In order to know what column of incoming data should be stored in what field in Communications Professional, you create a data format in Communications Professional to store that mapping.
NOTE: If you're just uploading a list of email addresses, you can simply use the Default data format that assumes that the first column is the email address.
Before you dive in and create a data format, take a moment understand the data you'll be bringing into Communications Professional. If you're preparing for a message and simply want to personalize it with...
Dear %%First Name%%
...you only need to upload email address and first name. But thinking beyond this immediate need, what might be useful in the next few weeks? Would knowing the state that your contact lives in allow you to reference that state in a story or subject line, therefore making the content more personalized for them? Would knowing the number of years that they've been with your organization factor into how you would write a story about the same topic?
Any data that you upload can be used for personalization or targeting. Doing a little planning upfront will help you create a better experience for your contacts into the future.
Uploading email addresses
If your data file contains only email address, all you need to do is use the Default data format on Step 2 of the Upload Contacts process.
Uploading multiple fields
Each column in your data file will map to a profile info field in Communications Professional. Remove any blank columns between columns with data. As shown in the image below, it's fine to have empty cells when there's no data in the field for a particular contact.
We recommend that the first column of the data file be the email address. Although Communications Professional can support having email addresses in any column, the best practice is to standardize your data-file format with email address as the first column.
When working with date fields, consistently use the same date format (mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy). Both of these are valid, just make sure your use is consistent. The contact upload process doesn't do any date conversion, so all incoming data is processed as a string.
Create a data format
- Navigate to Contacts > Upload > Data Formats.
- Click Add Data Format.
- Give your data format a name. If there are six fields or less, it's a good practice to name the data format with those field names; if you're uploading a longer list of fields coming from a standard process, then you can use a more descriptive name. Make sure that everyone on the team understands which data format is appropriate to use. All of the fields included in the data format are displayed in the Fields column on the Data Formats page, in case there's ever a question as to what this data format works with.
NOTE: By default, Tab is the selected column delimiter, and is the preferred delimiter for Communications Professional.
- Select the fields that correspond to the columns in the incoming data file. A single click moves the field from the Available Columns list to the Columns In Data Format list. The top to bottom order matches the left to right order of columns in the data file.
- Fields can be reordered using the green handle on the field and dragging and dropping to a new location. Do this when you realize that the field order in the data format doesn't match the left to right order of the columns in your data file.
- Click Save to create the data format.