ActiveCampaign Review

ActiveCampaign Review

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8.5/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #23 in category Email marketing service
For a very long time, only a few email service providers offered dependable automation capabilities. Such services were quite expensive, which meant that small businesses with a limited budget could not afford email automation. With time, however, more and more providers began to offer automation and did so at lower prices. ActiveCampaign is one such provider, which is today among the most popular and widely used email service provider.
Easy to use
  • Migration Services
  • 250+ integrations
  • At first it's a litle difficult to learn how to use it

Everything About ActiveCampaign


The dashboard is the first place that you will land on after login. It will give you an overview of everything about your ActiveCampaign account. The dashboard has various widgets that you can move around and customize as much as you want.

The first widget is mainly for displaying the contacts in your account. You can toggle it to show only your active contacts. Active contacts refer to the contacts that are still subscribe and do open your emails. Something nice that you should not is that ActiveCampaign does not take into account the number of unsubscribed contacts in paid subscriber limits, unlike many other providers that charge for unsubscribes.

Another widget is for Top Contacts, which is very interesting. It shows you all the contacts that have interacted with your email marketing the most. Ideally, those are the contacts of your best customers and hottest prospects. That means you should pay a little extra attention to them and ensure they are happy at all times.

The dashboard also has links to your most recent automation and campaigns.

Contact Screen

The contact screen gives you access to all your contacts, including those that you have filtered or tagged. An impressive feature in the contact screen is the ability to multi-select contacts when performing actions, such as giving them a tag or adding them to a list. The contact screen also allows you to import or export contacts. For example, you can create a custom audience in your Facebook Ads account by exporting your buyer lists to it. This helps to create highly targeted lists.

The import screen can also come in quite handy if you are migrating from a different email service provider. ActiveCampaign does support various third-party apps, including Stripe, Basecamp, and Zapier, all of which are opportunities to take advantage of the import/export contacts feature. You can also upload contacts directly if you have them in a CSV file.

When you drill down to a specific contact, you will be able to see a lot more information about the subscriber. That is because ActiveCampaign goes ahead to find as much additional information as possible about the subscriber when you add a contact. The additional information can include pictures and social media profiles. There is also an activity stream, which allows you to see their interactions with your marketing campaign. If you enable site tracking, you can also see each page that your contact visited on your site.

ActiveCampaign Reporting

At some point, as your business grows, sending emails will become an integral part of the business. When that happens, you will be spending a lot more time on the reports screen. The reports screen allows you to see your email marketing actions that are working and those that you need to work on. There is also an overview report that displays a graph of the daily open rates. Even more useful is the summary stats. The summary stats allow you to see your click rate, open rate, bounces, and unsubscribes.

You can also use the Email client report to fine-tune your strategy accordingly, as it can indicate the most popular email clients. For example, you can focus on getting your emails to the primary tab on Gmail if a majority of your subscribers use Gmail. If the majority of your subscribers use mobile mail clients, then you will focus on ensuring your emails appear presentable on the small mobile screens.

Breaking Sales Funnels Into Stages

When building a deal pipeline, you have to break your sales cycle into various steps. That allows you to view sales as stages through which your deals have to go as opposed to seeing it as an unpredictable monster. The sales funnel can be broken down into five steps, ranging from cold leads to paid users. You can also create a deal pipeline for individual customer segments. Putting all deals in one pipeline is usually a bit too risky. ActiveCampaign supports building multiple deal pipelines, meaning that you can build different pipelines for different audience segments.

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How to Create Automations on ActiveCampaign

With automation, you can trigger various actions based on the criteria that you choose. It helps quite a lot when it comes to building passive marketing for your business. Various studies indicate that you can increase sales by an average of about 10% when you implement automation. ActiveCampaign is one of the best tools that you can use to implement marketing automation in a simple but effective way.

To get started, you have to choose the trigger you want to use for your automation. Among the useful triggers that you can use are send an email or SMS, create conditional if/then branch, add or remove a tag, and wait for x number of days. After choosing the right trigger, the only thing that will be left is to add the actions that should be implemented when the trigger conditions are met.
ActiveCampaign allows you to combine various small automation to create protocol that is a lot more complex. To make the process a bit easier, you can navigate between the nested automation using the quick links.

ActiveCampaign’s ability to reuse automation in multiple lists is quite essential and can save you a significant amount of time if your email marketing campaign involves a lot of automation. The ability to share automation is also very useful.

ActiveCampaign is among the few email service providers that allow split test automation. Split test automation makes it possible to do things such as split testing time of day that each of the automated emails is sent.

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Email Marketing Automation

As mentioned earlier, the only limitation regarding the automation that you can build is your creativity. It is possible to create any logical automation that you think will help you with your email marketing campaign. One of the most useful features of ActiveCampaign regarding automation is site tracking. It is a simple javascript code, which you have to put on your website. With site tracking, you can see the pages that your subscribers visit. It can also be a very useful trigger for automation. That said, here are some ActiveCampaign automation ideas.

Product Interest Tagging

With ActiveCampaign, it is possible to tag contacts that visit specific pages or products on your site. Tagging them helps when it comes to segmentation as you can send offers that are more accurately targeted.

Creating a Custom Welcome Sequence

This applies mainly if you usually implement content upgrades on some pages on your website. If that is the case, you should send a custom welcome sequence, which revolves around what attracts your subscribers the most. In other services, you have to create new lists for lead magnets. In ActiveCampaign, you can automate each sequence individually and even use tags to ensure the same contact cannot enter your welcome sequence twice.

Performing Periodic Cleanup of Lists

With email marketing, a high number of contacts in a list does not necessarily mean more success. Having a more responsive list is more beneficial compared to having a long list that is filled with inactive contacts. Automating periodic list cleanup is thus essential to ensure that your marketing efforts are reaching the right targets.

ActiveCampaign allows you to perform the cleanup automatically after a specified number of days. The criteria used by the automation include the open rate. Subscribers who have not opened their emails will receive other emails for the specified duration as a way of checking responsiveness before they are removed from the list. Removing unresponsive subscribers from lists helps to improve the deliverability rate of all the emails that you send.

Cart Abandonment Automation

This applies mainly to email marketers who are selling services or products on their websites. At times, your contact may visit your website and add some items in the virtual cart but fail to complete the checkout process. You can automate that action such that the contacts receive emails to entice them to complete the checkout process or to resolve any issue that they might have experienced during the checkout process.

Email Retargeting

It is quite common to start seeing ads for particular websites that you visit. That is usually the case thanks to ad retargeting. The same thing can apply to emails. Your site might have an impressive blog post, for example, which talks about a particular product. With that, you can trigger an automation that will send information regarding the product to any contact that visits the blog post.

Rank Your Lists

For this, you have to pay for the Plus plan. That is because it has to use the Lead Scoring feature of ActiveCampaign, which is available only to Plus members. Any subscriber who opens your email gets five points, and those who click on the link get 10 points. The total lead score is what is used to determine which subscriber is featured in the VIP list.

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ActiveCampaign Pricing

ActiveCampaign has numerous features, most of which are quite impressive. With all that, it is easy to assume that the pricing must be too high. Contrary to that, and fortunately for businesses that have a small marketing budget, ActiveCampaign pricing is very reasonable. It has four tiers, which are Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise.

The main differences among the tiers are the features that you can access and the number of subscribers that you can manage using the program. The cheapest amount that you can pay, which is for less than 500 subscribers on the Lite plan, is $15. The price ranges to $225 for 15000 subscribers on the same plan. That is even cheaper than the price for the premium plans for various other competing email service providers.

ActiveCampaign also offers special discounts occasionally. Most of the offers are usually pegged on subscribing to their newsletter. There is also another discount offer that you can always get if you opt to pay upfront for a one-year subscription. If you intend to be in email marketing for a long time, which you should for the growth of your business, you should always take advantage of the offer to save money.

If you are a potential user who is not yet convinced about what ActiveCampaign can do for your business, you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial offer. A 14-day free trial offer is a lot less compared to others that offer up to a month of a free trial, though it is still better than having none. There is also no free plan for new businesses to utilize free services.

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The Main Benefits of ActiveCampaign

Email automation is the most effective way of unlocking your contact list’s true potential. Primarily, it helps increase your conversion rates. It does so by keeping all subscribers engaged with the right messages, which means that it quickly turns leads into sales. Automation also helps you make a bigger impact, thanks to segmentation. When it is set up correctly, here is a rundown of benefits that come with using ActiveCampaign.

It Allows for All Kinds of Email Automation

The visual automation builder for ActiveCampaign is among of the most flexible feature out there. For starters, it can support numerous types of triggers, which are usually the criteria used for automation. The triggers range from the common ones such as a tag being added of joining a list to the more advanced options such as starting a workflow when a contact visits a particular page on your website.

ActiveCampaign email automation also allows you to carry out various other actions other than sending emails, including waiting, updating custom fields and tags, sending SMS, and posting to a webhook, among many others. The service allows you even to add automation into other aspects of business automation, allowing you maximum reusability. You can use the automation builder to create any automation that you can think of. There is one downside to ActiveCampaign’s automation, though. You need to upgrade your account to a Plus account if you want to add subscribers to a custom audience automatically.

The workflow editor for ActiveCampaign may not be the best there is in the industry, but it is among the simplest to use. It even allows split testing automation, meaning that you can improve your automation workflow at each step.

It Allows Sharing of Automations

If you have thought of and are trying to build specific automation, there are high chances that someone else has already created it. You can import an already built automation protocol directly into your account. You can also share any automation that you create with other users. This feature can help save you a lot of time and effort that would otherwise be used in creating automation.

To share your automation, you only need to click on the share button on the menu. Doing so will generate a share URL, which you can then give whoever you want to share the automation with, and they can import the automation into their account. You can even opt to sell your automation if you think you have created something that can work as a lead magnet. The opportunities with it are limitless.

Scaling As Your Business Grows Is Easy

If you have never tried email marketing for your business before, you will most likely be fine starting with the Lite plan of ActiveCampaign. The plan is designed to accommodate all the needs of small businesses and gives a reasonable balance between affordability and functionality. It allows you to create nearly all the common automation workflows, yet it is cheaper than various alternatives that are less powerful such as MailChimp and Aweber.

For a larger business, you might need a plan with a lot more powerful capabilities such as sales pipeline or CRM. ActiveCampaign can still provide that with the more expensive plan. That means that the email service provider is suitable for businesses of all sizes. You only need to upgrade your plans to the most appropriate one as your business grows.

Great Affiliate Program

ActiveCampaign has an affiliate program that offers a 30% recurring commission. The program is not particularly unique, but there are a few things that make it stand out among other similar programs. For starters, being able to share automation works as a selling point, which you can use to get someone to join and start using ActiveCampaign. You can consider it as a way of creating credible value and getting good value from it as well.

Another reason to promote ActiveCampaign as an affiliate is that it does have plans that are quite expensive. The plans are suitable for companies that are more prominent and have bigger budgets for their email marketing. You can end up with big commissions by getting a client to use ActiveCampaign using your referral link. Keep in mind the commissions last a lifetime.

It Allows Resending Campaigns

The ability to resend campaigns is another impressive ActiveCampaign feature. Your campaign might have worked out very nicely such that a few months later, you have many new subscribers on your list. ActiveCampaign allows you to resend the same campaign to only the new contacts that joined the list after the last broadcast. Other contacts will not receive the same campaign a second time.

With ActiveCampaign, you can also resend broadcast emails to all contacts that did not open the email the first time you broadcasted. It is okay to resend the same content to such contact since they won’t have already seen it.

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ActiveCampaign’s Shortfalls

Doing Affiliate Marketing with Activecamaign Is Not Very Easy

If your main idea of using ActiveCampaign is to do affiliate marketing, you should probably strategize quite a lot before committing to it. That is because they have a strict policy regarding emails that are overly promotional and links directly to affiliate products. That means ActiveCampaign might not be the best choice for anyone looking to promote JVZoo, WarriorPlus, and ClickBank types of offers.

However, it is still possible to do some affiliate marketing with ActiveCampaign. You only need to know how to promote the affiliate offers indirectly. For example, you can make your emails more story-based and use bridge pages, blog posts, and YouTube videos to promote affiliate products indirectly.

It Has a High Learning Curve

The numerous features that ActiveCampaign means that it also has a high learning curve. It can take quite some time to learn about all the features and how to make the best use of them. You can speed up the learning process by reading the knowledge base, which is well documented. Contacting customer support is also another option that you can use in case you experience technical issues.

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Final Thoughts

Considering everything, the only logical conclusion that anyone can come to as an email marketer regarding ActiveCampaign is that it is a noteworthy investment. ActiveCampaign has what it takes to revolutionize your email marketing efforts. Thus, in turn, will help you enjoy higher conversion rates and increased sales. Even more, ActiveCampaign is a lot cheaper than other alternatives that do not perform as well as it does. That means that you get the best value for money. You can also utilize the affiliate-marketing program to gain more value from the email service provider.

You have to spend a considerable amount of time to get accustomed to the numerous features. However, the user-friendliness of the software makes the learning curve a lot less steep than it would have otherwise been, considering the number of features and tools that you have to master to utilize the service effectively.

ActiveCampaign also gives plenty of room for creativity, especially when it comes to automation. That allows you to take your email marketing to literally the level that you can dream of and to have the edge over competitors. There is hardly any negative thing to say about ActiveCampaign, which makes it one of the most highly recommended email service providers there is in the current market.

ActiveCampaign Review
ActiveCampaign Review

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