The festival of WordPress
January 22, 2021

This is an archive of the January 2021 event

Pandemic-Proof with Online Forms

During a global pandemic, learn how industries around the world turned to online forms to help them weather the storm — some adding new streams of income, and others strengthening businesses that otherwise may have failed. You will leave inspired with ways you can implement forms in your own business.

Speaker: Naomi C. Bush

Time: 3:00am UTC
Region: Oceania
Stage: Fused Stage

Hello, big orange heart and word Fest viewers around the world. It is an honor to be included in this celebration, although we can’t be together in person. I love that technology still allows us to connect in some form, especially online forms. And today I’m sharing with you. The impact that I saw forms have on businesses around the world in multiple industries, during a global crisis, people were understandably in a rush to adjust to the changing conditions.

So I had the opportunity to work with customers one-on-one to help them get set up and hear their stories for some, it was adding new streams of income. And for others, how they were able to strengthen their business that may have otherwise failed due to the conditions. Now, for some context of where I’m coming from for the last nine years, I been building ad-ons for a WordPress form builder called gravity forms.

So I work with forms a lot. And what do I mean by an online form? Well, instead of this paper thing, Right instead, you get to go to a website and to your information and click the submit button. Now, I don’t know about you, but taking paper or PDF forms, trying to fill them in, get them signed, scanned in and emailed back is, is a poor experience in my opinion.

So I want you to leave this session inspired. All right. And looking for ways to implement online forms in your business or your clients’ businesses, helping you capture more time, more income. First, I want to take you to the UK. A small franchisor of instructor led yoga and sensory play classes. Uh, these were live classes.

Uh, they were in a hurry. Um, to shift from their usual in-person classes to online. And instead of using a standalone payment subscription service, they saw the value in having everything run through their WordPress site, using their WordPress form builder. In this case, gravity forms. Now each franchisee was provided a page on the franchisor’s website.

And that page listed the location information, including the class schedules for that location. Now, a customer would normally use that page to learn more, but then they would go into the franchise location and sign up for and attend the classes in person. Well, now with this transition, they needed to have customers sign up online.

They needed to collect the payment online. And they needed to direct the payment to each individual franchises own bank. So they did just that created a separate form for each franchise on the form. Customers was chose the classes that they wanted to book, and then they paid for the classes either one at a time, or they could subscribe.

So on a subscription basis. Um, they received a receipt on once they pay and then the payment was directed to the franchisee’s bank account. Now, if the customer chose subscription payments, they could log into the website at any time, see their subscription, update their payment method, an update, or cancel their subscription.

Now, you know, I love this example because in the middle of being forced to make a transition, they actually received a benefit that they weren’t even expecting. And that is they were able to automate the collecting of their franchise royalties using the same process. You see, there’s an option when you’re directing the payment to another bank account to also collect a fee.

And they were able to collect these franchise royalties right at the point of sale instead of through a later process. So not only did they meet their explicit goals, but they were also able to work more efficiently, freeing up time. You know, when, when many people think of forms, they think of simply converting, you know, the fields on that paper form into fields that people will now fill out online.

However, what they miss is the process that happens after the form is submitted. And that’s where online forms and WordPress form builders shine, because it’s not just about receiving information. But it’s about the ability to automatically process that information for your organization in any number of ways and processes that were manual and require manpower can now be automated.

You know, I often see customers stopped short in this automation process instead of just going all the way they kid on just the information collection part. And leave the information processing part, but that’s where the true power is. If we go back and if we look to the PDF forms that I mentioned, you know, even when the form was filled in, someone had to check the email for the form, call the customer to get their credit card information.

Uh, both parties, you know, sit on the phone and wait until the payment is successful. And then I ask, you know, in my mind, well now where did that credit card information go? You know, was it keyed in directly? Was it written down somewhere? You know, the security is very questionable for me. So in our online class case, Not only are we able to use the online form builder to collect the information, but the process after the form was submitted is automated as well.

That is customer payment, paying franchisees and collecting franchise royalties. Um, adding the customer to the online class platform. As well as allowing the customers to manage their own subscriptions and payment methods. And I forgot to add now, this is all no code zero. This was all put together using off the shelf tools, not Zapier.

And I’m going to share those tools at the end. The franchisor did not have to copy and paste any code anywhere.

the restaurant industry was hit particularly hard. And I had a lovely conversation with a customer who was helping a friend in that business. He shared that business was great for his friend and he was doing better now than he was previously. I was definitely intrigued. Absolutely. Because it’s like, how could that be?

And he shared that he pivoted into a new income stream delivering and not just services like Uber eats. Um, at least in the us, the delivery service fees can actually be really oppressive for restaurants. Instead, you know, this restaurant was savvy enough and decided to set up mobile optimized forms on their own website.

Allowing them to stay in business and keep more of their money. And again, the star here is an online form builder that allows you to not only create the form, but also set up an automate the after form submission actions. This form allows customers to select the items that they’d like to order and pay for those items.

Now, one of the most resistant industries to technology has been the beauty industry, especially smaller salons. You know, there’s a, there’s a running joke. You know, if you say that you want to build software for salons, uh, that has always been an indicator that you are a newbie and likely to fail. Seems everyone that gets into software.

They want to build software for salons, you know, but that changed, uh, with the new need for contactless payments. And I had the pleasure of meeting a mobile salon and spa owner who coordinated appointments for traveling professionals. And they provided services to those who were either unable to, or did not want to visit a salon location.

So similar to our online class case, a form was created for each professional, the form included waivers and affidavits of health to protect both the professional and the client. But this time we were collecting payment information, but not processing it yet. The professional needed to confirm the appointment time first.

And then once they confirmed. The payment would be processed and text message reminders. You’d go out now. This was not no problem because our no code online form builder is up to the task. We select it to save cards only, and the card information was securely saved so that it could be charged later. And then we set up our text messages.

No another industry that was always adamant about needing to handle business in person, but then ended up shifting with the changes was banking. Now, in my experience, it used to feel like an uphill climb to get such a traditional industry, to allow you to send things to them electronically. I mean, it was a headache.

And then the world changed and I was actually able to open a new bank account with a traditional bank completely on line. I mean, talk about mind blown. And the main action with banks is, you know, really sign the paperwork. But again, that’s no problem for our no code online form builder. We can create a form with our fields, upload the PDF document that needs to be generated and map the form fields to the PDF.

We need to make sure that we capture the person’s signature in the form and then generate and send the PDF where it needs to go. No code now. All form builder, signature fields are not legally compliant. There are certain attributes that must be present for a signature to be secure and legal. And I list those in the list of tools that I’ll be providing at the end.

I thought that it was really cool to see us real estate agents embracing technology. Especially with virtual stagings, virtual showings, virtual closings, people were still buying and selling houses. And this is another industry where online forms, especially signatures were readily embraced to keep businesses is moving.

Even the us government got in on the action. I mean, look here at this press release from the IRS to protect the health and taxpayers. I’m sorry to protect the health of taxpayers and tax professionals. The internal revenue service today announced it will temporarily allowed the use of digital signatures on certain forms that cannot be filed electronically.

Now I did not work with the government on this, in any form or fashion, but I thought it was cool. So I wanted to mention it.

No, in my experience, the medical profession in the U S especially independent practices, they have also been particularly slow to embrace online forms. The best that I’ve personally been able to get. Is the downloadable PDF form, you know, that you have to manually fill out print and bring in, or if you’re like me, you know, you ask if you can just email it in.

And I was glad to see a number, a growing number of practices, embrace telemedicine and telemedicine is just a term used to describe virtually providing patient consultation. And while there are providers out there that will happily separate you from thousands of your dollars, an online form builder can also simply do the job because what do you need here?

You need to book a time, accept payment, automatically create and send the meeting link and then send reminders. And we can do that.

it was fascinating to see the live performance industry get in on the action. I saw several, uh, artists and others offer virtual performances for fans to purchase a ticket to, and then they would receive a link to view the performance. I saw party entertainers, pivot to hosting virtual parties. Children were even able to spend one-on-one time with Santa virtually.

None of this happened without an online form.

Yeah. Forms are universal used across industries and anywhere an offline or manual process exists. It’s a great place to see how your online form builder can help. So now it’s your turn. What in-person or manual process can you automate with your form builder?

Okay. For list of tools that were used in each of these examples, visit gravity, plus that pro slash word Fest. Now I’m going to take it down when this talk is over. So make sure you go get that now and note that none of these examples are using Zapier while it’s a great tool to use. In certain instances, I prefer to handle my actions in WordPress.

Now I’m also excited because I’m doing something that I’ve never done before, and I’m going to include a completely free consultation. With anyone who has questions about online forms, implementing them in your business specific form capabilities. Can my form do this? Anything related to fo to online forms is fair game.

So if you liked that, visit enter your email address and my online form, we’ll send you the information to schedule. Again, it’s a limited time offer, um, go to remove when the session is over. So go ahead and visit that link. And I would love to talk with you. Thank you again for having me.

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