Active Campaign is a very versatile and affordable email marketing platform with a powerful toolkit. They also have a very competent customer service (a very important aspect to take into account).
sendActive Campaign updates its functionalities frequently, often in response to criticism and suggestions from its customers. New users may find the interface a bit intimidating, but as soon as you get used to it you’ll see that it’s a friendly platform with extensive functionality.
What will you find in this article ?
Active Campaign prices are based on the size of your contact list. Thus, the more contacts you have, the more you will have to pay for each plan.
Active Campaign prices as of December 2018. Prices for a list of 1,000 contacts, paying annually.
Ease of use
The initial registration process is very simple, as you are simply asked for your basic contact information (company name, email, name) and some questions designed to indicate the appropriate level of service. Once you’ve done this, they take you to their control panel and then.
Here comes the problem.
The word « overwhelming » falls short of defining the initial amount of information offered by Active Campaign. There are seven options in the top menu (including Contacts, Campaigns and Reports). Within each of these seven options, you will find an extensive menu with more options. While all of these features are extremely useful, the first glance may seem a bit exaggerated.
Before you can send a campaign, you’ll have to make a list. This involves filling in a pop-up window that asks you to name the list and enter your company name and address, the URL of the list, and a reminder to your contacts about why they are on this list.
Fortunately, things get much better once you’ve done this. Active Campaign offers a lot of list creation options: you can make a copy/paste, import a CSV file or import a contact list from one of the 94 sources with which they offer integration (including the most popular ones, such as Google and Salesforce). Once you have your emails added, you can add tags, this is useful in case in the future you want to sort your contacts differently.
You can also do lead scoring. If you haven’t heard of this feature, it’s a feature designed to help sales teams accurately identify contacts by establishing « rules » and assigning a value to contacts that meet certain criteria. These rules can be aspects such as geographic area, response rate, etc.
Creating your email campaigns
Once your contact list is configured, you can start sending emails. Active Campaign provides a variety of easy-to-use, pre-designed mobile templates that you can customise to suit your needs. If you prefer, you can also start from scratch (using HTML code or using its basic « one column », « left column » or « right column » templates).
The drag & drop editor is more powerful than most and allows you to edit images even after you have uploaded them.
Sending your campaigns
You’ll see a number of tracking options to choose from: Open/Read, link tracking, response tracking, and Google Analytics. You can then select an email address to preview and schedule the campaign to be sent immediately at any time and date.
There’s also a spam counter that warns you of any potential problems you may have sending the campaign.
Customer Service and Support
Like many SaaS applications, variable customer service is integrated into the business model. You will only have access to telephone support if you purchase their Business Plan. For all others, you can access the entire Active Campaign help system by clicking on one of the two icons on the right side of the screen. This will give you the following options:
- Video Tutorials: 12 videos covering both tutorials and strategies.
- Knowledge base: Articles related to eight different topics.
- Guided training: In the form of individual sessions and online seminars (availability varies according to your plan).
- Tickets or messages: You can send a ticket to customer service or try to send an instant message to an employee who is online. When no one is available, you can leave a message instead.
- Blog: They have a blog that is updated frequently.
- Facebook: Active Campaign maintains a frequently updated Facebook account that contains links to third-party articles and events relevant to users.
- Twitter: Active Campaign is also active on Twitter.
Common criticisms of Active Campaign
- Learning curve: This tool is not difficult to use, but neither is it (at all) the easiest platform to use.
- Limited mobile application: Active Campaign launched a mobile app on their product, but it only has some of the features of the web application and its use is limited.
- Delivery rate: Some online reviews claim that their delivery rate is below that of Mailchimp.
Usual positive reviews
It is much easier to find positive testimonials about Active Campaign than negative ones.
This is what people like about Active Campaign:
- Frequent updates: They take into account customer feedback to improve their platform.
- Excellent value for money: Active Campaign is reasonably priced for everything it offers.
- Advanced functionality: Although initially a little overwhelming, your platform offers all sorts of options.
- Customer Service: Your customer service is reliable.
Active Campaign Features
These are some of the most outstanding features of Active Campaign:
- Segmentation: Allows you to create « segments » in your email and send those personalized segments only to certain members of your list. Do you want to send a version of your email to single men in Madrid? Do you want to send another version of the same email to married women in Seville? You can, too.
- Subscription forms: They offer four different types of forms, so that users can subscribe. From there, you can automate what happens to their information, from adding them to a contact list to sending welcome emails and starting the sales process.
- Dynamic Content: Active Campaign allows you to add RSS feeds and webs to your emails. These sections will be updated with the latest content, ensuring that your campaigns are kept up to date.
- SMS Marketing: Active Campaign allows you to send SMS alerts to your subscribers in addition to emails.
- Sales automation: This is one of Active Campaign’s best tricks. The sales automation feature allows you to create a workflow for your emails, ensuring that customers receive them at the right time to help them make their purchase.
- Scoring of contacts and leads: Using this feature, Active Campaign will rate your subscribers based on their activity and demographics. Once you know which contacts are most likely to become a sale, you can focus on them and help them buy.
- A/B Tests: You can create variations within your email (a different subject, image or phrase) and see which variant works best.
Active Campaign is very powerful when it comes to integrations, as it allows you to choose from a list of more than 150. If you are using a third-party application, it is very likely to be on the list.
Conclusion on Active Campaign
- Active Campaign is an excellent platform for sending emails.
- It can be used by companies of any size, but it may be more suitable for medium sized companies. We are thinking of companies with a marketing team, that can extract the full potential of this tool, but do not have the resources to build their own tools.
- Active Campaign prices are affordable, even cheap, but there is no free plan, so marketers with very modest email campaign needs would be better off using MailChimp.
- Although at first it can be a bit overwhelming, it is much more accessible than you might think. The step-by-step tutorials will help you at first, so it shouldn’t cost you much to learn.