Our import tool helps you add contacts to Mailchimp. Upload a comma-separated value file (CSV), copy and paste contacts from a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, or type info directly into the import table. You can also auto-update multiple existing contacts at once.
In this article, you'll learn how to use our import tool to add and update contacts in Mailchimp.
Before you start
Here are some things to know before you begin this process.
- To get started, you'll need a blank sheet in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, saved or exported as a comma separated value (CSV) file.
- Certain fields, like birthday and date, must be formatted in a specific way. Make sure you're familiar with our format guidelines before you import your file.
- In Mailchimp, you can categorize your contacts based on their email marketing status, like subscribed or unsubscribed. You can only import to one status at a time.
- If you’d like to send postcards to your contacts, check out our article on how to import mailing addresses.
- If your import brings your total contact count above the limit of your pricing tier, you'll be subject to an additional contact charge.
Import new contacts
The file import process has two parts: First, you'll prepare your spreadsheet of contacts outside of Mailchimp and save it as a CSV file. Next, you'll use our import tool to upload your file and add your contacts to your Mailchimp audience.
Prepare for Import
To prepare your file for import, follow these steps.
- In a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets, open your blank worksheet.
- Create and label a column for Email Address. This is the only field we require.
Next to your Email Address column, create and label additional columns for First Name, Last Name, and any other information you want to import to Mailchimp.
To learn how to format phone numbers, birthdays, mailing addresses, and other types of data, check out Format Guidelines for your Import File.
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.
Nice job! Now that you've prepared your CSV file, you're ready to import.
Import to Mailchimp
To import your contacts to Mailchimp, follow these steps.
- Click the Audience icon.
- Click Audience dashboard.
- If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
- Click the Manage Audience drop-down and choose Import contacts.
- Choose Upload File.
- Click Continue to Upload.
- Click Browse and choose the CSV file from your computer.
- Click Continue to Organize.
- Use the Select an audience drop-down to confirm the audience you want to import to.
- Use the Select a status drop-down menu to choose the status of the contacts you're about to import.
The available statuses for contacts are:
If you import subscribed contacts, be sure that you have permission to send them marketing.
- If your audience has groups, you can import your contacts directly into the group of your choice. Navigate to the Select groups section and check the box next to each group that applies.
You'll only see this option if you have groups in your audience.
- If you want to update contacts that are already in your audience, check the box next to Update any existing contacts.
- Click Continue to Tag.
- If you want to assign tags to all of the contacts in your import, click the drop-down menu and choose or create tags as needed. You can also choose from popular tags.
- When you're ready, click Continue to Match.
- Match the columns in your import file to the fields in your Mailchimp audience. We'll automatically match some columns for you. For example, the column that contains email addresses will match the required Email Address field.
- Click the column header to choose a different field type for the column or to create a new field. Repeat for all unmatched columns that you want to import. Any unmatched columns will not be imported.
- Click Finalize Import to review your import settings.
- If everything looks good, click Complete Import.
That's it! After the import is finished, we'll send a notification to the email address associated with your username.
- Imported subscribers don't go through the signup process, so you'll need to verify that you have permission to email them.
- When you import contacts to an existing audience, we won’t include any duplicate, bounced, or unsubscribed addresses that are already stored in the audience.
- Because all audiences in Mailchimp are independent of each other, we can't detect duplicates, bounces, or unsubscribes across multiple audiences. If you have duplicate contacts in different audiences, you may find it helpful to combine your audiences into a primary audience that uses groups or tags.
Update existing contacts
You may need to update your contacts’ data if they’ve been in your audience for a while. Use our import tool to quickly update multiple contacts at once.
This option replaces existing audience field information with new information from your import file. You’ll follow the same process to import new contacts, but there are a few extra things to consider.
- When you prepare your spreadsheet, verify that your column names in your import file match the fields in your Mailchimp audience, and that no columns are left blank. Blank fields overwrite and erase existing contact data.
- You can only update subscribed or non-subscribed contacts with this method.
- Imports won’t update the email marketing status of contacts already in your Mailchimp account.
Proceed with a file import, and follow the steps to upload your file and match your columns. On the Organize step of the import, check the box next to Update any existing contacts.
That's it! When you import, we'll handle the rest by scanning your contacts and updating their information.
Need some help with contact imports? Learn how to troubleshoot.
Troubleshoot a Contact Import
Want to reverse a contact import? Read on.
Undo a Contact Import
Don't need that audience anymore?
Delete an Audience
Now that you know how to import contacts, here are some other things you can do to manage and grow your audience.
Getting Started with Your Audience
Manage important information about your audience. Use Mailchimp’s powerful marketing tools to help understand how contacts interact with your online store and send targeted campaigns.
View Your Contact Import Results
See how many contacts were added or updated, and whether there were any addresses with syntax errors.
About Signup Form Options
Grow your audience by attracting new subscribers. Use signup forms to extend your marketing reach and help expand your business.