Lead capture tools are plugins or online services that collect email addresses from your visitors and add them to your subscriber list.
They are essential for building a list. And a list of subscribers is a vital part of any online business, for various reasons:
Why You Need a List
Here are some of the reasons you need a list if you're running an online business.
You Need To Bring Your Visitors Back
Left to their own devices, only a small percentage of your visitors will ever come back to your website.
And that's bad news if you're trying to build an audience or a following.
Most of your visitors will have to be exposed to your message about seven times before they are ready to buy.
That means you need to bring your visitors back to your website, again and again.
And the only way to do that is if you have their email address.
In other words, you need to capture the email addresses of your visitors and build a relationship with them, through regular email updates, over a period of time.
You Own Your List
Think about all the ways you generate traffic to your website: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Google Search. None of those platforms belong to you.
They could take your account away tomorrow and your traffic would dry up overnight. Or there might be an algorithm change. Boom! Your traffic's gone.
An as online marketer, the only source of traffic that you own is your list. And that's one reason why every online business should be building their list from Day One.
Email Marketing Has Highest Return on Investment
Email marketing gives the highest return on investment (ROI) of any form of marketing.
A study by McKinsey & Company shows that email is nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in the acquisition of customers.
And the Direct Marketing Association reports that on average, email marketing produces a 4300% return on investment.
Building a List With Lead Capture Tools
With a lead capture tool - otherwise known as an optin form that collects email addresses from your website visitors.
Here are the top 10 lead capture tools with a brief description of what each one does, its main features, and pricing.
1. Hello Bar
Hello Bar is a narrow horizontal strip that sits at the top of your web page and invites people to join your mailing list.
Like a Feature Box it has an advantage over popups and slide-ins: it is always there. And that means more opportunity to get a sign-up from your visitor.
The free version carries the Hello Bar branding but it’s fairly unobtrusive (a small icon in the left side of the bar).
With the paid version, you can remove the ‘Hello Bar’ branding and you can create different bars (with different messages and different email capture forms) for different pages.
- Starter - Free
- Growth - $29 p/month
- Elite - $99 p/month
2. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is advanced form-creating software that functions as a lead capture tool.
While it’s mainly designed for lead capture, you can use it for other purposes, such as:
- creating online surveys
- allowing authors to submit guest posts to your blog
- enabling user-generated content on your website (e.g. reviews, comments, recipes etc)
- Basic - $59 p/year
- Pro - $159 p/year
- Elite - $259 p/year
3. WP Subscribe Pro
WP Subscribe Pro is another lead capture tool that captures emails from your website visitors. The plugin gives you a range of popup triggers such as popups that are triggered:
- on particular pages or posts
- when your visitor is about to leave (exit intent)
- after a specific time delay
You can also use the plugin to place a simple sign-up form in the sidebar of your website or at the foot of each blog post.
- One-time fee of $29 (one year of updates)
4. Leadin by Hubspot
Hubspot Marketing Free (previously known as LeadIn) is a free lead capture tool that gives you four ways to capture email addresses:
- Popup Box
- Slide-In Box Left
- Slide-In Box Right
- Dropdown banner
It also provides quite advanced analytics on the behaviour of your visitors – see which pages and posts they visited and track their actions on each page.
5. Lead Generation Cards
Another lead capture tool is Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards. Unlike the options above, this tool captures email addresses off-site.
The card appears in your tweet and expands when the viewer clicks on a button. The expanded card is pre-populated with the user’s Twitter handle and email address, so all they have to do is click the ‘Join’ button.
Best of all, Twitter Lead Generation Cards are 100% free!
Boxzilla (previously called 'Scroll-Triggered Popup') is a lead capture tool that's been around for a while.
As you can gather from the name, the original version offered popups that are triggered when your visitor scrolls a certain percentage down the page.
In the new version (Boxzilla) there are additional triggers. You can now set the popup to activate on:
- Percentage of scroll;
- Reaching the end of the post
- After a specific length of time on page;
- clicking on a particular page element;
- Mousing over a particular element
- Hobbyist – $48 p/year
- Professional – $72 p/year
- Agency - $112 p/year
Optin Monster began life as a simple WordPress plugin but has since become a full-fledged lead capture tool platform.
Although Optin Monster specializes in popups, it also offers Slide-Ins, After Post optin forms, Floating Bars, Side Bar forms, and Mobile Sign-Up.
The templates that come with Optin Monster are as slick and polished as you’ll find anywhere.
There’s a Visual Editor that allows you to customize the templates – you can use it to make minor adjustments or completely re-design them.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, while popups are highly effective, a lot of people find them very annoying.
Optin Monster has some nice features that will make your popups less irritating to your visitors:
- Exit intent - popup only shows once your visitor moves the cursor off the page towards the ‘back button’.
- Scroll trigger - popup only appears once your visitor has reached a certain point in the page.
- 2nd page view option - popup won’t appear until visitor has viewed two pages of your website.
- Hide popovers from subscribers – people who have already given you their email address won’t see a popup again.
- Cookie expiration – you can use this to ensure that a visitor won’t see a popup again until a specified number of days have elapsed.
- Basic - $9 p/month
- Plus - $19 p/month
- Pro - $29 p/month
- Growth - $49 p/month
Sumo is one of the most advanced lead capture tools on this list.
But it’s much more than that. It’s actually a suite of tools designed to improve your website’s performance in all the key areas:
- List building
- On-site analytics
- Social sharing
- Traffic Generation
The list building part of Sumo consists of:
- List Builder — a collection of popup optin forms
- Scroll Box — opt-in forms that are triggered when a visitor scrolls to a specific point
- Smart Bar — a horizontal bar that sits at the top of your website and invites your visitors to join your email list
- Welcome Mat — a full-screen optin form that shows when visitors land on your site.
- Basic – Free
- Pro - $39 p/month
9. Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is one of the best lead capture tools available for WordPress. It offers a whole range of lead capture options, including:
- Sidebar widgets
- Screen filler overlays
- Post Footer
- In-Line Forms
Thrive Leads gives you a library of templates but also a Drag-and-Drop Editor that lets you customize the templates as much or as little as you like.
For each of the optin forms there are a range of trigger options to choose form.
With Thrive Leads you can also target your optin forms to particular pages.
- Single Site License – $67
- 5 License Pack – $97
- 15 License Pack – $147
- Thrive Membership - $19 p/month
10. Lead Pages
Lead Pages is one of the best known lead capture tools, broadly similar to Thrive Leads.
The main tool within Lead Pages for capturing email addresses is the Lead Box. This is an optin form that can popup:
- After a specified amount of time
- After a specified number of page views
- Upon exit intent
Alternatively, Lead Boxes can work as 2-step optins - the visitor clicks on a page element such as a link or a button, which then triggers a popup optin form that collects the email address.
- Standard - $25 p/month
- Pro - $48 p/month
- Advanced - $199 p/month
When digital marketing experts are asked what they would do differently if they could start over again, they nearly always say they wish they hadn’t waited so long to start building their email list.
If you’re running any kind of online business, building an email list is absolutely essential. And that's where lead capture tools come in.
If you haven’t started building a list, please don’t put it off any longer – get started today!