How to import a list of leads and contacts into your account

Last updated: February 8, 2017

Available For:

Marketing: Basic, Pro, Enterprise
Sales: N/A

You can import lists of existing leads or customers into your HubSpot account after creating a spreadsheet of your current leads and a spreadsheet of your current customers and following the instructions below. You'll want to make sure you have a separate spreadsheet for leads and a separate spreadsheet for customers before proceeding.

The file you are importing must be in the .csv file format and it must contain header rows to describe the property you are importing data into (First Name, Last Name, Email, etc.). Unless you are using the HubSpot CRM, only contacts with an email address can be imported, so be sure to include Email as one of the column headers.

To avoid issues while importing CSV files into HubSpot, please ensure that your CSV file is saved in Unicode (UTF-8) encoding.

Remember that you want the spreadsheet to also include a column for Close Date so that you can import the customers and let HubSpot know when they actually became a customer of your company. Without the close date column, they will all show as becoming customers on the day that you import them into HubSpot. For a refresher on creating the spreadsheet of customers, click here.

Why should I import my existing leads into HubSpot?

When leads are in your HubSpot account you can:

  • Re-engage your leads - Segment your leads so you can send them targeted communications via email and lead nurturing workflows, automating the process of turning leads into customers
  • Collect lead intelligence - Receive lead revisit alerts, see when your imported leads view your site, and get social media information so you can make more effective sales calls
  • Clean up your list - HubSpot automatically de-duplicates your contacts based on the contact's email address, so your contact will only ever appear in a list once. You can then use those lists to create lead nurturing campaigns to determine which of your leads are most qualified to become customers

Importing your existing leads will not only provide your marketing team with a database of all of your existing contacts, but also equip your sales team with unique lead intelligence, as well as help you automate the process of driving leads further along the sales cycle. This action will result in a faster ROI from HubSpot than if you were to delay importing your leads.

Navigate to All Contacts

From your HubSpot Marketing Dashboard, navigate to Contacts > All Contacts.

Import Contacts

Click Import in the upper-right hand corner.

Start a new import

Now you're in the Imports Dashboard. From here, click the blue button at the top-right to Start a new import.

What would you like to import?


To import a .csv file, select A .csv file. On the next screen, select Contacts


Choose the .csv file you wish to import by clicking Select a file or by dragging the file into the window. Once the file is selected, click Upload.

Import details

At this point, you will be able to review the details of your import:

  1. Import name - the import name will be reflected in the Lists tool.
  2. Lifecycle stage - choose the Lifecycle Stage you wish to import your new contacts with. Please note Lifecycle stage is not designed to go backwards - for example, a contact who is already marked as a Customer cannot be set back to a Lead. If your import contains contacts in various stages of the sales cycle, it is safest to import them as Subscribers and then segment accordingly.
  3. Import contacts without email addresses - check this box if you'd like to import contacts without a value for email address. If you turn this setting on, it'll still be necessary to include an email address column in your CSV import file.
  4. Email opt-in status for new contacts - here you can say whether or not these contacts have opted in to your marketing emails. Please note, this is an option when double opt-in is turned on.
  5. Also add contacts to this list (optional) - choose an existing static list, and the contacts you are importing will be added that existing list
  6. Default format for date properties - for any date-type properties your are importing, choose the format of the date you are importing so that data is correctly stored in HubSpot
This step is vital in setting the appropriate lifecycle stage for the contacts you're importing. Make sure you've selected the appropriate stage (Lead or Customer for example) from the Lifecycle Stage for New Contacts dropdown menu before proceeding onto the next step. This will ensure all your contacts will be imported with the lifecycle stage so you won't have to go back and do that later, manually. This small detail will save you tons of time.

The next step is to map the columns in your .csv file to contact properties in HubSpot. When you're ready, click Next, map your properties.

Map your properties

In the "Map columns" screen, you'll see your column headers from your .csv file matched up to HubSpot contact properties. HubSpot will import data for any properties that are checked.

You will see sections for your "Columns with matches" and your "Columns without matches." HubSpot tries to match the column headers based on name of the property, so if a match is not found for a column of data you wish to import, you can select an existing property from the dropdown menu.

If it's a property that doesn't yet exist in HubSpot, you can create it as a new property by clicking the dropdown to Choose or create a new property > Create a new property.

Once everything is mapped, click Next, confirm additional options to proceed.

Email Opt-in

The final step in importing a list is to confirm that your list is valid to respect the privacy of the contacts and to make sure you're not importing a list of people that don't have a current relationship with your business. Simply select the appropriate answers, type your initials in the box, and click on the Finish import button.

Importing purchased lists is against our Acceptable Use policy.

Advanced info

Any existing contacts will be deduplicated by email address, while all other included fields will overwrite existing data. If you do not import to a field, the existing data for that contact will not be touched.
Read more

You'll then be redirected to the Import status screen where you can see the status of your import. You'll also receive an email when your list has finished importing into HubSpot. You can click on the lists link to see the static list of contacts that was created or updated from the import. If you close this window before you have a chance to navigate to your new list, you can still get there by navigating in HubSpot Marketing to Contacts > Lists.

Repeat this process for as many different .csv files as needed until you're happy with the contacts in your HubSpot contact database. 

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