Throughout this season, we’ve talked about create content to build an audience. And the best way to build that audience and interact with them is forms. Well, Naomi C Bush tells us all about some great ways to build helpful forms for users. This is a much more traditional episode of How I Built It and I’m excited. Naomi talks about how she’s built her business, then provides some actionable advice for us.
- Naomi C. Bush
- Gravity Forms
- Episode 55: Alex Cancado & Gravity Forms
- Build Your List Using ConvertKit with Angel Marie
- Brennan Dunn and RightMessage
- HTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide
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Intro: Welcome to Episode 195 of How I Built It. Today’s sponsors are Yes Plz Coffee, iThemes, and Hostinger. Today, we’re talking to Naomi C. Bush. Now, throughout this season, we’ve talked about how to create content that builds your audience. And the best way to build that audience and interact with them is forms. Well, Naomi tells us all about some great ways to build helpful forms for users. This is a much more traditional episode of How I Built It. And I’m excited because Naomi talks about how she built her business, and then provide some actionable advice from us.
She’s a great developer. She provides really good insight. Her business is based on Gravity Forms whom we’ve spoken to in the past. But her insight and her views on how she…I don’t want to spoil any of this. And I’m just kind of riffing here. But I asked her how she figures out what is free and what is paid, because this is something that I struggle with, and I liked her answer. So definitely listen up for that. It’s a great episode, though. She provides great advice and just lots of really fantastic resources here. So we’ll get into all of that and more, but let’s hear from our first sponsor.
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And now back to the Show.
Joe: Hey everybody. And welcome to another episode of How I Built It, the podcast that asked, how did you build that? Today, my guest is Naomi C. Bush. She is the head Gravity Forms wrangler at gravity+. She’s also known as The Gravity Guide. I’m happy to welcome her on to the show. Naomi, how are you today?
Naomi: I am doing absolutely wonderful. Thank you, Joe.
Joe: Thanks for joining us today I’m excited to talk about building forms that can help content convert. On the show so far we’ve talked about different content strategies and developing ideas but we haven’t gotten into some of the nitty-gritty for actually getting people to act on your content. So I’m excited to talk to you about that today. But first, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Naomi: Sure. Like you said, my name is Naomi C. Bush. I have been in the WordPress community for many, many years now. Over 10 years. Actually, I’ve been a Gravity Forms user for the full-time.
Naomi: So been around for a while. Run and organize a WordPress meetup. Actually the only WordPress developer meetup here in the state of Georgia, also being a WordCamp organizer. I don’t know if you remember the original Gravity Forms forums, but I was an active member of those. So I’m just really proud of the fact that I’ve been able to contribute to both the wider WordPress community as well as the Gravity Forms community.
So where my Gravity Forms experience comes in is now as a Gravity Forms user I needed a Stripe add-on. And at that time, Stripe was very new. So I asked Rocketgenius to make use of Gravity Forms, you know, “Hey, can you make this add on for me?” And they were like, “Looks interesting. Maybe. Maybe one day we’ll get to it.” I needed it and so I went ahead and built it, and then offered it to the community. And then the community started paying me for it because they wanted to see it continue. So that’s how gravity+, my company, was born.
I ended up building the first paid add-on for Gravity Forms, which kind of sparked this whole paid add-on business ecosystem around Gravity Forms now. So I’m really proud of that. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last I guess eight going on nine years now on gravity+.
Joe: Wow, that’s fantastic. It feels like a little callback to some of my older episodes where I would interview specifically developers because I’m a developer myself. And those are the questions I like to ask and stuff like that. But you were scratching your own itch, and you turned it into a business, which is always, always fun to hear. And now it looks like you have a handful of Gravity Forms add ons here that serve several different purposes.
Naomi: That’s right. That’s right. I like to say we have a nice little collection of these original add ons for Gravity Forms that, like you said, just really aim to serve a purpose. None of it was kind of pie in the sky. “Oh, let’s just build this.” But no, “I need this so I’m going to build it.” And then “let me offer it to others.”
Joe: That’s great. And it makes perfect sense. That’s basically where my plugins come from, though. I haven’t taken the leap yet to make any of them commercial because I’m afraid of the support aspect of it. But I really love that. Before we get into the content aspect of it, how…I guess you kind of answered this already. But how do you decide whether an add-on for Gravity Forms is, let’s say commercially viable, even though that is very corporate sounding? How do you decide what’s worth selling?
Naomi: For me, because I always like to maintain a community focus, I always like to give back because this community has given so much to me. So little things that don’t require a lot of support, that don’t require a lot of research, that don’t require a lot of maintenance, excuse me, those are the things that you know, I feel comfortable making free. I come from the era in WordPress where we used to see and this is Gravity Forms is the first paid plugin for WordPress periods. So I come from the era in WordPress where everything had to be free.
So as a business, you would start using a plugin, and then the plugin owner needed to make money, they needed to feed their family, they needed to support themselves. So we had this plugin graveyard. So that’s what I’m always kind of balancing there. Is it going to require a lot of support, a lot of my time, things like that? Because I don’t want to mislead anyone and have them relying on something heavily. So a Salesforce add-on like I have versus my utility plugin. I mean, Salesforce is huge. It’s a full-time job.
If I consider it a fiduciary responsibility to serve my customers, I can’t legitimately provide that to you for free. That will be doing you a disservice because people rely on Salesforce much in their business, and it’s so huge. I have to have an exchange there that will allow me to support you and you support me
Joe: That’s such a great way to put it. Because people do think, “Is it gonna take me a lot of time to support? Are people willing to pay for it?” But if you’re going to have a fiduciary responsibility—I really love that phrasing—then I think it really is important, right? It’s the difference between when I put out a YouTube video versus when I put out a course. Because YouTube videos are not going to be supported as well as if you are a student in my courses, and you have access to my forums. That’s going to, again, depend on the content. What am I teaching? What are you building? So I think that’s really great.
So for anybody who’s listening who’s not necessarily a WordPress user, there are a lot of free forms plugins for WordPress. Gravity Forms is completely paid. Let me tell you, as somebody who’s been through a lot of them, I always make my way back to Gravity Forms. I know the Ninja Forms guys. James has been on my show. I’m a big fan of their work. But for what I use, and generally, the level at which I’m using Gravity Forms, it makes more financial sense for me to pay for Gravity Forms, and all of their add ons is one thing. The developer hooks and the customization I feel in Gravity Forms is a little bit better there too.
Naomi: Absolutely. I’ve been there as well. You know, kind of been around the whole forums plugin. Because once you start with one, then there’s the allure of “Oh, well, let me do all of the forms plugins. Let me provide add ons for all of them.” So I ran into the maturity issue and ended up back at Gravity Forms.
Joe: Awesome. So for those listening, again, if you’re trying to figure out which one to use, I would look at the feature set. The difference for me was when I was using Ninja Forms versus if I should go back to Gravity Forms was, I wanted ConvertKit integration, I wanted Zapier integration, I wanted something else. And right there the cost of Gravity Forms was lower than the cost of all of the add ons or whatever for Ninja Forms. Plus, again, as a developer myself, I have an easier time customizing Gravity Forms as needed.
Naomi: I think what you speak to there is what I consider the biggest strength of Gravity Forms, and that’s its ecosystem. Its ecosystem is still unmatched.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. I believe Ninja Forms just went through a period where they kind of bought the add ons from people who were willing to do it. I don’t want to just pick on Ninja Forms. I’m more familiar with their story because I know the guys and I know people who made add ons. With Gravity Forms, I think probably you do have a different audience there because they are premium out of the box. There’s no free version. So with the Gravity Forms community, you know that people are willing to pay for the thing that they need, right?
Naomi: That’s correct.
Joe: Awesome. Hopefully, we’ve convinced some listeners to check out Gravity Forms. I’ll have a link to Gravity Forms as well as Naomi’s stuff in the show notes below. Below this episode, I should say. Now, let’s say that we’ve picked Gravity Forms…and we’ve been talking a lot about content this season, and build your list is something that keeps coming up. Build your email list, capture those people who are coming to your website. What are some maybe general webform practices you would recommend to try to capture people who are coming to your website?
Naomi: Sure. So the first thing is keep it simple. This is very general. Don’t try to capture all of their information at once. Don’t try to marry them right away. Just say, “Hi, I’m Naomi. What’s your name?” That can consist of maybe just a first name and an email address? Or maybe it’s just an email address. That’s something very general. That’s the first thing in terms of a general webform practice.
I would say the next thing is offer them something. Something that I’ve seen a lot is, I think over the years, it’s become known as a content upgrade. But I’ve seen it on these larger sites, where they’ll say, “You know what? We’re providing you great content. It’s a little bit longer. Would you like to have a PDF copy of this? We’ll send it to you.” So right there in the article, the person can put their email address, and they’ll receive a PDF copy of the article itself. And you can do all. I mean, that’s just a form.
One of the things that you will always hear me say throughout any of my talks is that a form is simply a way to receive information and then do something with it. So if you want to send someone a PDF copy of the article, well, you need to receive their email address so that you know where to send it. So a form is a way that you would do that. That’s something very simple, very general that I’ve seen in terms of building that list.
Joe: Awesome. I like that first tip. Don’t marry them all at once. I really like that. Because I mean, even with Checkout forms, I’m primed and I’m ready to buy something and then they want my phone number or something. And I’m like, “You don’t need my phone number.” Too many fields asking them for too much information at once could be a turnoff.
As far as the content upgrade goes, I have a follow-up question. Because I’ll stick a form at the bottom of the article, people have made it to the end. So I assume they liked it, or they were just hate-reading it. But I’ve also seen content upgrade forms kind of in the middle of an article. Do you have any opinions on that? Or have you seen anything that works or doesn’t work there?
Naomi: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s great. One of the things that we had talked about before is you can even actually track to see which of those forms is converting the best, whether it’s in the middle or at the bottom. So, dynamic population plays a role in that, where each form you can kind of dynamically populate, where you can say, “Hey, this one was in the middle. This one was at the end. That’s a field on that form, the location of it.” And then depending on which one is submitted, that will depend on which variable was sent in. I mean, absolutely. Especially if it’s a longer article, someone might say, “This is really good. I want to come back to it.” And right before they leave, they see an option to say, “Hey, take it with you.”
Joe: Wow, that’s really interesting. When you say, dynamic population, you mean that the field in a form is dynamically populated, right?
Naomi: That’s, that’s correct. That’s, that’s correct.
Joe: Okay. There’s also the idea that there are ways to automatically insert forms or content somewhere in the middle. Is that right? Or am I misremembering something else there?
Naomi: You sort them out automatically inserting a form into the middle?
Joe: Right, right. Because with the block editor in WordPress now it’s very easy to say out of Gravity Forms block where you want to. You might want to do that. You make a particularly good point, and then you want to hit them with the form right after that. But if you don’t remember to do that, is there a way for it to automatically happen?
Naomi: So it would be programmatically you could make that happen. But there’s not currently some kind of off the shelf plugin that will automatically put a form. At least the Gravity Forms add-on automatically put that there.
Joe: Interesting. Interesting. Cool. Maybe something for us to think about.
Naomi: Yeah, absolutely.
Joe: Again, I guess shortcodes are probably not the best way to do it anymore. But you could just figure out how many paragraphs there are, pick a random one into…
Naomi: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. There are WordPress plugins that do that, but not specifically any Gravity Forms add ons.
Joe: Got you. Cool. Good to know. But still, I think probably the better route here based on what you said and what I was brainstorming is, pick a part of the article where you make a really good point, where you want to take it. Take it home, they’re like, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” And then it’s like, “Hey, do you want to maybe give me your email address? I have lots of good ideas.”
Naomi: That’s right. Another thing in terms of just your content and getting people to convert and building that list is free tools. It could be or just a way to kind of just round up everything that you’ve talked about in an article. So you may say, “Hey, would you like a list of everything that we discussed here as well as the locations to find…” You know, it depends on your audience. It depends on your niche. But that could be something that’s very helpful. Let’s say for you, it’s about podcasting. “Hey, I’ll send you a list of all of my equipment and exactly where I found it, or you know exactly where to get it. That’s something as well. People like those.
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And let’s get back to it.
Joe: Aside from inserting your form into the middle or end of your content, are there other places on the website where we can capture information? When I do podcasting, I tell my students to make their call to action really clear and make the Ask really obvious? How can we make the Ask really obvious outside of our actual content?
Naomi: One of the things that I like, and this is not necessarily in the website, but I love email. I think people still send out a ton of emails. Emails is not dead no matter what anyone says. Email still works. So one of the things that I like to do is I like to make it very easy for my audience to respond to something in email. So what you might see is it could be a simple yes or no. “Is that Something that you would like to see? Yes or no.”
And in the email, each link actually has a dynamically populated parameter in the link. So the first link that says yes, it will be the link to the page with my form and it will have a dynamic parameter on there that will say, “The answer to this field is yes.” And then the other one, if it’s no, it will go to the same page but the field will be dynamically populated with the parameter “No”. So when the person clicks one or the other link, it takes them to the page with the form on it with that parameter already populated.
Then I have an auto-submit plugin, that when that page is visited, the information, the form is automatically submitted and the confirmation message shows up. So if you are asking your audience to reply to something, the thing that they can be afraid of the most is like, “Oh, gosh, I’m gonna have to go take this long form.” And you’re like, “No. In the email, just simply click Yes, or no. Just simply click this link or this link.” And they click it and it takes them directly to the page and it says, “Okay, thank you.” Because I’ve already dynamically populated all of the fields that I need directly in the link. That is actually one of my favorite ways to engage with an audience outside of the website or outside of maybe a post itself.
Joe: That’s really fantastic. Because one of the things that I definitely struggle with, I’m sure a lot of people struggle with is actually getting people to respond to email. Every week, I send out a weekly email and I’ll have a question in it or usually, the first email I send in a new subscriber sequence is this question. But people might not want to write out a full answer. Or maybe they think, “Why take the time if I’m not…” They don’t think I’m going to read it or something.
But making their answer as simple as possible by asking it in the email, having the link include all the information for the form, and then using an auto submit plugin to make it so all you have to do is click and I’ll take care of the rest. I think that’s such a great idea. I’m definitely going to start implementing that on my sites. Because I was doing it with ConvertKit tags but they’re not a great way to…Well, if you ask Brennan, they’re not a great way to do anything. But they’re definitely not a great way to gather information, especially if you’re asking different types of questions. I’ve got too many tags and it gives me [unintelligible 00:27:52]. So I think this is a great idea. Plus, with Gravity Forms, the information will automatically be stored in your WordPress site. Awesome.
Naomi: That’s right. Then what I do is, just in case, there is some additional information I need, you know, so let’s say I need them to answer another question or maybe I need a paragraph field, because I need them to provide me with something written, something that they have to come up with on their own, not something that I can predict, I’ll have it so that the form will be able to show that field, but after I’ve already captured their initial information.
So that kind of goes back to my first point where it’s like only collect the information that you need at that time. So I guess you could call it just in time information collection. So if I don’t absolutely need your email to go to the next point, or if I don’t absolutely need your last name to move to the next step, then I’m only going to ask you for your first. And then later, I can ask you for your last. And if you don’t give me your last, that’s okay because I have your first and I can use your first. We’ll get to know each other a little bit better. And then you may feel more comfortable giving me your last.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So again, that’s really important. For people who are listening, and maybe they are building out more complex websites, you can use Gravity Forms and some of the tools that Naomi has built to capture information as it’s added essentially. You should of course, like…I’m not a lawyer and GDPR is a thing and other privacy protection acts in the United States are a thing. So adhere to the laws that govern you and your business. But if you can capture what your users are willing to offer, then do that as soon as you can. Don’t make them fill out like a mile-long form and then make them hit submit, and then you know if something goes wrong in the event that you don’t have that information. So I think that’s really great.
Naomi: That’s right. And I think to that point also, in terms of not making them fill out a mile-long form, don’t make them fill out the information that they’ve already given you. So use the information that you already have.
Joe: Yes, yes.
Naomi: There are several ways to do that with Gravity Forms.
Joe: That’s another thing that I really think about that I try to implement. It’s easier said than done in some cases. but I’ve set up my system so that, for example, if I’m having a sale for one of my courses, I’m not emailing the people who have already purchased.
Naomi: That’s right.
Joe: That’s a personalization thing. But the same for my users. If they’ve already given me money for something, I want to make the checkout process for the next thing as easy as possible, where they don’t have to put in their address. I never need their address because I sell digital goods. So I’m only going to ask what I need.
Naomi: That’s right.
Joe: Awesome. There was a lot of really good advice in there. Capture what they’ve already answered, and then ask for more information. And then if they’re not ready, they don’t have to be ready. I met somebody in my younger days at a bar and we bonded over cigars. And then they just told me way too personal stuff for like the first 15 minutes of me meeting them. Don’t freak out your users by asking them too many prying questions at first. Awesome.
Naomi: I think what you’re referring to there is a term that they use called progressive profiling. I think that’s a big space for Gravity Forms. It really allows you to do some advanced things. I have a plugin that does it and it specifically works with my Salesforce add-on. So we kind of use Gravity Forms multi-page forms so that whenever they go to the next page, their information is updated. So they start out with page one, and then maybe there’s a save and continue, you know, and they come back to it and fill out page two. And were progressively updating their Salesforce information.
Joe: That’s really great. Progressive profiling. I think I’ll link to more information about that in the show notes, too. But if you’re interested in more in that, that’s a great term to Google after you’re done listening to this episode of course.
Naomi: Yeah. That’s getting into some deeper personalization stuff. Like you said, Brennan, he talks a lot about that.
Joe: Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s becoming more and more important. I went to an event a couple of years ago, where Brennan spoke, and personalization was a big part of it. And I was like, “Do I really need that right now?” Now I wish I started earlier. Because the more you know about your users, the more you can connect with them and show them, kind of like you said, the just in time information. You’re not trying to sell them B when they don’t even know about A.
Naomi: That’s right. That’s right. To me, I always see it just as a relationship in a conversation. And like you said, the key word there is serve. We’re here to serve an audience. And like you said, the more that I know the more that we can talk and relate, then the more I can understand your needs, and then I’m able to meet those. I think forums are a great way to do that. That’s actually another use of forms that I see that people really like, and that’s what those like quizzes and assessments, and surveys. Those are huge.
If you go, I think it’s BuzzFeed, they’re all these sites that all they do is they use these quizzes because people are so attracted to them. There’s a talk that I gave about it. One of the questions I said was: what’s your spirit animal? People love that. Whatever your content is. Let’s say for you, if it’s podcasting, you can just ask a series of questions and you can become a recommendation engine for your audience. So ask, okay, how big is your space? What kind of lighting do you have? How many episodes a week are you going to be recording? Just to find out their usage. And then behind the scenes, you can calculate all of that and give your best recommendations for what they need, and say, “Hey, I’ll email it to you.” So that’s another way to capture what’s going on.
I think in the process of building your list, you’re also creating content, and you’re allowing your audience to help you create that content as well. So I think that that’s something to point out.
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And now back to the show.
Joe: You go to these websites and this [unintelligible 00:38:39] it’s probably from Right Message. But it might be Gravity Forms or some other form or chatbot thing. But it’s just like, “Hey, what are you most interested in? Hey, where are you on this journey?” And I always think, “Should I add this? Do I have enough traffic to get useful information?” But asking questions about where they are in the journey, again, helps me serve them. If they already have a podcast, I shouldn’t be telling them about my Podcast Liftoff Launch course. They don’t need to learn how to launch a podcast. Maybe they want to learn how to monetize their podcasts or whatever.
Naomi: That’s right.
Joe: I think that’s really important. As far as quizzes, assessments, and surveys, maybe other places where you can add forms. This is not something I’ve tried with Gravity Forms, but I assume it’s probably possible. You have a little form or a modal that you can embed because Gravity Forms does support shortcodes and dynamically generating them in places.
Naomi: That’s right.
Joe: Maybe that’s something else to consider as well. As we come up on time here, I do want to ask you. Let’s say somebody is starting a new website. Maybe it’s not their first, but maybe it is. What recommendations do you have for, let’s say, strategically placing a couple of forms on their website and how to get started with Gravity Forms specifically?
Naomi: Okay. All right. So strategically placing the forms on the website. So we kind of talked about in the article itself. I think another good place is in, like you mentioned, that message pop up…when people are showing that they’re engaging in your content. So it could also be specific. So for me, I have a product website, so on each product page, I’ll have a specific form that is directly related to that product.
Another place, and this is for people who sell things, is right after a purchase, I will ask a question. Because if you think about right at that point of purchase, this person is sold. They’re sold enough, they pulled out their credit card, they gave you their money, now’s the perfect time to ask something that can help you continue serving. So that’s another place where I put things. I know people know about exit intents and those types of things, so I won’t go there.
This might be a little different, but I think when people first visit your website, that could be a good time to reiterate that “Hey, this is a relationship. I want to serve you. Who are you? What do you need?”
Joe: Especially if you serve multiple audiences, right? I just set up a Get Started page where I…podcasting or development. Like I have development courses and a book coming out. It’ll probably be up by the time this episode comes out.
Naomi: Oh, nice.
Joe: Yeah, HTML and CSS. I talk all about how to build your own form from scratch there. Which ones you read that chapter, you’ll probably want to just actually get rid of plugins.
Naomi: Gravity Forms.
Joe: Yeah, exactly. Actually, a quick aside. I was a little bit rusty in that chapter. I’m like, “How do I do this again?” How do I associate a label with an input?” Well, my podcast audience probably doesn’t care about development. So why do I want to tell them about what’s new in PHP 8.0 or whatever if they have no idea what that is? So I think that’s really great. I want to ask a follow-up question here, even though I just said, like, “Where’s a couple of places?” You said on each product page you have a form directly related to that product.
Naomi: For sure.
Joe: I am somehow a digital hoarder and a minimalist. So I try to keep as few forms as possible on my website. But is that the right strategy? Should I have a bunch of different forms for a bunch of different use cases?
Naomi: Sure. There’s a balance. It really depends on what you want to track, how do you want to track it. Here’s where I really draw the line. If it is the same form and it has the same fields, you don’t need…99% of the fields are the same and the only thing that’s different is the product itself, you don’t need a different form. You can use dynamic population to distinguish between which page and which product this form was referring to. I see that all the time. Especially for events, people will have the same exact form, and the only thing different is the event name and maybe the event date. And I’m like, okay, “You don’t need that. This is the same form.” Again, there is a balance there. It could depend on your tracking, but I still think that you can track effectively even with the same form, and just using that different parameter. So there is a balance.
Joe: Got you. That’s a great point. For those who don’t know conditional logic, something I love to use. Especially if you filled out my contact form on howibuilt.it, it’s basically showing information based on the value or the answer of a different field. So for example, if you go to one of my contact forms on casablanca.org, why are you contacting me, one answer is I want you to add a link to one of your posts. I get rid of all of the rest of the form information. I say, “I don’t do that.”
So it’s a way for me to hide information and at least make it a little bit harder. People have to really think, “Well, am I going to deceive this guy just to email him?” Or on How I Built It, if they say like, “I want to sponsor the show,” it takes them to an entirely different form that asks them more questions about the sponsorship and if they’re a good fit. So I think that’s a really good point. I want to wrap up here with my favorite question, which is, do you have any trade secrets for us?
Naomi: Ah. I think I gave away several.
Joe: This is the problem with me asking it at the end is I’ve already gotten so much good information. I’m like, what’s that one more nugget?
Naomi: Let’s see. So something that I’ve learned recently or a hard one lesson.
Joe: How about I’ll tee you up because we both speak at a lot of WordCamps. I know, you’ve given several talks. I have given several talks. As we record this, we’re still in the throes of a global pandemic where the United States is being hit especially hard. What’s a trade secret around continued networking or staying connected with the community when we have to do it digitally?
Naomi: I think, in that case, it’s really important to…for me, I’ll just personally reach out to people. You might notice I’m not necessarily a social butterfly, so I’m not all over social media. That’s not really my personality. But I do like to stay connected with people. Just reach out to them. “Hey, how are you doing?” And be intentional about it. So I will have, and I hate to say it, but I will have to Zoom meetups. I know some people are Zoomed out. Whether it’s once a week, once a month, once a quarter, I’ll make sure that I continue to just reach out to people and develop those relationships, keep those relationships going on.
I think the community is important more now than ever. I didn’t realize how much I missed it because I do primarily work from home. And then not being able to go out and meet with my local meetup and WordCamps. Those were all just very good reprieves from this working by yourself life.
Joe: Yeah, for sure. I think that’s great. I keep thinking like if I knew that WordCamp Miami was gonna be like the last meetup, I would have gone to it. I was like, “I’ll skip out this year because I have like a few other events planned. I won’t be traveling after my son’s born or whatever.” But man, if I hadn’t known then. But be intentional. Sorry. Go ahead.
Naomi: No, no, that’s right. I would say another thing that I noticed during this time is just how important forms are. Because everything has had to transition online, forms just have been incredibly important to businesses. I remember when things first happened, my email inbox was full of people trying to scramble. And the physical things that they were doing, they needed to be able to transition online. Whether it was taking payments, one person, you know, they were still taking payments offline. Well, they needed a way to do that online. They were transitioning their physical classes to virtual classes.
I think this was just a great time for people to really look at their systems and really consider how forms could help them streamline their workflow. I really think that this was a great time to really systemize things using forms.
Joe: How fantastic. What a great way to tie it back into forms too. Because you’re absolutely right. We’ve both probably ordered things online from establishments that just got online or just added online ordering. The good ones I could tell were really good and the bad ones lost my business, unfortunately. There’s like a local restaurant where their website is just a train wreck. So I still go through DoorDash or something because it’s a lot easier for me. And I feel a little bit bad about it. I don’t really trust putting my credit card information on their website.
Naomi: I mean, if it’s a company that I really like, I’ve been volunteering a lot. Like, “Hey, you just pay for your tools and supplies. Don’t worry about the labor or anything. I will help you. I could do this in my sleep. It’ll take me an hour to set this up for you.” And I have one lady I’m working with now. She said it was taking her the better part. Every Monday, it was taking her almost the whole day to manage what she was doing, because she was doing it manually.
She was using a form to bring the submissions in to receive the information. But then she wasn’t using the power of a form builder, where they can actually automate what you do with that information. So she was manually taking the information received from the form and then putting the information where it needed to go. And I’m like, “No, we can automate all of that. I’ll be done in an hour. And you will have your time back.”
Joe: That’s awesome. That’s a really good idea too is, volunteer if you can, where you can if you have that ability. Maybe I’ll walk down to the pizza shop today that I was just referring to and offer to build them a nice form. Because it’ll save me time.
Naomi: Yeah, absolutely. You can only offer. Everyone doesn’t take you up on it. They’re like, “No, we’re fine. We’ll be doing it.” But the ones that do, it feels great to be able to help.
Joe: Fantastic. Awesome. Naomi, this was such a great conversation. Thank you so much for your time. Where can people find you?
Joe: All right. Awesome. I will link to that and everything we talked about in the show notes over at howibuilt.it. Thanks so much for listening. Naomi, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Naomi: Thank you for having me.
Outro: Thanks so much to Naomi for joining us this week. The notes I took during this interview are so long. I just kind of wrote down everything she said. So the show notes on the page are going to be long, you’ll be able to find those over at howibuilt.it/195. She talks about how she loves email, people say email is dead, it is not dead, and she tells us how to capture those emails. But her trade secret about staying connected and reaching out to people is also super important because our networks help our business grow. Then she talks about how everything’s transitioned online. I love that. So anyway, you can find more information about Naomi and everything that she’s doing with gravity+ in the show notes over at howibuilt.it/195.
Now, she said email is not dead and I wholeheartedly believe that. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be putting so much effort into the Build Something Weekly newsletter which goes out as you can imagine, weekly. You’ll get takeaways from every episode and a lot more. So there’ll be a signup form over at howibuilt.it/195 for that too. You’ll also be able to find out more about our sponsors, Yes Plz Coffee, iThemes, and Hostinger. I want to thank them because the show wouldn’t happen without them. As we come to wrap up this year, their support has been incredibly important to me, as has your support. Thank you for listening, dear listener. And until next time, get out there and build something.