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Act-On Software

List Management User Guide

AUDIENCE: Administration, Marketing Users
OBJECTIVES: Learn how to utilize, create, segment, and understand your Account and Marketing Lists


List management is one of Act-On's most useful capabilities. You can create, adapt, amend, segment, and deploy lists with ease; import them from your CRM, and perform email A/B splits. List management is as much art as science. This article presents the basics of list management. Be sure to visit the Knowledge Base for advanced information when you're ready to learn more.

There are two ways to access the list area:

  • Click on Contacts and choose the list you wish to use.
  • Click on Home > Start and click List Management.

The Account Lists page consists of the Contacts, Test List, Forward to a Friend and subsections.

  • Contacts – This serves as your personal contacts list. You can upload your Outlook contacts to this list.
    • Export your Outlook contacts as an Excel or .csv file
    • In Act-On, click on Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists.
    • Hover over the list you wish to upload to and click More > Append to This List

  • Click the Add to List Contents drop-down and select Upload an Excel File or CSV
  • Choose the appropriate Add How, click to I accept the terms of this agreement, browse for your Outlook contacts list file, and upload it.

  • Test List – This will initially contain only your email address. Add the addresses of those you want to receive your test emails, perhaps those responsible for internal content approvals and review.
    • To add contacts to your Test List, simply click on Open4-1.png
    • Click Edit All to open the list to add additional contacts. Once you add a name, email address and company (company is optional), click Save.
  • Forward to a Friend – If you add the Forward to a Friend social share link into your email campaigns, and an email recipient uses this option to forward the email to someone else, the information for both individuals will be captured in this folder.
  • – If, while using the Website Visitors report, you purchase contact information with your account, Act-On will manage the transaction and populate the contact data in this folder. This saves you from contacting to obtain the contact information.

Sales prospects are shown on the same screen as your Account Lists. Making your Act-On marketing account aware of the prospects that your salespeople are currently working on can result in more relevant reports, especially for sales users.

There are three types of lists:

  • Prospects Assigned to Sales
  • Prospects in Active Opportunities
  • Existing Contacts Assigned to Sales


The Marketing Lists page is the most flexible place to store lists. Marketing lists can be uploaded in multiple ways or imported from CRMs that integrate with Act-On. Marketing lists can also be created using behavior filters or lead scores.

There are two ways to access the Marketing Lists area:

  • Click on Contacts  and click Marketing Lists.
  • Click List Management from the Quick Start area.

There are several buttons at the top of the Marketing Lists page. The first three – Active Contacts, Folders, and New – are described below. If you are integrated with a CRM system, you will also see a fourth button, Import, which is described later.

  • Click the Active Contacts button to see how many active contacts you have for the month, how many you have used, and how many you have remaining. You can also see which lists you have sent to.


  • Click the Folders button to see how your folders are arranged.
    • To generate a new folder, hover over the folder section and click Manage
    • The Manage Folders window will appear, click Add, provide a name for the folder, click Add and click Save
    • Placing a checkmark next to a folder makes the folder visible when you look at your Marketing lists
    • If you want to remove a folder from your view, perhaps because it belongs to another marketing user, simply uncheck the box
    • A folder will not appear in your Marketing List view unless there is a list inside of it
    • As you hover over a folder, you have the option to rename, remove, or move it up or down. Note that the Default folder cannot be moved or deleted. It will always appear at the bottom.
    • To save any changes, click Save
    • Click the  button to create a new list


  • Provide a name for your new list in the Enter New List Name field.
  • If you have created folders, choose one for your new list using the Folder drop-down menu.
  • Select a method to Set Up New List . Choices include:
    • Upload an Excel or text (CSV) file – You will be asked to accept an agreement, and then browse for the file.
    • Copy the structure of an existing list or segment – This creates a structured (but empty) list.
    • Copy the contents of an existing list – This copies both contents and structure. You can delete the records from the source file by checking Remove source records.
    • Define the column names for a new empty list – Click to open a dialog box that lets you begin with standard fields, then add custom fields.
    • Locate contacts with specific response behaviors – You can choose a time period (e.g. last 7, 14, 30 days, etc.) and multiple behaviors, such as whether someone clicked on a specific web page or opened a specific message.
  • Click the checkbox next to I accept the terms of this agreement
  • At the bottom of the screen, you can reject records that are in your Opt-Out, Hard-Bounce, and/or Email Suppressions Domains lists.
  • Click Next

If you upload an Excel or .csv sheet that does not contain column headers, it is easy to add them in in Act-On (i.e., you don't have to edit your original file and upload it again.) You will see a screen that displays your list. At the bottom, it asks, Does this look right?

If the column headers are missing, simply click Change Processing Options and generate placeholders for the column headers.


  • From here you can manage the field names in your uploaded list. There are two options:
    • Rename the uploaded list fields to match the standard field names you've defined in Act-On
    • Use the field names contained in your uploaded list
  •  Your uploaded field names will display on the right and be used in your Act-On list by default. To rename any of these fields, click the icon to the right and select the appropriate standard field name.
  • Mapping your standard field name for email address to the Act-On Email Address field is required.
  • Click Finish.
  • Act-On will show you how many records were processed and how many were imported successfully.
  • Click Done

Marketing Lists Page: Basic Options

Main lists, also referred to as master lists, are marked with a database icon in the first column. The “people” icon indicates a segment.

Hover over a master list to display options

  • Open – All the columns and data for your records will appear.
    • If you are viewing a Signup list, all information included in your form will appear
    • If you are viewing a Webinars list, all the webinar details will be included
  • Refresh Record Count - This will update your list record
  • Rename – You can change the name of your list using this option
  • Move- Allows you to move your list to different folders
  • Copy – Allows you to create an empty list with the same structure or copy the structure and all records
  • Create a Segment - Allows you to create segments of your list.
  • Generate A/B Splits - Allows you to rceate A/B split test based on segments of randomly selected contacts in your list.
  • Import/Export - Allows you to export your list as either Excel or CSV format,
  • Maintenance - Allows you to either setup a maintenance program or change column values
  • Mailings to List - Allows you to send a message to the list, show mailings to the list, run a domains report, or count active contacts in the list.
  • Delete – This option removes your list and all the records from your Act-On account. If the records exist in multiple lists, they will be deleted only from the list you specified.
  • Clear Records – This option deletes all records from the list. If the record (using the email address as the identifier) exists in multiple lists, it will be deleted from only the list you have selected. If you use this option against a segment, it will delete the records from both the segment and the master list.

When you hover over a segment, and choose the down-arrow you will notice the Segments has fewer options than the master list for the Copy or Move options.

If your Act-On service is integrated with a CRM system, you will see a fourth button which will allow you to import lists from your CRM.

  • Click the Import button to see the lists you can import.
    • As of this writing, users of SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, and Infor CRM can import leads and contacts
    • As of this writing, Salesforce users can import leads, contacts, campaigns, and saved reports
  • Choosing any list will automatically populate its name in the New List Name field. No two lists can have the same name, so you’ll need to modify one of the names (usually the new one) to distinguish it then click Next.
  • Selecting contacts or leads will populate another screen which allows you to specify which columns you want to import. By default, Act-On will pull in the First Name, Last Name, Email address, and Company name columns. You can also select additional columns to import.
  • Selecting a report or a campaign will import all the columns you have specified in the CRM.

  • A pop-up will ask you to confirm if you want to import all of the contacts. Click OK.

Imported lists from your CRM will be available in the Default folder.

Import a List From the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Server

  • From the Start page, click on Contacts > Marketing Lists > New List
  • In the Set Up New List Contents drop-down menu, choose Import from your recently uploaded FTP files.
  • Accept the user agreement.
  • A box will open that shows your available files. Choose one to upload. It can be an Excel sheet, or a tab- or comma-delimited spreadsheet. Click one to choose it.
  • Check, or leave unchecked, the appropriate boxes to allow or disallow your Act-On list to include known opts-outs, hard bounces or suppressed domains.
  • Click Next. On the next screen, the first few lines of your new Act-On file show, so you can validate whether it is displaying properly.
  • If it does not display as you prefer, look under the box to this line: Does this look right? If not, then change processing optionsClick this to change processing options. When done, click Save. You will be returned to the previous screen.
  • Click Next. The next screenHow would you like to handle the field names in your uploaded list, allows you to customize how your field names will appear in your Act-On list.
  • Indicate whether you want to rename a field to match your standard field names in Act-On, and rename the ones that warrant it. The only field that must be named in a specific way is the email address field.
  • Click Finish, and your list is in Act-On, ready for use.

Hover over a list and click the list name, you will see a button that says More Actions in the upper right-hand corner. Click this to see more options.

  • Show A|B|C – Shows contacts in alphabetical order by last name
  • Choose Display Columns – Allows you to choose the order in which your columns are displayed when in the table view. A drag-and-drop interface allows for quick and easy manipulation of columns.
  • Add Contact – Allows you to manually add a person to your list. This is a great way to quickly add a single contact to your list using all available fields from your list.
  • Add Contacts – Allows you to add multiple contacts using common fields. Available input fields include First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and Company Name.
  • Change List Columns – Allows you to rename, add, and delete columns in the list
  • Identify List Columns – Allows you to tell Act-On which of your columns correspond with common business card fields such as First Name, Last Name, Company, Email Address, Business Phone, etc.
  • Download to Excel. – Download your entire list with all field names and values in an Excel 97-2003 format
  • Download to CSV – Download to .csv (a good format for larger lists)
  • Delete Duplicates – Allows you to view all entries with duplicate email addresses. Once duplicates have been identified you may choose to keep the first profile found for each duplicate entry or choose which profile to use on an individual basis.

Hover over a list, and click the down-arrow to access a selection of advanced list management options. These options may include:

  • Define a Segment of This List  Create a segment of contacts on this list based on profile or behavioral attributes. Segmentation is discussed in a further section.
  • Generate A/B Splits – Generate mutually exclusive segments of randomly selected contacts for testing; specify lists to exclude
  • Delete Duplicates – Act-On will search your list and locate entries with identical email address. The default setting is to keep the first of the duplicate entries but you will have the option to view all entries and select the preferred one to keep.
  • Scrub Email Addresses – Perform a search on your list that will locate entries with obvious errors located in the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address fields. To correct an error, click on the value you would like to manipulate, make any necessary corrections, and click the green check mark to the right to confirm.
  • Remove Bounces & Opt-Outs – Choose to remove spam complaints, hard bounces, and opt-outs from the list
  • Run Domains Report  See which domains are included in your list
  • Download to Excel – Download this list in an Excel format
  • Download to CSV – If a list is too large for Excel, download it as a .csv file
  • Manage FTP Sync – Download a list from the Act-On FTP server. Prepare by uploading lists from your server to Act-On’s FTP server.
  • Append To This List – Add contacts in bulk to your list. Choose All or select New; choose to Update, or not. Exclude addresses in your suppressed lists.
  • View Last Append Results – See how many addresses were processed and how many successfully imported.
  • Push to CRM or CRM Sync Setup – Allows users to send an arbitrary list to their CRM. If a list was imported from a CRM, this will synchronize the list with the original list. Pushes to CRM can be set to occur at scheduled times and can be set to synchronize based on your preferences.


  • Send a Message To This List – Create a message to send to the list.
  • Show Mailings To This List  Displays a list of all messages sent to this list. View messages by clicking on a displayed message title.
  • Check Active Contacts In This List  See your monthly account limit and calculate the total active contacts and total remaining active contacts used so far the month. Also, for this particular list, calculate total number of contacts, the number sent to and the number not sent to this month.

  • Set up List Maintenance Program – Set up or change steps in a list maintenance program
  • Change Column List Values – Choose values to change, and change them
  • Change List Columns – Allows you to rename columns in a list. You can also add and delete columns in the list.
  • Identify List Columns – See list columns headings side-by-side and map them to standard Act-On system usage fields
  • Refresh Record Count  The record count in a list is updated at scheduled intervals but selecting this option will update the record count immediately. Use this feature when you are adding or deleting users from a list and would like to see an immediate count of the updated list.
  • Get Log-In URL – Use of this feature places a tracking cookie on a prospect to your website via a login process hosted on your website

Whether a list has been imported from a CRM or is a stand-alone file you've uploaded to the system, you can append records to it. This option is available only for master lists, not segments.

  • Hover over the list you want to append; click the Down-Arrow > Import/Export > Append to This List.
  • There are two options for adding records to the list. From the drop-down menu, you can simply choose to either Upload an Excel or a csv file, or you can Add the contents of an existing list or segment.
  • Next, you have four different options for how the records will be added:
    • Add all records to the end of this list (Note: This option does not check for duplicates)
    • Add only new records. Do not update existing records.
    • Add new records. Update existing ones.
    • Update existing records. Do not add new records.
      • The last three options do check for duplicates. By default, the email address will be used to locate existing records. If you have another field you want to use to locate existing records, such as a unique Customer ID or Student ID, you can choose it from the drop-down list.
  • Next, choose the field to be used for locating existing records.
  • If you’re uploading an Excel or .csv file, you’ll have an agreement to check. Then browse for the file and click Next. If the file being uploaded is large, you can compress it before uploading it.
  • If you’re uploading an existing list or segment, navigate to the file and click Next.
  • Check the box next to Remove source records to delete the uploaded records from the source file
  • Check the box next to Create a direct-selection segment containing the appended or updated records to make a direct-selection segment. Name your new segment.
  • You can reject records that are in the Opt-Out, Hard Bounces and Email Suppression Domains lists.
  • Click Next.
  • You’ll get a snapshot of the file Act-On will import. Make sure you have column headers and then click Next.
  • The system looks at your existing list and the list you are appending and will map up the columns based on the data. A pop-up window will appear if new columns are created.
  • Uncheck fields you do not wish to import.
  • If the system maps to the wrong column, select another field from the drop-down list. Click Finish.
  • he importing process will begin.
  • Once it’s finished, you will see the number of records that were processed, imported successfully, appended and updated. It will also display any failed records due to duplicate email addresses. Click Done and the system will take you back to the Marketing Lists page.

Segmentation is very useful for target marketing and lead qualification, and it’s easy to do.

  • Simply hover over your list, and select the Down-Arrow > Create a Segment.
  • Provide a name in the Segment field.
  • Select a method from the drop-down menu. There are three segmentation methods to choose from:
    • Direct Selection – You can directly select the individual records to include. This option is ideal when you want a small list and you know exactly which individuals you want.
    • Search – Type in the key search term and press Enter. The system will sort through all records in the list looking for the search term.
    • Query – The most dynamic and robust method.
  • If Query is chosen, first specify in the drop-down list whether the segment will contain records with any or all of the profile and/or behavior attributes you define below.
  • Profile
  • Click Add and in the Select Field drop-down menu, select the column field in your Base list
  • Under Conditions, you can choose from various Text, Numeric, or Date conditions
  • In the empty field, type in a value (e.g. 'Vice President')
  • If you would like to add additional profile queries and the field and condition are the same, you can simply input the value in the field and use a semicolon (;) to separate the search terms
  • Behavior – Under Behavior, the first drop-down menu will let you choose either a Specific Set of Behaviors or Overall Behavior Score
  • Selecting Overall Behavior Score will populate another drop-down menu where you can specify At Least This or At Most This Many and then enter a numeric value in the open text field
  • When selecting Specific Set of Behaviors, first specify the timeframe, and then choose a behavior for Act-On to search for from the Add Behavior drop-down menu. Once a behavior has been selected, another drop-down menu will appear for you to define how people performed the action, such as None, At Least This Many, etc.
  • You can choose to Store the query settings for re-use when generating another segment
  • Click Save to create the segment

Another list management option is A/B splitting. This is useful for A/B testing for email, in which you test subject lines, content, images, etc., by sending two (or more) versions of the same email to small, randomly chosen pieces of your list. This works best when you change just one variable at a time, so you know for sure what’s working.

  • Hover over your list, and select the Down-Arrow > Generate A/B Splits.
  • Give the group of split segments a name; you’ll notice the splits which will be generated will automatically have the split name applied. Fill in the Number of splits; you can create up to 26.
  • Choose how many contacts you want in each split. The Act-On system will randomly select contacts to place in the various lists.
  • Click Exclusion Lists if there are any lists or segments of records you’d like to exclude from these splits.
  • Click Next and generate your splits. A pop-up will appear to tell you how many splits were created and how many records are in each split.
  • Click OK.
  • The splits will be listed at the bottom of the list or segment you created the splits from.

As an example, suppose you have two different email messages you would like to test. Create three splits: Splits A and B are small, and the majority of the records are in Split C.

Send Email A to Split A, and Email B to Split B. After you have analyzed your results, send whichever email message performed better, A or B, to Split C.

Form submission lists are generated when you create a form and choose to create a new list for that form. The list will appear in the Default folder and will have the same name as your form. When you click More..., all options available with Marketing lists are available with the Form Submissions lists as well. You can segment, conduct an A/B split, or append it to another list.

You can also access Form Submissions lists by visiting the forms they attach to. These are called the Underlying lists.

To display an Underlying list:

  • Click on Content > Forms.
  • Hover over the row for the form and click the Down-Arrow
  • Within the drop-down menu, choose Show Underlying List.
  • The list that displays may not be unique to this form; it could be shared by multiple forms, or may be a marketing list.
  • Use the Search field to use specific criteria to locate data within the list.
  • For additional options, you can click on More Actions to access the drop-down menu. These are the same options as for Marketing lists, as described in the Marketing list management section above.

Event registration and attendance for WebEx Event Center or Citrix GoToWebinar events are listed here. The list should not be deleted until the webinar is finished and all follow-up emails have been sent.

Hover over the list and click the Down-Arrow to display the same list of features associated with the Marketing and Signup lists.

Click this to display links to lists of addresses that have been marked as opt-outs, hard bounces, soft bounces, and spam complaints. There is also a list called Email Suppression Domains List. Here you can list the domains of competitors and others whom you do not want to receive your email campaigns. For a detailed description about these lists, please refer to the Getting Started User Guide.

Create custom events to track marketing activities generated outside Act-On. Click here to learn more about scoring Custom Touch Points.

Learn how to create and use scoring rules in the Act-On Knowledge Base.

Standard Field Names

Define and make changes to standard field names here. Learn more about Standard Field Names.

You can create a custom page that lists various email subscription categories (i.e., email types) including an option to completely opt-out of receiving any emails. Click here to learn more about using Subscription Management.


This feature allows you to enter a search string and search the currently opened list for records which contain the search term. 

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