There are eight ways you can add contacts. In this article, we'll cover each option for bringing contacts into ActiveCampaign. You can:
    Import contacts from a .csv file
    Manually add contacts one by one
    Place forms on your site to collect contacts
    Sync contacts with other apps with integrations
    Subscribe by email
    Subscribe by SMS
    Import contacts from an external database
    Add contacts with the API
At minimum, we recommend that you place forms on your website and set up integrations with other apps that you use so that new contacts are automatically added into your account.

Creating a list

Before adding contacts, you'll need to create a list.
A list is a group of contacts who have opted into receiving communications from you. Lists are also the primary way to broadly group contacts based on interest or message type (newsletter, announcements, alerts). There is no limit to the number of lists you can create in your account.
To create a list, click “Lists" located on the left side menu. Click “Add New List” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Fill in all the fields in the modal window that appears.

When you are done, click “Create List.”
For more information on creating a list, see this help article.

Importing contacts from a .csv file

You may have a .csv file of contacts you've exported from another provider. To bring those contacts into ActiveCampaign, click the “Contacts” located on the left side menu.
Click the “Import” button:

Click “Import from File.”

A file browser will appear. Navigate to the file name and then select it by clicking it.
Click “Open.”

Your file will be processed and you'll be redirected to a screen where you can map columns of data to specific fields in ActiveCampaign.
On the left you'll see example data from the .csv file and on the right you'll see a dropdown menu to select the corresponding field. For each data value, select the field that matches. If there is data you do not want to import, select “Do not import this field” from the dropdown menu.

Note that you can map data to custom fields so if there isn't a default field for data you want to import, leave the import process and create custom fields to capture all the data you want to import. For more information about creating and using custom fields, see the help article on that topic.

After you've mapped the data in your .csv file to fields in your account, select the list(s) you want to add your contacts to, input any tags you want them to have, and make sure that “Import as Contact” is selected.

As a best practice, you may want to apply a tag that indicates the source of these contacts. That way you can easily find this group if you need to make any bulk edits to them later.

The “Update Existing Contacts” setting will look for a matching email address in your account and add any additional contact data to the contact record.

When you're done configuring settings, click “Import Now” to start the import process. The length of time it takes to import contacts will depend on the size of the .csv file. Most files will be imported in less than 10 minutes.

Manually adding a contact

You can add contacts one at a time if you have their email address.

Click the “Contacts” on the left side menu to navigate to the Contacts Overview page.

Click “New Contact.”

Select the list(s) the contact should be added to by clicking the checkboxes next to the list names.

Fill in the contact data in the appropriate fields. The only field that is necessary is the email address field.

When you are done, click “Add.”

Place a form on your site to collect opt-ins

We offer a robust form builder you can use to collect contact information. You can place forms with offers for content to motivate your website visitors to become contacts.
To create a form, click “Forms” on the left side menu.
Click “New Form.”

Give your form a name and then select which list the contact should be added to.
Configure your form to have the fields and visual elements you want, and then click “Integrate.” For more detailed instructions on how to create and design forms, see the help article on that topic.

You are able to embed your form into your site by copying and pasting code into your website, use our Wordpress plug-in to place the form in pages and posts on your site, and add the form to your Facebook pages. 
For more information publishing a form, see this guide.

Add contacts with integrations

You are probably managing contacts in other apps such as appointment scheduling apps, help desk solutions, ecommerce solutions, project management apps, and more. These apps can feed contact information into ActiveCampaign so that you can begin automated marketing follow-up and manage deals through the stages of your sales process. Ideally, you would consolidate all your contact information into ActiveCampaign so that it becomes the central hub for managing contacts and their data.

You can access many of these integrations by clicking “Contacts” on the left side menu then clicking the “Import” button.

If you scroll down, you will see a list of integrations. To set up the integration, click the name of the app and then follow the instructions in the modal window that appears.
You can see a more complete list of our integrations here.

Subscribe by email

You can create a unique email address that, when a contact sends an email to it, will create a contact record and add the contact's information.

To set this up, click “Lists” on the left side menu.

Click the down arrow that appears to the right of the name of the list you want to use “Subscribe by email” with.

Click “Subscribe by email” from the menu that appears.

Click the “Add” button.

Select the lists that the contact will be added to.
Select whether the contact will be subscribed or unsubscribed from the list.

Click “Add.”

Copy the email address that is displayed. This is the email address to ask people to send an email message to. When that email address receives an email, it will parse the contact information and create a contact record using the sender's email address. 
For more information on how to add contacts with the Subscribe by email feature, see this help article.

Subscribe by SMS

You can create a contact record and add contact information when a contact sends an SMS (text message) to a specific number.

To set this up, click “Lists” on the left side menu.

Click the down caret that appears to the right of the name of the list you want to use “Subscribe by SMS” with.

Click “Subscribe by SMS” from the menu that appears.

You will be asked to select a number they should send the SMS to as well as the keyword they should send in the body of the message. Our system will look for that keyword before adding the contact. You may want to use a keyword that is short and memorable.

Click “Activate.”

You will be asked to customize the messages that are sent to the contact. When you have the messages you want, click “Save Settings.”For more information on how to add contacts with the Subscribe by SMS feature, see this help article.

Database Sync

You can add contacts from MySQL database. (Syncing contacts from MSSQL and PostGreSQL is available via Zapier only.)

To set this up, click “Contacts” located on the left side menu.

Click "Database Sync."

Click "Add Sync."

Provide information for the Sync Name, Database Connection Details, and select the list you would like to add contacts to, then click "Next Step" to complete the setup.
Note that as new contacts are added to your database, you'll need to run database sync to add those new contacts to ActiveCampaign. Database Sync does not continually add contacts in real-time.
For more information on setting up the database sync, see this help article.