Making money online through Niche Marketing

ActiveCampaign Review: Marketing Automation that Turns Leads into Repeat Customers (2020)

In the early days of email marketing automation, the only available platforms either lacked crucial features or they put a huge dent in your pocketbook. Now, there are a few platforms dominating the marketplace. At the top of the list is one I started using about 8 months ago. I love it so much that I’ve been inspired to write a full ActiveCampaign review for others who might be interested.

Here, you’ll learn why I love their deliverability tools to prevent going into recipients’ spam folders and (best of all) the amazing sequences you can build. So, now let’s take a look at these features and the ActiveCampaign pricing tiers.

Once you’re finished reading, you should be able to determine whether or not this is the right platform for you — I will put money on the idea that you won’t be disappointed!

What Can You Expect When Creating Your Account?

While surprises are fun, the onboarding experience with ActiveCampaign goes above and beyond other platforms that I’ve tried, so I want to specify here what you can expect.

An ActiveCampaign offer that is pretty standard is the 14-day free trial. And, With your trial, you can register an account with any email address as a Lite user. At this time, the platform will collect all the information it needs to create your customized dashboard.

First, of course, they’ll ask for your contact information. Then (this is where it gets good), they will ask about your niche, email marketing goals, and other software you use within your business processes.

Make sure to mention each your favorite tools here, in detail, to make sure the internal processes are fully-customized for your needs.

ActiveCampaign Pricing Tiers

Because of the customization options, pricing options for ActiveCampaign are much more elaborate than most email marketing platforms. While you’ll normally find between three and five pricing options, this platform has ten list size options in four categories (40 pricing options).

The lowest price you will pay is for the Lite plan, with 500 or fewer contacts, is $9 per month when paid annually.

The highest listed price for the Lite plan, with up to 100,000 contacts, is $369 per month when paid annually.

Customized pricing for Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans with over 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 contacts are available via a customized quote.  

So, there is a plan for everyone (and you can try it out for two weeks before you make a monetary commitment — no credit card required). You will pay a little more month-to-month with each plan than if you pay for the year up front, and pricing is based on features leveraged and the number of contacts in your list.

Lite Plan Pricing Tiers

First, with most of ActiveCampaign’s Lite pricing plans, you will get unlimited sending, email marketing features, the ability to send newsletters, marketing automation features, and live chat and email support for up to three users.

Pricing for lite plans is as follows:

  • 500 Contacts – $9 (yearly) or $15 (monthly) per month
  • 1,000 Contacts – $17 (yearly) or $29 (monthly) per month
  • 2,500 Contacts – $39 (yearly) or $49 (monthly) per month
  • 5,000 Contacts – $69 (yearly) or $89 (monthly) per month
  • 10,000 Contacts – $111 (yearly) or $139 (monthly) per month
  • 25,000 Contacts – $179 (yearly) or $225 (monthly) per month
  • 50,000 Contacts – $239 (yearly) or $299 (monthly) per month
  • 75,000 Contacts – $299 (yearly) or $379 (monthly) per month
  • 100,000 Contacts – $369 (yearly) or $459 (monthly) per month
  • >100,000 Contacts – Quote Required for Pricing

Plus Plan Pricing Tiers

Next, with most of ActiveCampaign’s Plus pricing plans, you receive everything you get with the Lite plan as well as CRM with sales automation, contact & lead scoring, deep data integrations, custom user permissions, a custom domain, custom branding, one-on-one training, and SMS marketing for up to 25 users.

Pricing for Plus plans is as follows:

  • 500 Contacts – $49 (yearly) or $70 (monthly) per month
  • 1,000 Contacts – $49 (yearly) or $70 (monthly) per month
  • 2,500 Contacts – $99 (yearly) or $125 (monthly) per month
  • 5,000 Contacts – $135 (yearly) or $169 (monthly) per month
  • 10,000 Contacts – $199 (yearly) or $249 (monthly) per month
  • 25,000 Contacts – $319 (yearly) or $399 (monthly) per month
  • 50,000+ Contacts – Quote Required for Pricing

Professional Plan Pricing Tiers

Then, with most of ActiveCampaigns’ Professional pricing plans, you have access to all the features of the Lite and Plus plans with site messaging, attribution, predictive sending, and win probability for up to 50 users.  

Pricing for Professional plans is as follows:

  • 500 Contacts – $129 (yearly) or $159 (monthly) per month
  • 1,000 Contacts – $129 (yearly) or $159 (monthly) per month
  • 2,500 Contacts – $129 (yearly) or $159 (monthly) per month
  • 5,000 Contacts – $199 (yearly) or $239 (monthly) per month
  • 10,000 Contacts – $279 (yearly) or $349 (monthly) per month
  • 25,000 Contacts – $479 (yearly) or $599 (monthly) per month
  • 50,000+ Contacts – Quote Required for Pricing

Enterprise Plan Pricing Tiers

Finally, ActiveCampaigns’ Enterprise pricing plans, created for full-scale marketing campaigns, include all features of the Professional, Plus, and Lite plans in addition to custom reporting with Google Analytics integration, a custom mailserver domain, a dedicated account representative, in-depth platform onboarding, free design services, free social data, phone support, and uptime SLA for unlimited users.  

Pricing for Enterprise plans is as follows:

  • 500 Contacts – $229 (yearly) or $279 (monthly) per month
  • 1,000 Contacts – $229 (yearly) or $279 (monthly) per month
  • 2,500 Contacts – $229 (yearly) or $279 (monthly) per month
  • 5,000 Contacts – $359 (yearly) or $449 (monthly) per month
  • 10,000 Contacts – $399 (yearly) or $499 (monthly) per month
  • 25,000+ Contacts – Quote Required for Pricing

ActiveCampaign Apps and Integrations

Nearly 250 apps are available in the ActiveCampaign integrations dashboard, so you can connect your existing campaign accounts to your email operations with ease.

Let’s explore the top four most popular apps so that you can get an idea of just a few integration functions the platform delivers.

Facebook App for ActiveCampaign

Facebook is still one of the top social media marketing channels for business. And, now you can connect your business page and personal profile to your email marketing efforts.

The Facebook App offers two major features to enhance your promotional efforts.

  1. Add an email subscription form to your Facebook business page.
  2. Automatically post a Facebook status update on your personal profile or business page when you send a new email campaign.

From now on, you can generate email list leads from social media and share your promotions with your current fans and followers across multiple channels.

WordPress App for ActiveCampaign

The top content management platform has easy integration with ActiveCampaign via a WordPress plugin. Access it easily from your ActiveCampaign dashboard to connect your accounts.

What will this do for your email campaigns?

The WordPress App allows you to integrate email collection on your WP site to your ActiveCampaigns dashboard so that all efforts are connected. Embed subscription forms and set up site tracking for advanced list segmentation.

Zapier App for ActiveCampaign

Use the Zapier App to streamline integration between your ActiveCampaign account and over 500 external applications.

Zapier uses connections called “Zaps” to connect apps with no coding skills. You can use existing zaps or create your own to merge nearly any two popular online applications.

Use the Zapier app to market to new prospects, auto-import various form respondents, capture new customers, and more.

Some popular apps you can “Zap” with ActiveCampaign are:

  • SurveyMonkey
  • WooCommerce
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • TypeForm
  • Unbounce

This list barely scratches the surface but gives you an idea of what’s possible.

Shopify App for ActiveCampaign

Every eCommerce store owner knows the benefits of Shopify for business. Now, you can connect your online store to your ActiveCampaign email marketing dashboard.

Using this app, you can send email opt-in form respondents on your checkout pages directly to your email marketing dashboard with ease. Send these subscribers to a segmented list for Shopify subscribers.

Then, you can target your email campaigns to appeal to the users who subscribed as customers and help recover abandoned carts, upsell, or send people to your new content and products.

Email Deliverability Tools

One of the main reasons I’ve chosen to stick with ActiveCampaign is the access to email deliverability tools that help keep emails from hitting recipients’ spam and junk folders.

First of all, ActiveCampaign won’t allow you to import a list of contacts that you cannot account for where you acquired the list. You are required to enter the URL for the pages where you acquired the list, the last time you communicated with this list, and how often contacts have heard from you in the past. So, from the very beginning, there’s the assurance that all contacts actually want to actually hear from you.

Next, the drag and drop interface is super intuitive, so the emails you create are always well-designed, ensuring that recipients experience a solid level of aesthetic appeal; this gives your brand a professional and trustworthy image, ensuring that people might continue to want to read your emails.

Finally (here’s the kicker!), the built-in Spam Check shows you what might get your emails sent to junk folders before you ever click ‘Send.’

What is Spam Check?

Spam Check is ActiveCampaigns’ standard anti-spam filter for email campaign managers. It runs your emails through a series of scans to point out red flags that might get you blacklisted by email providers.  

It’s crucial to note that Spam Check will not prevent you from sending an email, but that it will guide you to follow best practices, ensuring email deliverability and increase your email open rates.

Furthermore, while Spam Check scans the subject lines and body of your email messages to look for potential issues within the content itself, it does not know anything about your domain. So, it cannot fix a previously-damaged domain reputation.

What it will do is check for common errors within your email, saving you a lot of time on a filter that is nearly impossible to manually implement.

What Are Some of the Main Errors Spam Check Scans for?

When checking your emails for signs of spam, there are several errors that occur most frequently. According to ActiveCampaign’s API, Here are the common errors you might find in your emails so you can look out for them.

  1. Reference to a muscle relaxer
  2. The recipient uses a free email provider
  3. Subject line or content includes likely spam phrases (“Dr.,” “your compensation,” “profitable,” “marketing partner,” gibberish, etc.)
  4. Content includes the phrase, “reply to this email”
  5. HTML has a low ratio of text to image area
  6. Content contains imbalanced text to image ratio
  7. Improper use of personalization in content
  8. HTML includes too many tags
  9. The subject line contains exclamation or question marks
  10. Use of the word “Here” in a link (includes the unsubscribe link)
  11. Accessing blacklisted URL for externally hosted images/ videos
  12. Included URLs contain long numerical sequences or tracking IDs
  13. The message contains the word “Dear” with no recipient name/ personalization tag

Spam Check is like a standalone marketing tool, included with all ActiveCampaign accounts. It truly enhances the marketing automation workflow.

How Intelligent is the Automations Builder?

If you’re interested in creating if/ then automation workflows (*you should be), you will love ActiveCampaigns’ triggers, which are some of the most flexible on the market. Automated emails help you stay in touch with your audience. With this platform, you can connect with people at every step of the user journey.

Here’s what you can do with automation recipes and a description of each messaging type. As you learn about them, imagine the nearly unlimited combinations you might create.

ActiveCampaigns’ Automation Recipes

While you can start your if/ then triggered campaigns from scratch, the platform comes standard with tons of “recipes” or drip campaign types to choose from.

Here are some of the available automation workflow sequence templates (recipes).

  • Welcome Email Series
  • Product Interest Target Follow-Up Automation
  • Engagement Tagging (Two Parts) Automation
  • Product Interest Tagging Automation
  • Site Tracking Abandoned Cart Automation (Two Parts)
  • Upgrade Incentive and Outreach
  • Accessory Upsell After Purchase
  • “Forward a Campaign” and “Share a Campaign on Social Media” Incentive
  • Invite to Follow When Referred by a Social Media Site
  • On Reply, Create a Task to Respond
  • Re-Engagement Campaign Triggered by “Disengaged” Tag
  • “Need Help?” Message Triggered on Visit to Help Docs
  • Customer Service Follow-Up
  • Deduct Points for Unsubscribing From a List
  • Add Points for Form Submits, Campaign Link Clicks, Email Opens, Page Views, and Visits to an Important Page
  • e-Course Delivery
  • Opt-In Incentive Delivery
  • Identify Possible Advocates
  • Webinar Remind Series
  • Send New Blog Posts
  • Customer Win-Back Sequence
  • Failed Billing Reminders

This list is not inclusive of the existing workflow sequences. In fact, it covers less than half of what’s available. To see everything, you’ll have to try the platform yourself.

Standard Emails

For ordinary, one-time emails, you will want to use the standard emails. While this might sound boring, these types of emails are important. Imagine that you’re running a flash sale or launching a contest. In this case, you won’t have a need for autoresponders, but you will want to send a timely bulk message to your list or a segment.

In the example above, QuickBooks sends out an email notifying their recipients of an important date. They use this as an opportunity to get users into their dashboards to try out the tax estimate tool.

Autoresponder Emails

After someone subscribes to your email list, you will want to send a confirmation, a thank you, and/ or a promotion. This is where the autoresponder will come in handy. Use this type of message to welcome new subscribers and engage users when they take certain actions.  

After I used the platform for the first time, Typeform sent me this message, an excellent example of an autoresponder email. Try connecting your ActiveCampaign dashboard to your SurveyMonkey account to create autoresponder emails asking for customer feedback.

Split Testing Emails

If you have a long enough contact list, you can use split-testing to determine which version of an email is most powerful based on open rates and CTR. Then, you can use the data to continually build more powerful messages with increasing conversion rates.  

For an example of how this works, Alaska Airlines might want to know which email is more engaging for users… This one:

…Or this one:

They could send one to one randomly-generated selection of contacts and the other to another sample of the same size. Then, using the data acquired, they could build more engaging future campaigns.

RSS-Triggered Emails

Would you like subscribers to get an update each time you post a new blog post? If so, the RSS-triggered email will come in handy because it will let subscribers know each time something is published on your blog.

Above, Medium sends an intelligent RSS-triggered email with titles and snippets from recent posts.

Date-Based Emails

Sometimes you want to send emails on specific dates. Is it the anniversary of when a user first ordered from you or subscribed? Does a customer have a birthday? There’s no need to keep track of this manually when you can just send an automated email when the date arrives and let the recipient know you’re thinking of them.

This email from Elementor provides an example of what you can do with a date-based email. Just say “hi” or offer a discount or free gift on that special day.

What are the Cons of ActiveCampaign?

Affiliate marketers, MLM, and some other industries oftentimes send highly-promotional emails, cold communications, and other email messages that aren’t exactly in compliance with ActiveCampaigns’ anti-spam policies. So, that means this system won’t work for all users.

If your business involves sending messages that contain content that doesn’t meet the platforms’ standards, you may find yourself unable to send communications that are important for your business operations. This would be a tell-tale reason to stick with another option.

And, if your business falls into one of the following niches, you’ll need to steer clear altogether as you’ll be removed from the platform anyway:

  • Pornography
  • Sexually-explicit emails
  • Illegal substances or good
  • Gambling
  • Dietary supplements
  • Pills or online drug purchases
  • Work at home pyramids (MLM)
  • Day trading, Forex, etc.
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Internet loans or payday advances
  • Male enhancement products
  • Escort and dating services

However, if your communications are generally in compliance with best practices and you work in a more trusted industry, I highly recommend finding out for yourself how well the platform works.  

Final Thoughts

Active Campaign sent me a pair of socks in response to my fan mail!

Overall (as I’m sure you can tell from the sentiment herein), I love this platform (they even sent me a pair of socks after I sent them fan mail)! While it may not work for everyone, it’s got all the nuts and bolts you need to launch and scale your email marketing efforts, no matter what sized list and team you have.

Click Here to Try it for yourself today so you can see just what I’m talking about.

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