July 2, 2023

Webflow's Form Notification Emails

By default, all Webflow forms capture form submissions into a database, and can send your client an email notification with the information that was captured.

This is super convenient for a basic website setup.

And for many businesses, capturing & delivering those form submissions easily and reliably is the entire purpose of the website.

But Webflow's built-in form submission capture and email notifications system has some big problems.

Just a few problems...

Here are 5, in my own order of importance;

  1. Form handler reliability issues. The SPAM attacks Webflow suffered in early 2023 led to some serious changes that appear to frequently block legitimate submissions from being captured successfully.
  2. The unsubscribe link. An unsubscribe link appears at the bottom of every notification email, and they stop receiving any more notifications.
  3. You cannot properly whitelabel the emails. They will always come from Webflow's own email address.
  4. You cannot brand or style the emails, at all.
  5. You cannot format or arrange the form-data content of the emails in any meaningful way. This creates problems if your form has 50 checkboxes.

Here are the two big problems worth understanding more closely;

Reliability Issues

In early 2023, Webflow's servers were targeted by spammers, in such a way that SPAM could be submitted without going through the form.

This made reCAPTCHA irrelevant, and it meant that even if you deleted the form entirely from the site, you'd still get spam.

It was a mess.

Webflow dutifully responded by aggressively adding SPAM detection to the form submission handlers, to mitigate the problem.

But it seems that these new SPAM detections features are also sometimes blocking legitimate submissions ( known as a false-positive ), or outright causing the form submissions to fail with things like CORS errors.

The extent of this problem is entirely unclear because there is no easy way to measure the form submissions that you didn't get.

So how does Webflow detect SPAM?

We just don't know. However forum posts imply that;

  • Submitting URLs in a text field is very likely to cause the submission to be rejected. This is a common spammer tactic, but there are legitimate cases where URLs should be in the form contents.
  • Location of the sender may be a factor.
  • The IP address of the sender may be a factor, if it's from a range that has previously been identified as a source of SPAM.
  • Certain keywords may trip the filter.

The fact is, we just don't know, and Webflow is understandably unable to release any information on the specific anti-SPAM checks they're performing, or SPAMmers could just use that information to defeat those measures.

The Unsubscribe Link

In Sept 2017, an unsubscribe link was added to the bottom of every notification email. When clicked, it immediately unsubscribes your client's email from the notifications list.

Unsubscribe links are a normal part of modern email notification systems, but there is a significant weakness in Webflow's implementation, which is that anyone can click that link. Webflow has added a confirmation screen that indicates the email being unsubscribed- but that does not prevent someone else from unsubscribing your client.

This is a big issue in many client marketing workflows. When your client gets a form notification, they will often forward or reply to that email to respond to the person who submitted the form. Webflow even has a special feature that allows you to set up a reply-to address to make this even easier.

That unsubscribe link is passed on to everyone, and is sitting in email inboxes. At any point anyone clicks it ever, your client's email is unsubscribed.

It appears that Webflow didn't have a choice regarding that unsubscribe link- although it could have probably been implemented in a far better way. Email infrastructure providers are extremely strict because they must protect their server reputation or their deliverability fails and their business fails with it.

“But, that's... my money!”

Yeah, I know. The whole reason you built this website is to capture those leads.

Here's what you can do to ensure you get them.

3rd Party Form Handler

Use Webflow's forms with a 3rd party form handler.

Basin and Formspark are popular options. We prefer Basin, because;

  • + Fantastic delivery
  • + Better looking email notifications
  • + Phenomenal SPAM detection, so far 100% accurate across 50 clients.
  • + SPAM messages are kept in a special folder, for review. Never lose money due to a false positive.
  • - Adds a small cost to your site

And, with Sygnal Attributes, it works with Webflow's built-in inline success and error messages when a form is submitted.

Here's how to integrate Basin into your Webflow site.

Custom Form Handler

Build your own form handler using an automation system such as Make.com or Zapier and Mailjet.

Email notifications are useful, but should they be the ONLY way you capture and store that lead?

  • What about pushing it into Salesforce.com, or Pipedrive, or Nutshell?
  • What about adding that user's email to your Mailchimp mailing list?
  • Sending an SMS alert to your sales team?
  • Sending a separate thank you to the customer?

Automations let you do all of this, and you can trigger one directly from your Webflow form.

Although setting up an automation and connecting it to your form correctly involves a bit of technical work, it has powerful advantages;

  • + Complete custom handling for each form submission. Notify who you want, and how you want. Assign a random salesperson. Store the lead in multiple systems for tracking & safekeeping.
  • + Route different notifications to different departments.
  • + Handle routing differently based on other lead characteristics, such as customer location, or lead value.
  • + Ability to do fully custom email notifications, using Mailjet. You'll even be able to send the notification from your own custom domain.

IMPORTANT: For this to work properly you'll want to submit the form directly to an automation system webhook. If you use the internal "Webflow Form Submitted" event that Make and Zapier provide, you will ONLY get the submissions that passed Webflow's own SPAM detection, which defeats the purpose here.


Email deliverability is a big problem thanks to SPAMmers.

There's a reason that there are so many companies that specialize exclusively in email newsletter and transactional messaging services - it's a big problem that involves a ton of dedicated infrastructure and specialized engineers.

As of 2023, the valuation of Webflow is $4 billion​ and the valuation of Mailchimp is $12 billion.

Think about that.

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