ActiveCampaign was founded in 2003 by Jason VandeBoom and has been become one of the most popular email marketing automation tools for small businesses across the world.
ActiveCampaign currently has 100,000+ users worldwide.
It is also the PRIMARY email marketing software that I use to management all of my various online businesses in terms of product promotion, education and webinars etc... so I know from personal experience it is one of the best out there for the price.
After using ActiveCampaign for the past 2 years, I am excited to share what I discovered with you.
But before we begin I do want to share that no matter what email service provider you are using ActiveCampaign supports uploading your entire list into it's contact database.
As long as you can secure all the email addresses, names and whatever else you want to import, ActiveCampaign provides instructions and templates for you to use to ensure your data is synced properly.
Now with that out of the way... let's try to determine if ActiveCampaign will work for your online business!
ActiveCampaigns Home Dashboard I find to be fairly useful in terms of giving you a snapshot of everything that is occurring at this very moment in terms of subscriber activity, recent clicks, subscribe and unsubscribes and lead pipelines (if you utilize their CRM).
As you can see in the screenshot below the dashboard allows you to quickly get to where you want to go.
Adding Subscribers to Your List
ActiveCampaign has an interesting way of creating ways for you to add folks to your lists.
The 1st step is to create a List.
This list will house all of the contacts you either add to it manually or via an automation or by a subscriber filling out a form on your website.
The 2nd step is to then create an actual Form.
But here is where it gets tricky/fun, a Form is not tied to any one list and when filled out could add one subscriber to multiple lists + add a specific tag etc...
What I love about these Forms is that it allows you to have so much control over tracking your subscriber sources.
You can also drop these forms in various places on your website such as a top or bottom bar, inline or in a box.
ActiveCampaign also makes it very simple to integrate these forms with various landing page software such as Leadpages or Clickfunnels etc...
ActiveCampaign does an excellent job of allowing you to filter your contacts in any way imaginable which is very powerful if you want to segment your list or isolate a group of contacts with a specific tag etc... with ease.
As you can see in the screenshot below I filtered my contacts who hadn't opened an email in the past and has a specific tag related to a sales funnel.
The cornerstone of any email marketing software platform is the ability to send out a single broadcast to your entire list or segment of your list, so it's important to have an email provider who can help you quickly create a campaign to send immediately or at a specific date in the future.
Enter ActiveCampaign Campaign Builder...
As you can see from the screenshot above you can send a standard broadcast, a split test, a RSS triggered campaign or setup a date based broadcast for specific subscriber data.
Once you make your selection the next step is to pick the list you want to send the email to.
Once you select your list it's time to design your email...
No doubt one of the most important features of any Email Marketing Software is how do their email templates look?
Thankfully ActiveCampaign has made significant improvements to their email template library and now offer hundreds of pre-made templates and also the ability to create HTML or text emails from scratch (which I recommend most).
ActiveCampaign also saves all of your past campaign templates so if you spend a significant amount of time designing a custom template you can use it for all of your future emails and so forth which is nice.
Personally I just stick with either the text based or blank html templates when sending my marketing emails because I found it less likely I will end up in the promotions tab or spam box.
The ActiveCampaign editor is fairly standard.
I like that you can set the width of your emails and easily drag and drop images or additional textboxes etc... into your email.
But what I LOVE (and I have yet to find another email provider to have this feature) is that you can have any element of your email be CONDITIONAL.
Meaning that if you tag a subscriber, you can have a textbox either be shown to them in the email OR you can hide that same textbox if the subscriber does NOT have that tag.
Imagine how that could change your marketing message if you could send a fully customized email to each subscriber based on a tag or list they are in.
It's unbelievably powerful and absolutely changed the way I craft my sales funnels.
Here is an example I just put together to show you how powerful this is.
The yellow box will only be sent to a subscriber who has an "advanced" tag, and obviously it's a link to an advanced marketing tutorial.
The blue box will only be sent to subscribers who have a "beginner" tag and of course I am just sending them a simple tutorial.
The obvious highlight of ActiveCampaign is the advanced automations that allow you to create subscriber specific email campaigns that are completely driven by interaction with your emails!
There are over a dozen ways to trigger an automation (refer to the screenshot below to all the different options)
Once you have identified what you want to trigger your automation, you have the 28 different options of various actions that you can perform that will dictate what happens to each individual subscriber.
Anything from tagging a subscriber, to sending a SMS to updating the status of a specific deal in the ActiveCampaign CRM for your sales team to posting a Webhook.
What I love about ActiveCampaign automations is that it allows me to create 6+months of automations that are all interconnected based on what each individual subscriber does. (this means my business is running on 100% autopilot without me having to touch a button or write a single email!)
Unfortunately one of the KEY features missing from automations is the ability to A/B split test emails in your automations (you can however when sending single campaigns).
To me this seems like a no brainer functionality that is being promised to be added in the future but I have not heard any plans to update in a few months now.
To me this is by no means a deal breaker for my specific business, because I prefer to focus on ROI instead of split testing a million emails, but again you know your business best so just be aware.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the different actions you can apply to each subscriber.
Another area that I think there could be some improvement is the Active Campaign Reports section.
Reports are broken down between Campaigns and automations and you are able to identify open rates, clicks of each email, unsubscribes, complaints and time of day each email is being opened.
To me it is currently a bit cumbersome to navigate the reporting and isn't always useful in the way that it's presented.
Again not a deal breaker by any means but just takes a couple more clicks to get what you need than the reporting you can get from say AWeber.
As with any software there will be a learning curve.
I can assure you that ActiveCampaign has you covered whether its email, chat or phone or just heading to a forum and asking the community a question, you will always be able to find your answer.
They had me up and running within a couple days and so far to date I've always been able to find the solution to my problem using their support.
ActiveCampaign now comes in 3 different types of packages that will more than prepare meet your needs at whatever level of sophistication your at in your business.
If you are just starting out I recommend the Lite version of ActiveCampaign, it provides you with everything you and up to 2 more people need to manage your entire email marketing, but lacks some customization and one on one training.
The Small Business option is for folks with a bit larger team and have a need for CRM and SMS marketing.
Finally the Enterprise option is for small - mid sized companies who need dedicated account reps, custom mailserver domains, and unlimited users.
Alright so now that you understand all the features and pricing, let's do a quick pros and cons comparison and my final thoughts about ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign Pros & Cons
You Need To Read These Before You Buy!
ActiveCampaign houses some of the most powerful if/then logic for creating automations based on subscriber interaction with your emails.
Of all the email software platforms I have test ActiveCampaign has some of the easiest methods for tagging and segmenting your audience based on linked clicked or emails opened or web pages visited.
ActiveCampaign can be integrated with almost ANY online marketing software that you use by integrating with Zapier or via Webhooks. So if you sell digital products you will have no problem integrating your membership software with ActiveCampaign.
Some of the best customer support in the industry with the ability to set up 30 minute phone calls once a month with a Active Campaign specialist or the ability to upgrade to having a dedicated specialist.
ActiveCampaign is the only email provider that I have found that allows you to show/hide specific elements in your emails based on tags or lists that a specific subscriber is in. This allows you to tailor your marketing message to each specific subscribe based on who they are and not just send one general email to your list.
ActiveCampaign has plans as low as $8/month
No Affiliate Links
ActiveCampaign is very strict on email quality and will typically not allow affiliate links in your emails IF you don't provide any value in your emails. So as long as you are providing TONS of value to your audience then they will allow you affiliate promotions. But if you like sending low quality affiliate promotions then I would keep looking...
No Automation Split Testing
ActiveCampaign for whatever reason only allows split testing of one off Campaigns. They have promised to add split testing to automations in the future but no time table yet.
Not an All In One Solution
ActiveCampaign does one thing very well. Email Automation. They advertise being a CRM as well, but are not quite the level of a HubSpot yet. If you need an all in one solution then you may want to look elsewhere to HubSpot, InfusionSoft or Ontraport. But be aware that what you will gain in features, you will lose in simplicity of use and price.
Why I Place ActiveCampaign at #1 on my Top 5 List
You may have noticed that I have placed ActiveCampaign at the #1 spot on my Top 5 list of best Email Marketing Tools. I want to assure you that I don't take this decision lightly as there is so much competition out there.
The primary reason that I selected ActiveCampaign to be my #1 is that let's face it, everyone has different needs for their online businesses and different levels of technical experience...
After using dozens of various email marketing platforms I found that ActiveCampaign has the most advanced features in the most easy to use interface.
ActiveCampaign will absolutely revolutionize how you market your products and your brand and also save you time so that you can focus on what actually matters making amazing products and supporting your customers.
With that being said there are other platforms that offer more features but you will sacrifice simplicity of use for those features, so it's really up to you how complex you want to go.
Don't take my word though, be sure to test the Free Trial of ActiveCampaign below to ensure it's the best option for your business.
NOTE: If you are still unsure how you learn best and whether ActiveCampaign is absolutely the best course for you I would be glad to assist you in your decision:
ActiveCampaign Email Marketing Software Information
|1||Free Trial - No Credit Card|
|2.||Completely automates your email marketing|
|3.||Excellent customer support|
|4.||Easily import your existing list and data to ActiveCampaign|
How Much Does ActiveCampaign Cost?
|ActiveCampaign has membership plans starting at $9 per month for your first 500 contacts.|