Feature Friday: Integrate Forms with PostBackURL in Publicaster

Do you use forms from FormStack, Wufoo, Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, Web2Lead, or Google? If you use any third-party opt-in form to collect email opt-in and other information from website visitors, there’s a way to automatically update this information in a Publicaster email list. Using the power of the PostBackURL feature in Publicaster, you can create a connection between any of the forms you have stored in the places mentioned above, as well as an email list.

This tutorial explores how to use the PostBackURL feature by creating and integrating a Google Form. Follow these steps in Publicaster to connect to any type of third-party form.

First, create a form or choose an already existing form in your Google Drive. To create a new form, go to your Google Drive, click the red Create button on the left hand side, and choose Form from the dropdown. Once you’ve created your Google Form, choose to view it live.

View the live form.

To view any data that’s been gathered, simply navigate back to Google Drive. Right above your form will be a spreadsheet by the same name where your results are stored.

Metrics will be stored in a spreadsheet with the same name.

The next step is to create a similar form in Publicaster using the opt-in form creator. Before you create an opt-in form, though, you must connect this Google Form Test (Responses) spreadsheet data with a list stored in Publicaster. You can create a new list in Publicaster, or simply use an existing list. If you simply want to add subscribers to an existing list, all you may have to do is add the hidden fields in the last list-creation step below.

To create a new list, navigate to the List Manager, and choose Lists from the dropdown. From the gear in the left hand corner of the list library, choose Add List.

Start by adding a list.

Publicaster automatically adds the email field to a mailing list. However, you must manually enter the other fields associated with the Google Form you set up: First name and last name.

Add fields to your list.


You must also verify if there are hidden fields in the Google Form and add those as fields in your Publicaster list. Do this by searching (Control F) in your Google Form’s source code (right click>View Page Source) for any input tags, as these will indicate all fields in the form.

Look for the input tags.

Create placeholders in your mailing list for these hidden fields.

Create fields in your list for the hidden tags.

You aren’t necessarily going to use these hidden fields, but they’re important to include in your list. Without them, you may not be able to pass data through to your Google Form from your Publicaster Form.

Now that your email list is created, you can set up your opt-in form. Under Administration, choose Opt-in Form. Using the gear in the right hand corner, choose Create New Optin Form.

Create a new opt-in form.

In Step 1 of creating your opt-in form, enter the name and choose the type of opt-in form you wish to create. Moving on to Step 2, choose the list you just created and decide where you want the subscriber to go after he or she has filled out the opt-in form.

Fill in the correct information.

Next, check the box labeled Activate Optin POST Back URL. At this point, you’ll need to return to your Google Form’s source code and search for “action.” A URL will appear next to “action” in your Google Form’s source code. Copy and paste this URL into the blank space next to the Activate Optin POST Back URL check box.

Check the PostBackURL checkbox.

Now on to Step 3: Check all the boxes, so data from all the fields is included. Use the Field Data Type column to indicate what each field should look like on the form. Choose what fields require validation, as well as the display order for the fields.

Finally, you’ll be asked to enter the Target Variable Name, which is the name of the field on the form to which you’re submitting. Go back to the Google Form’s source code, and search for “input” again. In the Google Form, email address is actually named something different than first name, last name, etc. This different name is what you have to enter into the Target Variable Name column in the opt-in form creator. Copy and paste each field’s corresponding Target Variable Name into the Publicaster opt-in form set up.

Find the names of each input tag.

Enter the names into the Target Variable Name column.

When all the fields are mapped, click Finish. At the top of the next page, you’ll see the code for your form. Copy and paste this into your landing page and style it however you wish.

This is your opt-in form code.

The last step is to supply the values in the code for the hidden fields. You’re going to once more get that from the Google Form’s HTML source code. Copy and paste these values into the corresponding hidden values in your opt-in form HTML.

Find the values of the hidden input fields.

Test your form to make sure it gets added both to the Publicaster mailing list you created, as well as the Google Form Test (Responses) spreadsheet. Also, make sure your form redirects to the webpage you indicated when setting up the Publicaster opt-in form. If everything is working as intended, you’ve successfully connected your Google Form to Publicaster.

Joy Ugi
Digital Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts
Twitter: @ugigirl

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