Offer Multiple Lead Magnets with Just One MailChimp List

Offer Multiple Lead Magnets with Just One MailChimp List

You already know that growing your mailing list is crucial to building your business. And in order to grow your list, you need to offer lead magnets or opt-in incentives that provide good value and build trust. If you’ve been doing this for a little while, chances are you’ve offered multiple lead magnets that satisfy different needs for your audience. But if you’ve created a new list every time you’ve created a new lead magnet, you’ve probably noticed by now that it’s a big hassle and managing all those lists becomes unwieldy. Instead, I’m going to show you how to use groups to organize all your subscribers in one list. You’ll need a free MailChimp account and form creation software on your website that allows you to add subscribers to MailChimp groups. I’m using Gravity Forms.

Why Only One List?

A good rule of thumb is to think of a MailChimp list as being associated with a website domain. If you are going to be sending email campaigns from, then you should have one list associated with that account. But if you run multiple businesses or organizations, each with different domains, then it makes sense to keep the lists for each of them separate, as emails will be coming from different email addresses.

So why does this matter? If you’re on the free MailChimp plan, you get up to 2000 subscribers for free. But here’s the thing: if you offer multiple lead magnets and create a separate list for each, and your content is so good that some of your followers sign up for all them, then each time a person joins a new list they count as a new subscriber. But if you keep all your subscribers in one list organized into groups, if that same subscriber opts in multiple times, she still only counts as one subscriber. Your saving yourself from unnecessarily racking up subscribers and triggering a paid account subscriber level.

It’s also much easier to manage one list than it is to manage multiple lists. Say, for example, you want to send out an email newsletter campaign to people who have opted in to various different lead magnets. If you had multiple lists you’d have to create the same email campaign in each list. If you have only one list, you just have to create one campaign and select the subscribers you want to email based on the groups they belong to.

Creating MailChimp Groups

Within your list, you can create interest groups that allow you to organize your subscribers into groups based on whatever criteria you choose. For the sake of our example, let’s say we have clients who are prenatal moms, new moms and moms with young children. We might want to create interest groups that reflect those clients who are at different stages in their journey and have different needs. We’ll probably also want to offer different lead magnets to each group.

So first off we’ll create three interest groups within your list. When you’re logged into MailChimp, select your list then click on the MANAGE CONTACTS tab and choose GROUPS from the dropdown.

Click the CREATE GROUPS button and you’ll see a screen with a few options that asks how you want your groups to show up on your sign-up forms. We don’t want these groups to appear on your signup forms, so select “Don’t show these groups in my signup form.”

Then you can start creating your groups. Where it says Group Category, I think of that as the interest group. In the example above, our first interest group would be Prenatal Moms. Then the group names are what I associate with individual lead magnets. So to continue our example, for Prenatal Moms, we might offer a few different lead magnets over time: a nutrition guide, an exercise guide and a self-care guide. Each of those freebies would get it’s own group. And if one person opts in for all of them, she’ll be put into all three groups, but she’ll only be counted as one subscriber in the list. When you’re done creating groups within the category, click SAVE. You’ll then have the opportunity to import subscribers or say that your done for now. You’ll click done because emails will be added automatically when someone subscribes on your website.

Create Groups in MailChimp

We would repeat the same process for New Moms and then again for Moms with Young Children, creating groups within each category that correspond with lead m. Obviously you’ll want to organize this in whatever way makes sense for your business.

Create an Opt-In Form

Here’s where you’ll need some form creation software on your website. You won’t be able to use MailChimp’s signup forms because you can only create one per list. And we want to be able to create a new form for each new lead magnet. I’m using Gravity Forms with the MailChimp add-on here, but there are a number of form creation tools that do that same thing. In Gravity Forms, once I’ve created my form and added all the fields I want to appear in it, I need to create a MailChimp feed. This is what tells Gravity Forms where to send the information that’s been collected. I select a list and because I’ve already created groups in my list, they will appear as options to choose from. Then every time someone fills in the form, they’ll be added to the group in the list automatically.

Setting a MailChimp Feed

Delivering the Lead Magnets

If you’re used to using MailChimp’s signup forms to deliver you lead magnets, then you’re probably wondering how you’re going to send out your freebies without them. That’s where automation campaigns come in. Lucky for you, I already covered how to deliver lead magnets using automations when MailChimp switched their default settings from double opt-in to single opt-in. You’ll find those instructions over here.

Creating Segments to Send Email Campaigns to Multiple Groups

So now you have your groups set up and you have people subscribing to them and you’re sending them their freebies. If at some point you want to send one promotional email campaign or newsletter to subscribers in multiple groups, without sending the same campaign to some subscribers more than once (which is what would happen if you had multiple lists) you can do that really easily by creating a segment.

Create your email campaign. In the TO field select your list. Under SEGMENT OR TAG, choose GROUP OR NEW SEGMENT from the dropdown. Then set the conditions to identify the groups you want to email. For our example I’m sending an email to anyone in either Exercise Guide group or the Nutrition Guide group. If someone opted in for both those lead magnets, she’ll only get the email once. You can create a segment for just one group or you can do it for multiple groups, I’ve I shown here.

create segment in mailchimp

The beauty of organizing your list into groups is that it allows you to keep track of how your lead magnets are performing all from one screen. All you have to do is open each group to see how many subscribers they contain. And when it comes time to send an email campaign to multiple groups, you can’t beat sending out just one email.

If you’ve already got a bunch of email lists going in MailChimp, don’t fret. My next post will show you how to consolidate your lists into one list. It’s not as hard as you might think.


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Tamara Sztainbok

I design and build WordPress websites for purpose-driven businesses. I love nothing more than connecting people who are passionate about what they do with exactly the people who need to know them.


  1. Ira on December 12, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Thank you!!! You are an angle! I’ve been looking for hours on line on how to work with groups and your post was so helpful!!

  2. Wiggles on April 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t know why this was so hard to find or why mailchimp forms are limited in this way but this was very helpful, thank you.

  3. Chelsea on April 17, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    This is so helpful!! Do you know other sign up form builders besides Gravity Forms? I don’t have a WordPress site….

    • Tamara Sztainbok on April 19, 2019 at 8:36 am

      Hi Chelsea. I’m glad it was helpful. Try searching on your website platform for form builder apps or add-ons, or Google “form builder for [your website platform].” Then check that it integrates with MailChimp.

  4. Jemima on May 5, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Tamara, thank tough for this article.

    I think this may be the solution to my client’s problem!

    If I understand your article correctly then in combination with gravity forms it’s possible to have multiple opt-ins on one list and have one prospect opt-in for all of them without them getting the notion of being already on the list and thus not being able top opt-in..

    does gravity form then only update the additional info of the subscriber in the mail mailchimp audience list? E.g. the new group for which the opt-in was created?

    I hope my question is clear.. thank you in advance ?

    • Tamara Sztainbok on May 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Jemima.
      I’m glad to hear that this might be a solution for your client. You have that right. What MailChimp will do is simply update the subscriber’s profile to show that they have now joined a new group and they will still only count as one subscriber. You’ll be able to see that person’s information all in one profile in your MailChimp account. The best part is that they’ll be able to get all the different freebies your client offers.

  5. Earl Parson on May 22, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Hey Tamara! Thank you for taking the time to write this up! Here’s what confuses me, though:

    I have a list of about 1,500 MailChimp subscribers, and I am juggling multiple lead magnets on different lists. I need to get this sorted out because I want to keep adding freebies. I am an architect and I have free house plans you can download, and I want to keep adding more to build up an awesome library of free plans. The “Free Plans” page of my site is by far the most visited, which is exciting. At this point I have different lists for each freebie and as you mention in the article, it’s a hassle.

    What I don’t understand about Groups in MC is that when I test it out for myself, here’s what happens: If I enter my email address on a signup form for a list that I’m already on as a subscriber, I get an error message telling me that I’m already subscribed to that list, and a link to “Click here to update your profile.” That link sends an email which contains a further link to update preferences.

    If I then follow the link in the email and try to update my preferences, I get a form to edit my email address, first name, and last name. There isn’t any way to get access to the new freebie this way.

    So I sort of understand how you can use groups to segment your list based on interests or whatever you want, but I still don’t get how groups can be used to help manage and deliver different lead magnets. Do I need to go with a different email service? I’m still on my free MailChimp but I’m wondering if I need to upgrade to something paid so I can get support, or just find out if ConvertKit or one of the others has better support for multiple lead magnets.

    I just want someone to be able to enter their email address and get the new freebie seamlessly in their inbox. What are your thoughts about this?

    • Tamara Sztainbok on May 22, 2019 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Earl. Congratulations on creating great content to drive traffic to your site and generate leads!

      I hope I’m understanding your question correctly. In order for a subscriber to subscribe to the same list again, you’ll have to create hidden groups in your MailChimp list (or audience, as they’re called now) that are specific to each lead magnet. But in order to add that subscriber to those groups from your website, you’ll have to use a form builder like Gravity Forms that integrates with MailChimp and allows you to specify which group a subscriber is added to when they submit the form. Once you do that, you shouldn’t find the problem you’ve encountered when you tested it out yourself. The subscriber’s profile in MailChimp will be updated to show they’ve been added to a new group within the list.

      Feel free to try it out on my website. Subscribe for my lead magnet at the top of my page. Then subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of a blog post. (You can unsubscribe whenever you want, of course.) You should be added to two different groups automatically without getting sent to a form to update your preferences.

      I hope that helps.

      • Blanca on June 12, 2020 at 2:09 pm

        Hi Tamara. Thank you for creating this post and for answering everybody with helpful advice.

        I have the same problem the architect has. I can’t subscribe the same prospect twice in the same Audience. I’m integrating MC with Thrive Leads through html. I’ve tried everything. I created a group from the Form Editor and also from the MERGE tags. I tried radio button, checklist, drop down… Still can’t and what I found the the internet is discouraging. They say it’s impossible or, when possible, the old contact info will be deleted and substituted for the info on the second form (where they subscribe the 2nd time).

        Your comment made me think it could be a way to solve this.

        I need to deliver several LM but I have no idea how. Lot’s of hours, days…wasted on this.

        Once more, thank you for being so supportive! 🙂 Your page should appear on the top Google’s choices

        • Tamara Sztainbok on June 12, 2020 at 3:02 pm

          Hi Blanca. Does Thrive Leads allow you to specify a specific group to add a subscriber to within your audience? That’s the key to the whole process. Mailchimp’s form builder only lets you add subscribers to the Audience; it doesn’t let you specify a list, which is why you might get an error that the person is already subscribed. Try it out on my website. Fill out the subscribe form for my opt-in in the footer and then try subscribing to blog updates on this blog post. You can unsubscribe at any time, of course.

  6. SloppySuccess on June 22, 2019 at 12:34 am

    How would this work for a site that isn’t built on WordPress?

    • Tamara Sztainbok on September 11, 2019 at 11:59 am

      It depends on the features available on the platform in terms of form submissions. You need a way way for the form to tell MailChimp which group to put the information in. See if your platform offers that level of specificity. Or you could use a tool like Zapier to help communicate with MailChimp.

  7. Christa Wojciechowski on June 27, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    This is the first tutorial I’ve seen about reorganizing Mailchimp that makes sense. I combined and organized all my audiences in minutes. Thanks so much for this post. You’re a lifesaver!

    • Tamara Sztainbok on September 11, 2019 at 11:56 am

      You made my day, Christa. I’m so glad this was helpful.

  8. Jennifer Silbert on July 21, 2019 at 10:01 am

    What a great article Tamara. I recently consolidated my lists into one and it was a nightmare!! I even hired someone from Fiverr who worked with Mailchimp. I’ve tagged and sorted now as well.

    Question – I do have Gravity Forms on my sight and may consider delivering my lead magnets that way. But could you also just do it in your welcome email of your autoresponder for that group?

    Do you help people create their Gravity Forms to get this show on the road? LOL.

    • Tamara Sztainbok on September 11, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Hi Jennifer. If by auto-responder you mean an automation, you can certainly do it that way. But you’ll need Gravity Forms or something like it to tell your sign-up form which group to put your subscribers in. I hope that answers your question. 🙂

  9. Kathy on August 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    If I don’t have a website but want several lead magnets that hit one list, which landing page program would you suggest?

    • Tamara Sztainbok on September 11, 2019 at 11:53 am

      That’s a tough question, Kathy. I build WordPress websites and use MailChimp exclusively for email marketing. I would suggest you take a look at and contact various email marketing platforms and see if they offer that functionality.

  10. James King on August 17, 2019 at 4:35 am

    This is great but I’m a bit stuck.
    I have a M/C LIST of 10 people who downloaded a Free ebbook.
    I have set up a Group in the list and put the names of my 2 ebooks in the Group (I’ll add other books as I go). How do I attach the name of the ebook to each one of the 10 so I know where they came from?

    • Tamara Sztainbok on September 11, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Hi James.

      You’ll have to add those ten subscribers to the group. Then they’ll always be associated with that book. Going forward, when someone subscribes to a new download, they’ll be put in the groups you’ve created.

  11. LUKE on October 2, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Tamara, thanks for this article, I feel it’s getting me closer.

    I’ve been close to having success with this… I had forms triggering my give-aways. Desktop, but not mobile. Now nothing is triggering. I thought perhaps it was because I was unsubscribing my “test” email address over and over. But now I’m not getting anything to work.

    Previously I was creating multiple Group Categories for each Opt In. So I’m starting over and creating a 1 NEW GROUP as you suggested with multiple groups below.

    However I do NOT see this new group in my form builder options. Do I need to create new API keys for each form/segment through Mailchimp? I’m using Elementors form builders which I assume is similar to Gravity Forms.

    Appreciate your advice and feedback, you site is SAVED and grateful to have found it.

    To be clear my over-all goals is multiple opt in offers, IE I have a workout video series, and I have a mindset series, and believe the same person may want access t both and this would allow them to sign up for one, and then other (just making sure I’m even trying to solve the correct problem! lol).

    Thanks for any support or feedback.

    • Tamara Sztainbok on December 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hmmm. I’m not sure why your groups aren’t showing in the form builder. That might be a question for MailChimp. If you post on their Facebook page, they do give you a contact to get support, even if you have an unpaid account.

  12. Tansy on August 12, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    This is exactly what I’ve been searching for.

    However, I don’t want to pay for more plugins. Is there a free forms plug in that can do the same as Gravity Forms for the purpose of having different downloads for group categories?

    Thanks so much for a great article, but I’d love to hear how I can do it for free.

    • Tamara Sztainbok on August 22, 2020 at 10:57 am

      Hi Tansy. I’m not aware of any but if you search the WordPress plugins for form builder, mailchimp integration you may come up with something.

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*I value your privacy. You can learn about how I handle information I collect by viewing my Privacy Notice.