activecampaign alternatives featured image

In this post, I’ll review 5 ActiveCampaign alternatives, including Birdsend email marketing tool (which my small team and I run).

I’m going to review from the perspective of a content creator — someone whose business involves creating content most of the time; and is typically a solopreneur or runs a tiny team of less than 10.

If you’re in a hurry and want to save 80% every month in email tool expenses + you want high email deliverability, go here to give BirdSend a free try.

Reasons why you might not like ActiveCampaign

  • Resending emails to subscribers who haven’t opened is cumbersome.
    • You can’t set up beforehand. You can only resend manually (by consciously logging into your account after a set period of time).
    • Plus, when you’re trying to resend, you can only send it immediately. There isn’t a way to schedule at a predetermined time.
  • Setting up simple automated emails (drip campaigns) requires a lot of back and forth clicks, which can be frustrating.
  • It gets pricey when you want to track sales revenue (Plus plan at 1k contacts is $70/m), and it gets even more expensive when you want to track sales attribution (Professional plan — 1k contacts at $159/m)
    • Revenue and attribution tracking is also only available for BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce. If you use anything else, tough luck.
  • Because the platform can literally do every marketing automation you can think of, it can be challenging to use.
  • Somewhat slow and clunky user interface.
  • They use the concept of “list-based segmentation” but can also do tagging.
    • Some folks might find this confusing — should they use “list” or “tag”?
    • You’d need to create a new list for every interest, including configuring the settings — a waste of time.

Now let’s take a look the top 5 ActiveCampaign competitors.

ActiveCampaign Alternatives: #1 – BirdSend

Overview

BirdSend is an email marketing tool specifically for content creators (and not for everyone else).

It’s also meant for content creators who run a one-man show or a team of less than 10.

Currently, BirdSend sends around 30 million emails/month.

  • Free migration.

    We’ll transfer your contacts, automation, forms, automated emails, integrations, etc. We understand you’re busy. Let us do the tedious work for you, so you can focus on growing your business.

    ActiveCampaign alternatives - BirdSend's free migration review
    (click here for full image)
  • Saves you 80% every month, compared to other email service providers.
    • You’re probably thinking an email tool with such affordable pricing must suck — poor deliverability and customer service.
    • Why don’t you give us a free, fair try before judging? The reason for the affordable price is because:
      • We don’t run any paid ads. We pass the savings to our customers. We primarily rely on word of mouth for new sign ups. If we suck, people wouldn’t recommend us and we’ll go out of business.
      • We’re the newcomer. We’ve only been in the email marketing space since 2018. We’re not well known in the marketplace yet. We’ll raise our prices as we grow.
  • Good email deliverability / open rates

    Chantel's review of BirdSend - ActiveCampaign's competitor
    (click here for full image)

    How BirdSend helped Amy Pelzner increase open rates
    (click here for full image)
  • “Family-like” experience when using the tool and interacting with customer service.

    Because of our small and nimble team, there’s no company politics. Things are transparent and everything moves fast. Your feedback gets heard.

    Camila Rojas has this to say about BirdSend email service provider
    (click here for full image)
  • Unlike all-in-one marketing tools, BirdSend is very focused, both functionally and the audience type and size it serves.
    • Functionally — it only does email marketing. You can’t do online payment, shopping cart, bots, webinars, SMS, postcard marketing, ads management, social posting, etc.
    • Audience — it only serves content creators.
    • Size — only for solopreneurs or less than 10 teammates.
  • BirdSend is the fastest at setting up sequence / drip emails. Everything is done on a single page. No matter if you have 10 or 30 emails in the sequence, you write everything on a single page. No more back and forth loading 10 or 30 different pages like other tools.

    If you can find a tool that’s faster in setting up sequence emails, let me know and I’ll give you paid, complimentary BirdSend account.

    ActiveCampaign alternative: Dennis Demori's review
    (click here for full image)

Features

  • Resend emails to subscribers who haven’t opened, in 1-click. You’ll get more eyeballs for your emails.
    • Quickly “set and forget it” by setting this up beforehand:

      Competitor to ActiveCampaign - resend to unopens in 1 click
  • Quickly set up drip email campaigns to stay automatically in touch with subscribers.
    • You have the option to exclude emails from being sent on certain days of the week.
    • Can also exclude contacts with certain tags from receiving particular emails.
  • Easily set up behavior-based automation like “if X happens, do Y”.
    • E.g. 1. If subscriber opens email X, tag with [X].
    • E.g. 2. If subscriber clicks link Y, tag with [Y] and subscribe to sequence [Y].
    • E.g. 3. If subscriber buys product A, tag with [A] and subscribe to sequence [A] and unsubscribe from sequence [Leads].
  • Send one-time broadcast / newsletter-type emails (immediately or schedule a future time).
  • Subscribers can choose to unsubscribe from certain topics and remain subscribed to others.
    • End result: less subscriber churn because they’re happy — they only receive the type of emails they want.
  • Preview text
    • Set up a “2nd subject line” right after the subject line to further entice folks to open your emails.
  • Incentive emails
    • Confirm subscribers without asking them to “click here to confirm your email address”. You can simply confirm them when they click to download your lead magnet / pdf or access your video.
  • Split (A/B) test

    Alternative to ActiveCampaign - BirdSend's split testing a/b test feature
    • A/B test your broadcast emails to see which version performs better, to maximize your campaign’s performance. Most tools can only maximize based on opens or clicks. With BirdSend, you can also maximize based on sales revenue.
    • Further boost your A/B test by resending to folks who haven’t opened (takes only 1-click).
  • Sales revenue, lifetime value (LTV), and average lifetime value (ALTV) tracking

    BirdSend's quick and easy sales revenue tracking
    • Identify who your VIP contacts are, and focus more on them to maximize earnings.
    • Understand which traffic source and campaign gets you the most sales — then double down!
    • Know which emails are your best performers (based on revenue, not based on vanity metrics like opens or clicks), so you can write more profit-pulling emails like these.
  • Abandoned cart emails
    • Automatically send follow up emails to folks who abandoned their cart, to recover lost sales.
  • Subscribers can quickly choose to unsubscribe from certain types of emails from you and stay subscribed to other topics, via The Subscriber Preferences Page.

    folks have the freedom to choose their email preferences
  • Built-in spam testing
    • Easily test the spam score of your emails before sending.
  • Quick access to email stats with a few clicks — opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, blocks, spam complaints. And easily tag/segment each one however you wish.

Cons

  • BirdSend is a lightweight tool that intentionally doesn’t provide a drag-and-drop fancy email editor. If you want to “design” fancy emails, BirdSend is not for you.
    • We believe subscribers want to receive your emails because of how your content can help them, not because of how nice looking your email design is.
    • Hence, it make sense to keep the design minimal so it doesn’t detract from your awesome content.
    • Plus, a minimal design results in cleaner backend html code, which improves email deliverability.
    • Why not leave fancy design for your website? This is an email message we’re talking about.
  • New player in the email service provider space. We’ve only been around since 2018.
  • It’s run by a small team of 7. Depending on how you look at it, this could also mean the team is agile and make decisions quickly without bureaucracy.
  • It’s not for E-commerce businesses. It’s only suitable for content creators who fly solo or run a small team of less than 10.

Pricing

  • Doesn’t have a free plan, but offers a free 14 days trial.
  • Very affordable
    • Save 3 – 5X every month compared to other email marketing tools.
    • Some tools offer a low entry price point but scales expensively. With BirdSend, you start and grow affordably.
  • Unsubscribers and unconfirmed contacts are not charged towards your billing.
  • Only unique contacts are charged.
    • E.g. Janice subscribes to 5 different sequences and have many tags. You’re only charged for 1 contact.
  • Prices are grandfathered in at the rate you joined, for every contact level tier.

ActiveCampaign vs BirdSend At A Glance

ActiveCampaign (Lite)BirdSend
Target audienceEveryone and anyoneOnly content creators
Target business sizeEveryone and anyone, no matter small, medium, or large companiesSolopreneurs and tiny team members of less than 10
Top featureAdvanced automations – if you can think of it, you can probably build itSuper fast sequence / drip emails creation and editing — everything done on a SINGLE page
ConSlow UI. Setting up simple drip emails is cumbersome and involves a lot of mouse-clicking.Relatively new player in the email marketing game. Have only been around since 2018.
Price (5k contacts)$99/m$19/m

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ActiveCampaign Alternatives: #2 – Mailchimp

Overview

This alternative to ActiveCampaign doesn’t need introduction — it’s the biggest and most famous email marketing service provider.

Originally an email marketing tool when it first started in 2001, Mailchimp has now grown into a gigantic all-in-one marketing automation company.

Intuit has also recently acquired it for $12 billion USD.

ActiveCampaign alternatives - Intuit bought Mailchimp

Features

  • Send newsletter emails or one-off broadcasts.
    • Send it immediately or schedule it to a later date.
  • Email marketing automation.
    • Set up sequences / autoresponders / drip emails.
    • “When this happens, do that” type of automations.
      • E.g. If contact clicks “interested” link, tag with [interested] and subscribe to [interested] list.
  • In addition to emails, Mailchimp has features for Facebook and Google Ads management, SMS marketing, postcards, online booking, social media posting, domain registration, online store creation, etc.
  • A/B test emails
    • You can test these variables: subject line, from name, email content, and send time.
  • Preview text
    • Like BirdSend, you can specify a short preview text that acts as a 2nd subject line to further entice subscribers to open your emails.
  • Sell your products / services online
    • Mailchimp takes a percentage from the product revenue, on top of payment / Stripe processing fees.

Cons

  • No free migration provided to move to their platform.
    • You’d have to move all the data from your current email tool, or hire someone to do it for you.
  • Mailchimp’s target audience is everybody, no matter the industry or business size.
    • If you’re looking for a tool that caters to a specific type of audience like yourself, you’ll probably be disappointed.
  • Mailchimp is a generalist all-in-one marketing platform.
    • Jack of all trades is a master of none.
    • It can be a challenge to use the platform with many different menus and options available, especially for new users.
  • Mailchimp is a huge corporation with more than 1,200 employees.

    This activecampaign alternative has 1200 employees
    • If you’re looking to get personal support that empathizes with you, it’s unlikely you’ll get it.
    • Typically a company of this size has a lot of office politics. First-level support doesn’t have the product knowledge or permission if your issues are out of the ordinary. Simple decisions can take forever to be implemented (if they’re implemented at all) as employees need to get approval from their managers. Not to mention there are bound to be a lot of back and forth communications. All these result in slow issue resolutions.
  • Setting up email sequences or drip emails is slow and cumbersome.
    • E.g. You have 10 emails in the sequence. You’d need to go back and forth and load 10 pages. Imagine the frustration if you have 20 emails in the sequence and you have 5 sequences.
  • List-based, but also have tagging features.
    • It can be confusing to some people — do they also use tags in addition to list? Or just list?
    • You’d also need to set up a different list (including its settings) for each segment/interest, which is inconvenient.
  • Relying many parts of your business on a single platform is dangerous.
    • When an outage occurs (and they do occur – even the biggest companies like Google and Facebook have experienced outages), many parts of your business operation will be negatively impacted.

Pricing

  • Mailchimp has a free plan with the following caveats:
    • Their logo on your every email.
    • Support is only available for the first 30 days.
    • Sending limit of 2k daily emails and 10k monthly emails.
    • No automation features.
    • Price gets expensive quickly as you grow.
  • No free trial for paid plans.
  • They charge you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts.
  • Unlimited email sending is not available even in paid plans.

    Mailchimp's sending limit
    • Essentials plan — 10x limit
    • Standard plan — 12x limit
    • Premium plan — 15x limit
  • There’s also a contacts limit for each plan.
    • E.g. Standard plan can only store up to 100k contacts.

ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp At A Glance

ActiveCampaign (Lite)Mailchimp (Standard)
Target audienceEveryone and anyoneEveryone and anyone
Target business sizeEveryone and anyone, no matter small, medium, or large companies.All sizes, no matter if you’re small, medium, big, or gigantic.
Top featureAdvanced automations – if you can think of it, you can probably build it.All-in-one marketing platform can do a lot under one roof
ConSlow UI. Setting up simple drip emails is cumbersome and involves a lot of mouse-clicking.Setting up simple email sequences can be challenging due to a huge number of options to choose from
Price (5k contacts)$99/m$79.99/m

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ActiveCampaign Competitor #3 – ConvertKit

Overview

  • Founded in January 2013 by Nathan Barry, ConvertKit is a popular email marketing tool. It certainly deserves a spot in this ActiveCampaign alternatives review.
  • ConvertKit initially targeted bloggers, but have expanded their offering to serve the bigger “creators” audience.
  • It has good deliverability and I’ve also heard good things about their customer service.
  • ConvertKit recently tried their hands into E-commerce selling with the introduction of their online selling features.

Features

  • Sell your products and services via their cart features.
    • Sell via their Stripe account instead of your own.
    • Takes a cut from every sale in addition to Stripe payment processing fees.
  • Email marketing automation
    • Set up email sequences / drip campaigns.
    • Set up behavior-based automation like “If this happens, do that”.
      • E.g. If subscriber clicks link X, tag with [X] and subscribe to sequence [X].
  • Send one-off broadcast emails.
  • One-page setting up of sequence emails makes it fast and easy to create simple email sequences.
  • Incentive emails
    • Automatically confirm subscribers when they click your download link in the confirmation email.

Cons

  • Your subscribers can’t unsubscribe from particular topics. They can only unsubscribe from all your emails.
    • This is a problem because people only wanting to hear certain topics (and not others) is common. The way how ConvertKit does it means it’s a “all or nothing” approach. You either stay subscribed to all topics, or you unsubscribe completely.
    • End result = you lose more (hard-earned) subscribers than you should.
  • No auto-resend emails to unopens in sequences. You can only do so in broadcasts.
  • A/B testing is limited.
    • Can’t set the ratios for the original, variation, and winner emails.
    • The winning criteria is only based on email opens. There’s no option for using link clicks or sales revenue as the criteria.
  • Stats reporting is limited.
    • No bounce and spam complaint stats — both of which are good indicators of the healthiness of your email list.
  • ConvertKit has become an all-in-one marketing platform with its latest venture into E-commerce selling.
    • As typical with fast-growing companies, an expansion to other territories (ecommerce selling) is common. There are now more menus to navigate through when using the platform. This could post a problem for new users.
  • No native abandoned cart automation email.
    • You’d need to use Zapier to do this.
  • No spam testing built-in.
    • Spam testing is helpful to know the spam score before sending emails — to ensure maximum deliverability.

Pricing


This option to ActiveCampaign - ConvertKit's pricing

  • ConvertKit has a free plan with the following terms and conditions:
    • Can only send broadcast emails.
    • No sequence emails. No automation.
    • ConvertKit logo at the bottom of every email.
  • For their free trial, they offer 14 days.
  • Doesn’t count unsubscribers and unconfirmed contacts.
  • Counts only unique email addresses towards your billing.

ActiveCampaign vs ConvertKit At A Glance

ActiveCampaign (Lite)ConvertKit (Creator)
Target audienceEveryone and anyoneCreators
Target business sizeEveryone and anyone, no matter small, medium, or large companies.Small businesses
Top featureAdvanced automations – if you can think of it, you can probably build it.Segmentation via tags is easy
ConSlow UI. Setting up simple drip emails is cumbersome and involves a lot of mouse-clickingSimple email editor. If you want fancy email design, this is not for you.
Price (5k contacts)$99/m$79/m

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Alternative to ActiveCampaign #4 – GetResponse

Overview

At spot #4 of this ActiveCampaign alternatives review, we have GetResponse.

  • GetResponse has been around since 1997, making it one of the oldest email marketing tools.

    Competitor to Active Campaign - GetResponse founding year
  • The dashboard can be customized to your liking, which is interesting.
  • Like many on this list, it’s now an all-in-one marketing software.
    • Apart from email marketing, you can do things like setting up Facebook and Google Ads, building complete websites, selling your offers online, providing customer service via their chat / support tool, and even doing webinars.
  • They offer good customer support.

Features

  • Marketing automation
    • Set up drip emails or autoresponders to automatically follow up with subscribers.
    • Behavior-based automation: “If X happens, do Y.” E.g. If subscriber opens or clicks email link X, subscribe to list Y.
  • Send one-time broadcast emails.
  • Spam testing functionality.
    • Before sending emails, it’s a good practice to first check the spam score of your email message, to make sure the score is as low as possible.
  • Lead scoring (Plus plan and above).
    • Score your subscribers based on their interaction with your emails and buying behavior. The more they buy or engage, the better the score.
    • This is a good way of segmenting engaged folks from unengaged ones.
  • Sell your products / services online.
    • They integrate with PayPal and Stripe. You can use these 2 payment processors to take payments.
    • Auto delivery of digital products to your customers.
  • Abandoned cart emails (Pro plan and above).
    • When a lead abandons their cart, automatically follow up with them to close the sale.

Cons

  • No free migration.
    • You’d need to do the tedious work of migrating everything over.
  • There’s room for improvement in the deliverability department.
  • Being an all-in-one marketing platform, it suffers the same drawbacks as its counterparts — complexity in using the tool due the many features available.
    • Especially true for new users.
  • List centric tool, but can also do “tagging”.
    • Might confuse new users as to which one they should use.
  • Need to create and set up a different list for each interest / topic is cumbersome.
  • Inconvenient to set up simple email sequences.
    • E.g. If you have 15 emails in the sequence, you’d need to go back and forth 15 times to load 15 different pages.
    • Result: loss of precious time and somewhat frustrated.

Pricing


GetResponse pricing

  • GetResponse has a free plan with these limitations:
    • Their branding on every email you send.
    • No sequences / autoresponders / drip emails.
    • No automation whatsoever.
    • Max 500 subscribers.
  • The paid plan has a 30-day free trial.
  • Tagging is available only in Plus plan and beyond.
  • Doesn’t charge you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts.
  • They do charge you multiple times for the same subscriber in different lists though.
    • Dylan is on 7 different lists. You get charged for 7 contacts.

ActiveCampaign vs GetResponse At A Glance

ActiveCampaign (Lite)GetResponse (Plus)
Target audienceEveryone and anyoneEveryone and anyone
Target business sizeEveryone and anyone, no matter small, medium, or large companies.Everyone from small, medium, to large companies.
Top featureAdvanced automations – if you can think of it, you can probably build it.Webinar functionality – the only one on this list that has this.
ConSlow UI. Setting up simple drip emails is cumbersome and involves a lot of mouse-clicking.Deliverability could be improved.
Price (5k contacts)$99/m$49/m

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ActiveCampaign Alternatives: #5 – Aweber

Overview

  • Also one of the pioneers of email marketing, Aweber is a trusted brand that has been around since 1998.

    activecampaign alternative - when Aweber was founded
  • They used to be the grandaddy of email marketing. However, it seems they were too comfortable with their market leader position and eventually lose touch with the competition as other new players with better functionalities came onto the scene.
    • New innovative features and developments were slow compared to its competitors.
    • Just these past few years, they started to play catch up and released more modern improvements and new features to the platform.
    • Unfortunately it was a little too late as they’ve lost significant market share.
  • I’ve used them in the past before I built BirdSend. My experience with them regarding deliverability is positive.

Features

  • Interesting “auto detect branding colors by entering your site URL” feature.
    • This feature will grab the colors on your website and use that same color theme for your emails.
  • Send one-off newsletter or broadcast emails.
  • Email marketing automation.
    • Autoresponders / drip emails / email sequences.
    • They have “if this happens, do that” automation, but it’s a bit limited in what it can do (see cons below).
  • Sell products / services online.
    • They take a cut from every sale on top of payment processing fees.

Cons

  • Target everyone and anyone — no matter the business is selling digital products, ecommerce products, or offline shops.
  • A/B split testing is flawed and cumbersome.
    • You’d need to manually create 3 different email messages — original, variation, and winner.
    • Then you’d need to manually log in to your account to check which one is the winner.
    • After that, you’d need to manually (again) send the winner to the remaining recipients.

      ActiveCampaign's competitor - Aweber - split testing is cumbersome
  • E-commerce selling.
    • New selling option added to their UI could make it a bit harder to find your way through, especially if you’re a new user.
  • The “list” drop down section is not that obvious.
    • When making changes to the settings, make sure you’re in the right “list”, to prevent changing settings to the wrong list.
  • Link triggers are limited.
    • Triggers like this can be achieved: if subscriber clicks link X, tag with X and remove from current list.
    • But simple triggers like this can’t: if subscribers click link X, subscribe to sequence Y.

Pricing

  • Like other ActiveCampaign alternatives on this page, Awebers offer a free plan with limitations:
    • Maximum of 500 subscribers.
    • Can only send 3k emails/month.
    • Their logo on every email.
  • No free trial for paid plans.
  • You’re charged for unsubscribes and unconfirmed contacts.
  • The same email address in multiple different lists are counted as multiple subscribers.
    • E.g. Jay is on 5 different lists. You’re charged for 5 subscribers.

ActiveCampaign vs Aweber At A Glance

ActiveCampaign (Lite)Aweber
Target audienceEveryone and anyoneEveryone and anyone
Target business sizeEveryone and anyone, no matter small, medium, or large companiesSmall businesses
Top featureAdvanced automations – if you can think of it, you can probably build itAuto get branding color theme from website
ConSlow UI. Setting up simple drip emails is cumbersome and involves a lot of mouse-clickingA/B testing is flawed and cumbersome
Price (5k contacts)$99/m$29.99/m

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ActiveCampaign Alternatives Price Comparison (price per month)

Brand1k Contacts2.5k Contacts5k Contacts10k Contacts25k Contacts50k Contacts100k Contacts
ActiveCampaign (Lite)$29$55$99$155$259$345$505
Mailchimp (Standard)$51.99$51.99$79.99$105$230$320$540
ConvertKit (Creator)$29$49$79$119$199$379$679
GetResponse (Plus)$49$59$79$95$179$299$499
Aweber$29$29.99$49.99$69.99$149.99??
BirdSend$9$14$19$29$69$109$209

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TL;DR – which ActiveCampaign alternative is right for you?

It depends on your needs.

If money savings and email deliverability are important to you, go for BirdSend.

For super advanced marketing automation that can do beyond just emails, go for ActiveCampaign.

Or if you want webinar capabilities together with other marketing automation features, go for GetResponse.

Welly Mulia

👋 My customers (Content Creators) send 30M emails/month via BirdSend. They save 80% in email tool expenses every month while still enjoying high email opens.

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Try BirdSend Free Now!

Save 80% every month. High email opens. Super fast email sequence setup.

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