Some of the most commonly used apps in any business are contact management apps like Google, iCloud and Outlook.
These apps are a valuable way to keep your latest address book accessible on any device and synced with your email, calendar and cloud storage.
However, when it comes to making sure they play nicely with your other business apps... it's not always simple.
Let's say you collect contacts in Outlook, but want to move subscribed customers into Mailchimp, your email marketing tool, to send them your weekly newsletter.
To solve this in the past, you might have manually exported and imported CSV files between your apps before sending each email.
But that can be a real headache. There is a much better solution, and it involves zero manual updates and spreadsheets: integrating your contact apps and email marketing tool with an iPaaS (integration platform as a service).
An iPaaS sync is the most effective and straightforward way to keep your email marketing lists and contacts apps connected with your latest data. And it requires no code or advanced tech know-how.
To show you the ropes, let's outline how to sync your data and put your Google, iCloud and Outlook contacts to work in your email marketing app.
How to sync Google, iCloud and Outlook contacts with your email marketing platform
Some email marketing providers offer native integrations with Google Contacts, iCloud and Outlook, but these tend to have limitations. Often it's only a one-way sync, meaning that changes in app A are synced into app B, but not the other way around. Or, you can't customize the sync to include the exact fields you need to map.
Instead of wrestling with CSVs and native integrations, your best bet is to use an iPaaS like PieSync to manage all of your syncs in one place. After plugging in your apps, you can choose all the different ways you want them to talk to each other.
For instance, you might use PieSync to:
- Sync contacts labeled 'Customers' in Google Contacts with Mailchimp
- Sync iCloud and Outlook address books for a perfect match between them all the time
- Sync all address books with your CRM for a centralized view
For each sync you want to set up in PieSync, you can follow these easy steps:
- Choose your apps and grant access.
- Select "if-this-then-that" rules for the sync to follow.
- Check default field mapping.
- Check everything's prepped and ready to go (read our pre-sync checklist here).
To dive deeper, here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when syncing your contact apps with your email marketing platform.
How to organize your lists and sequences: automatic segmentation
Some people organize their contacts into completely different clouds, especially if they want to keep personal contacts and business separate. That's totally fine and it can be a great way to keep things simple.
But if your contacts for different purposes overlap, you can also automatically segment them to keep things tidy.
You do this by organizing contacts with labels or tags in your address book, and matching these up with labels, groups or lists in your email marketing app in your sync.
Let's look closer at ConvertKit as an example.
In this example, I have a segment called 'Marketing Leads' and another for 'Customers' and I want to send specific communications to each group. Both segments are automatically populated based on contacts with tags of the same name.
To automatically send contacts in Google Contacts to the right group, I can configure my sync to add them to ConvertKit with the tag 'Customers' which will add them to that segment.
Now when I go to send a message to that group, all of the right recipients will be there. That means more time actually sending emails, less time worrying about which contacts should receive them.
In another scenario, if I want to sync all contacts from Google Contacts except my family contacts (as realistically, they don't want my business emails), I can exclude the label 'Family' from my sync:
How to sync subscription status between apps: subscription management
If you're using multiple apps to contact your email marketing list, knowing who actually wants to hear from you can be a real headache. You don't want to risk contacting contacts who have unsubscribed in another app, nor ignore contacts who do want to be contacted.
Your answer to this is subscription management, and it's made possible when you connect your apps.
As you sync your contact data, you can enable each contact to travel between apps with a 'subscribed' or 'unsubscribed' tag. When the time comes to send your next email, all of the right people will be in (and out) the list.
To best comply with data protection regulations, some PieSync users also add a ‘trash’ tag to the customer’s records in their preferred apps so they know exactly which data needs to be deleted to comply with customer privacy and data requests.
How to enrich your data in your email marketing app: sync customized fields
It's not just subscription status that you can sync between your apps. You might want to sync other fields too.
Let's look at syncing contacts from Outlook with HubSpot, which you could use to send marketing emails.
To ensure the right info is synced with each contact, you can check PieSync's default feed mapping to make sure everything lines up:
If a field isn't included in the list by default, custom fields give you more freedom. As an example custom field, you could map the 'Department' field in Outlook with a HubSpot property for the same data. For custom fields to map correctly, they need to be compatible across both apps.
So, that's how to easily sync your address books in Outlook, iCloud or Google Contacts with your email marketing app. After setting up your sync, you can rest easy and send top-converting emails knowing that your lists are in tip-top shape.
Once syncing your email marketing app with your contact address books, you can then also decide which other apps to sync – such as your CRM or customer support software. Remember, the best software stack is an integrated one!