ActiveCampaign Review: Email Marketing with Marketing Automation

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This ActiveCampaign review assesses its features, pricing, and the overall functionalities that would fundamentally be relevant to your business.

It’s cheap. And most importantly, super effective.

Welcome to the world of email marketing.

If you’ve used this channel long enough, you probably recognize its sheer power at generating leads. As a matter of fact, 80% of retail business owners agree that email marketing is their principal customer retention driver.

It possibly has something to do with the fact that 77% of consumers prefer receiving promotional material through email, as opposed to social media, phone calls, texts, or direct mail.

So, yes. You’re dead right. Email is still king. You can say that again.

Your online store is pretty much surviving below its potential if you’re yet to fully leverage email marketing.

And no. I’m not talking about lazily drafting a couple of emails to selected leads.

Here’s the thing. There’s nothing like selected leads when you want to exponentially grow your customer base.

Each prospect is worth an email because, in the end, leads captured via email offers usually spend 138% more than their counterparts who’ve been left out.

What does this mean?

Basically, your entire campaign is worth nothing if your business has not implemented a comprehensive email marketing strategy.

But, of course, we know it’s logistically impossible to keep up with all your prospecting emails. Unless, otherwise, your store is only dealing with about five leads- which essentially beats the whole point of email marketing.

It goes without saying that email marketing is a mass lead generation channel. That’s why it’s popularly bundled with marketing automation tools.

Now, make no mistake. Although automation is all about handing over repetitive functionalities to an AI engine, it still has the same efficiency as a human controlled system. Admittedly, even better because of data-based decision making.

According to an eMarketer report, the businesses that capitalize on automation are recording conversion rates as high as 50%. Come to think of it, it makes sense why 79% of the top performing businesses have been on the marketing bandwagon for at least 24 months.

Where does that leave you?

A perfect place to start would be adopting an email marketing tool.

But, here’s the problem. There are more than 215 solutions in the market today. While the resultant competition is primarily beneficial to users, the wide variety pretty much complicates the selection process.

I’ll tell you what though. Let’s look at the primary ones in detail. Starting with one of the top dogs, ActiveCampaign.

So, let’s dive in…..

ActiveCampaign Review: What is ActiveCampaign

Before we even jump to the intricacies, it’s worth noting that ActiveCampaign is not just an email service provider. It attempts to provide a holistic approach to the whole email lead generation process through four fundamental functions:

  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Sales and CRM
  • Messaging

Can you think of any other function that would seamlessly fit into this chain?

I think not. That’s why ActiveCampaign popularly sells itself as the “all-in-one” marketing tool. How it actually lives up to this is something we’ll be looking at in a bit.

So far, the solution has been serving businesses since 2003. It focuses mostly on small enterprises that are seeking to achieve increased growth through optimized lead generation and customer retention.

As a player in the ecommerce space, therefore, ActiveCampaign is undoubtedly something you should keenly assess in detail.

How does it fit your business?

Is it worth a trial?

And most importantly, what are its principal features?

Well, let’s find out….

ActiveCampaign Review: Features

Marketing Automation

Let’s start off with what’s undeniably the most critical feature- marketing automation.

Since businesses have varying marketing needs, ActiveCampaign recognizes that it’s impossible to provide an ideal one-size-fits-all automation approach. Instead, it offers an automation builder to help you customize your enter automation process in line with your specific goals and objectives.

And guess what? The whole process is actually as simple as clicking, dragging and dropping various automation rules until you have your final workflow.

Speaking of which, you can comfortably create a complex workflow since every automation element is customizable.

For example, you can adjust your system to hold off some pending emails until a particular milestone is reached. Like leads ultimately converting into customers by proceeding to checkout.

To further define automatic logic, ActiveCampaign also allows you to define the whole decision-making flow with if/then rules.

But then again, maybe you’re just not cut out for this whole workflow mumbo jumbo. So you find the process of creating your own automation protocol a bit too confusing and time-consuming.

That’s why ActiveCampaign also provides the automation marketplace.

Instead of scratching your head defining custom rules, you can skip the whole thing altogether and purchase a readymade automation workflow. The automation marketplace is just the right place to shop for a wide range of automation workflows with varying protocols, which can be plugged straight into your system.

And you know what? Yes, you can also sell your own unique workflow to other marketers seeking quick solutions.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. There’s also a downside to this.

Buying a workflow does not guarantee seamless compatibility with your system objectives. Overlooking even a simple protocol might result in a buggy automation system.

Email Segmentation

As an online based business, I presume that your site’s target market might be pretty extensive, with varying demographics.

Now, that complicates the whole lead nurturing process. Because it would not be advisable to send out emails with the same details to all your prospects. You’d ultimately risk losing out on quite a substantial chunk.

To help with this problem, ActiveCampaign comes with in-depth email segmentation. It allows you to break down and segment your entire list according to a wide array of categories- page visits, email opens, device, country of origin, etc.

And that just covers the baseline. You can still go further and establish a deeply targeted list by stacking up multiple categories to filter the entire email list.

Additionally, you can introduce tags dynamically to add to some segments automatically. For example, you could choose to include an automation rule that would send all checkout traffic information to the “Customer” list.

Email Retargeting

As you mind your business online, you’ve probably seen one of these. Those peculiar ads that conveniently follow you around to other sites, trying to convince you to go back to a specific site you just happened to peek through.

This is what is traditionally known as ad retargeting.

Well, it turns out ActiveCampaign helps you do just that with emails. But this one uses a rather clever approach.

Let’s assume one of your leads surfs through your site and ends up reading a blog article on “How to Make Strong Coffee”. The automation system subsequently picks this up and sends an email to them, outlining the wide range of coffee makers in your online store.

It’s as simple as that.

Social and Behavioral Data in CRM

Personalization is the foundation for customer relationship management. That’s why 96% of marketers are convinced that it’s quite effective in developing relationships with their leads.

Fair enough. But personalization and subsequent targeting rely heavily on personal information, which is rarely submitted comprehensively by customers.

Thankfully, ActiveCampaign will handle the dirty work for you. Through its CRM, it provides insights into social and behavioural data of your leads including:

  • Age and interests
  • Location
  • Previous interactions and site activity
  • Social feeds

This then comes in quite handy when you need to refine your complex automation workflow.

Lead Scoring

Business gurus often advise growing entrepreneurs to consider each lead important.

But let’s face it. All in all, only a limited number will eventually convert, and subsequently, proceed to become return customers. And they can be distinctly identified early in the conversion funnel if you paid attention to the intricate details.

ActiveCampaign makes this super easy through an automated lead scoring feature. It basically assigns scores to your leads according to their respective conversion likelihood.

Consequently, you’ll be able to identify specific parties that you can direct the bulk of your nurturing resources to.

All things considered, this is basically what you’ll get from ActiveCampaign:

  • Free one-on-one training
  • Custom landing pages
  • Free email templates
  • Social media monitoring
  • Dynamic email content
  • Automated series
  • Advanced segmentation and targeting
  • Contact categories
  • CRM and sales automation
  • Newsletter management
  • Free phone, live chat, and email support,
  • SMS marketing
  • Contact position tracking
  • Campaign, contact, and list reporting
  • Email designer
  • Built-in integrations
  • Autoresponders
  • Marketing automation


ActiveCampaign Review: Dashboard

ActiveCampaign’s cockpit is refreshingly simple and straightforward.

It fundamentally grants you the all-important front seat to your account, displaying all the critical info in widgets.

At the top are the following tabs neatly arranged to provide quick navigation:

  • Create Automation
  • Create a Form
  • Create a Deal
  • View Reports
  • Integrate Services
  • Create a List

There’s also a menu on the right with the following options:

  • Contacts
  • Campaigns
  • Automations
  • Deals
  • Lists
  • Forms
  • Reports
  • Apps
  • Settings

At the far right is a section that briefly outlines recent actions by your contacts- including subscriptions, social media activity, emails opened, emails read, etc.

Next to it is the campaigns widget, showing your latest marketing market campaigns in chronological order.

As you navigate through the dashboard, you also get to view your top contacts and current automation workflows for your respective campaigns.

ActiveCampaign Review: Pricing

Admit it. ActiveCampaign has quite a solid list of features.

So, of course, I expected the pricing plans to be a bit on the upper side. But, surprisingly, they’ve managed to keep their entire strategy quite competitive, with fairly well-priced plans for all business categories.

ActiveCampaign comes in four primary plans, each priced differently- Lite, Plus, Professional and Enterprise. Your specific tier is dependent on the actual number of leads in your contact database.

That said, it’s worth noting that you can give the service a test run through a 14-day free trial period. And the best thing about this is the fact that you can proceed without submitting credit card information.

Well, sounds good. But, what do you get after 14 days?

At $17 per month billed yearly, the Lite package comes with;

  • Supports up to 3 users
  • Chat and email support
  • Marketing automation
  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • Unlimited sending

Plus, on the other hand, costs $49 per month billed annually. In addition to Lite’s features, it comes with:

  • Supports up to 25 users
  • SMS marketing
  • One on one training
  • Custom branding
  • Custom domain
  • Custom user permissions
  • Deep data integrations
  • Contact and lead scoring
  • CRM with sales automation

The Professional plan costs $129 per month billed yearly. Over Plus’ features, it offers:

  • Supports up to 50 users
  • Attribution
  • Site messaging

The biggest is the Enterprise plan, which is seemingly optimized for large enterprises with extensive email marketing needs. At $229 per month billed annually, you get the following in addition to Professional features:

  • Supports unlimited users
  • Uptime SLA
  • Phone support
  • Free social data
  • Free design services
  • In-depth onboarding
  • Dedicated account representative
  • Custom mail server domain

Who Should Consider ActiveCampaign

The bottom line is this. ActiveCampaign comes with pretty much all the functionalities you’d need as a beginner, intermediate, and experienced email marketer.

Although the free trial period is only two weeks, I think it should be enough for a detailed assessment. But, in case time runs out, the plans are reasonably priced, especially when you consider ActiveCampaign’s extensive provisions.

And the best thing about it is the fact that it can be seamlessly integrated into any business setup. The secret is simply learning the ropes around the whole process of building automation rules.

Unfortunately, the size of the supported businesses is rather limited. While ActiveCampaign provides an Enterprise plan for bulk users, its capabilities would barely match up to the broad, ever-changing needs of large enterprises.

But, so far so good when it comes to small and mid-sized companies. Some of its notable customers in this bracket include:

  • Cupid’s Charity
  • Schott’s Cheap Flights
  • TETON sports
  • Thrive Themes
  • Earth Hour
  • MyGreenFills
  • ApproveMe
  • Boutique Hotel Seven Days

So, yes, it’s worth a try.

Go ahead, and feel free to share your experience plus thoughts through the comments section.

Davis Porter

Davis Porter is a B2B and B2C ecommerce pundit who’s particularly obsessed with digital selling platforms, online marketing, hosting solutions, web design, cloud tech, plus customer relationship management software. When he’s not testing out various applications, you’ll probably find him building a website, or cheering Arsenal F.C. on.

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