One of the first things you’ll do as a new Ontraport user is move your existing contact list into your Ontraport account so that you can market and sell to them with Ontraport.

Check out the video about importing contacts to learn more.


Note, Ontraport provides excellent options for importing contacts yourself, but some information cannot be imported or exported through your administration login. Our Concierge Services team provides custom import and export services for these situations. Please email so we can determine the best method for importing your data. Please do not send any credit card data to us.

Table of contents

Import review
Import contacts
Things to keep in mind
To import data as relationships
Importing complex relationships
Addresses that will be imported as “transactional only”

Import review

To ensure that the lists you import into your account are contacts who adhere to our anti-spam policies, all imports go through an approval process, and some lists are pulled for a manual review. These list reviews protect the health of the IP address used to send messages by not allowing lists that are likely to result in complaints or bounced messages. If your list is selected for manual review, you can expect:

  1. An email sent to your account administrator asking additional questions
  2. To receive a confirmation email from our email delivery team within 24 hours of receiving your request informing you of whether or not your list was approved

Once your list is approved, your contacts’ bulk email statuses are updated to “single opt-in.” Please email if your list has been in review for 24 hours or more.

Import contacts

  • Export your contacts from your previous software. Organize your data into clearly labeled, separate columns, and remove extras such as images and graphs. Then save the file as a .csv.
  • In Ontraport, go to the contacts tab → Settings → Import Contacts and upload your .csv file.
  • Follow the instructions on each step of the import wizard and click the contacts tabon the last step to finish the process.
  • You’ll be taken back to Contacts, and your imported contacts will now appear.
    1. Note, to ensure compliance with our anti-spam policies, our email delivery team reviews each import before you can send bulk email to your imported contacts. This approval process is typically completed within one business day.

Check out the video about editing columns in Excel to learn more.

Things to keep in mind

Use the suggestions below as a reference for more information about specific steps of the import wizard.

In Step 2 of the wizard — Verify Information:

  1. If the first line of your .csv file includes header rows such as First Name, Last Name, etc., check the “Don’t include header row” checkbox.

In Step 3 of the wizard — Import Settings:

  1. “Duplicate Contact Import Settings” — These will determine how the contacts on your .csv are imported into your account.
    1. Merge and underwrite with new imported data (default): This setting doesn’t change any existing data in your record, but it adds new data. For example, if you have a contact record that doesn’t have an office phone number saved, you can import data to fill in that blank field. This is the best setting for most use cases because you won’t duplicate or overwrite any info.
    2. Merge and overwrite with new imported data: This setting replaces the information saved in your records with your imported data. For example, if your record has a phone number saved and you import another, your import will update that phone number. Use this option with caution because it’s possible to overwrite data that you didn’t intend to.
    3. Create new entry: This setting always creates a new record in Ontraport for every row in your .csv. Since this option doesn’t merge any data, it can lead to duplicate records. You can always find and merge duplicate contacts, but that is a manual process.
  2. “Merge Settings” — Select the field you would like to use to identify duplicate contacts; we recommend choosing “Email.”
    1. If you want to import contacts but don’t want to send them marketing emails, check the box “Import these contacts with bulk mail set to ‘Transactional Only’ (Not recommended).” This creates a “suppression list” which allows you to store lead information without sending emails to people who haven’t asked for them.

In Step 5 of the wizard — Add Rules (Optional):

  1. Performing actions on your contacts is not required, but it is a great place to add tags to your contacts, such as the date of import or the list they belong to, before you import them.


To import data as relationships

To import contacts or object records with established relationships, follow the steps below. This is not necessary for users who only want to import contacts; it is for those interested in importing associated deals and companies (Plus accounts and above) or other custom objects (Pro accounts and above).

  • Add a column to your .csv for the name of the record you want to create a relationship with. For example, if you want to connect contacts to companies, add a column for “Company Name” in the .csv file.
  • Follow the steps above for importing contacts until you reach step 4 of 5 in the import process.
  • Select an Ontraport field to match your object’s name column, and click it to drill into that object’s data then select its name field.
  • Click and select if you would like to merge duplicates or create new records.
  • Continue your import process normally.

Importing complex relationships

When you import contacts or object records with established relationships, you can only create relationships that are one level deep at a time. This means that you can import contacts and relate them to the company they work for, like this:

But if you drill in deeper than one level, that specific data won’t be imported.

You’ll know that you selected a related field incorrectly if you see two sets of “>>” in your field selector. This mistake looks like this:

Instead, if you want to import more complex relationships, you need to import your list in two steps.

  • To import a list of contacts and their corresponding companies, import your .CSV from your Contacts object.
  • Then to add a point of contact for every company record, import your .CSV from your Companies object.


Addresses that will be imported as “transactional only”


Role-based email addresses are generally associated with a job or position instead of a specific person and are managed by several people. Mailing these addresses often leads to high bounce rates, spam complaints and other email delivery issues, which is why the following role addresses are imported with the bulk email status of “transactional only.”








































Note: Contacts with role-based addresses can opt in through forms and can be added to your account through Ontraport’s API with an opted-in BES.