August 31, 2019

How Zapier helped me create a quick and free Webform

Great Opportunities don't always come announced

When you work on the marketing and business side you understand this statement better than others. As much as we would love to follow workflow and processes, Thinking on your feet is where our problem-solving abilities shine. I'm creating to post as a testimonial to Zapier.

The Opportunity

We received an opportunity from one of our affiliate partners about an opportunity in their most viewed newsletters, the partner suggested companies use this slot to offer giveaways like discounts, webinar, and invitations to events. The email came in Wednesday evening and needed us to confirm the details for their content team to pen down by Friday. Safe to say it caught us off guard with the short timeline. Our leadership suggested we can do a webinar by Wednesday. You can imagine how tight the deadlines were and all the details of the webinar had to be fleshed through. I was asked to help out in the planning and execution. Sounds simple right? Except for our design and development resources were off for the night. I wanted to figure out the details so the team can start working on it as soon as they're available. The stakeholders were to decide the topic for the webinar, I decided to focus down on getting the technical and marketing requirements:

  • Page wire-frame including a form
  • Reminder email
  •  A text reminder

Components of a Webinar Landing page

There wasn't much time to work out a very fancy design. I wanted to nail down the essentials.

  • A Banner with the details and speakers:
    Signing up for something you're keenly interested in should never be a toll, Nor should the details of what you're signing up for. The Banner would have a picture of the speakers and the Webinar topic, details.
  • A Write-up about the Webinar:
    People need to know what they're going to hear and if it interests them. An honest brief summary that isn't overselling. Be authoritative, help the interested parties understand that your webinar has Valued and there are takeaways for the participant.
  • Form:
    You need to find a balance between getting as much information as possible but not make it too difficult to sign up for the webinar.
    Do not have visitors jump through hoops to give you their time or money.
    I cannot stress this point enough. I love DeepCrawl's Webinars but their form is exhausting. I decided to go with:
    name: for personalization
    email: for a reminder
    phone number: optional with a hook with a promise of a text reminder an hour before the webinar.

Creating a Webhook using Zapier

Now If we were to use WordPress for forms. Unfortunately, our sites weren't on WordPress nor were our CRM designed to collect these webinar participants since they don't fall into our regular Lead flow.

This is where Zapier came in. Zapier allows you to connect different tools and services together to reduce manual work. Along with that, they sport some inbuilt apps that work greatly limited only by your imagination.

The form needs to push the submitted data to a place for storage. We'll be using Google Sheets

We'll be utilizing the Webhooks App to send the submitted data to the google sheet.

You can get started with creating a Webhook to Google sheets data push here.

How to add Form submission data from Zapier Webhook to GoogleSheets

What is a web-hook?

A web-hook is a unique URL that allows you to POST data to an application or to GET data from an application.

There are other applications such as PUT that allows you to modify data, but that's beyond the scope of this post.

In Zapier we'll select create a new Zapier

Setting a catch hook

Select catch hook and continue

If you've ever set up UTM tracking this part will be very easy to understand. If it isn't then just follow along.

Zapier wants you to send a request to the URL. pasting the URL in your browser and loading is basically sending a "GET" request. For simplicity’s sake, we'll go with that. Now to pass data through the hook. you'll be setting up query parameters and the value following it. (similar to UTM tracking parameters).

example:

https://hooks.zapier.com/hooks/catch/4941884/vjpj76/?name=dan&email=test@example.com&phonenumber=+1999999999

Every query string must start with a”?” and is constructed as a key followed by an = with a value.  Every extra query parameter should have a & follow by the next pair.

In the above example:

name is the key "dan is the value. you cannot use spaces in the key but in the value, the spaces will be converted into URL encode.

You can load the URL and you should get this.

Your query strings will depend on the data your collecting from the form. add as many query parameters and value pairs as the data in the form.

Move on to the next step in Zapier. It'll show you the values Zap was able to pick up when you loaded the constructed URL.

Data Preview in Zap

Setting up the Google Sheet to capture Data:

Now I want every Entry to create a new spreadsheet row. 

In the next step, you'll need to connect your Google Drive and Create a Spreadsheet. and connect it to Zapier. I decided to capture the leads timezone to help with scheduling emails for the best open rates (your devs can help you set this up. It's a simple javascript inbuilt function).

You will need to map the appropriate query parameter value to the column. Basically telling Zap where to write the values that the webhook sends.

Setting up the Zapier template for google sheet

Test the step! Your data should be posted in your google sheet and your set up is done.

By the time your teams come in you would have

  • a wire-frame for your design team
  • a web-hook for your devs.
    They'll switch our values for values from your page.
  • And finally, a spreadsheet to store those submissions.

This helped us get to design, development, testing and stakeholder feedback and a few more adjustments to the plan before Friday.

Expanding with Zapier by adding more Actions

You don't have to stop with one Action step on Zapier.

You can even have a confirmation email sent. Plain text or an HTML template.

or a text message confirmation using their SMS app (available in the US and UK only).

Zapier adds a new dimension to the way you work. How creative you can get with problem-solving makes all the difference with a 1000+ Apps at your disposal.

Zapier comes free for 100 tasks and the free trial helped us achieve our goal quite easily. A tool this good should be a part of any marketer’s disposal.

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Dan.marketing is the personal website of Daniel (Dan) Antony, a digital marketer passionate about business and technology
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