Managing preferences with multiple data uploads

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We send out a monthly email to all our members. Each month we run a report, and pull all current members from our database and upload into Emma.

Our current method is to upload a new list of members each month into one Audience.

If Person A decides to manage preferences and removes himself from this Audience, but not opt out, what happens when we upload the next month?

Person A is still a member of our organization and as such, due to our current method would be put right back into this Audience next month.

Does Emma remember the preference, even if we try to put the person back in? And if Emma keeps it all straight, what happens if we change the Audience name?

We're starting to experiment with preferences and segmentation and want to ensure we understand basic principles before set up. Thanks.
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Liz Stephenson

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  • unsure

Posted 5 years ago

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Brandi Leath

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oooh that's a good question!!!! I second that! :)
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Tyler Scott, Employee

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Official Response
Hey Liz! Great question here. Emma is pretty smart, but doesn't have the ability to remember those preferences in this kind of scenario. So each time you're importing current members each month and adding them into this particular audience group, that individual would be added back in. What database do you use outside of Emma? The reason I ask is we offer integrations with quite a few CRM's or if you have developer resources you could build your own integration by accessing Emma's API

Hopefully this helps, but please let me know if I can assist further.
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Liz Stephenson

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Bummer.

But good to know ahead of time so we can set up our structure and preferences correctly.

We use Personify 360 which would integrate with Emma, but the integration project/ process is not on our development roadmap yet.

Thanks Tyler! I appreciate the help.
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Liz Stephenson

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So one more question around this - if we use the Add New feature, and only add new people will we have this issue?

In theory - I am thinking no, because the Person A - who has prefered out of Audience A - would not be updated or touched due to an Add New update.

Is that correct?
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hi Liz -- Let me make sure I understand what you're asking. :)

If you add your master list using add only, Emma will skip over any email addresses that already exist in your audience and will simply add the new addresses. So any contact that has managed preferences will not be updated or changed in any way. Is that what you're looking to do?

Thanks!
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Laurie T.

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Hi, Emily --
I am brand new to Emma and trying to wrap my head around a number of questions similar to this. Would it be possible to set up a phone call and pick your brain?

Laurie Tellis
The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hi Laurie -- I'd love to see some of your questions here! Our conversation might be helpful to other users. Why don't you hit me with a couple to get us started. We can set up a call down the road if needed. :)
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Laurie T.

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OK -- here goes. 1. In addition to donors and general supporters, we have members and send some of our emails to members only. How can we allow members to manage their preferences, including to opt out of member update emails, without allowing the general public to opt in? 2. When a member stops being a member, we'd want to remove them from the member group. But this would be a lot to keep up with -- would it be better (or even possible) to just upload a refreshed member list each time we send a member email? What are the advantages and possible pitfalls? 
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Laurie T.

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I would also love to hear from anyone using Raiser's Edge about how they honor email preferences and coordinate that with solicit codes.  Thanks!
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hi Laurie -- You can create a signup form that caters to your members (displaying the member group so they can deselect it if needed). You don't have to publish that signup form anywhere publicly, but you can link to it in an email to just your members whenever you need to! Does that sound like a possible solution for you?
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Laurie T.

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Thanks -- that could work for #1. Just to be clear, are you saying that, when they get our general mailings, those would link to a more public signup form that does not include the member option?
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Laurie T.

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What if a member forwarded that email to someone who was in our audience but not a member? Would that person then be able to sign up for member emails?
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Great questions! Yes, you create several signup forms and link to a specific form in each email you send (you can choose the signup form linked in the footer of your emails at the point of send). Theoretically, anyone who gained access to that signup form could add themselves to any group you've displayed there. 

One way around sending to non-members would be to set up a segment that finds contacts in the member group who are definitely members (based on some consistent field or data point in their contact records) and sending to that segment instead of the group. Do you have a member date for your members or some identifying factor? You could create that field in your audience and import your members with that date. I can talk through setting up that segment in more detail if you think this option might work for you! Leaving that member date field off of your member signup form could keep non members from being added to your send list.
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Laurie T.

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Oooh! Members do have a numerical identifier, but since that's constant, your idea of a date is better. Let's say they have a begin date and end date to their membership. The end date would be updated if they renew. So instead of sending to the member group, we create a segment each time based on the group's members with an end date after today. Then, say once a month, we import our current member list to add new members and update end dates. Am I following? 
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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That's a great idea! Since segments are dynamic, you can be sure you're only sending to those members who are still active and meet your qualifications. :) 

You can create the member start and end date fields by navigating to the Manage Contact Fields button on the Audience tab and creating those custom fields. Let me know if you need any help setting up that segment. You can create a new segment each time, or just edit the details to update the date parameter before sending!
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Laurie T.

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Yikes --  I just learned that I can't export my contacts with the names of the groups they belong to. Which means I can't track who opted out of a particular group. 
So let's say I send you an announcement about our upcoming webinar. You manage your preferences and uncheck the box for Webinar Announcements. So now it's time to send out my next webinar announcement.  I import my current webinar list but, uh oh, since I didn't know to exclude you, you are added right back into a group you opted out of. 

I know I could do this instead: create segments for everyone who either signed up or managed preferences ever and is not in the Webinar Announcements group, and then copy them to an XWebinar group. Then create a segment of folks who are on my current webinar list who are not in the XWebinar group, then copy those folks to the original Webinar Announcements group, and use that for my email. Is that my only option? 

What if I imported my current list to the Webinar Announcements group using add only? Above you say Emma will "skip over" anyone who is already there and any that contact who has managed preferences won't be updated -- but I need some clarification on that last point. What exactly does that mean, and how will Emma know not to add you back to a group you've preferred out of?

Thanks for wading through this!
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Happy to help! I'll take this opportunity to revise my above statement regarding importing using the "add only" option. After talking through this in more detail with my teammates, here's exactly what importing with "add only" does:

1. Import all of the contacts in your spreadsheet into the group or groups that you specify 
2. Import the email address ​and​ additional mapped fields for ​new members only*​
3. It will ​not​ import the additional mapped fields for existing members or update the information in existing fields for those contacts already in the audience

I hope that helps to clarify that option a bit. I admit, I get a little confused sometimes when I think about it to hard. :)

That being said, the segmentation strategy you outline above is exaclty what I would recommend. The goal is to keep the original webinar group in tact, so that contacts who have removed themselves from that group won't be added back in. You can do this by importing your list into a new group, then running a segment to find anyone who exists in both groups (the ones you want to send to!). I'd suggest just sending to the most recent segment each time, to make sure you're sending to the most current list.

Questions?
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Laurie T.

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Thanks, but...if I just send to people who exist in both groups, then I will miss sending to all the new people in the group I just uploaded. This includes 1) people who are brand new to our Emma account and 2) people who are already in our Emma account but were not in the Webinar group before, but we now want to add them (let's say, because they attended a webinar) unless they've preferred out.

  
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Ah yes -- Good catch. So going back to your suggestion, we'll want to run a segment to find anyone who is in your new group and not in the original group. Does that sound right?

That would capture your new additions from the new group plus anyone who was already in the original group because anyone who is on your import list would be in that new group!
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Laurie T.

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Not quite -- I'd still need to pull the "everybody who has signed up or managed preferences" segment to combine with the "everybody who is not in the original group" segment, because some people in the new group who are not in the original group are not, not in the original group because they preferred out but because they never before met the criteria to be added in. (Whew!)

Also -- what happens if I go in and manually remove Jane Doe from the Webinar group? When I pull a report of people who have managed their preferences, she won't appear, because the change wasn't made on a sign-up form, correct? Is there a way to pull records that have been updated on the back end? If not, how will Emma prevent me from adding her back when I import my new list?
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Laurie T.

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Sorry, one more. Let's say you are only in one group: Monthly Newsletter. Then you manage your preferences and add yourself to another group: Special Events. You do NOT add yourself to Webinars.  Then one day you register for a webinar.  I would now like to add you to the Webinars group, but with the plan I outlined above, that won't happen.

So am I being a good marketer because I'm technically honoring your preferences, or a bad marketer because I'm missing such a great contact? Is the only solution here to push every webinar registrant to manage their preferences to be sure they get webinar announcements?
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Laurie -- This is getting really exciting! I've been pretty zeroed in on the strategy here, but I think in order to find the right solution, we need to circle back to the end goal. Is your goal here to be able to email anyone who has registered for a webinar or opted into the webinar group in order to let them know about upcoming webinars? Or, are you emailing people who just registered?

It sounds like part of the problem here is that you're reimporting what seems to be a master list of all webinar registrants (including those folks who may have removed themselves from the group). Instead of reimporting that master list, could you simply import lists of registrants for upcoming webinars to the existing webinar group? If someone is on the list for a new webinar that had previously removed themselves from the webinar group, I'd think it's safe to assume they're opting themselves back in. 

Am I on the right track here? Thanks so much!
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Laurie T.

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Thanks, Emily.  

Being able to give subscribers the power to manage their email preferences is new to us, so we're feeling super cautious about not sending anybody anything they don't want. 

I was getting stuck on the fact that, if someone has managed their preferences, and is not on the webinar list, I have no idea if it's because they were never on it or because they took themselves off. But I think you've helped me find most of a way around that.

For webinar announcements, the goal is to reach:
A.  Everyone who has registered for any past webinar, plus 
B.  Selected contacts who, based on a complicated set of dynamic criteria, are likely to be interested in our webinars.

For our first webinar announcment through Emma, I plan to pull A. and B. out of our CRM system, import them to a Webinars group in Emma, and send. 

For future webinars, I can update A. by importing anyone on just the most recent webinar registration list, taking comfort in your comment that if they opted out of webinars but then signed up for one it's safe to assume they've opted themselves back in.

As for B., what I really want to do is exclude anyone who has ever received a webinar email but is not currently in the webinar group. But there is no way to specify "a webinar email" when creating a segment. 

And here is where I am stuck. Thoughts?
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hey Laurie -- I'm glad to see we've made some serious progress here, and I'm loving your commitment to making sure this strategy is air tight. :)

You're correct, in that there isn't currently a way to build a response segment around a specific email. You can use a date range to try to pinpoint if people received an email that you sent during that time. You could, however, save each send list for your webinar emails (from the response section) and combine those into a group. Then run a segment to find anyone who is in that group but not in the Webinar group! That could be a little tedious at first, but if you save those send lists moving forward right after you send to them and add them to the growing "sent webinar email" group, it should be pretty easy to maintain!
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Laurie T.

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I like it -- thanks! I think I saw that there is a place to save that 'send list' just as I am sending an email. Let's say I forget to do that though -- can I recapture it later under the Response tab?
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Sure! You can save the "delivered" list from the mailing response as a segment.



You can also access the group(s) you sent to from the response. This will reflect the group in it's current status, though. If you've changed that list since sending to it, you'll be accessing the current list rather than the one you sent to. so it's best to to this right after you send.

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Laurie T.

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I am brand new to Emma and am very interested to know how you worked this out, or if anyone else has found a solution. Thanks!