ConvertKit (Visit Website / Read Our Review) and ActiveCampaign (Visit Website) both promise the same thing: to help you grow your sales and generate more revenue from marketing automation. These two email automation tools are similar in many ways, but have several key differences in design, scope and features.
Built with bloggers and content marketers in mind, ConvertKit is designed for a combination of simplicity and value for money. It offers all of the tools an email marketers could need, without any of the CRM tools and other features built into other marketing automation software.
ActiveCampaign blends the email automation of software like ConvertKit with a sales and CRM system, making it a powerful all-in-one solution for marketers and sales teams. Instead of only automating email marketing, users can automate everything from sales emails to lead scoring.
Below, we’ve compared both applications in detail on a variety of criteria. Read on to learn more about ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign as email marketing automation tools, and discover which is the best choice for your business.
ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign share many features in common. Both are email automation tools that make it easy to create personalized campaigns based on user actions. Both boast simple, user friendly UIs. Both let you send broadcast messages to your subscribers and put contacts into different segments with ease.
Despite their common features, they also have several differences. Below, we’ve compared ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign on a feature-by-feature basis, starting with their opt-in forms and landing pages.
Opt-in forms and landing pages
ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign both come with simple, user friendly form builders. ConvertKit’s form builder lets you create two-field forms to collect people’s names and email addresses. The standard form builder allows color customization; other styling can be customized using CSS.
The forms created by ConvertKit look great, with a simple design that stands out from content to attract attention. Forms can be added to WordPress using the official ConvertKit plugin or added to static HTML websites using a short code snippet.
Since ConvertKit is designed specifically for bloggers, it comes with a selection of form display options. Forms can be displayed inline, as a modal dialog box or slide in alongside a blog post or other content.
ConvertKit includes four landing page templates that are perfect for list building. The templates are fairly basic and aren’t really suitable for PPC, but work great as landing pages for Facebook and Twitter promotions. Customization is limited to images, color and text content.
ActiveCampaign’s form builder makes it easy to create responsive, eye-catching opt-in forms for your blog or website. Four display modes — inline, floating box, modal pop-up and floating bar — are available, although some are only available for Small Business and Enterprise users.
Forms are created using the ActiveCampaign form builder. You can add custom fields such as checkboxes to any form, as well as list selectors and CAPTCHA. The form builder includes an assortment of style options, as well as the ability to support custom styling using CSS code.
Email marketing automation and broadcasts
ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are both designed to handle complex email automation, from event-based email sequences to one-off emails. Both offer the typical features like data driven segmentation, split testing, personalization and more.
In ConvertKit, email sequences are called “email courses.” You can enter subscribers into an email course automatically after they join your list, and schedule emails to be delivered based on certain intervals from the date the subscriber joined, or at a specific time of day.
Using automation rules, you can also configure events to occur based on how users behave on your website. Users that visit certain pages or buy certain products can be segmented into their own specific path and receive highly targeted, effective email.
Creating email courses in ConvertKit is simple, and no programming knowledge or development skills are required. ConvertKit also comes with automation blueprints that speed up the process of creating new email courses for common events like product launches and live webinars.
ConvertKit can also be used like traditional email marketing software to send broadcasts and scheduled autoresponder content. Adding your existing subscribers from another platform is a quick and simple process.
ActiveCampaign comes with all of the standard features you’d expect from an email marketing automation app. It can be used as a regular email marketing platform with autoresponders and broadcasts, or as an automated email tool with rules and interaction-based segmentation.
Email automation in ActiveCampaign can be handled in several ways. You can create different segments based on existing user data, or create segments dynamically based on how people behave within your application or website.
Segments can be created in seconds based on a contact’s location, demographic, behavior and other variables. ActiveCampaign also supports dynamic content, allowing you to customize your emails based on data such as a contact’s gender or location.
Finally, automations in ActiveCampaign can fork, letting you create different outcomes based on how users behave after an event. This makes it easy to send targeted confirmation emails and marketing follow-ups based on the content your contacts view on your website.
A/B testing is available in ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign, making it easy for you to test subject lines, from fields and other variables.
While ConvertKit is solely an email marketing automation tool, ActiveCampaign also includes a built-in CRM. Using the ActiveCampaign CRM, you can automate sales processes like sending email follow-ups, assigning tasks to salespeople and coordinating across marketing and sales.
Pros & Cons of ConvertKit
ConvertKit is built primarily with bloggers and content marketers in mind, with opt-in forms that look great alongside or in front of WordPress page and post content. While it packs some great features into a user friendly UI, it does have some minor shortcomings compared to other tools.
- ConvertKit is designed for a combination of power and ease of use, and it’s so simple that anyone familiar with email marketing can create their own opt-in form and email course within an hour of launching the software.
- ConvertKit’s opt-in forms easily integrate with WordPress through the official ConvertKit plugin, making it easy to add forms as widgets, modal pop-ups or in page or blog post content.
- The ConvertKit opt-in form and landing page builder is very user friendly, making it easy to create a functional lead capture form in five minutes or less.
- Email courses are easy to create and modify, with a drag and drop interface that lets you rearrange emails in seconds. Automation rules are equally simple, with no development experience required to create powerful automated email campaigns.
- ConvertKIt sends clean, beautiful and readable emails that look great on desktop and on mobile.
- KPIs like open rate, click rate and daily subscriptions are all visible within the ConvertKit UI, making it easy to stay on top of the most important metrics for your email marketing campaigns.
- ConvertKit only comes with four landing page templates, and all are designed for simple name and email address lead capture. If you plan on sending PPC traffic and collecting more information from prospects, you’ll need to use a third-party landing page tool
- No free trial is available, although ConvertKit does offer a 30 day money back guarantee if the software doesn’t live up to your expectations.
ConvertKit packs great email marketing automation features into a user friendly product. If you run a blog or content-based website and want to start using email marketing, it’s hard to find an application that offers better ease of use than this.
Pros & Cons of ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is designed to appeal to a broader audience than ConvertKit. Since it includes a built-in CRM tool, it’s ideal for marketing and sales teams that need to coordinate to follow up on accounts, keep in touch with prospects and close deals.
- ActiveCampaign’s drag and drop email interface lets you create engaging layouts that improve your campaign’s response rate.
- Clean, simple and effective opt-in forms can be added to your website as inline opt-in forms, floating boxes, mobile pop-ups and a floating top bar.
- Using data driven segmentation, you can segment contacts by their interaction with your campaign or website, their contact data, their interests and social data, and a wide range of other variables.
- ActiveCampaign lets you customize your emails with conditional content, allowing you to deliver a custom message based on a contact’s gender, location and previous webpage visits.
- In addition to email, ActiveCampaign can send automated SMS follow-ups to your leads and contacts.
- Monitoring KPIs such as open rate, behavioral data and real-time activity is all possible from the ActiveCampaign dashboard. It’s even possible to see where your contacts are in real time using ActiveCampaign’s geo-location tracking system.
- ActiveCampaign includes a built-in CRM, making it easy for your sales and marketing teams to coordinate and follow-up on prospects
- Certain features, such as customized branding and domains, are only available with the Small Business and Enterprise plans.
ActiveCampaign offers extra features like SMS follow-ups and conditional content, giving it more power than other email automation tools. However, certain features are only available as part of the more expensive Small Business and Enterprise plans.
ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are both competitively priced applications that offer great value for money.
ConvertKit’s least expensive plan costs $29 per month and gives you up to 1,000 contacts with unlimited emails, courses, forms, landing pages and automation rules. Pricing increases as you add more subscribers to your plan, up to $3,999 per month for 900,000 subscribers.
Since ConvertKit only offers one type of plan with sliding pricing based on your list size, there’s no need to upgrade after you buy. ConvertKit will automatically move you up to the next tier as your list grows in size so that you never face any interruptions.
Although ConvertKit doesn’t offer a free trial, it does have a 30 day money back refund policy if it doesn’t work as you expected. If you’d like to see it in action before you sign up, you can ask the ConvertKit team to provide a free demo.
ActiveCampaign is the cheaper of the two tools. Its smallest plan, which gives you 500 contacts and unlimited sending, starts from just $9 per month. The Life plan includes all major features of ActiveCampaign with no CRM or sales automation, custom domain or branding, SMS marketing or contact and lead scoring.
The Small Business plan, which includes most of ActiveCampaign’s features, starts from $49 a month for 500 contacts. The Enterprise plan, which includes all ActiveCampaign features, starts from $149 per month.
Like ConvertKit, pricing for ActiveCampaign increases as you scale up the size of your contact list. There is a 15% discount if you pay annually, which makes the Lite plans amazing value for money for people that only need email marketing software.
ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign both offer a similar key feature -- email marketing automation -- but they appeal to different audiences.
Get ConvertKit if......
If you’re a blogger searching for an easy way to start collecting your readers’ email addresses and sending personalized, targeted email content, you’ll love ConvertKit. It’s easy to use, full of useful features and integrates seamlessly with WordPress.
You’ll also like its simple email automation rules, which let you set up highly personalized email campaigns even if you have no coding experience.
Get ActiveCampign if.....
If you’re a marketer who works alongside a sales team, you’ll like ActiveCampaign. Its built-in CRM makes it a great tool for managing email marketing and direct sales from one place, with features like automatic follow-up reminders and SMS messages for active prospects.
ActiveCampaign also includes a variety of features that make it more appealing to businesses, such as dedicated account reps and the ability to use a custom mailserver domain. As such, it’s the platform to choose if you’re managing email marketing for a business or established brand.
Which do you prefer? ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign or something else?
Everyone has a favorite email marketing automation platform. What’s yours? Let us know your favorite email marketing platform in the comments, whether it’s ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or something completely different.