Avada Forms Email Submission Placeholders

19/10/2020

When selecting either the Send To Email, or the Save To Database and Send To Email Form Submission type, with Avada 7.1.1 and up, you can use placeholders in your submission fields to dynamically pull information from your forms. Let’s have a look at the various options.

Avada Forms > Email Placeholder Fields

Email Placeholders

The most common fields to use Placeholders are the Email Subject, Email From Name, and the Reply To Email fields. By using placeholders, your emails will be customized on arrival, dynamically pulling the data from the form to display in your email. If you wish, you can also use multiple placeholders in fields.

Let’s look at an example. I will configure a Contact Form, (this one is from the Podcasts prebuilt website) using Placeholders in the Submission tab of the Form Options, to customize how the email looks upon submission.

Avada Forms > Contact Form

Email Subject

For Email Subject, I have a Text Field Element in our Form with a Field Label of Subject and a Field Name of subject. So, in our Email Subject field in the Submission area, I will add [subject]. That way, when the email arrives, it will have the subject entered by the user in the Subject Field of the email.

Submission > Email > Email Subject

Email From Name

If left empty, an email sent from your form will show as coming from WordPress. This is pretty boring, and not very descriptive. So by adding placeholders for the Name fields used in our form, we can personalise this area of the email. I have both a First Name and Last name field in my form, in the Email From Name field in the Submission area, I will add [first_name] [last_name] so that in the From section of the email, it will be personalised, (eg. John Smith).

Submission > Email > Email From Name

Sender Email

This field controls the email address that the form shows as coming from. There is good reason not to use placeholders here, and, instead, to use an email address from your own domain. If you think about it, anyone could send an email on behalf of anyone else using your contact form if it arrives “From” the user’s inputted email address. This means it would be wide open to abuse. Also, most email servers now verify if the sender has the right to use that email address. And so, when the checks fail, the server identifies the mail as spam, based on a “forged sender address”. This hurts deliverability. The visitor’s name can still appear in the Email From Name field by using a placeholder, as seen below, but their email address should not be placed in the Sender Email field.

Best practice is to use something like contactform@sitename.com or wordpress@sitename.com, which is the default sender address of WordPress transactional emails, such as password recovery and automatic update notifications. It should end with your domain name and extension, but what you put before the @ doesn’t matter. Do not use an existing address.

Submission > Email > Sender Email

Reply To Email

With this field, you can add the email address of the person submitting the form, so you can easily reply to the email, and it will be sent to right place. Otherwise the reply would be going to the address in the Sender Email field, which if left empty is wordpress@sitename.com.

The Email Reply to has a specific format you must use for it to work. This is not Avada specific, rather it’s a WordPress convention. The format to use is [text_field] <[email_address]>.

So, for this example, I will use the First Name field and the Email Address field as such: [first_name] <[email_address]>

Submission > Email > Reply To Email

Submitting The Form

So now, if I fill out the form as a user, using the following information, and send it, the placeholders will go to work.

Contact Form > Filled Out

Receiving The Email

And when the email comes in, as we can see, our placeholders have pulled the information from the form submission. The title of the email is being pulled form the Subject of the Contact Form. The email is showing as coming from John Doe, but it is using the domain wordpress email address.

Avada Form > Email Received

And when we hit reply in the email client, the email is addressed correctly, using the first name and the email address from the placeholders.

Avada Form > Reply To Email