Moving from MailChimp to Mailerlite

MailerLite email marketing

Previously, I wrote about MailerLite as an alternative to MailChimp and why I love MailerLite so much. Since then, I’ve had many people ask me for help to move their list over. In this blog, I’m going to go over how you can do this yourself.

How to move your list over from MailChimp to MailerLite

There are two ways to move your list over from MailChimp to MailerLite. The first way is the easy way and it is best if your list is simple without a lot of tags or groups. The second is the longer way to do it, but it’s also my preferred way to make sure that it is done right. The reason is that there are some differences between MailerLite and MailChimp, which I’ll touch on first before I get into the how.

List differences between MailChimp and MailerLite

Mailchimp refers to their lists as audiences. Each audience is separate from one another. This means that as a subscriber, you could be in more than one audience. You could also unsubscribe from one audience and remain subscribed in another. If a person is subscribed to multiple audiences, they are counted as a subscriber in each audience that they belong to. For example, if you subscribed to three audiences, you are counted as three subscribers.

Now within each audience in MailChimp, you can have multiple tags and multiple groups to further segment them. You can create automations and move subscribers from one tag to the next, but you can’t automatically move them from one audience to another.

MailerLite works off one big list. Every subscriber belongs to one list. You can add them to different groups, but they are still part of only one list. Groups in MailerLite are the same as Tags in MailChimp. You can add or remove subscribers from different groups and they will still be a part of the one big list in MailerLite.

Because of these differences with how each platform handles their list, it’s not always a simple transfer from one to another if your list setup is a bit more advanced.

Now let’s look at the two ways you can migrate your list from MailChimp to MailerLite. Please keep in mind that your MailerLite account has to be approved first.

Option 1: Import your subscribers directly from MailChimp to MailerLite

This option works great if you have a very simple list. By that I mean you don’t have more than one tag in MailChimp. Here’s how you can easily move your list over.

  1. In MailerLite, navigate to the Subscribers page.
  2. Click the Add subscribers button.
  3. Click on the Import from Mailchimp tab.
  4. Click the Connect button to access and log in to your Mailchimp account.
  5. Select the lists you wish to import to MailerLite.
  6. Now it’s time to match fields. Match the Mailchimp subscriber fields with fields in MailerLite. If a particular field does not exist, you can create a new field on the spot.
  7. Select the group(s) you’d like to import your subscribers into. Groups in MailerLite are like tags in Mailchimp.

If the group you’ve selected is a trigger for an automation, you’ll be asked to choose whether or not to add the newly imported subscribers to that automation.

In terms of keeping your data safe, this option is preferable because you are simply moving the list from one platform to another without saving it anywhere. It also ensures that you only migrate over the subscribers and not the unsubscribers. This is important as you don't want to accidentally add anyone who has unsubcribed from your list.

Option 2: Export your MailChimp subscribers and import them into MailerLite

This is the option I tend to gravitate towards if you have more than one tag. With this option, I export one tag at a time so that I can add them to the appropriate group in MailerLite.

Ready? Let’s do this!

  1. In MailChimp, click on the Audience you want to export.
    • Click All Contacts.
    • Choose Tags.
    • Beside the tag you’d like to export, click on the down arrow beside View.
    • Choose the Export as CSV option.
  2. In MailerLite, navigate to the Subscribers page.
    • Click the Add subscribers button.
    • Click on the Import from a CSV or TXT file tab.
    • Upload the CSV file that you just exported or drag and drop.
    • Click import.
    • Select the group(s) you’d like to import your subscribers into. Groups in MailerLite are like tags in Mailchimp. If you don’t choose a Group they’ll just be imported without the group or tag. 
  3. Repeat #1 and #2 for each tag that you are moving over.

As you can see, option #2 takes a bit more time and patience but you will not be able to segment your tags by groups if you don’t go the option 2 route when your list is organized by multiple tags.

Since this option involves exporting the data out of MailChimp, you need to ensure that this data is kept safe. I recommend deleting it right away after you've imported the data into MailerLite. I also recommend that you only export your subscribers and move the subscribers over. If you move your unsubscribers over to MailerLite as new subscribers, you will be going against the anti-spam / GDPR laws.

Congratulations, you have moved your list over from MailChimp to MailerLite!

And there you have it, the run down of the DIY (Do It Yourself) migration from MailChimp to Mailerlite. Of course, if you find that your head is still spinning after reading this OR you feel that you just simply don’t have time to deal with moving your list over, our team at Digital Pixie will be happy to do this for you. We charge our hourly rate for this work and depending on how extensive your list is, this could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours worth of work. Contact us if you need help with this.

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