Walkthrough of creating and sending an email campaign

This article will walk you through creating and sending a campaign so that you can start engaging with your contacts. If you need more details on a particular feature, click on the help document links located throughout this guide.

Creating Lists

Before you can create a campaign, you will first need to create a list of opted in subscribers. If you have already completed this process, you can skip to the Creating and Sending Your Campaign step below.

To create a new list, go to the Lists section of your account and click on “Add New List.” In the modal window, provide a name, type in the company name, address, the URL that the list is for, and a reminder for your contacts of why you are contacting them. When finished, click on “Create List.”

Adding Contacts to Lists

Once you have created your list, you can now add contacts to it. Contacts can be added to your list in any number of ways, including .CSV upload, adding them manually one at a time, or integrations from other services.

One of the more popular methods of adding opted in contacts to a list is through a .CSV import. To import your file, go to the Contacts Overview page and click on the “Import” button located on the top right of your screen. On the next page, click on “Import from file.” Select the file you wish to upload, and then map the fields in your file to the fields in your list.

You also have the option to copy and paste your contacts or you can integrate your ActiveCampaign account with a third party app to perform automatic imports. Visit this page for more details on those processes.

Creating Your Campaign

Once you have created your list, you are now ready to create your campaign. To get started, click on the Campaigns tab located at the top of your screen and click on the “New Campaign” button.

In this example, we will use the “Standard” campaign type. The “Standard” campaign type will allow you to send a broadcast email immediately to your contacts or you can choose to schedule it for a future date. Select the “Standard” campaign, give your campaign a name, and click on “Next” located on the top right of your screen.

You can also choose from Auto Responder, Split Testing, RSS Triggered, or Date-based. For more information on these campaign types, check out this help article

Select Your List

Next, choose which list you want to send your campaign to. You can choose to send your email campaign to one list or multiple lists. To select the list, click on the checkbox located next to the list name. The number of contacts to the right shows you how many active contacts are currently in that list.

You also have the option to send your email campaign to a segment of one or more of your lists. Please note that you can only send to one segment at a time. To create a segment, first select your list. Once you do, you will see a “Segment Selected List(s)” link at the top of the List box.


Click on the “Segment Selected List(s)” link and a dropdown box will appear containing segments (if you have already created them). You can also choose to create a new segment here by clicking on “Create New Segment.” For more information on creating segments, please visit this help article.

Choosing a Format

After you have selected your list(s), you will then choose a format for your campaign. Our system has two different types of templates:

‘Pre-designed templates’ which already have a design applied to them that you can modify and uses our drag and drop editor. For more information about our templates, check out this guide

‘Build from Scratch’ which allows you to create your own custom template using either our drag and drop editor or you can create an HTML email campaign or Text Only email campaign. For more information on the different types of campaigns, see this help doc

You can also choose a past campaign to use as a basis for your new campaign. This would be a good option if you want to reuse a past campaign and modify certain elements rather than starting from scratch.



For this example, we are going to use a Designer template. Mouse over any designer template of your choice and click on the “Use this Design” button. In the modal window, enter in a subject line and then click Continue. The subject line can be changed later. For this example, we will be using the pre-designed template called “Shopping.”

Modifying Your Template and Updating Your Subject Line

On the next step of the campaign creation process, you will be able to modify the content and layout of the template you chose by dragging and dropping content blocks from the sidebar into your campaign.


You can also format any content block by adjusting line height, background color, padding and more by using the “Options” feature. To use this feature, click on any content block you wish to modify and to the right of the screen, the “Options” menu will show.



Also on the design page of your campaign, you can update your subject line. To update your subject line, click on the Gear Icon on the top right of your screen. Once you click on that icon, a modal window will appear where you can edit your Subject Line, update the From Name and Email address, and send a test of your campaign.

For a more detailed explanation of using the Email Designer, please visit this help doc.

Campaign Summary Page

Once you have formatted the email to the way you want it, click on “Next” to go to the Summary page.

You will want to use the Campaign Summary page to help you prepare the send of your email campaign. On this page, you will be able to:

  • Check your subject line and sender information
  • Check the list you are sending to
  • Select additional metrics to track
  • Schedule a send for a future date (or send immediately)
  • Send a test email
  • Preview your campaign
  • View spam check results

With the Spam check, you will want to see the result of “Passed.” If you see an error instead, you will want to fix the issue in your campaign prior to sending. Anything other than “Passed” indicates an issue that may keep your campaign from reaching your subscriber’s inbox.

When you are ready to send/schedule your email, click on the “Send Now” button located on the top right of your screen. You will then be asked to confirm your send with an option to cancel.

If you chose to send your campaign at a future date, it will appear under “Scheduled” on the campaign overview screen.

Have more questions? Submit a request