ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp – The Unexpected King of Automation

BY ANNA KVASNEVSKA LAST UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2022 

Are you looking for a simple and comprehensive solution to help you automate your processes, keep track of customers and revenue? Or are you looking to improve your customer service? 

Both ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp are popular email marketing services/email marketing software that features automation workflows, opt-in forms, and list management for small businesses. 

Since you are trying to decide which of these great tools to opt for, we tested ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp to determine which tool offers innovative CRM automation features, is easier to use, has advanced automation capabilities, better pricing, and more!TABLE OF CONTENTS

Comparison Criteria

Before we dive deep into features, here is our criteria that helped us best present both tools:

  • UX and UI design– Which tool provides a better user experience? 
  • Automation– Which tool offers more advanced automation capabilities?
  • Email and landing page templates – Which tool has better pre-designed templates, and are they customizable?
  • Unique features– Does the tool offer unique features that make it stand out? Can it bring a competitive edge to your business?
  • Price– Is the tool cost-effective, or is it overcharging their clients?

Editor’s note: During our testing, we ran into some obstacles in both solutions that only other tools could resolve. So we thought that you could benefit from a third solution – GetResponse. So keep an eye out for the unique features you can only get with our platform. 

Don’t worry! We are not going to make any choice for you. We are simply going to provide an in-depth review to help you make the best decision for your business.

This comparison in the nutshell

If you don’t have the time for a full review now, here is our quick feature overview.

FeatureActiveCampaignMailchimpGetResponse
Marketing automationYesYesYes
Email marketingYesYesYes
AutorespondersYesYesYes
Landing page builderYesYesYes
Website builderNoYesYes
Signup formsYesYesYes
Conversion funnelsOnly sales funnel as a part of automation featureOnly sales funnel for ecommerceYes (Conversion, lead magnet, sales, and webinar)
WebinarsNoNoYes
Live chatsNoNoYes
Free planNoYesYes
Lowest plan available for 1000 contacts$30/mo paid monthly$20,99/mo for up to 1500 contacts$15/mo paid monthly

ActiveCampaign Overview

ActiveCampaign is an intuitive email marketing tool that collects data on customers/visitors to provide valuable information to personalize messages. Its customer relationship management feature includes prospect tracking.

What we like in ActiveCampaign:

  • Email automation–ActiveCampaign features complete automation for emails, segmentation, triggers, and CRM. Starting with pre-designed options for landing pages and email templates up to direct messaging.
  • Advanced reporting –Geo-mapping, click mapping, and website visit trackers are available from the dashboard; in addition, purchase tracking for e-stores and online business is open for retailers that opt for plans designed for this industry. Integrations with Google Analytics are also available.
  • Customizable Facebook ads–It is possible to manage Facebook ads to decide what your customers see and how they will be displayed in their feed. 
  • Free migration and support –Complementary transition from other platforms is included for new users. In addition, available tutorials and video instructions can be found on the website.

What we don’t like in ActiveCampaign

  • UX and UI design–their design can be overwhelming; it appears too technical for an email marketing software and, perhaps, outdated.
  • Price –Advanced features come at a high cost. Its lowest plan doesn’t even include landing pages, and for fully functional automation, your cost can go up to $300/mo.
  • High maintenance –Each campaign has to be monitored separately; it is easy to miss triggers and follow-ups. In addition, the interface slows down through extensive usage of features, which can lead to data loss.

Side note: GetResponse comes with advanced features in its Free-Forever plan. Its UX and UI design and interface are more user-friendly, and pre-built options are loaded with no interruptions.

Mailchimp Overview

Mailchimp is a popular email marketing service that helps business and solo entrepreneurs build email lists and start email marketing campaigns in its free plan. It also features advanced automation in paid plans. 

What We Like in Mailchimp: 

  • Customer Journeys –Visual paths with options to perfectly time and set triggers for selected customers make this automation process easy and fast. Full customization of each segment allows more personal and directly targeted messages to individual subscribers and customers. 
  • Appointment Scheduling –Appointment Schedulingcan help create a service page and let clients directly make an appointment at their convenience. Retailers in e-commerce can include this feature as a part of a customer support system that comes close to a real-life- in-store shopping experience.
  • Free plan – Building an audience of up to 2000 contacts for free but doesn’t allow for audience segmentation, A/B testing, or advanced automation.

What We Don’t Like in Mailchimp:

  • Automatic billing – Mailchimp will automatically bill you for exceeding limits in each plan without notifying you.
  • Content Assistant – This AI-powered feature generates custom designs based on the website URL provided. It suggests designs and photos similar to those on your website. We’ve tested three e-commerce websites, and, unfortunately, it didn’t work.
  • Content Studio is always the first step  All the photos and graphs need to be in Content Studio before editing and placing. The content studio itself doesn’t offer many design options. Not to mention that there are no image libraries.

Side note: GetResponse features a fully drag-and-dropeditor for emails, landing pages, forms, and popups. It also offers a vivid collection of ready-made templates, a free image library, and Shutterstock integrations. Try out GetResponses drag-and-drop editor for free!

So far, we have covered the must-knows for both tools.  But we promised an in-depth review, and that’s why we will now go through special features responsible for long-term success.

Marketing automation software

Marketing automation helps you automate repetitive tasks with the help of technology. It is known for helping businesses scale faster, spend less, and achieve better results in a shorter time. That’s why investing in a marketing automation platform is definitely the right choice. Now, let’s see how our today’s contestants tackle the challenge of providing the most effective automation solutions. 

ActiveCampaign marketing automation toolkit

WithActiveCampaign automation tools, you can improve sales and marketing by setting triggers based on your customer behavior. 

Its intelligence-driven follow-up emails are personalized to each individual customer. 

Depending on link clicks, a follow-up message changes to fit this particular action; for example, if a customer is on your store page, you can trigger automation by suggesting a phone call meeting to provide additional product information. 

Mailchimp’s marketing automation

Mailchimp offers automation for Customer JourneysTransactional emailsRetargeting Ads, and Postcards. It also has automated messages applied to reminders, happy birthdays, abandoned carts emails, and welcoming messages available as a part of the deal.

Lead scoring can be set for each customer. The more they interact with your pages, products, or service, the higher score they get; for a high-scoring customer, you can create specified offers and provide the most relevant advertising and promotions on a more personal level.

Side note: Speaking of automation, GetResponse features automation for marketing, emails, funnels, webinars, workflows, and pretty much any feature on the platform. Everything can be managed from a simple workflow or a funnel. 

We also offer an advanced automation solution for larger companies or medium-sized businesses – our enterprise plan, GetResponse.

What about customer journeys? 

With a customer journey, you can easily visualize the actions you want your potential clients to take on your website. It is a popular marketing technique and thanks to automation you can let the software take care of this oftentimes tedious process.

Customer journeys are relatively easy to set with ActiveCampaign 

Labels provided to build automation are:

  • Reach and engage – used to grow an audience.
  • Nurture and educate – used to tailor guides for customers.
  • Convert – used to gain trust with prospects until they become customers.
  • Support and grow – Used to personalize messages and experiences.

Customer journey is a newer feature in Mailchimp

To create a customer journey, you can select the rules and actions options you prefer to include. 

For example, wait or delay options for rules allow you to decide when triggers will activate. 

As far as contact manipulation goes, your options with Mailchimp’s customer journey builder are to either send an email, remove or add tags, or unsubscribe contacts. 

Do ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp support Sales automation funnels?

Sales automation includes selling pages, ecommerce integrations, abandoned cart recoveries, product recommendations, one-click upsell pages, payment processing, and automatic order confirmations.

Sales funnels allow you to make sure that your sales team’s assets match your industry standards and make your sales process smoother. 

ActiveCampaign provides sales funnels, however, they are somewhat basic.

Of course, you can decide when triggers will fire up and your following action, but not many advanced features are included.

With Mailchimp, it is a bit more complicated to create a sales funnel because there are no exclusive features. In order to have a somewhat functioning sales funnel in Mailchimp, you would have to rely on integrations or connect your entire store to the platform. As you can imagine, a number of problems can potentially arise. 

Side note: GetResponse features visually appealing and easy-to-set sales funnels.

Would you like some premade email templates?

Free custom templates for emails are available on GetResponse

Creating a powerful email marketing campaign from scratch can be time-consuming and counter-productive. After all, there are hundreds of free templates available online, each designed with a specific purpose and audience in mind. Yet, we have to agree, searching for those templates oftentimes becomes even more time-consuming than creating one from scratch. 

There is a solution, though. An email automation platform that already comes with usable ready-made templates! All you need to do is to choose the style that fits your brand’s tone of voice the best. 

ActiveCampaign offers free templates for email marketing

Just like the rest of its UX and UI design, ActiveCampaign templates seem outdated and crowded. Most of the dominant colors are dark which is not always the best direction in 2022. 

However, you have a lot of space to get creative while choosing to design your own template from scratch. 

You can insert videos, links, buttons, and images. Its pre-built design is nothing to brag about; you might have to start from scratch or replace the entire design to achieve a modern look for your templates.

Where does Mailchimp stand on templates?

WithMailchimp, you can design emails from the basic templates offered in the library and add all the graphic and textual elements. 

Changing the design of existing Mailchimp templates is quite limited: blocks are not flexible and images are not available for all the templates. 

It’s also worth mentioning that template selection in Mailchimp’s free plan is extremely limited. 

And how about some landing page builders?

At GetResponse, we also have plenty of landing page templates ready to use

A landing page is an effective way to generate conversions for a dedicated marketing campaign. It is a standalone web page that may or may not be directly associated with your brand and is usually short-lived. 

In a perfect world, you should be able to create not a single landing page, but an entire website through your marketing automation platform (we also strive for perfection at GetResponse, so we let you do just that). But let’s focus on ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and how they take care of landings. 

ActiveCampaign’s vs. Mailchimp’s landing page builders

Designing a landing page with ActiveCampaign is simple and fast. The platform features adjustable text, images, video, linking, and sharing options as far as the landing pages go. You can create mobile-responsive designs to optimize your site even further.

There are not many templates to choose from when creating a landing page with Mailchimp; available options feature a more modern design than its email templates.

Editing and styling options are pretty much the same as building emails.

Let’s not forget about analytics 

As we all know, there is no real marketing without dedicated powerful analytical software. Whether you rely on A/B testing or require deeper insight into each of your campaign elements’ performance, analytical tools are what separates a mediocre marketing automation platform from a great one. 

ActiveCampaign trusts Google Analytics

ActiveCampaign integrates with Google Analytics to provide in-depth reporting on your campaigns. You may think it’s a good thing, but Google’s depth of research comes with a price.

Google Analytics is a complex app, and navigation won’t be as simple as clicking the analytics button from the dashboard. But if you are up for the challenge you will get your quality data in no time. 

Mailchimp offers access all the basic statistics from a dashboard

Don’t count on any sophisticated tools, though. You can get analytics for abandoned carts, product recommendations, and A/B testing.

For more advanced and detailed reporting, you will have to sign up for some integrations or Google Analytics.

ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. GetResponse – What tool to choose?

Did any of the tools offer all the features you are interested in? As promised, no forced decision-making. Every company is different and so are everybody’s business goals. In this post, we have tackled core marketing automation features from the market’s most popular email marketing software tools, compared them to each other, and, hopefully, given you a better feel of each.

The final call is up to you.

But if you’re unsure where to start – why not try more advanced features for email automation with the GetResponse’s Free plan? Sign up now and experience our full potential firsthand!

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