ActiveCampaign Implementation Checklist

Building out a new ActiveCampaign CRM setup or migrating to ActiveCampaign? These are the major steps I go through in setting up a new AC system.

1. Configure Site Tracking

Take the ActiveCampaign site tracking script and add it to your website. I like to use Google Tag Manager (GTM). This is important for pulling in website use data for contacts.

You may want to get into event tracking here which is a more advanced task.

There is a great tutorial on implementing form tracking through GTM from automateonline here.

2. Setup Custom Fields and Tags

In my opinion, fields are elements of contact information which you will need to decide for every contact.

Tags are for everything else. E.g. lead souce, campaigns, etc.

Be careful when creating fields as you can’t change the TYPE of field it is after you’ve made it.

Tags can be created in a big list under Contacts > Manage Tags.

I have a few tags I like to reuse based on categories:

  • Industry tags (e.g. tech, manufacturing, legal, financial, etc)
  • Lead status tags (e.g. prospect, lead, someday, opportunity, client, past client, other)
  • Customer journey (e.g. awareness, consideration, decision)

3. Create & Import Lists

Note: This comes after tags and custom fields as you want that data in your imported spreadsheets.

ActiveCampaign has some unique preferences when it comes to making lists. I run with their idea on using just a few lists to hold contacts, and then segment from there rather than having multiple lists to segment.

Two basic lists you could add are all subscribers and client database.

When you import ActiveCampaign attaches information to email addresses. So if you want to fix information or add batches of information afterwards, just delete all the information other than the email and column of info you want to update, and re-import.

4. Create Segments

With the lists created, and the tags in place, you can now create the fancy segments.

Segments are controlled in a strange position in AC, you have to go to Lists > Dropdown > Segments.

5. Setup Automations

Automations are a key differentiator of ActiveCampaign.

Hopefully you have these mapped out in your previous platform and you can attempt to re-install the logic for each automation on AC.

This would be for both your marketing and sales pipeline automations. AC doesn’t have automation functionality created at the pipeline level.

Personally, I like to label automations with Trigger > Action as the name. Example, “Website Enquiry > Add to X List” so it is easier to see what each automation does in the future.

You will also want to think through the follow up / auto responders you have in place. Do they run off a tag? If so, now’s the time to set that up.

For each automation, run a test to make sure the logic is working correctly.

6. Create Email Templates

Now is a good time to also create the templates and emails you will be using to power both automated auto-responders and your general email campaigns.

Be sure to create them in the email template section so that you can easily reuse them.

Hint: The user who created the template will be put as the ‘sender’ by default, so check that you have this modified before you send out campaigns.

7. Connect Existing CTAs, Forms and Lead Magnets

This form is integrated with ActiveCampaign through Elementor.

Back on your existing website, there are CTAs and auto responders waiting to be pulled into ActiveCampaign.

You can now edit these to pull into AC, connecting with the tag automations you configured in the previous step.

8. Build Integrations

Building out the integrations is one of the most fun parts of the setup process. Head over to applications and start adding your favourites. Useful integrations will likely include:

  • Calendly
  • Databox
  • Zapier
  • WordPress
  • ConvertFlow
  • Bonjoro
  • etc


Whilst every is likely to have their own approach to setting up a fresh ActiveCampaign system, I have tried to order the steps in the most logical fashion. Hopefully you can avoid frustrating backtracking and get going as fast as possible.

Any questions or points to share, feel free to add your comments below!

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