How do I get the most out of forms?
Forms are a handy tool to send out invitations or request further information from your contacts. To get the most of your forms you probably already focus on the quality of your message, your subject line, the timing of your campaign. But there are several ways you can also optimise the form itself.
The basics: Database integration
Forms are designed for data entry. That being said, the most important condition to make the most value out of your forms, is to integrate them with your database.
This integration will allow you to work with most of the next steps. Please notice, forms cannot create new fields in your database. The responses of your contacts can only be added to a field in the database that already exists. You must create the field in advance.
To predispose your contacts, make your form personal. Link your field names and text inserts to your database via placeholders. This allows you to address your contacts by name, or refer to other personal information they have already given you, while asking the question.
What you can also do with personalization is, you can pre-fill a value in the form field.
So, instead of asking:
Enroll in our loyalty program. Let us know what products you are interested in and you will receive a 20% discount on your birthday.
You can ask:
Julia, we are inviting you to join our loyalty program. Let us know what products you are interested in and you will receive a 20% discount on your birthday.
And, you can pre-fill a category of your products based on an interest your contact has already shown.
Or, if you're creating a form to allow people to register for an event, you can help them complete the form more easily be already including the data you have on them. If they update or simply just confirm that data, you're sure of up-to-date info in your database as well.
You can use forms and database integration to create workflows. The responses of your contacts could be a trigger for a workflow:
- When contacts open a form
- When contacts fill out a form
- When contacts enter or exit a preference via a form
- When contacts enter or exit an interest via a form
- When contacts enter or exit a list via a form
All of these could trigger an action. A great idea to utilize this functionality, for example, is to trigger a series of campaigns.
Here is a simple example
Create a series of classes, where each series contains messages featuring one of your products. The type of class will depend on the interests of your contacts.
- For pet shops – the topic of the class will be based on the type of pet your contact cares for. And each message from the class can feature products you provide for that pet – food, toys, medication, grooming, etc.
- For cosmetic shops – the topic could be about hair care, skincare, and then divided by hair or skin type. Each message can feature a product you produce or sell – a shampoo, a conditioner, a styling product, etc.
- For cinemas – your classes topic could be divided by movie genres, and each message could feature a movie ticket.
Notice those examples allow your contacts to subscribe to more than one class.
This is what you can do:
- In advance, prepare your classes. Each class responds to one interest and is a series of messages. We recommend those messages are created before you send out your form and that each message features a product.
- Create the Interests in your database that will each correspond to interest in a class. Interests in your database have a 1 or 0 value. You can copy the interest of this value from another interest. For example, if your customer has shown interest in cat food, by clicking on an interest-related link, you can expect they will be interested in the class about taking care of a cat.
- Create your form. In the form, ask your contacts if they are interested in each class.
- Create an automatic workflow where the trigger is twofold – contacts who A) have filled out the form AND B) have the expressed interest to subscribe for your classes, will receive the series of campaigns, containing the relevant messages every week.
- (Optional) You can create other workflows for contacts who never filled out the form, or who opened it but did not complete it. You can send them a reminder message with a link to the same form and invite them to subscribe to your classes after all.
- Next, send out your class subscription campaign with the link to the form. Now your triggers will start working and sending classes automatically via your workflows.
- Last but not least, keep an eye on your reports for all related campaigns.
You can send a form to your customer to subscribe to the classes based on an expressed interest. They will fill out the form and this can already automatically trigger the next campaign to be sent to them – one campaign every seven days for the next two months until they complete the course. The last campaign could create a survey and ask for feedback on the courses. Alternatively, if your contacts have opened the campaign but did not fill in the form you can create a delayed workflow that will remind them to enroll in the courses after some time.
Never forget to create a beautiful confirmation message to your contacts to thank them for filling out your form and use the #formdata# placeholder to send them their responses to your form.
This article is featuring just one example. The use of your database, your forms, and your workflows is a very powerful combination. With some creativity, you can make it work in your favour for any purpose.