One of the things that attracted me to ConvertKit is that it’s built for professional bloggers and creators, and as such it has built-in features that I knew would make my life easier. And I’m all for making my life easier!

One such feature is the ability to exclude groups of subscribers from an email in a sequence. This might seem like a trivial thing of inconsequence, but it has proved to be very handy! The benefits of this include:

  • You can stop pitching to people who have already bought your product
  • You can skip emails when they aren’t right for subsets of subscribers
  • You can skip welcome emails to people already in your list

You don’t need a fancy workflow (like I did in Drip). You just need to tick a box.

What is a sequence?

Before we dive in further, let’s recap on what a sequence is. A sequence is a series of emails that are sent to people, one after the other. If someone is subscribed to a sequence, they will get all the emails in the sequence. Some other email providers, like Drip, call sequences campaigns. They are essentially the same thing.

Sequences are great for things like email courses, where you want to help someone get from point X to point Y over a series of emails.

Why would you exclude people from an email in the sequence?

I mentioned above that in a sequence, everyone who is subscribed to the sequence will get all the emails in the sequence. But what if you want a subscriber to skip one of the emails in the sequence but get the rest of them?

The best way to illustrate this is with a a couple of examples.

Example 1: Don’t pitch to people who have already bought

Over on BeFused, I have an email course that helps people learn the basics of Drupal development. They get one educational email a day for 7 days. And at the end, I send a follow-up email to see if they would be interested in buying my book.

But I don’t want to send that email to people who have already bought the book. It is a waste of space in their inbox and super annoying to be pitched something that you have already purchased.

Before ConvertKit, I had to build a complicated workflow for the entire sequence to be able to exclude people from parts of it. This meant that everything ended up being a workflow and I had no sequences (called campaigns in Drip). I ended up with a web of workflows that were really hard to manage. Being able to use sequences for their intended purpose (send a series of emails) and workflows for their intended purpose (manage automations) makes my setup much cleaner and easier to manage.

When someone becomes a book customer, I tag them with the “customer” tag. Then in the settings for the pitch email, I can simply exclude anyone who has the customer tag. So they will get all the other emails in the sequence except this one. Perfect!

Example 2: Don’t show advanced emails to beginners

Imagine you have a sequence that sends a series of educational emails on a particular topic. If you have already segmented your list, you might know that people in your audience fall into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. A lot of the emails in the educational series should be sent to everyone and some of them should be sent to people who fall into a specific level.

Without the ability to exclude people from emails in a sequence, you’d either have to move people between different sequences or have the emails in a complex workflow.

But with ConvertKit, you can have all of your emails in one sequence. If you have an advanced email in the sequence, you can simple exclude anyone who is not tagged as advanced.

Example 3: Don’t show welcome emails to people who’ve already been welcomed

On BeFused, there are three primary segments of people and each segment has its own welcome sequence. The first email in each of these sequences is a welcome email.

It is possible that someone who is already a subscriber and already received the welcome email could end up on a second or even third welcome sequence. This is because I have the three options on my website. After someone has been through one, they might decide to sign up for another one.

If they do sign up for another one, I want to send them all the emails in the sequence except for the first welcome email because they only need ever need to receive the welcome email once (when they first join the list).

All I need to do is:

  1. Tag them when they go through the welcome sequence for the first time (I’m using the tag Utility: Welcomed)
  2. Exclude anyone who has that tag from getting the welcome email

This ensures they skip the first email and get the rest of them.


One thing to bear in mind when doing this is the way ConvertKit pulls people out of sequences when they complete it.

  • If they joined as part of an automation rule, ConvertKit leaves them in the sequence
  • If they joined as part of an automation workflow, ConvertKit will remove them from the workflow when they complete it

The catch is, if the last email in the sequence has an exclusion on it and a subscriber is excluded, they don’t get past that last email. So they do not actually complete the sequence and therefore will not get removed. If you add any emails to the sequence in the future, then these subscribers will receive it.

One way around this is to ensure the last email in the sequence does not have an exclusion on it so that everyone gets it.

Wrapping up

ConvertKit is packed with handy features like this that make our lives so much easier. This is why I love ConvertKit so much.

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