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Making the most of your audience groups

This article is all about creating groups for your contacts and how you can more effectively target your audience with relevant content by utilizing those groups.

All of the contacts in your Emma account are collectively referred to as your "audience" and putting your contacts into groups helps to keep them organized and accounted for.

You can create as many groups as you like, and each of your contacts can be in multiple groups, just one, or none. The groups you create can be used internally for organizational purposes or, you can also customize your signup form to display the groups to your contacts, which will give them the power to self-select their interest groups — and we definitely recommend doing this. 

Audience groups are used to organize contacts by anything from unique business markers, like being a donor or a volunteer, to a broader scope of things, like geography, gender, customer type, and subscription preferences.

What's the difference between regular groups versus test groups? 

There are two types of audience groups that you can create: regular and test groups. Test groups are made up of a select group of people who know they will be receiving a test of your campaign prior to doing the final send to your preferred audience. For example, your test group might include colleagues who can proofread the email for typos, or stakeholders who want to see the content before it's sent.

When choosing recipients to send a new campaign / mailing to, you will have the option to send it to a test group or a regular group in the same area. The only visible difference between the two is when you send a campaign to a test group, the email subject line is prefaced with [TEST]. Additionally, we also recommend adding the word "test" to the group name so you can more easily differentiate these from regular groups when choosing recipients to send to.

Another differentiator is that test groups can only contain a maximum of 10 contacts, and they cannot be added to signup forms the same way that regular groups can.

How to create a group

While you can make as many groups as you'd like to, it's also good to get into the habit of archiving groups that are no longer in use (detailed in the next section). Here's how to add a new group to your audience:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, and select Groups on the lefthand menu.
  2. Click the Create a group button on the right side of the page.
  3. Enter a name for the group, then click Create. If it is going to be a test group, you should also check the box below the name field that says: This is a test group. In which case, we also suggest adding the word "test" to the group name. 

The new group will then be added to your Groups page under the Regular tab. If you chose to make it a test group, simply select the "Test" tab to see it.


How to archive a group

Archiving a group will not archive or delete any of the contacts in the group, and it will not affect the contact's subscription status either. However, if the group you want to archive contains contacts who are not members of any other group, they will become "in limbo" and you may need to create a segment to find "in limbo" contacts at some point in the future. 

If you no longer need one or more of your audience groups, here's how to archive them:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, and select Groups on the lefthand menu.
  2. Select one or more groups to archive by checking the boxes next to the name, then click the Archive button above.


**Additionally on this page, you can also rename your groups, or export a list of contacts in the group. To do so, click the down arrow, to the far right of the group name, then make a selection from the dropdown menu.

Archive contacts within a group

If you need to archive contacts within a group, you can archive those contacts using the following steps:

  1. Open the Audience section in your account, then click Groups on the left.
  2. Click on the desired group name.
  3. Click Actions and select Archive All from the dropdown menu.
  4. Read the pop-up modal carefully, then click Archive to proceed.

Delete a group

After a group has been archived, you can optionally delete it:

  1. Click on your name in the top right corner of your account, then select Archived items from the dropdown menu.
  2. Select one or more groups to delete, then click Actions, above.
  3. Click Delete.

Group membership

Here's some useful information regarding contacts and groups:

  • Groups differ to segments because group membership is manually controlled by you — or the contacts themselves, if you add groups to your signup form.
  • Contacts who are not a member of any group are referred to as being "in limbo", which can make it tricky to send emails to them.
  • A single contact can be a member of multiple groups: both regular and test groups.
  • You can merge groups by adding one group of contacts to another.
  • Contacts are copied to groups, not moved. If you no longer want contacts to appear in a specific group, you'll need to manually remove them.
  • If a contact is a member of multiple groups, and you send a mailing to two or more of those groups, Emma will deduplicate to ensure the contact is only sent one email.

Contacts in limbo

Contacts who are not in any groups are left floating around "in limbo", which can make it difficult to send emails to them. When choosing recipients for a mailing you can enter contact email addresses individually, as shown below, but it's easier to make sure you've included everyone if they're in a group — or alternatively a segment.


Even if you're adding contacts to groups when importing them into your account, there are a couple of ways that contacts can accidentally end up "in limbo". This can happen when:

  • Your signup form is not connected to a group. This also needs to be done for lightbox forms.
  • A group is archived and some of the contacts in that group are left "in limbo" because they were not a member of any other groups.

**To see if you have any contacts "in limbo", you can use the segment builder to find contacts who are not members of any group.

Add contacts to groups

You can add contacts to groups in the following ways:

  • Via file import
    — When importing a file, you can add the contacts to an existing group or create a new group.
  • Via manual import
    — Group membership can be assigned when adding a new contact.

Remove contacts from groups

To remove a single contact from a group, open their contact record and deselect the group you want to remove them from:


To remove more than a few contacts from a group:

  1. Go to Audience > Groups, then click on the group you want to edit.
  2. Select the checkbox alongside any contacts you want to remove.
  3. Click Actions, at the top of the list, then select Remove from group.

Add contacts from one group to another

Contacts are copied to groups, not moved. Depending on your reason for adding the contacts to another group, you may need to remove contacts from the original group afterwards. Or, if merging groups, you can optionally archive the original group afterwards.

To add an entire group of contacts to another group:

  1. Go to Audience > Groups, then click on the group you want to edit.
  2. Click Actions, at the top of the list, then select Add all to group(s) from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the group you want to add the contacts to, then click Add.

Facts about audience groups to remember

  • You can create as many groups as you like.
  • Adding your groups to the manage preferences form gives your contacts the power to self-select their interest groups.
  • Each individual contact can be in multiple groups, just one, or none.