In this article we will see how to use Flamingo-Contact Form 7 to store all message and also see how to View, Edit, Delete, Display on Frontend and Export to CSV the form submissions.
If you don’t want to lose your important form submissions, you should store them on your site.
You cannot directly save form submissions from the Contact Form 7 (CF7) plugin, instead, you have to make use of the Flamingo -Contact Form 7 add-on plugin which is the official Contact Form 7 database / Storage add-on.
Contact form 7 & Flamingo flamingo integrate seamlessly and does not require much configuration. Using the Flamingo Contact Form 7 add-on you can View, Delete, and Export to CSV the form submissions. You can take the exported CSV file and manually import it into other applications to add them as subscribers for the mailing list, lead management on CRM, etc.,
Let’s see how to install and activate the Flamingo-CF7 plugin and save Contact Form 7 submissions.
Table of Contents
How To Install And Use Flamingo?
Login to your WordPress website and go to the admin dashboard (We assume that you’ve already install CF7 plugin and created a form. If not please do so.),
You can see a video tutorial on using Flamingo Contact Form 7 pluhin below,
- In the dashboard go to Plugins → Add New
- Search the keyword “Flamingo,”
- Install and activate the Flamingo CF7 plugin
- You don’t need any additional settings. Your form submissions would be automatically saved in the wp_posts database
- You can view the submissions on your dashboard in the Flamingo tab in “Inbound Messages” and see the contacts in Flamingo’s “Address Book”
Customize the fields stored by Flamingo
By default Flamingo stores the Contact Form 7 fields such as your-subject, your-name, and your-email, along with the fields that you might’ve added. If you’ve modified the default fields you might face some problems when saving. But you still can try and save the customized form fields. If it is still not saving you can see the section below for the solution.
It also stores some meta fields such as Serial Number, IP, URL, Date, Time, URL, Username, and some more details. If you want these details to be sent with the email notification that you receive in your email inbox, you have to add Special mail-tags to the form template in the Contact Form 7 template editor.
Limitations of Flamingo for saving Contact Form 7 Submissions
Though features provided by the Flamingo plugin are enough for some Contact Form 7 users, there are several limitations to what you can do with Flamingo and Contact Form 7.
We will list some of the limitations of Contact Form 7- Flamingo integration below and we will also see how to overcome these limitations.
1. Problems With Managing Data
GDPR Compliance – Flamingo is not GDPR Compliant
You may not want to use Flamingo if your users are from Europe and other places with strict Privacy & Data regulations.
In addition to Flamingo being an entries submission tool, it will also track the user who fills out a form, such as IP tracking. You have to change some code to stop it from tracking leads.
Auto-Delete Form Submissions
GDPR also requires that you delete the data after a few months/years. Flamingo does not provide any provisions for the auto-delete entries feature so it is not technically GDPR compliant. You have to manually check and delete the entries.
Cannot Edit Form Submissions
Flamingo does not allow you to edit the form submissions. Sometimes people make mistakes when entering data into the forms.
For example, a user submits a form with a spelling mistake that reads as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. You can easily spot the mistake ‘gmail.com’ is misspelled as ‘gmial.com’.
When you see a clearly visible mistake, you cannot do anything to correct it because Flamingo does not allow you to edit entries. This could cause you problems when you are exporting the contacts to an email marketing tool.
2. Problems With Storing Data
When Changing Default Form Fields
The Flamingo plugin requires that you do not change the labels of the default fields [your-name] <[your-email]> and [your-subject].
If you change the labels of these default fields, your form submissions may not be saved. This creates a big problem if you don’t use these fields in your forms.
Cannot Include / Exclude Forms
When Flamingo with Contact Form 7 plugin is installed it automatically saves all of the form submissions, from every contact form that you have.
Your Inbound message page might be clogged with thousands of form entries.
If you want to save submissions only from selected forms, or you want to exclude certain forms from saving it is not possible with Flamingo.
Cannot Stop Repeated/Spam Submissions
Sometimes the same user might do multiple submissions in the same forms and it might even be a spammy submission.
All these form submissions will be stored in the database. This is not desirable in many cases and the Flamingo plugin does not provide any capability to stop this.
3. Problems With Viewing Data
Cannot See Form Submissions Without Channel Filter
On Flamingo’s Inbound Messages page, all of the form submissions are listed on a single page. In order to view the submissions from only 1 contact form, you have to add an additional filter.
If you have multiple forms on your site, all of the form submissions would be displayed on the same page which makes it crowded and it is difficult to manage the submissions.
Can’t See Fields Other Than Name & Email
Also on Flamingo’s Inbound Messages page, only the Name field and Email field are displayed. To view the other form fields you have to click and enter each form entry. This makes it hard to make quick actions when you have hundreds of form submissions.
Cannot Sort The Data
In Flamingo, form submissions are displayed based on the date & time of submission. There are no ways to manually sort the order of display or filter the submissions data. So if you have thousands of entries it would be tough to find the data.
4. Contact Form 7-Flamingo Export Problems
Cannot Export Selected Data
If you want to export from submissions, Flamingo will export all of the data. You cannot filter or select limited entries to export. Every time you want to export a few submissions, you would have to export everything and edit it using another tool such as Google Sheets, MS Excel, etc,.
Cannot Export Meta Fields
You want to export the form entries and you click export to CSV, Flamingo only allows you to export the form field data, that is all the fields submitted by the user when filling the form.
But the meta fields that are tracked by Flamingo, cannot be exported and are only displayed.
Cannot Export To External Sources Using API
With the Flamingo plugin Contact Form 7 Submissions are saved and can only be manually exported as CSV files. There are no options to connect and feed to 3rd party apps such as Mailchimp, Google Sheets, etc.,
Every time a new submission comes, you have to manually export it every single time.
5. Problems With Display Data
Cannot Display Entries On Frontend
Users might want to publish a table with the Flamingo address book on a WordPress page. Flamingo does not have the capabilities to display from entries on WordPress frontend pages.
To display the entries on the frontend you have to manually export and import them on another tool such as the WordPress table plugin to display form entries on the frontend.
Problems With Site Migration / Import
There is an import option available in Flamingo.
Suppose you are migrating from a development environment to a production state or to a new site, you will not be able to export and import the database into the new Flamingo’s database.
6. Problems With Support
If you are a person who would require support (now or in the future), you should certainly avoid the Flamingo plugin because their support is poor. Check the support thread of Flamingo – https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/flamingo/.
You could observe that most of the support queries remain unanswered, even some basic help requests.
How To Overcome The Limitations of Contact Form 7-Flamingo Integration?
Just because Flamingo-Contact Form 7 integration to save form submissions to the database has some crucial limitations, doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it.
You can make use of Tablesome – Contact Form 7 Database add-on that not only overcomes Flamingo-Contact Form 7 limitations but also gives you more options for you to make the best of your form entries and contacts.
Besides saving the form entries you can also do automations to optimize your marketing.
When you see Tablesome support threads you could observe that people get a quick response to the support queries. If you run into obstacles while using Tablesome with Contact Form 7 you could contact the Tablesome support and they would give you quick replies.
Tablesome plugin is free and available in the WordPress plugin repository. Do give Tablesome – Contact Form 7 add-on a try!