Get Started With Contacts

In order to send messages, you need to have Bronto contacts to send messages to.

Getting started with contacts can be broken into three phases. First you need to set up Bronto to import your contacts by creating contact fields and lists. Next, you can import your contacts. Finally, imported contacts need to go through the onboarding process and can be managed (grouped) using segments and lists.

Contact Fields

All of the data you know about your contacts, such as their email address, first name, favorite color, or birthday, are stored in Bronto in contact fields. Each data point about a contact is its own field. Not only can these fields be used to store data, they can be used to create targeted groups of contacts based on similarities, or used in messages for personalization.

Before you import your contacts you should create a contact field for each type of data you want to store for your contacts. You can either Create Contact Fields Using A Default Field Type or Create Custom Contact Fields.You can always make additional fields later, but you can only import the contact data you have a corresponding field for.


It's helpful to add contacts to a list as you import them, so you should Create A List for newly imported contacts. While you will want to use segments to dynamically group and target contacts based on shared traits after they have been onboarded, adding new contacts to a single list as part of the import process allows you to quickly onboard contacts using a welcome message or series.

Contact File Encoding

When you import your file, you are required to identify the character set encoding used in the file. While you have the option of selecting I don't know my character set, it is important to try to identify the encoding your file uses so special characters in the file are imported successfully.

Import Contacts

You can import contacts using the Bronto platform by either importing a CSV file, importing a tab-delimited file, importing a Salesforce report, importing contacts using Data Loader, or you can programmatically import contacts contained in a .csv file using direct import. While the Bronto API can be used to import a single contact, it's not used to import large groups of contacts.

Contact Statuses Automated Onboarding

When contacts are imported into Bronto, they are automatically given the status of onboarding, unless an imported contact already has an Inactive status. When contacts are sent a marketing message for the first time, the contacts enter a 48 hour assessment period that Bronto uses to monitor each contact in order to determine if the contact will have a negative impact on your account. At the end of the assessment, contacts are assigned the correct contact status based on what happened during the onboarding period. If you want to quickly onboard contacts, you can identify a marketing message to send contacts as part of the import process. Therefore, if you plan to send a message as part of the import process, make sure you design the message before you start your import.

For more information see Automated Onboarding.

Group Imported Contacts With Lists and Segments

As mentioned previously, you can use lists and segments to create groups of contacts that can be used for sending and reporting. Lists are static groups of contacts. You have to manually add or remove contacts from lists. This video demonstrates how you can create lists and add contacts to lists. Segments are dynamic groups of contacts. When you create a segment, you define criteria a contact must meet in order to be part of the segment. Bronto automatically adds contacts to the segment as they meet the segment criteria and removes them as they fall out of meeting the criteria. This video demonstrates how you can create segments.