Redesigning My Email Marketing Funnels With ActiveCampaign

by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: August 26, 2020
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After switching to ConvertKit from MailChimp, redesigning my sales funnels, and measuring the results, things didn’t go exactly as I hoped. So I’m switching again to ActiveCampaign to take advantage of their pro features. Nothing against ConvertKit, but as you’ll see, I was looking to build something unique for my seasonal business and save some money in the process.

With over 15 years in online business, I still haven’t taken email marketing seriously. I mean, I tried. Believe me! But since the world fell apart in 2020, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to keep my business from doing the same.

I asked myself, “what if Google disappeared tomorrow?” Or worse, “what if it was bought by Microsoft?!” This may sound a little paranoid with some doomsday-prepper vibes, but ever since my Amazon commissions basically disappeared, I’ve been looking for ways to future-proof my income streams.

Focusing on building an email list seems like a good idea. Because if I stop getting traffic to my sites tomorrow, at least I can continue to sell through my email list.

And I know what you’re thinking, “yeah, but what if email disappears tomorrow?!” Come on, now YOU’RE paranoid.

Redesigning My Email Marketing Funnels with ActiveCampaign v2

Why I’m Switching…Again

There are two main reasons for switching:

  1. To save money
  2. Loopable and seasonal automations

Let me explain…

1. Saving Money With ActiveCampaign

Because I run three different websites, I needed three ConvertKit accounts. Each CK account is a list. I could have combined them all into one account, but that would’ve been messy.

And because I needed three CK accounts, I had to pay more. Here’s how it broke down:

  • Swim University (30,000 subscribers): $259/month
  • Money Lab (1,900 subscribers): $49/month
  • Brew Cabin (2,500 subscribers): $49/month
  • Total: $357/month

Honestly, not bad for an email marketing monthly payment.

However, since ActiveCampaign allows me to host multiple lists under one account, now I have a monthly combined payment for 34,400 subscribers at $239/month (up to 50,000 subscribers on the Lite plan).

This saves me $118/month #ExtremeCheapSkate.

Don’t get me wrong, I love ConvertKit (does that affiliate link prove it?). It helped me step up my email marketing game a few years ago.

How about this one?

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This is the email marketing software I used before 2020 to run all my websites. It found it way easier to use than my former ESP and I highly recommend it if you have your own products to sell.

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ConvertKit is great for simple websites like Money Lab and Brew Cabin. But Swim University is a special beast that needed some pro-level features to get what I want to be done.

2. Loopable and Seasonal Automations

What sold me on ActiveCampaign is the ability to build an automation that would last forever. This is something I’ve been trying to do for years. I even tried to do this with ConvertKit but failed.

In a nutshell, I want pool owners to subscribe to Swim University and get weekly emails every year with timely messaging. I’ve always called this Email As a Service or EaaS.

Every year, a subscriber loops through a year-long email sequence that sends emails based on the month we’re in. In ConvertKit, subscribers can’t get the same email twice in a sequence.

For example, if a pool owner subscribes in August, they shouldn’t get emails about pool opening until the following April/May. But they SHOULD get emails about pool closing right away. That means, with a linear email sequence (or multiple sequences) I couldn’t add time-sensitive emails unless I did them manually or changed the automations every year.

With ActiveCampaign, I was able to achieve this ideal setup with Automation Goals.

My Top Pick
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This is currently the email marketing software I'm using for all my brands. Mainly because it saved me money every month and automation goals is the killer feature I needed all my life.

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Matt Giovanisci (me) earns a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If any of that was confusing, I think this video will explain what I’m trying to do.

Spoiler Alert: I Already Switched. Here’s How I Did it

If you watched the video above, you know I already made the switch and started building my looping seasonal automation. But I took some very deliberate steps when making the big switch.

I’m not going to go into detail as I did in my last email switching article, but here’s the gist…

1. Created Lists and Basic Automations for New Subscribers

First, I had to create a few lists. Ideally, I wanted to create one for each brand. But because I use Podia to sell products, the only ActiveCampaign integration they had were to lists. That meant I had to create a different list for each product plus a list for each subscriber type.

ActiveCampaign Lists

Then, I created some quick and dirty automations for anyone who subscribed to ActiveCampaign. So I created a few automations with just a few emails until I moved everything over and could fully flesh them out.

Quick ActiveCampaign Automations

Don’t ask me why the images are broken. I have no idea and I already asked them and THEY had no idea either.

2. Replaced The Forms on All The Websites

I created a bunch of forms for each of my websites in ActiveCampaign and coded up a lightweight version of the HTML. If you want that HTML, click here.

ActiveCampaign Forms

I don’t like using the HTML these ESPs give you. They’re bloated with a lot of unnecessary Javascript and CSS. So I code the bare minimum I need for the form to work. The result is a super-fast and lightweight form that’s easy to use

Nothing changed on my website design-wise. Just a simple form code replacement.

At this point, new subscribers were now entering ActiveCampaign instead of ConvertKit.

3. Import and Tag Subscribers From ConvertKit and Podia

Finally, I exported all my subscribers in different CSV files based on their tags and imported them into the appropriate ActiveCampaign list. To be honest, this was a bitch because I was having trouble with the import feature. Thankfully, ActiveCampaign helped via chat immediately.

When I imported everyone, I tagged them as Imported from ConvertKit so I knew where I had to add people into automations.

And that’s it. I made it sound easy. It wasn’t. But I’ve done this 4 times now so I got pretty good at it.

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