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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 you create in Novi is a segment of your database. The resulting list can then be synced to MailChimp. The sync includes Email, First Name, and Last Name. 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 you can re-name if you'd like).

MailChimp Interest Group

Within each MailChimp Audience, contacts can be segmented by Interest Group. Each Novi Group that you sync 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 if you'd like).

MailChimp Group

Within the Interest Group that Novi syncs to, you will see MailChimp groups. These correspond directly to the Novi groups you've synced over.

The Basics of the Integration

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

  • You create a group of members in Novi.

  • When you decide you want to sync that group in Novi with MailChimp, you sync it over to MailChimp.

  • MailChimp will create a Novi AMS audience, that consists of your Novi AMS Interest Group, where you'll be able to see the corresponding MailChimp groups to your Novi groups.

  • The member's name and email sync into MailChimp - no other information.

  • The MailChimp groups stay up-to-date with the members in your 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, you'll want to 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.

Getting Novi & MailChimp to Start Syncing

Your members won't automatically sync to MailChimp until you're ready! 

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 you want to create a Group for in MailChimp. 

  • If the group already exists, click the group name - this will take you to the Members tab of the group.

  • If you need 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 then 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 the system who meet the group's conditions will automatically be synced. 

  • If a member no longer meets the criteria in the 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.

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 you may re-name it, it must still be connected to the same Audience.

  • If you are seeing other Audiences in your 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 your Novi AMS list. (Screenshot A)

2. You will then see a master list of all your subscribers. 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 your Novi Groups are synced over to MailChimp and you are ready to create a campaign, follow these steps:

1. Click Campaigns (top toolbar menu)

2. Click the Create Campaign button (top right)

3. Select the campaign type that suits your communication

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 you 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 (note that you can select more than one group)

Your 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 your "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, you can 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 info 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, 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.

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 your Novi Groups, we will remove them from your Novi AMS master list (i.e. audience) in MailChimp. This will keep your mailing lists clean and updated. Note, this does not remove the person or their information from Novi. You will still have access to this data.

(This is rare...) If you have any 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. If you have email addresses in your database that do not meet these guidelines, you run the risk of having to go through a process to reconfirm your list 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 you are creating a campaign is pulled directly from your Novi settings. If you would like to change this for a particular campaign, you can do so without affecting Novi. 

All you need to do is 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 address you chose and if they 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:

In the screenshot above, you can also edit the "From Name". This is great for messaging that is coming from a specific person - you could put the name of the President of the Board - or even from a department within your organization - such as, ABC Association Events. If you do change the From Name to a person, like the President, you may want to keep the From Email as the association so replies are sent to staff.

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

If you un-sync a Novi group, it will remove your Interest Group from your MailChimp audience until you choose to re-sync it (if you choose to do so).

Additionally, please be aware that if you manually delete an interest group in MailChimp that is still set to sync in Novi, you will see an error on the group in Novi.

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

You may not want to utilize the MailChimp preferences link, because Novi's group will always override manual adds or removals to the MailChimp Groups that didn't come directly from Novi.

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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