|What are custom fields and why/how would I use them?|
Custom Fields or Mail Merge Fields are used by you to personalise your emails to your customers. You can also use these fields to filter your sends so that only particular contacts receive the email depending on the details that they have saved for themselves.
How do I create custom fields?
The first step in using custom fields is to have a contact list created. When you have created this contact list you can then go to the menu option 'Contact List' and select 'View Custom Field' from there.
This will bring you to a page for viewing, editing and creating any custom fields you have already created or are planning on creating. Here you will need to select the 'Create a Custom Field' button.
This will start you through the creation process. You will have to select the type of custom field you want and name it so that you can use it in your Email Campaigns and Autoresponders. If you select to make the field 'Mandatory' your users will not be able to complete the form without entering these details.
The types of custom fields are:
If you send an email that states 'Dear %%First Name%%,' and your user has supplied the name John you will send an email that reads 'Dear John,'. If you have set a Default value of 'Friend' and your contact does not save his/her name your email will then read 'Dear Friend,' rather then 'Dear ,'.
Using your Custom Fields with Website Forms
When you create a website form using a contact list that you have created custom fields for you will be shown a list of those custom fields that you can then choose to include in your form.
Adding these fields to your forms will allow your contacts to inform you of their details and modify them via a modify details form.
Viewing and editing your custom fields
To view what details are stored in your contacts custom fields you have 2 options. The first is to export your contact list and view the list of contacts as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. To do this you simply have to select 'Contacts->Export Contacts to a File' from the menu. When you do this you will be given the option to select which contact list you wish to export and which custom fields associated with that contact list to include in this export.
The second option is to view the list of contacts through the 'Contacts->View Contacts' menu. When you have found the contact that you wish to view/edit the detials of simply select the 'Edit' link next to their email address and you will be shown the information that that particular contact has saved on themselves.
If this method of editing contact information is too slow then you can either import the contact list again with updated information, choosing to update the current information to the imported file, or you can send a 'Modify Details Form' to your contacts.
Using your Custom Fields in your Email Campaigns and Autoresponders
When you create your email campaigns and autoresponders you will see an option, in the WYSIWYG editor, below the WYSIWYG editor and below the text box for text based email content, that reads 'Insert Custom Field'. When you select this option you will be presented with a pop up window that contains a list of all the built in custom fields and then a listing of all the user created custom fields listed by contact list.
When you decide which custom field that you wish to insert into your email campaign, click the insert link and it will be placed where the cursor was located.
This will look similar to %%Custom Field Name%% when you insert this into your email campaign. When you send your email to your contact list any details that they have saved for those custom fields will be inserted into the email in replacement of the %%Custom Field Name%%
Remember that sending a test email campaign will not replace the custom fields. Your emails will still come through with the custom field place holders to show what your email would look like.
Another thing that you should make sure to remember is that custom fields are associated with contact lists. This means that if you send an email to a contact list that the custom fields are not associated with they will not be replaced and your email will not look correct. Be sure to use custom fields for the mailing list that you intend to send it to.