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WordPress Tutorials, Tips, and Resources to Help Grow Your Business

4 Clever Web Form Hacks to Unlock Hidden Customer Data

by Courtney Robertson on Nov 28, 2016

Are you maximizing the information you can gather from your customers?  With a little help, you can increase the amount of data you discover when visitors submit forms on your website. In this article, we will reveal hidden customer data that will help you:

  1. Detect Secret Spammers
  2. Discover Visitor Location
  3. Keep Private Notes
  4. Reveal What Works

Let’s get started!

Note: The tips in this tutorial assume you’ve already got your form created, and are familiar with the WPForms interface. If you’re just getting started with WPForms, here’s a tutorial on creating a simple contact form first.

1. Detect Secret Spammers

Preventing spam and safeguarding your site’s security is very important when accepting form entries on your website.

You can keep your site safer by recording a little bit of extra data about your users.

Did you know that each computer on the internet contains a unique address, referred to as an IP Address? When you discover which IP Address is sending spam to your site, you can block that address from accessing your site entirely.

To track the IP Addresses that are using your form, go to Settings » Notifications within the form editor.

Next to the Message field, click Show Smart Tags and click on User IP Address to add the Smart Tag {user_ip} to the message.

user ip address smart tag

When you receive your email notification, you’ll see what the user’s IP Address is.

Want to block that IP address from accessing your site?

One way to do this is to go to your webhost company and ask for support in blocking that offending address from accessing your site. Another way to block an address is to use a security plugin such as Sucuri to blacklist an IP Address. Here’s more information about how Sucuri blocks WordPress attacks.

2. Discover Visitor Location

To see where your visitors were located when they submitted their form entry, go to WPForms » Entries and select View.

Smart Tag Entries

Then scroll down to the end of the form entry to view the user’s geolocation.

WPForms Geolocation

Knowing where customers are located can be useful for providing relevant support.

3. Keep Private Notes

If you’ve ever wanted to make a personal note to help you remember important details later about your customers, we’ve got you covered.

Go to WPForms » Entries and view a specific form entry. Scroll halfway down the page and select Add Note.

add a note in WPForms

These notes can include details of your meetings, reminders for birthdays, and any other key details of your customer relationship.

4. Reveal What Works

Have you ever wanted to know how a person reached your site and submitted a form?  With a smart tag, you can easily track which link a user clicked on to get to your site.

For example, if a user visited your website by clicking on a special tracking link such as yoursite.com/page/?source=facebook, you know that they clicked on a link you shared on Facebook.

To set this up, you can add a hidden field to your form.

how to add a hidden field to a form

In our example, we named the form field source. Click on the field from the right-hand preview panel to access the field options, as seen in the screenshot below.

Then in the default value area, choose the smart tag “Query String Variable”.

Next, you’ll need to add the name of the form field that you want to display.

query string variable

After this, you’ll want to include the information from this field in your notification email. Go to Settings » Notifications.  From there, select the message body on the right side preview panel.

Click on Show Smart Tags in the top right of the message box.  Since we named the hidden field “source earlier, that is the label that you are looking for.  It will add some code to your notification that looks like {field_id=" "} with a different number depending upon other fields in your form.

Add hidden field source smart tag

Next, publish the form on a post / page so visitors can find it.

The final step for this is to share the link to the page that contains this form. For each platform you share the link on (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), you’ll want to add the source to the end of the link, so WPForms can recognize it.

Here’s how you would create each link when shared to different places:

  • Facebook: yoursite.com/page/?source=facebook
  • Twitter: yoursite.com/page/?source=twitter
  • Email Newsletter: yoursite.com/page/?source=newsletter

You can change the source (facebook, twitter, newsletter) to whatever text you want.

When the user visits your website, the hidden field will not display in the form.  Here’s how it looks in our example form:

Hidden field doesn't display

The resulting email will look like this:

smart tag form email notification

Other Available Smart Tags

Want to try out more advanced features? Use any of these available smart tags in your forms:

  • {admin_email}
  • {author_id}
  • {author_display}
  • {author_email}
  • {entry_id}
  • {form_id}
  • {form_name}
  • {page_title}
  • {page_url}
  • {page_id}
  • {date format=”m/d/Y”}
  • {query_var key=””}
  • {user_ip}
  • {entry_geolocation}
  • {user_id}
  • {user_display}
  • {user_email}
  • {url_referer}
  • {url_login}
  • {url_logout}
  • {url_register}
  • {url_lost_password}

We hope this article helped you unlock hidden customer data that will give you the insights you need to grow your business.

Looking for more ways to expand what your WordPress form can do? You might also want to check out our guide on How to Auto-Populate Fields in WordPress Forms.

What are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms plugin today.

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