List Management Overview

  • Updated

List management is one of Act-On's most useful capabilities. You can create, adapt, amend, segment, and deploy lists with ease, import them from your CRM, and perform email A/B splits. Read on to learn more about the variety of ways that your marketing team can leverage list management.

Account Lists

The Account Lists page consists of the Contacts, Test List, Sales Prospects, and Subscription Management List subsections.


Contacts serve as your personal contacts list. To upload your Outlook contacts to this list:

  1. Go to Outlook and export your contacts as a CSV file.
  2. In Act-On, go to Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists.
  3. Hover over the list you wish to upload to and click the three dots.
  4. Hover over List Import / Export and click Append to This List.
  5. Click the Add to List Contents drop-down and select Upload an Excel File or CSV.
  6. Choose the appropriate Add How, click to I accept the terms of this agreement, browse for your Outlook contacts list file, and upload it.

Test List

This will initially contain only your email address. You can add the addresses of those you want to receive your test emails, perhaps those responsible for internal content approvals and reviews.

To add contacts to your Test List:

  1. Go to Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists.
  2. Click the Test List name to open it.
  3. Click Edit All to open the list to add additional contacts. Once you add a name, email address, and company (the company is optional), click Save.

Sales Prospects

Sales prospects are shown on the same screen as your Account Lists. Making your Act-On marketing account aware of the prospects your salespeople are currently working on can produce more relevant reports, especially for sales users.

There are three types of lists:

  • Prospects Assigned to Sales
  • Prospects in Active Opportunities
  • Existing Contacts Assigned to Sales


Subscription Management Lists

You'll find a Subscription Management list folder under Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists if you've set up Subscription Management for your account. This list is automatically populated when your contacts click an opt-out link on your email and mark subscription preferences on your Subscription page.

You can learn more about setting up Subscription Management for your account here

Heads up! Only Act-On Administrators can make changes to Subscription Management.

Marketing Lists

The Marketing Lists page is a flexible place to store lists. Marketing Lists can be uploaded in multiple ways or imported from CRMs that integrate with Act-On. You can also create Marketing Lists using behavior filters or lead scores.

There are two ways to access Marketing Lists:

  • Go to Contacts > Marketing Lists
  • Click List Management from Quick Start on the Home > Start screen

There are several buttons at the top of the Marketing Lists page, which are described in detail below. Use these buttons for important information and actions related to your lists. These include:

  • Active Contacts – see how many Active Contacts you have and which lists you've sent to this month
  • New List – create a new Marketing List
  • Import – import lists from your CRM (this button only appears if you've connected your CRM with Act-On)


Manage Folders

You can manage your Marketing Lists by organizing them into folders, which are listed in the left-hand panel of the Marketing Lists page. You can easily add, edit, or delete folders from here as needed.


Create a New Folder

  1. Hover over the Folders panel and click Manage
  2. In the Manage Folders window, click Add to create a folder
  3. Provide a name for your new folder, then click Add
  4. Click Save 

Display or Hide a Folder

  1. Hover over the Folders panel and click Manage
  2. Under Show in Act-On
    • Check the box next to your folder to display it
    • Uncheck the box next to your folder to hide it
  3. Click Save
Tip! Folders will not appear in Marketing Lists if they are empty. To see your folder, make sure it contains at least one list.

Rename, Move, or Delete a Folder

  1. Hover over the Folders panel and click Manage
  2. Under Folder Name, you can rename any folder by clicking into its name field and typing a new name
  3. To move a folder:
    • Hover over the folder you'd like to move
    • Click and hold Move, then drag it into the desired position
  4. To delete a folder:
    • Hover over the folder you'd like to delete
    • Click Delete
  5. Click Save


Active Contacts

Click the Active Contacts button to see how many active contacts you have for the month, how many you have used, and how many you have remaining. You can also see the lists you've sent to in the past month.


Create a New List

To create a new list in Marketing Lists:

  1. Click New List in the top right-hand corner
  2. Under Enter New List Name, provide a name for your new list
  3. Select a Folder to store your new list 
  4. Select a method to Set Up New List Contents, which includes:
    • Upload an Excel or text (CSV) file – accept an agreement, then browse for and upload your desired file
    • Import from your recently uploaded FTP files – learn more below
    • Copy the structure of an existing list create an empty list using the same structure as one of your existing lists
    • Copy the contents of an existing list or segment – copy both the contents and structure of an existing list
      • You can delete records from their source list by checking Remove source records
    • Define the column names for a new empty list – click to open a dialog box that lets you begin with standard fields, then add custom fields
    • Locate contacts with specific response behaviors – select contacts based on specified behaviors or behavior scores and the period during which these behaviors occurred
  5. Depending on the method you've selected above, follow any additional steps to complete your list creation – this could include accepting an agreement, defining behaviors, identifying a list to import from, and mapping list fields to standard field names
  6. Click Create
Heads up! If you upload an Excel or CSV sheet that does not contain column headers, it is easy to add them in Act-On. At the bottom of the screen displaying your list, you'll see:
Does this look right?
If you'd like to add column headers, click Change Processing Options to create placeholders for column headers in your list.



FTP List Imports

Want to create a new list from your recent FTP imports? Follow the steps below.

  1. On the Marketing Lists page, click New List
  2. Provide a Name and select a Folder for your new list
  3. Under Set Up New List Contents, select Import from your recently uploaded FTP files
  4. Accept the terms of the agreement
  5. Select a recent FTP file to upload from the box that appears
  6. Select whether you'd like to reject records from your Opt-Out List, Hard-Bounce List, or Email Suppression Domains List
  7. Click Next
  8. Preview the first few lines from your imported file to make sure they look right
    • Not looking right? Click change processing options. When you're done changing these options, click Save to return to the previous screen.
  9. Click Next
  10. Under How would you like to handle the field names in your uploaded list?, select between:
    • Renaming your uploaded list fields to match your standard field names
    • Using the field names in your uploaded list
  11. Click Finish

Import a List from Your CRM

If your Act-On service is integrated with a CRM system, you'll have the option to import lists from your connected CRM. To do this:

  • Click the Import button to see the lists you can import
    • As of this writing, users of SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor CRM, and NetSuite can import leads and contacts
    • As of this writing, Salesforce users can import leads, contacts, campaigns, and saved reports
  • Choosing any list will automatically populate its name in the New List Name field. No two lists can have the same name, so you’ll need to modify one of the names (usually the new one) to distinguish it then click Next
  • Selecting contacts or leads will populate another screen that allows you to specify which columns you want to import. By default, Act-On will pull in the First Name, Last Name, Email address, and Company name columns. You can also select additional columns to import
  • Selecting a report or a campaign will import all the columns you have specified in the CRM.
  • A pop-up will ask you to confirm if you want to import all of the contacts. Click OK

Imported lists from your CRM will be available in the Default folder.

Manage Lists and Segments

Marketing Lists Options

Primary Lists are marked with a database icon in the first column. The “people” icon indicates a segment.

Hover over a master list to display options.


All the columns and data for your records will appear.

  • If you are viewing a Signup list, all information included in your form will appear.
  • If you are viewing a Webinar list, all the webinar details will be included.
Refresh Record Count This will update your list record.
Rename You can change the name of your list using this option.
Move Allows you to move your list to different folders.
Copy Allows you to create an empty list with the same structure or copy the structure and all records.
Create a Segment Allows you to create segments of your list.
Generate A/B Splits Allows you to create an A/B split test based on segments of randomly selected contacts in your list.
Import/Export Allows you to export your list in either Excel or CSV format.
Maintenance Allows you to either set up a maintenance program or change column values.
Mailings to List Allows you to send a message to the list, show mailings to the list, run a domains report, or count active contacts in the list.
Move To Trash This option moves the list to the Trash folder. They remain there until either deleted or restored.
Delete Immediately This option removes your list and all the records from your Act-On account. A warning message appears confirming that the list will be deleted and all underlying records deleted with the lists. If the records exist in multiple lists, they will be deleted only from the list you specified.
Clear Records This option deletes all records from the list. If the record (using the email address as the identifier) exists in multiple lists, it will be deleted from only the list you have selected. If you use this option against a segment, it will delete the records from both the segment and the master list.

When you hover over a segment and choose the down arrow, you will notice that Segments has fewer options than the master list for the Copy or Move options.

Hover over a list and click the list name; you will see a button that says More Actions in the upper right-hand corner. Click this button to see more options.

Show A|B|C  Shows contacts in alphabetical order by last name.
Choose Display Columns Allows you to choose the order in which your columns are displayed when in the table view. A drag-and-drop interface allows for quick and easy manipulation of columns.
Add Contact Allows you to manually add a person to your list. This is a great way to quickly add a single contact to your list using all available fields from your list.
Add Contacts Allows you to add multiple contacts using common fields. Available input fields include First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and Company Name.
Change List Columns Allows you to rename, add, and delete columns in the list.
Identify List Columns Allows you to tell Act-On which of your columns correspond with common business card fields such as First Name, Last Name, Company, Email Address, Business Phone, etc.
Download to Excel Download your entire list with all field names and values in an Excel 97-2003 format.
Download to CSV Download to .csv (a good format for larger lists).
Delete Duplicates Allows you to view all entries with duplicate email addresses. Once duplicates have been identified you may choose to keep the first profile found for each duplicate entry or choose which profile to use on an individual basis.

Hover over a list, and click the down arrow to access a selection of advanced list management options. These options may include:

  • Define a Segment of This List  Create a segment of contacts on this list based on the profile or behavioral attributes. Segmentation is discussed in a further section.
  • Generate A/B Splits – Generate mutually exclusive segments of randomly selected contacts for testing; specify lists to exclude. See Creating an A/B Test Segment
  • Delete Duplicates – Act-On will search your list and locate entries with identical email addresses. The default setting is to keep the first of the duplicate entries but you will have the option to view all entries and select the preferred one to keep.
  • Scrub Email Addresses – Perform a search on your list that will locate entries with obvious errors located in the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address fields. To correct an error, click on the value you would like to manipulate, make any necessary corrections, and click the green checkmark to the right to confirm.
  • Remove Bounces & Opt-Outs – Choose to remove spam complaints, hard bounces, and opt-outs from the list.
  • Run Domains Report  See which domains are included in your list.

List Management Overview 01.png

  • Download to Excel – Download this list in an Excel format.
  • Download to CSV – If a list is too large for Excel, download it as a .csv file.
  • Manage FTP Sync – Download a list from the Act-On FTP server. Prepare by uploading lists from your server to Act-On’s FTP server.
  • Append To This List – Add contacts in bulk to your list. Choose All or select New; choose to Update, or not. Exclude addresses in your suppressed lists.
  • View Last Append Results – See how many addresses were processed and how many were successfully imported.

List Management Overview 02.png

  • Push to CRM or CRM Sync Setup – Allows users to send an arbitrary list to their CRM. If a list was imported from a CRM, this will synchronize the list with the original list. Pushes to CRM can be set to occur at scheduled times and can be set to synchronize based on your preferences. For example:

List Management Overview 03.png

  • Send a Message To This List – Create a message to send to the list.
  • Show Mailings To This List  Displays a list of all messages sent to this list. View messages by clicking on a displayed message title.
  • Count Active Contacts In This List  See your monthly account limit and calculate the total active contacts and total remaining active contacts used so far in the month. Also, for this particular list, calculate the total number of contacts, the number sent to and the number not sent to this month.

List Management Overview 04.png

  • Set up List Maintenance Program – Set up or change steps in a list maintenance program.
  • Change Column List Values – Choose values to change and change them.
  • Change List Columns – This allows you to rename columns in a list. You can also add and delete columns in the list.
  • Identify List Columns – See list columns headings side-by-side and map them to standard Act-On system usage fields.
  • Refresh Record Count  The record count in a list is updated at scheduled intervals but selecting this option will update the record count immediately. Use this feature when you are adding or deleting users from a list and would like to see an immediate count of the updated list.

List Management Overview 05.png

Whether a list has been imported from a CRM or is a stand-alone file you've uploaded to the system, you can append records to it. This option is available only for master lists, not segments.

  1. Hover over the list you want to append; click the Down-Arrow > Import/Export > Append to This List:
    List Management Overview 06.png

  2. There are two options for adding records to the list. From the drop-down menu, you can simply choose to either Upload an Excel or a CSV file, or you can Add the contents of an existing list or segment.

  3. Next, you have four different options for how the records will be added:
    • Add all records to the end of this list (Note: This option does not check for duplicates)
    • Add only new records. Do not update existing records.
    • Add new records. Update existing ones.
    • Update existing records. Do not add new records.
      • The last three options do check for duplicates. By default, the email address will be used to locate existing records. If you have another field you want to use to locate existing records, such as a unique Customer ID or Student ID, you can choose it from the drop-down list.

  4. Next, choose the field to be used for locating existing records.

  5. If you’re uploading an Excel or .csv file, you’ll have an agreement to check. Then browse for the file and click Next. If the file being uploaded is large, you can compress it before uploading it.

  6. If you’re uploading an existing list or segment, navigate to the file and click Next.

  7. Check the box next to Remove source records to delete the uploaded records from the source file.

  8. Check the box next to Create a direct-selection segment containing the appended or updated records to make a direct-selection segment. Name your new segment.

  9. You can reject records that are in the Opt-Out, Hard Bounces, and Email Suppression Domains lists.

  10. Click Next.
    List Management Overview 07.png

  11. You’ll get a snapshot of the file Act-On will import. Make sure you have column headers and then click Next.
    List Management Overview 08.png

  12. The system looks at your existing list and the list you are appending and will map up the columns based on the data. A pop-up window will appear if new columns are created.

  13. Uncheck fields you do not wish to import.

  14. If the system maps to the wrong column, select another field from the drop-down list:
    List Management Overview 09.png

  15. Click Finish. The importing process will begin.

  16. Once it’s finished, you will see the number of records that were processed, imported successfully, appended, and updated. It will also display any failed records due to duplicate email addresses. Click Done and the system will take you back to the Marketing Lists page.
    List Management Overview 10.png

Segmentation is very useful for target marketing and lead qualification and it’s easy to do.

  • Simply hover over your list, and select the Down-Arrow > Create a Segment.

List Management Overview 11.png

  • Provide a name in the Segment field.
  • Select a method from the drop-down menu. There are three segmentation methods to choose from:
    • Direct Selection – You can directly select the individual records to include. This option is ideal when you want a small list and you know exactly which individuals you want.
    • Search – Type in the key search term and press Enter. The system will sort through all records in the list looking for the search term.
    • Query – The most dynamic and robust method.
  • If Query is chosen, first specify in the drop-down list whether the segment will contain records with any or all of the profile and/or behavior attributes you define below.
  • Profile
  • Click Add and in the Select Field drop-down menu, select the column field in your Base list.
  • Under Conditions, you can choose from various Text, Numeric, or Date conditions
  • In the empty field, type in a value (e.g. 'Vice President').
  • If you would like to add additional profile queries and the field and condition are the same, you can simply input the value in the field and use a semicolon (;) to separate the search terms.
  • Behavior – Under Behavior, the first drop-down menu will let you choose either a Specific Set of Behaviors or an Overall Behavior Score.
  • Selecting Overall Behavior Score will populate another drop-down menu where you can specify At Least This or At Most This Many and then enter a numeric value in the open text field.
  • When selecting a Specific Set of Behaviors, first specify the timeframe, and then choose a behavior for Act-On to search for from the Add Behavior drop-down menu. Once a behavior has been selected, another drop-down menu will appear for you to define how people performed the action, such as None, At Least This Many, etc.
  • You can choose to Store the query settings for re-use when generating another segment.
  • Click Save to create the segment


Another list management option is A/B splitting. This is useful for A/B testing for email, in which you test subject lines, content, images, etc., by sending two (or more) versions of the same email to small, randomly chosen pieces of your list. This works best when you change just one variable at a time, so you know for sure what’s working.

  • Hover over your list, and select the Down-Arrow > Generate A/B Splits.
  • Give the group of split segments a name; you’ll notice the splits which will be generated will automatically have the split name applied. Fill in the Number of splits; you can create up to 26.
  • Choose how many contacts you want in each split. The Act-On system will randomly select contacts to place in the various lists.
  • Click Exclusion Lists if there are any lists or segments of records you’d like to exclude from these splits.
  • Click Next and generate your splits. A pop-up will appear to tell you how many splits were created and how many records are in each split.
  • Click OK.
  • The splits will be listed at the bottom of the list or segment you created the splits from.


As an example, suppose you have two different email messages you would like to test. Create three splits: Splits A and B are small, and the majority of the records are in Split C.

Send Email A to Split A, and Email B to Split B. After you have analyzed your results, send whichever email message performed better, A or B, to Split C.

Form submission lists are generated when you create a form and choose to create a new list for that form. The list will appear in the Default folder and will have the same name as your form. When you click More..., all options available with Marketing lists are available with the Form Submissions lists as well. You can segment, conduct an A/B split, or append it to another list.

You can also access Form Submissions lists by visiting the forms they attach to. These are called the Underlying lists.

To display an Underlying list:

  • Go to Content > Forms > (select a Form) View report > Details tab > Submission List > View List
  • The list that displays may not be unique to this form; it could be shared by multiple forms or may be a marketing list
  • Use the Search field to use specific criteria to locate data within the list
  • For additional options, you can click on More Actions to access the drop-down menu. These are the same options as for Marketing lists, as described in the Marketing list management section above

Event registration and attendance for WebEx Event Center or Citrix GoToWebinar events are listed here. The list should not be deleted until the webinar is finished and all follow-up emails have been sent.

Create custom events to track marketing activities generated outside Act-On. Click here to learn more about scoring Custom Touch Points.

Learn how to create and use scoring rules.

Standard Field Names

Define and make changes to standard field names here. Learn more about Standard Field Names.

You can create a custom page that lists various email subscription categories (i.e., email types) including an option to completely opt out of receiving any emails. Click here to learn more about using Subscription Management.


This feature allows you to enter a search string and search the currently opened list for records that contain the search term. 

List Management Overview 12.png

Was this article helpful?

Have more questions? Submit a request