9 ActiveCampaign Users Share Their #1 Tips

ActiveCampaign users and reviews

 

ActiveCampaign has been getting a decent amount of praise and attention lately. We thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some of our favorite coverage and give these users a chance to share their ActiveCampaign tips with the community.

 

Anne Headen

Anne is a virtual support professional. She specializes in handling launches and getting clients set up with functional WordPress-based websites.

She came to ActiveCampaign from Mailchimp and was blown away by all the additional marketing automation features she gained. In fact, she immediately switched some of her clients over.

When I asked her why someone should choose ActiveCampaign over another solution, she said, “ActiveCampaign will take your email marketing to the next level with automations, tagging and segmenting. It’s incredibly feature rich and I’m just scratching the surface of what it can do. It’s also a fraction of the cost of Infusionsoft and way more powerful than Mailchimp or Aweber.”

Anne has a fantastic video overview of creating a marketing automation in ActiveCampaign on her website.

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:

“My top tip if you’re new to ActiveCampaign is to sit down, brainstorm and plan how you will use the tagging feature before you start off the cuff tagging. Otherwise you’ll soon get in a mess!

Create a framework and set up a Google form/spreadsheet listing tag type i.e. [lead magnet], abbreviation to use [LM] and purpose. Next create a second sheet with all your tags and descriptions so you can remember what each tag is for – share it with your team so they’re all working to the same system.”

Anne was kind enough to share her tag framework spreadsheet with us and has a video on this topic she will release on her blog in a few weeks.

 

 

Rob Sobers

Rob is the creator of the SaaS app Munchkin Report and the author of “Learn Ruby the Hard Way.” As he’s promoted his various endeavors, he’s become an experienced online marketer familiar with many platforms.

On ActiveCampaign, he says, “The UX is better than any marketing automation platform I’ve ever used (and I’ve used lots of them!). Specifically the workflow tool is just perfect– the visual flowchart UI helps you see all the different branches of your workflow and makes it easy for everyone on the team to understand the marketing funnel.”

Rob has a great post detailing his “$9 Marketing Stack” that is worth checking out.

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:

“Spend some time thinking about the most important behaviors your users can take on your site (and in your app, if you’re a SaaS company) and map them out in a spreadsheet. Once you’re happy with them, start sending those events into ActiveCampaign via Segment or directly via the ActiveCampaign event tracking API.”

 

 

Ian Brodie

Ian specializes in helping consultants, coaches, and professionals get more clients. He hosts several podcasts and wrote the highly-rated Amazon bestseller, “Email Persuasion.” When it comes to effective email marketing, he literally wrote the book on it.

One of the major reasons Ian recommends ActiveCampaign over other solutions is how the pricing works. For instance, at 5,000 contacts with unlimited sending, ActiveCampaign is $45. Infusionsoft with 5,000 contacts and a 25,000/month cap on emails is $299. 25,000 emails might sound like a lot, but it’s really only 5 campaigns a month — far less than you’d need for effective email marketing.

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


“There’s a lot of power “under the hood” so take things step by step and get to know how the system works. Set up basic funnels and automations and monitor your contacts closely to see how things work.”

 

 

Chris L. Davis

Chris is the head of marketing automation at LeadPages. He blogs about marketing automation on his site, AutomationBridge.com. He’s a power user of all the major marketing automation platforms, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, and ActiveCampaign, so we consider his positive comments about our platform high praise.

His favorite thing about AcitveCampaign is its functionality. “With a little bit of creativity you can pull off practically any type of automation you need. It packs a punch but won’t hurt your wallet ;)”

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


“My #1 tip would be to Install web analytics (Site Tracking) ASAP. It’s priceless being able to tie web activity to your contact database.”

 

 

Jeremey Dawes

Jeremy could see the benefits of marketing automation the moment he heard about them while looking into Infusionsoft. He was sure being able to trigger messages automatically, in response to contact behavior, was going to save him time and allow him to make a more profitable business.

It turned out that he was spending too much time dealing with the platform and felt that, while the concept of marketing automation was worthwhile, there must be a better option. He found ActiveCampaign randomly, but describes that experience as a “breath of fresh air.”

He was most impressed by how clear and useable the automation builder was. You can read his comparison of Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign on his website as well as an updated overview of ActiveCampaign.

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


“Draft a few sample pre sales sequence emails before doing any process setup so that you have them ready to drop in to the email templates and get a quick motivating win in ActiveCampaign. If you are stuck for content then subscribe to some competitors mailing lists to get ideas.”

 

 

Africa Archield

Africa is known for her infectious enthusiasm and business savvy. She has a very thorough video review on her website.

Since switching to ActiveCampaign, she has built automations that have created a 28% increase in her list engagement by “engaging individual list members exactly where they are.” Rather than sending just timed messages, she is able to trigger emails based on webpage visits and link clicks within other emails so her marketing “responds” to her contact’s behavior.

She says, “I’ve had people on my list email me asking how I was able to be so in the moment with them. They are surprised and relieved when I share my big secret – ActiveCampaign – because they know they can provide the same customer centered experience for their list.”

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


Do a simple three to five email automation for people who are new to your list. It will get you use to using automation and increase your know-like-trust factor with your new tribe members.”

 

 

Ellory Wells

Ellory helps people create online businesses from their existing skills. He’s a huge proponent of email marketing over other channels (such as social media) and has experience with a lot of the major email marketing and marketing automation tools on the market.

He helps familiarize people with the tools and technology they will need to start a successful business so we are honored that he picked ActiveCampaign as the number one email marketing and marketing automation tool.

He credits his transition to ActiveCampaign as causing the moment when subscriber flow, segmentation, and auto responders all “made sense” to him. He could see clearly how everything worked together to create more effective marketing. He says that’s important because when those concepts make sense “to the blogger / business owner they will make more sense to the people going through the automation. ActiveCampaign makes that easier than almost everyone else.”

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


“One tip that I would have for new ActiveCampaign users is to get into the automation series and play around and see what’s possible. I think people will be really amazed. I would tell them to get creative because the only limitation that I have found is what I can imagine.

After using ActiveCampaign, subscriber flow, segmentation, and autoresponders now make more sense to me. And once they make sense to the blogger / business owner they will make more sense to the people going through the automation. ActiveCampaign makes that easier than almost everyone else.”

 

 

Carl Taylor

Carl runs an automated marketing agency that handles a wide variety of technical and design tasks for clients. He had heard of ActiveCampaign but didn’t bother giving it a try until a friend called him up saying, “Dude, you’ve got to check out ActiveCampaign its amazing.” With that, he signed up for a free trial. He has since switched his agency and many of his clients over to ActiveCampaign.

Coming from Ontraport (OfficeAutoPilot), he was impressed by the features ActiveCampaign offered for the price. He also appreciates how the platform focuses on deep integration with third-party solutions, for things like landing pages and e-commerce, rather than forcing half-baked solutions on users.

You can read his great review, “Why I’m Moving to ActiveCampaign… and you should too,” here.

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:

“Get clear on how you plan to use lists, will you use 1 list and just use tags. Or will you create lists like Nurture, Clients, Prospects etc.. as a higher level segmentation method.”

 

 

Justin Brooke

Justin is the “Traffic Guy.” He owns IMScalable, a media buying firm. He came to ActiveCampaign from Hubspot.

Justin was impressed by the marketing automation and email marketing features ActiveCampaign offers at such a low price. He described it as, “just as good at a fraction of the price.”

When it comes to specific features, Justin is most impressed with our automation workflow. “When you combine the automations with site tracking enabled, you’re able to create very powerful marketing. For example, an automated email offering a discount for a product that someone was looking at on your website 24 hours ago. That level of marketing power was once only held by the Amazon.com’s of the world. Now, with ActiveCampaign we can all have that kind of precise marketing power.”

#1 ActiveCampaign tip:


“If you’re new to ActiveCampaign and you don’t have this setup, do it immediately. Create an automation that starts when anyone subscribes to any list. Then have it wait for 30 days and check to see if they HAVE NOT opened or clicked any emails. If they HAVE NOT then tag them as inactive. From here you can do all kinds of campaigns to re-engage them, but first identify and tag them. That’s crucial.

Second, make sure you have lead scoring setup to give 5 point to anyone who opens an email and 10 points if they click a link. Now create an automation the starts when anyone subscribes to a list and waits 30 days. After 30 days have check to see what their lead score is and anyone with 50 or more points is tagged as a VIP.

Do these two simple automations and you can now easily target your best and worst leads. Everyone should have that setup. In fact I wish those two automations came already setup when you sign up.”

 


If you’d like to be highlighted in a future post, please send me a link to your article that discusses us. We are always interested in hearing how our users leverage ActiveCampaign to improve their marketing. 

The new email designer

A true drag and drop experience

Drag new content into your email, resize things dynamically, drag/drop to reorder items, and resize items with a live preview.

Add rows and columns with ease

You can now add new rows and columns by simply dragging new content to the edge of any existing content. Columns can be resized by simply dragging the column to your desired width.

Real time multi-user collaboration

See a full list of everyone who is currently viewing your email. Any changes will show up in real time (and highlighted briefly with the users color) so that you know what people are working on. Never lose work with our versioning/list of changes. Preview any previous save of the email and revert at any time.

Refined & automatic mobile optimizations

We take the email and perform hundreds of mobile optimizations. The logic we have developed takes into account all the various factors (formats, widths, images, etc..) to determine the intent of your email and will automatically make it mobile ready for a beautiful display on both desktops and mobile devices. This can be turned off from the settings screen of each email if you wish.

Image editing capabilities

We have full image editing capabilities including resizing, cropping (with preview), automatic image scaling (for large images), and an extensive array of photo optimization/tweaking tools.

New & improved content options

Add blocks of text, headers, images, videos, and live content from RSS feeds. Each content option has it’s own unique set of settings/capabilities and it’s own set of style options.

Some of our new content options include:

  • Buttons
  • Line breaks
  • Spacer
  • Social (coming soon)

New HTML based editor (For advanced users)

If you choose to use your own HTML you won’t be using our drag & drop designer. In this case you will have a new code editor with a live preview of your email (as you code) We have also added versioning/list of changes support to this mode along with multi-user detection to avoid situations where you could clash with another user.

Plenty more to come

While this is a massive update (replacing our old email designer) we are just getting started. You will soon find a new “social” block that you can add to your emails, a revamped ecommerce block type, many more new templates, and many more things (that we are not yet ready to announce)

Let us know what you think!

We would love to hear your feedback about these changes and the new email designer in general. Please comment with what you think!

Manage your tags

We just released a new way to manage your tags.  We have seen many users adopt tags over using lists and it has opened up some pretty interesting automation and segmentation options.  Until now there was no great way to manage them though.

To use the new tag manager simply head over to your contacts page and click the arrow where it says “Contact & Lead Scoring” to open the menu for other contacts options.  Click Tag Manager and you will be able to start managing your tags including:

  • Adding tags
  • Removing tags
  • Merging tags
  • Exploring tags

In the past the system removed any tags that existed (but were not used for any contacts)  That will no longer happen automatically.  A tag will be removed from the system only if you delete it.

A new customizable overview

When you login to your ActiveCampaign account you will notice a brand new overview page.  We redesigned the overview to show more information that can be personalized to fit your specific needs.

You can drag/drop widgets around on the screen, remove widgets that you don’t need to keep a close eye on, or add new widgets from the doc that sits at the bottom of the page.  Have a specific widget you would like to see on the overview?  Let us know!

Trigger automations from web page visits, logged events, and deal actions

We just added four new ways that you can trigger an automation:

  • When a URL is visited
  • When an event is recorded
  • When a deal stage changes
  • When a deal status changes

This brings us to 15 different ways you can start an automation along with the ability to choose to start an automation within any other automation.

The ability to start an automation with a page visit (or an event being recorded) adds quite a bit of power to our site & event tracking capabilities.  You can now trigger automations along with having conditional branching and options within your automation sequences based on the data that site & event tracking provides.

The ability to trigger automations based on stage or status changes allow you to automate your sales process as a deal progresses along within your sales cycle.

Bulk edit your contacts

When you visit your contacts page you will see a new “edit” option near the top of the page.  You can filter down to a list of contacts (using search, segments, etc.. ) and bulk edit the whole result set or you can check specific contacts that you wish to edit.

Here are some of the things you can do with the new bulk edit feature:

  • Add contacts to an automation
  • Remove contacts from an automation
  • Add tags to contacts
  • Remove tags from contacts
  • Update custom fields
  • Add notes to contacts
  • Add contacts to a list
  • Remove contacts from a list

Introducing Deals… CRM & Sales Automation

As we have built out our automation capabilities over the past year, we quickly realized we need a seamless integration with your sales process.

We currently integrate with many CRM providers (and will continue to do so) but the basic concept of contacts being synced back and forth were not meeting our users’ needs.  So we decided to create our own CRM that is built directly into ActiveCampaign and have plans to do seamless syncs of sales data with our CRM partners in the future (more on this later)

We took a very simple approach to our CRM work flow.  We wanted something that we would love to use internally and that would cater towards small and medium sized businesses.

Everything is customizable.  You can create custom deal pipelines, stages, task types, etc..   As a lead comes into ActiveCampaign it can be placed into a pipeline.  You would then move it to different stages as your sales process advances.  All the while our automations will be there to help you move, update, and prioritize your deals.

Send individual emails from within ActiveCampaign or connect ANY email account (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc..).  Once connected you will see all related sent and received emails  automatically within your Deal stream.  No BCC that points to some special inbox required!

Automation Updates

As we added all of the new CRM and sales features, we made sure to fully integrate that within our automation capabilities.  You can now have automations run based on deals, create deals, adjust deals, etc…  We also improved our automations to allow multiple entry points.

Previously you could only start an automation from four different options (and could only pick one).  Now you have a dozen start options and can choose multiple options for when each automation will begin.

Contact & Lead Scoring

People have been begging us to add some form of contact scoring within ActiveCampaign.  We always agreed it would be nice, but we didn’t want to release some mediocre scoring system that just increments based on clicks and opens.  The actual value in that is pretty low.

So rather than doing that we developed a scoring system that allows dynamic increase and decreases of a score based on any marketing channel that you integrate with.  So the score can fluctuate based on campaign interactions, individual email interactions, traffic/history on your website, custom events, sales data, and much more.

Contact & Lead Scoring is free with all enterprise plans and is a paid upgrade for any small business plan.

How to get the new Sales & CRM features

All new accounts are getting this update already.  We are in the process of updating all existing users and you should receive the update in the upcoming weeks.  Contact us if you don’t want to wait!  We can update your account right away on demand.

What’s next

This is just the start of what we have planned.  Expect more CRM updates in the near future. The syncing of data with other CRM’s is something we are working on as well.  That will allow you to use another CRM for your sales activity while using ActiveCampaign as the marketing/automation engine.

Lastly, we have been busy working on a brand new email designer.  We have rethought and reworked the entire email designer from the ground up.  Our hope is to have some sneak peeks soon.

‘Wait until…’ Time and Date Options in Automated Series

Yesterday we launched a great new feature, one that had been highly requested since the introduction of our Automated Series — time and date awareness.

With this new feature you can now effectively schedule steps in your automate series to happen only at the appropriate times for your contacts.

This can now be accomplished with a simple “Wait until…” step under the “Date and Time” section.

Best of all, the time we’re referring to here is not your time zone, it is the customer’s. We will now track and utilize each contact’s time zone offset via their IP address to allow you to send to them at the right time for their region.

If you set an automated series to wait until Monday at 9 AM, the next step will not progress until 9AM on the following Monday in their time zone.

No longer will you have to worry about sending messages at strange hours or days when you won’t be available to respond. As you can imagine this opens up a host of other possibilities which we can promise we’re already thinking about for the future.

Much like our enhancements earlier in the week we believe a more personal experience will lead to better results and this is just one of many steps we’re taking to help you provide that.

Got ideas for what we can do with this data next? Let us know on our Feedback Forums.

New Feature: Modify Case When Using Personalization Tags

Personalized marketing is typically successful marketing. The more you know about a person, the better you can target and communicate with them. One small facet of this in ActiveCampaign is the usage of personalization tags.

Personalization tags let you include custom greetings or use any information you have about a contact in your message. We recently decided to take a new look at this handy feature and we’ve now rolled out some new enhancements to it.

You can now add modifiers to personalization tags to control the case of how they appear in your messages. With this new update, gone are the days of:

Hello JOHN,

This type of “greeting” would occur when someone was signed up and in your mailing list with their first name in ALL CAPS. This sort of thing either occurred because they didn’t know how to turn the caps lock off, or some sort of export system, likely from a database exported them as such. Now we’ve made personalization tags that much more personal.

Where you would have previously written:

Hello %FIRSTNAME%,

You can now write:

Hello %FIRSTNAME|TITLECASE%,

And ActiveCampaign will do the work for you to normalize things for human consumption yielding the following instead.

Hello John,

Much better right? You are no longer held down by the oppressive reign of the mighty CAPS LOCK key.

We didn’t stop there though. Maybe you like things all capitalized? all lowercased? We’ve got you covered. Check out our newly revised Personalization Tags help document for more. Happy personalizing!

Small Updates and Refinements

At ActiveCampaign we don’t believe on resting on our laurels.

We’re always working to add new features and incrementally improve our software to make your experience faster, simpler and more productive.

In general we update our software in waves. We go from section to section updating areas as we have the last year with our email designer, automated series, site trackingintegrationsreports etc. However this does not preclude us from sneaking in small things from time to time.

We’ve got some really big stuff around the corner but we thought it was time to highlight some of the smaller changes that make big impacts, the unsung heroes of updates if you will.

New Localizations

First off, and we can’t take credit for this one alone, but our partnership with OneSky for community driven translations have been a huge success. In February we were able to introduce a near complete Indonesian localization thanks to the hard work from Victor and Irna from Doxadigital.com. Also this week we also rolled out a near complete Vietnamese localization with the help of a few very hard working contributors! A big thanks to all of our language contributors, we’re really excited to see where things go next. If you’re interested in contributing to a translation you can learn how here.

Importing with Tags

Tags have been a bit of a pet project within the platform. We have a lot of ideas of what we can do with tags long term that have yet to be realized but we’ve recently introduced the ability to import tags as part of a contact record from a .CSV file and just this week added the ability to tag a whole list on import.

Sorting Contacts in Reports

By and large the reception to our new reporting system was positive. However there were a few small things we missed in rebuilding things from the ground up and you guys definitely let us know.

We’re pleased to announce we’ve re-added the ability to sort your contacts in reports by date, email address or number of opens/clicks etc.

Additionally we’ve modified the overview page to show additional decimal places on the percentages and added a numerical hover for the exact number of clicks etc.

API Access to Automate Series

Previously the automated series was completely invisible to the API. However we’ve added new calls to change things a little. Using some new API calls you can now: view all automations in the system, add or remove a contact from an existing automation, view all contacts from an existing automation, and view automation details for a specific contact.

For more information about this check out our API documentation.

Apps Page

Lastly and certainly not least we’ve added a new section for all the different Apps you can integrate with ActiveCampaign. This new page can be found from the Integrations tab under Apps and Integrations. or by going to /apps/ inside your account.

As i mentioned before, these are just some of the small changes we’ve made recently. We’re always tweaking and adding little things and most of the time these go unmentioned. Many of these changes came from valuable feedback from our customers and we encourage you to contribute more whenever you come across things.  It’s our goal to be the best email marketing and marketing automation platform available and we’ll stop at nothing to get there.