Which is Better Overall in 2024?

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In this guide, we’re comparing ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp to see which of these popular email marketing platforms comes out on top. They both offer a good range of email marketing and automation features, but there are quite a few differences between them that mean one will undoubtedly suit you better than the other.

Let’s dive in and see how they compare.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: 3 Differences You Should Know

Although both platforms have many of the same features, a few key differences might sway you one way or the other.

  • Only Mailchimp offers a completely free plan, and for larger lists Mailchimp is more affordable too.
  • Mailchimp is generally easier to use than ActiveCampaign, especially for those new to email marketing and automation techniques.
  • ActiveCampaign has more advanced options for customizing automations, emails, and list segmentation.

ActiveCampaign Overview

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Overview, screenshot of ActiveCampaign's homepage.

Founded in 2003, ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one platform for email marketing, marketing automation, and customer relationship management (CRM).

Its key features include:

  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Ecommerce marketing automation features
  • CRM
  • Sales automation features
  • SMS marketing and site messaging
  • Powerful integrations.

This robust marketing automation platform is a fantastic tool for businesses of all sizes to manage and automate all aspects of their customer communication. It can save hours every week. This frees up more time, allowing your business to scale and grow quickly.

Mailchimp Overview

Mailchimp

has been a market-leading email marketing tool since its launch in 2001. It is known for its affordable pricing plans and easy-to-use interface.

It’s suitable for businesses of all sizes, allowing users to easily create, send, and track email campaigns and effectively manage your contacts lists within the platform.

Mailchimp’s key features include:

  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Social media marketing
  • Websites
  • Audience management
  • Integrations.

Mailchimp has a completely free plan available for up to 500 contacts. This makes it a popular choice for small businesses and bloggers who want to dip their toes in the world of email marketing risk-free.

That being said, Mailchimp’s advanced features mean it is just as good for large enterprises, with everything you need to create advanced customer journeys and split test every email sent to ensure the highest ROI for your campaign.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Feature Comparison

Now, let’s take a closer look at the main features on offer to see how they compare side-by-side.

Email Templates: It’s a Tie!

ActiveCampaign provides a range of customizable email templates designed to suit different types of campaigns and industries. Their templates are modern, mobile-responsive, and customizable, so you can easily edit the colors, fonts, and layout to match your brand’s style and preferences.

If you want to create your own email template from scratch, you can use ActiveCampaign’s drag-and-drop email builder. This makes creating and customizing email templates easy, even if you’re a beginner.

Once you’ve got your template the way you want it, you can save it for future use. For future email marketing campaigns, you can easily duplicate or edit existing templates to streamline the email creation process.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Email TemplatesActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Email Templates

Mailchimp also has a range of beautifully designed pre-made email templates to take the effort out of creating visually effective email campaigns. They provide a range of templates with different goals, from building an informative newsletter to marketing promotional deals and offers.

All templates are customizable, and the style and format can be altered to suit your tastes and brand requirements. The easy addition and alteration of buttons, text, and images makes it simple to ensure a consistent branded look throughout your marketing material.

Every single template is optimized for maximum impact and displayed on both desktop and mobile devices. Workflows are also streamlined, and individual templates can be saved for reuse or alteration in the future.

The verdict: It’s a tie! Both Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign offer a fantastic range of templates alongside a custom email builder to make creating your campaigns easy. You will be able to create beautiful email campaigns with either platform.

Marketing Automation: ActiveCampaign Wins!

ActiveCampaign has fantastic marketing automation features that enable users to create sophisticated automated workflows to engage with their audience effectively. 

One of the stand-out features is the visual automation builder that allows users to design complex automation workflows with ease. Simply drag and drop different elements (such as triggers, actions, and conditions) onto the canvas to create customized automation sequences tailored to objectives.

You can also trigger automation workflows based on various actions or events, such as email opens, link clicks, website visits, form submissions, purchases, and more. This allows for highly targeted and timely communication with subscribers based on their behavior and interactions with your brand.

ActiveCampaign’s CRM capabilities are tightly integrated with its automation features, allowing you to automate lead nurturing, sales follow-ups, and more. This integration enables seamless coordination between marketing, sales, and customer support teams.

Similarly, Mailchimp’s marketing automation features help businesses ensure their emails are well-timed and appropriate for the job at hand. You can set an automatic sequence of emails initiated by a subscriber’s actions, like signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or abandoning their cart.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Automation builderActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Automation builder

This approach is geared towards nurturing available leads and initiating communication even when a potential customer abandons their potential purchases.

Mailchimp has a good range of preconfigured and automated workflows to choose from, which cover most of the basic needs of businesses. These include welcome and follow-up emails and re-engagement communication and campaigns. Custom workflows can also be created for specific needs.

The Verdict: Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp have a good range of automation features. However, ActiveCampaign has more advanced features, including the ability to add SMS marketing and site messaging into your workflows.

Forms and Landing Pages: ActiveCampaign Wins!

ActiveCampaign offers four types of forms to choose from: floating box, inline form, modal pop-up, and floating bar. Alongside these, you can also choose from a range of pre-designed landing page templates or build your own from scratch using the drag-and-drop landing page builder.

Once a user has entered their details onto a form or landing page, you can automatically trigger a welcome sequence while they are at their most engaged. You can also add tags to each form so that contacts can be segmented immediately depending on where they signed up from.

And for businesses with a sales team, you even have the option to automatically notify a team member so they can follow up immediately with high-value leads.

Mailchimp has a good range of sign-up forms designed to help you easily grow your list. The platform provides forms in various formats for different purposes; these include embedded and pop-up forms and landing pages.

You can easily alter and customize the form designs to align with your brand’s style while adding the required fields for the information you want to collect.

The forms integrate seamlessly with Mailchimp’s audience management tool, allowing you to segment customers and subscribers effectively easily for further communication or targeted marketing.

The Verdict: ActiveCampaign wins this round, with a wider range of forms and landing pages to choose from and more customization and follow up options.

List Management: ActiveCampaign Wins!

Since ActiveCampaign has a built-in CRM, its list management and audience segmentation features are naturally more advanced. Alongside the ability to automatically add tags to every contact that signs up, you can also take advantage of ActiveCampaign’s custom predictive contact and lead scoring features.

While Mailchimp does offer basic segmentation and tagging features, it doesn’t have a built-in CRM, and it doesn’t have any lead-scoring capabilities.

Reporting and Analytics: Mailchimp Wins!

Both Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign offer good reporting and analytics features, which are essential for understanding how your campaigns are performing.

ActiveCampaign’s reporting is a little harder to get to grips with. There is definitely a learning curve at first, which is why Mailchimp is often recommended to those new to this industry.

Mailchimp allows you to see open rates, click rates, and even unsubscribe rates. This allows you to tweak any future emails you send to try and improve performance numbers.

ActiveCampaign has similar data available as well as being able to look into your audience interaction with any automated emails you have sent via the platform.

The Verdict: Both platforms have good reporting capabilities but Mailchimp’s reporting dashboard is more user friendly.

Deliverability: ActiveCampaign Wins!

ActiveCampaign comes out on top regarding deliverability, with an impressive deliverability rate of 91.66%. Mailchimp’s deliverability is slightly lower at 87.88%, but not too far off. Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign provide plenty of tips on getting deliverability rates that are as high as possible.

Integrations: ActiveCampaign Wins!

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: IntegrationsActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Integrations

ActiveCampaign offers over 900+ integrations! Whichever tools you use to run your business, you can be pretty confident that they will integrate smoothly with ActiveCampaign.

Popular integrations include: 

  • Facebook
  • WordPress
  • Google Analytics
  • Shopify
  • Salesforce
  • ClickFunnels.

There are hundreds more to choose from!

Mailchimp offers over 300+ integrations, with the most popular business platforms covered. The integrations directory is easy to use. Simply use the search bar to search for your favorite tools and see if there is an integration.

ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp: Which is Easier to Use?

Overall, Mailchimp is easier to use than ActiveCampaign. This is largely why it’s so popular with beginners and small businesses who are new to email marketing.

That doesn’t mean ActiveCampaign isn’t worth getting your head around, though. However, Mailchimp is often considered the best option for those new to email marketing.

The Pros and Cons

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp to see if there are any dealbreakers for you.

Mailchimp

Pros:


  • Easy-to-use template editor
  • Good reporting capabilities
  • Lots of integrations
  • Phone support is available during office hours
  • Easy-to-use customer journey builder
  • Affordable pricing plans

Cons:


  • The free plan is very basic
  • Lacks more advanced features

ActiveCampaign

Pros:


  • Easy-to-use visual automation builder
  • Affordable plans for low-level users
  • Over 900+ integrations
  • Advanced A/B testing options
  • Easily create sophisticated workflows
  • Site tracking
  • Easily automate SMS and website messages

Cons:


  • There is a learning curve at first
  • No free plan
  • Quite expensive

ActiveCampaign Pricing

ActiveCampaign Pricing PageActiveCampaign Pricing Page

One thing that is important to note is that ActiveCampaign has a range of packages, depending on whether you want sales or marketing features (or both). They have a live chat on their page so it is well worth speaking to their team to ensure that you choose the package that best suits your needs.

For those looking for email and marketing automation, they have four packages:

  • Lite – $29.90/month. 1 user, 10 x contact email send limit and 1000 marketing contacts.
  • Plus – Suitable for small teams. $70/month (discounted if you pay yearly) – 3 users, 10x contact email send limit and 1000 marketing contacts.
  • Professional – Suitable for large teams. $187/month (discounted if you pay yearly) – 5 users, 12x contact email send limit, and 2500 marketing contacts
  • Enterprise – Suitable for larger organizations. $323/month (discounted if you pay yearly) – 10 users, 15x contact email send limit, and 2500 marketing contacts.

You can customize each of these plans if you need more contacts. They also have a range of bundle packages including things like CRM tools and sales engagement software.

Mailchimp Pricing

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: PricingActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: Pricing

Mailchimp also offers a range of package options, including a free version for those with basic needs.

  • Free. Allows you to send 1000 emails a month, have one user, and one audience that receives your emails
  • Essentials – $13/month. This plan allows you to send 5000 emails a month, have three users and three audiences that receive your emails
  • Standard – $20/month. This plan allows you to send 6,000 emails a month with five users and five audiences receiving your emails.
  • Premium – $350/month. This plan allows you to send 150,000 emails a month and have an unlimited number of users and audience size.

Prices increase depending on how many contacts you have on your list.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp: The Verdict

So, who comes out on top in the battle between ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp?

Well… ActiveCampaign is the clear winner with lots more advanced features on offer and a built-in CRM. If you run a heavily sales-focused business and are looking for a platform that can effectively run most of your sales and marketing on autopilot, ActiveCampaign is undoubtedly the best choice for you. In fact, it made the top of our list of the best email marketing software!

However, it is twice the price of Mailchimp, so it’s best suited to growing businesses with a larger marketing budget.

If you’re a smaller business or just starting out, it makes sense to take advantage of the free plan that Mailchimp offers and the affordable paid plans. Mailchimp is also a great choice for anyone new to email marketing software, given its easy use.

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