By Michael Miller
One of the LEAST enjoyable tasks associated with any online eCard campaign is going through all of your contacts and creating a clean, up-to-date recipient list. It’s this task alone that generates a high percentage of support requests, and it’s not uncommon for people to say, "I wish I knew about that sooner." So, here’s my top five tips for email list organization.
Tip #5: Organize and Clean. Most email address books and contact manager software allow you to export an Excel spreadsheet of your contacts. Before you spend a lot of time entering contacts into a contact manager, make sure that the software or service allows you to get the information out! Once you save your data, you may need to open up the spreadsheet and delete columns that contain unnecessary or unwanted data.
If you plan to import your contacts into CorpNote’s online address book, at minimum you will need each contact’s first name, last name and email address. You are not required to create an address book in CorpNote (you can copy and paste up to 250 addresses at a time directly into the "Add Recipients to Address List" window), but creating an address book entry for your contacts enables the following features:
While first name, last name and email address are the minimum required data, you may also wish to save your list with Company, Birthday and Anniversary. CorpNote also lets you use a keyword field called "Category" that can be used to further identify and sort your contacts once they’re in your address book. A new date field has also been added recently called "Start Date," which lets you assign a date that a contact became a customer or an employee was hired.
Tip #4: Name your list well and store it safely. After you have cleaned up your holiday email list (and optionally uploaded it into CorpNote’s Address Book) make sure you save it with a recognizable name that includes the date. A format that works well for us might look like this:
Holiday-list_12-14-13_clean_rev2.csv or Holiday-list_12-16-13_clean_final.csv
Equally important to having a good file naming convention is having a good method of saving it to a folder that will be routinely backed up, and is easily recognizable or accessible in future years.
Tip #3: Understand the 60-day rule in CorpNote. One of the questions that comes up repeatedly is, "Can you restore my address list or eCard from last year?" Unfortunately, if you’ve let your CorpNote membership lapse, the answer is no.
After 60 days of an account being inactive, all confidential member information is deleted from our system for privacy and security. This includes your sent card history, saved cards and preferences, event and survey data, and all contact information in your address book.
If you HAVE kept your account active, then your address book contacts will always be preserved. Additionally, while sent cards can only be viewed for 60 days from your ’Sent Cards’ screen, if you use your address book to send a card, you can use our ’View Archives’ feature to see the past eCards you’ve sent and the address list of the people who received it.
Tip #2: Send a copy of important eCards to yourself using our ’Inbox Delivery.’ CorpNote now offers members a choice of sending an eCard with ’Browser Delivery’ – requiring a click-through email to view the final card online, or ’Inbox Delivery’ that displays the final card in a person’s email inbox. Click-through delivery is great for animated cards, because Flash animation won’t play in someone’s email inbox. (We display a replacement still image if an animation is sent in this fashion, or to an Apple iOS or Android device.) But browser display cards are subject to the 60-day display rule described above, so if you send yourself a copy of your holiday card this year and open the email next year, the email will still be there but the card design and message will not. Inbox delivery eCards, on the other hand, reside in your email inbox and may be archived on your local machine. Regardless of whether you send an animated or still card, using either deliver method, we recommend that you send yourself a copy of your card using inbox delivery for posterity.
Tip #1: Use our ’Export Tools’ to back up your work. It makes me sad when a customer is disappointed that their contacts, online event invitation results or online survey results have been cleared. Each of these features – Address Book, Event Invitation List and Online Survey Responses – allows you to save Excel spreadsheets or reports. By taking a few extra minutes after sending your eCards, you can easily download your address book contacts and not have to worry about losing your information if you deactivate your CorpNote membership. (See Tip #4 above about naming and saving your file!)