Combine Lists to a Master List That Uses Groups

Simplify your list management when you combine your lists into a master list that uses groups to organize your subscribers. Groups help you target campaigns to maximize subscriber engagement, and reduce the need for duplicate subscribers across lists.

In this article, you'll learn how to back up your existing lists and create your master list with groups. Before you begin, decide which of your existing lists you want to use as your master list, or create a new list to use.

Before You Start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • In order to complete this process, you'll need to have two or more subscriber lists in MailChimp that you can consolidate to one master list.
  • This process is not mandatory but can help organize your list management by keeping all your subscribers in one place and can potentially reduce your monthly bill if you currently have duplicate subscribers across lists.
  • This process involves four major tasks: back up your existing lists, create groups in your master list, combine your lists, and then clean your new master list. It's important that you complete all four tasks.
  • When you combine your lists, you're only combining subscriber data. Any data associated with your old lists, like subscriber campaign activity, is not brought over to your master list when you combine. This data will continue to live in your old lists unless you choose to delete them.

Back Up Your Lists

All list actions are permanent and can't be undone, so before you create your new list, you need to back up your existing lists. Keeping a backup is a safeguard, in case you change your mind or something goes wrong.

For each list you want to combine to a master list, you need to export your contacts.

To export all list contacts, follow these steps.

  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 CSV file of your contacts.
  4. When the list has finished exporting, click Export as CSV. We'll automatically separate your contacts into separate files for subscribed, cleaned, and unsubscribed addresses.
    click export as csv

Repeat the above steps for each of the lists you're working with. If you're using an existing list as your master list, be sure to also export that list for backup.

Create Groups in Your Master List

To add groups to your master list, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the master list's drop-down menu, and choose Manage contacts.
    click manage contacts
  3. Click Groups.
  4. Click Create Groups to expand the group options.
  5. Select the As checkboxes option.
  6. In the Group category field, type a title or category for your groups.
  7. Input a Group name that corresponds to each of your original lists.
  8. Click Add Group if you need more Group names and click Save when you're done.

Combine Your Lists to Your Master List

There are two different ways to combine your existing lists into your master list. You can use the Combine feature or import your exported CSV files into a single list.

Before You Combine

  • Match the field labels between your old lists and your master list before you combine. When you combine lists, information stored in the list you're moving your subscribers from will overwrite existing data in the list you're adding to.
  • While field labels need to match, merge tags don't. If it's going to be difficult to make sure your field labels match, consider combining lists by importing from a CSV.
  • Importing subscribers to groups is an additive-only process. When you combine lists that contain groups, we will add subscribers to any group they're in across those lists, but we don't remove subscribers from groups.

Combine Using the Combine Feature

To combine lists already in your account with the Combine feature, follow the steps below. The Combine feature moves active subscribers from one list into the second list as brand new subscribers. It does not transfer your unsubscribed and cleaned addresses.

  1. From the Lists page, click the drop-down menu for the list you want to add to your master list and select Combine lists.
    click combine lists
  2. Use the drop-down menu to choose the name of your master list and check any groups you want to add these subscribers to. Then, click Next.
  3. Type CONFIRM into the pop-up modal, and click Combine Lists.

Repeat this process for each of the lists you want to combine with your master list.

When you've combined all of your lists, remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Combine Lists from a CSV File

To import the the backup CSV files you made, follow the steps below. With the CSV method, subscribers will remain in your old list until you delete them or until you delete your old list. To import the backup CSV files you made, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page, click the drop-down menu for your master list, and select Import.
  2. Select CSV or tab-delimited text file , then click Next. import from csv or text file
  3. Click Browse to choose the list file you exported.
  4. Click the I understand that my billing plan may be automatically upgraded checkbox. Your account will only be upgraded if your list import causes your subscriber count to exceed your current billing plan. Remove your subscribers from your old list to avoid duplicate subscribers across lists.
  5. Click Next to move on to the Import Subscribers step and match the columns in your list import to the columns in your MailChimp list.
  6. Click Save for the Email Address column. We automatically match the column in your import that contains email addresses to the required Email Address field in your list.
    Save button on Email Address column.
  7. On the second column, click Save , or click the drop-down menu to select a different field. To create a new column in your list, choose New Column Name.
    Example of new column added during matching with Phone as the column name. The editing pane for each column includes the current column name, field type, and example data from your list, for reference. You can click Skip to move over a column and exclude it from the final import. This will not remove a column that already exists in your list.
  8. Repeat step 7 for all unmatched columns. You must match or skip all columns to complete your import. We'll display a success message when you've either matched or skipped all your columns.
    Success message displayed when all your columns have been matched.
  9. Click Next to review your final import settings.
  10. On the You're all set to import screen, review the settings for your import. We'll display the method you chose for your import and the number of columns you matched.
    You can click Details to view which columns you matched to fields in your list, or Edit to make changes. If you have groups set up in your list, you'll have the options to import your subscribers to one of your groups.
  11. Click Import.
  12. Repeat this for each list you combine into your master list. When you're done, remove your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Remove Unsubscribed and Cleaned Addresses

If you had subscribers who were on multiple lists, you might have multiple or different data for them. To help keep your list healthy, follow the steps below to remove your unsubscribed and cleaned addresses for each list you combined.

  1. Open the unsubscribed/cleaned CSV export files on your computer using a spreadsheet program.
  2. From the Lists page, click the drop-down menu for your master list and choose Manage contacts.
    click manage contacts
  3. Click Unsubscribe people.
  4. Copy all your unsubscribed and cleaned email addresses from the CSV files, and paste them into the Unsubscribe People screen, then click Unsubscribe.

Repeat these steps for each list you combined to remove cleaned and unsubscribed addresses.

Delete Your Old Lists

When you're finished removing your cleaned and unsubscribed addresses from your master list, follow the steps below to delete your old lists from your account. Save all your exported CSV files in case you need your original lists again later.

This process also deletes all list stats. If you want to combine your lists but don't want to delete your list stats, you could remove your subscribers from your old lists, but leave the list intact.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Check the box next to the list you want to delete.
  3. Click Delete.
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