Having multiple lists in a MailChimp account can be beneficial for users and agencies that manage multiple brands or assets. However, many users benefit more by having a single combined list that stores all of your subscribers or contacts in one convenient spot in your account. Combining your lists also removes the possibility of any duplicate subscribers that exist across different lists, potentially reducing the cost of maintaining a monthly billing account.

The first thing you want to do is create a backup of the subscribed, unsubscribed, and cleaned email addresses for each of the existing lists in the MailChimp account. All list actions are permanent and can not be undone, so creating a backup of your lists will provide something to revert back to if you find that combining your lists doesn't work out the way you'd like.

After backing up your lists, you'll then want to either create a new list or designate an existing list in your account to be the master list to combine your contacts into. If you want to use an existing list, we recommend renaming that list to indicate its status as a master list, like "General List" or "All Subscribers." Creating Groups within the master list is a great way to further organize your subscribers. When combining lists you'll have the option to move whole lists into groups within the master list.

There are a few different ways to combine lists in MailChimp. We'll walk you through using each method below as well as removing any addresses from the master list that were unsubscribed or cleaned from your other lists previously.

Contents

Backup your lists

Before you start, it's a good idea to back up any lists you'll be working with. If you've already got the lists in your MailChimp account, here's what you'll want to do:

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the title of the list you want to export.
  3. Click the Export List button to download a copy of your list's active subscribers to your computer.
    View subscribers
  4. Change the drop down menu to Unsubscribed.
    Subscriber drop down
  5. Click the Export List button to download your list of unsubscribes.
  6. Select Cleaned from the drop down menu, and click the Export List button to download the list of cleaned addresses for this list.
  7. Repeat the above steps for each of the lists you're working with so you have a .csv file of each list's subscribers, unsubscribed and cleaned addresses.

Combining lists using the Combine feature

When combining lists, you're not just merging email addresses, you're also merging all the fields in your list. Whatever information is stored in the list you're moving your subscribers FROM will completely replace and overwrite any existing data in the list you're combining TO. The only exception to this is Groups - we'll add people to groups, but won't remove them if you're moving people between lists.

When you decide to combine lists, make sure that all your field labels match. For example, if you have a field called "Name" in one list and a field called "First Name" in the other, you'll want to make sure they match exactly so that your lists combine as expected. In this case, you'll want to edit the field label in one list so that it matches the other list (so both lists have a field named "First Name" for the subscribers' first names, for example). The labels of each field and the field type need to match; the merge tags or merge field numbers don't. If making those field labels match between lists is problematic for whatever reason, you may want to try the second method mentioned further below that involves using .csv file imports to create your master list.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. For the list you want to move click on the lists drop down menu and select the Combine lists option.
    Combine lists option
  3. Select the name of the list you want to combine your subscribers into and check any groups (if set up) you'd like those subscribers to be a part of.
    Choose list and groups
  4. Click Next and a pop up window will appear asking you to confirm the combination of the lists (you'll also get one last chance to export copies of those original lists if you need to). Type CONFIRM into the pop up window and then click the Combine Lists button to complete the action.
    Combine confirm
  5. You'll be directed back to the Lists page where you will see a confirmation message appear across the top of the page announcing that your subscribers were successfully combined into the new list.

When you're done combining, skip further down in this article for steps to remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Combining lists by importing from a .csv file

Combining lists by importing .csv files involves using the exported copies of your list you made earlier and uploading those directly into the designated master list.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the list's drop down menu and select Import for your master list.
  3. Select the option to upload a file, and choose one of the subscriber lists that was downloaded.
  4. Check the box for the group you're importing if you have those setup.
  5. Check the box for Auto-update my existing list so that we'll import people even if they're already on your list. When we import them, we'll update their info to include the group you selected.
    Choose list and groups
  6. Click Import List to begin importing the file.
  7. You'll be prompted to map your fields.
  8. Select Done when you're finished mapping your fields.
  9. Repeat this for your other lists, importing them to your master list. Make sure to check the box for the appropriate group on the import screen and to auto-update your list. Don't worry, we'll handle duplicates for you.

When you're done combining, skip further down in this article for steps to remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Combining multiple lists into one list that uses Groups

Typically when users want to combine multiple lists we strongly suggest using Groups to organize subscribers. Below we'll walk you step by step through the entire process of combining multiple lists into a single master list that uses groups.

Before getting started, you'll want to make sure you have made a backup of your lists and also either create a new list or designate an existing list in your account to be the master list to combine your contacts into. If you want to use an existing list, we recommend renaming that list to indicate its status as a master list, like "General List" or "All Subscribers."

Create Groups in your master list

Once you've got your master list set up, you'll need to add your groups:

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the list's drop down menu for your master list and choose Manage subscribers.
    View subscribers
  3. Click the Groups option.
  4. Click the Create Groups button to expand the group options.
  5. Select the As checkboxes option.
    Select as checkboxes
  6. In the Group title field, enter a title or category for your groups.
  7. Add a Group name for each of the original lists or options subscribers should have then press the Save button.

Move or import lists into groups

Now that your groups are all set up, we'll work on importing your original lists to each group. There are two ways to do this and we'll walk you through both ways below. Once you combine lists, you cannot undo that action. A list combination is permanent. We strongly recommend backing up your lists if you haven't already.

Combine using the Combine feature

When combining lists, you're not just merging email addresses, you're also merging all the fields in your list. Whatever information is stored in the list you're moving your subscribers FROM will completely replace and overwrite any existing data in the list you're combining TO. The only exception to this is Groups - we'll add people to groups, but won't remove them if you're moving people between lists.

When you decide to combine lists, make sure that all your field labels match. For example, if you have a field called "Name" in one list and a field called "First Name" in the other, you'll want to make sure they match exactly so that your lists combine as expected. In this case, you'll want to edit the field label in one list so that it matches the other list (so both lists have a field named "First Name" for the subscribers' first names, for example). The labels of each field and the field type need to match; the merge tags or merge field numbers don't. If making those field labels match between lists is problematic for whatever reason, you may want to try the second method mentioned further below that involves using .csv file imports to create your master list.

To combine your lists:

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. For the list you want to move, click on the list's drop down menu and select the Combine lists option.
    Combine lists option
  3. Select the name of the list you want to combine your subscribers into and check any groups you want these subscribers to be a part of.
    Choose list and groups
  4. Click Next and a pop up window will appear asking you to confirm the combination of the lists(you'll also get one last chance to export copies of those original lists if you need to). Type CONFIRM into the pop up window and then click Combine Lists to complete the action.
    Combine confirm
  5. You'll be directed back to the Lists page where you will see a confirmation message appear across the top of the page announcing that your subscribers were successfully combined into the new list.

When you're done, skip ahead to remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Import your lists into the master list

This option is best used if your current lists data fields don't match up exactly. By importing rather than combining you'll be able to designate which fields in the existing list the data is added to.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the list's drop down menu and choose Import.
  3. Select the option to Upload from File, and choose one of the subscriber lists that was downloaded.
  4. Check the box for the group you're importing.
  5. Check the box for Auto-update My Existing List so that we'll import people even if they're already on your list. When we import them, we'll update their info to include the group you selected.
    Choose list and groups
  6. Click the Import List button to begin importing the file.
  7. You'll be prompted to map your fields.
  8. Click the Done button when you're finished mapping your fields.
  9. Repeat this for your other lists, importing them to your master list. Make sure to check the box for the appropriate group on the import screen and to auto-update your list. Don't worry, we'll handle duplicates for you.

When you're done, remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Remove previously unsubscribed and cleaned addresses and delete your old lists

If you had some overlap between your original lists, you might have had people who unsubscribed from one list, but not another, or whose email addresses weren't valid when you sent your last newsletter to the Dog People list. To help keep your list squeaky clean and avoid emailing people who don't want to hear from you or whose email addresses are invalid, you'll want to remove anyone who unsubscribed or was cleaned from your original lists. Here's how:

  1. Open the unsubscribed or clean list file on your computer using Excel, OpenOffice, Numbers, or another spreadsheet program.
  2. Navigate to the Lists page.
  3. Click the list's drop down menu and choose Manage subscribers.
  4. Click the Unsubscribe people option.
    Choose list and groups
  5. Copy just the email addresses from the open file, and paste them into the Email addresses field on the Unsubscribe people screen.
  6. Click the Unsubscribe button to unsubscribe these addresses from your master list.
  7. Repeat for the cleaned and unsubscribed addresses for each of your lists.
  8. On the Lists page, click Delete for the original lists (but not your master list) to completely delete them. If you've recently sent a campaign to the list, you may need to wait a few days to delete the list entirely.

All done! Now your lists have been successfully combined while still allowing you to send targeted email campaigns to specific groups in your master list.

This feature is accessible by users with Manager level or higher permissions. Take a look at this article to learn more about the different access levels for a MailChimp account.

Notes

Lists are required to remain intact within the account for seven days (7) following the sending of a campaign or autoresponder to ensure that subscribers have time to unsubscribe and reports can be collected. If there's an active autoresponder or a recently-sent campaign for the list you're combining FROM, bulk actions to delete subscribers, move to list, unsubscribe, and the ability to combine lists will be disabled. After the seven day period has passed, these options will be reenabled and your lists can be combined.


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