02-13-2010 01:10 AM - edited 02-13-2010 01:11 AM
When working with "catagories", should I create a group or use the "ID/Status" to group?
(Don't know if I'm saying this right)
I am a real estate investor creating my first database which will include personal and business contacts and would like to know what is the best way to go about doing what I need:
I will have a) sellers b) buyers c) realtors d) friends e) family, etc.
What do you recommend and why?
Thanks in advance!
02-14-2010 05:34 PM
Hi Georgie, and welcome to the ACT Community Forum.
I'm assuming ACT is new to you and you have already started thinking in how to keep your data organized. This is something I spend a lot of time thinking about.
To begin with, my 2 cents worth (and I generally get change) is to to use the ID/Status heavily. I have the field's characteristics changed as follows:
1. It is mandatory to complete this field when entering a new contact
2. Multiple selections can be made
(You can change the characteristics under | Tools | Design Fields |
I have some contacts that are fiends, customer, and chuch member.
Groups are good, but I don't rely on them for organization. I use them primarily for reporting and for group eMails. I also use eMailConnect Professional with groups. There are others who swear by groups, so it is up to you. However, if you find that you want to take advantage of groups, I would suggest that you add a field to the contact screen that automatically fills in something like "Add To Groups". You can then do a search on that field and add the contacts to the appropriate group. Don't forget to change the field to something like "Added to group" or just make it blank.
02-14-2010 06:11 PM
I use ID/Status for pretty much any and every way to classify a contact - you can have more than one item in the field. e.g. a contact can be a Customer and Personal, or just a Prospect, and so on.
Now, I also use Groups equally as often. The key is getting familiar with Dynamic Groups - which is where you define the group, and setup a simple criteria to automatically populate (add members) to that group based on their ID/Status. This way, you will always have a central place to find people based on that ID/Status you assigned. More importantly, they move from group to group based on a change of ID (e.g. from Prospect to Seller) - automatically - you don't have to remember "did I update that client accurately?" I have a short blog on this, ACT knowledge base has some articles, and any decent ACT! Consultant will answer simple questions via email.
Good luck, hope this helps...
One more idea - if you find yourself hunting continually for contacts, or doing the same steps over and over, ACT! most likely can help automate these steps. It should work for you, not you spending precious time "futzing" (which is a highly technical term)
02-15-2010 11:49 AM
Thanks so much John and Richard for taking the time to advise me. It surely helped.
I am still unsure about something thoug... I view ID/Status as "tags". This way if I need to find all my realtors or buyers or sellers I could do a lookup for all contacts tagged as "buyers" etc. Now I know I could create "groups" to do the same thing. I'd like to know what would be the better way of handling this. But if I wanted to do drip marketing or do a 1 email blast to a certain "group" of people in my database, should I be setting them up as a group or give them a ID/Status?
Thirdly, I do direct mail to people who want to sell their home. I send out mailings to certain zipcodes. When sellers call in, I will be creating a new file for them and I would like to know your advice on how I should set that up. Meaning would you give them a ID/Status of "sellers" or is it better to create an ID/Status to that zipcode like "90210" maybe to see reporting or something?
Thanks again all.
02-15-2010 05:04 PM
Again, this is mostly personal preference, but it seems like I'd use groups, for two main reasons:
1. email marketing - every program I setup for my clients (MailMerge by Northwoods or SwiftPage) has the option to send to a group. It makes it easy to track and know who is getting what without remembering "what was that last lookup I did?"
2. Also, with the ZIP code, you could classify them all as sellers (group is just "ID/Status=Sellers"), then have subgroups by ZIP (which would be "ID/Status=sellers" AND "ZIP=90201". So, this again allows for the quick lookup, and reduces errors in that since the group will pull from the ZIP field, which is only on place, you won't accidentally get 90120 in 90210 (unless, of course, it's mistyped originally)
I have "Customers", and subgroups of each item they might have purchased. Again, I like groups, so that will bias my answers. Hope this helps...