I’m going to put this out there first: I LOVE Gravity Forms.

I use Gravity Forms to run my own business and incorporate them into the sites of all my clients. But Gravity Forms isn’t just for long forms, like contact forms.

I also love MailChimp.

But lately I’m feeling some animosity toward the cheeky chimp because there’s a lot of hype around the fabulous new email marketing software, ConvertKit. It wholeheartedly deserves the praise and the droves of people jumping ship from other harder-to-use email providers in exchange for ConvertKit’s simple and sophisticated “tagging” system. Their marketers are doing an impressive job of convincing us all why we should move.


  • What if we have invested time and money in our beautifully branded emails on MailChimp?
  • What if we have lots of emails being triggered in MailChimp?
  • What if our website is intimately intertwined with MailChimp?
  • The time and effort to move everything over feels utterly daunting?

How do we make the most of MailChimp?

The simple answer is that Gravity Forms and MailChimp play particularly nicely when it comes to lead capture forms.

MailChimp’s Fatal Flaw

Before we delve into the magical marriage of MailChimp and Gravity Forms, let me declare what I believe to be MailChimp’s fatal flaw (and I do hope the developer’s at MailChimp are reading this):

MailChimp’s sign-up forms just plain suck!
If MailChimp’s sign-up form code could have options to funnel people to specific “Groups” in MailChimp, a lot of our woes would be solved instantly!

You see, right now, when you want to add a MailChimp form on your site, you go to your list, then sign-up forms. You can customize the fields of that one form, (for example, you can have first name and – or – last name, and you can make either or both fields compulsory). You then go to Embeddable Forms and copy the code and insert it on your website.

Now, answer this: Do you have ANY idea where these subscribers are coming from when they get added to your list if they are all using the same form to sign-up? Nope. Usually you have no clue whatsoever.

MailChimp has a lovely double-opt-in email sequence that let’s you deliver free opt-in gifts – or even paid ones. But if you have more than one opt-in gift, you need more than one list. And, if you have downloadable / digital products for sale and you want to deliver them via this opt-in sequence, you need another list.

So suddenly you have multiple lists. ugh!

This sucks because:

  1. You pay for the same subscriber over and over (if you have more than 2000 subscribers and therefore need MailChimp’s pro account)
  2. You have no idea of how many subscribers you actually have because the same subscriber is on multiple lists
  3. You have to create a campaign to go to each list (because you can’t have a campaign email sent to multiple lists at once)

So, as I proclaimed above: MailChimp’s sign-up forms suck because they are not (easily) trackable, and in turn we end up with multiple lists.

Solution? Gravity Forms.

Here are a few of the reasons why I love to use Gravity Forms for lead capture forms in WordPress websites.

1. I can maintain one list in MailChimp. My opt-in forms are synced with a list in MailChimp. You can sync with any list, but I maintain one list with lots of groups, rather than lots of lists. This means I am only paying for each subscriber once, and I don’t have to send multiple emails to multiple lists. You can get pretty clever with directing subscribers to specific groups in your MailChimp list using Gravity Forms. If users answer one question “yes” you can send them to one group, or if they answer another question “blue” you can send another way.

2. I can segment subscribers into segments. In addition to using multiple groups in MailChimp, you can create Segments. MailChimp defines a Segment as “a collection of subscribers with common qualities.” So for example, you may have segments based on search results in your list, such as: people who signed up to your list between certain dates, people who opened emails between certain dates, people from a specific group who signed up after a certain date … or people who belong to two groups. This last one is handy for working out conversions, for example, how many people signed up to my list via my Facebook campaign AND then bought the course I sold to them.

3. I can trigger MailChimp automation campaigns. One of the automation triggers in MailChimp automation (for paid users only, from $10/month) is “user added to group” so, again, I can funnel users who hit submit to specific groups and in turn trigger specific automated campaigns.

4. I can get clever with MailChimp automation campaigns. MailChimp automation can be based on user activity as well, so if someone is added to a group, which triggers a unique automated email, and then they DON’T open that email, I can trigger another email. I can also trigger a particular email if they DO open the first email. I can also add subscribers to different Groups in my MailChimp list if they do or don’t open an email, and therefore, I can work out who my most valuable customers are. (Breanne Dyck does a wonderful job of explaining a lead conversion funnel on this exact subject right here on Facebook Live).

5. I can skip the double opt-in. I’m actually a proponent of double opt-in, but some marketers believe that it can hinder opt-in rates. The more hoops you ask somebody to jump through to get on your list the more likely you are to lose them. There’s still a lot of debate about best practice on this one, but if you decide that a single opt-in is right for your business (or right sometimes), it’s easy to set up that way in Gravity Forms + MailChimp.

6. I can deliver opt-in gifts instantly. If you use the MailChimp embed code for your forms, you have to wait for people to double opt-in, before they get their freebie. In that short space of time they can lose interest. With Gravity Forms, as soon as someone hits submit, they can be re-directed to another page in your website which can house your downloadable PDF, ebook, audio file, or video! Or they can be redirected to a page containing your webinar details.

7. I can deliver different opt-in gifts. If you use the MailChimp embed code and the automatic opt-in emails that come with each list in MailChimp, you can only send one “Welcome” email containing your freebie per list. By now you know that I like to maintain just one list with lots of groups and segments, rather than lots of lists. Now, let’s say you want to send someone a gift if they land on one page on your site, and a different gift if they end up on another. When you use Gravity Forms, they can be automatically re-directed to any “thank you” page that you create in your website, which would house your unique downloadable files. And if you funnel people into groups, you can trigger automated emails when someone is added to a new group.

Sold! Now How Do I Do It?

If this all sounds great, but your head is starting to spin thinking about making it happen, relax. Let’s make this easy. To use Gravity Forms for your lead forms you need three things:

1. MailChimp account
2. Gravity Forms Pro installed in your WordPress site (at least $99 level)
3. MailChimp add-on installed and set-up on your site WordPress site

Once you have the three pieces in place:

1. In your MailChimp list, go to Manage Subscribers, Groups, and add a hidden Group.

2. Add a form in your WordPress site.
3. Add a page to put your form into (or add it to an existing page or post).
4. Add a “Thank you” page to direct people to after they hit submit.
5. Set-up your automation campaigns in MailChimp

Free Step-by-step Video Tutorials…

Need a little more direction? I have a series of 5 short videos to walk you through the process so that Gravity Forms and MailChimp start making your email marketing life easier!

Just fill out the form to get access to the videos. And you guessed it: Gravity Forms + MailChimp + MailChimp Groups are at work here!










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