ActiveCampaign Review: The #1 Choice For Small Businesses?

Have you been searching for an email marketing platform that’s going to move the needle for your small business?

It can be hard to make the right decision, mainly since there’s so many different tools you can choose from nowadays.

That’s why I’ve done all of the hard work for you. I spent a lot of valuable time, money, and effort testing multiple different platforms so I can give you the best choice out there.

It’s better to choose the right platform from the start, or else you’ll spend hours and hours switching between them…

Making the wrong choice with your email marketing platform can be a massive pain. I’ve been there myself, and it’s no fun.

Anyways, let’s dive right into my comprehensive review of ActiveCampaign, so you can make a decision whether or not it’s the right choice for you…

What is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is an email service provider and CRM that’s mainly known for the powerful automation features they offer.

Instead of being your typical autoresponder and newsletter platform, ActiveCampaign equips you with the tools to build automations that will help convert leads into paying customers!

Aside from all of the regular features they offer, you can use their tagging and segmenting technology to really take control of your list.

Since being founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign has been in the space for quite some time now. Throughout the years, they’ve built a great reputation for many reasons!

Who’s ActiveCampaign designed for?

With a wide array of functionality, ActiveCampaign can be used effectively for most businesses.

That said, ActiveCampaign is designed mainly for the following types of businesses:

  • Small businesses
  • Online businesses
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Agencies
  • Freelancers

No matter what you’re selling, whether it’s products or services, ActiveCampaign is going to give you a considerable advantage over the competitors.

Due to how powerful their automation and CRM features are, you can take full control of your marketing automation without overspending or the headaches most platforms will cause!

My favorite features ActiveCampaign offers

Marketing automation that moves the needle

The main reason I decided to switch from ConvertKit to ActiveCampaign is because they lacked the automation features I needed for my business.

ActiveCampaign has the best marketing automation features I’ve ever come across, which allows you to build any type of automation you would like to!

For example, instead of a standard double opt-in email where they have one opportunity to opt-in, I have a simple automation set up that helps me recover more leads…

I’ve been able to recover a ton of leads I would’ve lost otherwise using this strategy (up to 50% in certain circumstances).

With the features they include, you can fully customize each users experience based on the actions each lead takes! Doing this properly can help you get better results from your email marketing efforts.

It’s designed to grow with your business

One of the best thing about ActiveCampaign is the fact they have plans available for all different types of needs and budgets.

If you’re just beginning to work on email marketing, the Lite plan have everything you need to get started! This plan will offer more functionality than most other platforms, and it’s extremely powerful for what you’ll be paying.

On the other hand, if you’re a larger business with more extravagant needs, they have multiple options available. Their most expensive plan, Enterprise, will give you access to any of the capabilities you may need at a price-point that’s actually affordable when compared to options like InfusionSoft.

Automations can be shared

When you have an automation you’re considering building, odds are somebody has already created it.

With most platforms, you’d be stuck building it from scratch, all by your own! But with ActiveCampaign, you can import the automation directly into your account with one click.

This is a huge quality of life feature that can help you get up and running much faster than if you weren’t able to download the automations. All you need to do is click the ‘share’ button on the automations page, and share the URL!

If you’re an affiliate of ActiveCampaign, this can create a great bonus offer or lead magnet you can use to refer more sign-ups.

Build high converting landing pages

ActiveCampaign recently released the beta version of their landing page builder. So it’s not fully released yet, and I wasn’t able to get access unfortunately!

With the experience I have building forms and designed emails with ActiveCampaign, I have a good idea of what to expect with this new feature. From what I’ve seen, it’s going to be easy to use & build with! Additionally, there’s going to be templates so you’re not stuck building from scratch.

Most other email marketing platforms already had this functionality in place, so it’s nice to see ActiveCampaign staying up to speed with the competition in this category!

It has a built-in CRM

ActiveCampaign goes above and beyond when it comes to creating a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

They have super powerful tagging and segmentation features, so you drive leads into customers based on the actions your email list takes. This CRM functionality is included in all of the plans, except their Lite plan!

Generally speaking, email service providers do not include CRMs! If you use this feature properly, it can make a massive difference on your efforts.

What wasn’t so great…

They aren’t affiliate marketing friendly

One thing that ActiveCampaign doesn’t allow is affiliate links in their emails. Although it’s better practice to link to a blog post or something similar, that’s not always a possibility!

So as an affiliate marketer, this can make your job a bit tougher. You’ll want to build a page where it bridges your visitor from where they are to the the offer you’re promoting!

Since affiliates can sometimes spam or use unethical strategies, this is a way for ActiveCampaign to keep their IP clean so everybody’s emails still get delivered.

ActiveCampaign is protecting themselves and their clients with this rule!

Deliverability is the most important thing to look for in an email service provider, and this is one of the many precautions they take to ensure your emails are going to their primary inbox!

ActiveCampaign’s deliverability is great when compared to the competition, as you can see in this extensive testing.

The User Interface can be overwhelming at first

ActiveCampaign is a super powerful platform to say the least. It would be silly to expect them to be designed for “beginners,” but they actually do a decent job with all things considered!

It may take you a little bit to get on with their user interface, but it’s because they truly offer so much more than your typical email marketing tool. Now that I’ve been using their services for a while, I’m able to find everything quick and efficiently.

I’d recommend using your two-week free trial to really learn the ins and outs of the dashboard, so you can understand it fully once you start paying!

A look inside of ActiveCampaign

Reports

ActiveCampaign does a great job giving you an inside look at your analytics. Whether it’s a newsletter campaign, or an advanced automation sequence, you can get a full understanding of your KPIs!

This is an example of a new lead magnet sequence I’ve been trying on this site, it’s getting nearly 90% of people to open the email! If they don’t open any of the emails, they get scrubbed off of my list automatically. That’s something only ActiveCampaign can achieve.

This is only one of the reports I can look at inside of my dashboard. So if you’re an analytics nerd like myself, you’ll love how much data is inside of these reports!

Automations

The holy grail of ActiveCampaign… marketing automation. This is where ActiveCampaign truly separates themselves from the competition, since they have the automation features other services could only dream of!

Their dashboard gives a brief analysis of how each automation is performing, and here’s one of the automations I built:

I had to zoom out so you can see everything, but you can see how powerful the automations truly are. Instead of a typical autoresponder sequence, you can personalize the entire customer experience with ActiveCampaign!

While I want to take a deep dive into each of the actions you can place in an automation, it would be a whole blog post on it’s own. Grab a free trial and go test them out for yourself, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Campaigns

Campaigns are one of the most common places I go when I login to my ActiveCampaign dashboard. Since they host the newsletter & autoresponder features in this section, it’s somewhere you’ll be often!

This section is as simple as it gets, with 6 straight-forward campaigns you can create:

  • Standard: your typical one-time newsletter
  • Automated: create custom follow-up sequences or more advanced newsletters
  • Auto Responder: a simple automation sequence when somebody opt’s in
  • Split Testing: helps you compare multiple emails to see which performs best
  • RSS Triggered: sends automated emails when your RSS feed is updated
  • Date Based: send emails for birthdays, anniversaries, and more

After you set up the technical part of your email marketing (tags, lists, and custom fields), you’ll be in here frequently to communicate with and nurture your list.

Here’s what it looks like when creating a new campaign inside of ActiveCampaign:

Forms

ActiveCampaign has a built-in form builder so you can collect leads without any additional software. There’s multiple types of forms you can create, but you’re limited to an inline form if you are on the Lite plan like myself!

That’s okay, since you can fully customize the form with their drag-and-drop editor. While I use a dedicated tool for collecting leads on my blogs, this is a great way to save some extra cash.

It isn’t nearly as advanced of a form builder as a dedicated tool, but it’s a feature that’s necessary for an autoresponder software!

After your form is edited to your liking, you can integrate the form with a few different options:

  • Add the piece of code into a website page manually
  • Share the link to opt-in
  • Download the WordPress app
  • Add the form to your Facebook page

Lists

ActiveCampaign makes it easy to understand everything about your email lists. As you can see from the image below, you can check on everything you’d need!

That includes engagement, segmenting, who’s on the list, and a bunch of other settings that are necessary for effective email marketing.

Lists are the beginning of how ActiveCampaign isn’t your typical email autoresponder, but a much more complete CRM you can grow with!

How much does ActiveCampaign cost?

ActiveCampaign currently has four pricing options, and all of them include a two-week free trial so you can test the software out for yourself.

Lite Plan

ActiveCampaign’s first-level plan starts at $15/m, or $9/m when paid annually. Click here to see exactly how much it’ll cost based on subscribers!

Here’s what’s included in the Lite pricing plan:

  • Unlimited sending
  • Email marketing
  • Send newsletters
  • Subscription forms
  • Marketing automation
  • Chat & email support
  • Up to 3 users

Plus Plan

ActiveCampaign’s second-level plan starts at $70/m, or $49/m when paid annually. Click here to see exactly how much it’ll cost based on subscribers!

Here’s what’s included in the Plus pricing plan:

  • Everything from Lite
  • CRM with sales automation
  • Landing Pages
  • FB Custom Audiences
  • Lead & contact scoring
  • Integrations
  • SMS marketing
  • Dynamic content
  • Custom user permissions
  • Up to 25 users

Professional Plan

ActiveCampaign’s third-level plan starts at $159/m, or $129/m when paid annually. Click here to see exactly how much it’ll cost based on subscribers!

Here’s what’s included in the Professional pricing plan:

  • Everything from Plus
  • Predictive sending with machine learning
  • Predictive content with machine learning
  • Customer attribution & path to purchase
  • Conversion attribution reporting
  • Split automations
  • Site messaging
  • In-depth on-boarding consultation
  • Automation strategy consultation
  • 3 one-on-one training sessions per month
  • Up to 50 users

Enterprise Plan

ActiveCampaign’s highest-level plan starts at $279/m, or $229/m when paid annually. Click here to see exactly how much it’ll cost based on subscribers!

Here’s what’s included in the Enterprise pricing plan:

  • Everything from Professional
  • Custom reporting (Beta)
  • Custom mailserver domain
  • Custom domain
  • Dedicated account rep
  • Free design services
  • Free social data
  • Phone support
  • Uptime SLA
  • Unlimited users

Commonly Asked Questions about ActiveCampaign

Is ActiveCampaign free?

ActiveCampaign doesn’t offer a free plan, but you can grab a two-week free trial to test it out!

Is ActiveCampaign a CRM?

ActiveCampaign includes CRM functionality in their higher-level plans, and it’s super powerful.

Who owns ActiveCampaign?

Jason VandeBoom founded ActiveCampaign in 2003, and his been the owner ever since.

What is ActiveCampaign used for?

ActiveCampaign is used for maximize your email marketing and CRM efforts.

Does ActiveCampaign have landing pages?

Recently, ActiveCampaign did add this functionality in so you can build landing pages!

Does ActiveCampaign integrate with Salesforce?

Yes it does, this article will offer more details!

How do I cancel ActiveCampaign?

If you would like to cancel ActiveCampaign, simply go to settings -> billing & upgrade -> cancel my account.

How does ActiveCampaign compare to other email marketing providers?

ActiveCampaign is the email marketing platform I’ve been using for this website, among others!

Here’s a few articles that may help you decide:

Final Thoughts

ActiveCampaign is seriously as good as it gets. I’ve spent a ton of time and money trying all the different email marketing tools, and none of them compare. Everything from features and functionality to their price, ActiveCampaign is a no-brainer for small business owners and entrepreneurs!

No matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling to, it’s going to give you everything you need to convert more leads into paying customers! From automations to segmenting your list, you have complete control of your lists.

I’d highly recommend picking up a free trial and messing around with it for yourself. It may be a bit overwhelming at first since they’re a really powerful platform, but it’s worth getting through the first few days and unlocking the full power of email marketing!

Pros
  • Super affordable with great functionality
  • Powerful marketing automation features
  • Comes with a solid built-in CRM
  • Advanced reporting
  • Forms & landing pages included
  • Ability to grow with your company (Enterprise)
Cons
  • Not affiliate marketing friendly
  • User interface/dashboard can be confusing at first
  • Does not have the functionality to build complete funnels
>
Scroll to Top