How to manage your Mailchimp Audience

How to manage your Mailchimp Audience

Understanding how to manage your Mailchimp audience will give you greater control over your data and how to use it.

When building your mailing list, you’ll notice each contact in Mailchimp has their own status. The email marketing status tells you whether that contact can receive emails or not.

Because your mailing list audience data is one of the most valuable tools you have for marketing and growing your business, it’s important to understand what each different status means within Mailchimp.

Your audience is defined by their email marketing status:

Subscribed contact

A contact who has opted in to receive your email marketing campaigns and newsletters.

Unsubscribed contact

A subscriber who had opted in,  but later unsubscribed and opted out of receiving your email marketing campaigns.

Non-subscribed contact

A customer who has interacted with your online store, but has chosen not opt-in to receive your email marketing campaigns.

Let’s deep dive into each status a little more.


A subscribed contact can join your audience from your sign-up forms, landing pages or via your connected store during the checkout process.

You can also manually add them one by one or in bulk using the import feature. But remember – you must have received permission from each contact first.

These contacts can receive all types of marketing from you, and count towards your monthly plan limit.


When someone unsubscribes from your email, they move from being a subscriber to being unsubscribed. This means they can no longer receive email marketing campaigns and newsletters – but they can still receive ads, postcards, and transactional emails.

Unsubscribed contacts still count towards your monthly plan.

Pro Tip: Archive your unsubscribed contacts so your unsubscribed contacts don’t count towards your monthly plan limit.


A non-subscribed contact is a customer who has interacted with you, usually through your store but hasn’t opted in to receive email marketing campaigns. They also can come from integration, a manual import, or a forwarded email to your Mailchimp Inbox.

You can identify a non-subscribed contact by the lack of a badge in the email marketing column of your contact table.

These contacts do count toward your monthly plan limit and as with the unsubscribed contacts, they can receive ads, postcards, and transactional emails but not marketing emails.


Cleaned contacts are the contacts whose email addresses bounce back to the system as either a hard bounce or repeated soft bounces.

A hard bounce is where the email address is incorrect or the inbox doesn’t exist.

A soft bounce is where the inbox might be full or there is a server error that is affecting mail delivery.

The cleaned contacts do not count towards the monthly plan limit and cannot receive any emails. 

You cannot archive cleaned contacts.

Pro Tip: If you notice a cleaned contact has a misspelled email address because Mailchimp doesn’t allow cleaned contacts to be edited, you can simply manually add them again with the right details.


When someone opts-in via your signup form but doesn’t confirm their subscription to your mailing list, Mailchimp will list them as Pending.

They will remain pending until they confirm and you won’t be able to view them in your audience. If they do not confirm their opt-in within 60 days, they will be removed and deleted.

Pending contacts do not count towards your monthly plan and until they become a subscriber, they will not receive any emails.


An archived contact is someone who has been removed from your mailing list audience. You’ll be able to retain all of their data but while the contact remains archived, you won’t be able to edit their profile or send any marketing communications to them.

Archived contacts do not count towards your monthly plan limit and cannot receive any email marketing.

What is a Transactional email?

A transactional email is a message sent to a contact, usually related to account activity or a commercial transaction. Transactional emails can include password reminders and purchase-related emails.

Make the most of Mailchimp

Now that you understand how to manage your Mailchimp audience based on the email marketing status of your contacts, you are ready to start segmenting your audience based on filters such as how often they open or click, their location, how many purchases they have made, and so on.

Louise is our certified Mailchimp email marketing expert and is able to advise you on how to segment your audience for targeted email marketing campaigns. Get in touch today to start truly making the most out of your email marketing.

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