How to Combine Lists in MailChimp
A common complaint I hear from people who have been using MailChimp to deliver valuable content and manage leads is that it gets really messy to organize their subscribers when they have multiple lists. That’s one of the main reasons keeping your MailChimp account down to one list is a good idea. If you haven’t had a chance to read my last post, go on back and find out how to use groups to organize your MailChimp list and offer multiple lead magnets. In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to combine your lists in MailChimp and simplify your list management.
Things to Note Before You Begin
If you’ve recently used a list to send out a campaign, you’ll have to wait seven days to combine lists. MailChimp automatically puts a seven-day hold on bulk actions after a list has been used for a campaign.
When you combine lists, there is some data that doesn’t transfer. That includes:
- Tag Data — You’ll have to reapply your tags.
- Unsubscribed and Cleaned Contacts — Only subscribed contacts are carried over to your combined master list.
- List Statistics and Contact System Data — This includes open and click rates, opt-in time stamps and signup source.
1. Backup Your List Data
Given that some data doesn’t transfer, it’s super-important that you back up your lists before you combine them. That way you can preserve the data that doesn’t transfer and have backups in case something goes wrong. There are a few different types of backups you want to do.
To back up your list, go to LISTS, click the name of the list you want to back up, then click EXPORT LIST.
To backup your segments, go to LISTS, click on the list you want, then click VIEW SEGMENT and choose a segment to export. Then click EXPORT SEGMENT.
To export tagged contacts, (Remember, tags don’t transfer when you combine lists.) go to LISTS, click the list name, click FILTER BY TAGS drop-down menu and choose the tag you want to export.
A segment will be generated that includes all the contacts with that tag. You can choose more tags by clicking the FILTER BY TAGS drop-down menu. When you’re ready to export, click EXPORT.
To export your groups, go to LISTS, choose the list you want. Click MANAGE CONTACTS . Click GROUPS then VIEW GROUPS next to the group category to see all the groups within it.
Click on the #CONTACTS to view the group. Then click EXPORT SEGMENT.
2. Set Up Groups in Your Master List
Before we begin merging lists, you’ll want to prepare your master list — the list that will become your main list after you combine all the other lists with it — to receive the data from the lists that you’ll be adding. Start by setting up groups in your master list that correspond to the other lists. I show you how to create groups in my last post.
3. Set Your Welcome Automation to Pause
If your master list has a welcome automation that triggers when new subscribers are added, all your subscribers will receive the welcome sequence once you combine your lists. To avoid this, put your welcome automation on pause in your master list before you combine lists. Once you’ve competed the merge, edit the workflow to exclude the subscribers that were just added and resume the automation.
4. Use the Combine Lists Tool to Merge Your Lists
MailChimp has a handy tool to help us move all this data over with a few clicks. If you’ve done all the preparation above, then go ahead and combine your lists.
Go to LISTS. Select the two lists you want to combine by putting a check in the check boxes. In the list that is not going to be your master list, the one you want to get rid of, click the drop-down arrow next to STATS. In my example, Demo is my master list and Demo 2 is the old list I want to delete once I’ve combined it. In the drop-down menu, choose COMBINE LISTS.
Select the list you want to combine with this list. This should be your master list. In my example, that’s Demo.
The next screen gives you the option to download the lists before you combine them. We’ve already backed up your data, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful. Go ahead and download each list, then type CONFIRM in the box provided and click COMBINE LISTS.
You’ll now see that one list has 0 subscribers and the other has increased in size. If the numbers look a little funny, that might be because subscribers who were on both lists will now be counted only once rather than as two separate subscribers.
5. Delete Your Old List
You can now delete the list with 0 subscribers. Click the check box next to that list, then click the trash can that appears above it. Type DELETE in the box and click DELETE.
Do this for all your lists, making sure you’ve backed up your data first and make sure you are combing your old list into the master list as above.
Give this a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you with questions or comments.