In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know to upload subscribers into Communications Professional.
AutoFTP lets users manually upload files that contain lists of subscribers. These are in turn processed by Communications Professional as a Subscriber upload. The format of the files must match a data format in your Communications Professional account before the files are uploaded through the AutoFTP website.
The AutoFTP site allows users to drag and drop files or to browse and upload. Communications Professional checks for new files to process every few minutes.
There are two prerequisites that must be met before you use AutoFTP:
- You must create the required personal info and demographic fields that you will use in your upload’s data format.
- You must have a data format in Communications Professional that matches the data coming from the AutoFTP process.
NOTE: If you need assistance with accessing AutoFTP, create a case with Higher Logic Support.
Subscriber Upload Process
Before you upload subscribers into Communications Professional, ask yourself these three questions:
- Have I created profile fields in Communications Professional? See Profile Fields Overview.
- Have I created data formats? See Data Formats to Upload Subscribers.
- Have I saved your list of subscribers as a text tab delimited file? Refer to the Subscriber Upload Data Files section below to learn more.
If you answered "yes" to all of the above, you're ready to upload your subscribers. To do so, follow this three-step process:
Step 1 - Choose Subscriber Upload Method
- Navigate to Subscribers > Upload > Upload Subscribers.
- Choose your Upload Method:
- Upload a file - This will allow you to upload a file from your computer. Select Browse, select the file. Communications Professional cannot read a CSV file (such as MS Excel), so ensure that your file is saved as a tab-delimited text file before selecting it.
- Enter email addresses - This will allow you to upload a list of email addresses. If you are uploading anything besides just email addresses it is recommended that you upload with the Upload a File functionality.
- Select your Upload Source from the associated menu. This will allow you to keep track of where the lists you are uploading are coming from.
- Choose the Subscriber delivery format by selecting HTML version or text version.
- Click Next.
Step 2 - Select Data Format
- Choose the Data Format to use for this list. Communications Professional will present only those data formats that have the same number of columns as the incoming data file. See Data Formats to Upload Subscribers for more information.
NOTE: The data format should have been created before uploading subscribers. Communications Professional previews the data to help you to choose the appropriate data format. If the data format was not yet created, you can create one by selecting Create New (to learn how to create data formats, check out the link above).
- Once the data format is selected, click Next.
Step 3 - Select Interests
- Select the interest to associate with the subscribers that are being uploaded:
- Available Interest - These are any existing interests.
- Create new interest - This allows you to add an interest on the fly. Name the interest, select a folder, and then click Add. The interest displays in the Available Interests column.
- Select the interest by clicking on the name. It will be highlighted in blue.
- Click Select and it will be moved to the Selected Interests column.
TIP: To move an interest from the Selected Interests column to the Available Interests column, select the name and click Remove.
- Click Upload.
Subscriber Upload Data Files
As you'd expect, to send mailings via Communications Professional, you need the email addresses for the people your organization wants to communicate with.
Each email addresses added to Communications Professional becomes a subscriber in marketing automation lingo. Higher Logic is here to help you to have the best relationship possible with your subscribers. Whatever you might call your subscribers - members, donors, customers, media contacts, students, clients, government officials - we will help you make 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 Communications Professional, and creates subscribers in Communications Professional. 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 an 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 Communications Professional, but select a meaningful data set that gives you options.
Every field 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, you can personalize your subject line and even the friendly from. These are great opportunities for you to create next-level 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.
Communications Professional doesn't use the header row to extract incoming field names, so it's best if you remove it. Not doing so, however, won't cause a problem because that row will be bypassed during the upload. You will create a data format to map which incoming column goes to a Communications Professional field.
Remove any blank columns in your data file. If you're using Excel, make sure that you unhide any hidden columns so you know what's contained in the worksheet. If, by mistake, a blank column is in the data file, Communications Professional will interpret that as a column with the expectation that it will be mapped to an existing Communications Professional profile info field. As part of the subscriber upload wizard, Communications Professional 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. Communications Professional 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, Communications Professional will bypass it.
If you're using Excel, make sure that you're aware of any hidden columns in a worksheet. Unhide all columns and then remove those that you don't want to upload to Communications Professional.
If your data file contains fields with special characters (e.g., a letter with an accent, alternative punctuation, etc.), this may cause challenges down the road, either in creating target groups or in rendering the data when used as a personalization field. Being mindful of special characters is just something to be aware of for your testing.
If you're 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're 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 Communications Professional users so that you have consistency. A very common format is YYYYMMDD DescriptiveWord1 DescriptiveWord2 (optional) WhereUsed.
- 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 upload to Communications Professional.
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
After a list of email addresses is uploaded into Communications Professional, it becomes a target group in the Interest folder. You can see the details of any uploaded list by viewing the uploaded history.
- Navigate to Subscribers > Upload > Upload History.
The resulting page lists all uploads from the last 90 days, including each upload's pertinent details.
Each upload includes a record of the date and user who made the upload. Invalid Emails are any email addresses that are missing the "@" symbol or a domain and will not be added to the newly uploaded list. Any Previous Unsubscribers will be recorded and removed from the new Interest before it's created.
Viewing Additional Upload Data
To see more data for any upload, click the Columns button in the navigation. A pop-up window appears. To add a new column to your view, click the + icon next to any column. The left-to-right display order of columns is controlled by the top-to-bottom order of the selected columns. The order can be changed by dragging and dropping the columns.
Click Ok when finished to make the newly selected columns visible.
You can see all of the settings used for a particular upload in the Upload Selections column. Click the View link in upload selections to see all the details. This includes:
- Data Format used
- Mailing format
- Interest for new subscribers
- Interest for existing subscribers
- Count of uploaded email addresses