We get a lot of requests here to build survey tools. However, as much as we love the calls to develop our own application, it certainly appears to be an uphill battle when powerful form-builders like Wufoo are doing the job exceptionally well already. What’s better, Wufoo synchronizes quite happily with Campaign Monitor and you can even conditionally add signups to your subscriber list. What’s not to love?

In this article, we’ll look at how you can optimize your surveys to play swell with your email campaigns. Finally, we’ll look at inventive uses for Wufoo forms.

Why should I be using Wufoo for surveys?

Well, I’ve scoped out a couple of survey apps in my time doing gumshoe work as an email marketer and I can confidently say Wufoo is one of the most pleasurable to work with.

Sure, Wufoo isn’t for everyone – it doesn’t have the sort of “If Question x is y, then skip to Question z” -type logic that many marketers consider to be essential. Plus, the in-app humor and toy-shop color scheme may not give it the appearance of a serious tool, but hear it out – it is. Depending on your pricing plan, you can collect up to 100,000 entries a month, have up to 60 users manage your account and even securely process payments. Plus its Report Manager not only does a great job at crunching the results, but downright looks good.

How can I get my email campaign to play nice with Wufoo?

Once you’ve created a survey

, here are some simple techniques to help you make the most out Wufoo’s features:

Conditionally sync entries with your subscriber list

Using Notifications, you can sync the names and email addresses collected from your Wufoo form with your Campaign Monitor subscriber list. What’s better, you can do so conditionally, meaning that subscribers are required to tick an opt-in box before they get added to your list. There’s your permission troubles put to rest in one – pretty cool, hey?

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Automatically populate fields with subscriber info

If you’re pointing your subscribers to a Wufoo survey, there’s no point getting them to fill in information that you already have on record, like their email address. The good news is that Wufoo allows you to dynamically populate forms. Say you have an ’email address’ field and a ‘Favorite widget’ custom field in your subscriber list. To embed these values into your email, you would use some code like this:

Hi, friend! Your email address is [email] and your favorite widget is a [Favoritewidget, fallback=gewgaw].

In your sent campaign, this would look something like:

Hi, friend! Your email address is widgets@widgetfan.com and your favorite widget is a detector.

So far, so good, right? To pass these values on to your form, Wufoo uses a technique called URL modification. Using Wufoo’s API information, you can link fields in your subscriber list to fields in your survey form. Here’s an example of a link that allows you to do just that:

To take our survey, <a href="http://youraccount.wufoo.com/forms/
yourform/def/field123=[email]&field456=[Favoritewidget, fallback=gewgaw]">click here</a>

Where field123 and field456 are defined in your API information. When you click on the link, you will see that your ‘Your favorite widget is a:’ and ‘Email:’ fields have already been filled:

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Use hidden fields for email addresses and tracking

So you may be thinking, “If I have this information on file, then why display it at all?”. Going back to our previous example, lets say that we wanted to add your subscribers’ email addresses to your survey for tracking purposes, but hide the email address field. No problem. The link would remain in the same format:

To take our survey, <a href="http://youraccount.wufoo.com/forms/
yourform/def/field123=[email]">click here</a>

In Wufoo, simply go to your Form Builder, and add ‘hide’ to ‘Add CSS Layout Keywords’ in your Email field:

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Just like that, your email field vanishes into thin air (well, not really):

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However the email addresses passed to the form will still be recorded by Wufoo.

Inventive uses for Wufoo

Now you’ve mastered some of the techniques in setting up an email-friendly survey, what else can you do with Wufoo? Here are two suggestions:

Alternative signup forms

If you’re only interested in populating your subscriber list with names and email addresses, an embedded or standalone Wufoo form is an elegant way to collect signups and perhaps a little more information on the side. Here’s an example of a competition signup form:

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Note that we’ve added an opt-in checkbox to this form – if the “I wish to receive ABC Widgets’ monthly email newsletter” checkbox has been defined as a signup condition, the person’s details won’t be synced with your subscriber list unless its been ticked.

Exit surveys

We’re often asked to add optional ‘Why did you unsubscribe?’ -type surveys to our one-click unsubscribe process. In so much as we don’t believe in making the act of unsubscribing any longer than instant for your subscribers, there’s nothing wrong with including an exit survey in, or as your unsubscribe confirmation page:

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If this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve blogged about it before – give this post a read for inspiration on how to say sayonara with style.

Wufoo and Campaign Monitor are a great match if you’re looking for a quick and simple way to create a survey and collect email signups. Let us know about your experiences with Wufoo and other survey apps – sometimes the right tool for the job is right under your nose.

  • matt

    I hate to sound like a ‘negative Nancy’, but am I the only one who thinks those two examples aren’t actually very ‘inventive’ at all?

  • Fed-up

    @matt, no you are not alone
    and based on this post from CM, we can safely assume they will never implement surveys into their own CM product, despite all the customer requests for this:-(

    Everybody has tried in vain to explain all the reasons not to use yet another 3rd party tool. All we ever got was ”we’ll add your vote for this feature”. I feel misled. Should have said from the start they wouldn’t do it instead of holding our hopes up just to keep our custom for a little while longer

    Goodbye CM

  • Bryan Quilty

    is there a reason why CM chose to integrate with Wufoo instead of the more-established, Google-owned Survey Monkey?

  • David Greiner

    Hi Bryan, the great team at Wufoo actually chose to integrate with us, not the other way around, and we think they’ve done an amazing job with it. As for Survey Monkey, we’ve been in discussions with them for a while now, and they have a few things underway which would make integration possible in the future (it isn’t right now). And just to clarify, Survey Monkey isn’t Google owned.

    Matt and Fed-up, we’d love to hear what sort of integration or CM-specific features you’d like to see from a survey perspective. This isn’t the be all and end all on the survey front, we are listening and have been logging every survey request and comment from day one. It’s been our position that there is no need to reinvent the wheel if awesome survey solutions exist and already integrate with CM. If you think this perspective is wrong then please let us know in which ways specifically. I’d love to hear from you.

  • Fed-up

    David,
    Not sure how you log the feature requests, just a number or sorted by reason for the request.
    But either way, the forum posts from your customers already have alll the reasons to justify this need. I have no more to add to those reasons, there are some very compelling enough explanations already there.

    Think:
    * data management including privacy
    * development and quality control
    * reliance on 3rd party

    But most of all, surveys and forms are a must have feature for any email marketing in these times. Why would you want to entrust such a thing to others not within your control?
    That’s why the best systems have it included.

  • Brad

    It would be great if you could integrated this into CM so that we could rebrand it, Wufoo is nice to use but you can’t rebrand it.

  • Dan Nelson

    I cannot seem to get Wufoo to recognize our multiple fields within CM. Both text and number fields within CM work perfectly via Wufoo. Any thoughts?

  • Rosso

    At Brad – I agree since I’d love to introduce all the great things associated with Wufoo forms and how they integrate with my version of CM, but it would unfortunately reveal the CM brand.

  • James Guy

    I think the requirement is not just simple fill-in-the-boxes forms, but also polls, branch-able surveys and conditional quizzes. Maybe more. Wufoo and Wildfire have some interesting capabilities, but in terms of CM integration it stops at cold, simple, flat, lifeless data exchanges.

    I think the need, if I can assume to rise above the detailed argument a moment, is that all this information has more value as part of the whole, than as flat, stand alone data. The goal isn’t just a form that can post something to CM. The goal is to make CM serve our need to interact with the customer, their data, and campaigns.

    To allude to my point the data I gather could be more meaningful when in context with other things I know about each subscriber, which could be the result of a subscribers data, answers, and behavior. And then aren’t I capable of intense segmentation, and smarter targeting. All of which serves the subscriber better, and thus servers the list owner.

    How many of you have gotten an email from an ecommerce site advertising something you bought 3 months ago? What a shame to have wasted their expense on that campaign. And now you realize they are not capable of sending you something specific and relevant to you! So are you going to be as willing to open their next campaign? No. Not now. But if they’d sent you a link to a page of supplies for that item, or complementary gear, or a service agreement… Now you have some respect.

    What I’m talking about would require a few more business rules on the part of CM. For example I might be building my list. As they sign up I need to set a flag stating they’re a sign up. As I send them waves of progressions I might want to set a flag indicating their progress through my marketing funnel. Obviously my campaigns which are based on their user record (segment) would then push them into other segments I’ve defined. Based on surveys or quiz answers, or combination of survey answers, or even quiz scores (the total score, or by range of score), I might want to set some user data into their record. As they click on certain features in an email I might want to set a flag on their user record. The subscriber doesn’t see all this stuff (that feature exists already).

    I need user data that is in the form of a one to many relational table. For example how can I store a list of social network groups so I can market to specific groups? How can I send or prevent emails based on purchases if I can’t build a list of item codes of what was purchased, and associated data?

    How is the above stuff going to happen with WuFoo or Wildfire? It isn’t. Their thing is not CM’s thing. They’re not in the business of pushing a message.
    – 3rd party folk are not integrated with the CM user data – they feed it, CM emails can post it in a link to 3rd party apps, but ultimately 3rd party folk are not in the business of email marketing – but we are
    – so their goal is not your goal
    – your goal should be our goal
    – we’re on the front lines making this stuff happen

    Bring us some of this innovative spirit. Or be a dinosaur. It’s not personal. But dammit man, innovate! We’re competing with some big Charlies in the sea. The game has progressed way beyond building a list and sending a pretty little email to everybody on that list.

    Just my two cents.

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