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ActiveCampaign Review for Marketers (2021)

Max van Collenburg By Max van Collenburg

This is my full review for ActiveCampaign to help you make a decision if it’s right for you.

This is not some sleazy review I wrote after 2 hours of use just to earn some affiliate cash 💸

No, this tool has been the foundation of my online business since the beginning of 2017.

So if you want to know:

What you can do with it.

If it’s worth the price.

The good and the bad 😇😈

And if it’s right for your business.

Then you’re in the right place my internet friend 🤓

Before we get started, I want to let you know that I’ve been using ActiveCampaign myself and that I only recommend products that I love, and that there are a bunch of affiliate links on this page.

You pay the same amount if you click those links, and I get a few bucks to support my coffee addiction ☕

Let’s dive in! 🚀

What is ActiveCampaign good for?

There’s a lot of benefits to using an email service provider like ActiveCampaign, and I think no online business could live without it.

Most online businesses have an email list and send an email once in a while to try to keep people engaged 🤔

But if that’s all you are doing, you’re missing out.

With the automation features in ActiveCampaign, you can create a whole automated experience that consists of a series of automated emails that are sent at set intervals or when the contact performs a certain action.

It’s really really cool stuff 😄

So instead of manually sending an email every week, you have a series of prewritten emails that automatically get send to new subscribers.

You could, for example, automatically do all these things;

  1. Deliver a welcome email with a lead magnet as soon as someone fills out a form.
  2. Send a follow-up email as soon as they open the lead magnet email to ask how they liked it.
  3. Push someone into a short onboarding series of 4-5 emails so they can get to know you.
  4. In that onboarding series, you could invite someone for a free email course or challenge.
  5. And then, you can deliver that whole email course or challenge automatically.

It’s freakin’ amazing, and I’m really excited about this stuff.

If you want to see it in practice, just join my list here 😜

For who is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign could be great for so many businesses, but I think it’s especially awesome for online businesses because you can nicely integrate it with your website & use it to build your email list.

I think it mainly comes down to what you want to do with ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign is for you if:

✅ You want to automate big parts of your email marketing.
✅ You want to create an automated experience that nurtures leads & converts them into customers.
✅ You’re like me and love to nerd out on automation.

And it might not be a fit if:

❌ You only want to send newsletters once a week. There are simpler & cheaper tools for that.
❌ You’re buying email lists to send spam to.
❌ The sole purpose of your emails is affiliate marketing. They have policies against that.

Overview of the most important features

ActiveCampaign has a lotttttttt of features 🤯

That’s why I thought it’s maybe handy to highlight 4 handy features.

Here we go 🚀

#1: Automations

The most exciting feature of ActiveCampaign is the ability to create automations.

Here’s a quick video to show you 2 handy automations:

#2: Conditional Content

With conditional content, you can make parts of your emails conditional so they only show up with the conditions you set match.

These conditions could, for example, be information that’s stored in the contacts profile like a tag or custom field.

You select the text block you want to personalize, and then you’ll get a window like this that you can set your conditions in:

(in this case, the block will only show if the value of my ‘specific product’ custom field is ‘selling online courses’)

So this way, you can make your emails more relevant by swapping out sentences based on what you know about someone.

It’s a bit techy to get started with if you’re not familiar with segmenting your email list, but incredibly powerful as soon as you take the time to learn more about it.

#3: Email Builder

Inside ActiveCampaign, you can either use an HTML builder or WYSIWYG builder.

(WYSIWYG stands for What You See Is What You Get)

The HTML Builder is great for people who are comfortable with writing HTML. It’s really simple, you write the HTML on the left, and a preview will appear on the right:

The WYSIWYG builder is great for people that just want to drag & drop elements into their email:

The HTML builder is a bit more bulletproof, but the WYSIWYG builder works great too.

#4: Site Chat

For an additional $19/month, you can add a chat widget to your website that you can use to capture leads or chat with visitors.

Here’s an example of what it looks like on your website:

It’s pretty simple, but it’s really handy to not need yet another tool for this.

How easy is it to use?

I would say medium easy.

There is a bit of a learning curve to understanding what everything is for, but with the help of some YouTube tutorials (wink wink 😜), you should be able to quickly figure out how to build your first automations.

In the video below, I’ll show you how you can create a simple form & automation in just a few minutes 🙂

Not too difficult, right?

You add an email to the automation, a wait action that waits until the contact opened the email, and then we split the automation based on if someone opened the email or not 😄

What’s support like?

Especially when I just got started with ActiveCampaign, I had a lot of questions to get things up and running.

And I have to say, they always replied within 24 hours with a really good response.

It’s not the kind of support where they just copy & paste standard answers 😩

I had the feeling they cared and really listened to my struggles.

Besides that, I also want to point out that there’s a really awesome community on Facebook with thousands of members that really help each other out 👇

Preview of ActiveCampaign community on Facebook

People often share cool tricks in there and give each other feedback on automations.

I also like to hang out in there to answer questions 😋

(probably a bit too often, haha)

So you don’t have to be scared if you can’t figure something out.

Let’s talk about pricing

You can find a complete overview of pricing on this page, but below I want to point out a few important things.

ActiveCampaign has 4 different plans, and the amount you pay depends on how many active contacts you have:

An active contact means people who are subscribed to a list, so you don’t have to pay for people that unsubscribe 🙂

And it also depends on if you pay yearly or monthly:

Paying yearly will save you about 30%, so it’s definitely something to consider.

I would recommend starting with a monthly plan, so you can try it out for a couple of months and really figure out if it’s right for you, and then upgrade to a yearly plan later on.

Choosing the right plan for you

So like I showed above, there are 4 different plans to choose from.

Every plan has a long list of features, but these are the main differences:

  • Lite: you can create automations, one-off campaigns, manage your contacts, and create forms.
  • Plus: you can do the above, create landing pages, personalize your emails with conditional content, and get a CRM.
  • Professional: you can do the above, personalize your website, a/b test inside automations, and send site messages.
  • Enterprise: gives you access to everything, including a dedicated account representative & phone support.

For most online business owners, I think the lite or plus plan should be sufficient.

👉 The lite plan alone already gives you so many features, including the possibility to create automations (which I think is the nr. #1 feature of ActiveCampaign).

👉 The main benefit of the plus plan compared to the lite plan is that you can personalize your emails with conditional content, can create landing pages, and can manage your contacts inside a CRM.

I personally don’t create landing pages inside ActiveCampaign and think having a CRM is not absolutely necessary, but conditional content is a really useful tool to make your emails more relevant.

So, I’ll leave it up to you which plan is best for you 🙂


Compared to the competition

I’ve tried a lot of different email service providers and am still testing other email service providers sometimes to see if there’s something even better out there, but to this day, I haven’t found anything better.

Below I’ll share some quick thoughts on how I think ActiveCampaign compares to the competition 💪

ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp

MailChimp was the first email service provider I used for my business because it’s so simple to use and very very cheap.

And while I think it’s fine to send out a weekly newsletter with it, I wouldn’t use it for much more because it lacks any advanced automation features.

ActiveCampaign vs Drip

Drip is very similar to ActiveCampaign.

It has a lot of the same features, and automations are built in the same way.

It’s just that Drip is very focussed on e-commerce and that I found ActiveCampaign more intuitive to use.

ActiveCampaign vs ConvertKit

I’ve tried ConvertKit recently because I heard some great things about it.

I really liked how fast it is compared to ActiveCampaign, which is rather slow sometimes.

But I was missing some features, like webhooks, that made it not perfect for my needs.

It’s also a bit more pricey compared to ActiveCampaign, depending on which plan you choose.

Pros & Cons

I always like reading pros & cons lists myself, so I thought I create one too in this review about ActiveCampaign 🙂

I love ActiveCampaign for many reasons, but there are also some things I dislike.

👍 Pros: what’s great?

I absolutely love ActiveCampaign, here’s what I like most:

  • Good deliverability: deliverability is very important when you choose an email service provider, and ActiveCampaign’s deliverability is great. My emails get into the inbox, and I’ve seen incredible open rates.
  • Friendly pricing: very affordable if you just get started.
  • Webhooks: this is a bit techy and nerdy, but I love the possibility of triggering webhooks so I can send data over to other tools.
  • You can automate everything: it’s incredible that you can automate huge parts of the customer experience. Deliver a lead magnet, send an automated follow-up, send an automated invite for a free course or webinar. Everything’s possible.
  • Fast support: I hate it whenever I’m stuck and have to wait for days until I get a reply from support, luckily with ActiveCampaign that’s not the case. They almost always respond within a day.

👎 Cons: what sucks?

This is what I don’t like about ActiveCampaign:

  • Slow to use: whenever you create a new automation, edit an email, or change an action inside an automation, it sometimes takes up to 10 or 15 seconds to load. This really frustrates me and is the biggest con, in my opinion.
  • Forms are basic: getting people onto your email list is the lifeblood of your online business, and the features that ActiveCampaign provides are very basic. You can’t a/b test forms to see what’s working best, you can’t easily segment new leads by asking simple questions, and popups are only available on the Plus plan & above.
  • Uploading images: to add emails to your emails, you can either upload images or insert the URL of the image you want to display. I suggest sticking to the latter, as uploading images in ActiveCampaign feels very disorganized and clunky.
  • Can be overwhelming: this could be a con if you’re just looking for a simple tool to send marketing emails.

And then, up next, the conclusion of this review.

Are you ready for it?

Let us wrap this thing up 🙌

So, should you get ActiveCampaign?

I think it’s pretty clear from my review that I absolutely love ActiveCampaign 💛

(otherwise, I would not have been a customer for 3 years)

The powerful automation possibilities are great, is fairly easy to use, pricing is great for beginners, and the cons are very minimal.

But it’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you.

So let me know in the comments below, are you going to give ActiveCampaign a try? 🙂

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