Migration Guide: From Importing Contacts to Transferring Workflows

Migration Guide: From Importing Contacts to Transferring Workflows

Table of Contents


    If you are considering switching to ActiveCampaign or recently joined us, we’re happy you’re here! This guide was created to ensure you feel supported during the move. 

    No matter where you may be migrating from, this guide will walk you through the essentials you need to hit the ground running effectively and efficiently with ActiveCampaign.

    Account Basics

    Before you get started migrating data from your previous workspace, it’s a good idea to set up your basic settings and preferences in ActiveCampaign. 

    First on the list is adding your physical address to your account. Navigate to your settings and then Addresses. You can easily add your physical address by clicking the ‘Add Address’ button in the top right corner. This will need to be completed before you can start sending campaigns, so make sure to check it off your list!

    Next is setting up your domain authentication. When you start sending campaigns from a new email marketing platform, it’s important to focus your efforts on building up your sender reputation. This is how you can make a good first impression and set a positive baseline for your deliverability right from the start. You can follow this guide in order to do so!

    Lastly, you can easily set up site tracking right from your account. Having this set up in advance makes for a swift transition in gathering actionable data from ActiveCampaign. Site tracking is a core AC feature and connects your marketing and sales processes to your website activity. By heading to “Website” in your account, you will find “Site Tracking” under manage on the subnavigation. From here, you can toggle “Enable” site tracking on, whitelist your website URL, and finally copy and paste the tracking code into the footer of your website. In just three easy steps, you’ll be all set!

    Now that you’ve set up the basics, you should already feel more comfortable navigating the platform and ready to get migrating.

    Import Your Contacts

    The import process is quick and simple in ActiveCampaign. You can complete the import with a CSV file. Before you begin your import, it’s a good idea to create a strategy for your contact management using lists, tags, and custom fields. At the very least, you will want to create a primary/master list in your account. 

    To import contacts, click on “Contacts” from the main navigation. Then click the “Import” button in the top right corner. From here, you will select ‘Import From File.” Once you upload the correct CSV, you will begin the mapping process. During this stage, you will confirm the data from your CSV is mapped to the correct fields in AC.

    Next, you will check which list you would like to import your contacts into, and you have the ability to add new tags to your contacts. We recommend with every import, you either attribute the source  (e.g., “Source – MailChimp” or “Source – HubSpot”) of the contacts or the date of the upload. This helps easily manage and segment contacts as you add more to your account over time.

    The last step before importing is configuring your import options. Here, you can decide if you are importing contacts as active, unsubscribed, or excluded. You can indicate if the import should trigger webhooks or automations, and you can specify if ActiveCampaign should create new custom field options upon import if it finds the fields do not exist in your account.

    Ready, set, (press) import!

    By following these outlined steps, you can feel confident migrating your contact data to ActiveCampaign, but we also like you to have options. The second option is to optimize ActiveCampaign’s native integration with Google Sheets. You can automatically sync data from Google Sheets to AC by doing so. You can also explore the onboarding and migration services offered by ActiveCampaign here.

    Setup Forms

    Think of forms as doors to your home. Forms are the primary way leads enter your database. When you migrate from your old system to ActiveCampaign, you are essentially moving to a new home. If you don’t provide access to your new home, leads continue to arrive at the old doors, only to find that they lead nowhere.

    If you currently have a contact form embedded on your website, you can recreate the form using ActiveCampaign. You can navigate to the form builder by heading to Website. From here, you are automatically directed to the Forms dashboard.

    Simply select the “Create a New Form” button in the top right corner. You will be prompted to name your form, select the form style, and set up the form actions. Form actions indicate what happens to a contact once they submit the form. You can choose to subscribe a contact to a list (note: double opt-in is automatically turned on when you select this option.

    You can make any necessary changes to your settings under Options in the form builder!), add a tag to the contact, email yourself results of the form submission, or add the contact to a deal.

    You will utilize the drag-and-drop builder to create a form that fits your brand needs. Once finished, you’ll hit the “Integrate”  button taking you to options for integrating your new custom form onto your website. We recommend using the Simple Embed code as it is dynamic and will automatically reflect any changes you make in AC on your website. 

    Although forms are an extremely common way to capture new contacts and subscribe to one of your lists, it’s important to remember that forms are highly flexible. Keep this in mind when you are migrating any existing forms to ActiveCampaign, as there is always room to iterate your current strategy and implement new forms into other stages of your customer journey!

    Create Campaigns

    At this point in the migration process, you should have imported your existing customer database and implemented AC forms on your website. Now, it’s time to begin crafting your email strategy. 

    If you have any emails or templates from your previous system that you would like to keep, you can easily build these as campaign templates in ActiveCampaign. You will find the “Campaign Templates” section in your sub-navigation by heading to “Campaigns”.

    From here, you can use the Email Designer to recreate any campaign templates that are integral to your marketing. The Email Designer is a drag-and-drop tool providing a seamless transition during your migration process. You can learn more about the Email Designer functionality here

    TIP: Be sure to take advantage of ActiveCampaign’s free email design service. This is a great way to get started in the platform and help grow your current campaign offerings. With the design service, you will select one of our pre-designed templates and provide your brand guidelines. Give us a day or two, and you’ll receive a customized template that fits the design and feel of your brand!

    Build Automations

    Automation is at the core of ActiveCampaign. In other platforms, you may be used to building sequences or workflows. In AC, you can recreate these as automations. You’ll also quickly learn that the automation builder is robust and can power any of your processes and communications. 

    The two building blocks of automations are start triggers and action steps. The start trigger is the entry point into your automation. Your trigger is a condition or an event your contacts are completing, which results in them being pushed into the journey you’ve built out. Actions are the steps that your contacts will be experiencing since being entered into the automation. 

    Similar to Forms and Campaigns, the Automations builder is also drag-and-drop. Once you identify the start trigger for your automation, you can easily recreate any marketing and sales sequences you had previously been using. 

    If you are newer to automations, or as you grow your strategy and establish new goals, take advantage of ActiveCampaign Recipes. Recipes are pre-built automations that you can import directly into your account and then customize to fit your business. Discover the recipe marketplace here.


    Joining a new platform is exciting, but we understand it can also be daunting. Use this guide as a roadmap while you make the move. Piece by piece, you will begin to see your business come to life in ActiveCampaign and see the value in powering your marketing and sales strategies all from one place!

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