Asking people for the same information (like name, email, etc.) over and over can be irritating and spammy (for them) and inefficient (for you). That’s why our PastorsLine Data Capture has been set up to be intuitive.

Video Overview

The video below is from a previous version of PastorsLine.

As a result, the screens look somewhat different. A more in-depth explanation and updated walkthrough begins below the video. But watching the video will give you a good idea of the process, since it has basically remained the same.

PRO tip, and quick walk through of creating a group and data capture using a helpful "ninja trick"

There are three "big ideas" you need to know about a data capture:

1. Auto reply vs. Specific data capture step

2. New user vs. Repeater (to the group)

3. New Profile vs Existing profile (to the database)

Let's get more specific...

1. Auto reply vs. Specific data capture step

Auto-reply: There is the ‘welcome’ auto-reply (first message) which is sent immediately after the campaign keyword is entered. There is the ‘closing’ auto-reply (last message) which is sent immediately after the last data capture item has been dealt with.

Specific data capture step: Checking to see if we need to ask for the name; then asking for the name (if relevant) or not, and then waiting for the answer or moving immediately to the next step (checking to see if we need to ask for the email address), etc.

Hang in there if you are feeling confused. We will talk more about these two types of steps in just a minute.

2. New user vs. Repeater to the GROUP (this is the first and last messages in the data capture)

Who is a "new" user?

"New” user means a person who has never texted this group before (this has nothing to do with whether or not your PastorsLine database has a profile for them yet). This includes people who were deleted from this group and want to rejoin.

Who is a "repeater"?

A "repeater” is anyone who is already been added to that group in the system or is texting your keyword for the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, etc time.

The left-hand side workflow (LHS) is for new users.

The right-hand side workflow (RHS) is for repeaters.

3. New Profile vs Existing profile (to the database)

New Profile: someone who is NOT in your database yet. You need to capture their information - name, email, etc.

Existing Profile: someone who you do not need to collect the information from - you have the data you are trying to collect already.

The left-hand side workflow (LHS) is for new profiles OR if you are missing that information for that person.

The right-hand side workflow (RHS) is for existing profiles OR if you already have that information for that person.

NOTE: To allow the data capture to be intuitive on whether or not to send the left or right side message of a data capture, you must toggle on the right side, so that the buttons for name, email, address and birthday (whatever info you are collecting) are purple. If any of the items on the right side are toggled off (buttons are greyed out), we will send the left side message every time, whether or not it is already in your PastorsLine database. Turning OFF the right side forces us to send the left side every time, updating the profile with whatever information they reply with.

Setting up the capture/messages part of your data capture campaign

Keyword Opt-in

Data capture Logic

Our goal (as we mentioned earlier) is to keep this automatic process as human as possible while getting the personal information we need (name, email, birthday). So, we don’t want to ask again for any of the personal information we already have.

When someone texts a KEYWORD to your number, we take the texter’s phone number and compare it to the numbers in all the contact profiles in your PastorsLine database. We will either find the phone number or we will not.

If we do not find the phone number, we know that this person is a completely new contact. We will then automatically add that person to your contacts database and to the group. We will process this person using the LHS only (see Step 1).

If we find the phone number,

  1. We will check for duplicates and add the primary record to that group. Whether we update that profile’s name, email and birthdate depends on how you have your data capture set up (Steps 2 - 4).
  2. If that phone number is already in the group, we will send the alternative greeting in Step 1 (RHS greeting). If they are not already in the group, we will send the LHS greeting.

What should you do?

Nothing, PastorsLine takes care of this behind the scenes for you!

First message: WELCOME (auto-reply)

We begin by welcoming the person who texts in.

Data capture Logic

Every data capture campaign (by default) has both first messages enabled (both LHS and RHS) and can’t be turned off.

Pro tip

It is possible for a person to text in who is new to the group but is not new to your database. That is, he or she already has a profile with some or all of their personal information. So, keep your first and last messages rather general and neutral.

  • LHS ideas: Welcome to the (Bible study) group. (or) You’re through to the (Volunteers) group. Welcome!
  • RHS ideas: Welcome back to the (Bible study) group. (or) Hey Volunteer! You’re already part of this volunteer group. Visit www.grace.church/volunteer FMI.

What should you do?

Check the ‘new users’ and ‘already provided’ messages, choosing to keep ‘as is’ or editing as you wish.

Green box below: New users

Blue box below: Repeaters

Capture name (Specific data capture step)

Note: So that you can see fully how the data capture works, we are going to assume that ALL the auto-replies and data capture steps are toggled on (buttons are purple).

Data capture Logic

When your subscriber enters a group, we capture their full name or send them an alternative message.

We capture their first name (send the LEFT message) if:

  1. The subscriber doesn’t have a name associated with it.
  2. OR the RHS side of the name data capture is turned off. This means our system has no choice but to capture their name.

We skip capturing their full name if: the RHS name data capture is turned on but the subscriber DOES have a name associated with it already. We would send the RIGHT side message in this case.

What should you do?

Toggle "on" the option to capture their name (button turns purple). Check the ‘new users’ and ‘already provided’ messages, choosing to keep ‘as is’ or editing as you wish.

Note: We always suggest having the RHS option on. If you want to skip this step for anyone you already have the information for, and not send a message for this step, keep the RHS toggled on and delete the message that is there, so that the RHS message space is blank. This step will then be skipped.

Green box below: New users will see this message.

Blue box below: People who have already provided their name will see this message.

Capture email (Specific data capture step)

Data capture Logic

Same logic as capture name above.

What should you do?

Toggle "on" the option to capture their email address (button turns purple). Check the ‘new users’ and ‘already provided’ messages, choosing to keep ‘as is’ or editing as you wish.

You can also choose to use merge fields to insert their first name, personalizing your message even more since we captured it in the step above.

Note: We always suggest having the RHS option on. If you want to skip this step for anyone you already have the information for, and not send a message for this step, keep the RHS toggled on and delete the message that is there, so that the RHS message space is blank. This step will then be skipped.

Green box below: People who join (opt in) for the first time will see this message.

Blue box below: People who have already provided their email will see this message.

Capture address and birthday (Specific data capture steps)

Continue this same process for "Capture Address" and/or "Capture Birthday" if desired. *Currently we do not integrate with addresses or birthdays.

Note: We always suggest having the RHS option on. If you want to skip this step for anyone you already have the information for, and not send a message for this step, keep the RHS toggled on and delete the message that is there, so that the RHS message space is blank. This step will then be skipped.

Last message (auto-reply)

We end by closing the conversation.

Data capture Logic

If this texter NEVER TEXTED THE GROUP BEFORE, we use the LHS closing message (last message). Otherwise, we use the RHS closing message.

Pro tip

Now, you can personalize your closing messages with the name merge field.

  • LHS idea: So glad you joined this group, [name]. Praying for you!
  • RHS idea: We’ve got all your info, [name]. Bye for now!

Note: Have closing messages is not a must. They can be turned off...but it is nice to end the conversation in this way.

What should you do?

Toggle "on" the option to send a last message (button turns purple). This is the last message people will received from this data capture (FKA autoresponder). Check the ‘new users’ and ‘already provided’ messages, choosing to keep ‘as is’ or editing as you wish.

What do you want to do next?

Choose if you want to add them to an Automated Message Campaign (AMC). For more details on that, click HERE.

If you want to add them to an AMC automatically after they have gone through this data capture:

1. Toggle this option on

2. Select the option you want on when they should be added to this AMC

3. Choose the AMC to add them to

We recommend you always choose Send After Getting Contact Information here, so in case they stop before they give you their name and/or email, they are not automatically added to the AMC where you might be using merge fields like name or sending emails through MailChimp with no email address to send to.

Save your data capture

Click "Save" and you’re done!

Mix and match

Each autoreply and capture step can be turned on or off EXCEPT for both opening messages (LHS and RHS first messages). This gives you the flexibility to ask for only the information you need.

Check out this article HERE for more details and help with Data Captures.

The video in this article is a great way to learn more.

Check out our article HERE that explains the Left and Right hand sides of the Automated Message Campaigns too! 

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