How to use ActiveCampaign with Your Online Course or Training Based Membership Website with Kay Peacey of Slick Business

Posted in

Listen to This Episode

Learn how to use ActiveCampaign with your online course or training based membership website with Kay Peacey of Slick Business in this LMScast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Kay shares her story of entering the online freelance industry from being a teacher, and what key takeaways she has had over her career and how they can apply to automation for course creators.

Kay works alongside Melissa Love, who we’ve also featured on LMScast before, so if you haven’t seen that episode be sure to check it out here. Kay works a lot with the marketing automation aspect and ActiveCampaign.

Many online course creators struggle to find the best automation tool for their business. At LifterLMS, we often recommend Mailchimp for beginners, ConvertKit for intermediate users, and ActiveCampaign for advanced users. If you’ve worked with marketing automation tools before and want to check out ActiveCampaign, Kay has a free course here you can check out for figuring out what the best next step is for you in your marketing automation journey for your business.

One huge challenge people face with CRM tools and WordPress tech tools in general is untangling all of the automations they’ve set up as they were trying to get their first sales. Course creators will often create a lot of funnels, tags, and sequences without users going through those sequences. And then that can end up getting tangled up later.

How to use ActiveCampaign with your online course or training based membership website with Kay Peacey of Slick Business

Kay shares some great tips for keeping your ActiveCampaign clean so you don’t have to do the untangling work later. The easiest automation to start with and validate with for your funnel is an opt-in for a lead magnet, such as a guide covering a question you see asked frequently in a Facebook group or a video/blog post answering a key question in your niche and community.

Some other key tips Kay shares are to avoid going over 5 lists in your CRM, and to avoid working with over 50 tags as that makes it super easy to get tangled. Another great tool to look at is WP Fusion, as it ties together your WordPress site and ActiveCampaign, so you can trigger automations in ActiveCampaign when something specific happens on the website and vice versa.

To learn more about Kay Peacey and how you can automate your marketing funnel, be sure to check out where you can sign up for Kay’s free course. And if you’re in the ActiveCampaign community, you’ll probably run into Kay at some point in the Facebook group or her content around the tools, so feel free to get in touch with her if you have any questions!

You can also try out ActiveCampaign free for 2 weeks, so if you’re interested in testing out the interface to see if it’s right for you, the 2 week trial and Kay’s course are a great place to start.

At you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today I’m joined by a special guest, Kay Peacey. She’s from She’s coming at us from across the pond. I first heard about Kate … I’m sorry, Kay, from Melissa Love who we just did a case study on, go check that out on the LifterLMS case studies page. Kay is an expert in one of my favorite topics, which is marketing automation and ActiveCampaign. Welcome to the show, Kay.

Kay Peacey: Thank you for inviting me on. It’s a huge pleasure.

Chris Badgett: I like to have fun with my British guests. So the first question I wanted to ask you is, in marketing and sales, how are British buyers different from American buyers? Or how do we market differently or just think about that if we’re selling internationally?

Kay Peacey: Well, I think that’s a great question. It’s actually something that Melissa basically had to beat me with a big stick about when I first started teaming up with Melissa and working on her automations and digital marketing. Because I had to relearn how to say stuff in a language that was more universally good and quality.

So it has to be somewhere in the middle because the British … if you use an American spelling, some British people get really antsy about that. It can really alienate people. So I find myself actively avoiding words, whether it was an American spelling versus a British spelling.

Chris Badgett: What’s the example?

Kay Peacey: Customize.

Chris Badgett: Okay.

Kay Peacey: Customization, personalization, which are words I need to use all the time, but I do avoid them if I’m doing something that’s written because for a British audience, it can be really jarring still to see an American spelling. Or color, for example. Color is another one. I think that one’s not so bad because if you’re working with people who are doing techie stuff, they’re used to seeing it in the syntax, it’s going to be spelled with the American, without the U.

So yeah, I think I avoid controversial words. And the hilarious stuff, when you drop in some bit of idiom, like I refer to something as being a bit Marmite, which makes complete sense to a UK person.

Chris Badgett: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Kay Peacey: You have no idea what I just said.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Kay Peacey: So if something’s a bit Marmite, you either love it or hate it.

Chris Badgett: Okay.

Kay Peacey: So Marmite is like Vegemite in Australia. So you can translate that into Australian and say, “It’s a bit Vegemite.”

Chris Badgett: Which I don’t know what that is either.

Kay Peacey: You don’t know what that is either. I don’t know what [inaudible] someone can call in after the podcast and tell us, what is the U.S. equivalent of Marmite and Vegemite? Something you either absolutely love or absolutely hate and there is no middle ground.

Chris Badgett: That was probably V8 Juice or whatever, tomato juice or something. But-

Kay Peacey: Now I don’t know it.

Chris Badgett: ActiveCampaign is awesome. I love it. I switched to it from Infusionsoft about five years ago. In the Lifter LMS community, we usually recommend Mailchimp for beginners, ConvertKit for intermediate and ActiveCampaign for advanced. I just fell in love with ActiveCampaign a long time ago.

And you have a free course called Accelerated ActiveCampaign. You can pick that up for free at Slick and you’ll find it there. What’s in Accelerated ActiveCampaign, your free course?

Kay Peacey: So this is a course that I put together primarily for people who were doing the two week trial, but actually it’s turned out to be enormously valuable to people who were already using ActiveCampaign as well.

Chris Badgett: And just real quick, if you don’t know, if you want to try ActiveCampaign, you can actually try it out full feature for free for two weeks. That’s what you’re talking about.

Kay Peacey: Yeah. And in that two week trial, you get all the goodies. Everything. And that is enormous [inaudible], but it’s an overwhelmingly large sandbox to go and play in. And what happens? I just saw it happen so many times and it was a selfish move because what I get as a consultant in ActiveCampaign for courses and membership sites, I get people coming to me and they’re a year or two years down the line with ActiveCampaign and their account is starting to eat them for breakfast.

Because they have not built it in the best practice structural way and starts to cause them problems, especially if they start growing. And then they need to get someone to come in and untangle it. And boy, that is time consuming and it can slow down your business and it can really hamper your growth.

So selfishly, my mission was to get fewer of those customers coming to me and more customers coming in who’ve got to lovely, nice, clean, robust, ActiveCampaign accounts set up in this way that makes it just so much easier to work with. So that’s where I was coming from. With my work with Melissa, we also advise people, what should they get?

Should they get Mailchimp? I don’t say Mailchimp anymore, I say mail a little late actually. We’ve really switched to that one. And ActiveCampaign and people looking to get a head start or just to see if it’s the right one for them. So I thought, “Right. Okay, two week trial. Let’s do a speedy tour of ActiveCampaign.”

I think I assumed you would have half an hour a day over 10 working days and I would take you straight to the best cookies in the jar and let you kick the tires of ActiveCampaign with guidance. Because when you go into this huge sandbox, where do you even start in there? You’ve got to get contacts and you don’t even know what the difference is between an automation or a campaign email.

There are confusion points and information that we give time and time and time again in the official Facebook group for ActiveCampaign users, which is a brilliant community, by the way. If you are an ActiveCampaign user and you’re not in ActiveCampaign Official on Facebook, get in there. It’s the same things come up again and again and again.

So I was like, “Okay. I’m going to put this together and it’s going to have my own individual consultancy preferences. So I’m going to get people to make accounts the way I like to have them set up.” It’s a bit devious, really. But it’s going to help lots of people by showing them how to work in a much more robust way with ActiveCampaign and to get them a huge jumpstart.

Or alternatively, people who were already using it to just get them to step back from their account a bit and look at, what shape is this in? Am I taking advantage of the features that are available? Again, this is something I see time and time again in the group is people who have got ActiveCampaign, maybe they’re on the plus plan even, not even the light plan. They’re on plus plan, and their not using some of the most amazing killer features in there, which is sad. That makes me sad.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well, that’s amazing. And I just want to highlight three things you said there. One is that you’re using a free course to better qualify prospects into your business. That’s it super awesome way to use a course to be really efficient and streamline your own marketing and sells. I love that idea.

So that people come prepared and educated. When you find yourself repeating yourself over and over in a service business, there’s often an opportunity for what I call a free course lead magnet there. So that’s awesome.

Kay Peacey: Definitely, and that was a huge part of my motivation for building it. Before it crystallized into the form it’s taken now, it began as a stack of resources that I could direct my clients to. Because I had those same conversations with them so many times, “Oh, did you know there are safe responses?

Did you know there’s a Chrome extension you can do with this?” And then showing them how to use it. So it just became really apparent that I needed this bank of resources anyway. So I just packaged it up a little bit differently, and it’s been amazing. I’ve reached so many people with that that I was not able to reach before because there’s only one of me.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. Yeah. You can scale yourself with a free course. And I like what you said about use the verb, which we can relate to in America called untangle. And I often see somebody who’s untrained or doesn’t really know what they’re doing in marketing or marketing automation especially, they create this spaghetti mess that’s all tangled up.

It’s really overbuilt and over engineered and it’s painful. And I hate seeing somebody in that mess because they’ve spent so much time and they’re trying hard, but either stuff’s not hooked up correctly, what have you seen? What are some of the disasters?

Kay Peacey: I have seen some absolute doozies. My biggest tangle was … I’m going to say spaghetti junction, but you don’t have that in the States.

Chris Badgett: I think I know what that means though. It’s like a traffic jam.

Kay Peacey: Yes. Spaghetti junction, I think it’s up near Birmingham somewhere and it’s this crazy intersection of lots and lots of roads and it’s just really tangled up like that. I’ve had some accounts come in, I think there’s two or three that have really stood out to me where it was just like that.

And it’s reaching the point where the whole thing’s going to devour the business because you can’t work with it anymore. And especially if a business is trying to grow, if you can’t articulate to someone what this system is meant to be doing and how it is doing it, you can’t work on that system. You can’t work within that system.

So I would say probably a good 80 to 90% of the client consultation work that I do is untangling. A lot of the time I do the untangling after someone’s come to me and said, “Can you build this?” And I look at their account and I’m like, “I can, but not yet. You have to do the housekeeping first. Because we can’t work in this environment. It’s not healthy and it will break.”

Chris Badgett: And that’s what a true consultant does is they don’t just say, “Yes, I’ll build exactly what you want.” They’re like, “Hold on. We got to prepare the environment for success here.”

Kay Peacey: Yeah, definitely. And I think that’s so important for ActiveCampaign. With it with the Accelerated ActiveCampaign, I’m genuinely on a mission to help fewer businesses get into that situation in first place. Because it’s such a shame, it’s such a bad use of people’s energy and time and all that time they spend trying to learn it and we can do that so much better, I think.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. And if you’re listening to this, just go over to Slick, enroll in that free course, even if you’re not using ActiveCampaign, you’re going to learn principles and ideas that are going to help you. And Kay is the real deal. She is listed on the ActiveCampaign website as a certified partner, whatever it is, like a recommended service provider.

Kay Peacey: Certified consultant, yeah.

Chris Badgett: Certified consultant, which is awesome.

Kay Peacey: I’m also one of the moderators in the Facebook official user group, they invited me to do that about a year ago. They have, I think about 10 invited users who they saw giving actively, consistent and really solid help to users all over the planet and helping them get better at using ActiveCampaign. So I was invited to be a moderator in the group, and that was lovely. That was a really nice invitation.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a pro tip for something else we talk about on this podcast is if you run an online community, sometimes your power users helpers can help moderate and relieve some of that burden. And they’ll do it because they love the product, they love the industry, but it also helps build their authority, potentially get leads and stuff like that too.

Kay Peacey: Definitely. For me, it was a big step on the way to really owning the fact that I’m an expert in using ActiveCampaign with small businesses and specifically with courses and memberships. It took me a bit of a journey to get to the point where I was ready to claim that publicly. And them inviting me to do that was a huge pat on the back and recognition for me. It meant a lot.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. I want to talk about something interesting, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this on this show, this exact topic, which is one of the things that we see successful core sites, like Melissa’s loves, The Marketing, which Kay helped out on, is that there’s often a team president. It’s not a one person show or one woman show or one man show. So you helped Melissa.

Melissa didn’t do it all by herself. And I have to ask you, my brain is wired more like yours as a marketing person and automation and a systems thinker and stuff like that than like Melissa, who’s creative expert, amazing designer. I have some of those qualities, definitely not on the design side, but I’m more like you. So what is the dynamic like when you’re working with somebody like Melissa? How does it play off each other and how do you bring the value to the table?

Kay Peacey: I love that question. That’s such a good question. When I first started working with Melissa, I was really overawed, I think, by the skillset that she has. And this happens, I think, with any course or membership provider that I’m working with because they are always going to be more expert in their thing, their subject-

Chris Badgett: And the topic.

Kay Peacey: … that’s how it should be. Right? So one of the things I love about the work that I do is we have to do this really nimble relationship building and find ways of working with people from very different industries. But what they’re all bringing to the table is their subject matter expertise, their absolute knowledge and confidence and power in that environment.

I see my role as to facilitate them to be able to do that much more quickly, much more effectively, and to improve their experience as a business owner, as well as the experience of their learners. So I think one of the reasons that that dynamic works really well between Melissa and I particularly, which is the relationship that enabled me to grow into this role that I’m doing now is that we both come from a teaching background historically. We both started as teachers. I was a teacher of mathematics and then went into e-learning and taught choir for a while. The teaching is the thing that underlies everything.

Chris Badgett: Does that mean like a willingness and an openness to learn? Or what do you mean by that?

Kay Peacey: Yeah, I think it’s both. I think it’s understanding or being willing to really examine and scrutinize how your learners learn, because of course that really changes across the industries. And the membership space is so brilliantly diverse, the way that learners consume knowledge across those industries is fascinating in its breadth.

So you’ve got to be willing to step into the industry and think, “Okay, now I’m looking at 11 year olds who are studying for an exam, how do we make this better as an experience for them, as opposed to small business owners trying to learn to do their marketing with Melissa? What works?”

And I think that willing to be flexible, nimble and responsive is just enormously important. And so, yeah, Melissa, as a very long standing person that I work with, we have these wonderfully open conversations of bouncing ideas off each other. I’m coming at it from a techie angle of, “Hey, did you think about, we could use this tool to do this thing and deliver this and make it easier.”

And she’s coming at it from, “I’ve got all this amazing content and I want to get it to all of them, but we’ve got to do it in a manageable consumable way.” But it’s very fluid, I think. And for me it varies enormously from client to client.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. What would Melissa say or somebody like … what’s the big benefit of working with you? And I know in British we’re humble and we’re modest, but what pressure do you relieve on an expert course creator membership site owner? What’s the end result?

Kay Peacey: No, I can answer this, [inaudible] I make the tech pain go away. So what I often ask them to do is to say to me, “What would this process look like to you ideally? Do some blue sky thinking, tell me what you want this to look like from your customer and so what should the students feel like?”

I always talk about feelings. What should it feel like for the student and what should it feel like for you? Okay? Because if we know those two things, the bit where I come in is I can tell you exactly the process that will make that happen easiest, fastest, consistent, reliable, and within your budget. And I can build the tech to make that happen.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That’s awesome.

Kay Peacey: That’s where I step in. so yeah, so that can take all sorts of different forms. I don’t just work with ActiveCampaign. I work with Airtable a lot, actually as a partner application to ActiveCampaign. That is a super tool for small business. And often, when I have conversations with clients where we’re jigsawing in all sorts of other useful bits of tech to meet the business need. So it’s that knowledge of the landscape of the tech that’s available as well.

Chris Badgett: What does Airtable do?

Kay Peacey: Do you know Airtable already?

Chris Badgett: I do not.

Kay Peacey: You don’t know Airtable? Chris. Airtable is like my second favorite piece of tech after ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is my first love, but Airtable has come right up in the mix. So Airtable is a database app. It is free to use for many, many purposes. There is a pro level plan that you can notch up to if you need.

But my goodness, it’s incredibly capable on the free level. And it’s like a beautiful user friendly interface to do relational databases. It’s online, collaborative, and pretty much anyone can use it. And if you’d like, I can give you a brilliant example of how we’ve just used it in our community.

Chris Badgett: Sure.

Kay Peacey: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have built a responsive, fast, free, collaborative Airtable database to manage the community support delivery need in our community. And that’s now rolling out to all sorts of other community groups because you can also share databases really, really easily and say, “Right. Here’s the model we use. Go take that, run with it.”

So I’m a huge fan of Airtable anyway and right now, in this particular time of what’s happening, it’s even more useful. And actually they’ve just unlocked the pro plan for anyone who’s using it in that context. They’re giving that away as well. Coming back, however to how small businesses use it if that’s okay.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Kay Peacey: ActiveCampaign and many other CRMs are incredible at managing single contact. What they’re often not very good at managing is one to many relationships or many to many relationships. And a really good example of that is one of my clients who teaches children in tutor groups.

In the tutor groups, because one parent can have many children, so the email address belongs to the parent, but that parent may have many children and those many children will be doing many, many things. I think at the moment on that client, we have like 90 data points on every student that they teach.

ActiveCampaign is going to struggle to do that and to handle that information, to aggregate and crunch the numbers on that. It’s not built for it. But if you tie up ActiveCampaign to Airtable, wow, now you’ve got incredible super powers unleashed. And for that client right now, we are scrambling to just accelerate her plan, which was to get into Lifter and deliver that content online.

Thank goodness we had Lifter in place already. We are this week working on connecting all of those three things together to make our super mighty remote learning system come together. It’s like a dream team.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That’s amazing. Let’s pivot to the beginner who’s coming into ActiveCampaign. And even if you’re using something else, this is still going to be valuable. But if you were to give somebody a piece of advice on what to focus on, they’ve got a course or a membership site, where should we start with ActiveCampaign?

What are the key automations we should build? Or what should we do to build our email list? What is the 5% of the tool and the strategies that we should get started with and ignore everything else for now?

Kay Peacey: Okay. There’s a lot I could cover in that. I’m just thinking where to focus that. I think if we’re talking about someone who’s just coming into that space-

Chris Badgett: Yeah, new course creator.

Kay Peacey: Yeah, new course creator. Okay. So I would say if you’re coming into ActiveCampaign, my first and most important piece of advice is you should never have more than five lists. Do not go down the lists rabbit hole and use your lists very sparingly. Tags are great. Custom fields are even better. Okay?

So in different roles, you need to think about how you’re going to structure your account. One really strong way to use tags in a course environment is that if a student is enrolled on a course, they should have the course tag. And the course tag, if it’s on, there on the course. If the tag isn’t there, they’re not on the course.

Nice and simple. Let me think of an example then of how I would use it for starting. Let’s say you’re trying to build up your audience, and we can use my Accelerated ActiveCampaign course as an example, because really essentially that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

I’m building up an audience so that one day I can launch my amazing membership of how to do ActiveCampaign with sheer and utter brilliance and dominate the world of course with memberships. I’m working towards that right now. I don’t have an audience because I’ve been piggybacking on Melissa’s audience for a long time and I need to get my own.

I build my course in Lifter. Obviously I put together my videos. I did my course planning. Next thing is that I need a sign up on my site. So on my site, I have an opt in on a page. It’s just an ActiveCampaign form embedded on the page. Really simple. And if you’re in WordPress, of course you got the ActiveCampaign plugin or you can use the embed. So you would need to learn how to build a simple form.

One of my top tips there is to make sure that your forms are capturing the lead source if you can possibly do it. I’ve got some good strategies for that. It’s a bit techie, so I won’t go into that right now. But if you can know when your leads come into ActiveCampaign, if you know where they came from, that’s gold dust information for later on. So if you can get that right from the beginning, that’s helpful.

So someone enrolls using an opt in form, you just need their email, that’s it. Nothing else. Then connecting that up so that they are automatically enrolled on a course. They get a lovely welcome email that tells them their username and their password and where to go to login.

And then you can have a follow up sequence of some onboarding emails that I helps them work their way through that introductory free material. And you just give them a beautiful, automated experience that they can consume at any time without your intervention. Okay? So that’s going to drive itself.

You’re then at Liberty to scale that up and start telling people, “Hey, did you know, I’ve got this amazing free course.” You could run some Facebook ads, driving some traffic to that. And you can scale that up without it having an impact on you and your time. And then you can then use that time to go develop the next thing. Okay?

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Kay Peacey: So yeah, I think auto enrollment from a simple opt in is probably a great place to start.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Now, for the power user out there, if somebody is using WooCommerce or Lifter LMS, how do you use WP Fusion? Because one of the things with Lifter is we believe in community. So we promote and help people discover other products that integrate with our tool.

We promote service professionals who can help the course creator. We’re all about community. And one of the really standout community members in this online course membership site world on the software side is called WP Fusion. What do you like about it? How can course creators leverage it?

Kay Peacey: Now we’re on another favorite topic of mine. I’m an enormous super fan of WP Fusion. I owe Jack Arturo, who makes it many, many drinks for helping me. He’s just amazingly responsive. So how do I use it with courses and memberships? Right. I’m going to summarize what WP Fusion does first of all.

It joins the dots between WordPress users and the contacts in your CRM. So in this case ActiveCampaign. So let’s assume we’ve got WooCommerce and Lifter and ActiveCampaign in play. WP Fusion enables you to have dynamic synchronization between those WordPress users and your ActiveCampaign contacts.

So an action that happens over here can become a tag or a list or an automation trigger over here and vice versa. It can go back the other way. So this is amazing. So this is where that opt in thing works, is someone opts into ActiveCampaign, you give them a tag. WP Fusion can automatically and immediately enroll them onto exactly the course you want them to be on.

And it can hide or show them things based on what tasks they’ve had. You can synchronize all your fields. You can do your WooCommerce product, all of it. Pretty much anything in WordPress can be fed into here. So it’s this amazing two way sync between the two things.

How you use it in your business is … again, it’s like a giant sandbox. You have to start with what you would like to happen, I think. What would I like this experience to look like and feel like? And then you can figure out how you can use fusion to make that happen. It’s an incredibly versatile, amazing tool.

Chris Badgett: I love that point of focus on the learner experience and the business needs, and then focus on the tech to make it happen. Sometimes we get a little focused on the tech, like ActiveCampaign, WordPress, whatever, but it’s all about the experience in creating a business that can scale. Right?

Kay Peacey: Yeah. I really agree with that. And it’s something I bring my clients back to all the time. You have to start from the end product, and then you’re reverse engineering basically. You’re working back towards, okay, what have I got in my toolkit already? Or what do I need to make that happen? And WP Fusion answers so many of those use cases.

It’s just ridiculously versatile. And I have nothing but respect for Jack who will help build on extra bits. If I find something, if, which doesn’t happen very often, I find something I can’t do with WP Fusion, I can ask Jack and he will very often come back with it in a couple of days’ time. Wow.

Chris Badgett: He’s a Facebook comment away.

Kay Peacey: Yeah, genuinely. That’s it. I love it. If someone’s hesitating about investing in WP Fusion, hesitate no more, just do it. Just do it

Chris Badgett: Solid points. And this is one of the things that really shows. For some people, things like Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific, Udemy, hosted LMS platforms are good. But when we start getting into these advanced use cases and customization and user experience design, this is where WordPress in the ecosystem and the open source and being able to leverage multiple tools, working together through these connections become super powerful. It’s a totally different … it’s like building a custom home versus being in an apartment.

Kay Peacey: Yeah. Yeah. And that versatility is so important for small businesses. Everyone has their own vision of … and again, I’m going to come back to the learners. Learners are different for different things, different ages, different levels of tech experience, all those things. Melissa’s marketing fix site is a beautiful example of this.

She set out to make it feel like a mobile app and to feel so joyful and welcoming and effortless. And WP Fusion is doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind that site, making sure that things are shown or not shown according to various rules that we set up. And one of the things I really love about Fusion is that you don’t need to be a super techie automation geek to be able to work it.

Once you understand the principles of it, it’s very serviceable, it’s really comprehensible for a business owner to use. I can set some stuff up for them and then I can hand it off and they can go tweak it and work with it as much as they want, because it makes sense. It’s intuitive. If the tag is on, they should be able to see this thing. If the tag is not on, they should not be able to see this thing.

We can all understand that. Okay? Or if someone buys this product, they want them to have this tag. If they change the field, I want it to get updated in ActiveCampaign. And it’s all on the surface. So you can actually work with it, even though you’re not a techie. So this is great for small businesses and the courses and membership guys, because it means they’re not tied to having a developer or coder. They can see what’s happening. They can keep track of what’s happening and they can change it when they need to in a moment’s notice. It’s all just there [crosstalk].

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. In WordPress, everybody’s democratizing everything. So right here, what we’re talking about is the democratization of marketing automation and that’s super cool. And totally, once you learn the basics, it opens up a world of possibilities. No developer required.

Kay Peacey: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: It took me a while to understand it so I wanted to ask the expert. What are the differences between tags and custom fields? I had a hard time really wrapping my brain around this. Can you help the listener really understand? We have email lists and then we have contacts and they can have tags and fields. What’s the difference?

Kay Peacey: Okay. So this is one of the things that I cover in that Accelerated ActiveCampaign course. So if you want more on this, that’s a good place to go. Because then I’ve got some diagrams and some wavy hands that help articulate it. Because sometimes it’s easier with examples. And I’ve got lots of examples in there as well.

To summarize, a tag is a binary thing. It can be on or it can be off. That’s it. Okay? Whereas a custom field is a data point that can have a range of values. It contains value and information. So it’s a much richer piece of information.

Chris Badgett: Like a zip code? At least that’s what we call it in the U.S. Do you guys call it that? Postcode?

Kay Peacey: Postcode.

Chris Badgett: Okay. Yeah.

Kay Peacey: We need a translator.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Kay Peacey: Yeah. So in some cases, it’s really obvious that you’re going to need a custom field. If you want to record someone’s postcode, you’re not going to give all of them a different tag because your tag list is going to be out of control. An ActiveCampaign account, where more than maybe 50 or 100 tags is probably got too many tags. Not always, but probably. Okay?

So if it’s something that has an enormous range of data that could be included in a values, it’s going to be a custom field almost certainly. But in some cases, something that looks like it might be a custom field is actually better as a tag and vice versa. Often it depends on the use case. Again, I’m going to come back to WP Fusion because WP Fusion works a lot on whether the tag is present or not present.

So, if you’re trying to control something in your Lifter environment based on this data point, if you’re using Fusion, it may well need to be a tag. So sometimes you have a custom field that needs to also be a tag or sometimes get turned into a tag to be used. But broadly speaking, fewer tags is better.

Okay? And they can be on or off. That’s it. And you can’t search within tag values either. That’s a limitation. For example, if you had a whole load of products who belong to a certain category and you were tagging those products with an individual tag each that said the category name and then the product name, but that’s a single tag.

Right? What you can’t do is then go and say, “I want to find me all the things that have any of those tags on that contain that string.” That’s hard. So you would want to put that information in a custom field because then you can say, “I want all the custom fields that contain-“

Chris Badgett: Business course or whatever.

Kay Peacey: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Kay Peacey: Okay. So it’s a hard question to answer in a really universal way because I think it depends so much on the individual business. But broadly speaking tags on or off, no more than about 50 or it’s going to get really unmanageable. Tags are like a surface thing, you can tell a story looking at the tags on a contact.

They’re right on the surface in ActiveCampaign. It’s really easy to see them. It’s easy to count them. It’s easy to segment by, show me all the contacts you have with this tag. Really, really easy. But when you start to get too many of them, it gets really cluttered. So they’re to be used judiciously. All right?

Chris Badgett: That’s great. Thank you for taking us to school. That’s super helpful. I understand that better now.

Kay Peacey: I’m sure I said it better in my Accelerated ActiveCampaign course.

Chris Badgett: If you’re watching this or listening to this, go to Slick, do yourself a favor and get yourself in that course. And Kay, I wanted to just dive into your story a little bit. How does a teacher go to this ActiveCampaign marketing automation, WordPress specialist, adviser, tech advisor type person?

I feel like sometimes I see people get into WordPress and then they just go down this whole rabbit hole and become the WordPress power user. You’ve done that with marketing automation and ActiveCampaign coming from the ordinary world of being a teacher. How did that happen?

Kay Peacey: Okay. I’ll give you the medium length version. So I started out, I trained as a teacher. I’ve always been a person who likes to teach. I get a kick out of that light bulb moment. And that’s the driving thing that goes through everything I’ve ever done. I like that. Good at it. Great. Let’s carry on doing that.

So I’ve gone through math teaching. I was in The Open University as a tutor on one of their courses about the origin of the internet. I did distance learning for the NHS. You know in the early days of e-learning, I was in that environment then. And then I had this big hiatus where two big things happened in my life. I had children and I also developed quite a significant physical disability that meant I couldn’t do physical teaching anymore.

So now I’m out of the workplace for a while. I carried on teaching during that to a degree by running a community choir. So again, teaching, getting that light bulb moment and that kick that you get from sharing something that you’re passionate about and amazing at. That moment of sharing that with someone and having them tweak. Okay? So that carried on all the way through.

And then by the time I’d got through a whole lot of heavy duty orthopedic surgeries, which was not an easy time at all, here I was in [foy] … and Melissa Love and I have our kids at the same school and she was looking for someone to do some techie stuff for her. She’d been struggling to find someone who could work ActiveCampaign and Facebook ads.

So naturally we’re sitting around and she looks at me and says, “Do you fancy doing that?” I’m like, “Yeah, okay. Why not? I got nothing better to do.” But I like spreadsheets and stuff. How hard can it be? And at this time Melissa knew nothing about my teaching background or any of it. So it was really quite accidental to start off with, but it very quickly became apparent that this was going to be a good thing for me to do and I fell in love with ActiveCampaign.

And I use exactly that phrase because that’s how it felt. I was like, “Oh wow. This thing is incredible. Look what it can do.” And before very much time had passed, we got to a point where I was bringing stuff to the table for Melissa and saying, “Okay, we can use this. Wow. Imagine if we use this in this context, what could we do with your business then?” So then Melissa started introducing me to other people and saying, “We want to go to this one.”

And I was going, “Oh no, no, no, no.” I was very scared because I’d never done freelance consulting and I didn’t see myself in that role at all. Anyway, the short bit is that three years later here we are, and I’m a certified ActiveCampaign consultant. I absolutely love it. And specifically the integration side and with courses and memberships, that’s my sweet spot because I’m a teacher, I get it.

And I love working with these subject matter experts in all these crazy niches that we have courses and memberships. And I get real joy from unlocking the potential that they have to share that with the people. What better?

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. If you’re listening to this, go to Slick, get in KPCs Accelerated ActiveCampaign course. I want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom and experience with us. I totally get it now because I see this overlap of teacher and you call yourself a tech puzzle solver and just your time in the trenches with ActiveCampaign and also really resonating with the creative energy that the teachers you’re working with have.

It builds an incredible momentum, which is what education entrepreneurs need and getting the technology barriers out of the way and bringing the automation in, it’s awesome.

Kay Peacey: Yeah. That’s exactly it. Yeah. That’s the bit that excites me, when you can see what someone’s trying to do and empower them to be able to do that. And not only just to do it, but then to be able to drive it for themselves going forward so they’re not then dependent on someone who’s coding behind the scenes is to do it in a way that is transparent and understandable to the business owner, so that they can take that and grow independently as well. I don’t believe in tying people to a consultant. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do for small businesses.

Chris Badgett: And that’s another hat tip to you for being a teacher, as I’m sure you’re packaging your knowledge of like, “Hey, this is how you use WP Fusion.” You’re not building a black box. You’re empowering an education entrepreneur, which is awesome.

Kay Peacey: Definitely, definitely. If nothing else, because there is a skill shortage of people who really do understand and can build well with ActiveCampaign. I’m not saying that to blow my own trumpet. I just know that there are a lot of people looking for people to build stuff with this and it’s hard to find right now. I’m sure it will grow over time, but right now it’s tricky to find them. So it would be irresponsible to tie people in, I think.

Chris Badgett: Totally. Well, KPC, she’s at Slick Thanks for coming on the show. Is there anywhere else people can connect with you?

Kay Peacey: I am to be found in the ActiveCampaign Official Facebook group. I lurk in there and watch out for questions. That’s a nice place to connect. I’m also in Melissa Love’s design space lounge. At some point I will have my own Facebook group, but right now I have other priorities. So yeah, website and Facebook, I would say.

Chris Badgett: Well, thank you so much. It’s awesome to get into this with you today. And we’ll have to do this again sometime, for sure.

Kay Peacey: Cool. Thanks for inviting me on, Chris. Much appreciated.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life. Head on over to and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging, results getting courses on the internet.

Share This Episode

Know Your Value

Discover how much you can charge (no opt in required).

Stop Wasting Time Researching Tech

WordPress LMS Buyer's Guide Download Cover Images

Get FREE access to the official WordPress LMS Buyer’s Guide

Get the Best LMS Software Now

Get FREE instant access to the most powerful customizable LMS software

Create and Launch an Online Course with WordPress

Discover how to launch your online course website in 20 minutes.

WordPress LMS Growth Engine

5 secrets to create, launch, and scale your high value online training program website.

Try LifterLMS Before You Buy

Discover the world’s most powerful flexible learning management system (LMS) for WordPress.