Many direct mail campaigns are driven from lists that are stored in .CSV files or Microsoft® Excel files.
Postalytics has a process that makes it easy to: a.) import mailing lists with Excel or CSV files and b.) map them to become Postalytics lists. Once a list has been imported, it can be re-used across multiple campaigns.
Watch this quick video on how the list import works:
Table of contents
- How Should I Prep My File?
- How To Import Your .CSV Or Excel File
- First – Select .CSV or Excel From The New List Options
- Next – Name The List And Choose The File
- Then – We Show You Your Raw Data
- Now – Map Your Fields
- Last – Verify Your Field Mappings
- Your List Health Report – Important List Data
- You’ll Get An Email Confirmation
- Check Out Your Imported List
- Learn More About Postalytics
How Should I Prep My File?
There are some important things to understand prior to importing your file into Postalytics.
Postalytics Required Fields
When you import an Excel or .CSV list into Postalytics, we’ll check each record to make sure that it has the minimum required fields for proper mailing. If a contact does not have the required fields, we’ll import it anyway, but it will be labeled “Invalid” and cannot be mailed to until it is fixed.
Required Name Fields
- First Name (20 characters, alpha numeric) and Last Name (20 characters, alpha numeric) AND/OR
- Company (40 characters, alpha numeric)
You may have either First Name and Last Name or Company Name or both. They will be printed on two separate lines above the rest of the address and will look something like this:
Required Address Fields
- Address (64 characters, alpha numeric)
- City (200 characters, alpha numeric)
- State (2 letter state short-name code “MA” or valid full state name “Massachusetts”)
- Zip code (5 digit numeric “02370” or 5 dash 4 digit numeric “02370-1234”
You may also include an Address 2 field on records that require it (64 characters, alpha numeric). Use this field for things such as apartment number, suite number, etc.
Personalization And Other Common Fields
You can also map in common contact info such as email address, phone number, occupation/job title as well as up to 35 user defined fields (we call them Variable Data fields). These fields are not used in the address part of the mailer but can easily be inserted into the creative.
At the current time, Postalytics can only mail to U.S. addresses. Additional countries will be added over time.
The file you upload needs to be a .CSV (comma delimited) file or a Microsoft® Excel file. When formatting your file, the following is VERY IMPORTANT:
- All data should be contained in one sheet
- All columns must have a “header” or title in the first row. Headers should be alpha/numeric – no spaces, no blank columns (delete them!)
- No hidden columns or rows – here’s how to delete them: https://www.extendoffice.com/documents/excel/857-excel-delete-hidden-rows-columns.html
- Do not use special characters – letters and numbers only
- Do not “Wrap Text” – make sure Wrap Text is unchecked for the entire sheet
- All data should be in text format – without formulas or formatting. Here’s how to clear formatting or comments: https://www.extendoffice.com/documents/excel/1148-excel-clear-all-formatting.html
How To Import Your .CSV Or Excel File
The Postalytics importing software is designed to deal with the most common problems we’ve seen in the thousands of spreadsheets that have been used to import data into Postalytics.
- It fixes zip codes that are missing “leading zeros”
- It throws out many file format issues like formatting, special characters and empty columns (but not all – clean up your file first!)
- You can download a sample data file to see how a good file is structured
First – Select .CSV or Excel From The New List Options
Next – Name The List And Choose The File
These steps are pretty self explanatory. We do recommend that new users review the help articles and the sample data file. Setting your file up properly will save you a lot of time later!
Then – We Show You Your Raw Data
The “List Preview Data” will show you what your data looks like before the importer gets a hold of it. Here, if you see any egregious issues (I forgot to add a City column!), you can go back and fix your data file before you spend more time on the import.
To continue, click Looks Good! Start Mapping.
Now – Map Your Fields
Postalytics Auto Mapping
The Postalytics mapping tool will recognize and automatically map any column headers that are an exact match to the standard Contact Record fields, such as First Name, Last Name, Company, Address, Email, etc. Any extra columns in your data file that are not recognized will be mapped as Variable Data fields in the “User Defined Personalization Field” section.
If you’ll be repeatedly importing .CSV or Excel files with the exact same columns, we recommend editing your column headers so that they match the Postalytics Contact Record field names – see below. This will expedite your list imports, saving you time.
- First Name
- Last Name
Map Any Remaining Required Name & Address Fields
Postalytics makes it abundantly clear exactly which fields you’ll then need to map manually in order to send a direct mail campaign. You won’t be able to proceed until these fields are properly mapped.
- Required fields that are properly mapped will be green.
- Required fields that still need to be mapped will be white, within the red shaded area.
- Optional fields will be yellow.
Once the required fields have been properly mapped, the field and shaded area will turn green.
Personalization & Other Common Mappings
You can map other common data fields that are standard in Postalytics such as Email, Phone, Occupation, etc. as well as up to 35 additional User Defined Personalization Fields.
If you don’t want to import any of the Variable Data fields that have been auto-mapped, you can easily clear the fields by clicking the red “Clear Selections” button. Or, you can edit any of the fields by using Cool Tool #1 or Cool Tool #2 outlined below.
Cool Tool #1: Select & Deselect Fields – Eliminating Room For Error
When you select a field to be mapped, it will be grayed out in the list and no longer available to be selected. Change your mind? Just “Deselect” the field and scroll or search for the field you want to use.
Cool Tool #2: Search For Your Mapping Fields
When mapping any field into Postalytics, you can now just start typing in the search box to quickly navigate to the correct field to map.
Once your mapping is complete, click Confirm Field Mappings.
Last – Verify Your Field Mappings
Finally, you’ll get a sneak preview to see what your data will look like once it has been imported. If you want to change anything, you can go back and fix your mappings. If you’re all set, click Import Now.
Your List Health Report – Important List Data
While we’re working on importing your list, you’ll see a quick snapshot of the “health” of your list.
We break out the Valid contacts (who we can mail to) from the Invalid contacts (who we set aside with an Invalid status).
You’ll also see if we had to “truncate” any fields because the data in them was too long for the fields that will hold them in Postalytics.
You’ll Get An Email Confirmation
When your list is fully imported and mapped, you’ll get an email confirming that the process is completed. If your list is large, it can take a few minutes. If you had any duplicate records in your list, the email confirmation will include an attached .CSV file with your duplicates listed. We only keep one of the duplicates in your list so you don’t send the same mailer twice to the same contact.
Check Out Your Imported List
When the list import is complete, we recommend checking the list out. You can click the “Go To My Lists” button at the bottom of the List Health Report, or click on “View Lists” on the top menu.
On the Contacts List Page, you’ll see the status of your list, the list source, number of contacts and date your list was created. To manage your newly updated list, click the edit button. From here, you’ll be able to do the following:
- Edit your Contact List
- Download your Contact List
- Append records with the same layout to your list
- Edit Field mappings of the list
- Delete your list
Questions? Thoughts? We’d love to hear from you!
Learn More About Postalytics
We love talking with clients, partners and marketers of all types about how Postalytics can be used to solve problems and build great campaigns. If you’d like to talk with us about our pricing or any other part of Postalytics – please reach out!