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 can also reduce the cost of your monthly bill by removing the possibility of duplicate subscribers across different lists. If you need a way to distinguish subscribers from different lists, consider using groups in your combined list.

In this article:

Before you combine your lists

All list actions are permanent and cannot be undone, so the first thing you need to do is export a copy of each of your existing lists to act as a backup. This will ensure that you have something to fall back on if you find that combining your lists doesn't work the way you'd like. Follow the steps below to back up your lists, then read on for more information on what to do before combining.

Backup your lists

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the title of the list you want to export.
  3. Click the Export List drop-down menu to download a copy of your list's active subscribers to your computer.
    export csv file of active subscribers
  4. Change the drop-down menu to Unsubscribed.
    choose Unsubscribed from drop-down menu
  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 subscribed, unsubscribed, and cleaned addresses.

Create your new "Master List"

After backing up your lists, you'll then want to create a master list that you will be combining your contacts into. You can do this by creating a new list or designating an existing list to be the new master list. If you want to use an existing list, we recommend renaming that list to indicate its status as a master list.

Edit your field labels to match

When combining lists, you're not just merging email addresses, you're also merging all the fields in your list. The information stored in the list you're moving your subscribers from will overwrite any existing data in the list you're combining to. For this reason, it is important to make sure that all your field labels match before you combine lists. For example, if your field for subscribers' first names called "Name" in one list and "First Name" in the other, you'll want to make sure they match exactly before you go to combine them. While field labels need to match, merge tags and merge field numbers don't. If it's going to be difficult to make sure your field labels match, consider combining lists by importing from a CSV.

Subscribers within groups are handled a little differently when combining lists. When you combine lists that contain groups, we will add people to groups, but we won't remove them. For example, let's say you are combining lists A and B. List A has a subscriber that is in Group 1 but NOT in Group 2, while List B has that same subscriber in Group 2 but NOT in Group 1. When the List A is merged with List B, we would add that subscriber to Group 1 but we would not remove that subscriber from Group 2. Creating Groups within the master list is a great way to help you further organize and target subscribers.

Ways to combine lists

There are two different ways to combine lists in MailChimp, using the Combine feature or importing from a CSV file. We walk you through each method below and then show you how to clean up any overlap you may have after combining your lists.

Combine using the Combine feature

  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.
    Select Combine lists from the drop-down menu
  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.
    Select the name of list you want to combine into
  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.
    Type CONFIRM to complete the action
  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, follow these instructions to remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Note

Lists are required to remain intact within the account for seven days following a campaign or automation email being sent to ensure that subscribers have time to unsubscribe and reports can be collected. If there's an active automation workflow, RSS-driven campaign, or a recently sent campaign for the list you're combining FROM, bulk actions to delete subscribers, move to list, 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.

Combining lists by importing from a CSV file

Combining lists by importing CSV files means importing the backup copies you made of your list(s) 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. 
    Check auto-update box to update info
  6. Click Upload List to begin importing the file.
  7. You'll be prompted to match your fields. Make sure your fields match across lists.
  8. Select Done when you're finished matching 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, follow the instructions below to remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Remove unsubscribed and cleaned addresses

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 campaign. To help keep your list squeaky clean and avoid emailing bounced and unsubscribed addresses, you'll want to remove those contacts 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.
    Click the Unsubscribe people option
  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, select the check boxes next to the original lists (but not your master list) and click the Delete button to completely delete them. If you recently sent a campaign to a list, you will need to wait seven days since the list was last sent to before you can delete the list.

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 limited to certain user levels. You can see your user level on the Users & Account Details page and this article explains what each level can access in the account.

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