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Mailchimp and Novi AMS Integration Overview
Mailchimp and Novi AMS Integration Overview

A guide on the Novi AMS and Mailchimp sync and integration.

Melisa Smith avatar
Written by Melisa Smith
Updated this week

Sections In This Article:

Novi & Mailchimp Terminology

Before we dive in, let's make sure terms like "group" and "audience" don't get confused during the process. Here's an overview of some terms we'll be using throughout this article:

Novi Group

Each group created in Novi is a segment of the database. The resulting group can then be synced to Mailchimp. The sync includes Email, First Name, Last Name, and Job Title. For companies, the name syncs over to the First Name field and the Last Name is blank.

Mailchimp Audience

Each audience in Mailchimp represents a list of contacts (i.e. recipients or subscribers). All Novi Groups sync to one Mailchimp Audience (which is called "Novi AMS" by default, but it can be re-named).

Mailchimp Interest Group

Within each Mailchimp Audience, contacts can be segmented by Interest Group. Each Novi Group that synced to Mailchimp will be represented within one Interest Group in the Novi AMS Audience (which is called "Novi AMS Interests" by default, but can re-name).

Mailchimp Group

Within the Interest Group that Novi syncs to there are Mailchimp groups. These correspond directly to the synced Novi groups.

Mailchimp Tags

Mailchimp tags are customizable labels created for contacts based on what’s important for the association to know. Tags can be created and assigned to contacts using batch actions in Novi groups, event attendee lists, Committees, and Email Sync Lists.

Tags created in Novi sync as a one time batch action to Mailchimp; tags do not sync from Mailchimp to Novi. Tag management must be done directly in Mailchimp.

Mailchimp Tags are often used for tracking attributes that don't change. Example: Tag attendees of a specific event, after the event happens, so you don't have to keep a group syncing over.

The Basics of the Integration

At the very core of the integration, here's what happens:

  • Create a group of members in Novi.

  • Sync the group over to Mailchimp.

  • Mailchimp will create a Novi AMS audience, that consists of the Novi AMS Interest Group, that displays the corresponding Mailchimp groups to synced Novi groups.

  • The member's name, job title, and email sync into Mailchimp - no other information.

  • The Mailchimp groups stay up-to-date with the members in Novi groups.

Setting Up the Initial Mailchimp Connection

NOTE: This step was likely completed during onboarding unless you are switching from Constant Contact to Mailchimp after onboarding.

If you are newly using Mailchimp, connect Novi to your Mailchimp account by following these steps:

1. Generate an API Key in Mailchimp and copy.

2. In the admin side of Novi, click the gear icon in the top right corner and select Association Settings.

3. Click on the Integrations tab and go to the Email Marketing section.

4. Paste your API Key in the Mailchimp API Key field.

5. Click the Save & Close button.

6. We also highly recommend double-checking your default "From Address" in Mailchimp. If Novi & Mailchimp were synced before you listed a "From" email address in Novi, that email in Mailchimp may be a default Novi email address.

Syncing Member & Custom Fields to Mailchimp

Member system fields and custom fields can be synced from Novi to Mailchimp to use as merge tags in Mailchimp. Four fields will always be included in the sync:

  • Professional Contact-Email

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Company

Associations can select up to 17 additional member system or custom fields to sync. Available fields include:

  • Member system fields

  • Parent member system fields (Note: parent custom fields are not available to sync)

To add a field to the Mailchimp sync:

  1. Select a field from the list dropdown

  2. Click the +Add button

  3. Click Save & Close

To remove a field from the sync, click the Remove button next to the field.

When a field is added to or removed from the list, Novi will initiate a full sync of all records with that field, currently syncing to Mailchimp (See Getting Novi & Mailchimp to Start Syncing below.) Any time a synced field is updated on a member record, the field will be updated in Mailchimp.

Items to Note:

  • This is a one-way sync from Novi to Mailchimp. Changes made to fields in Mailchimp will not sync to Novi and will be overwritten the next time a sync is initiated.

  • Mailchimp requires validation when syncing address fields. Only addresses that contain address 1, city, state, and zip will save to Mailchimp. If a record is missing any one of these pieces, the address will not save to Mailchimp.

Getting Novi & Mailchimp to Start Syncing

Members won't automatically sync to Mailchimp until admins sync the Novi Groups! 

To sync groups over from Novi to Mailchimp, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to Members > Groups in Novi.

2. Find or create the Novi Group to be synced to Mailchimp. 

  • If the group already exists, click the group name: it opens on the Members tab of the group.

  • To create a new group, click the Add Group button (top right). 

3. Jump to the Integrations tab and toggle the Sync to Mailchimp setting to ON. 

  • The name of the Mailchimp group will default to match the name of the Novi group. In the screenshot below, the name is All Members

  • Note, If an existing group in Mailchimp has the same name as the Novi group, the system will create a new Mailchimp group with the name of the Novi group and add a " - 1" or " - 2" as necessary to make the list name unique, but they will not sync together.

  • Admins can edit the name of the group in Mailchimp (if needed). It will still sync to the same group in Novi, and the list name under the sync toggle will also be updated in Novi to reflect the change.

4. Click the Save button. The contacts in the Novi group will sync to Mailchimp.  >> Please note that sync timing varies per group.

How Mailchimp Stays Up-To-Date With Novi

  • Once a Novi group is created and synced with Mailchimp, new members added to Novi who meet the group's conditions will automatically be synced. 

  • If a member no longer meets the criteria in the Novi group's conditions, they will be removed from the Novi group and the corresponding Mailchimp group.

  • If a group is deleted in Novi or the sync is toggled from ON to OFF, the system will automatically delete the corresponding group in Mailchimp. This action will be logged in the audit log.

  • If a group is deleted in Mailchimp while it is still set to sync to a group in Novi, you will see an error icon in the main group list. Hover over the icon to see more information.

  • It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do not manually import any contacts into an existing group in Mailchimp. They'll simply be removed the next time the Novi sync runs. If you need to manually import a contact list into the same Mailchimp audience as your Novi groups, please see this article.

Duplicate Email Addresses

When there are multiple customer records with the same email address, Novi will choose one of those records to associate with the email over in Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Learn more about how Novi chooses which record "wins" in this article.

Finding Your Synced Groups in Mailchimp

When viewing Audience(s) in Mailchimp, please note the following:

  • The ONLY Mailchimp Audience Novi will sync to is the "Novi AMS" audience (see screenshot A below). Though it be re-named, it must still be connected to the same Audience.

  • If there are other Audiences in the Mailchimp account, they are not connected to or syncing with Novi.

To locate your Novi Groups in Mailchimp, follow these steps:

1. In Mailchimp, go to the Audience section and select Novi AMS list. (Screenshot A)

2. A master list of all subscribers with display. This is from all Novi Groups that are synced with Mailchimp.

3. Click the Manage Contacts tab, then select Groups from the drop-down. (Screenshot B)

4. Click the View Groups button on the right next to Novi AMS Interests. (Screenshot C)

5. The list will expand to show all of your Novi Groups that have synced over. You can click on a specific group to see the contacts and specific data regarding that group.

Creating a Campaign in Mailchimp Using Novi Groups

Once Novi Groups are synced over to Mailchimp, create a campaign following these steps:

1. Click Campaigns (top toolbar menu)

2. Click the Create Campaign button (top right)

3. Select the campaign type

4. In the "To" section of the campaign, click the Add Recipients button

5. In the "Audience" drop-down, choose the Novi AMS list if it gives more than one option

6. In the "Segment or Tag" drop-down, choose Group or new segment

7. Set the conditions below this to say Novi AMS Interests > all of > choose group (more than one group can be selected)

Campaign conditions should look very similar to this:

Mailchimp Merge Fields in Novi AMS Audience

Can I edit the Mailchimp merge fields or add custom merge fields in my Novi AMS Audience?

Novi should be the "system of record" for member information such as address, phone number, fields, etc. For this reason, we highly recommend against adding any merge fields in Mailchimp, other than the default name and email fields.

  • However, if additional custom merge field types are needed, like ADDRESS, add these to your merge fields in Mailchimp Novi Audience.

  • The information will need to be added or imported manually to Mailchimp because these additional fields will not sync over from Novi.

  • Just keep in mind - customer information edits should always be happening in Novi. To keep the data in these added merge fields clean and accurate, for any updates in Novi you should always visit Mailchimp to make a matching update in your Novi Audience, as well.

How to view and manage the merge fields in your Novi AMS Audience:

  • In Mailchimp, go to the Settings for your Novi AMS Audience.

  • Click on Audience fields and *|MERGE|* tags in the list.

  • At the bottom of the list of merge fields in the image below, click Add a Field to create a new custom merge field.

Important Note: The fields Email Address, Job Title, First Name and Last Name sync in from Novi. These fields should not be deleted or edited. They should also not be marked as required.

Push Novi groups to Mailchimp tags

Further audience segmentation of Mailchimp audiences is made possible by using Mailchimp Batch Tags to create Tags in Mailchimp. These batch actions are possible with group members, event attendee lists, committee members, and Email Sync List.

To use this functionality choose the group you would like to tag within. Select the people you would like to apply the tag. Select "Mailchimp Batch Action" from the Batch Actions dropdown. In the modal that pops up, check the number of email addresses to be tagged and name the tag. This will add the tag to the contact in Mailchimp. A notification will appear in the Alert Center with a CSV file showing which show which emails were tagged and which were not tagged.

Note: Added tags must be managed from Mailchimp. Also, Contacts must already exist in Mailchimp for the tags to be applied.

Mailchimp Tags are often used for tracking attributes that don't change, unlike Groups based on conditions. Example: Tag attendees of a specific event, after the event happens, so you don't have to keep a group syncing over.

Frequently Asked Questions

5. What happens if a Mailchimp subscriber is no longer part of a Novi Group?

If a subscriber is no longer included in any of Novi Groups, they are removed from the Novi AMS master list (i.e. audience) in Mailchimp. This will keep mailing lists clean and updated. Note, this does not remove the person or their information from Novi.

(This is rare...) If subscribers are manually imported lists/groups within the Novi AMS audience Novi will still "clean up" the audience, so if a subscriber is removed from ALL groups in the Novi AMS audience, they will be archived automatically by Novi.

6. Why is Mailchimp making me "reconfirm" my list?

An important fact to note is that Mailchimp will only accept active, useable email addresses. Their algorithm determines whether or not emails fit these standards or if they are at risk of being flagged as spam. Email addresses in your database that do not meet these guidelines run the risk of having to go through a process to be reconfirmed in Mailchimp at their discretion. 

7. Can I change the "From Email Address" of a particular campaign?

The "from email address" that shows in Mailchimp when creating a campaign is pulled directly from Novi settings. To change this for a particular campaign does not impact Novi. 

Change the email address in the "Setup" portion of the campaign builder in Mailchimp. This will show recipients that the email is coming from the chosen address and if subscribers respond, it will be sent to that email. This is a good technique if the email campaign is specific to a project or event a specific staff member is working on. The form to change the email address looks like this:

The "From Name" can also be edited. This is great for messaging that is coming from a specific person - like the President of the Board or even from a department within your organization such as, ABC Association Events. When changing the From Name, consider keeping the From Email as the association so replies are sent to staff.

8. What happens if I un-sync a Novi group from Mailchimp?

Un-syncing a Novi group will remove the Interest Group from the Mailchimp audience until it is re-synced.

Additionally, please be aware that Interest Groups that are manually deleted in MailChimp but are still set to sync in Novi will display an error in the Novi group.

9. Should I use the Mailchimp "Update Preferences" link?

A Novi group will always override manual adds or removals to the Mailchimp Groups that didn't come directly from Novi, which is something to heavily consider before utilizing the Mailchimp preferences link.

Our recommendation is to utilize Novi's custom fields and groups to allow users to set their preferences, that way, you can customize your segmented lists right in Novi, before sending them to Mailchimp. Users can also update these at the same time they're updating their profile.

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