Email marketing software is critical for every business that wants to send emails to customers. They make it easy to craft and deliver emails to subscribers to drive growth for your business. Without them, you’ll find yourself typing in the email addresses of hundreds of subscribers whenever you want to send out emails, which is futile.
There are many email marketing tools out there, and two of the most popular are MailChimp and ActiveCampaign. The former is the leading email marketing tool globally, with over 13 million customers. ActiveCampaign is a formidable rival to MailChimp but not as widely used as it is.
We want to see how MailChimp and ActiveCampaign weigh against each other. We’ll compare them based on critical factors like features, pricing, and customer support. You can also see our previous MailChimp review and ActiveCampaign review for more information.
Mailchimp is a web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. There’s a free version with basic features and premium tiers that unlock more advanced features. MailChimp lets you send emails to hundreds to thousands or millions of subscribers at the click of a button. After signing up, you can import an existing subscriber list or build a new one. If you’re importing the list, make sure they contain addresses that you have obtained explicit consent from to send emails – otherwise, it constitutes spam, and MailChimp can block you.
If you want to build a new email list, MailChimp can help you do that. For instance, you can use a form builder for subscriptions and embed them on your website or social media pages. Any address provided on the form will be automatically added to your email list. Afterward, you can deliver emails to all your subscribers at the click of a button.
ActiveCampaign works similarly to MailChimp. You can import an existing subscriber list or build a new one using embedded forms. Afterward, you can send email campaigns to all your subscribers or segments of your subscribers at the click of a button.
Both ActiveCampaign and MailChimp provide visually-appealing email templates to help you craft good emails. Otherwise, you may use a drag-and-drop builder to create yours from scratch.
ActiveCampaign offers some advanced marketing automation features that MailChimp doesn’t offer. For example, it lets you send SMS messages or even web messages in addition to email campaigns. You can do this on MailChimp using an integrated third-party app but not directly as with ActiveCampaign.
MailChimp offers powerful tools for sending and managing email campaigns. For example, you can generate detailed reports on the success of your campaigns to know where to improve and where to maintain your strategy. You can target your email messages based on a subscriber's behavior on your website, such as the items they purchase often if you run an online store.
MailChimp is primarily a web-based tool, but there are mobile apps for iOS and Android. These apps help you manage your email campaigns on the go, but they don’t provide access to the full feature suite as MailChimp’s web-based interface.
ActiveCampaign has many advanced features yet is designed to be as easy to navigate as possible. One thing we observed is that ActiveCampaign offers one of the best drag-and-drop tools to design emails from the ground up. The app also has integrations with many third-party tools such as Salesforce and FaceBook to provide extra functionality.
Yet, we consider MailChimp the better tool regarding performance and usability. It has a more friendly user interface and is better optimized for faster performance than ActiveCampaign.
MailChimp offers direct support through email, live chat, and telephone but the options available to you depend on the plan you pick. Two of the three premium pricing tiers include email and live chat support, and only the third and highest tier comes with phone support. Fortunately, free users also get email support for the first 30 days of their use.
There’s an official MailChimp help center where users can access a comprehensive set of tutorials and user guides concerning all the platform’s features. There’s also an official marketplace where you can hire vetted MailChimp experts to assist your brand.
ActiveCampaign offers support through email, live chat, and telephone. Every paying subscriber can access support through all channels, unlike MailChimp. However, ActiveCampaign doesn’t provide any type of direct support to free users.
Free users can access the ActiveCampaign support center for valuable support resources such as user guides and tutorials. There’s also an official community forum where you can interact with other ActiveCampaign users and seek help when needed.
MailChimp and ActiveCampaign offer pretty similar types of support, so we consider them a draw in this category.
One major difference between MailChimp and ActiveCampaign is that the former offers a free plan, while the latter does not. MailChimp’s free plan lets you send a maximum of 2,500 emails monthly to 500 customers. Anything above that, and you must pay for a premium plan.
MailChimp offers three premium plans; Essentials for $11 / £11 / AUD$16 per month, Standard for $17 / £17 / AUD$25 per month; and Premium for a high $299 / £299 / AUD$499 per month. Essentials supports a maximum of 5,000 monthly emails to 50,000 contacts, Standard supports 6,000 monthly emails to 100,000 contacts, and Premium has no limits.
ActiveCampaign offers three paid plans; Lite, costing $29 / £29 / AUD$49 per month; Plus for $49 / £49 / AUD$74 per month; and Professional for $149 / £149 / AUD$174 per month. Each plan allows you to send unlimited emails to up to 250,000 contacts. Anything above 250,000, and you’ll have to contact ActiveCampaign to arrange a custom plan.
ActiveCampaign offers a better bang for your buck, as its plans don’t have significant sending limits like MailChimp. Besides, ActiveCampaign’s most expensive tier costs half of MailChimp’s.
MailChimp and ActiveCampaign are both good tools that provide a lot of features to help you manage email campaigns. Each one beats the other in specific areas. MailChimp offers better performance and usability, but ActiveCampaign is the more affordable option.
We think MailChimp is the best option for small brands with dozens to a few thousand subscribers. If you get to tens of thousands of subscribers, ActiveCampaign is the better option.
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Stefan has always been a lover of tech. He graduated with an MSc in geological engineering but soon discovered he had a knack for writing instead. So he decided to combine his newfound and life-long passions to become a technology writer. As a freelance content writer, Stefan can break down complex technological topics, making them easily digestible for the lay audience.