When importing a new list or updating an existing list, some fields need to be formatted a specific way to be uploaded properly. It's also important to make sure the file you're importing is encoded in UTF-8 format. Using the proper formatting and encoding will ensure all of your subscriber information gets uploaded successfully and will yield the most consistent results. If you've already created fields in your list, you can check the type of each field by going to Lists > settings > fields and merge tags. Below we'll detail the requirements for various field types.

In this article:

Address

When you add an address field to your signup form, it will appear to add several fields for entering data. However, you don't need to add a separate column in your import file for each portion of the address. Instead, separate each item in the address with double spaces. An address like this:

512 Means St.
Suite 400
​Atlanta, GA 30318 USA

would look like this in your file (where "spacespace" is two spaces, not the word space!):

512 Means St.spacespaceSuite 404spacespaceAtlantaspacespaceGAspacespace30318spacespaceUSA

If a subscriber doesn't have an apartment or suite (or a second street address line), you can skip that line and the system will sort the fields correctly.

It's important that you add the country at the end of each address. Especially if you want to segment by zip code.

Birthday

On your signup form, you can choose whether to accept Month/Day or Day/Month for a birthday field. When importing, though, make sure birthdays are in Month/Day format:

MM/DD

Birthday fields are preferred to a regular date field if you want to send something like an automatic birthday message to your subscribers.   

Date

Date fields should use one of the following formats where "MM" is the two digit month, "DD" is the two digit day of the month, and "YYYY" is the four digit year. MailChimp will attempt to convert the date field to match the account's default date format. Using the ISO standard format(YYYY-MM-DD) will yield the most consistent results when importing into a date field.

YYYY-MM-DD

MM/DD/YYYY

Image

An image field allows you to specify an image URL for an image hosted online somewhere. Be sure to include the full address with the "http://" at the beginning.

Phone

U.S. phone numbers should be in the following format with no spaces, parenthesis or dots.

555-555-5555

International numbers generally won't fit this format. If you have international subscribers, you'll want to choose the international phone number option when creating a phone number field on the sign up form. 

Website

Website fields need to include the full URL of the subscriber's website, including the http://.

Zip Code

A zip code field can only contain five digits. International zip codes that use anything other than numbers or are longer than 5 digits won't work in a zip code field, so if you have international subscribers, a text field should be used instead.

Groups

Groups should be created before you import your list. Here's how to add groups to a list. Once those groups are added to your list, just follow our formatting recommendations below to make sure all your group info is imported successfully.

  • The Group Title should be the column heading. In that column, you'll list the subscriber subgroups in the same cell. If a group field uses checkboxes more than one subgroup can be chosen for a subscriber. In this case you'll need to place a comma between the different subgroups that subscriber belongs to. For example, if your subscribers can choose from Puppies, Kitties and Snails and a particular subscriber chooses all three then it should look like this:
    Puppies, Kitties, Snails
  • Subgroup names are separated by commas, so if one of the choices contains a comma the comma would have to be removed or escaped. You can escape a comma by adding a slash immediately before it. So a group named New products, promotions and events would look like this in your file:
    New products\, promotions and events
  • Group options are case-sensitive and must be spelled consistently in MailChimp and in your imported list

For more details about importing subscribers directly into groups, check out Method 2 here.

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