How can I add old contacts to my new list?

  • 2 February 2021
  • 4 replies

Badge +2


We have a client who we plan on setting up on Klaviyo for email marketing.  Our client has a contact list of over 70k people from his previous business.  He’d like to use that list for his new business email marketing.  

What’s the best approach to email and ask the old list of contacts to join the new list?  We obviously don’t want to spam these people but we do want to be able to reach them and ask them to sign up if they wish.

We’ve thought about snail mail, and the client’s not into that idea.  We appreciate some guidance and best practices on this.


Thank you.


Best answer by retention 3 February 2021, 09:41

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +58

@Mike_Hakopyan - I’d be curious what others think too, but here are my thoughts:

  • Agree with you that a list from a previous business, assuming it has no relationship to the current one, is probably not going to get a good response rate at best, and at worse Spam complaints harming the new businesses reputation before it even starts.
  • It might not even be legal depending on the your local jurisdiction (unless the previous business was acquired or converted to newco).

In my opinion, the only viable way to “leverage” the list is to send an email from the previous business’ email service provider to encourage people to join the new site’s list. A few ideas to that come to mind:

  • Have the founder formally “shut down” the old business, thanking them, and announce the new business and offer incentives to reward their past patronage if they subscribe.
  • Do a promotional giveaway to announce the new business venture (again, from the old businesses’ email service provider).  Collect emails as part of the giveaway.
  • Create a simple one-page “landing page” on the old businesses’ home page directing them to the new business.  People who return to the site might naturally migrate over. There’s a long-tail of email traffic from past campaigns that may still be in people’s inboxes.

Outside of email, the email address can also be used for retargeting ads to bring them to the new site if there’s enough affinity - but make sure to understand your ad platforms (fFacebook, Google) guidelines to be able to demonstrate that the new entity has access to the previous business email list (transfer of assets? etc).  

Email works largely because of the “intent” and brand affinity behind it. I will take a smaller high quality list over a larger unqualified email ten times the size any given day.  Any shortcuts simply undercuts its value - so what’s the point?  If you want a million email addresses, there are plenty of shady places you can get that - but without the intent and brand affinity, it’s pretty much worthless.

Just be super careful - it’s a new business so you don’t want to start on the wrong foot and frankly, Klaviyo frowns upon it. You’ve been warned! :relaxed:

Good luck!

Badge +2

Hi Joseph, 

Thank you for the detailed response.  The client has left the old business more than a year ago so doing the proper shutdown notification to clients is not going to work at this point.  I like the idea though.

What I was going to suggest we do is use a Gsuite account (different domain since he doesn’t have the old business email either) to send emails (1 maybe 2 at most) to the list telling them about his new venture and asking them if they’d like to subscribe.  The link will send them to a landing page to signup and that’ll link to his new klaviyo account. 

So, the question then is how do we send this one-time email to 70K+ contacts?  I’ve seen this software that works with Gsuite (Workspace) that allows you to schedule these emails ( up to 2,000/day) and keeps you in the good graces of Google so you don’t violate their set limits. Whoever signs up, great we move forward with that new subscribed list.

Userlevel 7
Badge +60

Hey @retention, great suggestions and strategies!

@Mike_Hakopyan, continue on the same topic, since it sounds like these contacts are cold customers from a previous venture, we wouldn’t recommend trying to entice these older contacts for this new venture. Instead since this is a new Brand starting new with no connections to the previous brand/business best practice dictates to start fresh with a new list and trying to attract new subscribers of this new brand. 



Userlevel 2
Badge +3


Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve actually told the client that we will not be running this campaign for them.