Sitecore Email Experience Manager (EXM), Importing Contacts and Custom Facets – Part 1

Are you a Sitecore developer looking to import contacts into Sitecore? Do you need to store properties for your contacts that are not supported out of the box by Sitecore?

In this multi-part series of posts, I will show you how you can import your contacts from a text file. I’ll show you how you can update the out of the box configuration to include importing other standard properties for your contacts. I’ll also show you how you can add your own custom properties for your contacts. And lastly, I’ll show you how you can update the Experience Profile UI so that your custom properties can be displayed for your contacts.

Contacts and Lists

Sitecore EXM supports the concept of both Contacts and Lists.

A contact itself is pretty self-explanatory and contains all the properties for the contact. Here are some of examples of the properties stored for a contact:

  • Email addresses
  • First, middle and last names
  • Gender
  • Birthday
  • Addresses
  • Job title

A list is simply a collection of contacts. A contact can be a member or a subscriber to multiple lists. Lists can be either static (a contact has been added to the list) or a list can be dynamic. Dynamic lists are populated based on a set of rules that uses the contact properties to determine if they should be a member of the list.

Importing Contacts

Out-of-the-box, Sitecore supports importing contacts from a CSV file. Your list of contacts to be imported need to have a minimum of the following fields:

  • Email address
  • First name
  • Last name

Sample CSV file

email, firstname, lastname
alberte@gmail.com,Albert,Einstein
blaise@gmail.com,Blaise,Pascal
cherschel@yahoo.com,Caroline,Herschel
dorothyhodgkin@live.com,Dorothy,Hodgkin
edmond145@facebook.com,Edmond,Halley

To import the contacts, go to the Sitecore Launchpad and click List Manager.

Once you are in the List Manager, follow these steps to import your contact list:

  • Click on the “Create” button
  • Select “Create list from file”
  • Click on the “Browse for a CSV file” button and select your csv file containing your contacts. Note: Make sure your file is named with a .csv extension
  • Enter a name for your list
  • Click on the “Upload file” button
Create a new list
Create the new list from a CSV file
Give your new list a name and upload the CSV file

Once the file has been uploaded, the process will prompt you to choose the mappings between the predefined Contact properties and the columns in your CSV file. If your CSV file contains columns you would like to use for the contact identifier and/or the identifier source, you can optionally check those and then be able to select the column mappings for those Contact properties.

Click “Next” to being the import process.

Nominate the field mappings

Once the import process has been completed, you will be shown a summary of what has been imported. When you click on the finish button, you will then be taken to your list that you have just imported. Here you can see the contacts that have been added to your new list.

Import Summary
Newly created list

You can also view the contact details by navigating back to the Sitecore Launchpad and launching the Experience Profile. There you can see the entire list of contacts. You can click into any of the contacts to see the details of the contact.

Experience Profile showing all your contacts
Contact details

There are additional properties that are shown in the experience profile that we can also populate via the CSV import process. To do that, we will need to customise the list of available properties that the importer allows to be mapped to.

In Sitecore Email Experience Manager (EXM), Importing Contacts and Custom Facets – Part 2, I will show you how you can customise that list of fields and import additional standard properties for each contact.

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