Importing your contact list, whether it’s from a previous system or a spreadsheet you created from years of collecting business cards, is going to be an important part of your use of Infusionsoft. Getting that list from Point A (wherever you have it now) to Point B (Infusionsoft) correctly is critical to ensure that you can communicate with them when you are ready.
Prepare your readers for the move.
When communicating with your readers, what you DON’T say can be just as impactful to your business as what you DO say. When you are getting ready for a big change, relaying how those changes will impact your readers is essential. For your switch to Infusionsoft, some of those changes could include how their messages appear in their inbox, the schedule of when those messages will be received, how links function when clicked, access to membership portals, and/or how sales pages and shopping cart pages appear and function. Many Infusionsoft users choose to coincide their move with website changes as well, which can be unsettling for some readers.
Maintaining these relationships is essential for your business, so it is important to send several messages to your list FROM YOUR EXISTING SYSTEM alerting them that there are changes on the way. This could be done by sending separate emails, but is best if mentioned in any regular emails you send to your list for 1-2 months prior to your move.
This is a great time to help your readers to decide if they even want to remain on your list. Perhaps your emails don’t “speak” to them anymore or they are in a different place in their life or business. Providing a link for them to opt-out if they no longer want to receive your messages is a good idea for these folks and will reduce the likelihood of them marking your messages as SPAM once they are moved over.
It is also a great idea to provide a link to allow them to opt-in to the new system. The best part of this is you get to identify the really active segment of your list. These are the folks who are not only consuming your information, but wanting to make sure they don’t miss anything in the future. Providing a free gift to those who opt-in early is optional, but highly recommended, since it allows you to deepen your relationship with them and provide even more value to your best people.
Export a list in csv format from your current system.
For instructions on exporting data from a variety of sources, click here. It is critical that you NOT export anyone from your list who has opted out, marked a message as SPAM, who has an invalid email address who whose address is not receiving your messages anymore (bouncing). It is also a good idea at this point to remove those who you no longer want on your list (face it – we all have those folks we just don’t want to deal with any longer; it’s just a part of doing business).
Prepare your file for import.
There are a number of things to look for on with your list to ensure that is will import smoothly into Infusionsoft. The checklist itself notes several things to look for on the spreadsheet itself, like making sure that each piece of data is completely included within a single column. For example, you cannot import a list correctly with one cel representing Address. Instead, the street address must be in one cell (there are two provided), city in another, state in another, zip code in another and country in another.
It is also important to ensure that each contact is fully contained within one row of data. Each row will result in a single contact being created.
You can tag your contacts when you import them. Each contact can also be in multiple tags. It is important to think about your tagging strategy carefully and only create the tags that you need. Think about your tag names and make sure that they are specific enough that 6-months or a year from now, you’ll still remember why you created it and who would be tagged that way. Tag names like “Misc” or “Attendees” are virtually useless.
We could spend quite a bit of time going over tagging strategy, but basically you should think about tagging contacts based on behavior, products purchased, events attended, videos or other content consumed, and/or whatever other criteria necessary for you to segment your list and send relevant messages to your contacts. Tag names need to be contained within one column, separated ONLY by commas. Any tags included within this column will be created, if they do not already exist in Infusionsoft.
Review your list in preparation for import.
Once you feel your list is ready for import, review it to be sure. Have you removed those who opted out or reported SPAM? Are all of the email addresses valid? Is all of the data in the correct columns? Do you have any blank rows or empty columns? Are any dates in the correct format (MM-DD-YYYY, MM/DD/YYYY, YYYY-MM-DD, and YYYY/MM/DD)? Has old or unnecessary data been removed? Are country names spelled out? Making these corrections BEFORE you import is much easier than AFTER.
Import your list. Be sure to follow the instructions displayed on each page of the import process. You can also follow the official Infusionsoft checklist found here.
Clean-up the list after import. Run a dedupe/merge to identify any duplicate contacts who may now exist in your application by following the instructions here. Deduping and merging duplicate contacts is critical to keeping a clean and organized database.
Prepare your first email.
Once your list has been imported, you’re ready for your first message!! When sending emails to your list or adding them to a campaign, it’s important to pull only relevant contacts for each message – this is why proper tagging is so important!
Other critical factors to consider with your first (and subsequent) message include making sure that the FROM email address matches what you were sending from previously, reminding your readers that this is being sent from your new system, ensuring that your message matches the subject line to minimize confusion, inviting your readers to opt-out if your messages no longer pertain to them and clearly setting expectations on how often readers will hear from you. Every day isn’t a bad thing – unless you’ve TOLD them you’d only email them once a month!
Lastly, set up a way to identify and automate a method to re-engage readers who are not opening, clicking on or responding to your messages. This should be done at least 3-4 times per year and can involve different methods, like direct mail, social media or a phone call. It is better to have a small, engaged list than a big list that largely ignores your messaging. There are a variety of reports in Infusionsoft designed to help you with this and we’ll go over it in detail on a future post.
Following these steps will go a long way to reducing problems with communicating to your list from within Infusionsoft. This will NOT completely eliminate them, however. You will still see a spike in unsubscribes and spam complaints, since there will be contacts receiving messages who may have stopped seeing them from your previous provider.
Complete the form below for an easy-to-use checklist to help you get your list out of your old system and into Infusionsoft with the least disruption as possible!