Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods to grow your business by establishing direct contact with your customer. Therefore, it’s important to understand which email marketing software works right for you. Everyone who has or hasn’t stepped into the world of email marketing is familiar with the brand – MailChimp. It started in 2001 and since then they have been top of the business due to its simplicity and clear, targeted branding. While we have been using Mailchimp for the last couple of years, recently, we got the opportunity to test out the alternative of this giant email branding software. ActiveCampaign is another long-running brand (Since 2003) and they also have been serving seasoned marketers with the most outcome. So, after spending tons of hours with each of these software, we will share our thoughts on which email marketing software works better for you.
Ease of Use
Let’s start the comparison with ease of use first. We remember the day when email marketing software was only exclusive to the enterprises as they were too complicated for the general users. But they are much simpler now, and part of the reason we believed that was made possible is because of Mailchimp. It features an easy-to-use interface with a simple drag-and-drop editor that any user will find intuitive. In contrast, ActiveCampaign is robust with tons of advanced features, so it’s bound to be a little complicated for beginners. Overall, ActiveCampaign is fine if you are willing to spend some time learning it, but Mailchimp is better than ever for a complete beginner. So, the first round goes to Mailchimp.
Next, let’s look at the features of both these email marketing software. Design-wise, they both have a range of email templates that look modern and are mobile-responsive. So, both get the point here.
However, we have a bugbear in Mailchimp’s list management. It’s mutually exclusive, meaning you can’t include contacts on different lists inside the same campaign. It’s also unnecessarily complicated. But that’s not the case with ActiveCampaign. Plus, you can segment contacts via tags and custom fields. Even more, it offers lead scoring to make more informed decisions.
Moving onto marketing automation, Mailchimp does offer a good range of automated campaigns, including abandoned cart and order notifications. But it falls short against ActiveCampaign, which provides the kind of automation you will see in much more pricey software. Here, you can combine any number of triggers and actions for sending emails, leads, segmentation, and more. On top of that, it seamlessly integrates with its built-in CRM to automate the sales process. Simply put, ActiveCampaign is best at its automation game. Not just that, their deliverability is also much better than Mailchimp.
Apps Integration & Support
In terms of apps and integration, both provide hundreds of integration with categories like Accounting, Analytics, Marketing, E-commerce, Social Networks, and so on. Both also connect with Zapier to open up the possibilities even further. So, both win this round since they have all the major integration that most users will ever need.
The same goes for the support, too, as both software offers similar customer support with email, LiveChat, and tons of tutorials.
When it comes to pricing, both look relatively similar and offer four-tier plans that vary depending on the features and the number of contacts. However, Mailchimp sets it apart by providing a free program including 1500 contacts. That’s pretty generous when you compare it to ActiveCampaign, which doesn’t offer a free plan. So, if your budget is non-existent, Mailchimp makes more sense.
However, when comparing the paid plans, ActiveCampain gives you more bang for your buck. For example, their starter plan is actually cheaper than Mailchimp. But ActiveCampaign’s cost suddenly stood up with its Plus Plan; however, if you look carefully, it offers more features than Mailchimp’s Standard Plan. Finally, we don’t like how Mailchimp’s Premium Plan automatically charges you for 10,000 contacts. But, ActiveCampaign continues to determine the pricing based on how many contacts you need. Plus, its monthly $339 for 10,000 contacts is not much of a difference especially considering its extensive features.
Which Should You Use?
Well, the answer is, of course, it comes down to what you need and what will get the job done. Choose Mailchimp if your budget is zero, you are just getting started with email marketing, and you value simplicity. It will scale with you until you move beyond the small business phase.
On the other hand, choose ActiveCampaign if you are interested in automation like website notification or SMS if your priority for customization is high and you want a more detailed view of your subscribers.