ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one marketing automation platform that helps businesses of all sizes to create, manage, and track their marketing campaigns. It provides a range of features such as email marketing, automation, segmentation, lead scoring, and more. It also offers a range of integrations with other popular services such as Salesforce, Shopify, and Zapier. ActiveCampaign is designed to help businesses save time and money by automating their marketing processes and providing insights into their campaigns.
ActiveCampaign is a powerful email marketing platform that offers amazing value thanks to its cheap price plans. It takes a little while to get used to, so it’s best for marketers with time to dedicate themselves to making the most of its automation, analytics, and in-house contact database. Our users recommend it too!
ActiveCampaign is an email marketing powerhouse with impressive automation, robust analytics, and an excellent in-house contact database. That, combined with its cheap starting price, makes it the best value option out of all the email marketing software we’ve tested.
We’ve put ActiveCampaign through its paces in user testing, and left no stone unturned throughout our research process.
Table of Contents
Quick Overview of ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign’s category-defining Customer Experience Automation Platform (CXA) helps over 185,000 businesses in 170 countries meaningfully engage with their customers. The platform gives businesses of all sizes access to 850+ pre-built automation that combine transactional email and email marketing, marketing automation, eCommerce marketing, and CRM for powerful segmentation and personalization across social, email, messaging, and text.
ActiveCampaign was built on the idea that an excellent customer experience must go beyond the traditional marketing touchpoints, like email. Delivering a personalized, high-touch experience is easy in the very beginning, but as a business grows— adding channels, additional teams, locations, customer segments, etc.— the complexity of managing relationships is too much, and that personalized connection doesn’t scale (this is why we’ve all received sales emails for products we already own, been asked to review a product we returned, or had disjointed experiences across success reps while trying to resolve a support ticket, etc.) This is why email marketing, marketing automation, service and support tools, and CRMs end up wasting time for organizations instead of supporting their growth.
With ActiveCampaign, and the customer experience automation (CXA) category, we are removing the silos between data sources, communication channels, and teams, and helping businesses scale their 1-1 personal customer relationships through connected experiences that span the customer lifecycle. This enables businesses to automate a truly personalized experience that feels authentic, so their customer relationships can scale, no matter how large that business grows.
What are some of the things you can do with ActiveCampaign?
- Automate personalized experiences across all your customer touchpoints
- Track buyer preferences, behavior, and many custom attributes across the entire customer lifecycle for deeper segmentation and more effective outreach
- Customize sends based on almost any parameter, so your messages are always targeted for the right audience
- Use data from the entire customer lifecycle to choose the best content, send time, and delivery channel for each customer
- Create entirely customized campaigns with minimal effort, then improve your send strategy in real-time based on customer behaviors
- Replicate the 1-1 personal experience for every customer, no matter how big your business gets
Key Info of ActiveCampaign
- Starting price: $9 per month
- Free plan: No, but a 14-day free trial is available
- Number of contacts on the cheapest plan: 500
- Number of emails on the cheapest plan: Unlimited
- Email Marketing & Marketing Automation
ActiveCampaign is a high-quality email marketing program that we strongly suggest for serious marketing professionals. It has a learning curve, so it takes some time to get used to, but the automation tools and in-house contact database make it worthwhile. ActiveCampaign proved to be the best value email marketing platform we examined.
Before you get too thrilled about ActiveCampaign’s high star ratings, there are two things you should know. For starters, it lacks a survey builder, so survey-based campaigns are out. Second, transactional emails are not supported. Overall, it’s a strong marketing tool that’s a terrific choice for marketers with little patience and a lot of money to spend.
Pros & Cons
We’ll go through the key features of ActiveCampaign’s platform in depth in the following section, but here are the main advantages and disadvantages of ActiveCampaign in contrast to competing marketing automation software.
- Visual automation – ActiveCampaign’s automation builder is one of the best we’ve used. It’s both easy to use and has 135+ triggers and actions, as well as 500+ pre-built automation recipes to fast-track automating your marketing and sales.
- Guaranteed service – ActiveCampaign makes 22 guarantees around service and trust. These range from free migration and a 2-year price lock, to making guarantees around data privacy and deliverability.
- Value for money – Starting at $9/month, ActiveCampaign is accessible for most budgets and is a good value considering the features offered.
- Integrations – ActiveCampaign offers 900+ integrations, including deep native integrations with most CRM and eCommerce platforms like Salesforce and Shopify.
- Easy to use – As you’ll see in the next section, ActiveCampaign is easy to use and takes very little time or training to use.
- Optimization features – ActiveCampaign’s split testing and predictive optimization tools mean you can ‘set and forget’ your email marketing to self-optimize over time.
- The CRM – ActiveCampaign’s CRM is great for small sales teams, but it is lacking in functionality for larger or more complex use cases.
- Reporting – Reporting in ActiveCampaign is relatively dull and limited when compared to other platforms.
With these pros and cons covered, let’s take a deeper dive into ActiveCampaign’s platform. Feel free to jump ahead to one of the following sections if you’re interested in learning about a specific area:
ActiveCampaign Review for Email Marketing
ActiveCampaign’s email builder is one of the few we’ve tried that works equally well for novices and expert marketers. It’s drag-and-drop, auto-saving, and works flawlessly.
However, it is not simplistic. You may alter the HTML, introduce content blocks that would normally need a developer (such as countdown clocks, movies, and eCommerce goods), and split test nearly anything.
One of my favourite features of ActiveCampaign is the ability to personalise and split test your campaign.
You may, for example, use conditional content to show different material to contacts based on any field (saving you from sending out lots of variations of the same email). For key emails, you can even generate variants of the content and allow ActiveCampaign’s predictive content algorithm inform you which content is most likely to convert each contact.
There are four template possibilities available. You have the option of using one of the 150+ pre-designed templates, a basic template (i.e. a layout with no design), a previous campaign, or starting from scratch. If you want to send emails that appear more personal, you may pick between plain text and HTML.
ActiveCampaign includes a helpful variety of tests for spam filters, email client compatibility, and you can preview how your email appears on different devices to help you increase deliverability.
When it comes to email marketing, one thing I appreciate about ActiveCampaign is that you can segment who receives your email depending on any circumstance – from whether they’ve visited a specific page on your website, to their region, or based on corporate information.
Of course, the segmentation possibilities will be determined by the information you collect about your contacts, which gets us to the next section of ActiveCampaign’s platform.
Combining your email marketing software with CRM is one of the finest decisions you can make when selecting a solution, because your CRM is typically the source of truth for information about your contacts.
This gives priceless possibilities to send emails when your leads change statuses, purchase things, or perform activities on your website.
All of this is possible with ActiveCampaign’s CRM, which is based on an easy-to-use transaction pipeline.
When you click into any deal in your pipeline, you’ll get information about the firm and the contacts involved. If you have site tracking enabled, you will be able to view every action they have performed on your website, as well as a history of interactions with your email campaigns and automation sequences.
Contacts (people) have a similar perspective, but with a greater emphasis on the specific information you’ve gathered about that individual. You may also view which lists, automations, and tags are associated with that contact.
Lead scoring is also available in this section. This is one of those features that has the potential to make or destroy your entire sales process. When properly configured, it gives clarity around which leads your staff should focus on and how well your marketing team is nurturing cold leads into warm leads.
We utilise lead scoring for one of our initiatives to evaluate whether a lead is cold, marketing qualified, or sales qualified. It is also used to assess the health of current clients.
- Cold lead (has a lead score below 7 points)
- MQL (has a lead score between 7-14 points) – We apply points when people register for our webinars, visit key pages on our site, and engage with our emails. The purpose of this is to separate engaged leads from unengaged leads.
- SQL (has a lead score above 14 points) – We use the BANT (budget, authority, need, timeframe) methodology for this. Once we know all four of these criteria and they’ve above our agreed thresholds, the lead is considered sales qualified.
Setting up lead scoring in ActiveCampaign is quick and easy, making it much easier to establish clear KPIs for marketing and sales. You may also determine whether the percentage of leads converted into marketing-qualified or sales-qualified leads is rising or decreasing over time, among other things.
Our assessment of ActiveCampaign’s CRM
While ActiveCampaign’s CRM is wonderful for small teams, we’ve found that it may become a little onerous when you have a significant number of sales and contacts. When we’ve attempted to interact with bigger sales teams, they’ve frequently ended up utilising Salesforce and merging it with ActiveCampaign to handle the automations in ActiveCampaign.
Overall, this is more of a warning to create clear boundaries with your team on how to handle tags, custom fields, and other CRM data than a specific complaint of ActiveCampaign’s CRM.
ActiveCampaign’s automation builder outperforms competitors like HubSpot and Mailchimp, with 135+ triggers and actions from which to design your automation sequences.
It’s also the most user-friendly automation builder we’ve encountered. In fact, new employees have been able to utilise ActiveCampaign without any training or onboarding in their first week. This is due in major part to the flowchart-style automation builder, which is visually self-explanatory.
ActiveCampaign includes over 500 pre-built automation recipes if you’re just starting started. These are very useful for eCommerce firms since you can link your eCommerce platform (for example, Shopify or WooCommerce) and employ automation sequences that run when someone buys a product, abandons a checkout, or enters a discount coupon.
Triggers and actions
Almost any change to a contact or contract can cause an automation to commence. While not exhaustive, these are examples:
- A contact submits a form, joins a list, visits a web page, opens/clicks an email, achieves a goal, has a tag added/removed, a field change or lead score updated.
- A deal in the CRM changes status, deal stage, value, owner or has a task added.
- A conversion occurs, or a person abandons a cart.
- A date arrives (useful for birthdays, contract renewals, and holiday promotions).
Then, using a mix of criteria and actions, you may construct your automation processes. Conditions are largely made up of “If/Else” rules, waits, and go- to’s, whilst actions are divided into three categories for connecting with your contacts: email, SMS, and site messaging (notifications that appear on your website).
Here’s an example of a SaaS onboarding process we created that demonstrates each of these phases. When a contact subscribes to a list, this sequence is triggered. We therefore have a condition to wait till 2 p.m. on a weekday (when we have the highest open rates). Following that, we send a series of instructional emails on how to use the product.
While email split testing is not a new concept, few marketing automation systems allow you to split test automation sequence pathways. ActiveCampaign was among the first to do so, and it remains one of the platform’s greatest features in my opinion.
This is due to the ability to test hypotheses such as “Does sending 10 emails vs. 5 emails, sending emails over a week vs. a month, or combining SMS and email vs. simply email enhance your conversion rate?“
This also implies that your automated email sequences will improve over time, since you can build up an endless number of split tests to enhance your automation sequences while you focus on other things.
We were able to raise the open rates of some of our critical email campaigns by up to 300% by running all of our emails as split tests.
ActiveCampaign’s reports have always reminded me of a drab PowerPoint presentation, and there’s plenty of space to enhance the data arrangement and layout.
Having said that, reporting should be evaluated based on whether or not it answers questions and how actionable the insights are. To be fair to ActiveCampaign, owing to Goals, APIs, and attribution, the data is useful and instructive.
Goals are one step I didn’t discuss in the section on marketing automation.
In essence, you may trigger the achievement of a goal in ActiveCampaign when a contact does anything, such as purchasing a product, finishing an automation sequence, or opening an email.
This allows the goal and conversion attribution report, which displays who has met the goal, the conversion rate, touchpoints, and, my personal favourite, time-to-completion. This means you can measure how long it takes on average for a lead to convert, buy a product, or do anything else. This is an excellent measure to aim to lower.
One practise I advocate is to include a goal in every automation sequence you create. This allows you to quickly check how all of your automation sequences are functioning.
eCommerce revenue reporting
ActiveCampaign can interface with your shop and calculate how much income is generated by your campaigns and automation sequences, allowing you to attribute a clear ROI to each email campaign and automation.
Currently, ActiveCampaign has extensive data connections with BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Square.
Reporting on Campaigns
ActiveCampaign also provides all of the regular campaign performance metrics, such as list growth monitoring, open/click through rate tracking, and reports to discover when your open rates are highest and how they vary per mail client.
Our assessment of ActiveCampaign’s reports
The reporting in ActiveCampaign may be summarised as function above form. You’ll discover everything you need to maximise your email marketing, but don’t expect them to be visually appealing.
ActiveCampaign’s landing page builder can suffice if you need a simple landing page builder for webinar, event, or simple one-page microsite landing sites. However, if your requirements are more sophisticated, you’ll be better off using specialist landing page software.
While the landing page builder is simple and straightforward to use, it lacks sophisticated capability for personalising your sites. Given that ActiveCampaign has an in-built CRM, I’d say this is a wasted opportunity, but I’m not confident that ActiveCampaign users are likely utilising this functionality to design thousands of PPC landing pages or operate their websites from here (as is sometimes the case with HubSpot users).
Forms are essential for acquiring leads and building your list. ActiveCampaign forms come in four varieties: inline, floating bars, modals, and floating boxes.
ActiveCampaign’s form builder is simple to use and provides a choice of options to publish and embed your forms, with CSS and HTML that can be fully customised to match your website.
When developing forms, one useful feature is the option to load a preview of the website URL the form will be shown on, so you can match colours and verify it looks fine in situ.
Finally, If you use Zapier, you can also connect your ActiveCampaign forms to your other tools easily to ensure that your contact data gets piped to the right place.
Pricing, for many, is the most important thing when looking at anything for your business. Luckily, with ActiveCampaign, you only pay for what you need to.
So, how much will you pay for ActiveCampaign?
Plans start at $7.50 a month for the Lite plan with 500 contacts.
They also have Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans, which also scale by the number of contacts. HubSpot has free tools, but these are limited.
That breaks down like so:
- Plus = $49/month
- Professional = $149/month
- Enterprise = Let’s customize the right plan for you
Again, the Lite plan is perfect to get you started with email marketing. Then, you can scale as you grow.
While most features are locked, you can still send newsletters, automate some marketing features, and, of course, work on email marketing.
In my 10 years as a user, I’ve only had to contact ActiveCampaign support three times. Each time, someone in the United States answered within 24 hours with a solution.
That is to say, while ActiveCampaign’s support is excellent, you will almost certainly not need it because they place such a focus on prevention rather than treatment. You can, for example, gain access to:
- ActiveCampaign University – a series of videos and guides to get started
- Free 1-to-1 strategy sessions
- A free migration service
- In-person events and workshops
- An active community forum, Slack community and Facebook group
- A help center with a huge range of how-to guides
However, if you do have a problem, they provide phone, email, and live chat help.
Overall, ActiveCampaign scored 4.4 stars out of 5 for its help and support, making it the second-highest rated platform for customer support. Not too bad!
Still on the fence?
ActiveCampaign is one of the few programmes that I truly suggest on a regular basis. If you’re still undecided, they offer a 14-day free trial, which I recommend taking advantage of. You won’t be disappointed if your experience is anything like ours. Otherwise, you might want to consider some of these choices.
How to create ActiveCampaign Email Marketing account!
- 1. Create an account: Sign up for an ActiveCampaign plan and fill out the necessary information to register your account.
- 2. Set up automation rules: Go to the Automations page in your dashboard and create individual rules or automations that make sense based on actions taken by contacts such as email opens or website visits.
- 3. Connect a domain & set up mailing lists: It’s important to connect a domain (if you don’t already have one) so all of your messages go out from the same address, and ensure any existing contact lists are updated correctly with this new address too! This will also then allow you to segment those contacts into different mailing lists if desired, making it easier when creating future target audience campaigns down the line (e-commerce stores often rely heavily on this feature).
- 4.. Design campaigns & emails using templates: Next it’s time for some creative work — design attractive HTML templates using drag-&-drop editors within Active Campaign, eliminating coding knowledge altogether! You can even use A/B testing here so that two variations of each template can be tested over time before selecting which one performs best overall…then take whatever learnings were gained from those tests towards future designs as well!
- 5 Customize tracking options & build dynamic content pieces : Now is where things get interesting – choose extra tracking options based upon what data points are most important for delivering customized contents according users own interests (be sure not only track basic usage analytics like open rates but also start building detailed customer profiles in order genuinely tailor messages further!). Then add custom keywords within subject lines as part of that personalized experience too – both static text like [name] & more dynamic content blocks related back via their database queries such ‘latest products sold by X amount customers today”.
- 6 Schedule Email Campaigns : Last step? Amending any settings needed prior launching off those email campaigns at scheduled times either Cron jobs mechanism inside AC dashboard itself OR integrating popular 3rd party services like Zapier/IFTTT etc help automate sending out bulk message batches easily too!.
How did we test, rate, and rank each email marketing platform?
You asked for our assistance in building your internet enterprises, and we listened! The first step was to visit actual firms and ask them why they use email marketing software, what is most essential to them, and how they utilize it.
We utilized their responses to inform our study methods. For example, because the simplicity of use was mentioned as being highly essential, we assigned it more weight in our grading algorithms.
When testing and researching each email marketing software, we examined:
– Content and functionality tools
– Marketing tools
– Value for money
– Help and support
– Customer score
– Ease of use
We tested ActiveCampaign in all of these areas and had real users try it out and provide feedback. That means that areas like ease of use and customer satisfaction are based on actual user testing rather than theoretical scores – we’ve developed test campaigns with every email marketing tool we analyze, so you can guarantee we know them inside and out!
Can I use ActiveCampaign for affiliate marketing?
Yes, you can use ActiveCampaign for affiliate marketing. ActiveCampaign does offer an Affiliate Links feature so that affiliates can track their leads and sales. This feature allows you to easily add affiliate links to your emails and newsletters sent through the platform.
What is ActiveCampaign used for?
ActiveCampaign is typically used as a marketing automation platform for organizations or businesses looking to engage their customers with automated emails, surveys, campaigns, and other features related to marketing automation activities.
How does Semrush affiliate work?
Semrush offers its own affiliates program called Semrush Referral Program where users receive a 50% commission from referred clients’ first-month payment or yearly prepayment depending on how they pay (monthly/yearly). You would need to sign up separately with Semrush’s referral program to access this feature.
Does ActiveCampaign have affiliate links?
Yes, ActiveCampaign does have affiliate links. Affiliate partners can earn up to $150 in commission for every paying customer they refer to the platform.
Is ActiveCampaign compliant?
Yes, ActiveCampaign is compliant with GDPR, CCPA and other privacy laws. The platform also offers features such as opt-in consent options for end users and has guidelines in place to help customers adopt its own policies for data collection and usage. Additionally, its built-in tools allow customers to manage their business’ compliance quickly and easily.
Is ActiveCampaign worth the cost?
The price of ActiveCampaign is highly dependent on your needs, so it depends on how much you’re willing to spend and how many features you need. Generally speaking, the plans start out fairly affordable at just $15 a month, although as your requirements expand the cost can scale up quickly. Ultimately though, if its robust set of automation tools with plenty of integrations are what you need then it could well be worth the cost.
Who is ActiveCampaign best for?
ActiveCampaign is best for businesses of all sizes looking to automate their customer relationships. It can be used by marketing teams and business owners, providing an easy-to-use platform that helps create and manage campaigns that bring better results across web interactions, email communications, sales outreach, customer support requests and more.
Why is ActiveCampaign better than Mailchimp?
ActiveCampaign is better than Mailchimp because it has a more comprehensive suite of features, making it easier to manage campaigns, segment audience lists, personalize messages and automate workflows. ActiveCampaign also has more advanced website tracking capabilities that allow marketers to gain deeper insights into customer behavior on their websites. Additionally, ActiveCampaign provides superior support with faster response times and access to dedicated account managers for larger customers.
Is ActiveCampaign easy to learn?
Yes, ActiveCampaign is relatively easy to learn. The platform has a range of resources available including help documents, webinars and demos that can help users quickly get up to speed with the software. Additionally, many third-party vendors offer courses on how to use ActiveCampaign as well as similar marketing automation tools.