Whether you are a seasoned marketer or new to the field, you have likely heard of or used Mailchimp. The platform made its way in 2001. Since then, it has become the go-to option for small businesses. Mailchimp's clear branding and targeting made it a staple in email marketing.
But if you're looking for something different, ActiveCampaign is an excellent Mailchimp alternative. Since 2003, the platform has gained traction with its robust features and intuitive design.
I have used Mailchimp for a long time and have seen its changes over the years.
Recently, I tested ActiveCampaign to see if it could offer me something different from my usual email marketing tool. After spending hours comparing these two platforms, the differences were evident.
Here's what I found when comparing Mailchimp vs. ActiveCampaign!
Mailchimp is a great choice for novice email marketers. The platform also offers advanced segmentation and personalization options. But, despite its other strengths, the platform's functionality could be improved.
At the same time, ActiveCampaign offers more than just email marketing tools. It provides a full set of functionalities at the same price for businesses of all sizes. It includes features like automations, CRM, and more.
Both Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign have over 100 customizable templates to choose from. I started with the simplest template on each platform to know email builders better.
The drag-and-drop feature made customization simple. It allowed me to personalize emails exactly how I wanted them.
From the outset, Mailchimp was more appealing. With its "Minimal" template, building beautiful emails has never been faster or simpler. It has blocks you can edit for all necessary parts like logo, text, image, button, and footer.
What's more, adding sections or elements to your design couldn't be easier. You just drag and drop from the menu to the left of the design. If you need to delete sections, select it and click the trash icon - done!
I could generate more complex and eye-catching designs with creative assistance.
All you have to do is input your website into Creative Assistant. Then it will scan your site for images and headings, giving you an array of email designs.
Additionally, Mailchimp also allows you to create surveys for your email. All you have to do is drag and drop the survey element into your email. Then you can customize the survey according to your needs. You can create multiple-choice, short-answer, and range questions.
ActiveCampaign's builder was easy to understand but more complex than Mailchimp. The drag-and-drop model makes it easy to create emails and campaigns.
The build-from-scratch template offers a convenient way to start your project. It gives you a basic image, body text, and footer right off the bat.
From there, you have a variety of section blocks available with a few clicks or taps - like Mailchimp. You can also include sets of blocks called structures.
The platform has great customization features, such as:
You can also see how the email looks on desktop and mobile devices before sending it.
Their builder is great for those who want to customize every aspect of their emails, such as spacing, margins, and HTML code. The platform has pre-designed templates that need less formatting.
But, in my analysis, I needed to make more adjustments to make the basic template look good. In contrast, Mailchimp handles the formatting for you. It also allows you to make adjustments.
Winner: ActiveCampaign is good if you're willing to invest time and effort to learn it. In comparison, Mailchimp is easy to use and gives tips to start without reading a manual.
This ease of use makes Mailchimp the better option in this comparison.
Mailchimp positions itself as a marketing automation platform, but ActiveCampaign offers more advanced automation capabilities.
ActiveCampaign allows adding SMS blocks in automated campaigns or website messages. It allows businesses to send targeted SMS messages to customers as part of their automated marketing journeys.
Mailchimp only allows businesses to send SMS messages, not as part of an automation journey.
A/B testing is essential for companies trying to understand their customers' preferences. It helps them determine which ways of sending automated messages their subscribers prefer.
Both ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp offer a feature called split testing. It allows them to run many versions of a journey. The goal of this is to gauge the response from their contacts.
Mailchimp's A/B testing divides your subscriber list into two groups based on a percentage. It doesn't allow any extra conditions to get into play within the journey.
Conducting an A/B test with conditions in Mailchimp requires a more manual process. To use the A/B testing feature, you first need to create an email. Afterward, you need to select the option "A/B Test" and set up a campaign. At last, specify what you want to test (such as subject lines) within the campaign builder.
ActiveCampaign can also split journeys by contacts, conversions, and dates. It simplifies testing campaigns and targeting specific customer segments for increased engagement.
Splitting contacts by their number is beneficial for A/B testing. But, if you split them based on other criteria, it can give even better results.
For instance, if your goal is to send 200 people an email about a stock clearance sale, then ActiveCampaign allows you to split the journey. It means as soon as 200 people buy the product, the remaining recipients will get an email saying "Sold Out."
ActiveCampaign's advanced automation map feature sets it apart from other email services. The platform lets you view individual customer journeys visually. It also allows the user to connect multiple automated journeys into one map.
Mailchimp limits view to individual journeys listed in customer journeys dashboard. It does not offer the capability to connect multiple automated journeys. Additionally, this individual journey feature is only available in the paid version.
Winner: ActiveCampaign provides digital marketing automation tools to help grow your business. Mailchimp may not meet the needs of a growing business.
Mailchimp offers one of the most comprehensive email marketing platforms. The platform offers various templates for professional and attractive message design.
Free or Essentials plan users may feel limited by the design options available. Also, they look outdated compared to what other platforms are offering.
With the Standard plan, Mailchimp provides more modern designs. You'll have access to 14 boilerplate layouts. It will allow you to customize colors and images for a unique look every time.
The platform allows you to customize designs using various content blocks such as text, images, social buttons, products, and promo codes. Additionally, you can also upload your custom templates. But this feature is only available on the Standard plan and above.
ActiveCampaign simplifies creating beautiful email campaigns with 250 professionally designed, mobile-friendly templates.
ActiveCampaign provides users with various creative options to make their emails look good. They also offer flexible content blocks and the ability to import custom designs. Plus, all these features are available across all plans.
And if you're on their Plus plan or above, you'll get a free customized email design tailored to your needs! That's right: no more spending hours trying to nail down the perfect template.
Winner: ActiveCampaign has accessible design options for all users.
ActiveCampaign's CRM streamlines the sales process that enables your business growth. It can manage contacts, track leads, schedule tasks, and more in one place.
ActiveCampaign's email marketing tools integrate with the CRM for automated workflows email campaigns.
Mailchimp, which claims to be a CRM tool, doesn't offer such features.
Imagine the efficiency of your business with automated processes such as:
Another feature that ActiveCampaign's CRM offers is Lead Scoring. This feature helps identify potential buyers and those at risk of losing interest. It enables you to focus on the leads that need more attention.
Mailchimp's CRM is not designed to provide advanced features like lead scoring.
Winner: ActiveCampaign takes the lead here due to its advanced CRM capabilities.
Unlike ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp's lists are exclusive. You cannot include contacts in multiple lists within the same campaign. The platform charges per subscriber, which can be costly if the same contact is on multiple lists. This feature may benefit those running many businesses or projects. Although it can be inconvenient and expensive for others.
Mailchimp's list management is very complex. It also offers other ways to organize contacts, such as tags, segments, and groups. It can be confusing, as the distinctions between them are not immediately apparent.
ActiveCampaign's approach to list management is more flexible. You can include contacts on different lists in the same campaigns. The platform also allows for segmentation through tags or custom fields. It can include extra information about the location or interests. You can add or remove this information at your convenience.
Platform's email editor allows segmenting contacts based on link or image clicks. It is something that most email editors lack.
Winner: ActiveCampaign's list management capabilities are outstanding. Mailchimp also offers list management, but the process could be simpler.
Opt-in forms are a standard feature in email marketing software. Let's compare the ease of setting up forms in ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp.
ActiveCampaign provides various options for creating different forms, that includes:
Their form editor is easy to use, which makes adding new fields a breeze.
ActiveCampaign's forms are responsive. They can be embedded, linked to, or even added to WordPress or Facebook if the integrations are set up. Additionally, it allows the association of forms with lists, tags, and deals.
Whereas, Mailchimp offers more limited options for creating opt-in forms than ActiveCampaign. But they also provide easy-to-use customizable templates.
That you can tweak with various colors and fonts and embed videos or images into your form. Yet, the process could be easier, and some forms may need to be mobile-responsive.
The form builder for editing form fields and designs is easy to use. But, you have to use a separate editor when creating embedded forms.
Winner: ActiveCampaign's approach is simpler and easier to understand.
Due to the emergence of email marketing, many platforms now offer a landing page builder.
Two of the most popular ones are ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp. While both have now jumped on the bandwagon, Mailchimp was one of the first to do so.
The only difference is that Mailchimp's landing page builder is free. Whereas, ActiveCampaign requires a $49/month fee.
At that price point, you can expect to have access to features such as:
Mailchimp's landing page builder is easy to use and allows direct sales from the landing page. The only limitation is the limited template options, with only 10 to choose from.
Winner: Mailchimp offers free landing pages but limited design options. It compensates for the limitation of design options. So, Mailchimp is a winner out here!
To understand the deliverability rate, it is important to understand email delivery and email deliverability. Email delivery means the successful transmission of email to the recipient's server. Email deliverability is the successful arrival of an email in the recipient's inbox.
ActiveCampaign has a reputation for having higher deliverability rates than Mailchimp. Thanks to its advanced deliverability tools and stringent anti-spam policies. We carried out a test with the help of GlockApps (an email-deliverability rate checker tool).
We found out that ActiveCampaign had a deliverability rate of 90.2%, while Mailchimp had 85.9%.
Delivered emails may not reach the intended destination; they can end up in the following:
If an email reaches the spam folder, it is considered "Undelivered."
We found that ActiveCampaign emails had an 80.4% rate of reaching the main inbox. It is higher than the main inbox deliverability rate of Mailchimp, which is 70.1%.
Winner: ActiveCampaign wins this round as well.
ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp both offer robust reporting options that include:
ActiveCampaign also offers deal reports, which summarize the deals in the CRM. These reports provide insights into various aspects of deals, such as:
Mailchimp offers more options for e-commerce reporting. ActiveCampaign's e-commerce reporting is limited to Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce only.
Mailchimp provides valuable insights but lacks guidance on using data. In contrast, ActiveCampaign's analytics suite facilitates taking action on the collected data.
Winner: ActiveCampaign is a better choice for deal reports. Whereas, Mailchimp is good for e-commerce reporting.
Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign offer a vast array of integrations with other powerful platforms. Mailchimp offers up to 300 integrations. From CRMs to eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, CMSs and web builders, social networks, and more, you name it, Mailchimp can sync up with it. The real cherry on top? Mailchimp integrates with Zapier for even more customization possibilities!
In comparison, ActiveCampaign is a leader in this regard. The platform offers up to 800+ integration. Besides, it also connects with Zapier to give access to plenty of other tools.
Winner: Although the tool with the most integrations may seem like the clear winner. It's important to note that this number keeps changing. Thus, both tools receive a point for providing essential integrations.
Having the proper support is crucial when learning a new email marketing platform. In this regard, ActiveCampaign's customer service is exceptional.
The platform has phone, email, and chat support available on any of their plans. They are always there to help get your campaigns running like clockwork.
Mailchimp's customer service is not easy to access, and response times can be slow. With ActiveCampaign, you can access support from any screen within the tool. Whereas with Mailchimp, support is only available after going through their knowledge base.
Winner: ActiveCampaign wins with more extensive and accessible support options.
ActiveCampaign has outpaced Mailchimp in features; the same goes for pricing. Despite offering a wider range of features, ActiveCampaign's pricing provides good value for money compared to other enterprise-level automation software like HubSpot. In fact, for a certain number of subscribers, it can even be cheaper than Mailchimp.
ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp pricing becomes comparable with more than 50,000 subscribers. But it's important to note that this is based on ActiveCampaign's basic plan, Lite.
It lacks features like CRM, leads scoring, deep data integrations, and landing pages. You need to upgrade to higher plans to use these features.
Generally, Mailchimp can be more cost-effective for small email lists and simple needs. But, even the lower-tier plan of ActiveCampaign offers great value. Especially when considering the more functionality, it provides for email automation.
Mailchimp's Essentials plan includes most of the essential features. But, advanced segmentation, comparative reports, multivariate testing, and premium support are only available on the Premium plan.
The premium plan of Mailchimp starts at $350, which is not cost-effective for what it offers. The platform provides free forever and prepaid plans, which ActiveCampaign does not have. They only offer a 14-day free trial.
Winner: Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign pricing comparison is difficult due to different target audiences.
Mailchimp provides less value for money compared to ActiveCampaign. Mailchimp can be cheaper for smaller subscriber volumes. But, It lacks the features offered by ActiveCampaign.
ActiveCampaign is our top-rated tool for a valid reason. Despite its popularity, Mailchimp falls short compared to ActiveCampaign in most areas.
Mailchimp's interface is easy to use, and its landing page builder is strong. Whereas, ActiveCampaign offers more templates, integrations, and better customer support. In comparison, Mailchimp customer support needs improvement.
ActiveCampaign has a dedicated IP, superior analytics, and more personalization options.
To Make it easier for you, Mailchimp will be suitable for the following:
ActiveCampaign is appropriate for:
While Mailchimp is reputable, ActiveCampaign offers more features. ActiveCampaign has superior marketing automation and analytics and allows for unlimited monthly emails.
ActiveCampaign has more advanced marketing automation features, integrations, and analytics. Mailchimp offers a user-easy-to-use interface. It also offers a free forever plan for small email lists.
ActiveCampaign is for businesses with a budget for advanced features such as:
Irina is a Founder at ONSAAS, Growth Lead at Aura, and a SaaS marketing consultant. She helps companies to grow their revenue with SEO and inbound marketing. In her spare time, Irina entertains her cat Persie and collects airline miles.
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