if yes then how to integrate . Thanks

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hello Imran,

      There have been a few requests for a Sendy integration, so it’s something we might work on sometime soon. Still waiting to see if there’s more demand for it, though.

    • Arush C says:

      Any luck on sendy integration ?
      We are struggling with the same.

  • Marlon F says:

    I’m new to Thrive and like what I see so far. Quick question. You have the info to find the code in Aweber and MailChimp. Is there info for Constant Contact?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hello Marlon,

      We haven’t made a tutorial specific to Constant Contact, I’m afraid.

      • Carlos Scarpero says:

        Constant Contact recently updated and now provides an HTML form we can use. I’m using it successfully with Thrive.

      • Shane Melaugh says:

        Good to know!

  • Constant Contact recently updated and now has an HTML for we can use with Thrive. I’m using it successfully.

  • Brandon H says:

    If you have a specific reason to NOT link your lead generation form to an email service provider, can you not add additional fields, in order to qualify more fully? I’m thinking especially when using the webinar registration templates. I’d like to add a Company field, for example.

  • Jason says:

    Loving this and will soon buy!

    Is there an option to forward leads/emails to our email, or a client’s email address, without having to use an autoresponder service?

    Reason I’m asking, is that I want to generate local leads for 3 different clients per page, but give the option to have the email/info submitted go to their respective email address.

    If I were to use a lightbox pop-up, could I use 3 different ones (one for each respective client, going to their respective email address)? Again, this is going to be on 1 page.


  • Olive J says:

    lols any element i add goes untop of my page why ?

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