Every new MailChimp list starts out pretty empty, but not for long. Our List Import Builder can help you quickly upload and organize an email marketing audience.
If your MailChimp list already has subscribed contacts, that’s great too. Our auto-update import feature can help you add new people to your list and update the information of current subscribers at the same time.
In this article, you’ll learn how to import subscribers to your MailChimp list.
Before You Start
Here’s what you’ll need to add subscribed contacts to MailChimp.
The names and email addresses of people who have opted in to receive your email marketing.
A blank sheet in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, saved or exported as a comma separated value (CSV) file.
How to Import Subscribers
A list import has a couple of steps. First, you’ll prepare your spreadsheet file of contacts outside of MailChimp, and save it as a CSV file. Next, you’ll use our handy List Import Builder to add your contacts to MailChimp.
Prepare for Import
To prepare your file for import, follow these steps.
In a spreadsheet program like Excel or Sheets, open your blank worksheet.
Create and label a column for email address.
Next to your Email Address column, create and label additional columns for First Name, and Last Name.
Email Address is the only field that we require, but you can repeat this step for any other subscriber data fields you want to include in MailChimp, like phone number, birthday, language, address, or country.
Paste your contacts’ information into the relevant fields in the spreadsheet.
Save the file in CSV format. This option can usually be accessed from the File menu in your spreadsheet program, labeled as “Export as .CSV” or “Download as .CSV”. Different spreadsheet programs will vary a little bit. If you use another file type, we won’t be able to process the file.
Now that you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to import the CSV file to your MailChimp list.
Need some help saving your spreadsheet file in CSV format before you import? Check out these CSV tips from Excel and Sheets. Or, download our sample CSV import file and replace the sample emails with your own data.
Certain fields, like birthday and date, must be formatted in a specific way. For example, to add a birthday field to your MailChimp list, dates should be formatted in your spreadsheet as MM/DD (Month/Day). Read our format guidelines for more tips about special fields.
Import to MailChimp
You’ve got your file set up correctly, so now you’ll log in to your MailChimp account and use our List Import Builder to upload your file.
To upload your subscribed contacts to MailChimp, follow these steps.
Navigate to the Lists page.
Click the drop-down menu next to the list you want to work with, and choose Import.
Choose CSV or tab-delimited text file.
If your last import was a CSV with the same columns, you can click Use settings from last import, which will allow you to skip steps 7-11.
Click Browse and choose the file from your computer.
Check the box next to I understand that my billing plan may be automatically upgraded. Your account will only be upgraded if your list import causes your subscriber count to exceed your current billing plan.
Click Next to go to the Import Subscribers step and match the columns in your import file to the fields in your MailChimp list.
Click Save for the Email Address column. We automatically match the column in your import file that contains email addresses to the required Email Address field in your list.
On the second column, check that the column name and field type are correct, and click Save. Or click the drop-down menu to select a different field type. To create a new column in your list, choose New Column Name.
The editing pane for each column includes the current column name, field type, and example data from your list, for your reference. To exclude a column from the final import, click Skip.
Repeat Step 9 for all unmatched columns. You must match or skip all columns to complete your import. After you’re finished matching, we’ll display a success message.
Click Next to review your final import settings.
On the You're all set to import! screen, review the settings for your import. Be sure to keep the Subscribed option selected.
After you've reviewed your settings, click Import.
After the import is finished, we’ll send your Primary Account Contact an email notification. Be sure to check out the Lists page in your account to see all your new subscribers.
Subscribers who are imported to a list don't go through the double opt-in process, so you’ll need to verify that you have permission to email them. Imported subscribers don't receive any signup response emails or the Final welcome email.
When you import new subscribers to an existing list, we'll remove any duplicate, bounced, or unsubscribed addresses that are already stored in the list.
Because all lists in MailChimp are independent of each other, we can't detect duplicates, bounces, or unsubscribes across multiple lists. If you have duplicate subscribers in different lists, you may find it helpful to combine your lists into a master list that uses groups.
How to Auto-Update a List
After you’ve had some subscribers in your list for a while, their data might change. Luckily, our auto-update import feature helps you update the information of multiple subscribers at once.
Auto-update replaces the list field information with information from your import file, so you can quickly update information from your CRM or other database. Like a regular import, you’ll gather your contacts, prepare your spreadsheet, and add them to MailChimp with our List Import Builder.
On the final step of the import, you’ll check the box next to Auto-update my existing list, and click Import. That’s it! We’ll handle the rest by scanning your list and updating subscriber information.
Be careful when you auto-update. You’ll need to verify that your import column names match your MailChimp list field names and that no fields are blank. Blank fields overwrite existing subscriber data with blanks, erasing your old information.
Need some help with list imports? Learn how to troubleshoot.
Want to reverse a list import? Read on.
Don’t need that list anymore?
Learn more about lists!
Learn about ways to grow your list.