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On Lead Capture and Custom Fields

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One of the more common requests to have come out of the ongoing publisher survey is the ability to capture data such as the subscriber's first name, or how they found out about your site, or their gender (etc., etc.) when they subscribe. FeedBlitz has actually had this functionality for a long time, but clearly we could do a better job of making it visible to you in order to simplify subscriber data collection (a.k.a. subscriber demographics).

The mechanism used by FeedBlitz to do this is called "Custom Fields." You use custom fields to define the data you want to collect from subscribers at subscription time (or import into an existing list from file). You can then use these data points to analyze your subscribers, send targeted messages to a subset of your readers, or link them back to an in-house database such as a custom relationship management (CRM) system.

Over the next few days, then, I'll be posting about custom fields in a series of articles to help you get the most of them. I'll start at the basics and work my way up from there. In the next few posts you can expect to learn about:

  • Definition: Building custom fields to capture lead data;
  • Reporting: Analyzing your subscriber database;
  • Segmentation: Using custom fields to send messages to a subset of your list;
  • Personalization: How custom fields can tailor your newsletter to each individual;
  • Integration: Using custom fields to keep databases and web sites synchronized.

All of this will start tomorrow, and there's good stuff here for novice and experienced FeedBlitz user alike. So stay tuned. If you want to experiment now, head over to your Newsletter Center, pick the newsletter you want to work with and click the custom fields / subscriber data link (look for the icon you see here).

If you're already using custom fields...

... there are new features you'll probably want to try right now. Head over to the custom field section of the relevant Newsletter Center and you'll see:

  • New custom field types, including radios, check boxes and multiple-choice lists;
  • New reporting and analytics functions to slice and dice through the data;
  • Links to standalone forms to help collect data from existing subscribers.

Also, if you used subscriber export to get at captured custom field data, the file format has changed to be more spreadsheet-friendly.

Finally, if you haven't yet completed our publisher survey, you can get it over with at http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?pubProfile (login required).

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