By popular demand, you can now include dates in your custom fields. Using the new ‘Date’ data type when creating a new custom field, you can send targeted campaigns based on say, your subscriber’s age, when they purchased a product or perhaps when their warranty is about to expire. Plus, with 20 custom fields now available in your account, you can only imagine the possibilities! Lets briefly go through how you can set up and use date fields in your campaigns.

Adding a new date field to your subscriber list

To create a new date custom field for in Campaign Monitor, go to your subscriber list and click on ‘Custom fields’ in the right-hand column. Lets call this field something meaningful, like ‘Birthday’:

App Screenshot

Click the ‘Add Custom Field’ button to save your new date field. Now you’ll be able to import dates into your subscriber list from a file, or manually add them into that field by clicking on any email address in your list. If ‘This field should be visible to recipients when they edit their settings in the preference center’ is checked, then you can also get your subscribers to update their details via your preference center! Find out more about adding dates to custom fields.

What can I do with these date fields?

Using dates in your custom fields, you can create all sorts of interesting segmented campaigns based on birthdate, purchase date, last visit to the doctor – you name it!

Lets assume that you’ve updated your subscriber list with the birthdates of your subscribers, using a field called “Birthday”. Now, say that you want to send a youth-oriented newsletter to subscribers aged 18-24 years of age. To create a segment for these folks, simply go back into your subscriber list, click ‘Segments’ in the right-hand column, then create a new segment. Lets call this one, “18-24 years of age”. Create your first rule based on your new “Birthday” field and click, ‘Add rule’.

For the first rule in the segment, we need to specify that our subscribers are older than 18 years of age. So, “Birthday” will be less than “19 Jul 1992”:

App Screenshot

Now we’re going to set an upper-age of 24. Using the drop-down below, we’ll add another “and” rule based on “Birthday”. This time, it will be “Birthday” is greater than “19 Jul 1986”:

App Screenshot

Click ‘Save and refresh count’. We’re done creating this segment and ready to create a campaign that’s relevant to folks in this age bracket!

How do I collect dates from my subscribers?

We’ve made it really easy to collect dates from your subscribers, via your subscribe forms and the preference center. To create a new subscribe form that includes drop-down lists for entering dates, simply go into your subscriber list and click, ‘Create a subscribe form’. Make sure your date field(s) are ticked, then ‘Generate the code’. Once you’ve tweaked the supplied code to taste, you should get a form like this:

App Screenshot

Subscribers can also update their own date fields via your preference center. Once you’ve created a date custom field or two with “This field should be visible to recipients when they edit their settings in the preference center” ticked, simply add the <preferences> template tag to your campaigns and leave ’em to it!

So, that’s the skinny on using dates in your custom fields. Many thanks to everyone who requested this new data type – hopefully this will make a big difference to how you segment your campaigns. If you’ve been super-vigilant when using date fields, you may have also noticed another major addition to your account as a result of our recent update; never fear either way, we’ll be letting you know all about it in the next few days!

  • Julian Wellings

    Some more useful innovation from Campaign Monitor.
    Just one thing though, I just logged on to look at this and notice we’ve now got auto responders That’s fantastic news! I can now migrate customers who use auto responders from the Chimp over to CM.
    Is it a secret though? I haven’t seen an announcement about it!

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Julian, well spotted! No, it’s not exactly a secret – we’ll be announcing it on the blog and in the newsletter shortly. We’ve been giving autoresponders a low profile since we added them to all accounts earlier this week, simply to give our team a chance to ensure things are running smoothly prior to giving it a real push.

    That’s fabulous news regarding moving your business to us! Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make the transition easier for you and your clients.

  • James Abbott

    Is there anyway to make the ‘year’ field in a date of birth a wildcard? Just looking to make a condition to segment subscribers by birthday, however the year of their birth isn’t relevant to us.

    Other than that question, beautifully done – loving the new features. Very cool.

  • Shannan

    Great work. This feature will prove very useful.

    James: When creating your segment, you could try using the “Is greater than” rule on your birthday field, then just use the year 1900 as a minimum.

  • James Abbott

    Actually, found it – looks like you can send out date based emails that ignore the year field under Autoresponders. So instead of segmenting by date of birth by month, you can send items out on the actual day in question. All good.

  • Dan Cooperstock

    YAY to now allowing 20 custom fields. I have been very limited by your previous limit of 10.

  • Vitor Junqueira

    This new field is great! It would be even greater if one could have a translation feature as well: only English is troublesome in a country having 3 official languages like ours ;-)

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Vitor, that’s something we’re seriously considering, so I’ll keep you posted regarding localization of the Campaign Monitor app. Oh yes, we can certainly empathize with Luxembourgers like yourself!

  • Stephen Bishop

    I am using your API to add a subscriber with a custom date field (birthday) – what format should the date be? (ie. yyyy-mm-dd OR dd/mm/yyyy or something else)

  • Mika Tuupola

    Localization feature would be great. We usually need to send newsletters in two languages. Always we do not know what language the recipient prefers and we need to add link to the other language version of the mail. This lives on normal webserver and we lose all the statistics for those people.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Stephen, we recommend using YYYY-MM-DD when passing dates.

    Mika, thank you for your suggestion! I’ve added your vote for localization by campaign, which should help in this case.

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