How to build more effective emails with ActiveCampaign

by | Jul 13, 2022 | ActiveCampaign Tutorials

Do you want the emails you send with ActiveCampaign to have an impact and drive sales? Well duh, yes, of course you do!

Make sure you’re using every part of the ActiveCampaign email, from nose to tail, to maximise impact and help that email do what it needs to do in the inbox.

In this blog I’ll take you on a tour of the anatomy of an ActiveCampaign email, from the Subject Line, via the lesser-know but super-important Pre-Header, and on into the dark arts of reply-tracking options for ActiveCampaign emails.

Everyone who does setup and sends emails using ActiveCampaign needs to know where these critically important but easily missed settings are, and what to do with them.

Follow these steps to discover ActiveCampaign email settings:

Take a tour of ActiveCampaign email settings best practice (12 mins)

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Learn how to use the email name to make reporting easy in ActiveCampaign

The names of emails in ActiveCampaign are nothing to do with what the email does or how it feels or looks to be have that email arrive in your inbox. It’s a bit like the washing-instructions label inside a school jumper that only you and the laundry-basket see.

The recipient of an ActiveCampaign email never sees the internal name of that email.

What are email names for in ActiveCampaign?

Humans are really rubbish at identifying things by numbers, so we like to use meaningful, human words instead – this is what email names are for in ActiveCampaign.

Every email you create in ActiveCampaign holds, and creates, information and activity. 

To keep track of which email that info and activity belongs to, and find it in ActiveCampaign email reporting, we need to know the name of the email.

That email name is for our, human, internal business use only, so that we can see and understand quickly exactly which email it is.

For a quick intro to email naming best practice, head to our free Accelerated ActiveCampaign training.

Get our FREE Accelerated ActiveCampaign training now

Discover the Pre-Header to get more opens with ActiveCampaign emails

The Subject Line is what shows up loud and clear in the inbox when an ActiveCampaign email arrives there.

The mission of the Subject Line is to get attention and persuade our contact to open the email, and read it.

But did you know about the Subject Line’s  lovely companion, the Pre-Header?

How to use ActiveCampaign email Pre-Header super-powers

The Pre-Header is a bit of extra text – think of it as a playful extension of the subject line – like a chaser shot, or a bonus petit-fours with your coffee.

If you don’t actively set up a Pre-Header, the inbox display will show the first few words of the text in your email. 

Which is pretty boring…  “view this email in your browser…” “Hi Kay, this week we are discussing….”

In the ActiveCampaign, you can enter your own custom Pre-Header text to show in that spot instead, for every email you send.

I like to use an emoji to start and finish Pre-Headers – that flash of colour helps them stand out.

Join my email list here to see those funky Pre-Headers in action

Pre-Headers don’t show in the ActiveCampaign email itself – it’s all for the benefit of the inbox eyeballs.

ActiveCampaign tips from Kay Peacey

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Go beyond email templates for more effective ActiveCampaign email content

I hardly ever see people getting the best out of all the wonderful things you can do with the content of an ActiveCampaign email.

Step away from the fancy ActiveCampaign email templates though – that’s not what I’m talking about here

4 Tips to Create great ActiveCampaign emails without complicated templates

There’s so much more to play with in the ActiveCampaign email builder – go exploring, get adventurous, and your emails will drive more sales.

Use images and gifs in ActiveCampaign emails

Improve readability in ActiveCampaign emails with easy branded elements

Readability is a BIG deal for emails – real humans look at emails on mobile, in a rush, while walking the dog…

  • Break things up with a brand-coloured line between sections

Add field values to ActiveCampaign emails to make it personal

The personalisation features (or personalization, depending on how you roll with the z vs s thing) in ActiveCampaign are fabulous and hyper-effective at increasing email engagement.

This feature merges custom field values into ActiveCampaign emails for any contact, and it’s amazingly underused.  

  • Drop any custom contact field value directly into the email text. 

Super-easy, looks impressive, and can be used in many crafty and creative ways.

Use Link Actions after email click for an automated action in ActiveCampaign

Big YES to link click actions – these are a wonderful ActiveCampaign email feature where clicking a link in an emails sets off some other automation for the contact – magically effective and fun.

  • have ActiveCampaign add a tag or start an automation when a link is clicked.

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Best practice for tracking and analytics settings in ActiveCampaign emails

You need to know what these slightly more advanced ActiveCampaign email settings options are, so you don’t mess up or miss stuff.

The ActiveCampaign emails tracking and analytics settings are important, so here’s what they mean, and what you should so with them:

5 important ActiveCampaign email settings and how to use them

  1. Open tracking and Link tracking – turn on for all emails, and definitely if you are using link actions
  2. Reply tracking – leave turned off in almost all cases – can cause spam warnings which are bad for deliverability
  3. Google analytics – turn on, even if you never look at Google Analytics
  4. Campaign Archive – set to Private if the email is intended only for customers – otherwise it goes in the public archive
  5. Schedule – use this to set a time and date for a Campaign email to be sent

Strange but true:

Every ActiveCampaign email with the Campaign Archive left on Public at sending time winds up in an archive that gives public access to the full content of that email via a single unprotected url. Yikes!

Strange but true ActiveCampaign – from Kay Peacey

Want to know where to Disable that public Campaign archive? This and other security tips are inside our awesome ActiveCampaign Academy.

Learn more about our ActiveCampaign Academy membership
Fast, effective training & support for ActiveCampaign users everywhere

See where to edit ActiveCampaign email sender and reply details

The sender name, sender email address, and reply-to email address in each ActiveCampaign email’s settings are critical for deliverability, engagement and opens.

This is the part of each ActiveCampaign email that gets us past the “wait, who the heck even are you?” moment on the doorstep of the inbox, and straight to “well hello my friend, come on in and tell me all the juicy gossip!”

You can have most alluring subject line and pre-header ever on your ActiveCampaign email, but if that email looks like it’s from some random dude I don’t know, it’s headed straight to trash or (horror!) marked as spam.

How to set the From email address in ActiveCampaign emails

The From email address is the email address that will show as the sender email in the contact’s inbox when your email is delivered.

You will get more opens if recipients recognise that email address easily and quickly.

  • If your DKIM authentication is set up properly, that sender address will be nice and clear. This is better for trust at the inbox.
  • If not, your contacts will see a long blurb about it being sent from that address, but via an ActiveCampaign server.

How to set the From name in ActiveCampaign emails

The From name is what shows (in most cases) in the sender name area of the recipient inbox. 

You get more opens if recipients recognise the sender name, so best practice for ActiveCampaign email sender name is to include a person’s name and the business name here.

If they’ve got your sender email address stashed in their address book or contacts under the name “Pinky Purple Bleeper Person” that’s what they will see your name as, regardless of what you put in the From Name setting.

Strange but true ActiveCampaign – from Kay Peacey

How to set the Reply-to email address in ActiveCampaign emails

The Reply-to email address is, unsurprisingly, the address replies will be sent to if the contact hits reply for your email

Replies are really good for deliverability, so we want to encourage them

By default the Reply-to address will be the same as the From address for any email, but you can over-ride it in the settings if that’s needed.

Get more help to create and send super-effective emails with ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign Academy training with Kay Peacey

In the ActiveCampaign Academy we have two courses that are laser-focussed on getting the best out of every email you send.

Our flagship deliverability training gets your emails safely delivered, and read and prompting delight and action.

And our ActiveCampaign email builder training course shows exactly how to build faster and get more juice out of all the features, so your emails drive more sales.

There’s a ton more I could tell you – we dig deep on all things email inside the ActiveCampaign Academy, from settings to strategy to crafty tricks and workflows

Join the ActiveCampaign Academy, and you’ll have ActiveCampaign uber-expert Kay Peacey in your back pocket to guide you every step of the way to driving more sales with ActiveCampaign emails.

Learn more about our ActiveCampaign Academy membership
Fast, effective training & support for ActiveCampaign users everywhere

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