activecampaign-vs-mailchimp-vs-birdsend-featured

Trying to compare ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp?

Are you wanting to switch from your current email marketing tool to either one?

Or maybe this is your first try at email marketing?

Whichever it is, this post covers the pros and cons of both tools.

But before that… allow me to add another email tool into this comparison post — BirdSend.

So you have more options to choose from, since everyone’s needs are different.

Disclaimer: my team and I built BirdSend, which is specifically for content creators only.

Obviously, if you’re not a content creator, feel free to close this page. But if you are, stay tuned as I outline the differences between these 3 email service providers.

If you just want to send emails that get high email opens, at an affordable price (save 80% every month), try BirdSend free here.

Table of Contents

Key differences between ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp vs BirdSend

BirdSend

Free concierge migration is provided, even during your free trial.

BirdSend is a simple, lightweight, and no-frills email marketing tool for content creators who don’t have a big budget but still want to get high email opens / good deliverability.

Usually, affordability and high email opens don’t co-exist. We’re able to achieve both because we don’t spend a single cent on paid advertising. We rely on word of mouth recommendations from customers → and that’s how we’re able to pass the savings to them.

BirdSend is for content creators who don’t need fancy-designed emails (that are media-rich). It’s for folks who want a simple and clean email design. You can still, however, insert images / banners / logos, GIFs, and emojis in BirdSend.

It’s for content creators who understand their email CONTENT is what actually matters. That their subscribers look forward to receiving their emails because of the content, not because of how “beautiful looking” the emails are.

BirdSend is also for folks who don’t need a landing page tool inside an email marketing tool. We’re not trying to be a Jack of all trades. We do what we do best — email marketing — and let dedicated landing page tools do what they do best.

Finally, BirdSend is suitable if you run a business as a one-man show or with a tiny team of less than 10 members.

ActiveCampaign

Free migration is also provided if you switch to ActiveCampaign.

It doesn’t provide any kind of refunds though, not even partial refunds.

ActiveCampaign is for anyone and everyone who not only want to do email marketing, but also general marketing and sales activities.

It’s an all-in-one marketing platform for folks who want complex automation, the ability to send SMS, CRM features, site messaging / support capability, landing page capabilities, deep data reporting, lead scoring, etc.

It’s suitable if you run a big company with salespeople who want to close mid to high ticket deals — which require a high touch sales process (that can be managed via its CRM features).

However, if you’re a small business owner, you can also use their “Lite” plan which will only include email marketing features.

ActiveCampaign targets all business types — e-com online shops, bloggers, local brick and mortar shops, agencies, consultants, coaches, service providers, etc.

Basically, ActiveCampaign is an advanced all-in-one marketing platform that targets everyone from every industry, no matter if you’re a small, medium, or big company.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp does not provide a free migration.

It has this feature where email replies from subscribers will be shown in the comments section of the email editor — can use these feedback to improve your emails.

All Mailchimp’s paid plans do not include unlimited email sending, even its most expensive plan.

Each plan also places a limit on the number of contacts you can store — i.e. you’re forced to upgrade to a higher plan just because your current plan is not enough to accommodate the number of contacts (even though you don’t need the extra features of the higher plan).

A few years ago, Mailchimp almost disabled double opt-in functionality for all its users. This is a weird move because as an email marketing tool, using double opt-in is actually a welcome move and widely-known best practice.

This means you’ll only be delivering emails to the most enthusiastic subscribers and reduce fake email address signups — all of which help deliverability.

After its announcement, many European users objected the move… which ultimately led to the cancelation of the decision. This is a big matter as it shows it’s not really taking data privacy seriously.

Mailchimp is one of the oldest email marketing tools (founded in 2001) who has evolved into an all-in-one marketing platform. It has recently been acquired by Intuit for $12 billion USD. This is an enterprise-level company we’re talking about, with more than 1,200 employees.

All these mean it has a strong brand presence and is trusted by many.

If you’re looking for a platform that can do SMS marketing, email marketing, CRM, Google and Facebook ads management, social media posting and scheduling, postcard marketing, landing page builder, website builder, online selling, etc., Mailchimp is a good fit for you.

How content creators save 80% every month and send 30 million monthly emails

Content creators refers to folks who create content (text, audio, video).

If you share or teach your knowledge to others, you’re a content creator.

Some examples of content creators: bloggers, course creators, YouTubers, podcasters, coaches, consultants, writers / authors, thought leaders, etc.

Cumulatively, they send around 30 million monthly emails with BirdSend, and they save 80% each month and get good email opens while doing so.

user review about growing email list
(click to see full image)

customer testimonial about email open rates
(click to see full image)

You probably know that speed of implementation is crucial (money is attracted to speed).

With BirdSend, creating emails — especially email sequences / series / drips — is super quick:

ultra fast email series

simple and lightweight email service provider BirdSend
(click to see full image)

With the main differences out of the way, let’s now compare and see which email service provider is more suitable for you in this ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp vs BirdSend post.

The 20 email marketing questions to compare each tool against

BirdSend

Does the tool move over your data (provide free migration)?

Yes. BirdSend provides a concierge migration service at no charge, even during your free trial. We’ll move everything (subscribers, automations, sequences, forms, integrations, etc.) from your current tool to us.

what customer says about concierge free migration service
(click to see full image)

Do duplicate subscribers get charged multiple times?

We only charge you for unique subscribers. E.g. Tony Stark is in multiple different sequences and has many tags applied to him — you’ll only be billed for 1 subscriber / contact.

Does it charge unsubscribed or unconfirmed contacts?

Unsubscribed or unconfirmed contacts are not charged. BirdSend only bills you for subscribed contacts that you can send emails to.

How easy is it to set things up?

As mentioned above, BirdSend is a no-frills, simple, and lightweight email marketing tool that only does — (surprise surprise) email marketing!

As such, the UI (user interface) is minimalistic and you’ll easily know how to navigate around the app.

And with BirdSend’s 1-Page Sequence Builder, you’ll be creating email sequences in record time — faster than anything you’ve tried. If you can find a tool that’s faster, let me know (contact button on bottom right of page) and I’ll give you a paid account, on the house.

Who is the target audience and business size?

Audience = content creators.

Those who share and teach their knowledge to others, whether in the form of text, audio, or video.

Business size = solopreneur or has a tiny team of less than 10 teammates.

Does it have “resend to unopened” feature for more eyeballs to emails?

Yes. With 1-click, you can resend to people who haven’t opened. And you can do this for both broadcast / newsletter emails as well as every email inside a sequence.

easily resend an email message to subscribers who haven’t opened

Does it have email drips / sequences / series feature?

Yes, as stated above, you can quickly create these with The 1-Page Sequence Builder.

Any A/B test feature?

Yes. You can set the winner criteria: higher open rate, click rate, or sales revenue.

You can also customize the email percentages for the original email, variation email, and winner email.

E.g.

30% for original

30% for variation

40% for winner

Finally, even in an A/B test… you can resend the winner email to unopened (as of writing this article, to our knowledge… we’re the only email tool that can do this).

resend to unopens can even happen in A/B test

Does the tool support automation based on subscribers’ actions?

Yes. Here are a few examples:

  • Subscribers who opened a particular email → tag with X and subscribe to sequence X
  • Subscribers who clicked a specific link in a specific email → tag with Y, subscribe to sequence Y, unsubscribe from current sequence, and record a sales conversion of $150

Can it send one-off newsletter / broadcast emails?

Yes. This is a basic “price of entry” requirement for an email marketing tool.

What about forms and landing pages?

You can create forms like pop ups, in-content forms, sidebar and footer widgets, and welcome screens. We also have a WordPress plugin (no additional charge) to allow you to easily display forms on your WordPress sites.

We don’t have landing pages though.

We’re a dedicated email marketing tool and we focus on what we do best — email marketing. For the creation of landing pages, we let other dedicated landing page tools do their best job of creating landing pages.

However, you can use our “welcome screen” form type to create a simplistic landing page:

this opt-in form type can be used as a simple landing page

How is the email editor?

As mentioned multiple times, BirdSend is a simple and lightweight email marketing tool for content creators.

Content creators who focus on good email CONTENT rather than worrying about fancy-designed emails. These are folks who genuinely believe subscribers want to receive their emails because of how their email content is going to help solve subscribers’ problems, not because subscribers want to be in awe of how beautiful the email design is.

Additionally, people connect more with you if you’re more “human”. If you send emails with little to no design, you appear more “human”.

Go check your inbox now and see the emails from your friends or peers. Do they have “beautiful” or simple design (or maybe no design at all)?

The more “human” and “friend-to-friend” your emails look, the more people look forward to opening them.

People don’t want to open emails from companies — and fancy-designed emails give the feeling of being “corporate-sy”.

Because of the reasons above, we built a simple email editor that’s different from what you’d find in 99% of email tools. We do not use a “drag and drop” style email editor. We use an editor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word to enable content creators to crank out emails super fast.

You can still insert images / logos / banners, GIFs, and emojis though.

Any segmentation capability?

Yes, you can easily segment contacts using tags (which can quickly be created on the fly).

What kind of reports / stats does the tool provide?

Open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, spam rates, bounce rates are available.

You can also view who opened, who clicked which link and when, who unsubscribed, who bounced, who reported your email as spam, etc.

In addition, we provide you with revenue (earnings) data + lifetime value and average lifetime value (ALTV) numbers.

You can further break down the ALTV numbers by campaigns (tags). E.g. Discover the ALTV for your Facebook ads campaign that give away your book. As long as you spend less than your ALTV to get a subscriber, you’re in profit.

track your email revenue and attribution

Can it send emails to people who abandoned their cart?

Yes, we currently integrate with these shopping cart tools out of the box:

  • SendOwl
  • Teachable
  • SamCart
  • ThriveCart
  • Thinkific
  • WooCommerce
  • aMember
  • MemberPress
  • Shopify

When people abandoned their cart, BirdSend can automatically put them into an “abandoned” sequence to do automatic follow ups and close more sales for you.

Is there a spam content checker?

Yes. You can access it inside the email editor:

spam score checker

How is the customer service?

We have a help center / knowledge base containing tons of tutorials in text and videos. Human support is also a click away (bottom right button on every single page of our site).

Here are what a few customers say about our customer support:

review by customer about customer support

another review by customer about customer service
(click to see full image)

Does it have a free plan?

We don’t offer a free plan. Since we’re a bootstrapped company with a small team (of 7 team members), we want to focus our limited energy and time on serving paid customers.

If we offer a free plan, it’d dilute our efforts in serving paid customers → they’d receive less than optimal support (which we don’t want).

How is the value for money?

The most important aspect of an email marketing tool / email service provider is to provide good email deliverability, so that as many of the emails land to the inbox as possible.

What’s the point if it’s affordable but the deliverability sucks?

You’ve already seen some deliverability / open rate reviews above, so here are some regarding “value for money”:

great value for money for BirdSend

 another user review about affordability

yet another review about whether this email tool is worth its asking price

Pros

  • Free migration, even during your free trial
  • Save 80% every month
  • Good email deliverability
  • Super fast at creating email sequences / series / drips
  • Simple and lightweight email marketing tool for content creators

Cons

  • Relatively new player in the email marketing space (since 2018 only)
  • No landing page tool inside its email marketing tool
  • Not suitable if you want complex and advanced automation
  • If you want to create fancy-designed emails, it’s not for you

ActiveCampaign

Does the tool move over your data (provide free migration)?

Yes, it does.

Do duplicate subscribers get charged multiple times?

No, it only charges you for unique subscribers.

Does it charge unsubscribed or unconfirmed contacts?

No, only subscribed contacts count towards your billing.

How easy is it to set things up?

The UI is clunky and slow.

However, given it can do so many things — SMS, email marketing, sales CRM, landing pages, advanced automations, on-site chat / support tool, lead scoring — you can’t really fault the platform.

It has to take all kinds of use cases from all business types and industries and bake those into the platform — resulting in a behemoth of a platform.

Inside the account, there’s a whole barrage of menus to choose from to perform the many different functions it provides.

The slow and clunky UI gives somewhat frustrating experience when trying to set things up.

Who is the target audience and business size?

Target audience — everyone (since it doesn’t really have a defined target audience).

Target business size — all business sizes, from small, medium, to large organizations.

Which is why it provides 4 different plans to cater to the wide varieties of audience and business sizes.

Does it have “resend to unopened” feature for more eyeballs to emails?

Yes, but it’s flawed. Here are the reasons why:

  • Can’t set up the resend beforehand (i.e. you can’t go on vacation with your family without worrying how to set up the resend when you don’t have internet connectivity).
  • You need to login to your account after the original email has been sent, and then do the resend right then and there; if you want to resend at a future date, you can’t.

Does it have email drips / sequences / series feature?

Yes, though you’d need to go back and forth through endless popups and pages to do so.

Any A/B test feature?

Yes, you can test subject lines, email body content, and from names.

Does the tool support automation based on subscribers’ actions?

Yes, ActiveCampaign is an advanced tool that can do complex automations based on subscribers’ actions. If you have a particular automation in mind, you can probably build it in ActiveCampaign.

Can it send one-off newsletter / broadcast emails?

Yes.

What about forms and landing pages?

Yes for both. Its landing page features (Plus plan) are more recent though.

How is the email editor?

It features a typical “drag and drop” email builder where you can add elements to the canvas, like what you’d find in 99% of email marketing tools.

The focus of this type of email builder is on creating “beautiful” emails as opposed to content-rich emails.

Beautiful emails are at a disadvantage in terms of email deliverability because the html code is more complex and “heavy” as opposed to emails that are simple in design and layout.

Any segmentation capability?

Yes. You can use lists and tags to segment contacts.

ActiveCampaign is primarily a list-based platform. Meaning its primary way of segmenting contacts is via lists. It added tagging much later in order to keep up with the times.

But this could be confusing to users — should you use lists or tags to segment?

It does, however, offer advanced segmentation capability. For example, if you want to search for contacts who live in New York who subscribed in the last 90 days and who also have opened your last 3 emails, you can.

What kind of reports / stats does the tool provide?

Apart from the usual open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, bounce rates, spam-complaint rates… it also provides geo reports — allowing you to see where subscribers are located.

If you upgrade to the Professional plan (1k contacts at $187/month), you can track sales revenue and get sales attribution report. There are no average lifetime value stats though, even at this Professional plan.

Can it send emails to people who abandoned their cart?

Yes, if you sign up for its “Plus” plan.

Is there a spam content checker?

Yes, this is available.

How is the customer service?

Its tutorials can be found via the knowledge base. If you need to get in touch with a human, you can click the bottom right icon on any page of its site. The response given by support is knowledgeable and helpful.

If you want phone support, you can upgrade to the most expensive “Enterprise” plan (1k contacts for $323/month).

Does it have a free plan?

There is no free plan, but it offers a free trial for 14 days.

It’s worth noting that ActiveCampaign does not offer refunds (not even partial refunds). So make sure you test the platform thoroughly before you’re billed.

activecampaign does not offer any kind of refunds

Your price lock is only for 2 years — i.e. when it increases its price in the future, it will honor your current rate for only 2 years. After that, you’d need to pay more at the then rate.

activecampaign vs mailchimp - AC price lock

How is the value for money?

Depending on the plan you sign up, it unlocks different features. The more expensive the plan, the more features are available to you.

I’d argue even at its lowest “Lite” plan, the pricing falls more on the premium side (1k contacts at $30/month).

Pros

  • Supports advanced automation. If you can think of an automation, you can probably built it in ActiveCampaign.
  • Its “automation map” feature allows you to see at a “zoomed-out” or high-level view how each of your automation is connected to one another. This is useful when trying to spot for “leaks” in your funnel that can be improved.
  • Deep segmentation capabilities.

Cons

  • No refunds (not even partial refunds)
  • Your price lock is only for 2 years
  • Slow and clunky UI
  • A steep learning curve is required to effectively use the platform

Okay, so 2 email tools done. 1 more to go. Let’s jump to the last part of this ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp vs BirdSend article…


Mailchimp

Does the tool move over your data (provide free migration)?

No, Mailchimp doesn’t provide a free migration service. It’s up to you to move your data over or hire a freelancer to do it for you.

Do duplicate subscribers get charged multiple times?

Yes. For instance, say Lara Croft is subscribed to 5 lists; Mailchimp charges you for 5 subscribers / contacts. It’s not uncommon for a person to be subscribed to multiple lists, hence this kind of arrangement puts a dent in your wallet fast.

Does it charge unsubscribed or unconfirmed contacts?

Yes, it bills you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts.

How easy is it to set things up?

Mailchimp has grown into a billion dollar company. From its early days as an “email marketing only” tool to currently becoming an all-in-one marketing platform, there are lot of things you can do with Mailchimp.

Things like postcard marketing, SMS, sales CRM, email marketing, e-commerce online shop builder, landing page builder, website builder, Facebook and Google ads management, social media posting and scheduling, SMS, domain registration, etc.

As such, the user interface is filled with a lot of menus and sub-menus for you to choose. And some of the options aren’t placed in the most intuitive places, so you’ll need to do some digging and trial and error to find what you’re looking for.

Who is the target audience and business size?

Like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp doesn’t have a specific target audience and target business size.

It basically targets everyone and anyone who wants to perform all kinds of marketing activities. No matter if you run a tiny, small, medium, or big company… Mailchimp wants you.

Regardless if you run an e-com online store, or if you’re a blogger, course creator, agency, consulting company, or local mom and pop shop… Mailchimp wants you.

In summary, it targets everyone from every industry, no matter how small or big you are.

Does it have “resend to unopened” feature for more eyeballs to emails?

Somewhat. You’d need to hack around the system:

  • You can’t set this up beforehand, you can only set up the resend after the original has been sent
  • You’d need to duplicate the original email and then manually setting up filters / segments to send to unopened

Does it have email drips / sequences / series feature?

Yes. Like ActiveCampaign, you’d need to go back and forth to load endless pages to create even the most simple sequences.

Any A/B test feature?

Yes, but only in paid plans.

You can test subject lines, from names, send time, and email body content.

Does the tool support automation based on subscribers’ actions?

Yes.

Can it send one-off newsletter / broadcast emails?

Yes, it can send newsletters / broadcast emails.

What about forms and landing pages?

Yes, it has both. The UI for landing pages is better and more consistent than the UI for forms (which is confusing).

How is the email editor?

Like ActiveCampaign and most email tools, Mailchimp features a “drag and drop” email editor where you can add elements and play around with the layout — e.g. 1 or 2 columns, etc.

Email editors like this are “heavy” and have complex backend html code, which could hinder deliverability as opposed to emails with simple design.

That said, because it’s drag and drop, you can build fancy-designed emails if that’s your cup of tea.

I’d like to repeat this again nonetheless: subscribers want to receive your emails because of how your content is going to help them, not because of how “nicely-designed” your emails are.

Any segmentation capability?

Yes, you can use lists or tags or both to segment contacts.

It could be confusing if you’re not advanced in email marketing though — as you’d be asking yourself when to use tags and when to use lists.

Additionally, with lists (which Mailchimp requires you to have) you’d need to create a separate list for each interest, which is cumbersome because you’d then need to fill out and set up the settings for each list.

What kind of reports / stats does the tool provide?

It provides opens, clicks, bounces, spams, and unsubscribes. The stats can also be viewed on an hourly basis.

Plus, it provides you with click maps showing you (in a visual way) which links are clicked the most.

Industry average stats are also provided so that you have a benchmark to compare your own stats against.

Can it send emails to people who abandoned their cart?

Yes for connected e-com stores (Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, and PrestaShop).

For all others, you’d need to use a 3rd party tool like Zapier.

Is there a spam content checker?

No.

How is the customer service?

There is a comprehensive help center with tutorials.

For human support though… if you do a quick search, you’ll find the reviews are underwhelming in this department.

Here’s one:

activecampaign vs mailchimp: poor mailchimp customer service example

Does it have a free plan?

Yes. It has a free plan with these caveats:

  • Mailchimp’s clickable logo in every one of your emails
  • No automation
  • Max 2k subscribers
  • Max 2k emails/day and 10k emails/month
  • Support is only available for 30 days

How is the value for money?

Since the free plan has a lot of limitations, we’ll compare the paid plans.

Although Mailchimp’s Standard plan is slightly lower than ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan, remember that Mailchimp charges you for unsubscribed and unconfirmed contacts, plus it also bills you multiple times for the same person in different lists. This means your Mailchimp’s bill is going to get expensive quickly.

Furthermore, none of Mailchimp’s paid plans support unlimited email sending (even the most expensive plan):

sending limits for mailchimp

Each plan also has maximum number of contacts you can store — which means you’ll be forced to upgrade to a higher plan just because you exceeded the allowable contacts for your plan (even though you don’t need the extra features).

Pros

  • Being the granddaddy of email marketing tools, Mailchimp has built a strong brand that many are familiar with
  • Detailed reports / stats
  • Email replies from subscribers will be shown in the comments section of the email editor — can use these feedback to improve

Cons

  • No free migration provided
  • Can accidentally send duplicate emails to the same subscribers since it doesn’t check for duplicates before sending emails
  • Generalist all-in-one marketing platform that can do A LOT of things — postcard marketing, SMS, social media posting and scheduling, sales CRM, Google and Facebook ads management, domain registration, landing page builder, online store builder, website builder, etc. This leads to a bloated and complex UI.
  • Has a history of not taking data privacy seriously — see its intention of disabling double opt-in for all its users some time ago (near top of post)

Pricing Table Comparison

(price per month)

Brand1k Contacts2.5k 5k10k25k50k100k
ActiveCampaign (Lite)$30$61$99$174$286$424$687
Mailchimp (Standard)$51.99$51.99$79.99$105$230$320$540
BirdSend$9$14$19$29$69$109$209

Note:

  • For ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp, not every feature mentioned in this post are included in the plan shown in the pricing table above. This is because they offer multiple plans.
  • For BirdSend, all features are included since there’s only 1 plan. You’re only charged differently based on the number of contacts you have in the account.

TL;DR — ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp vs BirdSend. Which is better?

You most likely already know the answer. There is no one-size-fits-all answer / solution.

It always depends on your needs and current available resources (time, money, and energy).

You can have the best and most advanced tool, but if you don’t have the resources to take advantage of the feature-set, you’re wasting money paying for such an advanced tool.

If affordability and email deliverability is important for you, give BirdSend a free try.

Need advanced automation and more than just an email marketing tool? Give ActiveCampaign a try.

Want social media posting, ads management, and online store builder in a single platform but don’t need to contact support that often? Go for Mailchimp.

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

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