Simple List Strategy Using ActiveCampaign

Setting up a new marketing automation and CRM (customer relationship management) tool can be a daunting process.

Whether you are creating from scratch or migrating from an existing system and trying to rebuild what you have already created, the strategy that you use to create your lists is extremely important.

Proper list management will help:

  • Increase your email reputation and deliverability (where your emails get delivered; either in the inbox or spam).
  • Reduce spam complaints and unsubscribes (the people who do not want or opt-out of your email list).
  • Keep your contacts engaged and active.

Lists Vs Tags in ActiveCampaign

When using ActiveCampaign for your email marketing, it’s easy to remember the difference of lists versus tags when you consider this:

Lists are your filing cabinet; you only need a few of them to hold all of your records. Lists are your macro-level of account organization. (For more info, see a Beginners Guide to Lists on the ActiveCampaign website).

Tags are your file folders; you may need many of them to organize the contents of all of your records. Tags are your micro-level of account organization. (For more info, see a What Are Tags? on the ActiveCampaign website).

The Three Primary Lists

The three primary lists below are recommended for any ActiveCampaign account. These primary lists will cover a majority of your list needs and keep your account clean and organized.

The Master List

The Master List is the primary point of entry for any contact. This is where contact is placed when they have signed up for your email newsletter, freebie or other opt-in on your website.

The purpose of the Master List is to provide non-promotions, free, high-value content. This includes any type of content marketing, such as blog or podcast updates, or upcoming (free!) events.

With the Master List, you can use tags to segment your contacts based on the different actions they have taken, what they have signed up for, or what interests they have triggered.

Special Offers and Promotions

The Special Offers & Promotions is the second entry point for any new contact. At the same time, a contact is placed on your Master List, they are also placed on your Special Offers & Promotions list.

The purpose of the Special Offers & Promotions list is to deliver promotion content. This includes new offers, product or service launches, or affiliate launches.

Within this list, you can use tags to segment your contacts based on interests (such as joining a waitlist for a product), or what they do or do not want to receive more information on.

Note: it’s important to include an opt-out option for contacts during promotional sequences so that they don’t have to unsubscribe from everything, just what they do not want to see.

Customer Only Communications

The Customer Only Communications list is the entry point for a new customer or someone that has purchased a product or service.

The purpose of this list is to provide specific communications for your paying customers. This could include product updates, new features or even special customer-only promotions.

Within this list, you can use tags to segment your contacts based on what they have purchased as well as interest in additional products or services.

Transitional Lists

While the three primary lists will cover a majority of your email marketing needs, transitional lists may also be required based on how you set up a double-opt-in or integrate with other systems.

Unconfirmed Contacts

The Unconfirmed Contacts list is used as a gateway to the other lists. When someone enters our contacts, but have not yet confirmed their email address and/or contact information, we can keep them on this list until that confirmation is complete. 

Using this list allows us to ensure that we are only sending content to contacts that are active and engaged. This helps to reduce unverified and spam contacts in our accounts.

Once contact is confirmed, you can transition them to your other lists where they will fall into your other email strategies.

Integration Lists

Periodically, you may integrate your account with other systems and tools that will require a list for the integration. In order to keep your account clean, use a list to set up the integration, and then transition the contacts into one of your three primary lists. 

An Integration list is similar to the Unconfirmed Contacts list in that it provides a temporary placeholder for contacts until they are ready to be moved into your main lists.

Allow Users to Managed Their Subscriptions

A key benefit of the three primary list strategy is that you enable your contacts clear definition of what they are receiving from you and why.

From here, you can set up a subscription management page and allow your contacts to subscribe and unsubscribe with ease, creating a happier, healthier email list.

A Note On Deleting Lists

If you are a current ActiveCampaign user and looking to transition into this list strategy, note: removing a list will automatically delete any associated campaigns.

If you want to keep your campaigns, I suggest setting up the new list structure, then migrating your contacts from the old list, to the new list. You can then continue your communications with your contacts, and access older campaigns while leveraging a proper list setup.

What’s Next for Your List?

If you are one of the 81% of small- and medium-sized businesses that still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, an effective list strategy in ActiveCampaign is critical to your success!

I’d love to know; how are you managing your lists in ActiveCampaign and what will you change based on the information in this article?

  • 3 weeks ago
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