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The foundation of great email marketing is an up-to-date list of email contacts who have opted in to receive your campaigns. A MailChimp list is a powerful and flexible tool that helps you manage your contacts, who we call "subscribers."

We'll cover a few basics about lists in this article, including what you need to know before you start importing contacts into MailChimp, and how to make the most of your list.

Before You Start

The flexibility of your list is dependent on how it is created, imported, and maintained in MailChimp. With the right data and organization, you can segment subscribers based on a variety of criteria and send targeted groups certain types of content. Take a moment to think about your email marketing goals, who your audiences are, and what information is relevant to each audience.

Consider, for example:

  • Do you have seasonal-only customers, bargain-hunters, or customers who are only interested in certain types of merchandise, services, or events?
  • Are you an organization that needs to send different content to donors, sponsors, members, or other patrons?
  • Does it matter if your subscribers are local, domestic, or international?
  • What other variables affect your audience and each list you manage? Determine what information is relevant about your subscribers and include it in a column in your spreadsheet or database.

Get organized before you create your MailChimp list to help you get the most out of it in the long run. 

Create a List

When you create a new list, we'll ask you for some information to comply with anti-spam practices, and other details you'll use for benchmarking. We prohibit users from sending to purchased, rented, or third-party lists, so be sure to check our list requirementsbefore you begin.

After you create a list in your account, you can add subscribers in a few ways.

Build Signup Forms

Each of your MailChimp lists comes with an associated signup form, which you can customize and share to Facebook, your website or blog, or even a mobile app. MailChimp provides a lot of field options for you to choose from, so you can ask for the right information from your subscribers.

Users with Manager permissions and higher can create interest groups for your signup form and list. Interest groups can be assigned by you or selected by your subscribers, and can be visible or hidden on your forms.

Your list will grow and change as people sign up, unsubscribe, and update their profiles. Include an Update Profile link in the footer of your campaign to encourage subscribers to keep their information and interests updated. 

Segment Your List

MailChimp allows you to create segments of your list based on almost any criteria you can think of, like sign up form data, group preferences, and any subscriber activity collected by MailChimp including opens, clicks, and location.

If you integrate an e-commerce platform with your MailChimp account, you'll also be able to use  purchase activity information to segment.

The segmenting tool supports up to five criteria, and lets you choose whether a segment is static (pulled once and saved) or auto-updated with new subscribers and updates. You can save any segment for future use, too.

Review List Reports

Tracking subscriber engagement helps you better understand what your subscribers want and don't want. The Overview page of any list shows you at-a-glance informationyou can use to improve engagement. If you want to download or share list data with a client or colleague, export it.

At the top of the Overview page, you'll see open and click rates, average subscribe and unsubscribe rates, and the number of cleaned addresses for your entire list. Under List growth, a bar chart shows how the list has grown over its lifetime, which can be filtered by self-subscribers, imported, and existing subscribers. 

List report example showing bar charts, average numbers and options.

We'll also show you how many subscribers were added, unsubscribed, and cleaned from your list since your last campaign send. Under Campaign performance overview, a line graph shows you how your list has changed with each campaign you've sent, so you can see at a glance the campaigns that were most successful. 

Campaign performance overview graph showing a dip in open rate and boost in click rate around the same timeframe

Other subscriber details, like what desktop and mobile email clients they're using, and where they're located, is listed at the bottom of the Overview page.

To get additional information about a single subscriber, click the Manage subscribers tab and choose View subscribers. Click an email address on that list to open that subscriber's profile.