ActiveCampaign is an established email marketing software company that serves over 180,000 customers. Some of its outstanding features include automation and personalization, reporting and analytics, and CRM capabilities.
The tool has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 on the Shopify AppStore and 4.5 stars on G2.
However, is it the best tool for you?
Let’s find out in this in-depth ActiveCampaign review.
Is ActiveCampaign the right tool for me?
- Well-established ecommerce businesses
- B2B companies
- Experienced marketers looking for advanced automation
- E-commerce beginners
- Non-profit organizations
One of the main reasons ActiveCampaign is among the most popular email marketing tools is its outstanding automation feature. You can automate your email and SMS workflows, as well as your sales deals.
The platform is feature-rich and provides a CRM function that allows you to automate your email campaigns based on where your leads are in your sales pipeline. Additionally, you get features like site tracking, seamless ecommerce integrations, split testing, and more.
Despite offering a wide range of functionality, ActiveCampaign is still easy to use. The interface is straightforward, and the email builder utilizes drag-and-drop functionality.
However, it is worth noting that ActiveCampaign is a relatively expensive tool compared to most competitor email marketing platforms.
In this ActiveCampaign review, we’ll analyze its features, functionalities, and pricing. By the end of this review, you’ll be well informed to decide whether ActiveCampaign is the right choice for your business.
Let’s get started.
ActiveCampaign features: An in-depth review
First, let’s take a quick overview of how ActiveCampaign’s features compare to those of other top email marketing platforms.
The next section of this ActiveCampaign review will analyze each feature in detail.
Ease of getting started
ActiveCampaign is a fairly easy and simple platform to use.
For the initial setup, you can install the application directly from your ecommerce platform’s app store and start your 14-day free trial without needing to provide a credit card. Alternatively, you can also get started on its homepage.
The user interface looks straightforward. From the main menu items, you can easily choose your desired actions. You can:
- Build a campaign
- Create signup forms
- Build automation workflows
- View reports
- Build a sales pipeline
There’s also a unique time-saving feature called Message Variables. This feature allows you to add personalization tags to content, such as a signature, and easily incorporate it into your emails. Furthermore, you can retrieve these constant values from a centralized location.
The options available are plentiful. If you’re having trouble getting started, ActiveCampaign provides a helpful “Getting Started” slider detailing the initial steps you should follow.
ActiveCampaign is an advanced marketing software with a wide range of functionalities. Consequently, there is a bit of a learning curve involved in fully mastering the tool’s capabilities.
For experienced marketers, this may not be an issue. However, beginners might find the tool slightly more challenging. Additionally, if you’re a small business looking to send simple newsletters and promotional emails to your audience, some of these advanced features may not be necessary.
Building an email campaign
ActiveCampaign’s email campaign builder features easy drag-and-drop functionality.
Within the campaigns tab, you have six email campaign options. These options include:
- Standard campaigns
- Automated campaigns
- Autoresponder campaigns
- Split testing campaigns
- Date-based campaigns
- RSS triggered emails
ActiveCampaign offers a selection of over 230 modern-looking email templates. This means that regardless of the theme you have in mind for your next email campaign, you are highly likely to find a suitable template.
Additionally, over 20 basic templates provide a simple layout if you prefer creating it from scratch.
There are a wide range of options available to you when editing your email campaign. These include:
- Adding content blocks, such as countdown timers and ecommerce products directly from your store.
- Creating dynamic content that allows you to send a single email, with recipients only seeing the parts that are relevant to them.
- Creating segments and choosing lists directly from your editing tool.
- Setting up your brand’s style for future email campaigns.
- Saving custom content block templates for future use.
- Saving all the changes made to a campaign, similar to Google Docs’s edit history so that you can view them later.
Moreover, you can conduct split tests on your email campaign and compare performance.
Another noteworthy feature is the free design service, where ActiveCampaign customizes your email templates to match the look and feel of your brand. It’s important to note that this service is only available with higher-tier plans.
Another important aspect of this ActiveCampaign review is its marketing and sales automation.
The platform is best known for its comprehensive automation features, which offer a wide range of capabilities.
Let’s take a closer look at this feature.
Firstly, ActiveCampaign provides 500+ pre-built automation workflows, known as ‘recipes’. While this may initially seem overwhelming, it ensures you can find the exact workflow that aligns with your customers’ needs.
It’s important to note that these recipes only contain the logical flow, and you must add the content yourself. Unlike some email marketing tools like Omnisend, there are no pre-built automation templates that you can use right out of the box.
ActiveCampaign provides over 100 triggers and actions you can set for your automation workflows and autoresponders. Some examples include:
- When contacts sign up, join lists, open emails, or click on links
- When you add or remove tags
- When customers move through the sales pipeline
- During cart abandonment
- Based on dates like birthdays or holidays
You can also build workflows by combining triggers or using “if/else” and “and/or” conditions.
ActiveCampaign enables you to combine email workflows with web push notifications. Additionally, if you’re on the Plus plan or higher, you can include SMS messages with their SMS add-on.
Furthermore, you also get to split test paths within your automation sequence, making it easy to identify any underperforming parts of your automation workflows.
While ActiveCampaign offers comprehensive automation features, it may lack simplicity. Despite the availability of guides and numerous tips, a learning curve is involved in fully optimizing the platform’s automation functionality.
Signup forms and landing pages
Signup forms and landing pages are essential for capturing leads and boosting conversions for your business.
ActiveCampaign provides four signup form formats: online, floating bars, popups, and floating box forms. A few basic templates are available that you can customize by adding your brand’s colors and details.
You can also track the performance analytics of your signup forms, including metrics like the number of new leads captured and deals created.
Overall, the signup form functionality provided by this platform is pretty basic. If you require more engaging forms, you may need to integrate with a third-party tool for more functionality.
Landing pages, on the other hand, are exclusively available with the Plus plan or higher. You can expect:
- A simple landing page builder with easy drag-and-drop functionality.
- Good-looking landing page templates you can customize.
- Ability to review landing page analytics such as page views and conversion rates.
Is it clear how to manage subscriber lists on ActiveCampaign?
The simple answer is yes. If you’re migrating from another platform, you can easily import and map your contacts. ActiveCampaign also provides lists, tags, and segments to assist you in categorizing your subscribers.
Furthermore, with its CRM feature, ActiveCampaign offers more effective lead capturing and nurturing compared to most email marketing tools. You’ll have all your customer information centralized, enabling easy communication management.
We found it a bit odd that the Forms option is located under the Website section of the main menu. Most popular email marketing platforms have it as a separate main menu item or under the Contacts section.
Additionally, ActiveCampaign uses the label “modal” for forms that pop instead of the more obvious “popup” label. Furthermore, their popup forms also lack a delay function.
ActiveCampaign offers a robust segmentation feature. In this review, you’ll find that the tool provides an extensive list of segments to categorize your contacts for more targeted campaigns.
It’s also convenient that you can add segments directly from your email campaign editor, as mentioned earlier.
You can segment your audience by:
- Contact details
- Customer email actions
- Website and event data
- Shopping behavior
- Deal details and custom deal fields.
This level of segmentation allows you to tailor your campaigns to specific groups within your audience, resulting in more personalized and effective marketing efforts.
When it comes to tracking performance and obtaining useful insights, ActiveCampaign excels. The platform’s reports and analytics are broad and detailed.
Some reports and insights you can review include:
- Standard reports such as open rates, click-through rates, engagement, etc.
- Other core reports like site tracking and geo-tracking.
- Attribution reports that show you the origin of your leads and contacts.
- Ecommerce revenue reports that facilitate ROI tracking.
- Custom reports available on the highest-tier plan to provide specific insights.
Unfortunately, most of these advanced reporting features are only available with higher-tier plans.
For instance, the ecommerce revenue and store performance reports are exclusive to the Plus and higher pricing plans. Similarly, only users with the Professional plan and higher can access the attribution reports.
Users on the Lite plan don’t have access to these insights. In contrast, leading ecommerce email marketing platforms like Omnisend offer store performance and revenue reports even for customers on their lowest-tier plans.
If you run into any issues with the ActiveCampaign software, you can contact customer support via email or live chat.
ActiveCampaign also provides extensive DIY resources. Its knowledge base offers numerous useful articles, and the search tool is also effective.
Other resources you can find include:
- Video tutorials
- ActiveCampaign University
- Onboarding training on the Plus plan
- A community forum
ActiveCampaign has over 800 integrations with third-party platforms. If you’re looking to enhance the capabilities of the tool in any way, you’ll likely find the tool you’re looking for.
Here are some examples of tools you’ll find:
- Ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce
- Payment gateways and processors like PayPal and Stripe
- Google Analytics
- Social media platforms like Facebook
- CRM tools like Salesforce
- Accounting platforms like Xero and QuickBooks
Simply put, the possibilities are endless with ActiveCampaign’s integrations.
One downside is that with the Lite plan, the native ecommerce integration feature is locked out. This means you can’t access ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
Compatibility with other marketing channels
More and more, businesses are looking for an email marketing platform that enables omnichannel marketing. This ensures that you engage customers at every point in their journey.
ActiveCampaign integrates its email marketing feature with both SMS and web push messages. However, for SMS, you’ll need the SMS add-on, which incurs an additional fee.
Other marketing channels include:
- Facebook custom audiences
- Facebook lead ads
- Conversation tool.
This makes ActiveCampaign one of the top platforms in terms of compatibility with other marketing channels.
ActiveCampaign pricing plans
ActiveCampaign’s pricing is relatively more expensive compared to most email marketing tools out there. The software doesn’t offer a free plan. Instead, you get a 14-day free trial that is limited to 100 contacts, and its lowest-tier plan costs $39 billed monthly.
Let’s review its paid plans.
Paid plans offering
Here’s a breakdown of how much ActiveCampaign’s plans cost when billed monthly.
Though designed for smaller teams, the Lite plan has very few features. Most crucial functions are locked. With the Lite plan, you only get access to the following features:
- Create email campaigns and access the templates
- Build signup forms
- Access basic marketing automation
The SMS function is locked, and you don’t get ecommerce platform integrations either. Additionally, you can’t also build landing pages which is a function that most email marketing tools offer for free.
With such limited features, it’s safe to say that you may not get your money’s worth with the Lite plan. If you’re looking for a simpler tool, it might be worth exploring other platforms.
Here’s how ActiveCampaign’s prices compare to other email marketing automation software.
ActiveCampaign also offers the option to purchase certain sales and marketing features as add-ons separately if they’re not included in your plan.
Based on the above review, ActiveCampaign is relatively expensive compared to competitor platforms. However, considering its advanced capabilities and wide range of functionality, it’s safe to say that you’ll get your money’s worth.
However, this makes it more suitable for established businesses seeking advanced sales and marketing automation. For small businesses looking for basic email marketing capabilities, the tool may be too complex.
Furthermore, it may be too expensive for beginners in ecommerce marketing, as many ecommerce integrations and functions are only offered on higher-tier plans.
While ActiveCampaign is a powerful tool, it may not be the best fit for every business.
Therefore, in this section, we present some top alternatives to ActiveCampaign that you can consider.
Robust automation, gamification in signup forms, unique coupon codes, and modern email templates
Ecommerce businesses, beginners and experienced marketers
Omnisend is an email marketing automation tool designed specifically for ecommerce businesses. It is an excellent alternative to ActiveCampaign if you’re looking for an affordable tool focusing on ecommerce, offering robust automation and segmentation features.
One of the notable advantages of Omnisend is its seamless integrations with popular ecommerce platforms, which are available to all users regardless of their plan type, be it free or paid.
Additionally, Omnisend provides integrated SMS and web push functionalities, modern-looking email templates, and comprehensive e-commerce reporting. The best part? You can access these features even on the free plan.
Powerful segmentation, attractive email templates, and excellent analytics and reporting.
Small and mid-size ecommerce stores
Just like ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo is a powerful email marketing tool best suited for established businesses. However, Klaviyo places a stronger emphasis on the ecommerce industry.
As a result, Klaviyo serves as an excellent alternative to ActiveCampaign if you are an advanced ecommerce business and don’t require the sales and CRM automation features offered by ActiveCampaign.
Although Klaviyo is still considered an expensive tool compared to some of its competitors, it is relatively more affordable than ActiveCampaign.
Compatibility with numerous marketing channels and transactional emails.
Bloggers, non-profit organizations, and ecome-commerceinners
Brevo is a suitable ActiveCampaign alternative for businesses that don’t need advanced automation functionalities but have substantial contact lists. Brevo offers an unlimited subscriber list and is priced based on your monthly email sends.
Additionally, it provides extensive integration with other marketing channels, including live chat, web push, and SMS. It’s also more affordable than most tools and supports sending transactional emails.
ActiveCampaign review: Wrap up
In conclusion, ActiveCampaign is a powerful all-in-one email marketing platform. It offers many features, including robust sales and marketing automation, CRM, SMS, and a comprehensive list of tool integrations.
These features make it particularly suitable for larger businesses and experienced marketing teams.
However, smaller businesses may consider using tools like Brevo, while ecommerce businesses might find tools like Omnisend more suitable.
Ultimately, the best tool for you will depend on your specific marketing needs.
ActiveCampaign is a sales and marketing automation software that enables you to nurture, convert, and grow your audience through emails, SMS, and web push notifications.
It has a wide range of email marketing and CRM features allow you to build robust email campaigns and reach your customers at every point of their buying journey.
Whether ActiveCampaign is better than Mailchimp depends on the functionality you’re looking for. Each platform has its upsides and downsides, and they’re both suitable for different business types.
Small businesses seeking various features, excellent automation capabilities, and affordability will prefer Mailchimp as their email marketing tool.
On the other hand, established businesses looking for advanced sales and marketing automation, CRM functionality, and robust integrations would find ActiveCampaign to be a more suitable option.
ActiveCampaign offers landing pages for users on their Plus plan and above. The landing page builder is user-friendly and allows easy customization through a drag-and-drop interface. Additionally, there are a variety of templates to choose from.
You can also monitor the performance of your landing pages and track relevant metrics through the reporting dashboard.
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Our team strives to be accurate and unbiased in reviewing email tools. However, we recognize that mistakes can happen, and it’s essential for us to stay up to date. If you come across any errors or things that need to be reviewed again, please let us know.