Marketers want to collect as much relevant information as possible about their contacts. You can utilize forms to capture this data – however, if you ask too much of your contacts, they are more likely to bounce off of your form, leaving you wishing for more.
However, using ActiveCampaign, along with a little URL personalization, allows you to fill in known fields for your contacts. This way, you won’t ask people for their name or email address if they already have it – that portion will be filled in, and you can have them share their notification preferences instead.
Preparing Forms and Custom Fields
We recommend starting at the beginning: build solid forms that include your most important custom fields. Focus on the information you want to collect most.
When preparing the fields you will include on your form, remember that less is more. The more information you ask for, the more likely a contact will walk away from your form, unfinished.
Some things to consider when creating your forms: varying message types you may want to send, opportunities for conditional content, overall personalization strategy, and even managing unsubscribes.
Once you’ve created your forms and additional fields, you can add some simple personalization tags to your URLs to simplify the process for your contacts.
Pre-Populating Form Fields
Pre-populating form fields in ActiveCampaign is the process of filling out the fields ahead of time, on behalf of your contact, if it is information you already have. For example, if you already know a contact’s email address, you can fill it in for them when you are asking them for new information, such as their location.
When preparing to personalize, you should be mindful of two pieces of information:
- The form field you’d like to pre-populate
- That form field’s personalization tag
For this example, we’ll say you’re starting a pop culture blog. You’re interested how most of your subscribers get their media: via movies, TV shows, books, or podcasts.
Because you really want to get people to fill in their interests, you want to automatically fill in the name and email fields with the information that exists in ActiveCampaign, if you already have them.
If you visit Forms, and then Manage Fields, you will see a list of the fields that come standard with every ActiveCampaign account as well as any additional fields you have created. To the right of each field you will find their personalization tag. A personalization tag is a simple bit of code you can insert to pull information from ActiveCampaign, as shown in the clip below.
The two fields we would like to fill in ahead of time – full name and email, have the personalization tags %FULLNAME% and %EMAIL%. You’ll use these tags to pull information from ActiveCampaign into your forms.
When completing your form, click on “Integrate” and then look for the Link tab in your available options.
To personalize this link when you’re sharing a link to your form, simply follow the format below. We’ll use the sample URL pulled from the form created for this post.
- URL: https://jmadison.activehosted.com/f/37
- To personalize this form, we will add ?fullname=%FULLNAME%&email=%EMAIL%
- The finished product looks like this: https://jmadison.activehosted.com/f/37?fullname=%FULLNAME%&email=%EMAIL%
The format is always ?[FieldName]=%PERSONALIZATION-TAG%. Any additional fields will directly follow the personalization tag ahead of it. This simple edit will allow your ActiveCampaign form to pull the relevant data and insert it when the form is presented to your contact.
Imagine someone reaching this form and they don’t have to enter their name or email for the millionth time, because your system already knows them. They are far more likely to share their interests by just clicking a few quick boxes! Pre-populating your fields will increase your submission rate, because you aren’t asking contacts to re-submit information you already know.
Note: You can also edit your personalization tags in the “Manage Tags” menu if you would like something more user-friendly or easier to type.
You can use this approach with any form, and any field you create.
Hard-Coding a URL for Personalization
Another great opportunity to capture information proactively is hard-coding your URLs to pass information through to your form. Hard-coding a URL may sound highly technical, but as we’ll show in the process below, you only need a custom field created in ActiveCampaign.
For example, let’s say we have different pricing for contacts in the US versus Australia. We will customize our form to pass the information through to our custom field.
First, create a form with a custom field for country.
Next, when adding links to integrate your form, simply use the field name to pass the information through.
By using the field name to pass the information, you can quickly check if your personalized URL is working on your form.
Now you’ve allowed people to share information with you with a simple link click, and all they are being asked to complete is their email address. They are increasingly likely to share their information, the less you give them to do.
Brainstorm Use Cases
There are many possible applications to these methods. Any time you create a form where you are asking for someone’s email (and name), you can quickly pull that information into the form. You may want to use this ability when managing subscription preferences, asking about topic interests, or having someone submit a form to claim an incentive.
When using a link to pass information through, you are allowing your contact to select their “version” of the form, in a way. They are letting you know something about them from that link click, and it is better to capture that information straight away. This tactic is best used for identifying large sections of people by things like location, interests, and other large groups that your contacts can be sorted by.
You don’t have to be a developer to create some simple customized links for your form. By utilizing these tactics, you can decrease the amount of effort your contacts have to take in order to share information with you.
What types of forms and custom fields are you pre-populating? Let us know in the comments.