How to Migrate from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign

List Building, Tech Tip

Ready to migrate from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign? Maybe you’ve outgrown MailChimp, maybe you’re frustrated with the lack of support for the basic levels, or maybe their terms of service have got you thinking you need to make a move. All are valid reasons for making the switch. In fact, I wrote about many of them here: Email Service Providers: Why I No Longer Recommend MailChimp.

But is it hard?

While switching email services isn’t something I recommend doing often, it isn’t particularly difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of complicated tagging, automations and segmentation going on.

And if you’ve been using MailChimp as your email service provider, you don’t likely have a complicated business yet, so now is the perfect time.

Why to Switch from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign

Switching from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign isn’t hard. If you think you will need to make the switch at some point, doing it sooner rather than later is a good idea. Although MailChimp has a free version, ActiveCampaign is an email service that starts with an entry-level pricing structure that makes it very affordable and it will grow with you as your business grows.

Although some people use MailChimp successfully, it isn’t really designed for online businesses. It was created for bloggers to use to stay in touch with their list. It doesn’t have the advanced methods of email automation you’ll need as you do more sophisticated launches.

How to Move from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign

Once you’ve decided to make the move, the actual steps are very easy:

First you’ll need to export your email addresses from MailChimp.

Log into your MailChimp account. You should be taken to the dashboard:

Migrate Contacts from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign MailChimp Dashboard


On the far left side, choose the “Audience” icon to get to the Audience Dashboard.

Migrate from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Audience


Once on the Audience Dashboard, you’ll see All Contacts. Click that.

Move Contacts from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign All Contacts


Once you’ve clicked Export Audience, MailChimp will ask you where you want to save your export file. This file will be in the format .csv. You can save it where ever you’d like on your computer, just make note of where that is.

Move from Mail Chimp to ActiveCampaign Save Export


Importing Your Contacts from MailChimp Into ActiveCampaign

Now you can move over to your ActiveCampaign account and log in. If it is a brand new account, you may be prompted via the Getting Started Menu to Import Contacts. If you are not, you can get there from the left side bar. Click on the Contacts icon.

Note: ActiveCampaign sets all new accounts up with a default Master List. If you want to add the MailChimp contacts to a different list that isn’t Master List, you should create that list prior to the import. You’d do that by first going to the List icon (it looks like a bulleted list) on the left sidebar (third from the bottom in the image below) and set up your list there. Once that is done, click on the Contacts icon.


In the upper right corner, you’ll see blue box that says, Add Contacts.

Move to ActiveCampaign from Mailchimp


Once you’ve clicked Add Contacts, you’ll be asked if you’ll be adding them via copy & paste or if you want to Import From File (the blue button). Click the button.

8 Move Contacts from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Import


You can now import your MailChimp contacts into ActiveCampaign by finding the MailChimp export .csv file on your computer.

Migrate names from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Get csv File ActiveCampaign


ActiveCampaign will then ask you to match the fields from MailChimp to the fields you want to use in ActiveCampaign. For most people this is easy. First Name in MailChimp would map to First Name in ActiveCampaign and so on.

Move List from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Import fields


If you had any tagging or special fields in MailChimp, ActiveCampaign will ask you how you want to map those. Scroll down to see all of the options. Scrolling down gives you the option to choose which list you want your new, imported names added to and allows you set up tagging for those names. You may want to tag this import as “imported from MailChimp” just so you know how those people got on your list if there’s ever a question.

101 Migrate list from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Import fields scroll


Once the import is completed, you’ll get the following message.

Migrate Contacts from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign Import Completed


To check that the import was successful, go to Contacts on ActiveCampaign, select the list you’ve imported to, and see if there are names there from the MailChimp import. If there are not, check the file you saved from MailChimp and see if there are names on it. You can open .csv files in Excel compatible software to see the information in the file. If there’s no info, do the export from MailChimp again. If there is info, do the import into ActiveCampaign again.

Migrate from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign

And that’s how you export email from Mailchimp to Activecampaign. After going through the steps, you can probably see why this is best done when your list, your tagging and your automations are small. The longer you stay with one email service, whether it’s MailChimp or something else, the more complex the migration can be.

Do I Need to Notify Contacts When I Transfer Them from Mailchimp to Activecampaign?

Moving email services should be seamless process if you follow the instructions above. In fact, there is no reason to let your subscribers even know you’ve moved. Assuming you’ve followed all legal and ethical guidelines for collecting their email addresses in the first place, it doesn’t matter a whit which email service you’re using. Why involve them in a part of your business that doesn’t affect them? It would be sort of like telling them you’ve changed bookkeepers or graphic designers. Depending on the business you’re in, they may not even know what an email service is, so why confuse the issue?

If you’ve been holding your breath, knowing it’s time to switch from MailChimp to another service provider like ActiveCampaign but worried about how to do it. I hope this article helps. If you have questions, feel free to comment below.

Want help migrating from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign or another service? You can book a tech support call with me here, where I’ll take care of the process for you.

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