I love ActiveCampaign. Heck, I still have a bunch of sites (including this one), leveraging ActiveCampaign.
BUT, for new sites, I’m starting to “play the field” with some different marketing automation solutions. Years ago, ActiveCampaign was the only email marketing service that “got it” when it came to marrying user friendliness with powerful automation. But times have changed. There’s a veritable buffet of email marketing tools out there, many with similar (or better) features and layout.
If ActiveCampaign “killed” InfusionSoft, the following are the upstarts coming for ActiveCampaign…
Summary: The other “blue” marketing automation platform has been slowly sapping customers from services like ActiveCampaign. Sendinblue imitates the best features of AC, but does it for a better price that scales nicely. Not sure how they do it, but it’s the truth.
Similar to ActiveCampaign, but pricing plans scale better at higher levels (more affordable)
Pricing plan based on email sends vs email subscribers
Easier to use and get started with
Free pricing tier available for unlimited contacts (up to 300 sends per day – great to start with)
Heatmap email analytics
Smart “send time” optimization
Real-time sales alerts (transactional emails)
Not as many CRM features like lead-scoring and two-way CRM syncing as with ActiveCampaign
Not as many third-party integrations
No easy way to implement double opt-in emails
Only allows 1 user per account to start (ActiveCampaign let’s you add 3 to start)
Summary: If you liked ActiveCampaign for the CRM-lite features, Ontraport is a fully “grown up” CRM solution for 360 degree contact management and nurturing. It’s a tad more technical, but also more powerful.
More fully in the CRM camp
Better predictive analytics built-in for optimal send times
End to end contact and relationship management
Less expensive than similar options from CRM’s like InfusioSoft (by Keap)
Summary: Sendlane is a relative newcomer on the email marketing platform scence with a lot of work to do to catch up, but Sendlane is quickly ramping up to be a competitive alternative to ActiveCampaign.
Advanced ROI tracking capabilities
Better landing page builder and tempaltes (built-in)
More polished interface (more intuitive, easy to use)
Sales alerts in real-time
Built-in predictive analytics to optimize send times
No SMS capabilities
Relative newcomer to the market
Slightly more expensive at each tier than ActiveCampaign
Summary: Drip (now part of LeadPages) is one of the first powerful email automation software solutions (founded by Rob Walling). Today, Drip features close integrations with Shopify and eCommerce platforms, positioning themselves as the go-to automation platform for digital commerce.
Seamless integration with LeadPages and related products (if you need integrated sales pages, this is a great combo)
Closely integrates with Shopify (particularly post fallout from Mailchimp’s break-up with Shopify)
Clean visual automation builder and subscriber tagging
Summary: ConvertKit is tailor made for content site operators and bloggers, with clean AND powerful automation builders, easy-to-use optin-in builders and excellent support. It all comes at a bit of a premium price, but can be well worth it if you fit their target demographic.
Intuitive and easy to use, even for non-techies
Built with bloggers in mind
Exit-intent and advanced logic email optin functionality
If you aren’t a blogger you might be overpaying for the features you get
Generally more expensive than peers
Each URL / website requires a separate account (no bundling multiple lists like with ActiveCampaign)
Summary: Aweber has been in business for quite some time as one of the email marketing service pioneers for small businesses. If you previously wrote Aweber off as not having enough marketing automation features, it’s worth checking again. In the past few years Aweber has almost completely revamped their offerings (to good effect).
Many integrations (including Shopify, WordPress, PayPal, Facebook, etc…)
Summary: If you are looking for a more robust full-spectrum CRM and marketing Hub, Hubspot is the “next level” to look at. Hubspot has a LONG track record in the space and is known for their 100% FREE CRM (and very expensive add-ons).
FREE fully featured CRM to start (although payment required to expand to the full suite)
Cost-effective if you combine all your marketing tools with Hubspot (as the name suggests)
Excellent for large sales and marketing teams
Excellent lead management and scoring
Deeper analytics dashboards with more views and segments (compared to ActiveCampaign)
Starts free, but gets expensive quickly as you scale
Might be overkill for more straightforward businesses (e.g. if you just want email automation)
Summary: Constant Contact is another longstanding email marketing industry stalwart. Like Aweber, if you’ve written off Constant Contact in the past, it’s definitely time to take another look as they’ve added many new features in the last few years.
Constant Contact Advantages
Easy to use drag and drop email template builder
Excellent for event based marketing
Built-in split testing capability
Large library of email templates to pull from
Above average email deliverability rates
Constant Contact Disadvantages
Relatively expensive compared to the features and functionality offered
Limited tagging capability (not as robust as ActiveCampaign)
Summary: You probably haven’t heard of SendX, but that’s because it’s still a baby! However, I’m loving some of the features and automations being built-in as the next generation of email automation services evolves.
Final Send: What’s the Best Alternative to ActiveCampaign?
Overall, the one email marketing platform that stands out as 1) most similar to ActiveCampaign, 2) significantly ahead of the others and 2) for a more scalable price than ActiveCampaign, has to be Sendinblue here.
That said, some specific use cases to consider:
Looking for a more capable CRM solution? Go with Ontraport for best-in class contact management and automation.
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