Jul 31, 2009

Using Google Forms to Create a Custom Signup Form

In MailChimp v4.2, we’ve added a number of list import options, including Google Docs, Google Contacts and Google Forms. Google Forms is a powerful and free tool that you can use to quickly and easily create a custom signup form that links directly to your MailChimp account.

new-formTo begin, you’ll want to head over to Google Docs and login using your Google account information. Then, under the New Document menu, select Form. Go ahead and give your form a name and then include some information as to what the signup form is for or about.

From there, you’ll begin adding fields. By default, the blank form starts out with two "Sample Questions" for you to modify. For this example, we just added a separate field for First Name, Last Name and Email Address, and went ahead and made them all required fields. It’s also important to ensure that you select "Text" for the Question Type.

Once you have your fields created and organized the way you want them, you can work on changing the visual design of the signup form. Google Forms is pretty limited in this aspect, but they currently provide 69 different stock themes for you to choose from.

forms-theme

Since we’re creating a signup form for our burgeoning Picnic Club, we went with the "Picnic" theme. To see how this will look once it’s published, just click on the link at the very bottom of the Form Edit page. This will open a preview of your published form in either a new tab or a new window, depending on how you have your browser set up.

publishedlink published-form

The second part of this tutorial is setting up MailChimp to import your signup form into a new list. First, login to your MailChimp account and click the Account link at the top left. This will take you to your account settings, and you want to click on Integrations.

integrations

Click on the first option: Google Analytics, Contacts, Docs and select Authorize Connection. This will take you away from your MailChimp account and over to Google (very briefly), and you will need to click Grant Access.

grant_accessOnce you click Grant Access, you’ll be taken back to your MailChimp Integrations page. You’ll see a green dot for your Connection Status, but may see a yellow dot representing Data Status. This is fine for now.

The next step is to head over to your Lists, and you want to click the huge orange button to Create a New List.

On the first page, you’ll need to go ahead and set up all the basic information, such as Sender Name and Permission Reminder. Next, select the Import My List option, and then select the source that you want to import from. In this case, Google Docs.

docs-import

A dialog box will appear, telling you that MailChimp can connect to your Google Docs account. Just select the appropriate Form from the pull-down menu, and proceed with list import.

drop-down