I learned this one from Todd Brown.

It’s called the RUNNING tag.

Here’s how it works (in Active Campaign) although it can work in any system like Ontraport or Infusionsoft too.

Basically when a contact enters a promotion sequence I want to insulate them from receiving other automations or broadcasts.  I do this by adding a tag called [Status] RUNNING Do Not Email near the beginning (top) of the promotional sequence/automation.

Option 1 – Filtering with an If/Then Situation

Often, I will make a check for that tag existing and then end the automation if it does as the first step.  Sometimes I put it directly into the part that starts the automation in the first place.  I suppose there is good and bad reasons for both.

running tag



OPTION 2 – Filtering at the start of an automation

running tag start automation


In this case we’re filtering for all true scenarios where they get added to any list but don’t have the running.


When using IF/THEN statements I find it best to keep it POSITIVE throughout the sequence.  I find DOUBLE NEGATIVE to be confusing.


If the RUNNING tag exists…

TRUE / YES — This means “Yes the tag exists”… then end this automation.

NO / FALSE — And this means “No the tag does not exist”… carry on with this awesome automation!


If the RUNNING tag does not exist..

TRUE / YES — So… this means “Yes this does not exist therefore you can continue… I think.”

NO / FALSE — and this means “No this tag does not not exist.”

See what I mean?  Even just writing this I got myself confused.


Removing The Running Tag

I often set this tag as one of the first steps in the sequence.  And one of the last steps is to remove this tag.  If you don’t you will end up with a bunch of people that are segmented out of future mailings.  This would be bad.

An alternative is to have a ‘master’ automation that removes people when they leave a specific list (if you use lists).

remove running tagThis automation simply waits for the contact to be unsubscribed from this list and then ensures the RUNNING tag is removed.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.