Get Response, Sprout Social, iContact, MailChimp, and Constant Contact are all email automation clients I have used in the past. And for my business, I considered trying all platforms and actually used MailChimp for quite some time. But, more recently, I decided to subscribe to ActiveCampaign after it was referred to me by one of my former marketing professors. So If you are like me, wanting an enterprise-level email marketing automation system without the price tag, ActiveCampaign may be the right email marketing automation tool for you.
There are four pricing tiers. The pricing tier I selected is the month-to-month payment of $15/month ($9/month for the year). Not bad, considering what you can do at this level.
This level is called "Lite" and comes with unlimited email marketing. And, the automation available comes with some advanced functions, like being able to say what will happen if an action is or is not taken by the email recipient. For example, I can say that if someone watches a video embedded in my email but does not click, send them a freebie.
I can only speak to this level, and no, it does not include lead scoring or sales automation.
You would need to upgrade to the "Plus" package for $70/month if paid monthly for these advanced features. Or, you can pay $49/month if you pay upfront for the year. This pricing would be for those with less than 500 contacts. If you have over 500 contacts, the pricing will increase.
Now, back to what you can do with the Lite plan and marketing automation.
Marketing automation in ActiveCampaign is pretty easy to follow. Only you can make it complicated as I did. I was overthinking the steps instead of taking a 1+2=3 approach. Not only can you create your own email drip sequence, but there are free ones you can download through ActiveCampaign. You can also share sequences with others that you create.
A user can also create long email drip campaigns or short ones and prompt a new campaign from another one. For example, I've used the short campaign to introduce new subscribers to my business. For six days, I get people up to speed on who I am and what my company can do for them. Then after six days, I move email subscribers to an educational newsletter sent bi-weekly.
You can have emails sent to subscribers based on their interaction with your website, too.
And, as a marketer and business owner, testing and trial and error is a must. For this, ActiveCampaign allows you to test one email against another. This ability allows you to improve your email open rate over time by seeing which email subject lines result in greater open rates.
By the way, a tool I use to help with creating excellent subject lines is CoSchedule's Email Subject Line Analyzer. It's an email marketer's best friend. You should also test the time of day your emails get opened the most. And yes, there are reports for this. Once you see when your emails are getting the most love, you can tweak the scheduling of your emails, as small changes can make the most significant impact.
Now stick with me. You are still getting all these automation perks at the "Lite" level. And here are some more! In ActiveCampaign, you can also set campaign goals, and the process is pretty neat. Setting goals lets you know how long it takes someone to take the action you want them to complete. This can help you send out an extra email or two to get a person to convert from a lead to a customer.
And, of course, like other email systems, you can personalize the content. But, in ActiveCampaign, you can set conditions for the type of emails to go out and to whom. You can also tag contacts and determine what people will get in their inbox based on their tag. Isn't that the level of hyper-personalization we all want for our emails?
What I really like is that, unlike MailChimp, I have a little more control over sending the same email twice. Now, it is always smart to change the headline if you do this. But, I love being able to say: 'If this person did not open my email in seven days, send them the same one with a different subject line.'
As for the email editor or builder, it is straightforward. The platform also keeps a record of your email templates. So, there's no need to worry about re-creating the same email template more than once. Therefore, ActiveCampaign is great for a business watching their wallet. It is also considered one of the best email marketing automation tools on the market. The platform can also double as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This capability is perfect for those who need this functionality.
The only downside for me was the 14-day free trial. I really needed more time to see how I liked the platform, given my busy schedule. Also, after the free trial, the company will remove your information if you do not buy a plan. This does not make sense to me. Few people will go through setting up their automation and importing names with no intention of buying. I don't know any marketers or business owners that have this much time to waste.
I especially feel like the information should not be removed if a prospect states they will become a customer. This high-pressure tactic is not the best. Other than this, I love the platform.
If you would like to try out ActiveCampaign, give their 14-day trial a try! ActiveCampaign will not disappoint. And while you are in ActiveCampaign, be sure to check out all the integrations. There are just too many to list here.