Email Marketing Software

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign - Which Is the Best Fit for Email Marketing?

MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign - Which Is the Best Fit for Email Marketing?

Introduction:

Running an online store today means that you have access to a treasure of marketing practices, that are specially designed to make your business more productive, saving you time and money. Email marketing automation tools aid in handling multiple elements of your business. There are several email marketing software available on the online portal giving plenty of email marketing automation solutions, and thus, it can be a daunting chore to choose the best one out. 

A robust email marketing automation platform will assist you in bifurcating your email lists better. For instance - It lets you automate several campaigns, and send customized emails to the right set of people at the right time. There are usually two schools of thought: the "all in one" email marketing platform that manages everything from payments to email mechanization and the other "best in class" platform that correlates to other tools via APIs and alliances.

MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are both renowned email marketing automation platforms and fall in the  "best in class" category. ActiveCampaign gives exceptional features like powerful automated workflows, while MailChimp presents an easy-to-use and cost-effective option for small-to-medium-sized companies. 

Content

Product Overview:

ActiveCampaign:- It provides an intuitive dashboard that covers an available, ‘Getting Started’ slider and many support sources to aid users in becoming more accustomed to its features. ActiveCampaign discovers from users’ data and accordingly produces useful individualized messages. It involves a consumer relationship management element that organizes all consumer data, fortifies communication channels, and automatically manages prospect tracking. With its drag-and-drop alliance, users can create and perform email campaigns, build personalized goals, solidify all data (including third-party data) and view comprehensive reports. The software also integrates with many different and famous applications like Shopify and Zoom. 

With ActiveCampaign, you can create email newsletters and send them to your audience. It also holds a sophisticated follow-up peculiarity that helps you to send the exact messages in-line with your purchaser’s behavior. This approach will make your target audience more receptive to your messages, thereby boosting conversions. Moreover, ActiveCampaign is beneficial as it possesses an integrated sales CRM tool to help the businesspeople automate lead prioritization, contact management, and other sales methods. This way, businesses can save time and also keep the processes organized.

MailChimp:- MailChimp is the world’s most extensive email marketing automation portal that automates the production of compelling email campaigns that are tailored to customers’ specific needs. MailChimp consists of an in-build drag-and-drop editor and several third-party integrations. It also offers an ample amount of learning resources.  Like ActiveCampaign, MailChimp also caters to the users with a feature that enables them to understand all the correlated data that it collects. Furthermore, MailChimp also integrates with renowned e-commerce platforms and social media platforms.

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that supports you to generate, send, and pursue your emails and ad campaigns. With this email marketing tool, one can easily create and run unique campaigns to reach the respective business targets. It will support you in expanding your target audience circle, sell more products, and build your brand image efficiently. You can also create tailored reports and manage the list of subscribers and non-subscribers. It has personalized email templates with which you can use to curate professional emails for your respective business.

Ease of Use: 

During the initial years, MailChimp claimed to be the most accessible email marketing tool. It was introduced when email marketing software was generated for enterprises. It was expensive and complicated for the average user to manage. Nowadays, retaining simplicity with the most easy-to-navigate interface is much easier for the MailChimp. Thus, it gives a drag-and-drop email editor option that’s intuitive to use. 

In a way, MailChimp has helped in setting the standard for what we know as the easy-to-use email editor. Though MailChimp’s automation feature is very useful, it is not as robust as ActiveCampaign. MailChimp’s automation works better with normal auto-responders like Aweber. It also allows you to put up email campaigns that can be generated by a date, an event, or contact’s activity. 

One can get an idea of how to get started with the audience by having a glance at the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_boGtscavzg

On the other hand, ActiveCampaign has a compelling automation feature that is easy to use. ActiveCampaign is designed to be a more robust platform with more advanced features. This feature contains a drag-and-drop automation framework that helps you to put-up your workflows based on minutes. With this tool, one can easily automate their follow-up emails, move contacts between lists, shortcut their record, and also react to contact behavior and other things. In short, it holds a visual workflow for automation that makes it simple to know what one is working on along with the flow. 

For getting started with ActiveCampaign - have a look at the video below -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM_4x9H7Xr4

Design & Flexibility:-

MailChimp has more than 80 email templates, or we can call them as themes. These themes or templates make the most of the dashboard look modern or mobile responsive. There are many diverse themes to choose from the collection, inclusive of newsletters, ecommerce emails, events, and notifications. MailChimp also possesses 14 boilerplate designs than can be easily customized as per one’s will and wish (colors and images).

Design & flexibility mailchimp

In brief, one gets a decent amount of adjustable email designs, with which one can easily drag and drop the images and contents related to the business. It also provides an option for the user to upload their pre-coded templates to customize it.

dashboard mailchimp

Similarly, ActiveCampaign offers 30 stylishly designed and mobile-friendly templates with adaptable content blocks and the ability to import your models.

active campaign design

Hence, one can easily conclude that ActiveCampaign's designs are pretty good in comparison to MailChimp's.

Features:

The foremost thing that will help you understand the comparison done between ActiveCampaign and MailChimp is to understand ''who the software is designed for.' This will help you to know whether it can be used for your business or not. 

The points mentioned below are the peculiarities of the email marketing software tools - ActiveCampaign & MailChimp that are flourishing in the market. 

ActiveCampaign:- This tool offers a drag-and-drop email user interface as well as professionally curated templates. Other features can be listed as -

  • Send emails in one go to each and everyone on the list or the targeted audience. 
  • It automatically sends emails to the contacts who have been recently added or joined in the list. 
  • It schedules email campaigns as per the set dates and time. 
  • It generates a drip campaign, especially for new customers onboard.
  • Creates electronic, complex workflows by combining triggers, effects, and logic.
  • It also conducts A/B (split) testing to understand which emails are most active.

One can manage the lists as in ActiveCampaign the listings are less rigid, which means the same campaign can be sent to the contacts on different lists. One can also bifurcate the connections via tags or custom fields, which can also be added or removed via automation. 

One of the main features of the email marketing tool is creating Registration forms. ActiveCampaign provides some options for designing different forms inclusive of an inline floating bar, floating box, and pop-up. The form editor is visible and very simple to use in terms of adding new fields too. 

One of the most essential characteristics of the email marketing tools is email delivery, and it is vital while making comparisons between the two tools. ActiveCampaign does possess a time-zone delivery like MailChimp. With this tool, when one sends or schedule an email campaign, it reaches to the subscribers directly whenever it is selected. For example, if an email is chosen to send to your contacts at 8.00 a.m in London, then it will reach to your subscribers at the same time in the U.S, but there will be time difference means it will reach by 3.00 a.m. This time may not be the right time for the user and which will automatically reduce your open rate. 

active campaign dorm

MailChimp:- This tool possesses almost the same features as ActiveCampaign. This tool enables users to - 

  • Design and draft emails using a drag-and-drop interface, develop templates or custom coding
  • It connects to an online market to display certain items.
  • It allows users to use built-in photo editor and collaborative characteristics, like shared remarks.

MailChimp also possesses a new “Email Beamer” peculiarity that allows users to compose an email from a mobile device, via their Outlook or Gmail app, and then trajectories to MailChimp via private email id. MailChimp then automatically compiles a draft campaign and, when wanted, shares it. MailChimp’s versatility allows users to forward emails based on time zones, to classify a list based on area, customize messages through foretold demographics, and generate automated emails based on established triggers.

Unlike ActiveCampaign, MailChimp’s Lists are mutually restricted. It means you cannot add contacts on various lists in the same campaigns. As it charges per subscriber than if you are adding or having the same contact on different lists then you would have to pay for each of them. Thus, MailChimp’s list is a little complicated. Moreover, MailChimp also allows users to build pop-up forms, but with a couple of changes, which is not a simple task to do and also not all the forms are mobile-responsive.

In MailChimp, also email delivery feature plays an important role. This tool holds two email delivery options -1. The send-time optimization, and 2. Timewarp. By using send-time optimization, one can choose the best time for open rate and clicks. Whereas, with Timewarp, you can specify the delivery time for each contact as per their time zone. The same example we can take as in ActiveCampaign when an email is sent to the contacts at 8.00 am in London, then the subscribers in the US will receive at 8.00 a.m as per their time zone.

Mail chimp form

Pros & Cons:

Each marketing tool has its own pros and cons. So let's get in detail and see which one is the best.

ActiveCampaign:

Pros: It was introduced in 2003 as a solution for business people, who always wanted to be in touch with their leads. Since then, ActiveCampaign honed its services to become the best in marketing automation. Contacts are the main force in ActiveCampaign. It can be said that contact in its pure form can be considered as a unique email address. But, most importantly, contact only counts if it exists in multiple lists. This is a vital aspect to be taken into consideration as many email service providers charge for the same contact existing in various lists.

For example, let's say a user has several lists like SEO Checklist, SEO Success Formula list, and Keyword Research list. First, the user signs up for the SEO Checklist and a few days later for SEO Success Course, but, still, it will show up as an existing single user in the system. 

Cons: There are a couple of points which are worth to be mentioned -

ActiveCampaign is not super intuitive if a user is a non-technical person. The automation process is excellent, and the visual editor assists the user in picturizing the intended workflow of the business, respectively. Unlike MailChimp, there is no timezone in ActiveCampaign. For instance, when you click on send or schedule your campaign, then your email will be forwarded to everyone at the selected time. Thus, it can differ as per the US and other countries' time zone. 

MailChimp: 

Pros: It is considered to be one of the leading email marketing tools, sending more than thousands of emails per day on behalf of its 15 million users. It is easy to use. With RSS-to Email, one can publish new blogs and forward it directly to the email subscribers, which can save time. Inside MailChimp, one can create an RSS template, can control the number of posts to go out, and also can decide how often one can send them, i.e., daily, weekly, or monthly.

Cons: MailChimp has a lot of things to offer, but sometimes it feels that it lacks a little bit of grit. The following points can be considered as the demerits of MailChimp -

  • Automation in MailChimp is not as advanced as ActiveCampaign.
  • One can create as many lists one wants in MailChimp, but still, there are certain drawbacks of it like one can not send a campaign to multiple lists.

To send the campaign, MailChimp fosters the users to build a master list and use groups and classification. But this master list is not useful for all the business set-ups. 

Analytics & Data:- 

ActiveCampaign - With this tool, the users can set the campaign goals, such as many page views or webinar signups. With the number of subscriptions, one can respond effectively according to goal completions. These plans help users in tracking accumulated data from users. For instance, an aim is completed only when someone hits a pricing page, clicks on call to action link, and sign-ups for an email list, or does all the three of them. 

active analytics

Moreover, ActiveCampaign also pursues the conversion rates so that the user can quickly know about how many contacts have completed the set goals or how many have gone through the automation process. Evaluating a campaign’s automation achievement, especially when merged with the A/B testing, can direct to a more successful email campaign.  It also unites social and behavioral data as well as contact & lead scoring to assist the user in sales efforts and CRM. 

MailChimp: This tool offers an account dashboard that provides an overview of the user’s campaign, inclusive of which contacts opened emails, what did they click on, audience growth, campaign engagement, and e-commerce functions. It possesses interactive graphs that envision these statistics. Users can also have a glimpse of country involvement, subscriber habits, and many other things. 

Furthermore, MailChimp’s drill down data characteristic allows users to make comparisons with other users of the same vertical. Besides this, online store owners can track sales right from the purchase to pulling data using website traffic tools, analyzing ROI, and assuming future trends. Users who own subscriptions can monitor the activity related to that in real-time and can allow their users to forward a modified campaign to those audiences who do not respond to the emails sent. 

In short, both email marketing tools provides the user with a strong view of their data. MailChimp’s strategy is slightly more user-friendly in comparison to ActiveCampaign, where this tool can fine-tune with the exact marketing and sales goals.

Integration:

ActiveCampaign and MailChimp both are famous email marketing tools. So it can be said that each of them provides the right amount of integrations with other apps. 

MailChimp exhibits nearly 200 integrations to all CRMs, ecommerce platforms, and others. Moreover, they also open up the integration possibilities even more by connecting with Zapier. MailChimp gives its users with plenty of available e-commerce integrations. When one wants to set up an alliance, then it can be quickly done by bifurcating customers based on the products they had purchased. Also can send the confirmations regarding the automated purchase, and many other things.

mailchimp integrations

On the other hand, ActiveChimp provides integrations with over 250 applications along with Zapier. However, ActiveChimp does not include any of the ecommerce integrations within its platform. It holds the capability to integrate with any number of payment processing systems. For example - Shopify integration will auto-add a new client to your ActiveCampaign email list only if that user opt-in to your marketing updates which doing the checkout process. But if they do not opt-in, then you have to add them to your tags or follow up sales sequence manually.

activecampaign integrations

Pricing:-

The budget plays a vital role in choosing which email marketing tool get fits with your business quickly and effectively. 

MailChimp offers an incredibly jaw-dropping “free forever” plan that permits up to 2000 contacts and 25000 emails per month. If the user wants to send more emails than they can upgrade the plan as per the requirement. On the other hand, the pricing system in ActiveCampaign is separated into three tiers - Lite, Small, Business, and Enterprise. Each of them represents the functionality the user gets rather than a set of the price range.

activecampaign pricing

mailchimp pricing

Spam & Design Testing:- 

MailChimp decently provides design testing. Besides standard desktop and mobile previews, there is also an Inbox Preview email, which allows you to preview the emails emailed to various clients. If the user owns a monthly plan, then will get 25 Inbox Preview tokens to use it every month. Users also get a link checker that quickly picks up any of the missing links and an app where one can easily preview any emails on their phones. However, there is no spam testing offered by MailChimp.

Whereas, it is entirely a different scenario with ActiveCampaign. This tool possesses a spam check that automatically checks each email before sending it. The preview of designs is restricted to desktop and email. One needs to upgrade the plan for viewing client reviews as it is not included in the free plan.

Reporting:-

Both of the email marketing software tools provide great reports. Each of them gives the details as mentioned below -

  • Performance of emails
  • Links checked
  • Geolocation
  • Social performance
  • Automation Reports
  • Ecommerce Reports

active campaign reporting

Moreover, ActiveCampaign also exhibits deal reports, which are the minutes of the various deals in the CRM. With these minutes, one can check reports such as deals over time, overviews of the funnel, deal owner’s report.

mailchimp reporting

However, in MailChimp, it is slightly different in terms of reporting. It only offers ecommerce reports, whereas ActiveChimp offers in-depth data reporting with Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Woocommerce. 

Support:

Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp offers to the users a similar kind of support inclusive of support via email, live chat, knowledge-based help, and tutorials. However, it is a little tough to crack ActiveCampaign, and so it provides one-on-one training to the users to master it. It also provides a community forum where users can get in touch with another. On the other hand, one can get support in MailChimp only after getting through its knowledge base. Thus, support in ActiveCampaign can be obtained in a much easier way compared to MailChimp.

Reviews:-

ActiveCampaign - Users found it to be the most powerful email automation tool with direct integrations and a robust API. Alo in terms of cost, the users found it to be worthy in comparison to other email marketing tools. The automation capabilities alone make it cost-effective. The software helps the companies to send personalized emails to potential customers and also to do regular follow-ups as well as to track the consumer’s information.

The following reviews at GoodFirms are confirming the quality of ActiveCampaign.

active campaign review 1

active capaign review 2

active campaign review 3

MailChimp: Here, many users found the user interface friendly and easy. Also, its reporting section is very strong as it gives out a clear and precise picture of the data. It also gets easily connected with the CRM platforms and the number of test emails is limited. 

From the below-displayed reviews, one can easily get the idea about the capacity of MailChimp.

mailchimp review 1

mailchimp review 2

mailchimp review 3

Ergo, from the above review and details, it will get more comfortable for the users to choose the best from both the tools.

Final Thoughts:

Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp possess drag and drop interfaces and also own professionally designed templates that help the users to create professional mailers. Both of them offer powerful workflows and testing options. 

The clear difference between the two can be observed when one looks at their approach to data. ActiveCampaign concentrates on completing the goals, CRM, and sales. Whereas, MailChimp gives an informative dashboard, interactive graphs, and comparisons. 

MailChimp offers better pricing, while ActiveCampaign owns many features enabling the companies to increase their sales and build CRM. 

There is no such email marketing automation tool which is one-size-fits-all for any business. Hopefully, the comparison done in the above article gives you adequate information to move ahead with your search, and you can derive at a conclusion of which is the best fit for your business.

Nathan Sebastian
Nathan Sebastian

Nathan is a Content Writing Expert at GoodFirms, a dedicated research & review firm for software development companies, showcasing their genuine portfolio and clienteles to service seekers. Nathan has been in the content development of marketing & technical spheres for two years now. His focus stays occupied with SEO friendly content for various digital formats to assist GoodFirms in making its IT research reach millions.

Response (1)
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tom smith
October 2, 2019 15:09

Hello......Very good post!. It provides me very useful details. Thanks for sharing this information about Email Market. I really like the way you have explained the topics.

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GoodFirms
November 13, 2019 04:56

Hello Tom! We are glad that you found this blog helpful. Email marketing is, undoubtedly, one of the most fundamental marketing techniques. Therefore, along with building other strategies, we must focus on email marketing tools and tactics simultaneously. Check out our other posts to comprehend other such topics.

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