We want you to envision a scenario:
You’re trying to execute an email marketing campaign for your business. So, you purchase a given piece of software to help with the process.
Upon using the said email marketing software, you notice a distinct increase in revenue for your business. You’re attracting more customers than ever before. It’s a miracle!
Unfortunately, in paying a ludicrous fee for maximum functionality, it all turns into something of a wash. All the gains you’ve made have been turfed aside due to the exponential cost of the software.
Conversely, you can pay for a less expensive package. Still, then the functionality and features begin to evaporate, removing much of the value from the table.
Finding optimal email marketing and automation software – like any investment – is a delicate balancing act. We want to examine this notion through the lens of one of the more popular products on the market in ActiveCampaign. We’ll be assessing the various pricing plans and the features offered in each individual package.
Beyond that, we’ll discuss alternative software that might be more suitable for your operation and overall business scale.
Hopefully, in writing this piece, we’ll bring some much-needed insights into what will benefit your organization in the long run.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
Before we go any further, we’ll make one thing perfectly clear:
ActiveCampaign is the most expensive product of its kind on the market. There’s no skirting around the fact that this software is a considerable investment. Meaning, your margin for failure becomes much slimmer. And if any organization uses this email marketing tool, it must be leveraged to the point of mastery.
With that said, you do get what you pay for, no matter the pricing plan you choose. The more you spend, the higher the quality and the more impressive the functionality.
Still, no matter the pricing plan you choose, compared to what else is out there, you’ll really need to decide if you’re receiving the best value.
Let’s take a closer look at ActiveCampaign’s pricing in each plan:
Table of Contents
The Lite Plan
We feel confident in saying that anyone starting their business and looking for benefit from email marketing would enjoy a templated newsletter builder. They’d also appreciate the convenience of drag-and-drop email designers, email templates, and the ability to import existing contacts. Plus, they’d genuinely benefit from autoresponders, in-depth reporting, and social media integrations.
All these features are available in ActiveCampaign’s Lite Plan, which is impressive for something that’s supposed to be the “cheap” package. It’s equivalent to other similar software’s middle-tier offerings.
What’s made available in the Lite Plan is enough to give any marketer or marketing team the framework to succeed with their email campaigns.
As this is ActiveCampaign’s least extensive plan, things are missing that’ll hamper any business looking to scale upwards with their email marketing efforts.
For one, this package only allows for three account users at one time. Also, you can’t sync a database.
Missing out on the above two features leads to issues with current contact lists. The larger they are, the more impossible it is to transfer them. Lists grown in ActiveCampaign can be unwieldy and difficult to maintain or cultivate with Lite functionality.
It’s then worth noting that sales automation and lead-scoring capabilities are non-existent in this pricing plan. If you’re trying to incorporate or integrate your software with your sales department or eCommerce stores, such a shortcoming will be a big let down.
As will be a recurring theme in the “cons” list, pricing rears its ugly head. With ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan, you’re limited to 2,500 contacts at the same price as other alternatives with similar functionality but a limitless contact list.
There’s no doubt that ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan has commendable marketing functionality. If your main aim is to produce a newsletter, amongst other more straightforward initiatives, this package has all that you need.
Unfortunately, with the pricing, the Lite plan almost finds itself in a no-mans-land for the manner of business to which it appeals. It’s too expensive to justify for a smaller company looking to remain that way. Whereas there isn’t enough “oomph” for a more sizeable corporation.
The one niche this might fit is for organizations that are still growing with plans to evolve and scale up towards the higher-tiered packages. They’ll benefit from a more seamless adjustment to a new solution when it’s time to move on to a more expensive plan.
The Plus Plan
All the gaps with sales functionality in the Lite plan are filled with ActiveCampaign’s Plus plan. You benefit from the marketing functionality you had before. And there are features such as a built-in CRM, sales automation, lead scoring, and custom branding. Plus, up to 25 users can be plugged into the software at once.
If we’re going to boil down the most significant weakness of the Plus plan, it’s that organizations can’t customize mail server domains.
As such, much of the hard work and considerable investment made into the software could generate an abundance of emails landing in spam folders. Now, this isn’t to say that this outcome is guaranteed. But there is a lack of protection from the Plus plan on this front. It can primarily be an issue if your organization sends out promotional offers and contests. Emails services tend to suss out and flag discernable keywords.
The Final Verdict:
We’re inclined to say that of all ActiveCampaign’s plans, this one makes the most sense. Despite its steep price, this package offers comprehensive functionality that’ll aid marketing and sales divisions, tremendously, in constructing complete pipelines.
It’s most ideal for eCommerce stores that are starting their launch. Startup and mid-sized SaaS organizations seem to benefit from all that’s offered from the Plus plan as well.
Unsurprisingly, as companies grow beyond a sales team where everyone’s on a first-name basis, the 25-user account-allowance becomes something of a problem. Regardless, the lead nurturing and sales pipelines are impressive and valuable with this pricing plan.
On top of all the other features discussed, the Professional plan brings users site messages and attributions.
However, the #1 feature that comes close to justifying the extra money being spent on this plan is the now 50 user accounts available.
Plain and simple, this package is far too expensive for what’s offered. There are only a few additional features, yet the Professional plan costs twice as much, per month, as the Plus plan.
When comparing what you get to what’s being paid, it proves that this package is wholly limited.
The Final Verdict:
This pricing plan is the least appealing and most limited out of everything offered by ActiveCampaign.
However, it might work if you’ve grown enough where the Plus plan isn’t sufficient, but throwing your whole budget at the most expensive package isn’t feasible. In this instance, the Professional pricing might fit the needs of your multiplying workforce.
But if you’re employing in and around 30 people who require access, the price doesn’t justify what you’re getting.
All in all, you’re probably better off not paying for the Professional Plan, no matter the size of your organization.
When you purchase the top-tier plan from ActiveCampaign, you’re stepping up with functionality in a significant way. Of course, you have everything the Professional package brings to the table. From there, however, you now have a customer server email domain, unlimited users, and Uptime SLA. Then there’s the ability to discover your subscribers’ social media profiles through automation. Overall, this helps you obtain peak ROI for your emails.
While the new features offer quite the boon, it’s the in-depth onboarding and dedicated account rep that is the most attractive part of this pricing plan. The customer service provided is second-to-none.
The price of the top-tier ActiveCampaign plan could be classified as obscene. In fact, you need at least 25,000 list subscribers for this plan to make sense. Also, you must reach out to a company rep to ever learn anything about price.
The Final Verdict:
A pricing plan of this magnitude and extensive functionality only fits the bill for organizations of considerable size.
We’ll refer, once more, to the onboarding and customer service offered here. Generally, even people with tons of experience working with ActiveCampaign will reap the benefits of those services if they’re hands-on during the process.
Keep in mind that most of the functionality you need can be found in the Plus plan. Unless your organization is growing at an exponential rate, and you have hundreds of employees, you won’t require the added perks.
ActiveCampaign Pricing Comparison
|Lite Plan||Plus Plan||Professional Plan||Enterprise Plan|
Monthly Cost: $15
Monthly Cost: $70
Monthly Cost: $159
|Monthly Cost: Available upon request|
How Does Alternative Email Marketing Software Stack Up to ActiveCampaign’s Pricing?
Let’s first address the fact that Sendinblue offers a free plan that will help any business get started with many of the tools available in ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan.
The free plan includes an email template library, real-time reporting, and automation capabilities, which is only available in ActiveCampaign’s Plus plan.
Sendinblue customers also benefit from heat maps, send-time optimization, and a dedicated IP for email marketing. None of these features are offered by ActiveCampaign.
There are no third-party integrations with Sendinblue. Nor can users create a double opt-in email newsletter. Furthermore, you’re unable to personalize web content and perform any event management the way you can with ActiveCampaign.
MailChimp is far less expensive than the ActiveCampain but with a feature list that nearly emulates it.
In further elaborating, MailChimp’s costliest plan for unlimited subscribers is equaled by ActiveCampaign’s Plus plan, which only allows for 10,000 contacts.
And MailChimp’s marketing functionality equals the of ActiveCampain, with features such as custom branding, social media ads, and landing pages.
The eCommerce functionality of MailChimp leaves much to be desired, despite its improvements in segmentation and cart abandonment capabilities. This software simply can’t compete with ActiveCampaign when it comes to sales automation and lead-scoring abilities.
The Email and Email Plus plans provided by Constant Contact are both significantly more affordable than ActiveCampaign, even with a list of only 5,000 contacts.
Another clear advantage is how straightforward and easy to digest the pricing model is. You’ll have a clear idea, right away, whether Constant Contact will fit in with your business.
Compared to ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact really struggles to give clients what they want. If your business is grown enough and has more extensive needs, this software plainly doesn’t have enough horsepower.
A/B-testing is only available for subject lines, which is far too limited for most organizations. What’s worse is the lack of eCommerce capabilities, which are virtually non-existent. Any organization trying to sell products online won’t benefit from Constant Contact.
ActiveCampaign Pricing: The Ultimate Verdict:
We aren’t here to cast stones on ActiveCampaign. Instead, we’re here to provide an honest review of a popular product throughout the industry.
If you’re a massive corporation with complicated operations and hundreds-if-not-thousands of employees, ActiveCampaign will fit the bill. Its functionality on this end is unrivalled. The customer service and education you receive from the Enterprise plan will ensure that you’ll maximize your ROI.
However, most people don’t run large organizations and are trying to build a small business from the ground up. In which case, there’s no need to shell out the unnecessary money for ActiveCampaign.
Unless you have dreams of becoming the next Jeff Bezos, you’ll be better off with one of the alternatives we’ve discussed. They’re more affordable and offer similar enough functionality to make them the more viable choice for your business’s email marketing efforts.