How can I migrate to dotmailer from MailChimp?

Summary

Switching to dotmailer from MailChimp is straightforward (although there are some terminology differences to learn). 

In this guide, we show you how to:

Terminology differences

In MailChimp In dotmailer
List Address book
List field Contact data field
Group Segment
Campaign We call them campaigns too
Subscriber Contact
Template We call them templates too
Merge tag Personalisation marker

Migrate your subscribers

First off, let's get your MailChimp subscribers moved over to dotmailer. As MailChimp automatically removes unsubscribed and bounced email addresses from your lists, you can safely import your subscribers right into dotmailer.

To do this:

  1. In MailChimp, click Lists
  2. Click the list that contains the subscribers you want to add to dotmailer
  3. Click Export List
  4. On the next screen, click Export as CSV. Your list will be downloaded to your computer. It'll download as a Zip file, so you'll need to extract the CSV file.
  5. In dotmailer, click Contacts
  6. Click New address book, and give it a name. Giving it the same name as your old MailChimp list can help avoid things getting confusing. If you like, you can also give your address book a description - for example, 'My old MailChimp list'.
  7. Click Save
  8. On the next page, chose the Add a list of contacts from an Excel or CSV file option
  9. Click Choose file, and choose the CSV file you extracted from your MailChimp download
  10. Click Upload
  11. On the next page, you need to map your old MailChimp list field values to your new dotmailer contact data fields
  12. Set Column0 to be 'email'
  13. Set Column1 to be 'firstname'
  14. Set Column2 to be 'lastname'
  15. Click Upload. dotmailer will whirl away importing your subscribers.

You can do the above for each MailChimp list that you want to move over to dotmailer. If you have lots of lists, you can download them all at once by going to Account > Settings > Manage my data.

Good to know

In MailChimp, unsubscribed and bounced email addresses are stored per list. In dotmailer, suppressed contacts are account-wide.

Recreate your signup forms

In MailChimp, each list can have its own signup form. In dotmailer, signup forms are account-wide - but you can pick an address book for signups to go into.

To create a signup form, follow the steps in our guide 'Creating a signup form'.

Move your email templates

Next, we can get your MailChimp templates moved over to dotmailer. Templates are comprised of three things:

  1. The HTML
  2. Images
  3. And, in some cases, your merge tags (or 'personalisation markers')

We'll tackle each of these three areas separately, starting with moving your HTML.

HTML

To do this:

  1. In MailChimp, click Templates
  2. Find the template you wish to migrate, and select the Export as HTML option
  3. In dotmailer, go to Campaigns > My templates
  4. Click the Upload template tab
  5. Choose the template file you downloaded from MailChimp and hit Upload, followed by Continue
  6. You template will be imported. Click Continue once more. 
  7. Your template will automatically get converted to be EasyEditor compatible, and should show in EasyEditor as a fully editable template

Images

At this point, your template images will still be hosted by MailChimp. We need to import them into dotmailer, and then re-insert them into your template, before your template can be used.

You can do this in one of two ways. If you have the original images to hand (stored on your computer, for example), then you can upload the originals. 

If you don't have the originals, then you can right-click on each of your images in EasyEditor and save them to your computer.

Once you have your images, you can re-insert them into your template.

To do this:

  1. In EasyEditor, click Images in the left-hand accordion 
  2. Click the + icon to bring up the file dialog
  3. Select your images. (You can select all of them in one batch - you don't have to import them one by one.)
  4. For each image in your template, drag the corresponding image from the 'Images' pane into the space containing the existing image. This will swap your old MailChimp images for your new dotmailer ones.

Merge tags/personalisation markers

Lastly, you may need to update your merge tags, if your template includes them.

In MailChimp, these look like *|SOMETHING|*. For example, *|EMAIL|* will insert the subscriber's email address into an email.

In dotmailer, personalisation markers look like @SOMETHING@. For example *|EMAIL|* becomes @EMAIL@.

However, the default list of markers in dotmailer may not include replacements for the merge tags in your template. You can add new ones, but for simplicity we recommend replacing the tags listed below, and removing the others for the time being.

Tags to replace:

  • *|EMAIL|* to @EMAIL@
  • *|FNAME|* to @FIRSTNAME@
  • *|LNAME|* to @LASTNAME@

Once you've replaced or removed all your merge tags, you can now save your template:

  • Click Save & continue
  • On the next page, click Finish

Your template is now ready for use, and can be selected from the My templates library.

Sending your first campaign

You've moved your subscribers, and you've imported your templates. Feeling ready to send your first dotmailer campaign? We've got plenty of help for you.

Have more questions? Submit a request

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