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Getting your list ready to import

importing lists, csv, database, contacts

Robert Moore avatar
Written by Robert Moore
Updated over a week ago

Importing data from one database (or Excel or Google sheets) to another requires a bit of work up-front. This is not unique to CLOSEM.

To do this with a minimum of hassle, clean up your data first. Maybe you keep your contact list in another database, or in Excel or Google Sheets; or maybe it's in your Outlook or Gmail contacts. All of those tools will let you export your contacts to a comma-delimited file, or "csv" file.

You can open that csv file in Excel or Google Sheets to review it. It's worth taking the time to sort and go through your list to find missing or incorrectly formatted phone numbers, or missing or incorrectly formatted email addresses.

Bad emails: It's really common to find emails like joe@hotmailcom without the dot in between hotmail and com. CLOSEM will reject that email and won't let you import it. It will in fact, reject the entire file with an error message saying "error in line 278." So you'll have to go fix it and then re-import.

Bad phone numbers: You might have a number of contacts listed without an area code because they're in your local area. But CLOSEM can't do anything with 234-5678; you need to clean it up and add the area code, so it's 555-234-5678. You don't need 1 in front of it, but CLOSEM will take it either way.

Duplicates: You might have a number of contacts listed with the same email address, or the same phone number. This is common if they work for a company and you've got one email address or one phone number for the company.

To import your file into CLOSEM, your file needs to have a header. That's a row of labels that indicates the content of the cells. If you list doesn't have a header, CLOSEM won't be able to figure out which elements go where.

Step 1: Sort on the email column, and quickly review the emails to spot any incorrectly formatted emails. It's OK if you don't have an email for that contact, as long as you have a cell.

Step 2: Sort on the phone column, and quickly review the phone numbers to spot any incorrectly formatted numbers or missing area codes. It's OK if you don't have a phone number for that contact, as long as you have an email.

Step 3: Search for duplicates: Search on the last name field and run through your list alphabetically. Sometimes you have John A Smith and John Smith and maybe even JM Smith ... check to make sure they are not the same guy. If they all have different emails and different phone numbers, they are different people. If they have the same, pick one and eliminate the other two. Search on email and check, Search on phone and check. If you find duplicates and they're all in the same company, you can leave the contacts, but remove the duplicate data. If you've got a lot of data, here's an automated way to find duplicates. Find duplicates.

That's really all you need to get started, but here's a couple of advanced tips:

Whole name in field: Your data file may have your contact's first and last name in a single cell. CLOSEM is geared for first name and last name in separate fields, and will automatically combine them into full name if you want. But when you're personalizing a message, you usually don't say "Dear Bob Smith" you'd want to say "Dear Bob." So you'll want to take the time to separate your whole name into first and last name. It's pretty easy to do. Here's a link to a how-to: Split Full Names.

Names in ALL CAPS: A lot of times you get folks filling in a lead form with their name in all caps, so that's how you have it in your data file. But sending a note to Dear BOB, or dropping in personalization like "as you know BOB" looks really odd. So you'll want to change your all caps names into caps and lower case. Here's how: Change Case.

Do that and importing your list will be a breeze. You can watch the video tutorial about managing contacts here. But get your list ready first!

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