Getting Your ACT! Database “Holiday Ready”

Oct 29, 2009 | General

Whether you’re gearing up to send a special turkey day greeting, a holiday card, or an email to ring in the New Year, it’s important to use your Act! database as a great resource to make this much easier and save you time.

First, do you have a way of identifying which contacts in your database should receive your greeting?  If not, that’s the first step.  A good way of doing this is with a “Greetings” field in your Act! database that has a multi-select dropdown.  Here’s a step-by-step on how to set that up:

1)      Make sure you are logged into your main Act! database with an administrator’s user account.

2)      Also ensure that there are no other users logged into your main Act! database as this procedure does require the database to be “locked”.

3)      Click the Tools menu and go to Define Fields (at this point if anyone is logged into your database it will prompt you to lock them out).

4)      On the left side of the Define Fields window under List Tasks, click Manage Drop-Down Lists.

5)      On the left side of the Manage Drop-Down Lists window under Drop-Down List Tasks, click Create Drop-Down List.

6)      Enter “Greetings” as the name of the list and if you only want administrators and managers to be able to control the list values, uncheck the box at the bottom for “Allow users to edit items in this list”.  NOTE: Never leave “Automatically add new items user enter to the list” checked.  This will cause you to have misspellings and different variations of the same value.

7)      Click Next.

8)      Add your list values and when you are done click Finish.

9)      Click the Home button to get back to the main Define Fields window.

10)   On the left side of the Define Fields window under Field Tasks, click Create New Field.

11)   Enter “Greetings” as the name of the field, check the box to “Use Drop-Down List”, select your “Greetings” list and click Next.

12)   Check the box for “Limit to List”, check the box for “Allow Multi-Select”, click Finish and then click Close.

13)   Now that the field is created in the database, you need to add it to your layout so users can begin to choose who should receive which greetings.  To do that, use the following Act! Knowledge Base article about Designing Layouts in Act!

Act! Layout Showing Greetings Field and DropDown

Now that you have your Greetings field added to your database and layout, your users can begin to populate that field on each of their contacts’ records so you know who should get which mailings.  Once that field is populated, an easy way to see who should get each greeting is to use a group in Act!.  For this example we’ll use Thanksgiving:

1)      Click the View menu in Act! and choose Groups.

2)      Once in the Groups view, click the Groups menu and choose New Group.

3)      Give the new group a name such as “Greetings – Thanksgiving”.

4)      On the Contacts tab of the group, click Add/Remove Contacts.

5)      From the Add/Remove Contacts window, click Edit Criteria.

6)      Here you’ll want to add a line for the Contact field Greetings where it Contains Thanksgiving:

Act! Groups Window Showing Criteria

7)      After adding that line, click OK on the Group Criteria window and click OK on the Add/Remove Contacts window.

Now you have a group built in your Act! database for everyone who should receive your Thanksgiving greeting and it’s easy for your users to manage who should be in that group. Since this group uses criteria, as your users change the Greetings field in the Act! database, contacts will be added and removed from this group appropriately.  Just repeat this process for your other greetings.

CONGRATULATIONS!  Now you have your selection of contacts to print labels for post cards or envelopes, to send to your local print shop, or to do an email blast using SwiftPage Email.  If you’d like further assistance with any of those items, let AspenTech know how we can help.