Cleaning up your database is a great end-of-year project so that you can move into the next year with improved data. We have written about this topic before, for example, sending the right communication to the right contact to improve email deliverability, but this blog will focus on cleaning up older data for more effective reporting.
As your business changes and reporting needs evolve, sometimes the way you originally organized data doesn’t provide the information you need today. To make sure relevant or correct information is being reflected in your reports, it’s important that you know how to manipulate the data in your database.
In this blog I want to feature some of the more advanced techniques that Lasso Administrators can use to clean up their database. You can perform global changes on a number of fields such as ratings, source, or make updates and changes to any of your Lasso questions.
The information below isn’t intended to replace Lasso’s detailed Help Files, but it will provide some general steps when looking to make bigger data changes.
1) Map out what you want to achieve
Everybody likes when a plan comes together, but first, you need to have a plan! Have an understanding of what you want to get out of the clean-up before you take the plunge.
For example, maybe you don’t advertise in your local print newspaper anymore, but still have 50 dates listed in your Lasso question, “How did you hear about the community?” Is this information still important for reporting or necessary? In this case, it may more efficient to remove the detail and categorize them all as Print Newspaper Ad. Or you can keep the detail and create a new Lasso question to store this older data.
The solution depends on what is best for your business and the reports you require. Whatever is decided, these are the kinds of questions you need to think about. The answers will help guide you in mapping out what you want to achieve.
For our example, we’ll assume that we want know that this lead heard about us through Print Newspaper Ad, but we don’t need to know the specific dates.
2) Create a Group (Static List)
This is the first step when making changes to the database. Once you have everything figured out on paper (or in a spreadsheet) and you’re ready to start making changes to the database, it’s important to create a static list of the old data to make sure that you have a record of it. This will help keep you organized, particularly if you’re manipulating multiple fields. Having the static list in place helps you avoid losing data.
For our example, we’ll create a Group called Newspaper Print Ad.
3) Create or modify Lasso Questions
Another step after you have mapped out the new layout for the data is to create or adjust your Lasso question. If you’re creating or modifying an existing question, you need to be in the Client Administrator for questions. Go to Client Admin → Questions → Manage Questions. Here you can add new ones or modify answers to old ones.
Since our goal is to consolidate information, we need to make sure that our Lasso question featuring how we advertised has only an answer called “Print Newspaper Ad.”
NOTE: Don’t delete any answers to this question yet. We still need that information to build our lists.
4) Create a Custom List
You need to populate the Group List using the custom list functionality. I suggest creating one custom list called “Clean Up” so you can reuse it, particularly if you’re making changes to a number of fields and creating a few lists.
In our example we want to select all of the newspaper print options in our “How did you hear about us?” Lasso Question.
5) Populate the Group List
Based on the results from the custom list you just created, select all registrants in the list and add them to the Group list using the menu option Perform Action → Groups – Add To.
6) Assign all leads in the Group with the new answer
Select ‘Newspaper Print Ad’ link from the Group list section on your Sales Center dashboard to see the complete list of registrants. Similar to the prior step, select all of these contacts and update their question (Perform Actions → Update Questions).
Now everyone in the list will have the general ‘Newspaper Print Ad’ answer associated with their profile.
And now you have just one final step to go before you database is clean.
7) Delete the old answers
Through the Client Admin area, remove the old answers you no longer need. In our example, you would remove the old Print Newspaper entries that have specific dates.
NOTE: This blog focuses on updating questions, but you can also manipulate your Source and Secondary source options in the Perform Actions menu.
It’s important to be careful with your data, so these steps are designed to take a very cautious approach. I can’t stress enough…preparation is key! The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” really applies with any data clean-up.
Database clean-up doesn’t have to be scary. Just be methodical and stick with your plan!
Need help? Contact the Lasso support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.