If you had to recommend one marketing automation tool for small business, here it is
I refuse to ever tell a client there's a single software in any category that they should use without proper investigation further, but I have yet to run into a time where ActiveCampaign wasn't a massive improvement to upgrade to from other tools of similar price but lesser capabilities, like MailChimp and ConstantContact.
AC has been my own email marketing and marketing automation system for approximately five years now and I don't see myself moving away from it at any point. It's important for me to be aware of the tools on the market, and there are other great ones, but none that have been a worthwhile transition off AC for.
You have a massive amount of features available to you to handle basic email marketing, advanced marketing automation, behavioral automations, tagging and audience segmentation, and so on. That's just the basic package, too. More advanced packages introduce a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) aspect that is particularly helpful for sales teams, Lead scoring to help prioritize accounts for your sales teams to be more efficient, and dynamic content (among many other features).
There is little to see on the Cons. If I had to select something, I suppose the limit of three users on the Lite plan can be frustrating. However, it's typically safe enough for a small business, easy to share logins if needed, and the price and added features of upgrading to the Plus plan is quite affordable as well.
Best of its kind but getting complacent on the basics
I was a huge advocate for AC early on. Now, I temper that because of my frustrations. If they listen to their users more and get down to fixing the basics that are way outdated, they can soon get back to a full 5* experience. But for now, I would say try it out carefully. If you don't need the capabilities that distinguish it from the likes of MailChimp, it probably is not worth the annoying hassles.
This is high-end marketing automation at mid-market pricing. If you want to automate marketing to a high-degree and with great sophistication, AC allows you to do nearly anything - yet at a price point similar to email marketing tools with little or no automation. That's why I chose Active Campaign and why I stick with it.
For all of its technical sophistication, there are a few weak points around basics. Its email creation interface feels dated and the handling of image assets is clunky and horrid. Creating restore points and undo is flaky and unreliable. And what makes all this so bad is that users have logged these points for several years as top requests and AC has not addressed them. Instead they add fancy functionality. The basics of everyday use matter and the experience spoils the software for me.
Disorganized & Frustrating
Our overall experience was pretty negative, one of the more challenging and time wasteful business relationships we have had in quite some time.
Our account rep was quite helpful initially and our experience getting set up went fairly smoothly. After the inital set up our account rep pretty much disappeared but when we pressed her to become involved she did set up a call and was helpful.
The company has some fairly significant problems related to intracompany communications between departments. The old adage the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing fits Active Campaign perfectly based on our exeprience. About 6 months in we set up a call with our account rep whose analysis was that our account was doing very well from any analytics perspective with very high relative open rates and fairly low/acceptable spam reports, but the bery next day we received an email from a different person and department indicating that our spam complaints were too high and they suspended our service. It was an exptremely poor experience and given the spam numbers displayed on the Active Campaign admin panel made no sense at all. Qe also had a similar negative experience during the onboarding process with our account rep being totally out of the loop. The initial onboarding problems almost caused me to go in a different direction and looking back on it I wish I had folowed my gut instincts at that time, had I made the correct decision and chosen a different provider it would have saved us a lot of time that ended up being wasted.
A good all-rounder
Active Campaign is our one stop hub for our sales and marketing activity so we have an almost global view of how our customers and and prospects are interacting with us - the exception is our help desk but I'm sure we could integrate that too if we really wanted to.
We use Active Campaign to track our:
- Sales team interactions - emails, including emails we send from our own inboxes, tasks and follow up tasks, and call records - as long as we enter them!
- We use it to send and tracks all the newsletter/marketing interactions and all our automated emails for customers on free trials.
- We also track key interactions with our own product (though an integration we built ourselves) so the sales team have a quick reference to important behaviours.
Moved to Active Campaign from Infusionsoft (2 years ago now, before they changed their name) and we were very satisfied at that particular time that Active Campaign was the superior product.
Good marketing and automation tools - which have also had a lot of investment and attention in the two years we've been using Active Campaign - as well as a solid CRM and lead/opportunity management dashboard.
We have the Enterprise Grade subscription which gives us access to a dedicated account manager. This was really useful in the first year and we had an excellent account manager at that time.
Active Campaign have really focused in recent years on the live / real time behaviour tools and giving users the ability to build extremely complex automations. For us though, we would prefer a bit more focus on improving the CRM and things that make contact and lead management easier - such as the ability to add follow up tasks from the (otherwise excellent) Gmail widget.
Continual support each step forward
Even the times of technical challenges I have had were supported from the onboarding specialist and I have maintained what has been taught in each catch up. The technical complications are broken down and made simpler through amazing support. This has included a variety of either in person online, video training, correspondence through email and Q & A pages. I am so happy with what I have set up, it is much more than is needed for where my business is at, however many foundations are created to support my business growth.
The support is awesome and unbelievable. I save about 10 hours a week with everything set up as what is needed to be done once set up continues to meet the outcomes I created. There are so many options and ways to use active campaign. I use campaigns, automations, contact lists, email sign ups and as my business expands active campaign has so much support which I will continue to use. I am now free myself to do so much more than I could of imagined 6 months ago.
It is complicated for a non technical minded person.
A Must Have in Sales and Marketing
Keeping our team all on the same page. Being able to automate several tasks and be more efficient.
Ease to use and automations. How you can keep track of all the touches you've had with your contact all in one place. And the fact that I can send all my contacts a bulk or text without having to use another software.
More straight integrations with other software's instead of having to use Zapier
Great automation software
I use Active Campaign for all my emails and it has been a total game changer. I have been selling courses for years now using AC and it's the heart of my company.
I love the automation options of Active Campaign. It saves so much time to let AC do my email marketing. And it's really intuitive, quite easy to learn. I especially like the "jump" functionality, where you can plant a subscriber anywhere in an automation you like.
Deep data integration is only available in the Plus subscription.
Extensive, not just for email campaigns and automation
To be honest, although ActiveCampaign can be quite complex, it has so many options and it works perfectly. I can use it for my email campaigns, but also for my online courses and automation for my live trainings to name but a few. I do have the CRM option too, but haven't used it yet to be honest. What I am seeing there though is more than interesting and could help me get some more leads.
ActiveCampaign really takes some good digging in to understand how to set up campaigns. That's what I have a VA for :-) But I would definitely dig into it if I had to do all of it myself as I know it will be worth it.
An efficient software that covers your needs;
I own multiple websites from online shops to little blogs and ActiveCampaign helped me set up ways to collect emails and effectiently communicate with my marketing targets.
I sell more thanks to it and I still grow my lists, I'm really happy with that solution.
I tried many solutions before ActiveCampaign and it is the only software I found both intuitive, well documented and efficient.
You will get used to it because it's like having someone taking your hand and helping you setting things up.
It is easy to set, use, analyse; if you want to start collecting data and emailing prospects soon enough, this it the best way to start your automation.
Maybe a more intuitive way to know how to integrate solutions into CMS might help those who begin with everything - as far as I'm concerned, intel was sufficiant but I studied I.T. and it might still get too technical for a few people.
Easy to use, to setup and great customer support
ActiveCampaign solve our problem to collect potential customers over our ads campaign and to talk with them after this collect. We were facing some issues with our previous tool because they had a simples solution that didn't fit our need.
The thing that I liked the most at ActiveCampaign is how easy is to setup and start to use the tool. I began with the free trial but very soon I needed to upgrade my plan because I've already collect a lot of contacts that helped to grow my business
I've a problem to pay for my upgrade plan due to an currency problem. The website automatically converts the price to my local currency. But my credit card demands a payment in the original currency. Because of this, I was unable to instant pay for my upgrade. However, the support team helped me to solve this issue and I upgraded my plan.
Critical software for small business/startups
The most critical thing a small business has is their customer list. Being able to communicate with your clients in a timely manner, whether it's regarding safety protocols to build confidence or a promotion/offer to increase revenue. An email marketing system that can properly segment your clients and make it through email filters can make the difference between success and failure in a small business. Activecampaign allows solopreneurs and small companies to compete with big companies when it comes to email marketing, lead tracking and relationship management at a very affordable price. Also, their premade 'recioes' (marketing automations) are such a help so you don't start from scratch.
There is a learning curve an best practices when starting up. Learning how to create a campaign or even the terminology that Activecampaign uses. However, they make it easier with a wealth of articles, how-to's, webinars, and live support (which is crazy good and fast!).
If I had to recommend a single email marketing and automation tool, it's AC
AC has helped my business and clients alike in being able to seamlessly create email marketing campaigns regularly. In addition, the automation features are helpful to be able to tag specific contacts, start/end automated email series, and so on. There are limitless possibilities, without a *need* to use every feature to make it worthwhile.
AC provides the best combination of possibilities (features), user experience (ease of use), and pricing (it's affordable!).
There are situations when you may want a tool that is at the "enterprise" level (e.g., Salesforce) that may provide more options and span more actual product lines. I think it's very situational. But for specifically email marketing and marketing automation for small to mid-sized businesses, AC almost always is a more desirable fit than other platforms considered (e.g., more opportunity provided than MailChimp, all-around better than the terrible system that is ConstantContact, etc).
My top pick for an email marketing platform.
Overall, choosing Active Campaign as my email marketing service was a terrific decision. I've been happy with it so far and cannot wait to see where it takes my business.
I love how robust Active Campaign is and at a great price. It integrates well with the many online services and I haven't needed to reach out to customer support for help. I look forward to learning more ways that I can use Active Campaign to grow my online business.
As I progress through all of the available options and features Active Campaign has for me, I do struggle with knowing which features will help my blogging and email marketing business the most. There are many digital marketers providing courses on email marketing. Yet, I feel held back because I need to learn more about Active Campaign's platform and how it will best help me as a blogger before I can implement many of the techniques recommended to me.
A Powerful, Affordable Package
Active Campaign is at the center of my online marketing, and I am very happy with it.
I came from a different autoresponder which had many, many limitations.
A marketing guy suggested ActiveCampaign, so it was one of many I explored when the limitations of the old autoresponder company foprced me to move.
I am glad I moved, and I am very happy with ActiveCampaign. It allows you to set up marketing funnels, forms, capture lead data, tag your visitors and put them into marketing funnels for follow up.
I do not use all of the features, but. I have been able to build pretty elaborate follow up processes for my marketing sytem using ActiveCampaign.
There are a slew of new competitors which CLAIM to do what ActiveCampaign does for less money, and several services which offer website hosting, autoresponder, everything, for more money. I am glad I am with ActiveCampaign because they are established and their have a mature, stable product.
Not the cheapest, but it has features of more expensive platforms. I'd recommend it.
As with all autoresponders, the user interface and names and locations for things presents a learning curve. Especially for newer people, they could improve their intro and training videos to be more clear.
Consolidated so many tools into one
Their customer support is beyond great. I’ve sent instant chats to ask questions many times and I’m always impressed by how out of the way their reps go to help me. I even had one rep who built out an entire custom automation for me based on my needs.
I held back from investing in ActiveCampaign for over a year because of the overall cost. What I didn’t realize then was that I would be able to cancel FOUR other software subscriptions thanks to the robust suite of features that AC has. This software has played a critical role in my ability to grow my business by over 150% this year and I would recommend it to anyone!
I would give my left leg for AC to have mobile functionality. They don’t have an app and the mobile version of their site is non-functional. It quite literally can only be used on a computer. This is the one place where AC is severely behind their competitors.
ActibeCampaign is a professional game changer!
Overall, an excellent experience, that has transformed my organization's digital marketing and engagement.
I love the flow of the automations and segmentation.
It's opened a whole new world of opportunities for my organisation.
I'm not sure whether I have yet to find it, but from the exploration that I've done on the mobile app, I couldn't find tracking for automations, nor for forms. That would come in handy.
As for the software in general, it would have been helpful to be able to see an overview of all campaigns and automations in one place, rather than having automations on one tab and campaigns on another.
Also, it would be helpful if I could go into a sent campaign and resend it to myself (not a specific contact), and access the original message and list of people who received the campaign more easily. Currently feels like I need to go through 2-3 steps each time in order to do so.
I recommend it to everyone!
I recommend ActiveCampaign to all of my clients for two specific reasons. Easy of use and features. My clients hire me because they are not tech-savvy but ActiveCampaign gives them the freedom to use a robust email marketing platform with ease after getting over a very short and small learning curve. ActiveCampaign has an AMAZING and thorough online help database as well.
The only thing that I personally find missing from ActiveCampaign is Dubsado integration (although ActiveCampaign has a TON of integrations options so that might be a fault on Dubsado's end). I also think it would be nice to add landing pages. I host my landing pages on my Showit site but it would be a great option for some of my clients who haven't launched their site yet and want to start building their email list.
ActiveCampaign - Powerful drag and drop automation + Easy to send Emails
My experience has been a very pleasant one. Simple to use and fairly intuitive.
The deliverability of emails is crucial to me (and to most businesses).
A simple user interface comes in a close second.
ActiveCampaign delivers on both (and gives you a comprehensive tutorial series).
I don't make full use of the automations. However, they're drag-and-drop which makes them dead simple to use.
You can also create opt in forms using ActiveCampaign to collect emails. You can embed these forms into pages, or direct users to a link.
Sometimes it seems like ActiveCampaign goes down which is a problem. I've had people ask me why I sent them a broken link - but the real issue was that ActiveCampaign was down.
I don't have any other big complaints.
A small complaint is not being able to change an email's subject line without clicking a few times.
It would be great if you could change the subject line inside of the email creator.
It was wonderful until we needed support
Initially we were thrilled with AC due to it’s ease of use and speed. However, recently we ran into a major issue that suddenly started showing up, and is preventing us from moving forward on a vital project. We used the chat, and initially the guy on the chat told us it was the fault of another vendor we had integrated with. After going back and forth, he agreed to look into it, and asked for a bit more information. I went to collect that, and when I came back, the chat had ended. Furthermore, when I tried starting a new chat, it said “chat is offline, you will have to send an email.” I noticed that the chat was disconnected and chat went offline at exactly 12 pm Pacific time, corresponding with lunchtime. This is crazy! Who goes offline in the middle of a chat with customers who pay over $200/month for software just so they can take their lunch break exactly on time?
Now I’m really wondering, can I trust AC when it counts? Because this kind of software is expensive enough and complex enough that it absolutely requires good support. So far, I’m not impressed. (Previous less critical support inquiries were eventually answered, but not particularly quickly).
AC is very easy to use and to set up. It’s more intuitive than most similar products we’ve tried. When it works right, it’s great.
Software like this is complex, and things inevitably break or have bugs. We have used most of the major platforms out there, and they all have periods of bugs and issues. Once you run into it, the only question is this: will support be there to help? Not AC support, not if it’s lunchtime.
Thorough Email & CRM Software
AC is easily deployable and compatible with the rest of our tech stack, and this makes it easier for us to justify our continued use of it. The automations are easy to build, but complex enough to go further should you wish to. The email marketing system is thorough, and does what it says on the tin, The reporting capabilities are strong, and it is useful to have this all tied in with a clear CRM and Deal flow management system. The support team at AC are generally great, and depending on what tier you are on, they also provide generous support to their customers to make sure they succeed.
Sometimes the software bugs out, and doesn't do what you are asking it to do, although this is usually resolved quickly. The entry price for the higher tiers could be slightly lower.
Satisfied with Active Campaign
I've used several different email marketing software providers but when I switched to Active Campaign, I was finally satisfied with one. It was easy for me to get started using it and that was a big factor for me.
I like how the automations are similar to advanced email software and are easy to use. All the commands that I need are in the automations so I don't have to do a work-around.
Customer service has been helpful each time I contact them. When needed, they send me the exact link to the documentation I need, or answer my question.
Overall, I enjoy using Active Campaign and find it easy to use. The pricing is fair and I believe I get more value compared to other companies with similar pricing.
More features than other software at similar pricing
Pricing is fair
Easy to use
Easy to set up
Fast start to using the software
Good customer service that points to documents when needed
I don't know all of the features or how they could help my business - more explaining how things work would be helpful so I can decide if I want to implement it or not
I have used AC with an ecommerce store selling $3-4m per year, as well as several consulting firms and info product companies. It works amazing for all these use cases.
It's very rare to find so much functionality while retaining ease of use. I've been a consultant implementing and managing marketing automation and CRMs for 10 years, and AC has become my go to solution for all my clients. The CRM has come a long way in the past few years and now beats just about all of them that do both CRM and Automation. The integration with Ecom platforms like Shopify are also a huge benefit.
For years I would tell clients if they needed a CRM and they were doing personal sales that they should use Infusionsoft, but I can't say that anymore. Infusionsoft's CRM has become worse over time while AC's CRM has become much more powerful. One thing I wish AC would add is more functionality in the math actions for changing fields. If we could use different fields and formulas in the math to make calculations for custom fields, rather than just simple +-X/ then that would be amazing. I currently have to use Zapier to do that and it's not even that great with Zapier.
My first marketing automation platform, its about to pay for itself
As a startup founder, It is really difficult to choose the right platform to commit with. You have free options and very expensive ones. So Active campaign was a great option for me, right on the sweet spot.
Their customer success team is the best. I have had three on boarding one-on-one calls where they have understood my business and helped me with all the setup, resources and best practices to start using it the best way possible.
It is a very robust system, I only use the email automation, segmentation and I am starting to use their CRM, but the posibilites are endless. So far I love it
It is super easy to setup and use
The best customer support I have ever had on any kind of service/product
A thorough on boarding process, with personal coaching
You can automate every single part of your marketing funnel and still have a nice personal touch with your best leads
Endless possibilities to interact with your customers and prospects and track every behavior with you
It is so wide that I find myself a little overwhelmend on how to take as much as possible from the system without burning out.
I am in the 2,500 contacts bracket, and I think its price is fair. But when I have to sacle it up, it will seem pricy
Easy to Use, some bugginess
Overall, everything is very nice. The pricing is reasonable, and the additional features were unexpected as I was sort of grandfathered in to them.
They just recently added conversations (chatbot) automations, which were great to see. The chatbot was slick & never glitched out on me. It's not quite an Intercom replacement, but if you're not familiar with Intercom you'd be over the moon with this.
The email automations are hands-down the best aspect of ActiveCampaign.
The automations & workflows are visual-based & made it incredibly easy & user friendly for a once-newly-christened marketer unfamiliar with sequences. There's even a set of 'cookbooks' that are pre-built templates in case you were like me & didn't know where to start.
The email builder is a tad clunky. My biggest gripe was when I would create a new link from a template, it would change the color to blue & the font to Arial. Sounds like it's not a big deal, but when you're constantly changing the colors & fonts, it adds to the amount of time you're making an email.
It would be nice to be able to add an HTML element in the WYSIWYG editor, instead of bouncing in/out between that & the HTML editor.
The CRM is nice, but the deals functionality is fairly light. Not the end of the world unless there's a lot of nuance from deal to deal (like in our industry).
Very happy with ActiveCampaign!
My business is still small but growing and I know that there is a lot more to tap into for what ActiveCampaign can do but I have been very happy with it so far. When I was deciding who to go with, I researched many of the options that were popular and this one just seemed like the best one. Now a couple years later, I'm seeing more and more people praising it and what it can do. That's got me thinking I made the right choice. I mean, I figured at the time that it was the right choice but I'm seeing that validated by other's comments, too.
I like how powerful this software is and for a great price! When I started with it, I had quite a bit of a learning curve to learn it but had excellent help from support staff. It integrated well with my other online sites. Now I'm all set up and it runs like a charm. I look forward to using more of its capability as my business grows.
I have found it a little complicated for setting up with new lead magnets but I have attributed that to its ability to do so much so that you have to navigate around to set up what you need. And, I am still learning it. But what's great is that you can duplicate an automation. So once you have created what you want, you don't have to necessarily go back to square one. That I like very much!