To use Informz, you need to have the email addresses for the people that your organization needs to communicate with. Hopefully that's not a surprise!
Once an email address is in Informz, that becomes a subscriber in Informz parlance. Everyone at Informz is focused on helping you to have the best relationship possible with your subscribers. What ever you might call your subscribers - members, donors, customers, media contacts, students, clients, government officials - we will help you make the most of communicating with them as effective as possible.
Uploading is the process that takes data from a file, or a list of email addresses you type into Informz, and creates subscribers in Informz. This is done using a delimited text file (usually created in Excel and usually the delimiter is a TAB or |) that includes email address and any other personal information (e.g. first name, last name, organization name, membership date, most recent purchase amount, donor type) that you'll need for targeting or personalizing.
How Much Data Should I Upload?
While email address is absolutely required, having additional data to do personalization and targeting is an extremely good practice to embrace. You don't want to take every single field you have and upload that into Informz, but select a meaningful data set that gives you options.
Every field that you upload can be used to personalize your message to your subscriber. The appropriate use of personalization is a great way to engage your reader. You can certainly put personalization codes inside your mailing - that's easy. If you want to take it to the next level (and it's easy to do so!) you can personalize your subject line and even the friendly from. These are great opportunities for you to create awesome mailing experiences.
This additional data can also be used to create target groups to use to send your mailings to. Every additional piece of data gives you another way to segment - or "slice and dice" - your own data.
Informz does not use the header row to extract incoming field names. It's best if you remove that. If you don't, it's not a problem. That row will be bypassed during the upload. You will create a data format to map which incoming column goes to an Informz field.
Remove any blank columns in your data file. If you are using Excel, make sure that you unhide and hidden columns so you know what's contained in the worksheet. If, by mistake, a blank column is in the data file, Informz will interpret that as a column with the expectation that it will be mapped to an existing Informz profile info field. As part of the subscriber upload wizard, Informz presents only those data formats that have the same number of fields as your data file has columns. This means that a data file with five columns of data and two blank columns would be considered as seven incoming columns. Informz will present all data formats that have seven fields in the format.
As great as it would be to have every piece of data we need for every subscriber, that's not always possible. If a field in the data file is blank Informz will bypass it.
If you're using Excel, make sure that you are aware of any hidden columns in a worksheet. Unhide all columns and then remove those that you don't want to upload to Informz.
If your data file contains fields with special characters (e.g. a letter with an accent, alternative punctuation) this may cause challenges down the road either in creating target groups or in rendering the data when used as a personalization field. This is just something to be aware of for your testing.
If you are creating this file using an export option from another system, be sure to specify that this is at tab-delimited text file format. Other text file types work too, but tab-delimited is the standard.
If you are planning on using the Subscriber Upload feature on a regular basis, it's well worth your time to devise a uniform file naming convention. This should be used by all Informz users so that you have consistency. A very common format is YYYYMMDD DescriptiveWord1 DescriptiveWord2 (optional) WhereUsed. Some examples:
- 20160113 Members Active
- 20161113 Invitees - Emeritus Staff - Annual Lunch
- 20161113 Students - 4 Year - Graduate May 2016
Alternatively, if you are more project focused, you can lead with the event or project label and then add more after that. Something like:
- Annual Meeting 2016 - 2015 Attendees - Early Bird Discount - 20160113
- New Product Launch - NP100-01 - Dealer Network Webinar - 20160113
- 5K Run - NY Runners Club invite - 20160113
In addition to creating a good process that everyone can adhere to, a well-crafted file name will also provide visibility as to "what file was loaded when" on the Upload History page.
Tools You Can Use - Excel!
The most common data preparation tool is Excel. Most mature systems have a feature to export to Excel. Once your data is in Excel, you can sort it, filter it, and massage it to ensure it's what you want to put in Informz. Additionally, you can use Excel's many functions to synthesize new data by combining multiple cells. For example, if you have a First Name column (B2) and a Last Name column (C2), you can concatenate those two columns - with a space in between - into a single column, for Full Name, by using a formula like this:
=B2 & " " & C2