I’m regularly asked what email marketing system is the best. From Active Campaign to Mailchimp to Infusionsoft to Constant Contact.
The list goes on.
Some I have tried. Many I have not (I’m not kidding, there are hundreds!)
So I can’t say which is the BEST one. Nor would I ever do that because it depends on a whole heap of other factors…
- What industry are you in?
- What do you want to use it for (e.g. only email marketing or are you looking for a full CRM – customer relationship management system)?
- What level of integration with other platforms do you need?
But, as small business owners generally we want something that is:
- Easy to set up
- User friendly
- Doesn’t cost a small fortune every month in subscription fees
We also don’t need the power of some of the others unless we have a large team and complex customer funnels (e.g. Infusionsoft is an amazing piece of software – but it also has a massive learning curve at the beginning – which is why it is often nicknamed ‘confusionsoft’ and has far too much functionality for what most of us need).
Most people start with Mailchimp
It’s the email marketing system that’s probably most well know amongst small business. It’s free for the basic plan for starters and allows you to build your email list and communicate effectively with them.
I also started out with Mailchimp. It’s a great platform.
Here’s why I’m an Active Campaign girl and recommend it to the majority of my clients.
Active Campaign can do everything Mailchimp can and more
Now – I’m QUITE sure that someone far more technically-advanced than me or who spends their time analysing the differences between systems will argue otherwise here – and I’m sure they’re right. There will be something (or a few things – such as the new postcard-send feature) that Mailchimp can do that Active Campaign can’t.
But on the surface – capturing your contacts, segmenting them, communicating with them via email etc. then I believe Active Campaign can do everything that Mailchimp can and then a whole heap more.
The sequencing and automation in Active Campaign is far more sophisticated than Mailchimp.
Although Mailchimp has come a massive way over the last few years in terms of the segmentation and automation options that are available, it’s been around for a long time and email marketing has moved on a lot – it seems as though Mailchimp has been ‘retrofitted’ for todays’ needs, whereas Active Campaign was built from the ground up with these needs in mind.
Active Campaign primarily works on lists e.g. you might have a general subscriber list and a client list, and then on tags – tags are powerful and can be added to any contact depending on their behaviour.
For example, a contact might subscribe to a list via a download on your website.
A series of emails is then triggered based on this action.
Within these emails you may have a link to e.g. a particular product / service.
If the contact clicks on a particular link you can then (as one of an infinite number of examples) tag them as being interested in product / service ‘x’ and then they can be sent specific information about that product / service as opposed to other products because you already know they had some interest in it.
Sequences and emails themselves can be built through drag and drop functionality.
- Want to build a sequence that sends one email immediately and then delays the send of the next one by 2 days? No problem.
- Want to build in an ‘and/or’ scenario – e.g. if your contact is already on the database end the automation and if they are not then send an email explaining more about your business?
- Have online products for sale and a contact does not finalise the sale? Just set up an abandon cart sequence and increase your conversions.
This list goes on and on.
You can manage your whole business through Active Campaign
Although the basic version (called Lite) does not include a CRM. The next level up does. This means that you can turn one system into an entire sales and marketing system for your customers and automate the process of moving them through the sales pipeline.
Then there’s also options for SMS messaging, adding contacts to your Facebook custom audience and a whole heap more.
The basic version is $17 (USD) per month for up to 1000 contacts.
I love this system. It enables a huge level of customisation and automation options within a business and to save time and effort on marketing.
Ultimately, and the reason that I recommend this to all my clients – you’re going to start out using Mailchimp (everyone does)…but…
If you don’t have an email marketing system at all yet (get one!) and why spend time learning Mailchimp only to have to re-learn Active Campaign all over again when you need to move to a more sophisticated system as your business grows.
If you already have an email marketing system e.g. through Mailchimp – take your business to the next level with better automation options, better segmentation options and a much more powerful system overall (again purely my personal opinion but I’ve used both and I would never leave Active Campaign!)
If you want to check out why I love it so much – here’s a link.
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"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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