Did you ever come across this situation? I was trying to setup a campaign for many eBooks offered for free in exchange for the prospects’ email address in my autoresponder list, but I wanted to know which subscriber downloaded which eBook. All these eBooks would cover different topics in the same niche, so from this point of view, the subscribers were suitable for the same list.
The system I wanted to put in place is like this: the prospect downloads a locked eBook, then to obtain the unlock code he lands on a squeeze page where, in exchange for the unlock code, he gives me his email address. In the first follow-up email, he receives the code to unlock the eBook.
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I want to emphasize that this solution solves a very specific problem for a very specific list building implementation, but even if you did not come across this situation, it may give you some ideas for your own list building systems.
So, I was put in front of two approaches:
- Many squeeze pages and lists, one for each and every eBook, and
- One single squeeze page and one unique list for all of the eBooks.
The first approach can be easily achieved, of course. BUT, over time the number of the eBooks may increase significantly, so setting up a landing page and a list for each and every eBook would be such a waste of resources and time, without mentioning the difficulty to manage and maintain such a system.
So it was clear to me that I should try to use the second approach. But there is one tiny problem: I wanted to have some statistics for each eBook, otherwise how to distinguish between the subscribers by the eBook they unlocked, if they would be directed to the same opt-in page?
And then it hit me!
What if an URL parameter could do this distinction, like “http://example.com/your-squeeze-page/?source=my-ebook“? Each eBook would direct the prospect to the same opt-in page, but with a slightly different URL.
So, I searched the Internet and being inspired from multiple sources I came up with a solution of my own. I did not find a complete solution in one place, but I know how web forms work, so I knew what to search for.
As a side note, I’m using AWeber autoresponder service and OptimizePress plugin for the landing pages, so the presented solution is for this particular combination. But don’t worry, the solution is quite universal and I’m quite sure that it’ll work for any autoresponder and landing page editor, or even plain HTML.
And now, the practical solution
At first, I was thinking to store the custom data in a custom field along with the subscriber data, but a better solution would be to use something that is already in the form structure: the tracking code.
This can be achieved in 2 main steps:
- Use an URL parameter containing the custom info and pass it to the form.
- Pass the custom information to the form.
And now the details:
<script> document.forms.elements["meta_adtracking"].value = "cnet_[urlparam param='source']"; </script>
Notice that the value contains, in fact, a shortcode implemented by the plugin from step 3. We are lucky enough because this piece of information is parsed by the shortcode filter.
Notice also the name of the form element receiving the value: meta_adtracking. This is the name of a hidden form element that is used by AWeber to track the opt-in source.
This will enable you to easily segment the subscribers by the eBook name.
This solution takes the value of the “source” URL parameter and inserts it in the tracking field of your autoresponder list. Of course, if you implement this solution, change the name of the parameter to suit your needs.
You may feel a little bit concerned because someone could use the URL parameter to pass malicious code that would break your security through cross-site scripting or otherwise. But don’t worry, “URL Params” plugin sanitizes the parameter value by stripping out any code. Only raw values can pass, so there is no reason for concern.
Hope this helps.
PS: Your turn. Please, feel free to leave a reply, I will gladly help whatever problems you may have.