Like all marketers – and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – we’re keenly aware of a ticking clock right now. Yes, the GDPR countdown clock is ticking increasingly loudly. One thing we’ve been struggling with until today was our Mailchimp list. Our monthly newsletter, Spark, goes out to about 2,000 friends, family and clients past and present, and whilst GDPR doesn’t materially change much of what is already in PECR or previous data protection regulations, it’s a good opportunity to have a spring clean of contact lists.

NB. Mailchimp has just (17.4.18) published its own templates for this, which can be found here ( – in our opinion, it’s not perfect, but neither is the solution that we detail below. We’ll leave it up to you (and our helpful commenters) to work out the best way for you.

But there’s no straightforward way of doing this. Our first idea was to use an opt-in confirmation or re-subscribe form, but more often than not, this gives an error message because you’re sending a message to an existing subscriber. Similarly, there are ‘reconfirm’ forms, but they’re a bit tricky to find and may not exist in all subscriptions.

After a few minutes on chat with Mailchimp support, we found a way of doing it with groups. Here’s how:

– Under ‘Lists’, select your list

– Under ‘Manage contacts’ select ‘Groups’

– Under ‘Groups’ select ‘create group’ and enter the description as something like ‘I would like to stay subscribed to this newsletter’ and enter ‘Yes / No’ in the dropdown boxes

– Create your next campaign, and at the top of the newsletter, ask people to click on a link to stay subscribed. Hyperlink this text, and when you select ‘Web Address’ paste this text *|UPDATE_PROFILE|* into the box

– This will create a link in the newsletter where people can update their profile in a web page created by Mailchimp. You can see it if you go to the main ‘Lists’ page, and on the dropdown arrow next to ‘Stats’ select ‘Signup forms’ and ‘General forms’. This should show you the profile update form, where you can select or deselect any fields – but don’t remove the options that you added in the previous steps

– Once the newsletter has gone out, you can see where people have clicked in the ‘Lists’, ‘Manage Contacts’, ‘Groups’ option

– Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – give people four or five newsletter iterations before you start manually unsubscribing them

This process will give you a list of people who have actively consented – and re-opted in – to be contacted by you, without having to unsubscribe, then re-contact, everyone, confusing them in the process.

In fairness, this process should be easier, but Mailchimp is based in the US and might not be quite as up to speed with this as it should be. We’ll keep you updated on any changes as we see them within the platform, but until then, this is probably the easiest way of doing it.


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