Product Support

MailChimp Integration

Integrates Participants Database with your MailChimp account.

Product Setup

This plugin requires you have an account established with MailChimp before you configure it. Once you have your MailChimp account set up, you’ll need to get an API Key.

Getting Your MailChimp API Key

On your avatar menu (upper right corner while logged in to MailChimp) click on “account.” Once there, under the “extras” menu, select “API Keys.” On that screen, you’re given a way to create an API key. You can have several keys, so even if you have a key, it’s a good idea to create a new one for this purpose. Give it a name so you know where it is being used. Once the key code is generated, copy and paste it into the “API Key” setting in the MailChimp Integration settings menu, found under Participants Database in the WP admin.

Setting Up Your Mailing List

When you click on “Save Changes” the API Key will be used to get your list of mailing lists at MailChimp. You will need to have at least one mailing list established in order to use the plugin because new subscribers have to go to a specific list. In the “Subscription List” dropdown will be your mailing lists at MailChimp. If you don’t see it, click on “Save Changes” to refresh the list.

Select the list you want your Participants Database signups to be subscribed to.

Set Up Your “Opt-In” Checkbox

In most cases, you’ll want to provide a way for your users to opt-in to your mailing list. Do this by creating an opt-in field that consists of a check box with the values “yes,no” You can default it to “yes” if you want it checked to begin with. Once that is set up, you need to tell the plugin which field it is in the List Select Field setting.

If you want to use another language or give the checkbox a different label, you can use the value label format like this: Yes::yes,No::no

As long as the saved values (the second of each :: pair) are “yes” and “no” it will work.

Completing the Setup

Once you have the API Key and mailing list set up, you can make sure the rest of the settings are what you want. Take a look at the “Settings” tab here for more explanation.

Importing Subscribers

When you import records using a CSV file, these will also be synchronized with your MailChimp list. You can use a CSV import to add a bunch of subscribers or update their subscription status over at MailChimp.

If you already have records in your Participants Database and you want to add them all to your MailChimp list, you need to export them, then re-import them (using the record ID as a match field so you won’t end up with duplicates) which will update all of them with your MailChimp list. Be sure the needed fields are configured to be included in the CSV export by having the “CSV” box checked in the field definition.

Note: CSV imports must contain both the “email” and “list select field” data in order for the subscriber to be added or updated at MailChimp.

Two-Way Synchronization

the webhook link…yours will look different.

When a subscriber receives an email you’ve sent using MailChimp, there is an unsubscribe link they can use to be unsubscribed. In order for this to be reflected in your Participants Database record, a communication link between MailChimp and your WordPress site must be established. This is done using a “webhook” which is a secure URL that the MailChimp list can use to communicate to your WP site.

To set up a webhook, first find the webhook URL that you will see at the top of the MailChimp Integration settings page in your WP admin.  Copy that URL. We’re going to use that over at MailChimp, but first you must flush the permalinks to activate the webhook URL. To do this, go to the “permalinks” setting under the Settings item in your WP admin. On the permalinks settings page just click on “Save Changes” and that will flush the permalinks and make sure the webhook URL is set up to receive data from MailChimp.

Now, go to MailChimp and select the list you are using with Participants Database. Go to the settings page for that list and find the “webhooks” setting.

On the webhooks page, click on the “Create New Webhook” button found on the upper right. This will open a form where you can paste the webhook URL you got from the plugin settings. Once that is saved, you will be able to select what type of messages will be sent. Just accept the defaults and save the webhook.

If you get some kind of error message when trying to set up the webhook, make sure you copied in the exact URL given in the plugin settings. Also, flush the permalinks to be sure WP has the URL set up. Errors such as a 500 or 403 indicate possible security rules on your web server designed to block unauthorized access. Talk to your web host about the problem in cases like this. MailChimp also has a support page for webhooks that could be helpful.

Manually Updating Multiple Records

As of version 1.5, it is possible to update multiple records in a single operation. This is done on the “List Participants” page in the Participants Database admin, there are new MailChimp functions in the “With Selected” dropdown.

To update (synchronize with MailChimp) multiple records, selected the records you want updated, then select “Update to MailChimp” and click “Apply.” All your merge fields and subscribe statuses will be updated to MailChimp, so all the subscriber’s info there will match the info in Participants Database.

Mass Subscribe/Unsubscribe

If you need to subscribe or unsubscribe multiple records, you can to that in a similar way.

Product Settings

API Key

This is the key code provided by MailChimp that is unique to your MailChimp account.

Subscription List

Once you have entered your API key and saved the settings, you can select which list people will be signed up to when they register.

List Select Field

This is the name of the field used to opt in to your list. Usually, it’s a checkbox where they simply say “yes” to being added to the list.

Use Double Opt-In

This means that when someone signs up and indicates they want to join the list, MailChimp sends them an email where they can confirm that choice. This is a really good idea to avoid trouble such as people getting your newsletter who actually don’t want it, or getting spam email addresses into your list. Please note that in some countries, a double-opt-in is a legal requirement for mass email.

The way this works is new registrations will have a “pending” status when they sign up. When (or if) they confirm the subscription, their status will be changed to “subscribed.”

Note: when using double opt-in, new registrations will not be visible in MailChimp until they confirm their subscription. Before they confirm, they are considered “pending” and will not show up in your lists at MailChimp. You can find those registrations at MailChimp if you search for the email address.

Pending Label

While a registrant has a pending status, this label is used for the value of the List Select Field. You can use this in list searches to find people who have not confirmed their subscription yet.

Merge Fields

This setting uses a special string to define additional fields that will be saved in the MailChimp list. Typically, this is their first and last name, but it can be just about anything. It does have to be a field that is included in the Participants Database form because otherwise there won’t be any value to save to the MailChimp subscriber list. The default value for the setting is:

first_name:FNAME,last_name:LNAME

The way this works is this is actually a map of the Participants Database field to the MailChimp field. The format is pdb_field:MAILCHIMP_FIELD with each field pair separated by commas. This is a simple one-to-one mapping: for instance it’s not possible to combine several Participants Database fields into a single MailChimp field.

The Mismatched Merge Fields Warning

If the list of merge fields you have defined in this setting don’t match the list of merge fields defined at MailChimp, you will get a warning message. You can ignore this if you want, the main functionality will work as expected, and any merge fields that do match will work.

What it means is that, for instance, if you didn’t have a “city” merge field defined here, and you did at MailChimp, the data for the registrant’s city will not be sent to MailChimp. The warning is so you will know why your merge fields are not getting populated with data.

F.A.Q.

If a user unsubscribes on their profile page, will they be unsubscribed at MailChimp?

Yes, every time a record is updated on your site, that info is passed to MailChimp, so they can unsubscribe in either place, it won’t matter, they stay synchronized.

I'm not getting subscriber updates from MailChimp, how do I get webhooks working?

To troubleshoot webhooks, follow these steps:

  1. Check the “Subscription List” setting in the add-0n settings and make sure you have the correct list selected
  2. Check the webhook URL at the top of the page. Now go to MailChimp and check the webhook for the list (found in the list’s settings page) Make sure they are the same.
  3. Copy the webhook URL and try it in a browser. You should get a “No request details found.” message. If you get a 403, or a 500, check your site security filters or contact your web host with the information.
  4. If you get a 404, refresh the permalinks in the general settings of your WordPress site, then try to open the webhook URL in the browser again.
I have Double Opt-In checked, and I'm getting signups, but they aren't appearing at MailChimp, what's happening?

Having Double Opt-In checked changes how things work in several ways.

If you have “Use Double Opt-In” checked, and someone signs up, their info is sent to MailChimp only if they have the “List Select Field” checked. In both cases, you won’t see them at MailChimp at first.

If they agree to be on the list when they sing up, their info will be sent to MailChimp, but you will not see them in the list there until they confirm the opt-in by email. You can still find them with a search, however. You’ll see their status is “pending.”

If they don’t agree to join the list, their info won’t be sent to MailChimp at all. In this case, if they later update their record to join the list, their info will be sent to MailChimp at that time and they will need to confirm in order to join the list.

Support Discussions for MailChimp Integration

  • Please help!…the MailChimp integration has somehow unsubscribed over 150 of my subscribers. I had changed the checkbox to yes/no radio buttons with a default of yes, and somehow all the records I edited recently were set to no. MailChimp will not let me re-subscribe them manually. Does it have to be a checkbox? Our current year list went from 250 something to 86 members and we need to send out an event notice today. I’m going to get fired if I can fix this asap. I will pay for your help within my budget

    • If you go to the admin “List Participants” you can resubscribe records by selecting them, then choosing “Subscribe to MailChimp” in the With Selected control at the top of the list. You will probably need to disable double opt-in for this to work.

      However, before you do that you will want to make sure that your subscription control is correctly configured. There is no reason why this has to be a checkbox, but it does matter which value is first, because the plugin assumes the first value is “yes” and the second “no” so your field should have yes,no for it’s values.

      Also, you will want to determine if the subscribers you lost were really unsubscribed or are they pending. If you are using double opt-in and the subscribers are pending, you will not be able to subscribe them yourself. You may be able to get around this by disabling double opt in at MailChimp and then subscribing them, but I don’t know if that will work.

      I hope this will get your mailing list back on track!

      • Thanks for your prompt reply! BTW, I have never used double opt-in. What will happen if I select all my PDB list and choose Subscribe to MailChip with selected. Will it toggle the ones that are still subscribed off?

        On another note, I manually updated over 100 individual records yesterday setting the opt-in field back to yes and another date field I called next_payment_due to the fixed end of our current season, 07/31/2019, and it changed all of them to 08/18/18. I was near tears at 2 a.m. What could cause that?

        • The first thing you need to do is make sure your subscription field is properly configured so that when you do update your subscribers, the correct value is sent to MailChimp. You can try this on a single record to make sure it’s going to go as planned.

          The reason this happened, as far as I can tell with what I know, is the records were updated after the subscription field was configured. The field was likely not correctly configured, and so it unsubscribed all the records when a mass-update occurred. You must have initialized some kind of mass-update to change so many records.

        • Also, as to the next payment due date changing, I suggest you look at the Member Payments plugin to make sure the payment period configuration is correct. When a mass-update is performed, it will check the last payment date and update the payment due date if necessary. I’m sorry this happened, it normally would not change the payment due date unless there was also a configuration change.

  • I have double-checked all my settings again and the MailChimp integration is not working when people sign up, nor when I select them and choose Update to MailChimp or Subscribe to MailChimp. It is very frustrating to have to do this manually when that integration was a major reason I installed your plug-in. I love your app if only I could get this part working. If I gave you my log-in, could you troubleshoot? The site is huskersnarizona.com. The PayPal integration seems to be working via IPN. Thank you.

    • Hi Ava, sorry it took so long to get to your question. Are you using double opt-in? When double-opt-in is enabled, new subscribers don’t show up in your MailChimp list until they do the second opt-in. Until this happens, they have a status of “pending” at MailChimp and are not visible in the normal list displays.

  • If I buy MailChimp Integration, do I need Participant Login to provides a way for participants to gain access to their record using a username and password.

    Just downloaded your plugin and it looks like it is exactly what I have been looking for thanks.

    Mark

    • Normally, the user accesses their record for editing using a “private link” that is sent to them in the receipt email, but the Participant Login add-on creates a “login” form that gives them another way to get to their record for editing.

  • The MailChimp automatic integration via PayPal IPN is not working consistently. Can PDB recognize IPN transactions for both the Payment Integrations add-on and MailChimp add-on?
    Even when I select members from the list and select Subscribe or Update to MailChimp (I’ve tried both), it doesn’t work consistently. So I have to manually figure who’s fallen through the cracks and manually enter them in MailChimp before I send out an e-blast. Not fun…Troubleshooting steps?

    • MailChimp and PayPal use completely different ways of communicating with your site, so there’s no chance of confusion between the two.

      Are you using a signup payment form with a MailChimp opt-in?

      It’s hard to say what is happening with the admin list selection updates, I’m not seeing any problems in my tests here.

      How do you have your list opt in selector field defined on the Manage Database Fields page?

  • First of all, I’ve recently installed pdb and think it may be a great fit for a couple of my clients! I have an existing MailChimp list for the first client website I’ve installed, and want to try the MailChimp integration, and am wondering if there is a trial period or refund window if it doesn’t work as hoped. If yes, I will buy it.

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