How to merge multiple lists into one

There are two methods for storing your contacts – using segmentation to divide your list into subgroups or creating multiple separate lists. We explain how both of them work in our article about organising your contacts, but in most cases, we recommend keeping a single list in your EmailOctopus account and using segmentation to divide your contacts into subgroups.

If you'd like to switch to a single list approach but have already created multiple lists, you can merge them by exporting the existing contacts and reimporting them to the main list. In this article, we'll guide you through the process and show you how to keep your subscribers tagged so you always know which list they came from.

Tagging and exporting existing contacts

First, choose the list that will act as the main list, or create a new one for that purpose by going into your Lists tab and clicking on the "Create list" button. We called our list "Main list". This will be the list to which we'll add the contacts from all the other ones.

Open one of the lists you want to merge. Click the drop-down arrow next to the email address field and choose the “Select all” option.

Once the contacts are selected, click the “Actions” menu above and choose the “Update tags” option.

Choose an existing tag or create a new one to apply to contacts from this list. We will use this tag to identify these contacts when they are added to the main list, so make sure to choose something associated with the current list, like its name. Click “Apply” to tag all the contacts.

Once the contacts are tagged, you can then reopen the “Actions” menu and choose the “Export” option.

In the export pop-up, make sure to open the drop-down menu and select all columns to ensure all the data is exported, then click "Export".

If you need the engagement data for the lists you're going to delete, export your reports before you do that, as you won't be able to see the emails of contacts in them when you delete the lists.

Once the contacts are exported, you can delete their source list. Make sure to do this before importing them to your main list to avoid accidentally upgrading your plan to a higher tier.

Go through the above process for all of the lists you want to merge.

Importing contacts to your Main list

Once all the lists are exported and deleted, you can open your new list and import those contacts using the "Import contacts from a file" option.

During the import process, choose to update your contacts if they're already present in the list so that contacts duplicated on multiple lists will all receive the new tag with each import. To import your tags correctly, find the column with your tags and select “Import comma-separated tags” from the drop-down. If you'd like to import the fields from previous lists, make sure to map them as well. Continue the import process and repeat it for other exported list files.

Once you've imported all contacts, you can create segments based on their tags. Open your main list and visit the Segments tab. Create the first segment, choose its name and select the “tags > has tag > your first list tag” options. Save your segment and repeat the process for other tags.

We have a video guide on how to go through the above process. Our interface has been updated since we recorded it, but you can still see how to import the exported contacts into a new list.

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