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Building a list of recipients from an Excel or CSV uploaded file

Activity Messenger makes it easy to import recipients from an Excel or CSV file. Some common uses cases:

  • To import contacts from your previous system (i.e. Mailchimp or Constant Contact) and run a marketing campaing.
  • To import camp or class registrations from another system (i.e. iClassPro or Amilia) and message them about their class, ask them to fill in a waiver or to send them a survey at the end of the session.
  • To import members and expiration dates from another system (i.e. iClassPro or Amilia) to send them renewal reminders or to upsell them.

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. It is a text format often used with tabular data and is supported by all major applications like Excel.

Consider each Upload Uploaded Excel/CSV list to be a unique customer database. You can create different lists for different purposes (i.e. Winter session participants vs Summer session participants).

To get started, click on the Lists menu and choose Create a new list. Give it a name and choose Upload an Excel/CSV file. You will then land on the Upload list page.

The Upload list page contains the list of recipients. You can search by name, email address or mobile phone number. If you imported extra columns (activity name, date, membership name, expiration date or custom value), extra filters will be available.

If you imported children, they will be grouped by family under the parent. This convenience is built into Activity Messenger to prevent sending two emails to the same family.


# Upload an Excel/CSV file

Click on Import to upload an Excel or a CSV file. Activity Messenger will let you choose the columns to import. The minimum column to import is the email address. It is recommended that you also import the name and mobile phone numbers. The mobile column will allow you to send text messages to those recipients as well as emails.

Click Save to import recipients. Activity Messenger will add them to the list of recipients.


# Columns

The first row of your Excel/CSV file must be the column header. Each column header should be separated by a comma. Activity Messenger will import supported columns. Other columns may be specified but will be ignored.

Columns are all optional. You should at least have either mobile or email. Column name is useful for you to identify who the person is.

Note that you may use a mix of upper or lower case. For example "name", "Name" or "NAME" are equivalent.

  • Name*: Name of the recipient. For children, this is the account owner or primary guardian.
  • Email*: Email of the recipient. For children, this is the account owner or primary guardian.
  • Mobile*: Mobile number of the recipient. For children, this is the account owner or primary guardian.
  • Other name: Name of the second parent or guardian. Used when importing children.
  • Other email: Email of the second parent or guardian. Used when importing children.
  • Other mobile: Mobile number of the second parent or guardian. Used when importing children.
  • Child name: Name of the child. Used when importing children.
  • Child gender: Gender of the child. Used when importing children.
  • Child date of birth: Date of birth of the child. Used when importing children. Useful to automate happy birthday wishes sent by email or text message.
  • Custom: Custom value. Useful to import your own information. You can filter on this value after import.
  • Activity: Name of the activity or class. Useful to import class attendance.
  • Activity date**: Start date of the activity. Useful to import class registrations.
  • Activity time**: Start time of the activity. Useful to import class registrations.
  • Day # or Week #**: Occurrence dates of the activity/class. For example you can import 5 days of the week with columns Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. The cell values should be the date and time of each activity/class. Useful to import class attendance.
  • Daycare: Space separated keywords for day care. For example "am pm" says the child has daycare before and after camp.
  • Pickup password: Password to release custody of the child.
  • Friend: Pairing with a Friend.
  • Membership: Name of the membership.
  • Expiration: Expiration date of the membership. Useful to build a list of renewals.

* Name and either Email or Mobile are required. All other fields are optional.

** Supported date and time formats are international format "YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm" or US format "MM/DD/YYYY h:mmA". For example "2021-04-23 17:00" or "04/23/2021 5:00PM".


# Updating multiple recipients

To update contact information of recipients, click on Import and upload a file again. Activity Messenger uses the email address and the mobile phone number as the keys. Existing recipients will be updated. New recipients will be added. Recipients not in the newly uploaded file will remain.


# Replacing all recipients

To replace the entire list of recipients, click on Import and check the Replace option. Activity Messenger will replace all recipients. Activity Messenger uses the email address and the mobile phone number as the keys. Existing recipients will be updated. Recipients not in the newly uploaded file will be removed. New recipients will be added.


# Manually adding a recipient

If you want to add just one person, click on the button. A dialog will allow you to manually type in their name, email address and mobile phone number. Only the email address is required.

You can add extra fields as well. Click to show them. You will be able to add children, activity and custom values.


# Update a recipient

To update a recipient, simply click on a row. You will be able to change their information.


# Removing a recipient

To remove a recipient, click on the button.


# Importing registration information

Your Excel or CSV file can contain columns for registration information. Supported columns are: parent name, parent email, parent mobile, child name, child gender, child date of birth, activity name, activity start date, activity start time and custom. Activity Messenger will attempt to automatically detect those columns. Alternatively you can specify the names of those columns to import.

All imported columns become available as placeholders in emails and SMS you send.

Activity Messenger will detect siblings of a same family by looking at the email and child name columns. In such a case two rows with the same email and different children would exist. Activity Messenger will only import one row yet include both children. You can then use the "Children names" placeholder in email or SMS messages.


# Importing occurrences (class dates)

If your activity or class contains multiple occurrences, you can import each of those dates as extra columns. If you label them "Week 1", "Week 2", etc, Activity Messenger will automatically detect them. You can pick the columns too.

The values should be the date for each week. Leave a blank if a participant is not registered for a certain day. Once imported, you can even use them in template placeholders to inform recipients of the dates of their class.


# Rows

Subsequent rows are considered to be recipients. There should only be one person per row. Values should also respect the column order you have specified in the column header. If you are missing a value, simply put in a space or no value at all.


# Importing members with expiration dates

Your Excel or CSV file can contain columns for membership and subscription information. Supported columns are: parent name, parent email, parent mobile, child name, child gender, child date of birth, membership, expiration and custom. Activity Messenger will attempt to automatically detect those columns. Alternatively you can specify the names of those columns to import.


# Parsing phone numbers and email addresses

Activity Messenger will parse emails and phone numbers removing white spaces and formatting phone numbers. Activity Messenger will also validate emails and phone numbers. Invalid emails or phone numbers will be highlighted in orange. When neither a valid phone number or a valid email is found, the entire row will be marked in red. Activity Messenger will not import invalid rows.


# Sending a message

From here, you can click on the New Message button to send an SMS and/or email to the list of recipients you have imported.


Next topic: Building a list of participants, members or multipass holders from Amilia




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