How to Delete Unsubscribed Contacts in Mailchimp

Did you know that customers that unsubscribe from your newsletters will still count towards your audience numbers for billing purposes?

You will also still have the responsibility of keeping their data secure. It is good practice to delete unsubscribed contacts and this article shows you exactly how.

What we will cover

Is it goodbye forever?

It is important to understand that there are two deletion pathways in Mailchimp: archiving and removal (aka permanent deletion). Before we cover how to delete unsubscribed contacts in Mailchimp, let’s just make sure you know the implications of both.

In most cases, you will want to follow the removal route. This will completely delete all of the contact’s data from your Mailchimp account, eliminating the risk of falling foul of GDPR UK.

However, there are some cases where you might want to archive your unsubscribed contact instead. For example, if you use Mailchimp as your general customer database, you could continue to store their details for servicing their account. If you strongly believe someone on your mailing list has accidentally unsubscribed, you might decide to archive their details while you find out for sure.

If you do choose to archive an unsubscribed contact, be aware that you are still responsible, under GDPR UK, for keeping their data secure.

Archiving and removing from Mailchimp: a step by step guide

The following instructions were accurate as of September 2021. Please note that Mailchimp may change their deletion processes and user interfaces at any time.

Removing (permanently deleting) an unsubscribed Mailchimp contact

  1. Log in to your Mailchimp account and select ‘Audience’ from the left-hand menu.
  2. Click the ‘View Contacts’ button on the top right hand sde of the page
  3. Click the ‘Overview’ tab
  4. The number of Unsubscribed Contacts will be displayed in a table. Click this number
  5. Click on the email address of a contact that you want to permenantly delete
  6. The contact’s profile will load. Click the ‘Actions’ button to the right of their name
  7. Click Remove Contact (bottom option)
  8. Click the radio button next to ‘Permanently Delete’
  9. Type ‘Permanently Delete’ into the text box that appears below
  10. Click confirm

Please note: It is not possible to permanently delete contacts in bulk.

Archiving an unsubscribed Mailchimp contact

While you can archive unsubscribed contacts individually using the previous method (and selecting ‘Archive’ at Step 8), the following method enables you to bulk archive contacts.

  1. Log in to your Mailchimp account and select ‘Audience’ from the left-hand menu.
  2. Click the ‘View Contacts’ button on the top tight hand sde of the page
  3. Click the ‘Overview’ tab
  4. The number of Unsubscribed Contacts will be displayed in a table. Click this number
  5. Click the checkboxes next to the entries of the contacts you want to archive. To select all of your unsubscribed contacts, click the dropdown arrow above the checkboxes and click ‘Select All’.
  6. The black table header will turn green and you will see an ‘Actions’ option. Click this.
  7. Click Archive (bottom option)
  8. Read the alert and click ‘Confirm’ to archive the contact/s

Returning an archived contact to your audience list

What happens if you archive a contact by mistake? To bring an archived contact back into the fold, simply do the following:

  1. Log in to your Mailchimp account and select ‘Audience’ from the left-hand menu.
  2. Click the ‘View Contacts’ button on the top right hand sde of the page
  3. Click the ‘Manage Contacts’ tab
  4. Click ‘View archived contacts’
  5. Click the checkboxes next to the entries of the contacts you want to unarchive
  6. Click the ‘Unarchive’ button on the top right hand side.

If there’s anything else mystifying you about Mailchimp, Vu Online can help. Spending some time with our e-mail marketing experts will help you iron out all of those niggles.

Visit our Email Marketing Training Course page for more information on how to master Mailchimp for your business.

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