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WordPress opt-in and list building plugins are always a hot topic because e-mail marketing is a very efficient way to communicate, market, and generate sales. I previously compared four premium WordPress list-building plugins, and I wanted to provide an update since I’ve made a switch. I’ve switched from Thrive Leads (Thrive Themes) to Bloom (Elegant Themes), although I like both.
I’ve been using Thrive’s products since November 2015 and continue to recommend its offerings. It sells the best suite of lead-generation and conversion plugins in the WordPress marketplace. Also, it continues to launch new and exciting products such as Thrive Architect and Thrive Comments.
With the launch of Thrive Architect, the “fastest and most intuitive visual editor” for WordPress, Thrive’s software improved but also became more complicated. Thrive Architect (formerly Thrive Content Builder) is the engine behind its opt-in form and landing page plugins.
I continued using Thrive Leads after the rollout of Thrive Architect. The new and improved Thrive Leads offers more features, settings, and page elements. Those new features and capabilities are fantastic to create unique subscriber forms down to the very last pixel. That said, Thrive Leads delivers more than I need and want to manage. So, I went looking for a feature-rich list-building plugin that could meet my requirements.
I’ve always had a secret crush on Bloom because its e-mail opt-in forms look amazing. I purchased Bloom and have been using it for a couple of months. Bloom is idiot-proof in that anyone can create popups in minutes. However, moving from Thrive Leads to Bloom produces tradeoffs, which I want to address.
1) Form Types – Winner: Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads offers ten types of forms including popup, in-line, content lock, slide-in, opt-in widget, and more. Some of those forms I never used, for example, multiple choice and two-step, but I did use its “sticky” ribbon. A sticky ribbon is a type of form that appears at the top or bottom of a page and remains “sticky” as the visitor scrolls. It’s like the Hello Bar or Sumo’s smart bar.
Bloom offers six types of forms including popup, in-line, content lock, slide-in, opt-in widget, and footer. It has what most people would want except for sticky ribbon and scroll mat forms. I hope Elegant Themes will update Bloom with those essential components. More isn’t necessarily better or useful, but Thrive Leads covers all the bases whereas Bloom is missing a couple of options.
2) Features – Winner: Thrive Leads
Since Thrive Leads is powered by Thrive Architect, you only need to visit the Thrive Architect landing page to appreciate its attributes. Thrive Leads has features like advanced targeting, display triggers, exit-intent, advanced A/B testing, desktop/tablet/mobile form previews, “SmartLinks,” “Sign up Segue,” webinar integration, and more. These features enable strategic form deployment and management.
Bloom offers advanced targeting, basic A/B testing, data importing, and it has six types of display triggers including:
- Timed delay,
- Bottom of the post,
- After scrolling,
- After commenting,
- After purchasing, and
- After inactivity
Thrive Leads offers more features and exit intent technology, which Bloom doesn’t have.
3) Customization – Winner: Thrive Leads
Customization is critical to creating unique e-mail opt-in forms that will standout compared with generic-looking forms that get lost in the shuffle (think Sumo and MailMunch). Users get many customization options with Thrive Leads. For example, it’s possible to create an opt-in form or landing page with a countdown timer. Users can hide individual elements on their forms for desktop, tablet, and mobile viewing. Users can change margins, padding, backgrounds, and input fields. Furthermore, opt-in forms can be hidden from existing subscribers. Those finer details aren’t available in Bloom.
Customization with Bloom starts with form orientations, for example, bottom, left, or right. Also, users can position their images on forms.
Bloom breaks down customization into three categories such as styling, form setup, and form styling. Like Thrive Leads, Bloom provides over one-hundred templates to start building forms. Users also have a few border and edge options. However, Bloom’s templates don’t differ that much compared to Thrive’s assortment. Thrive Leads offers more customization and possibilities to create one-of-a-kind forms.
4) User-Friendliness – Winner: Bloom
I don’t use Photoshop because I can’t be bothered to learn it. Instead, I use Pixlr because it’s user-friendly, time-saving, and packed with outstanding photo editing options. I liken Thrive Leads to Photoshop and Bloom to Pixlr.
Thrive Leads is more about editing forms whereas Bloom is about picking and clicking from drop-down menus. Consequently, users can create forms in minutes with Bloom or take longer to develop forms with Thrive Leads.
User-friendliness is critical to me because “time is money,” and I understand that well-designed forms can only take me so far. All else being equal, my copy and sign up incentive/offer are more important than how my forms look. Bloom is super easy to use compared with Thrive Leads.
5) Dashboard – Winner: Bloom
Bloom’s dashboard is clean and minimal while providing fantastic analytics. Thrive’s panel is slightly bulkier and confusing, but it also offers amazing analytics.
6) Integrations – Winner: Tie
Both plugins connect with the most popular email marketing providers. They integrate with the service I use and recommend, MailerLite.
7) Pricing – Winner: Tie
Thrive Leads charges a one-time fee of $67 to install on one site and $97 to install on up to five. A Thrive Themes annual membership starts at $19 a month and includes all its plugins and themes.
Bloom is available for $89 annually or a one-time fee of $249. Both price points include all Elegant Themes’ plugins and themes.
Thrive Leads and Bloom are the heavyweights of WordPress opt-in plugins. Their free and paid competitors, for example, MailMunch and Sumo, don’t even come close. Thrive Leads is rich in types of forms, features, and customizations. You can check out accompanying tutorials for a preview. However, there’s a steep learning curve if you’re new to WordPress and website building.
Bloom is robust and efficient. Elegant Themes removes all the guesswork and makes creating forms easy and fast. However, users are limited to fewer forms, features, and customizations than Thrive Leads. Thrive Leads and Bloom offer risk-free 30-day money back guarantees. Also, you can read Thrive Themes’ comparison between its plugin and Bloom’s for more insights.