You may think that writing blog posts and sharing them on social media is enough to get them out into the world. While publishing to social media is better than nothing, it doesn’t allow you to build relationships with (or engage with all of) your readers. To do this, you need something more dynamic, something more personal.
You need email marketing.
We know this may sound crazy. After all, email is dead. It’s been dead for years. It’s easy to think that, but it’s not true. Email is alive and well. And unlike social media, where only a certain fraction of your subscribers may see your post, emails get delivered without fail to everyone on your email list. It remains a powerful tool to connect with your readers, learning what sort of content you can create to better serve them.
Because of the great power that email campaigns can have, there are many companies out there selling email marketing software. It can be overwhelming to choose one, and some bloggers will just give up in frustration. We don’t want this to happen to you, which is why we’ve created a series of articles comparing popular email marketing software. In this edition, we’re going to look at ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign, helping you to decide which is the best choice for your needs.
We’ll compare the two tools based on the following criteria:
To skip to a specific section, click on any of the above links.
You must have an email marketing platform with the right features. But which features do you need, exactly? This depends on your situation. If you’re a beginning blogger, then you don’t need much. All you want is something that allows you to send emails more efficiently (and with more data reporting) than your typical consumer email service provider.
As you get more advanced, you’ll find your need for features growing. Therefore, you want to make sure you pick email marketing software that can grow with you as your blog grows. How do ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign stack up in this regard?
ConvertKit aims to be the email marketing software for bloggers and online creators. The features it includes reflect this. It doesn’t try to do anything else except be an excellent, easy-to-use email tool.
These are the key features ConvertKit offers:
- Forms — ConvertKit offers opt-in forms that are easy to embed and mobile-friendly.
- Sequences — Create personalized email sequences using a drag-and-drop editor.
- Broadcasts — Send one-off emails about time-sensitive deals or promotions, or connect your RSS feed to automatically send your subscribers an email of each new blog post you publish.
- Reporting — Track the number of people subscribing each month, how many people are opening your emails, and more.
- Email Automation Features — Set up rules that govern the emails someone sees when they subscribe (such as an automatic follow-up email)
- A/B Testing — Test different versions of subject lines or almost anything else you can imagine to see which your subscribers prefer.
- Subscriber Tools — Segment and tag subscribers based on their interests.
- Integrations — Connect ConvertKit to WordPress, LeadPages, and other tools that are part of your blogging workflow.
While it’s certainly a viable solution for bloggers who want to implement email marketing, ActiveCampaign has a decidedly different target audience than ConvertKit. The program’s features reflect this. While ActiveCampaign does have email marketing features, it aims to be a complete marketing solution.
As such, it has lots of tools for ecommerce marketing, CRM, and sales. It’s clearly aimed at people or companies who want to use email to sell products. Here are some of the features you’ll find in ActiveCampaign:
- Opt-In Incentives — Easily add forms to your site to convince visitors to subscribe.
- Automated Sequences — Automatically notify subscribers about new posts each time you publish something.
- Personalize Content — Track visitor and subscriber behavior to provide them with the most relevant content.
- Targeted Emails — Group your audience into segments based on almost any factor.
- Triggered Emails — Trigger emails based on purchases, site visits, or engagement.
- Scheduled Emails — Schedule emails for a specific date and time.
- Third-Party Integrations — ActiveCampaign integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Facebook, and more than 150 other apps.
If you just want to send emails to your subscribers, then both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are evenly matched. They allow you to do all the things you’d want to do.
We think that ConvertKit is a better pick based on features if you just want to run the promotion for a blog. If you’re looking to do more advanced, sales-focused marketing automation, then ActiveCampaign is going to be a better pick (especially with features like SMS marketing).
If you can’t figure out how to use the software with minimal effort, then it’s not worth your time as a blogger. At least, it’s probably not best when you’re starting out. When you’re learning how to do email marketing for your blog, you don’t want the technical details of the software to get in the way of the larger marketing principles. How do ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign compare based on ease of use?
There’s a pretty clear winner here, and it’s ConvertKit. This is mainly because it focuses on email marketing for bloggers and doesn’t overwhelm you with lots of other marketing features.
Unless you’re already selling products or services and are creating your blog as another marketing or lead generation channel, you don’t need all the features of ActiveCampaign. They’ll just get in the way of most new bloggers, so we recommend ConvertKit if you’re looking for something that’s easy to pick up and begin using.
Great software is worth paying for. When you pay, you help keep the developers in business and allow them to update the software. But you don’t want to pay more than necessary. How do ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign compare based on price?
ConvertKit’s pricing structure is based on the number of subscribers you have. The basic pricing tiers are as follows:
- 0–1,000 subscribers: $29 per month
- 1,001–3,000 subscribers: $49 per month
- 3,001–5,000 subscribers: $79 per month
- 5,001–8,000 subscribers: $99 per month
- 8,001–10,000 subscribers: $119 per month
- More than 10,000: Consult the calculator on their “Pricing” page
While there isn’t a free plan available, ConvertKit does offer a 14-day free trial to help you decide if their software is right for you. They don’t require you to use a credit card to sign up for the trial, and the trial offers you full, unrestricted access to all of ConvertKit’s features.
The pricing for ActiveCampaign is a bit more complicated. It’s based both on the number of subscribers you have and the features you want. For the sake of a fair comparison with ConvertKit, we’ll assume you’re using the “Lite” plan.
This plan has all the features you’ll need as a blogger. Most of the features in the higher tiers are tailored to more advanced bloggers or ecommerce marketers. For the Lite plan, then, the pricing for different numbers of subscribers is as follows:
- 0–500 subscribers: $15 per month
- 501–1,000 subscribers: $29 per month
- 1,001–2,500 subscribers: $49 per month
- 2,501–5,000 subscribers: $89 per month
- 5,001–10,000 subscribers: $139 per month
- 10,001–25,000 subscribers: $225 per month
You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days without having to enter any credit card information. The trial allows you to use most features of the software without restrictions, though certain advanced features (such as API access) are restricted. This will only be an issue for very advanced users, so it’s not something you need to worry about if you’re just getting started with email marketing.
The question of which program is cheaper is an interesting one. At the very beginning, ActiveCampaign is almost half the price of ConvertKit. Once you break 500 subscribers, however, the price is the same as ConvertKit. As you go up in subscribers beyond 1,000, ConvertKit becomes cheaper.
It’s also worth considering that the price you pay for ConvertKit includes all the program’s features. If you have ActiveCampaign and do want more advanced features like SMS marketing, you’ll pay much higher rates.
Therefore, ConvertKit is a better price over the long run, even if ActiveCampaign is cheaper for total beginners.
ConvertKit offers 24/7 email and live chat support to all customers regardless of their number of subscribers. You can also reach out to support via Facebook and Twitter for more general, less urgent questions.
All ConvertKit subscribers also get access to a private Slack group where they can ask questions and share their knowledge with other users of the platform. The company also has a Knowledge Base where you can search for answers to common issues.
ActiveCampaign offers email and live chat support. In addition, they have weekly training webinars to help teach you how to use the software, and you can also book one-on-one sessions that will help you overcome specific challenges. If you’re in Chicago, you can even schedule an in-person session, which is a delightfully personal touch.
Overall, the two companies are equal in the customer support they offer. Neither has phone support, which is too bad, but both still offer a variety of ways for customers to contact them.
ActiveCampaign vs ConvertKit: Who Wins?
Overall, we think that ConvertKit is the winner when it comes to the best email marketing automation tool for bloggers. If you run a small business that needs sales automation, CRM, and other related features, then ActiveCampaign is a better choice.
If you don’t run an online business, however, then ActiveCampaign is going to give you lots of unnecessary features (and at a higher price than ConvertKit, especially once your email list grows).
Looking for other email marketing software, perhaps that comes with email templates or lets you create landing pages? Check out these guides: