Importing Contacts Into SharpSpring – How-To and Troubleshooting


SharpSpring has a built in system for you to upload contacts to an existing list or to a new list. Here we’ll be going over how to upload contacts and what to do if something goes awry in the process.

SharpSpring Pricing

How to Upload

Getting Started

To get started, SharpSpring offers a guide on how to upload contacts to a new list which a great resource to start with. Here are the main takeaways from the video:

  1. Log into SharpSpring and go to the menu under Contacts > Import Tool
  2. Open your contact list and make sure it has at least these columns at the top (mandatory):
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Company Name
    • Email Address
  3. Save your list as a CSV file
  4. Click Choose a File to upload and then click Upload CSV File

Import Leads

Once your file has been uploaded, the next page will give you a few options on what to do with the contacts you’re about to upload.

  1. Choose the list OR create the list where you want these new contacts to go.
  2. Choose how to handle duplicates, assign lead status, and any other options you need.


This section organizes your contacts in SharpSpring and lets you select how their information will be displayed. These fields come from the top row of your CSV file and how you categorized the columns. You can map custom fields if needed.

  1. SharpSpring will populate the fields based on the title of the column, but you can always edit them there before importing.
  2. Or, you can create a custom field for any new fields that you need.
  3. Confirm the fields.

Troubleshooting Importing Contacts Into SharpSpring

Sometimes your file might give you errors or you might run into issues while uploading. Here are some common ones we’ve come across and how to fix them.

Format and Encoding

utf8File not uploading at all or wrong file format

The Fix: To upload, the file must be in a CSV (Comma Separated Values) format. A likely cause is the upload of an Excel doc rather than CSV.

You are getting errors after you’ve uploaded the file with the contact information, contact info is getting merged together, or lots of strange special characters

The Fix: Before you export your CSV file, make sure you’re saving the file as UTF-8 encoding. Here is a great article on how to do this properly.

Data showing up in the wrong column

For example: the Company Name gets jumbled with Last Name. It often causes data to shift to the wrong columns after the culprit’s cell.

The Fix: To test this, open up your document in a plain text editor like TextEdit. Ensure that each column is separated by a comma – not semi-colons, spaces, or anything else. Each new line represents a new row.

Special Characters

Your CSV file has special characters in it (for example, é ø …) or completely garbled characters

The Fix: To handle special characters or garbled nonsense, it might be an issue with the file itself, but can sometimes be corrected by opening the file in Excel and saving it as a CSV there before uploading it.


When mapping your file, you get blank CSV columnsblank-headings

The Fix: Open your CSV file and delete any blank columns after your last field that you want to map. Also ensure that there are no stray characters in your document. Even if it’s just a space or a random letter, delete any extras because they can be trouble makers.

It could also be that your columns don’t start directly at the top of the page. Double check to make sure your columns start at Column 1 in your spreadsheet. Empty data can also show up in blank rows, so it’s best to start your CSV at Row 1 also.

You have a CSV column that doesn’t show up as an existing field

The Fix: You need to make a Custom Field for the column name.

To make a custom field:

  1. In the SharpSpring menu, click +New > Custom Field
  2. Click +Add Field > Lead Field
  3. Give your field a title and select the type of field you need (text input, boolean, drop down, radio button etc).
  4. Create field and select it when mapping your fields.


File not uploading and you get an error such as “Import lead data must contain Company Name.” But – your contacts don’t have a company name associated with them.

The Fix: You must at least have First name, last name, email, and company to upload contacts. If your CSV doesn’t include those, make a empty column with those headings.

Uncommon Errors

As a SharpSpring partner, we’re well versed in troubleshooting any errors that might pop up. If your list is still giving you trouble, or if you have any questions about SharpSpring or marketing automation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at for more info.

Do You Want A SharpSpring Pricing Discount?


font preload