Import Contacts with a CSV File

It's super easy to import your existing subscriber list into Campaign Refinery.

First and foremost, it's essential to know that we assume you are working with a CSV (Comma Separated Values) to import your subscribers, as this is the most common way that data is formatted when exporting from other subscriber-based marketing applications.

Learn about Importing Subscribers-Preparing your CSV file

Let's start!

  1. Go to Contacts>Import Contacts from the left-side panel menu.
  2. Click on the icon to upload
  3. Next, choose your file to upload, or drag your file over the 'choose file' button. Then click 'continue'.

Note: You can drag your file over the "choose" button to have most modern browsers link to the file you want for ease of use.

  1. On the next screen, you'll see a preview of a few rows of your import so you can correctly map your data.
    1. Note that the system will recognize and prompt you if you have contacts in your csv file that are already in your contacts in your account. From the drop-down menu, you can then select your preferred method of importing these contacts. Updating existing contacts will NOT use additional cleaning contacts since the system identifies that the record previously existed and relies on that previous cleaning timestamp.
  2. Be sure to tick the 'Ignore first row with headers' box. This will keep the system from trying to import a 'contact' with the first row that is just used for labeling. You will not be charged cleaning credits for contacts already cleaned and in your account.
  3. Next, continue mapping your data. First, select the column where the data doesn't match any of the field names. Click on the '+' to create a new field name.
    1. "Select Field Group" that's already there to categorize the custom field names or create a new field group. Then create the new field name you would like to add.
    2. After choosing the data type for your custom field, click 'Add field'
    3. Note: Learn about Adding Custom Fields in the Contacts Tab.

    4. Refresh your browser and check that the field you created is added.
  4. Continue to select which columns you want to import by clicking on the drop-down menu and choosing a field name. You can select from existing field names. For columns that you do not like to be imported, leave them as 'Do Not Import'.
    1. Note that -Add as Tag- is one of the default field names. This means you can import a CSV file with a column of tags, and you just need to map or identify them by choosing the -Add as Tag- field name. If you have multiple tags, ensure only one tag is in a column at a time. If you have a string of tags separated by commas, use this excel function to split them up into their columns before starting the import process.
    2. Click 'Continue'. You will be directed to the next page to add tags.
  5. Assign tags, to all imported contacts. You can also manually add new/apply existing tags to your imports. If a tag is created during import and is found on other contacts in the CSV file, it will correctly apply that newly created tag without duplicating it.
  6. Once you've clicked "Start Importing", you will be directed to the Import Contacts>Import Progress Page. Click on the Import Progress button at the upper right to see the progress of the most recent import/s. See samples below.

Note: It may take some time to run the import based on the raw number of contacts, and Campaign Refinery will clean your imports by default. If cleaning is in progress, the 'Last Message' area will say, "Validating contacts (this may take a while)...". Generally, cleaning and importing should be done within 30 minutes or less. Smaller files will likely take seconds to several minutes.

It can be really helpful to apply a tag to every contact in any particular import so you can go back and do something specific with that audience in the future.

You can use this tag simply for future use or a tag associated with automation to drop them into a campaign immediately.

However, it's important to remember that we validate every email during import through our cleaner, so it may take some time for these leads to be eligible to receive emails from a campaign.