How can I stop duplicate contacts from being created when some of my database doesn’t have email address?

If you have contacts without email addresses, and then those same people fill out a form, you’ll wind up with duplicate contact records.

But because only one of the contact records has an email address, you can’t just do a duplicate check of your database and merge the duplicate records.

You could try a duplicate check based on first name only (assuming you gather first name on your opt in form), but if your database is large, you’ll wind up with 100 people named Jim that may or may not be duplicates.

So here is the best approach.

Do a contact search with the Email field set to @ and the dropdown set to ‘doesnt contain’.

This will show you all your contacts who don’t have an email address.

Now, go through this list and do a search for the first name of each person on the list.

If you see two people with the identical first name that you believe to be duplicates, uncheck the checkbox above the list of names but below the Action button. Then check the box next to the two names you think are duplicates. Then click the Actions button to bring up a dropdown, and select Merge Duplicate Contacts.

This is a good idea if you think that you have many duplicate contacts due to having imported contacts without email addresses and then having those people fill out forms.

It probably isn’t a good idea if this is rarely a problem, or if you have a huge number of contacts without email addresses.