How to save form data from partially filled and abandoned forms

Easiest way to get "partial submissions" from Wordpress plugins and form providers

Team Responser
Published
September 20, 2022
Last Updated
September 22, 2022
Abandoned Forms

Most form providers and Wordpress plugins don’t allow you save partial entries from abandoned forms. Some exceptions, like Formstack, give users an option to “Save For Later” with access to a unique URL to complete the form afterwards. That sort of defeats the purpose of users unknowingly or unwillingly abandoning the form completion process. 

When looking at different form providers and plugins also check if their “partial save” functionality saves information locally on users computer or centrally in Wordpress, or in the software. 

If information is saved locally, that means you can’t deploy (email) retargeting campaigns or get valuable insights into IP and GEO-data since all information about the user is stored on their computers.

GEO location like country, state and city level are crucial to understand why users are abandoning your form. Very few software records and give you access to form field data for further insights.

We are going to assume you are already using a form provider or Wordpress plugin. Your best chance to save abandoned form data is to activate your form provider” partial submissions” or “partial entries” and export data to your CRM via Zapier or API’s, or simply export to CSV. 

It’s imperative that you collect email addresses, that goes without saying. However, can your form provider, in Wordpress or Web App, collect emails from abandoned lead forms? 

If not, then you can’t target those prospects which started a form and left before they converted. The whole point of using retargeting emails in the Awareness stage is to reach visitors you have already paid to get to your landing page, but bounced. 

Whether it’s via organic, paid media or social, you have already made an effort to drive them to your lead generation form. 

Abandoned Form plugins for Wordpress are using paid add-ons such as; 

  • Form Abandonment addon
  • Partial Submission addon
  • Partial Form Entries addon
  • Abandoned Form Recovery Feature
  • Partial Entries or Save & Continue Feature.

Some of the Wordpress form providers out there that have this feature are:

Partial entries on forms can be stored in three different ways;

  1. Partial form entries are stored when at a Heartbeat API request, which is built into WordPress. This means that it can store information about the current timestamp of each form entry in your website's database. 
  2. Partial entries work by checking for validation errors for example in Gravity Forms when you click next or previous buttons on your form
  3. Partial entries are saved when people click save and continue. This can be enabled in your form provider  by checking the "Save Partial", “Abandoned Form Entries” or similar checkbox. 

Depending on how the field is triggered, partial data will only appear if you're using a WordPress Heartbeat API request or a validation error in Gravity Form.  When someone clicks next/prev buttons as these functions take care of those themselves already. 

Now when the data is stored at your form provider or in Wordpress, you should be able to export the data either in CSV or Excel format. 

If you want users' forms to be pre-filled upon return, you’ll need an additional solution. Responser not only auto-saves all entries by default, it also records all GEO location data, form completeness ratios and form field level abandonment.

Send retargeting emails or launch a retargeting campaign

Using data from your platform and utilizing re-engagement techniques such as email auto-responders will help close the conversion gap and make lead nurturing a self-sustaining process. These incremental solutions will help you reduce form abandonment and increase conversions and are absolutely instrumental in your success. 

According to The Manifest

“Another 19% return to complete an online form if the company initiates additional contact through an email or phone call.”

Send retargeting emails 

In the previous chapter How to Save Your Form Data, we talked about how you can collect your abandoned email addresses. 

Now, to start sending retargeting emails, you need to upload your CSV file with your email addresses directly into your Email Service Provider, or put them in Google Sheets and connect to Zapier for further export to a CRM or ESPs.  

  • CRM - Hubspot, Salesforce or Marketo
  • ESP - MailChimp, Drip, ConvertKit, SendGrid, Active Campaign etc
  • Responser Built-in Email Retargeting

You want to look for a solution that has a built in nurturing sequence in place so you don’t have to build one yourself. Conversion focused email providers like Drip and ConvertKit have this in their DNA. 

Retargeting Campaigns

Emails are powerful identifiers that allow digital marketers to reach users on multiple platforms. The most common retargeting platforms are:

  • Google Customer Match
  • Instagram Video and Image Ads
  • Twitter Tailored Audiences
  • Linked Targeting
  • Facebook Custom Audiences
Google Customer Match 

You can make your marketing more effective by uploading an email list of prospects you already have. Google's identity-based targeting options allow these people to be targeted through Search, Gmail, Shopping tab and Display ads as well as YouTube videos, all with just one upload! 

Google Customer Match is a powerful tool for marketers because it can help you tap into the giant pool of potential customers who have signed-in Google accounts. 

Once your contact list has been uploaded and formatted according to Customer Match guidelines, they become eligible as a target audience in new or existing campaigns. If someone from that group performs a search or checks their Gmail while signed in - they may just see your ads. 

Instagram Video and Image Ads

Facebook's advertising platform not only allows you to use all of the features on Custom Audiences, but also acts as a parent for Instagram. This means that your ads can include video and images in addition to "carousels" (multiple images or videos).

If you're already up and running on Facebook, exploring Instagram may be worth your time. It's not only the perfect platform for businesses who want engaging visuals in their posts -it also has a whopping 500 million users!

Twitter Tailored Audiences

The Tailored Audiences feature on Twitter is like Facebook's Custom Audience. You can upload your list and watch as they match email addresses with users who are then able to see ads for your product or service.

Similarly, there is also a lookalike option available where marketers will be able to target users which should receive their advertisements so that more potential customers may become aware.

LinkedIn Matched Audiences Targeting

Matched Audiences is a set of targeting options to combine your business data with LinkedIn’s professional profile information. This results in an even more accurate and effective marketing strategy than what you would get by using just one platform.

Matched audiences includes Retargeting, Contact Targeting Account(Retail)Targeting as well Lookalike targeting.

Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook is the world's biggest digital network. It allows marketers to target their ads not only based on interests and demographics, but individual email addresses as well with its Custom Audiences tool. 

Though there may be some limitations such as how many people you can upload into your list or which Ads Networks will show; it still has benefits like reaching those who have already shown interest in what you have to offer- saving time by targeting them first instead of making cold calls later down the line (or even worse: sending mass emails).

With Facebook, you have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience than with other networks. You can narrow down your focus and target only those people who share similar interests as well.

If there are less than 1k users on your uploaded list, the list is perfect for creating an expanded look alike audience. 

Scaling up or down is easy too because it's all done through the platform in real time without having to do any extra work. Let Facebook do the work that they already do best: connect brands with consumers online by using data sets compiled over a decade.

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