UPDATE: Now Recommending Fluent Forms
I now recommend Fluent Forms as the #1 Form Processor for WordPress. You can read more about it in my review linked below.
My clients regularly ask me what the difference is between a plugin like Thrive Leads and a form someone fills out on their website to contact them. Great question!
The Difference Between Form Processors and Lead Gen Opt-In Forms
A typical "contact form" is handled through what we call a form processor. This takes the message, typically stores it in a database, and then sends some sort of notification to someone.
I like to think of these as one-on-one exchanges.
How does that differ from a plugin like Thrive Leads?
Thrive Leads is typically (though not always) meant to be a more general opt-in facilitator, and not meant to deliver one-on-one exchanges.
Someone will fill out an opt-in form to join a mailing list, download an ebook, access a piece of content, etc. These are typically automated exchanges and a personal reply is not expected.
The Best Form Processor to Use with Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads
My favorite (and in my opinion, the best) form processor to use with Thrive Architect is Formidable Forms.
Formidable Forms has a free version that is feature rich and works brilliantly without having to make a single tweak. If you're looking for a whole lot more from a form processor, Formidable Forms can handle everything from third-party integrations to electronic signatures, payment gateways, and more.
Building a form is quick and easy. Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can quickly add fields and move them around without a lot of the bloated complexity found with other forms.
Don't know CSS? No problem! Formidable has a built-in style editor. You can customize fields, labels, buttons, sizes of everything, colors, etc.
Integrates Seamlessly with Thrive using Shortcodes
To add your new form into anything Thrive, simply cut and paste the shortcode into a WordPress element. It's that easy! Using a content box and other elements, the form location and size is fully customizable. Other forms I've used have conflicted with Thrive (and much more worse).
Entries are Stored in the WordPress Backend
This may sound like a simple feature, but many forms either exclude this (Contact Form 7), or charge for this feature (WPForms). Formidable Forms will keep all of your entries stored in the back-end of WordPress for you to reference later.
Customizable post-submit Actions
Want to redirect to a thank-you page, send an email notification to someone, or just about anything else? Formidable Forms is easily customized to do any of these actions.
Another feature that I feel is a must-have is the FREE integration with Google' reCaptcha. Simply enter your keys and you're all set.
Using Formidable Forms with Thrive Plugins
There are several situations where you might prefer to use a contact form instead of a lead capture. Here are a few examples of how I use Formidable Forms.
Standard Embedded Contact Form
On the homepage of Convology.com you'll see an example of embedding a Formidable Form. I chose to add this so that someone browsing can quickly see that they can send me a message and that I will respond.
Embedding a form, such as a contact form, is an invitation for someone to open the lines of communication with your business. I find most of my clients are obtained after a series of email exchanges where we get to know each other and decide to work together. I find this a much more personable touch than forcing that person into my email list first.
I use Thrive Leads to create a Thrive Box and inside of that box I place a Formidable Form. This allows me to trigger my Formidable Form from a button, link, or other trigger (like exit-intent).
to see an example of a formidable form in a lightbox.
Thrive Quiz Builder Dynamic Content
One of my new favorite ways to use Formidable Forms is at the end of a quiz made with Thrive Quiz Builder. Using the dynamic content, I can swap out forms based on the results the person receives on the quiz. Imagine all of those possibilities when you consider the breadth of quiz types available in TQB.
While there are many good options out there, such as Gravity Forms, WPForms, and NinjaForms, I feel like none of them capture the ease of use and implementation, while providing enough features for free.
If you have any questions about Formidable Forms, please don't hesitate to ask. I've been a "power user" for about three years now and installed this great tool on at least a hundred different sites.