How Do I Set up a Web Form that Adds Contacts To My Database?
Automation is the brass ring of database marketing, no?
The difference between connecting your website opt-in form to an email program (or autoresponder) vs. a fully integrated web-form importer is that autoresponders are not databases.
If you publish a monthly email newsletter with email software, for example, you’ll end up with 12 data sets by the end of the year–and no 360-degree view of your customer base. Having your web form AND your email responses tied back to contacts in your database gives you competitive intelligence and let’s you know WHO’S interested in you and WHAT they want to know over time.
Lots of web-form software (a/k/a autoresponders) handles part of the capture-autoresponder-import-call list checklist. But if you want everything documented in your ACT! database, there are only 3 options: eGrabber’s eMail Lead Grabber (formerly Web Response Grabber), Northwood’s Web Prospect and Swiftpage’s Survey Tool.
To set up your web form, count how many sign-up forms you want on your website. Will you need just one (for tips or newsletters, for example)? Or multiple ones for different offers? With some web forms, like Northwoods’ Web Prospect ($179), you can only use one form. So if you have multiple emails with different formats coming in, Northwoods won’t be a good solution for you. eGrabber has multiple forms available, but the software is not intuitive to set up. You will likely need a programmer (or database consultant) to set it up for you. And it’s the most expensive option ($749.95).
Swiftpage gets my recommendation. Web forms are designed with the software’s built-in survey tool, so you can add as many fields from your database as needed. You must have a Swiftpage email subscription (starting at $30/mo.) to access and design the web form, and you may need help to configure it the first time. (No matter which solution you use, you will likely want your webmaster to tweak the web form HTML code so it matches your website design.)
As people opt-in to your website, Swiftpage captures them, adds them to your database (such as ACT! Software), sends an automated response (such as a thank-you email), adds the contact into a “web group” and creates a follow-up call list for a sales rep.
The other reason I vote for Swiftpage is because you can launch a drip marketing campaign off your web-form capture. Now you have built in follow-up system introducing your company to your new prospect, whether you had time to drop everything or not when they signed up on your site. And when you sign up for a Swiftpage account, you get 3 email drip marketing campaigns for free!