Purge unwanted contacts

Over time you may collect a number of low-value or unwanted contacts in your database. It may be a good idea to perform a purging exercise from time to time to help keep your contact database focused. Here are some tips for how to identify and remove unwanted contacts.

Remove spam

If any of your contacts are obviously spam you can safely delete these. Here's how to Manage spam contacts.

Use a segment of people

You can create a people segment with a few conditions to help identify potentially low-value contacts. You can use the following conditions combined with AND logic:

  • Membership plan IS NOT Any (i.e. they are not a member)
  • Communication type IS NOT Any (i.e. they have not opted in to receive emails from you)
  • Account status IS NOT Any (i.e. they have not created an online account or logged in)
  • Groups IS NOT Any (i.e. admins have not manually added them to any groups)

This set of conditions should return people that have not interacted with you in any meaningful way. If the segment is relatively small you can probably check through them manually. It is possible that people in this segment may have, for example, attended an event or made a donation, so you may not be able to assume that everyone on this list is low-value.

Use an export

If you have lots of contacts it may be quite time-consuming to use a segment and check through contacts one by one. In this case, it may be better to export a list of all your contacts and set up the same conditions using column filters. It may then be much quicker to scan down the other columns to check for any important information.

When you export people from the system you won't see a record of any bookings, donations or form submissions. Information about these things can be exported separately and then cross-referenced with the export of people using a spreadsheet function such as Match or Vlookup. If a person has a booking or a donation you may wish to flag them as a valuable contact worth keeping.

Flag contacts to keep

The easiest way to flag contacts to keep is to manually add them to a group. This would automatically exclude them from the segment suggested above.

Purge the unwanted contacts

Finally, once you have a list of contacts you are happy to delete you can begin the purge process. You can use the bulk delete tool so you don't need to go through and delete them one by one.

Quick tip: When performing repetitive tasks on lots of contacts in a list it can be helpful to open each in a new tab. This will ensure the list you are working from will remain in view, i.e. the page won't keep reloading/resetting. To do this you need to go to the action menu (...) next to a contact in a list and choose View. But instead of just clicking the link hold down CMD+OPTION (Mac) or CONTROL+OPTION (PC) to open the link in a new tab. Check your browser keyboard shortcuts as yours may be different.

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