Substack Members Import

I have a Substack and I have Ghost pro, but some of my Substack readers are already members on Ghost and several are paying members. I’ve kept substack but only as a free read so I get subs due to their publication recommendations. I like 5 a day or I would just kill it all together.

I have 4 questions

  1. Can I import members only and not post
  2. Will there be any complications or data or subscriptions over ridden if I import a file who some of them are already Ghost members?
  3. Would this trigger a welcome email I have set up, if so that will confuse them.
  4. This is the one I really need to do, is there a way to add a label to them of just have to filter members and add a label based on the date of import? I want to be able to know who came from Substack. I have 10,300 readers there so I need it to go smooth.


Here are some responses:

  1. You can’t import members only and not posts. However, you can upload the members via CSV via the Members page.
  2. There won’t be any complications as long as the members are all from Substack and free.
  3. No welcome emails will be sent.
  4. Imported members will be auto-tagged with an import date. You can also add a tag to your CSV file that will be included on import.
1 Like

Small suggested edit, since as you say, you CAN import members just fine, just not with that tool. :)

1 Like

They are all from Substack Ryan, but I def will be using the csv option. If a verification needs to happen, here is my Substack publication so maybe a note could be attached to my account to make it easily verifiable. I won’t be doing a full transfer as I am going to remove all members who do not actively engage and read emails so I can have clean analytics as I grow my ghost membership.

is there a CSV template or do I just add a column with a LABEL header or TAG header so that a label is properly added.

I am a little worried about doing this because although they opted in to my Substack they did not give me permission to upload them to Ghost and although they will know its me and they want my content I wonder if 1-2% of them who may be internet privacy concerned or get easily upset about what they perceive as an email they did ask for coming from somewhere they didn’t personally subscribe to. These people are major substack readers and are familiar with it and so many of them are use to their emails and app.

I am not an expert on stuff like this but deliverability and my sender reputation I want to protect at all cost. And because it’s 10,245 people even if only 1-2% didn’t like me doing that, thats potentially 100-200 people who could get mad and report my email as spam, not because it’s spam but because they might just say in their mind “I signed up for your substack, not your ghost and I didn’t opt in to this platform and simply report as spam because it made the mad”

Any feedback on this concern, any feedback of other ghost members who have done this and if they reported that some readers didn’t appreciate it. There is no way to do an individual opt in or I would. I’ve tried to slowly overtime to get them to come over but people are busy and thee idea of having to create a new account has resulted in me only getting 200 of them to so far create their ghost account. That’s how paranoid I am about doing it for them, because I want 0 spam complaints.

My Substack

Ghost Site

When you go to the MembersSettings (gear icon)Import members, you’ll have the option to download a CSV template that’ll provide the right headings. Upon import, Ghost also allows you to map fields to ensure everything is uploaded as expected.

1 Like

Any feed back on my concern about the 1-2%. In your opinion what would happen if even 1% reported it as spam. Not sure I want to risk that, but if 1% won’t impact my deliverability then I would love to do it and will do it depending on your opinion, as I don’t know how many spam complaints one could get before it harms them. I never want to have to leave ghost or changing domains, this is forever.

I just want to clarify one thing you said. Yes on Substack they are all free. But if some of then aree already on ghost as a paid member and they get reimported by their email being substack too, it won’t change their paid membership or override their selected newsletter selections?

Sorry for all the questions, just don’t want to screw this up.

Concerning the seamless solution to all your concerns, I’m not an expert, but I do have some thoughts on consent based on what I am good at.

You already know the rules about using personal data without permission and there’s no ambiguity regarding those rules for the purpose you propose. Of course, breaking that trust for the purpose you propose is commonplace, usually justified on the basis of pragmatism by the person breaking that trust.

Nobody knows your circumstances, so none can usefully advise you on what you should pragmatically do in your situation. You should probably not trust anybody who believes they can advise you with only the amount of info you’ve supplied.

You will find those like me who would be careful and start by seeking consent and only migrate those who give that. My perspective is that my loyal subscribers (even non-paying one’s) deserve openness from me, not judgement.

Equally, you will find those - probably a larger number - who will say your “1%” threshold is the correct one and possibly add that it’s people like me that never get anywhere due to ‘pragmatism failure’ (not true in my case at least).

You really have to make this decision yourself and I think you already have.

A bit of a snooty reply, I know. But you are at risk of confirmation bias leading you in the wrong decision asking the forum for advice about seeking consent from your subscribers.

Hopefully, however, a great technical solution will come forward, perhaps goaded by my reply ;)

1 Like

Thats exactly what I’ve decided to do, importing for me is a bad idea, and will just have them come over slowly as they choose to, but I have 10K+ people stuck there who aren’t taking the time to sign up for my ghost platform which is the same thing they subscribed to there. Same company, same content.

I did say I was going to import them, but seeing as how the signup process and welcome pages do not transpire when you import which needs to happen for me for them to understand how to use the site, I’ll just go with the slow and steady. And I def respect the trust aspect enough I was concerned to do it. I did 300 of them and saw how confused they were, not understanding what to do with out the ghost welcome process, so now I just post links to my ghost in my substack. I don’t know what other info I could provide other than they subscribed to my substack which my ghost is the same everything, just with them having way more control over personalizing the cheap flight alerts they receive. Bu thanks for your feed back, appreciate it.

1 Like