Contact Form 7 and MailChimp Workflow for Marketing Dummies

I’ve always thought that “I suck at marketing”. I don’t like self-promotion, and I don’t really want to dedicate the time to it because I’d rather get the work done that my clients need doing. I always tell my clients about the importance of a newsletter mailing list and not just relying on Social Media because it doesn’t lead to action by your friends and followers as much as we’d like to think. However, I had yet to really implement advice that myself – didn’t want to take my own medicine. Recently, I finally implemented a seamless workflow using Contact Form 7 from when someone fills out your contact form to them being signed up to MailChimp and receiving a welcome newsletter.

There are many different contact form plugins available to chose from; my personal favorite is Contact Form 7. It is fairly easy to configure and there are several other plugins that work in conjunction with it to make the workflow from someone filling out the contact form on your website to being signed up and welcomed to your newsletter seamless. It took a bit of trial and error and some slight code tweaks, but now everything works as it should and I don’t have to touch anything anymore.

Contact Form from MurchStudio with "Subscribe me to your mailing list" highlighted
Contact Form with “Subscribe me to your mailing list” highlighted – one of the many steps to our ultimate goal of having contacts be automatically subscribed to MailChimp

PlugIns for the workflow

All my instructions assume you’ve installed and activated the plugins.


Cut down on Spam with Recaptcha

Contact 7 has easy Google Recaptcha Integration to cut down on spam into your contact form.

It is highly recommended to have spam filtering which is not 100% effective but it cuts down on a whole heck of a lot. Contact Form 7 has easy Google Recaptcha integration. Put in your Site Key and your Secret Key that you get from Google for your site. Google has complete instructions.


First thing’s first – Edit your Contact Form

Select “Contact” from the WordPress backend menu, then “Contact Form”, and the click “Edit” under the title of your form.


Contact Form 7 – configuration tips

In the “Form” tab

In order for the Contact Form to send the correct information to MailChimp, you need to break up “name” into “first name” and “last name” otherwise it passes the whole name into the wrong field. And in order to have a checkbox in your form you need to include that into your code and include “default:1” so that it is checked by default to encourage people to automatically subscribe to your newsletter. The code I used is below.

<label> Your First Name (required)
    [text* your-first-name] </label>

<label> Your Last Name (required)
    [text* your-last-name] </label>

<label> Your Email (required)
    [email* your-email] </label>

<label> Subject
    [text your-subject] </label>

<label> Your Message
    [textarea your-message] </label>

[recaptcha]

[checkbox opt-in default:1 "Subscribe me to your mailing list"]

[submit "Send Enquiry"]

In the “Mail” tab

In the “From” and also in the “Message body” fields you’ll want to include your short code for “first name” and “last name”

Set the correct mail-tabs in Contact 7 Mail Tab
Set the correct mail-tabs in Contact Form 7 Mail Tab

Contact Form 7 Extension For Mailchimp – ChimpMatic Lite

Initially I had tried a different plugin to connect the contact form data to MailChimp, but I wasn’t able to respect people’s wishes of signing up or not unless I paid for the pro version. Not cool. So, I tried this plugin by Renzo Johnson and yay! First input your MailChimp API and it will do all the hard work of connecting MailChimp to your Contact Form. Then you just need to configure it a bit. In the field “Required Acceptance” you put in your short code you created for the form for the checkbox. In my case it was [opt-in].

Set the "Required Acceptance" mail-tag and check "Custom Fields" in Contact Form 7 Extension For Mailchimp
Set the “Required Acceptance” mail-tag and check “Custom Fields”

You need to make sure that all the fields you ask people to fill out import correctly into MailChimp. By default “Email” and “First Name” are sent to MailChimp, but in my case I also include “Last Name” and “Company”. In order to include more than the default fields, you need to select “Show Advanced Settings” at the bottom of the Settings box, and then check the box “Custom Fields” and a whole list of field options appear (see above screenshot). You then match your mail-tags with the correct merge fields from MailChimp.

Set the Custom Fields "mail-tags" to the correct "Merge Fields" in Contact Form 7 Extension For Mailchimp

Redirection for Contact Form 7

By default Contact Form 7 will show a short message after the form has been successfully completed, but as a user, I found it super easy to miss. It’s nice to have a Thank You page so your visitor knows that the message didn’t just go off into the ether. (We’ll deal with this in the next section). The plugin Redirection for Contact Form 7 handles this really nicely.

You will want to add an Action. You can give it an easily recognizable title and then you select the page you want to redirect to. If you’re like me, you have to pause and quickly open up a new tab to quickly whip out the new thank you page and try not to overthink what you’re writing. Once you have the page made, then select it from the menu, put in how many seconds you want it to delay. I found it annoying when I initially put in 1 second, so I configured it to be immediate. Then make sure the “Enable Redirect” is selected and click Save.

Setting up the redirect from Contact 7 so visitors get a "thank you" message.
Setting up the redirect from Contact Form 7 so visitors get a “thank you” message.

Contact Form Entries

This last plugin is very handy to have so that messages don’t get lost in your spam filter or something like that. By default Contact Form 7 does not keep a copy of your messages. It just send them to your email and that’s it. If there are any issues and you miss them, oh well. This is where Contact Form Entries comes in really handy. This plugin creates a table in your database of each contact form and you can check it every once in a while and see you didn’t miss anything.

Another handy thing is to set up a filter/rule in your mail client. Remember how you configured the Mail Tab before? The subject line is Contact via [_site_title] "[your-subject]" You can add a filter that if email to you contains “Contact via [_site_title]”, then send it to your inbox and set it to important or add a flag, depending on your mail reader.


Setting up welcome email in MailChimp

I’ve written more than enough and there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. MailChimp has detailed instructions on how to Create an Automated Welcome Email over on their site.


TEST YOUR WORK!

Once you have everything set, test your work to make sure the flow executes as expected. You can work out any kinks you may have, but it should be all good to go.


If you found this helpful, don’t hesitate to contact me! You’ll send me an email and get signed up for the newsletter all in one go. You can experience the seamless workflow using Contact Form 7 plugins from when you fill out the contact form, subscribe to my MailChimp Newsletter, and receive a welcome email from MurchStudio. I look forward to keeping in touch!


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