Build your email list using Gravity Forms and MailChimp

Using Gravity Forms and MailChimpUsing Gravity Forms and MailChimp to automate fulfilling conversion giveaways and add subscribers to an email list makes a lot of sense, but figuring out how the pieces fit together can be challenging.

Good business practice includes periodic ‘touches’ with contacts, regardless of whether you are trying to convert them. Email management tools, like MailChimp (or iContact or Constant Contact), make communicating with customers, prospects and other stakeholders a lot easier to manage.

Many organizations set up a series of welcoming email messages that automatically go out to new subscribers on a prescribed interval. Many also use email to deliver products and services offered as part of a conversion strategy. Often, a form is associated with a conversion mechanism where visitors are enticed to enter their email addresses to get something of perceived value, such as a free white paper.

We prefer using Gravity Forms and MailChimp for conversion, ‘join our list’ and other email communications. These tools work well and integrate smoothly.

Once set up, a typical conversion/email system works like this:

  1. A person sees an offer of, for example, a free white paper, on a website and is motivated to get a copy of it. He/she types an email address into a Gravity Forms form and clicks a “submit” button.
  2. A standard message (that was composed in Gravity Forms) then appears on the screen saying, for example, “Thanks for your interest! We are sending you an e-mail containing a link where you can download the white paper.”
  3. This causes four things to happen:
    • The webmaster is sent an email letting him/her know someone submitted a form.
    • The visitor is sent an email with a link to a page where he/she can download the white paper.
    • MailChimp is told (via a MailChimp add-on for Gravity Forms) to add the email address to the mailing list.
    • MailChimp sends the visitor a confirmation email containing a link which he/she must click on to confirm his/her willingness to be added to the mailing list.
  4. Five outcomes are possible:
    • The email address entered by the visitor is bogus and messages to it get bounced. (spam)
    • The visitor receives email with a link to the white paper and email from MailChimp and takes no action on either. (neither)
    • The visitor downloads the white paper and opts into the email list. (both)
    • The visitor doesn’t download the white paper but does opt in to the email list. (one)
    • The visitor downloads the white paper but doesn’t opt into the email list. (the other)


  • A person must explicitly opt in to a mailing list. It’s considered unethical and a bad business practice to add someone to a list without his/her permission.
  • If you don’t care about verifying that an email address is valid before you give access to the white paper, the verification email step can be skipped.
  • If a visitor does not opt into the mailing list via MailChimp, and you subsequently interact with him/her and get his/her permission, you may add him/her to the list manually.

What methods do you use to build your email lists?

2016-10-17T10:29:44+00:00 February 16th, 2015|Business Advice, Email|