It’s no secret that I love ActiveCampaign. Since switching about a year ago, I have been in email marketing nerdery heaven.

If you are someone who likes to have all the tech toys and automation and personalisation possibilities open to you, then ActiveCampaign is where it is at.

All this possibility is a double edge sword, however, as with all the flexibility can come a bit of a hot mess.

Sure, the relationship starts all nice. But soon you start adding more and more opt in incentives and automations and tags. Next thing you know, it becomes really difficult to see which subscriber is going through what experience and you worry that somewhere someone is going to get double of something or not get anything at all.

After using ActiveCampaign for myself and tidying up dozens of client ActiveCampaign accounts, I’ve learnt a few tricks along the way to keep things nice and schmick.

Here are some of my favourites.


Think about all the different scenarios you want to send emails for on a regular basis: Newsletter? Sales Funnel? Content Funnel? Clients? Customers? Events? 

Now, think about who should get what.

The best and easiest way to make sure ActiveCampaign is organised properly is to have a separate list for each of these purposes.

And then use automations to add (and remove) subscribers from different lists based on their progression with you.

Here’s an example from my business:

  1. List: Opt In: Fill in the Blank Email Ideas = Opt In delivery & welcome series
  2. List: Email Content Funnel = Completed welcome series & now getting my weekly evergreen, best of content (approx. 12 weeks)
  3. List: Newsletter = Those who have completed the content funnel (this is the list I send my regular campaigns too unless in launch)

These three are a progression. Once someone completes the first welcome series they are unsubscribed from that list and added to the next one. And so on. It gives me a clear indication on who is where in their journey with me.

In addition to the above, I have lists based on purchase behaviour:

  1. Email Experience Waitlist
  2. Email Experience Members
  3. Prospects (completed an enquiry form on my website)
  4. Clients
  5. Customers (anyone who purchases anything – the above and e-books etc)

With the exception of Email Experience members who get their weekly content emails, the rest of the lists don’t get many emails apart from transactional ones. But by having them separate if there was an occasion I wanted to email just my clients, I could really easily.

And, finally, when I’m in launch I have 2 lists going:

  1. Event registrants (e.g. webinar or video series)
  2. Launch list – a combination of everyone on my waitlist, content funnel & newsletter lists minus email experience members. I’ll create this manually each time.

As you can see, this is a lot of lists but the benefit of ActiveCampaign is you can have as many lists as you like with an individual subscriber appearing on many of them without being charged extra. 

By doing this you can be confident that when you send an email it is going to go to the exact right people without messing around with segments.

The rule of thumb? Never send an email out to more than one list at a time. If you have nailed your list purpose then you should be golden.



First, setup your new list structure.

Second, add either a “list move” automation  (e.g. Added to client list = unsubscribe from prospect list) or add “subscribe to X list” and “unsubscribe from current” list to your existing automations (e.g. at end of your welcome series).

Finally, move your current subscribers to the correct places. To do this, use the advanced search feature to enter your criteria. This can be anything including fields, what emails they have received/opened, where they are located or what lists they are currently in.


Then click the “Edit All” button at the top right and you can bulk edit to your heart’s content.



Tags are amazing when it comes to organising your contacts and knowing who has done what. I add a tag to almost everything.

But, by doing so, it’s easy to end up with a tags list that is meaningless because you can’t easily find the tags you created. Or remember if you created a tag for that thing.

That’s where a simple naming convention comes in. 

Just add a category with a colon after it for every tag you have.

For example:

Opt In:


Purchased: Specific Product or Product Category




Viewed: Sales Page


Tags already a hot mess? All you need to do is hit the edit button next to each of your current ones and change the name.

If your existing tag appears in any automations there will be a number under the automations column. Just click that and edit the automation as well.


One of the most important things about a healthy list is to ensure you are cleaning out subscribers who are just not interacting with your emails anymore.

Maybe they have unsubscribed using (which doesn’t actually unsubscribe them by the way).

Or maybe they are just never opening your emails.

That’s ok! But we don’t want to be emailing subscribers who just aren’t interested (let alone paying for them).

ActiveCampaign makes identifying these subscribers easy but you need to turn on a couple of automations:

Engagement Tagging

Last Engaged Date

To use these all you need to do is go to create an automation and search for them.


The engagement tagging automation has two parts you need to add. 

In this one it will automatically assign tags to subscribers based on how recently they engaged with an email or, if you have site tracking turned on, visited your website.

They’ll then be assigned tags like “recently active”, “engaged”, “disengaged” or “inactive”. It gives default wait times between each tag but you can update this to be something more meaningful to you.

The second automation, last engaged date, requires that you add a last engaged date custom field and then once the automation is turned on this field gets updated to the current date anytime they engage with your emails or website.

That means at any time you can create a segment based on this date field to clean your list up (or email those who haven’t engaged in a while).


A simple trick but one many don’t know about.

Like with tags, it’s easy for your automations list to grow to a number of pages.

To make it more manageable, I suggest using labels to categories them.

If you hover over any automation you’ll see “Add label+” text pop up. Click on that and then “create new label”


Examples of labels could be: 


Engagement Tracking


List Movement


Zapier Triggered

Once added then you can filter your automations view at anytime by using the dropdown which defaults to “Any label”.



Setting up a few simple tactics like the above can make managing your ActiveCampaign account so much simpler and make it a joy to use.

Overwhelm is eliminated and you are back to just serving your audience in the best way you can.


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