Importing subscribers to Gist

By Jitta

Updated 3 months ago

Important: You can only import into Gist those subscribers who are double opted-in and those who have given you explicit permission to email them. We have a very strict anti-spam policy, and any instances of high bounce rates and spam complaints from your subscribers will automatically lead to your account being suspended. Gist's email marketing tool should be used to email warm leads and logged in users only, and should under any circumstances not be used for cold emails or email blasts.

Importing email subscribers into Gist is a simple task. Just export your CSV files from your old provider(s), and import them directly to Gist using the CSV Import option.

Please note that sometimes imports may require our approval before they are added to your account.

In order to import your subscribers successfully and without hassle, it is important that you follow the correct CSV format as detailed below. Here is a step by step process that you can follow for an error-free CSv import.

Preparing your CSV file

Create a CSV file containing a column with the heading “email”. This is the minimum required to import subscribers, but you can also include these special column names:


Any other columns you include in the CSV will be attached to the subscriber as custom fields.

Custom field limitations

Gist allows only letters, numbers, and underscores in custom field identifiers.

Please keep in mind that spaces between a custom field identifier, such as “first name” should be added into Gist as “first_name” with an underscore separating both words. Gist does not automatically convert that space as an underscore.

If you include a “time_zone” column it should be in Olson format (also known as “tz database”), for example: America/Los_Angeles.

CSV Import Restrictions and Troubleshooting

Following are the CSV import restrictions that you need to keep in mind, for a smooth import process. If your import failed for any reason, check if any of the following restrictions are not being met, and make changes to your CSV file accordingly. 

  • Column headers such as 'name', 'email address', 'tags', are mandatory. Data will not be imported without column headers.
  • All email addresses must be in lowercase. 
  • The email address field must not be empty for any subscriber.
  • You can only import valid and existing email addresses.
  • Special characters are not allowed in email address.
  • There can only be one column for the 'Name' field. You must combine the subscribers' First Name and Last Name columns to create one column.
  • Fields other than email address can be empty.
  • If you're importing multiple tags, each must be separated by a comma.
  • You cannot import email campaigns into Gist through CSV. But you can add your email campaigns as tags.
  • File extension must be .csv (eg. file.csv)
  • The first row must contain the column names (eg. Email, tags)
  • Column names must be formatted with lowercase characters and no spaces (replace spaces with underscores)
  • Columns must be separated  with  commas.

To avoid errors when importing CSV's, download our people-example. csv  (1kb) file and check the format of the file.

If the import still fails despite making sure all the above conditions are met, reach out to us via chat, and we'll be happy to help.

Uploading the file

Once you create the CSV file as mentioned above, upload the file by going to People > Import

After you upload your CSV, you will be able to see a separate record for every subscriber that was successfully added to Gist.

Remember that Gist does not upload duplicate email addresses. If there are two email addresses with different custom fields or tags, the Gist combines the two fields and attaches them to one record.

Next Steps

Once you import the files, you can take the following actions on the subscriber data.

Apply or remove a tag: Choose to apply a given tag to the subscriber, or remove it.

Add or remove subscriber You can add the subscriber to a particular campaign or delete a subscriber from a campaign.

Move within campaigns: Move the subscriber from one campaign to another.

Restart a campaign: Start the subscriber from the beginning of a particular campaign.

Send a one-off email: Send a special email to the subscriber.

Set a custom field: Set a custom field for the subscriber.

Record an event: Record a custom event for the subscriber.

Record a conversion: Record a goal conversion for the subscriber.

Delete subscriber: Delete the subscriber and all their data from your Gist account.

Approvals on Imports

We review every import in order to maintain very high deliverability and prevent spam. We require that each subscriber that you import to Gist be opted in, and not purchased or sources through other means.

Depending on the volume of import requests, approvals may be delayed sometimes, so please keep the delay in mind when planning any marketing campaigns.

Did this answer your question?