How to use forms effectively with ActiveCampaign

by | May 4, 2021

Do you get stuck on how to use forms with ActiveCampaign?

Over the past four years I’ve answered more questions on how to use forms with ActiveCampaign than any other topic, so you’re not alone. 

I’ve had lots of practice at helping ActiveCampaign users work with forms to grow their business.

Follow these steps to use forms with ActiveCampaign:

Use ActiveCampaign forms in ways you hadn’t thought of before

How many scenarios can you think of right now where a form will be handy?

The common theme for using forms is the mission to gather data, including an email address, and send it on to our hungry ActiveCampaign account to go do something useful with it.

Creative use of forms will save you a lot of time and effort, and lead to happier customers and more sales.

I’ll bet there are some ActiveCampaign forms use-cases on this list you haven’t thought of or used before:

10 times to use a form with ActiveCampaign

1 – Optins

Newsletter, email list, lead magnet – collect their email and first name and off you go.

2 – Enquiries

These are a bit meatier, with a few more questions. Pro tip: make your enquiry form work harder by throwing in some qualifying questions, and don’t let them submit if they don’t qualify.

3 – Quizzes, calculators and competitions

All these are basically forms of one sort or another, with some fancy backend stuff to reward the user for giving us their data – see also spin-wheels, puzzles and assorted other fun-forms. 

Quizzes are just forms in a fun disguise

4. Hand-raisers and expressions of interest

A bare-faced form that does what it says on the tin, and helps you target the right people with the right message.

5. Tech support and FAQs

One of my favourite cunning moves for ActiveCampaign – saves a fortune in help-desk software by using what you’re already paying for.

6. Re-subscribe, unsubscribe, email preferences, list selection

All part of giving your contacts control over what they are sent beyond a flat Yes or No.

7. Purchase and checkout

All forms of one sort or another, with a transaction as a bonus. 

8. Testimonials gathering

Don’t miss this easy win of using a form to make it easy for your audience to tell you how much they love you.

9. Intake and exit questionnaires

Quality control and segmentation and audience connection – these forms are top of my form-fan-list right now for using forms with ActiveCampaign.

10. Internal Forms

This one most people miss – have your team use a form to set off an ActiveCampaign process internally – super-powerful for ensuring consistent actions in repeating scenarios, especially as your team grows and you get short on time.

Use forms to collect lovely testimonials

How many of these brilliant times to use a form are you not using yet? 


Decide which form to use with ActiveCampaign for each scenario

There are two main types of forms you can use with ActiveCampaign:

ActiveCampaign’s built-in forms

These are native forms created in ActiveCampaign.

Third party forms that integrate with ActiveCampaign

These are forms created using another tool or platform, integrated with ActiveCampaign to get the data from the form into ActiveCampaign.

Each type of form has strengths and weaknesses for using with ActiveCampaign.

You need to know the major pros and cons, so you can make smarter choices, based on what needs to get done, and what the user experience needs to feel like.

8 pros and cons of using native ActiveCampaign forms

Pros of ActiveCampaign forms:

  • Included with all ActiveCampaign plans, fast and simple to create, easy to prefill with contact info
  • Set tag, list and notification actions per form, use hidden fields and double optin if wanted
  • Use the “form submitted” activity throughout AC for conditions and searches and see it in the contact activity, and get site tracking activity from submit onwards
  • A native ActiveCampaign form is the only way to get a previously self-unsubscribed contact back as an active list subscriber in ActiveCampaign

Cons of ActiveCampaign forms:

  • Limited design features
  • Need a bit of CSS knowledge to look better
  • Not mobile responsive
  • Needs to be built inside ActiveCampaign so can be harder to outsource

You can see an ActiveCampaign form in action, and looking lovely, running the sign-up for my free ActiveCampaign training, Accelerated ActiveCampaign, and the free training has a walkthrough of the CSS you need to use to get an ActiveCampaign form to look pretty.

8 pros and cons of integrating third-party forms with ActiveCampaign

Pros of integrating forms with ActiveCampaign:

  • Conditional pathways & redirects, optional questions, multi-page forms, progress bars etc
  • Field entry validation (checking email address or phone number is valid)
  • Prettier forms 
  • Images, sliding scales, videos and other engaging and fun things

Cons of integrating forms with ActiveCampaign:

  • Extra cost (or limited options on free plans)
  • More work to set up to map fields and set up automations, tagging and list adds
  • Whatever mechanism sends the data to ActiveCampaign can break (this is a major big deal for business-critical forms)
  • Limited entries per month on some services, and data protection issues can be more complex

These pros and cons are where I start every time I need to decide which form to use with ActiveCampaign for any scenario.

Some of these things will be more important than others, for you, and for the person filling out the form, so “which form is best to use with ActiveCampaign” will not get the same answer every time.


Discover which form providers integrate best with ActiveCampaign

Are you dreaming of a pretty form, maybe with conditional content, multiple redirects, progress bars and <geeky-gasp!> field validation?

To build a beautiful, multi-page or more complex form, you’re going to need a third-party form service that integrates well with ActiveCampaign.

Here’s my top three best form providers to use with ActiveCampaign, based on my years of expertise integrating ActiveCampaign with forms, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

Three form providers that integrate really well with ActiveCampaign

1. Integrate Gravity Forms with ActiveCampaign 

Gravity Forms is a WordPress plugin.

I use Gravity Forms as my overall best form to use with ActiveCampaign for WordPress sites.

More details on how I use Gravity Forms with ActiveCampaign are in my Gravity Forms recommendation blog post.

Pros of integrating Gravity Forms with ActiveCampaign:

  • conditional AC tags, lists, and field mapping
  • can add an AC contact note (killer feature – no one else has this!)
  • easy to pre-fill for logged in users

Cons of integrating Gravity Forms with ActiveCampaign:

  • you’re going to want some site level CSS to get the pretties
  • plugins needed for each add-on to get the integrations

2. Integrate Response Suite with ActiveCampaign

Response Suite is a stand-alone highly versatile form service.

I use Response Suite for super-powered, good-looking, highly visual forms.

Pros of integrating Response Suite with ActiveCampaign:

  • you can do anything with this awesome platform, and they add new features regularly
  • conditional ActiveCampaign tags (add and remove), lists and fields 
  • built-in integration with multiple other services and platforms

Cons of integrating Response Suite with ActiveCampaign

  • monthly subscription – worth it if building substantial multiple complex forms
  • learning curve is bigger and steeper due to crazy-awesome capabilities of this tool

3. Integrate Interact with ActiveCampaign

Interact is a standalone quiz-builder platform that does this one thing exceptionally well.

I use Interact for quizzes, especially for lead magnet quizzes – like one I have in mind for “Which ActiveCampaign plan do I need?”

Pros of integrating Interact with ActiveCampaign:

  • intuitive ActiveCampaign integration includes start automation – love this option
  • fast, easy visual builder for quiz-style option-selection forms
  • social-sharing built in – brilliant for lead generation

Cons of integrating Interact with ActiveCampaign 

  • all about tick-boxes, not useful for forms where text answers are wanted
  • monthly subscription – should earn its keep on lead generation and engagement though

Other forms that integrate well with ActiveCampaign

These other forms services also integrate well with ActiveCampaign, and whilst they aren’t my first choice given an open budget, they’re great to work with and do a good job.

Integrate Typeform with ActiveCampaign

Typeform is a standalone form service with a free plan, super-easy to build forms with

It has a native integration with ActiveCampaign which I don’t love, but it’s easy, fast and built into ActiveCampaign.

Integrate Formidable Forms or Jotform with ActiveCampaign

Formidable Forms and Jotform are well respected form services, beloved of many ActiveCampaign users for their strong integration.

Get the best from integrating forms with ActiveCampaign

Whatever you choose, use free trial periods to make a test form and integrate a test form with ActiveCampaign early on to see how the integration works.

If you get stuck integrating a form with ActiveCampaign, ask for help in my free ActiveCampaign facebook community

Once form integrations are set up, they run on autopilot, and make life better for you, your team, your leads and your customers, so it’s well worth your time and effort.


Learn how to connect your forms with ActiveCampaign

Hold on to your hats folks – it’s time to demystify how to connect your forms to ActiveCampaign to send the form entries and tags to ActiveCampaign

Here we go, from nought to ninja in terms of bravery-rating.

5 ways to integrate forms to send data to ActiveCampaign

1 – Use an ActiveCampaign native form

Dodge the whole geek thing, and use a native ActiveCampaign form embedded on a page.

2 – Connect a form that has direct integration with ActiveCampaign – for example, Typeform

Connect from the ActiveCampaign end, with your Typeform credentials.

Typeform entries are pulled into ActiveCampaign immediately and all you need to do is map the fields in the settings at the ActiveCampaign integration end.

You can now set an ActiveCampaign automation to trigger when a Typeform is submitted.

3 – Connect a form integration that maps fields and tags to ActiveCampaign – for example Gravity Forms or Response Suite

Connect from the form service end, with your ActiveCampaign account credentials.

Typically there are list, field and tag options for you to map and set up. If you’re lucky you get extras like contact note or automation start, or multiple conditional feeds.

Form entries are pushed into ActiveCampaign according to your settings.

4. Connect a form using an integration that mimics the actions of an ActiveCampaign native form – eg Elementor or Bloom

A little weird. You build a form in ActiveCampaign and set the form actions there.  

In Bloom settings, connect to ActiveCampaign with your account credentials, and select the ActiveCampaign form.

Bloom pushes the data to ActiveCampaign and tells ActiveCampaign to behave as if the entry came in through the ActiveCampaign form itself, so you get the ActiveCampaign native form actions and activity.

5. Connect any form that uses Zapier with ActiveCampaign Ninja bravery level

Anything you can connect to Zapier, you can connect to ActiveCampaign. 

In Zapier, add your ActiveCampaign credentials to connect it as an app. Do the same for your form service. The form app is the trigger for the zap, and the ActiveCampaign app is used for the actions.

Pro Tip: I love Zapier, but I don’t recommend it for your first form integration with ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign API Integration Explained

For some of these options you need to enter ActiveCampaign account credentials – it looks scary, but it’s actually just a copy and paste job.

Account credentials in any platform are usually found under integrations, API, developer or similar. 

It’s typically a long string of gibberish, and a url, that together give one thing permission to send or receive data from another thing. 

Your job is to find the things to copy in the one thing, and paste them into the right place in the other thing.

In ActiveCampaign look in Settings > Developer and you will find a url and an API key.  These are different for each ActiveCampaign user, and the ActiveCampaign user must have full admin permission.

Pro tip: keep a note of where you, or other admin users of your ActiveCampaign account, have entered your ActiveCampaign API key.


Read Kay’s top tips for using forms with ActiveCampaign

Forms are fabulous, so make the most of them with these tips, tricks and strategies to help them work harder at making your life easier and your business more profitable

10 tips for using forms with ActiveCampaign really well

1. Frictionless forms

Get more submits and better quality data – stick to what you need and keep it clutter-free and focussed. 

2. Micro-copy is king

Edit the words on the form, including the submit button, to suit your humanity and your brand, and to inform and reassure users.

Add a link to the privacy policy, be clear what they’re signing up for, ask for their “best work email address” and edit the prompts that show in fields before they type.

3. Style it up

A little bit of site-wide CSS can make a world of difference, and even an ActiveCampaign native form can look great (really!). But done is better than perfect, so don’t get bogged down with looks. If it’s embedded on a page use the surrounding page design to support your form.

4. Remove branding if you can

CSS can hide most branding on embedded forms, even when it’s required on free plans – naughty, but nice.

5. Redirect to a thank-you page

This is almost always a better user experience than “Thank you – your form has been submitted”. An informal welcome video, what to expect in their inbox, and something fun to do while they wait. Be human – we like humans.

6. Send them an email

With or without a copy of what they entered, either from the form settings (often easier, but don’t leave the default words in there) or from AC (often nicer, and helps with deliverability). Inbox tumbleweed is not a good look for enquiry forms.

7. Set up a notification to yourself

If you need to know the form got submitted.

8. Pre-fill their email address

If sending contacts to a form page from an ActiveCampaign email, you can almost always pre-fill their email address for them. Total easy win no-brainer. For most forms, add this to the end of the link url…  ?email=%EMAIL% …and the magic pre-fill pixies will do the rest

9. Use short field names

For the sake of your sanity! Most forms allow field names (often called admin labels) that can be different to what the user sees on the front end of the form. For example, the field name “email” might show the user this text “What’s your best work email address?” on the front end. 

10. Test it

No exceptions, no excuses. Put your pretend-y customer hat on to see it through their eyes and their inbox. *Then test it again* every now and again, to make sure nothing broke.

And for third party form integrations with ActiveCampaign, three pro tips:

Pro tips for using forms that integrate with ActiveCampaign

  • Create any tags first in ActiveCampaign before setting up integration – this saves a world of trouble with tag-typos.
  • Keep a note of all tags, lists and fields that are fed by third party form, and where your forms are embedded.
  • Use admin labels that match the ActiveCampaign fields you’re mapping to and you will save yourself a lot of confusion.

Create and connect effective forms with ActiveCampaign

Who’d have thought there was so much to the humble form! 

You will look at the forms you fill out with different eyes now, admiring micro-copy, stalking them to figure out which form tool they used, and tutting when no warm, welcoming email lands in your inbox.

And in fact this is one of the very best ways to reach form-nirvana for your business.

Look with consumer-eyes and walk in consumer shoes. 

We do it all the time without noticing – getting the hump because a form didn’t seem to submit, or wouldn’t accept our phone number.

We critique other people’s stuff on the fly, then forget to apply what we learn to our own systems.

The technical geekery is just part of what makes forms work.

If your form isn’t making the user feel something it’s probably missing something.  

And as always, it should be helping you feel good too, by getting the heavy lifting done and freeing you up for the fun stuff that grows your business and puts food on the table.

Watch the video below to see the live roundup recording – there are some extra juicy nuggets of information in there on how to use forms with ActiveCampaign like a pro.

If you get stuck on integrating a form, shout for help in my free Facebook group. We’ve all been there, and we’re stronger together.

ActiveCampaign training video with Kay Peacey

To catch my free ActiveCampaign training sessions live, visit my awesome ActiveCampaign Facebook community, the safe place to freak out and geek out about ActiveCampaign.

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