How to Import Contacts to Mailchimp

Have a bunch of contacts that you want to start emailing? Mailchimp allows you to import and store contact information, such as name, email address, location, and much more. Once you import your contacts to Mailchimp you can begin to send campaigns and segment your subscribers for different marketing purposes. Contacts can be found and managed in your Audience section from your Mailchimp dashboard. There are four different ways to go about this:

  1. Import contacts manually through the web application
  2. Import contacts from a 3rd Party Service 
  3. Import Contacts via CSV File Upload
  4. Import contacts via Copy and Paste

Mailchimp Contacts Overview: The free plan of Mailchimp includes up to 500 contacts, the Essential Package is limited to 50,000 contacts, the Standard package allows up to 100,000 and the Premium plan allows for up to 200,000 contacts. If you realize your needs exceed the 200,000 contact limit threshold, you can contact Mailchimp to arrange a custom package that will suit your requirements.

How to Add Contacts to Mailchimp Manually

To manually add contacts to your Mailchimp audience lists you can follow these steps:

  1. On your Mailchimp Dashboard, select Audience, then All contacts.
audience section on mailchimp
Audience overview in Mailchimp
  1. From here you can select Add Contacts then Add subscriber which will bring up a manual form to populate which will include contact information, name, address, birthday, phone number, and other relevant information of the contact you wish to add. Once finished, complete the process by clicking on the Subscribe button at the bottom of the page. 
adding a subscriber in the mailchimp UI
Adding a subscriber in Mailchimp

How to Add Contacts to Mailchimp from a 3rd Party Service 

Currently, the only services that support contact importing directly into Mailchimp are:

  • WooCommerce
  • Zapier
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Salesforce
  • Squarespace Commerce
  • Shopsync

To import contacts from one of these apps into Mailchimp, follow these steps:

  1. From your Mailchimp Dashboard, select Audience, then Audience Dashboard.
audience dashboard page
the Audience dashboard requires you to be logged in to your Mailchimp account
  1. Select Add your contacts and then Import from another service then click Continue.
options to import from another service
You’ll want to make sure you’re already using one of the existing services and have uploaded the contacts to those services before you perform the import
  1. From there you can select one of the integration tiles, linking you to the service you wish to import your contacts from, and click Add. Once you have finished uploading your contacts select Done
zapier, salesforce, and woocommerce logo options
This page will list all of the various options to import your contacts

Import Contacts via CSV File Upload

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How to import contacts from a CSV file

  1. Login to Mailchimp

    From the Mailchimp Dashboard, select Audience, then Audience Dashboard

  2. Format your contacts correctly in a spreadsheet

    It is important to ensure that your .csv file is formatted correctly so that the uploading process does not skip over important information or return an error code. The below screenshot is an example of exactly what Mailchimp required in terms of formatting.correct formatting for .csv upload of contacts in mailchimp

  3. Select the Upload a file option

    Select Add your contacts then choose the Upload a file option and click Continue.  upload file option in mailchimp

  4. Browse and select contacts

    Select Browse in the “Upload your contacts” window to access the files stored on your hard drive, and select the file you wish to upload and extract the contacts from.browse option which allows you to select your file

  5. Organize Contacts

    Once you have uploaded your CVS click on the drop-down arrow and select, Subscribed, Unsubscribed, Non-Subscribed, or Cleaned. You also have the option of updating any existing contacts already in your audience which will replace existing contact information with new data from the import.organize contacts once they have been uploaded

  6. Match column labels and tags

    The next steps involve tagging the contacts with tags you’ve already created or by using popular tags such as Influencer, Member, Staff, etc. The final step requires you to match column labels to contact information. Columns that can be selected in this field include email address, first name, last name, combinations of types of addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, IP addresses, tags, languages, marketing permissions, and more. match column text to mailchimp labels

  7. Complete import

    Once completed, Review your Report, and if you are satisfied, click on Complete Import, and you are all done. Now you can start your first marketing campaign!

Import contacts via Copy and Paste

  1. On your Mailchimp Dashboard, Select Audience then select Audience Dashboard
  2. Click on Add your contacts and then Copy and Paste.
Copy and paste option in Mailchimp
Copy and paste option in Mailchimp
  1. Copy and paste the information of the contact you wish to subscribe in the box provided, then click on Continue to Organize.
example of a contact being copied and pasted
If you are copying contacts from a .csv file, check out the “Import via CSV” option above
  1. Once you have uploaded the information, click on the drop arrow down and select – Subscribed, Unsubscribed, Non-Subscribed, or Cleaned. You also have the option of updating any existing contacts already in your audience which will be replaced with data from the import.
  1. Add the relevant tags and click on Continue to Match.
  1. From here you would be required to edit the information copied so that Mailchimp recognizes the column name, based on the contact name, address, contact information, etc. Any information not matched to the relevant column will not be imported and it is therefore important that all the information is reviewed for accuracy. 
example of a contact being matched to columns
Match columns to the correct piece of information about your contact
  1. Once you have matched all the relevant information, review and complete your import by clicking on Complete Report. 
Final step! Click on “Complete Import” to finish the process

Conclusion

Importing contacts to Mailchimp is a straightforward process. All contact imports are done from the Mailchimp dashboard and are a simple click-and-select, easy-to-use process. Be sure to properly tag your contacts, check that the information they have provided matches the information that has been uploaded, and the rest will take care of itself. After importing all the contact information you can map the fields of your audience and after a few clicks, your contacts can automatically be imported into Mailchimp. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many contacts can I have in Mailchimp on the free plan?

As of 29 August 2022, the free plan allows users to have 500 contacts (before then users were limited to 2,000).

How does Mailchimp automatically delete duplicate contacts?

Mailchimp automatically detects potential duplicate contacts when you upload a list, update a contact, or add a contact manually. When it finds a duplicate, it combines the two records into one and keeps the most complete data. It will also remove duplicate records if they don’t have any useful information. Should you add someone who is already in your audience, you will be prevented from uploading to avoid duplication. 

Can I segment my Mailchimp contacts?

Mailchimp has a wide range of segmentation options to customize your audience and your targeted marketing campaigns. A full list of segmentation options can be found on their official website. 

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