Marketing, Email Marketing

Rethinking Your Email Marketing Strategies with Chris Davis of ActiveCampaign

Episode 223: Show Notes

Today on the podcast, we welcome our latest internet crush, Chris Davis. Chris is the Director of Education at ActiveCampaign and is an email marketing genius. With everything going on in your business, the truth is, you need to take your email marketing seriously. Chris has helped us so much with kicking our email marketing strategy into high gear. He is an incredible resource, and in this episode, we get deep into discovering information about your customers, as well as some of the basic mindsets you need to be in when you’re starting your email marketing game.

Today on the podcast, we welcome our latest internet crush, Chris Davis. Chris is the Director of Education at ActiveCampaign and is an email marketing genius. With everything going on in your business, the truth is, you need to take your email marketing seriously.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Chris uses a ton of analogies to break this information down in a way that is easily digestible for newcomers and old-timers alike. We discuss how to personalize your emails, the benefit of multiple marketing platforms and get a few key tips for using the ActiveCampaign platform. If you are about to tackle your own email strategy, this episode will really help you to dive in with the right mindset. And if you already have an email marketing strategy set up and sailing, there is information in this episode that will get you to reconsider, adapt and improve it. If you are just stuck or overwhelmed, in any shape or form, about your strategies – this episode is here to help you reset that mentality, help you move forward and get your audience through the door.

The Data Is Where It’s At: How To Personalize Your Emails

Personalizing, or making your emails feel personalized, is one of the biggest keys to success for ActiveCampaign. And guess what? You already know how to do this because you do it in your everyday life. You know how to go into a room, say hi to everybody and then go around and talk to everybody. When we translate this to technology, this is where it gets confusing for people. Chris’s key tip of advice is basing your conversation with others on the data you have gathered. So how can you personalize your marketing if you don’t collect the data? That is the fundamental flaw in the approach of a lot of people. Their mind is on, “Let me send email” rather than “Let me collect data.” Yet it is the data in the email that makes it personalized. You’re sending an email, right, of course – but the focus isn’t really the email, the focus is (or should be) the relationship. You need to get information about people not just to help you, but to help your customers too. Community is huge, there is no hiding behind the brand and people today expect you to treat them like an individual online. Because if you don’t, people are going to tell the world about it!

How Do We Use Email To Get To Know Our People?

So how do you know your audience if your platform does not allow you to collect data? If all you can catch is custom fields, then your conversation is going to be limited. The more that your data is split up on a bunch of different platforms, the less likely it is that you’re going to be able to tie it all in. So prevent that problem before you start, or change now, before you have so many subscribers that it becomes impossible to fix it! When you choose a platform, it needs to be easy to centralize all of your activity that is happening in your audience. You want to know what webpages they are visiting, links they’re clicking, right? And you want to see trends, notes, sales cycles, conversion speeds. Doing this all on one platform is really tough and so if you’re feeling like you’re not getting the most out of email marketing, that’s why! We are big fans of getting to know our numbers but what Chris speaks about here goes even further – getting to know behaviors and trends of those behaviors. When you unlock that, that’s when you become a next level boss. Because you can now inject predictability into your business decisions. The one thing that digital marketing provides to us right now is measurability. It doesn’t have to be good guesses! Predictability leads to sustainability. And that, friends, is sexy.


The focus isn’t the email, the focus is the relationship.
Tweet This via @autobizchris

How To Convert Your Audience Members Through Segmenting

So what happens if you don’t have the time, or the money, to set up your email platform that will help you convert those audience members in the beginning? Chris’s first step, is to remember that the audience is always away from the tool. You have to always have a preliminary marketing strategy and this goes back to your audience. You have to know where they are at, how you’re going to approach them and how you are going to get them to where they need to go, the fastest. Before you get into your platforms, Chris encourages us to ask ourselves, “Do you know your segments? Do you know how your audience is grouped?” A segment is a grouping of contacts by a series of likes, attributes or actions. Every business has a bear minimum of two segments – customers and non/prospect customers. And you should be talking to those segments differently. By segmenting, your marketing strategy serves as a way to put people in the right bucket. This applies to every business and this was the crucial step that we did not implement into TCC until the last couple of months. At the bear minimum you need to segment these two groups and make sure that you are talking to them differently. Customers buy more than prospect customers and customers are more willing to give you more information because they have buy-in. This is crucial to know!

Why Email and Social Media Never Fight and The Benefits of Multiple Platforms

Your email is one form of communication and it’s a very powerful form. What Chris sees happen all the time is businesses relying solely on social media for their marketing, because it seems easier. They get wrapped up in the vanity metrics and when followers rise, they ditch email. But the truth is you need all these channels, because all of them work together, all of them speak to your audience in different ways. Email and social media never fight and if they do, it’s because you’ve turned them against each other. Chris is not saying you have to use ALL the social media platforms out there, but you need to select a few that work in addition to your email marketing. Chris describes social media as a party. A party where you meet a lot of people, you seek out the ones that are of interest to you and work towards having a personal conversation with them. But you have to approach them to get to know them better. You have to make the effort. And you need to do it with confidence because you know your brand. Technology is a tool and it is here to serve everything you would do with your audience in person. You just need to learn how to digitize the conversations you are having in person, so that you can scale.

A Few Of Chris’s Tips To Improve Your ActiveCampaign Experience

Part of ActiveCampaign’s business model / customer service is that they have actual people who talk to customers. So as you get going with your chosen email marketing platform, in this case, ActiveCampaign – Chris advises email marketers to not treat ActiveCampaign like it’s list-based. The list is just one of the ways that contacts are being grouped. The platform is smart enough to see, “Oh okay, you’re on three lists but you are one person.” Chris has a few tips for people using ActiveCampaign right now and the first is, installing their side tracking. This was a game-changer for us at TCC just BTW! In ActiveCampaign you add an interest tag based on pages. So you don’t have to send out a survey every week because people will lie to you, but their actions won’t! So you need to track these actions. And the good thing about ActiveCampaign is that you can put the side tracking on any website, so you can see people visiting multiple pages. These are small, but powerful things you can do that will change your experience with ActiveCampaign from the moment you sign up. You have all of these resources at your fingertips and the truth is once you know about them and you start using them, you will wonder how you ever managed before. Lastly, Chris lists three top resources to help you get setup and deeper into ActiveCampaign. Everything you’re struggling with, Chris has struggled with too. So look out for those resources in Talk Strategy below.


  • The Data Is Where It’s At: How To Personalize Your Emails. [0:06:45.1]
  • How Do We Use Email To Get To Know Our People? [0:14:40.1]
  • How To Convert Your Audience Members Through Segmenting. [0:19:30.1]
  • Why Email and Social Media Never Fight: The Benefits of Multiple Platforms.  [0:28:52.1]
  • A Few Of Chris’s Tips To Improve Your ActiveCampaign Experience. [0:37:32.1]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:46:40.6]

  1. Go to the homepage and sign up for a trial.
  2. Visit the ActiveCampaign Education Center.
  3. Listen to the ActiveCampaign podcast.


Chris Davis of ActiveCampaign | The Strategy Hour Podcast

Chris Davis

Website | Instagram
Twitter | LinkedIn

Chris Davis is the Director of Education at ActiveCampaign. As the #1 educator in marketing automation, Chris is passionate about business growth. With over 12 years of experience in automation he brings a meticulous and unique approach to building out marketing and sales systems for businesses and organizations to leverage for rapid growth.


  • Activecampaign.

  • Email marketing.

  • Social media marketing.

  • Online marketing.

  • Email strategy.

  • Subscribers.

  • Audience.

  • Segmenting.

  • Data.




You can now support the show with a one-time donation!