Sort contacts based on their answers to a form

A useful way to automatically sort your contacts is by adding those who give similar answers to a form into a specific list.

Gareth Burroughes avatar
Written by Gareth Burroughes
Updated over a week ago

We're going to use an example form that asks contacts whether they'd prefer to receive weekly or monthly communications to demonstrate how you can sort your contacts based on their form responses. We're going to create a program that sorts your contacts into a particular list, depending on the answer they gave.


There are three steps to this process:

1. Create a data field

You first need a data field to store your contacts form response in. It’s the value stored in this data field that allows your program to sort the contacts into the relevant list.

To create a data field:

  1. Expand the User menu, the go to Settings > Contacts > Contact data fields.

  2. Select NEW DATA FIELD.

  3. Create a new text type data field and give it a name. In this example, we’re calling it EMAIL_FREQUENCY.

  4. Select SAVE.

2. Create your program

To create a program which sorts your contacts into lists based on their preferred email frequency:

Configure the start node

  1. Go to Automation > Programs.

  2. Select NEW PROGRAM, then select Blank Template.

  3. Enter a name for the program, and, optionally, expand the Program location drop-down menu and choose a folder to store the program.

  4. Select the program Start node, then SELECT SCHEDULE. Select the No scheduled enrolment radio button, then select APPLY.

    The program is set to No scheduled enrolment because we’re going to configure our form to push contacts into the program automatically once they submit their answers.

Add a Multi decision node

  1. Drag a Multi decision node onto the canvas so it is connected to the Start node.

  2. Select the Multi decision node, then SELECT CONDITION.

  3. Select Contact data field rule, then expand the drop-down menu and choose the data field you created in Step 1.

  4. Set the data field value to be equal to Weekly, then select APPLY.

  5. Select NEW ROUTE, then repeat steps 3-4, only this time set the value to Monthly.

  6. For Default route, select IMMEDIATELY, then select APPLY.

  7. Drag an End node onto the canvas, connected to the Default route of your Multi decision node.

    This exits contacts from the program if they don’t have either of the specified values in the data field rule.

Set up the Add contact nodes

  1. Drag an Add contact node onto the canvas, connected to route 1 of your Multi decision node.

  2. Select the Add contact node, then SELECT LIST, or NEW LIST, if the list you want to place your contacts in doesn’t yet exist.

  3. Select or create the list for contacts who want to receive weekly emails, and then select APPLY.

  4. Drag a second Add contact node onto the canvas, connected to route 2 of your Multi decision node. Repeat steps 2-3, but this time select the list for contacts who want to receive monthly emails.

  5. Connect the Add contact nodes to the End node.

  6. Select ACTIVATE.

The program looks something like this:

Learn more about working with programs in the Program builder section of our Help Centre.

3. Create the form

Now that we have our data field set up, and our program ready to accept contacts, we can create the form for contacts to provide their responses about how often they’d like to receive emails.

Collecting an email address or mobile number

If the template you choose doesn’t already include a Contact email or Contact phone number Text block, you must add one. Learn how in Form: Add a question with a text box.

To create a form:

  1. Go to Content > Surveys, pages, and forms, then select NEW SURVEY, PAGE OR FORM.

  2. Select a template. We’re using the Blank form template to work from.

  3. Edit the headings and any other page design elements you want to change.

  4. Drag a Multiple choice Form block onto the form builder canvas.

  5. Enter your question text, and then select [Click to add item] to enter your response options.

  6. In the left hand Settings tab for the Multiple choice block, select Data field, and then expand the Assign to a data field drop-down menu, and choose the data field you created in Step 1.

    For the If you already have this data for a respondent field, leave the default of Update selected.

  7. Once you’re happy with your form design, select SAVE.

  8. In the Submit actions side panel:

    1. Set Respondents can complete the form to MULTIPLE TIMES.

    2. Under Add respondents, set Enrol on to program to the program you created in Step 2.

  9. Publish your form.

Share your form

All that remains is to share the form you have created with your contacts. The simplest way to do this is to send an email campaign with a link to the form. You can either send contacts directly to the form hosted on your Dotdigital domain, or you can embed the form on your site, or add it as a pop-over.

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