When importing your contacts to Brevo, certain data, such as email addresses and phone numbers, need to be in a specific format to be imported correctly. Therefore, before importing your contacts, we recommend following this article to properly set up the file that contains your contacts' information.
📂 File requirements
- There is no limit on the number of contacts you can import at once. However, your file should not exceed 250MB. If your file exceeds this limit, split it into smaller files that you will import separately.
- Include only one sheet in your file.
- Save your file in one of the following formats and make sure the separator is either a semicolon, a comma, or a tab:
- Save your file with UTF-8 or Windows-1252 encoding. These types of file encoding allow for reading the content of your file when it contains special characters.
🛠️ Create your file
In this article, for illustration purposes, we will create a .CSV file from scratch to import contacts with default and custom attributes for a yoga instructor. You can easily adapt this use case to your needs by following the requirements and guidelines provided in this article.
Step 1: Set up your file with contact attributes
- Open your spreadsheet program (Excel, Google Sheets) to create a new file. You have 3 options to get started:
- In the header row of your file, add the information you want to import about your contacts. Each cell represents a piece of information that will be mapped to a Brevo contact attribute and imported.
In our example, we added default attributes like EMAIL or FIRSTNAME, but also included custom attributes about the yoga classes (FIRST_CLASS, LEVEL, FREE_TRIAL).
Use the tabs below to understand more about all the available contact attributes ⬇️
By default, some contact attributes are automatically created by Brevo. They require a specific format to be imported correctly:🆔 CONTACT_ID
The CONTACT_ID attribute is automatically created by Brevo when you import your contacts. It is a fixed number that cannot be changed. You can only retrieve the contact ID of your contacts by exporting them from Brevo. We recommend including the CONTACT_ID attribute in your file only if you want to update your existing contacts through an import.👤 FIRSTNAME/ LASTNAME
To import the first name and last name of your contacts, use the FIRSTNAME and LASTNAME contact attributes.
To import the email address of your contacts, use the EMAIL contact attribute.📱 SMS / WHATSAPP / LANDLINE_NUMBER
To import the phone number of a contact, use the following default contact attributes as your column headers:
- SMS for the phone number used for SMS messages.
- WHATSAPP for the phone number used for WhatsApp messages.
- LANDLINE_NUMBER for the phone number used for calls through the Phone app.
Always include the + sign and the country code at the beginning of the phone number, and do not separate the digits by any special character.
You can create custom contact attributes in Brevo to fit your needs. They require a specific format to be imported correctly, which is based on the attribute type:🔠 TEXT
Text-type attributes store a string of alphanumeric characters, such as a word, a phrase, or a sentence. You can use a text type attribute to import additional data about your contacts. When imported, text type attributes have no limit of characters.🔢 NUMBER
Number-type attributes store a string of numerals or numbers written in decimal format. You can use a number type attribute to import numbers or currency values to your contacts.🔢 DATE
Date-type attributes are used to store a date value. Keep the format of the value under this attribute similar to the format selected under your account settings (DD-MM-YYYY or MM-DD-YYYY).🗂️ CATEGORY
Category-type attributes store a set of possible values. For instance, you can create a contact attribute named LEVEL and define the possible values as BEGINNER, INTERMEDIATE, and EXPERT. The attribute of each contact will then only contain one value among those three.
When you create a category-type attribute, ID numbers are shown next to each value. You can view them by clicking the cog icon ⚙️ next to the desired contact attribute on the Contact Attributes page.
Make sure you only include this ID number in your file and not the value itself. Otherwise, the data won't be imported to Brevo.
Contact attribute in Brevo Data in your file
- 1 for BEGINNER
- 2 for INTERMEDIATE
- 3 for EXPERT
Boolean-type attributes can only store Yes or No as a value.
When you import your file in Brevo, you will be able to directly create new attributes. You don't necessarily need to create them beforehand.
Step 2: Add your contacts' information to the file
You can now fill up the file with your contacts' information:
- You can copy the data from another program or an exported file, or
- You can type it directly into the file.
Make sure that each column contains information that corresponds to the attribute in the header row of your file and that each row contains information about a single contact:
Step 3: Verify the format of your data
Now that your file contains all the data you want to import, take some time to ensure that it is correctly formatted. Incorrectly formatted data can result in incorrect information being imported or information not being imported at all.
For instance, here are some things we recommend you check:
The email address of your contacts: ensure that the email addresses in your file are valid and that they aren't missing any part.
In our wrong example below, the email address is missing the domain suffix:
❌ rose@example ✅ firstname.lastname@example.org
The phone number of your contacts: ensure that the phone numbers in your file include the + sign and the country code and that the digits are not separated by any special character.
In our wrong example below, the phone number is missing the + sign and the country code, and the digits are separated by special characters:
❌ (337) 456-9342 ✅ +13374569342
The category-type contact attributes: ensure that the category-type contact attributes in your file contain the ID number of the value and not the value itself.
In our wrong example below, the category type contact attribute contains the value instead of the ID number:
❌ Beginner ✅ 1 ❌ Intermediate ✅ 2 ❌ Expert ✅ 3
Step 4: Save your file
Once you have completed and properly formatted your file, save it in either .CSV, .XLSX, or .TXT format using UTF-8 or Windows-1252 encoding.
Use the accordions below to learn how to encode a file in UTF-8 using various spreadsheet editors ⬇️
- Open your file in Microsoft Excel.
- Click File > Save As.
- Name your file.
- Select CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (.csv) as the file format.
- Click Save.
- Open your file in Google Spreadsheet.
- Click File > Download.
- Select Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet) as the file format.
- Open your file in Notepad.
- Click File > Save as.
- Name your file and add the .csv extension at the end.
- From the Save as type dropdown, select All files.
- From the Encoding dropdown, choose UTF-8.
- Click Save.
- Open your file in LibreOffice.
- Click File > Save as.
- Name your file.
- From the Save as type dropdown, select Text CSV (.csv).
- Enable the Edit filter settings option.
- Click Save.
- In the Export Text File dialog box, select the Unicode (UTF-8) option from the Character set dropdown.
- Set the Field delimiter and String delimiter.
- Click OK.
- Open your file in Numbers.
- Click File.
- Select Export to... > CSV....
- Click Advanced options.
- Click the Text Encoding dropdown.
- Select Unicode (UTF-8).
- Click Next.
- Name your file and choose a location.
- Click Save.
Step 5: Import your file into Brevo
It's now time to import your contacts' details into Brevo! You'll find all the details in our dedicated article Import your contacts to Brevo.
You can associate your contacts with deals and companies by adding specific fields to your file and importing it into Brevo. To learn more, check our dedicated article Associate your companies, deals, and contacts.
If the "+" sign disappears when you add it to a phone number in your file, add an apostrophe before it. This will help your spreadsheet program recognize the number as a phone number.
Yes, you can import a file that contains empty fields. The results will depend on what type of contacts you are importing and on the options you enable while finalizing your import:
- If you are importing new contacts, the empty fields from your file will also be empty in Brevo.
- If you are importing existing contacts and removed some of their data from the file, there are two cases:
- If you enabled the Import empty fields to erase existing attribute data option when finalizing the import, the empty fields will erase the existing data in Brevo.
- If you disabled the Import empty fields to erase existing attribute data option when finalizing the import, the empty fields will not affect the existing data.
If your contact data contains the UTF-8 replacement character "�", it will be skipped and the corresponding contact attribute won't be imported into Brevo. This character can appear when exporting data from certain tools as it is used to replace unknown, unrecognized, or unrepresentable characters.
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