One of the main purposes why email marketing software was developed is automation. These tools allow you to automate your campaigns instead of sending them manually each time. Moreover, automation also refers to predefined, action-triggered workflows you can implement, for example, once a customer clicks on a link and gets a signup form.
MailChimp offers a generous package of automations. You can easily understand and implement them by paying attention to the multiple triggers you can choose from (eg. upon receiving and opening an email or after the customer fails to open an email for a certain period). However, this platform’s automation builder is not extremely flexible, so you will have to adapt your strategy to the existing pre-defined flows.
ActiveCampaign is probably one of the best email campaign management tools on the market in terms of automations. This software provides you a wide variety of automated options you can choose from. However, the great benefit you enjoy in terms of automations is flexibility. The drag-and-drop automation builder allows you to define your flows as you please and combine different triggers. Moreover, since it has an integrated CRM, ActiveCampaign can also help you automate sales actions.
Thanks to its flexibility, ActiveCampaign is the winner because well-targeted workflows allow you to engage customers easier.
Design options are one of the key features of email marketing platforms. Most offer ready-made email templates to help you build campaigns. Others also provide interactive elements such as emojis.
MailChimp Design Options
With MailChimp, you get approximately 100 email themes for different email types; newsletters, eCommerce, notifications etc. This is more than enough to get you started, especially if you’ve got little time on your hands to create campaigns from scratch. The vast majority of these templates are mobile responsive and quite attractive. Also, you get the chance to customize their layouts with the colors or images you want.
ActiveCampaign Design Options
ActiveCampaign also boasts a series of beautiful email templates. Yet, their offer is more limited and only gets to 30 templates. However, most of them are quite appealing and easy to use thanks to the flexible content blocks system. Moreover, you can also easily import and use other templates in your dashboard
Given its wider choice of options, and the fact that this always comes in handy, especially if you’re constantly creating new campaigns, we opt for MailChimp this time.
List Segmentation and Management
List segmentation refers to dividing your contacts in different categories based on behavior and preferences. This process is essential in order to build customized and efficient email campaigns.
MailChimp List Management
MailChimp does provide the possibility to create different lists in order to tailor your email campaigns according to your audience’s interests. However, the main limitation here is that the lists are mutually exclusive. This means that you won’t be able to send a campaign to users that appear on different lists. As an alternative, you can divide your contacts list into groups or segments, or use a tag system. Nonetheless, these processes take longer and are less straightforward than building a list.
ActiveCampaign List Management
This platform is quite flexible when it comes to list building and it also offers a nice lead scoring tool. With ActiveCampaign, you can easily create different lists to segment your contacts. However, for extra precision and targeting, the tool also asks you to describe the list, name it and add an URL. This strict categorization can be useful for teams where different members manage email marketing campaigns.
The winner in this category is undoubtedly ActiveCampaign thanks to its flexibility.
Signup forms represent a basic feature all reputable email marketing software services provide these days. Signup forms allow you to capture leads easier. You can implement these forms on your website directly from the platform and customize them according to your needs.
MailChimp allowss you to use a series of embedded forms. These forms can be customized from the form builder tool, which is quite user-friendly even for absolute beginners. Some of the limitations in terms of form building include the fact that not all the available templates are mobile responsive. Moreover, there are different tools you need to use to add a pop-up and an embedded form.
ActiveCampaign’s forms are mobile responsive. You get a simple, visual form editor to create and link them to your website or social platforms. Some of the options you get to create the forms include floating bar, floating box, pop-up forms, or inline. It’s easy to add or eliminate fields to customize these forms. Moreover, you can also correlate the forms with your existing lists or tags.
ActiveCampaign gets ahead this time due to its responsive templates and flexible builder.
To improve your email campaigns’ performance, you should experiment with different layouts, subject lines, delivery times etc. This process can be carried out through an email marketing platform.
You can easily check and see how your campaigns look with this platform. MailChimp helps you test your email’s design by accessing the mobile or desktop preview option. Moreover, the same preview option can also apply to different email inboxes. You can also check if any links are missing from your emails. However, a spam test tool is not available and for the A//B testing function, you need a paid plan.
ActiveCampaign provides a spam check option. There is also a handy Send test option you can use to send a test email to a given email address and make sure your message won’t get in the spam folder. However, on this platform, you get limited preview options (only for desktop and email previews). If you want to access the client preview feature, you’re charged extra.
Both tools have their advantages and disadvantages, so we would say they’re even when it comes to their testing features.
The price you pay for an email marketing platform is an important criterion to consider before opting for a service. While both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp have similar prices, there are some differences between their packages. Learn what sets them apart.
MailChimp pricing plans
MailChimp provides a variety of pricing options and the great thing is that they also allow you to use the platform for free. The free tier only includes the basic features, which might be enough for a start-up or an independent content creator. However, by paying only $10 per month, you’ll be able to use the essential plan, which grants you access to a wider array of options and support.
ActiveCampaign pricing plans
ActiveCampaign provides different subscription options. Their basic plan called ‘Lite’ only costs $9 per month if you pay for a full year. The more contacts you have on your list, the more you will have to pay for the rest of the plans. With the next plan, the Plus Package, there is a big jump as this one costs $49. The most expensive subscription, Enterprise, costs $229/month. There is no free tier with ActiveCampaign, but you can access a test drive by contacting the team. The test period lasts for 14 days, enough time to realize if this tool is the right one for you.
Due to its free plan and the lower price difference among the succeeding plans, MailChimp seems to be the winner.
MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign - Ease of Use
By ease of use, we refer to how intuitive these email platforms are. To figure out which one performs better from this perspective, we tested each service's email builder and accessed several of their functions. Here are our conclusions.
MailChimp ease of use
MailChimp is one of the oldest email marketing platforms on the market. It was developed in 2011 and since the very beginning, this tool aimed to provide its users a fast and intuitive solution, a goal it managed to meet. Up to the present date, MailChimp remains one of the most intuitive email marketing software options.
The MailChimp interface is straightforward, you need very little time to figure out how to access its main functions. The platform provides the easiest email creation experienced through its drag-and-drop email builder. There are also plenty of resources you can access in order to learn how to use the tool. TOne of the things some users complain about is the fact that there are too many functions clumped in the Campaign section.
ActiveCampaign ease of use
ActiveCampaign is a bit different than other tools in terms of functionality, but let’s start with the good part, which is the fact that this is an advanced email marketing tool. ActiveCampaign boasts some outstanding automations and reporting features, as well as several templates you can choose from when you start creating campaigns. Due to its complexity, as you may expect, this tool is more difficult to use.
If you are a beginner, it might be best if you took some time to watch video tutorials on how to use ActiveCampaign or carefully read the guides and instructions you can find on the platform. It will take a bit before you get used to managing this dashboard. However, once you do it, you can schedule a campaign or get a report within minutes.
While both these platforms help you create, manage and track the results of your email campaigns seamlessly, we found that one of them is more user-friendly, especially for beginners. That platform is MailChimp.
Integrations are extremely important for your email marketing strategy because nowadays we use lots of marketing and customer management tools that need to connect to each other to facilitate data sharing and ease your work.
MailChimp’s integrations offer is quite generous. This email marketing software allows you to integrate 220 different tools and applications. Most of these integrations are useful for companies activating in the eCommerce field. Multiple content management tools and social media platforms can also integrate with MailChimp.
Some of the most popular integrations you can benefit from if you choose MailChimp include PayPal, Chargify, ShopSync, WooCommerce, Canva, GoogleAnalytics, Facebook. This platform’s API does a great job enabling you to integrate your existing software.
This platform currently provides more than 250 integrations. It can successfully connect to some of the most common eCommerce platforms and a wide variety of popular marketing tools. Some of the integrations you can enjoy include WordPress, Shopify, Google Analytics, WooCommerce, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Facebook, Typeform.
ActiveCampaign features an API that easily facilitates integrations with any other software. Moreover, you get comprehensive resources and support if you don’t know how to leverage this feature. There is even a developers community you can contact for help.
Since ActiveCampaign outperforms MailChimp when it comes to the number of integrations it provides, it deserves to be the winner in this category.
Good reporting capabilities are another must-have marketers are looking for when selecting an email marketing platform. Without accurate and detailed reports, it’s hard to understand how well your email campaigns are working and what aspects you need to improve.
MailChimp provides different sorts of useful reports. To be able to access them, you need to enable this feature from your account. Some of the aspects this platform can track include clicks, open rates, purchases, or social statistics. It’s also pretty easy to access a report in MailChimp. To do this, you need to click on the Campaigns icon, then select the Reports option.
ActiveCampaign also offers a wide range of different reports. They are easy to access from the Reports tab located on the dashboard’s left-side menu. The reports you can get from this platform include data on social performance, clicked links, geolocation, automations, eCommerce statistics, open rates, clicks, number of unsubscribers. Moreover, with this platform, you also get deal reports that summarize your CRM activity, for example, your funnel conversions.
In terms of reports, it’s fair to say the two platforms are pretty similar. Yet, because ActiveCampaign also provides deal reports, it deserves to be the winner.
Before purchasing an email marketing platform, you might want to check its customer support options. Let’s see the different ways in which the 2 platforms we’re focusing on in this post offer assistance.
MailChimp Customer Support
MailChimp is a bit tricky when it comes to customer support. Rest assured that the platform does offer assistance. However, the type of support you can benefit from depends on the plan you’ve purchased. With the free plan, you get email support. To access the live chat support (available only from Monday to Friday), you need a paid plan. Also, when you’ve got a question, you first have to browse through the knowledge base before you can get the customer support contact details.
ActiveCampaign Customer Support
ActiveCampaign is more accessible than MailChimp when it comes to customer support. Somehow, given that this tool is also more complex and less intuitive, this choice is justified. You can access their useful Help button located in the bottom left corner at any time. Their live chat service is also available on weekends. You can also contact the team via email and there is a comprehensive knowledge base here as well.
Thanks to its generous and more straightforward customer support options, ActiveCampaign gets ahead of MailChimp in this round.
When to Use MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign
Depending on your email marketing needs one of these tools might be more suitable than the other.
When to Use MailChimp
If you’re currently just learning the basics of email marketing or you’ve recently started a new company and you’ve got little time to learn the ins and outs of a complex email marketing platform, MailChimp might be the right choice for you. This platform features a highly intuitive dashboard, straightforward functions, lots of templates you can experiment with, and a lot of useful training resources.
When to Use ActiveCampaign
If you are an experienced marketing professional who has no problems in managing a complex email marketing tool, ActiveCampign might be more suitable for you. This complex software provides you a multitude of different features. You will love its flexibility and the numerous automations and integrations you can rely on. This is a suitable platform both for B2C and B2B email campaigns. ActiveCampaign easily supports large contacts lists.
MailChimp vs ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons
Both these platforms have their strong and weak points. To learn more about their different capabilities, you should read the full review you can find on this page. Here’s a quick overview.
ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons
Active Campaign features a complex suite of tools. There are numerous automated workflows you can rely on to personalize your customers' journey and convert them faster. The analytic tools are also reliable and the spam test function is a useful addition. Another aspect we truly appreciate in this software is the flexibility you enjoy while segmenting your lists.
Just like any other service, ActiveCampaign has some drawbacks as well. For starters, this tool is harder to use compared to other options. If you want to access some of its pro features, you need to pay for an advanced plan, and the price difference between the basic and the subsequent plans is significant.
MailChimp Pros and Cons
MailChimp can offer you a number of advantages that are hard to ignore. First of all, this tool is one of the most user-friendly email marketing platforms you can come across. You don’t need any previous experience to be able to master your email campaigns with MailChimp. The email builder is easy to use and there are dozens of beautiful templates you can rely on. Moreover, there are multiple ways to test your email’s design.
When it comes to its cons, one of the aspects that might slow down your email marketing endeavors is the lack of flexibility in terms of list segmentation. Another drawback is the fact that the customer support department is harder to reach out to.
Alternatives to MailChimp or ActiveCampaign
- Sendinblue can be a good alternative to these two platforms. It provides a diversified package of features that includes send time optimization, pre-built campaigns, reliable A/B testing, and good segmentation tools.
- GetResponse is another good substitute. This email marketing software offers sophisticated reporting features, spam detection, different integrations, complex segmentation features.
- Constant Contact is another great choice. This tool can help you with engagement tracking features, auto-responders, powerful list building and management features, a wide variety of attractive email templates.
Both MailChimp and ActiveCampaign provide a wide range of useful features that will help you personalize your email campaigns and increase your open rates. Each one of these tools has its pros and cons. However, according to most of the criteria reviewed above, ActiveCampaign seems to outperform MailChimp. Yet, please keep in mind that MailChimp is best for less experienced marketers and also includes a free plan.