Most frequently asked questions

Contact list management

1. How to save my excel file into .CSV?

Your import file must be in comma-separated values format (or CSV for short) to reduce the chances of errors occurring during import. If you have your list of email addresses saved as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet then it's easy to convert that file to a .CSV file. Here's how

To save an Excel file as a .CSV file.

1) Open Excel and open the file containing your contact list.

2) On the Excel toolbar, select File > Save As. A dialog box pops up.

3) Type a new name for the file in the File Name text field.

4) In the "Save as Type" drop-down menu, scroll down to locate and select CSV (comma delimited).

5) Click Save.

a) If you see a message that the file type doesn't support multiple worksheets, click OK

b) If you get a message "file may contain features that may not be compatible file type", click Yes to continue.

6) Close the file and exit from Excel.

2. How to import contacts from a file?

If you already have a list of contacts in a file on your computer, you can upload that file into the system and add the contacts to your new contact list. To start, you will need to export your contact list from your other mailing program. You should export your contact list into a CSV (comma separated value) file. A CSV file will contain a list of your contacts details in a line-by-line format, such as:

user1@site.com,MALE,Y,20030101
user2@site.com,FEMALE,N,20031014
user3@site.com,MALE,N,20020706

Move your mouse over the "Lists" tab and click the "Import Contacts" option in the left, as shown below:

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This will start the "Import Contacts" wizard. Choose the contact list you want to import contacts to and click the "Next >>" button.

The example import file above includes three records, and each record is separated with a new line. Each record contains four fields, and each field is separated with a comma. The CSV file will typically have a .CSV or .TXT file extension. Start by clicking on the "Browse..." button in the form to select your CSV file from your hard drive:

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To import contacts from a file, click the "Browse..." button to choose the file.

If your import file contains a line of headers like this:
EMAIL,SEX,EMPLOYED,DATE
user1@site.com,MALE,Y,20030101
user2@site.com,FEMALE,N,20031014
user3@site.com,MALE,N,20020706

... ... make sure you tick the "Yes, this file contains headers" checkbox. Click the "Next >>" button to proceed to the next step.

You will now be asked to map the fields from the imported file to the fields in the system. Simply click the dropdown box next to each field that was found in the file and match it up to the field in the system. Here's an example for an import file that included "Sex" and "Age" custom fields:

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Click the dropdown next to each imported field to map it to the appropriate field in the system.

Click the "Next >>" button when you are done. Finally, click the "Start Import" button. Your contacts will be imported one by one and the popup window that appears will show you how many contacts have been imported and how many remain. You will see a final report when all contacts have been imported:

The final screen will tell you how many contacts were imported. It will also tell you if your contact file contained bad data.

3. What are custom fields and why/how would I use them?

Custom Fields or Mail Merge Fields are used by you to personalise your emails to your customers. You can also use these fields to filter your sends so that only particular contacts receive the email depending on the details that they have saved for themselves.

How do I create custom fields?

The first step in using custom fields is to have a contact list created. When you have created this contact list you can then go to the menu option 'Contact List' and select 'View Custom Field' from there.

This will bring you to a page for viewing, editing and creating any custom fields you have already created or are planning on creating. Here you will need to select the 'Create a Custom Field' button.

This will start you through the creation process. You will have to select the type of custom field you want and name it so that you can use it in your Email Campaigns and Autoresponders. If you select to make the field 'Mandatory' your users will not be able to complete the form without entering these details.

The types of custom fields are:

  • Text Field - Use this to gather small amounts of information about your contacts. This could be their First Name or Last Name etc. You can then use this custom field to personalise your emails by opening with something such as 'Dear %%First Name%%'.

  • Multiline Text Field - This type of custom field is good for gathering larger amounts of data from your contacts such as having them send you comments on your products or service. (If you set the website form you create to 'Emulate a contact form' you will be sent an email with these comments when any user fills out the form).

  • Numbers Only - Using this type of custom field can be good for gathering information such as phone numbers.

  • Dropdown List - This type of custom field allows your user to select only one option from a predefined list of options. You could use this to ask for your users title such as Mr, Mrs or Miss.

  • Check Box - Check boxes allow your users to select multiple options. You could use this to request information on what your users favorite things are such as their favorite style of music. This will then allow you to filter your email sends to only those users that have selected Rock and those that have selected Jazz rather then sending irrelevant information to those users that do not like these genres.

  • Radio Button - You can use this in just the same fashion as the dropdown list but have it set out differently in your form. It will still only allow your contact to select one option from a predefined list.

  • Date Field - Using a date field will allow you to gather information such as Birthdays of your users.

  • When you have selected your type of custom field and named it you can move onto the next step. This step will have options such as 'Default Value', 'Field Length', 'Start Date' and so on. The most important of these is the Default Value. You can use this so that if your contact does not enter a value but you still wish to use this custom field in your email campaigns you do not have to worry about emails looking strange.

    If you send an email that states <'Dear %%First Name%%,' and your user has supplied the name John you will send an email that reads 'Dear John,'. If you have set a Default value of 'Friend' and your contact does not save his/her name your email will then read 'Dear Friend,' rather then 'Dear ,'.

    Viewing and editing your custom fields

    To view what details are stored in your contacts custom fields you have 2 options. The first is to export your contact list and view the list of contacts as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. To do this you simply have to select 'Contacts->Export Contacts to a File' from the menu. When you do this you will be given the option to select which contact list you wish to export and which custom fields associated with that contact list to include in this export.

    The second option is to view the list of contacts through the 'Contacts->View Contacts' menu. When you have found the contact that you wish to view/edit the detials of simply select the 'Edit' link next to their email address and you will be shown the information that that particular contact has saved on themselves.

    If this method of editing contact information is too slow then you can either import the contact list again with updated information, choosing to update the current information to the imported file, or you can send a 'Modify Details Form' to your contacts.

    Using your Custom Fields in your Email Campaigns and Autoresponders

    When you create your email campaigns and autoresponders you will see an option, in the WYSIWYG editor, below the WYSIWYG editor and below the text box for text based email content, that reads 'Insert Custom Field'. When you select this option you will be presented with a pop up window that contains a list of all the built in custom fields and then a listing of all the user created custom fields listed by contact list.

    When you decide which custom field that you wish to insert into your email campaign, click the insert link and it will be placed where the cursor was located.

    This will look similar to %%Custom Field Name%% when you insert this into your email campaign. When you send your email to your contact list any details that they have saved for those custom fields will be inserted into the email in replacement of the %%Custom Field Name%%

    Remember that sending a test email campaign will not replace the custom fields. Your emails will still come through with the custom field place holders to show what your email would look like.

    Another thing that you should make sure to remember is that custom fields are associated with contact lists. This means that if you send an email to a contact list that the custom fields are not associated with they will not be replaced and your email will not look correct. Be sure to use custom fields for the mailing list that you intend to send it to.

    4. Can InstantBulkMailer automatically add an Unsubscribe link if one isn't included?

    Yes, InstantBulkMailer can be configured to automatically add an unsubscribe link to every email campaign and autoresponder if it detects that one isn't available.

    5. How to export active/bounced/unsubscribed contacts to a file?

    To export contacts to a file, Go to list page and click "Exports Contacts" appear in the left side as shown below

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    Then tick yes, I would like to filter the contacts from the selected list(s). as shown below and click next to continue

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    Select status "Active" to export all active contacts to a file. Select "Bounced" or "Unsubscribed" to export bounced or unsubscribed contacts respectively. Select "Any Status" to export all contacts in the list including active,bouonced and unsubscribed.

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    Then click next and select CSV file format to export contacts to a comma delimated file. Finally click next to start the export.

    6. Sending Emails Based on Subscriber Segmenting

    Sending and segmenting the campaign

    Click the "Send an Email Campaign" option under the "Email Campaigns" tab at the top of the system. Choose the mailing list you want to send to, and make sure you tick the "Yes, show filtering options on the next page" option as this is where we will segment the list.

    The first step of segmenting and then sending our email campaign.
    On the next step we can segment and filter our mailing list, telling the system to only send to subscribers who match certain details. In our example we only want to send to males over 21, so we fill out the custom field filtering options. You can use powerful filtering options on number fields as you can see below.

    Segmenting our subscriber list using filter options.
    We have chosen to only send to males over 21. The "> 21" text in the age field takes care of the age segmenting for us automatically. Click the "Next >>" button to continue and complete the rest of the sending steps as normal. The email will only be sent to male subscribers over the age of 21.

    7. Adding contacts to list one by one

    If you only have a handful of contacts to add to your list, you can use the "Add Contacts" form to add them in manually.

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    To add contacts by typing them in, click the "Add a Contacts" option appear left side under the lists page.
    Choose a list to add contacts to and click the "Next >>" button. Fill out the form by typing in their email address and values for any custom fields you've created for the contact list.

    Complete the form to add a contact to the selected contact list.

    When you're done, click "Save" to save the contact to the contact list and add another contact. Clic "Save And Exit" to add the contact and return to the main page of the system.

    8. How to create a contact list?

    A list is a collection of your contacts details. It includes their email address and any optional fields such as Name, Age and Sex which you can create. When sending out an email newsletter, you send it to a list which means everyone on that list will receive the email.

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    To create a list, click the "Add New List" option appear left side under lists page.

    Note: You can have multiple list.

    9. How do I view a list of all Unsubscribed email accounts?

    To view a list of all unsubscribed users you simply select 'Contacts->Search Contacts' from the drop down menu in InstantBulkMailer.

    Once you have done this you need to select the option 'Specific contacts from within the selected lists below' and either select a specific contact list to see the unsubscribed email accounts for a particular contact list or '--All Lists--' to view them from all contact lists.

    The next page will then give you some filtering options. You need to change the 'Status' from 'Active' to 'Unsubscribed' and click 'Next'.

    This will then show you a list of all unsubscribed email accounts from the list/s that you selected.

    10. How to find unsubscribed contacts

    To view the unsubscribed contacts:

  • Go to Contacts -> Search Contacts in the menu,
  • Choose "View specific contacts from within the selected lists below",
  • Select the list you want and click Next, and
  • Choose the Activity Status "Unsubscribed" and click Next.


  • You should now be presented with all of the unsubscribed contacts of the lists you selected. You can click 'Edit' for a contact and set their Activity Status to "Active" again.
    There is no way to set the Activity Status of contacts en masse. Generally there is a very good reason why a contact is labelled as unsubscribed or bounced, and changing this manually could result in your server being blacklisted

    11. How do I re activate a contact that has already been unsubscribed?

    To re activate unsubscribed users simply follow these steps.

  • Click the menu item 'Contacts->Search Contacts'
  • Select the radio option 'Specific contacts from within the selected lists below'
  • Either select '--All Lists--' to show all unsubscribed people or select the contact list that you are after for a more refined list. Click Next
  • On the filtering options page select 'Status->Unsubscribed'
  • Select Next.
  • That will take you to a page that will display all the unsubscribed email addresses for your contact list. To resubscribe them simply select the 'Edit' option corresponding to their email address and change the 'Status' to 'Active'.

    12. I am trying to import a contact list into InstantBulkMailer and am receiving errors when I know the data is correct. What could be causing this?

    One of the most common reasons for your contact lists being rejected by InstantBulkMailer as having bad data is because of trailing space characters on your emails.
    InstantBulkMailer does not know what you want to do with this and treats it as a bad email.
    Simply remove these trailing spaces and you will be able to import your list.

    13. Is there a way to send a single newsletter to seperate contact lists without generating duplicates if individuals are members of both lists?

    Yes there is. When you are sending your email campaign and are selecting the contact lists that you wish to send to you can simply hold down the 'CTRL' key and select multiple lists.
    InstantBulkMailer will only send the email once to each user no matter how many lists they are subscribed to.

    14. Is it possible to resend an email to a contact list but only to the contacts that have joined after I sent it first?

    Yes you can.

    Here's what you do:

    1. Select the newsletter and send it as normal.
    2. You can then use the "Filter" option and "Filter by date subscribed" This will give you a date field that you can select.
    3. You select the date that you want to filter by, so it would be something like: Contacts that have subscribed after 20 Oct 2018.
    4. Send the newsletter as per normal. It will only be sent to those that have subscribed after a particular date.

    This will only send the emails to people who have subscribed after you have sent the email the first time.

    15. How can I easily change my contacts from Text to HTML?

    You can do this easier from the 'View Contact List' option.
    Check the box next to the contact list that you wish to change and then select the option from the drop down menu above to 'Change to HTML'.
    This will change the whole list for you.

    16. How do I view a list of all Unsubscribed email accounts?

    To view a list of all unsubscribed users you simply select 'Contacts->View Contacts' from the drop down menu in InstantBulkMailer.

    Once you have done this you need to select the option 'Specific contacts from within the selected lists below' and either select a specific contact list to see the unsubscribed email accounts for a particular contact list or '--All Lists--' to view them from all contact lists.

    The next page will then give you some filtering options. You need to change the 'Status' from 'Active' to 'Unsubscribed' and click 'Next'.

    This will then show you a list of all unsubscribed email accounts from the list/s that you selected.

    17. Can InstantBulkMailer send one email to multiple lists?

    Yes. InstantBulkMailer can send your email to multiple/all lists at once. It also takes care of making sure duplicate copies of the email are not sent to the same person if they are subscribed to multiple lists.
    When prompted to select your contact list, simply hold down the CTRL key and select the lists you wish to send to.

    18. I am trying to import a contact list into InstantBulkMailer but keep getting errors stating that the file could not be loaded.

    This generally happens because you are trying to import a large CSV file. You can break your import file up into smaller parts and just import more files.

    19. Can I make multiple copies of my contact lists?

    Yes and No. InstantBulkMailer will allow you to make multiple copies of a contact list using the Copy function under Contact Lists --> View Contact Lists. Unfortunately, this feature will only carry over custom field associations and other details, but will NOT copy over subscriber data. The proper way to transfer subscriber data across multiple contact lists is by using the Import/Export from File functions. By default, export will only move active subscribers, so if you also want unsubscribed/bounced subscriber data to carry across to your new list, ensure you use the "Search for contacts to export from my contact list" option, and set Activity Status to "Any".

    20. How to export opened / unopened contacts to a file

    To export opened / unopened contacts to a file, Go to list page and click "Exports Contacts" appear in the left side as shown below

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    Then tick yes, I would like to filter the contacts from the selected list(s). as shown below and click next to continue

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    'Tick' Yes, filter by opened email campaign and select the campaign from the drop down as shown below.

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    Note: The list may not include opened contacts who unsubscibed your email. To include change status 'Active' to 'Any Status'.
    Then click next and select CSV file format to export contacts to a comma delimated file. Finally click next to start the export.

    22. How can I create my own unsubscribe link with my own words?

    Create your text (eg 'Click here to unsubscribe'). Highlight it (like you would when you create a regular link), click the Link button and put '%%unsubscribelink%%' as the URL.

    23. What is a suppression list?

    A suppression list is a list that contains email addresses that you wish to permanently exclude from future emails you send using our service.

    How to supress contacts/domain?

    1. Click the lists tab
    2. On the left side menu click Suppression list
    3. Click Supress Email/ Domain
    4. Enter the list of email addresses to supress in the text box as mentioned below image. Seperate each address with a new line. If you would like to supress whole domain, simple enter @domainame. For example to suppress every one at Hotmail, enter @hotmail.com
    5. Click save to finish

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    24. How are unsubscribes handled in InstantBulkMailer? Are they deleted or marked as Inactive?

    InstantBulkMailer marks any unsubscribes as inactive, but does not delete them from your database. This way, if you re-import or add the same contact, they are not re-subscribed accidentally.

    25. Delete bounced / unsubscribed contacts from a list

    Go to list - Click 'Clean Contacts' option from left side menu.

    To permanently delete Unsubscribed and or Bounced contacts from your list, start by choosing a list below and click next

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