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ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are two of the most popular email marketing services. Which one is right for you?

A good email marketing tool is one of your most important battle axes in this online game. A quality email marketing platform will include landing pages, opt-in forms, a drag-and-drop interface, and other features that typically embody a great customer experience automation platform (CXA).

Key Takeaways

  • Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign let you send email broadcasts, create landing pages, and set up email automation.
  • ConvertKit is a better fit for creators. There is a forever free plan, and you can sell digital products directly from within the interface.
  • ActiveCampaign is better for more established businesses. The marketing automation is more sophisticated, and there are more integration options with third-party services.

Here’s how to do a thorough ConvertKit vs. ActiveCampaign comparison before you make your final decision.

ConvertKit vs. ActiveCampaign: Overview

Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign are what’s known as an email service provider (ESP). An ESP is an email marketing software that lets you mass-send newsletters to many email subscribers all at once. Most email service providers also include other marketing features, such as sales funnels, sign up forms, and SMS marketing.

These features are important because an email list is one of the most valuable audiences you can nurture and grow in online business. Research continues to show that email marketing gets a much better ROI than social media or other forms of marketing. Email gives you a way to get in front of all your current and future customers at very low cost.

Do whatever it takes to get people on your email list (ethically). You’ll thank yourself later.

Comparison: Pricing

ConvertKit pricing and ActiveCampaign pricing are similar.

ConvertKit has a free plan that lets you have up to 1,000 subscribers. This option is better for beginners or those who are just getting ramped up with email marketing, and want to tinker. Free plan users can always upgrade to ConvertKit’s Creator Pro plan later on when they’re ready.

ConvertKit has a free tier with limited features. Screenshot taken on ConvertKit's pricing page on Sept. 30, 2023

Meanwhile, ActiveCampaign only has a free 14-day trial. Since ActiveCampaign has more premium features, they also charge slightly higher rates for their services, but not by much.

screenshot of activecampaign pricing, showing tiers prices at $29, $49, and $149 per month

ActiveCampaign pricing starts at $29 per month, when billed yearly, but has more robust automation and sales pipeline features. Screenshot taken on ActiveCampaign's pricing page on Sept. 30, 2023

Both platforms tier their pricing based on subscriber count.

Winner: ConvertKit

Comparison: Email Editor

ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign both feature a drag-and-drop email editor that makes sending beautiful email campaigns easy. Both tools also have built-in email templates to choose from, so if you’re clueless on design, there’s no need to stress.

Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign have several pre-installed templates to give you a running start.

One advantage ActiveCampaign has is the ability to send conditional content in emails. This feature requires the Plus plan or higher, and lets you create conditions on certain blocks in your email newsletters, so that they only show for certain subscribers and not others, based in predetermined conditions.

This can be a great way to keep promoting your offers to non-clients without bothering your existing clients.

ConvertKit email editor

ActiveCampaign email editor

Winner: ActiveCampaign, by a nose

Comparison: Lead Scoring

Scoring refers to the ability to assign a score to contacts on your email list. You can then define what types of actions add to this score, based on valuable engagement activities. Lead scoring helps you filter out your most engaged readers and gives you more customization options.

ActiveCampaign lets you assign point values to contacts based on actions, such as opening an email or visiting a certain page. This can help you measure how engaged your readers are.

For example, perhaps you want to send a special offer or note of appreciation only to your most engaged readers. By setting up scoring, you’ll know which users are clicking and engaging regularly on your emails.

At this time, only ActiveCampaign has a scoring feature.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

Comparison: Landing Page Builder

In recent years, both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign have added a landing page builder to their CRM features list. Both tools have prebuilt templates to choose from, but you can also build your own pages from scratch if that’s what you personally prefer.

Both platforms have a built-in landing page builder, with pre-loaded template options.

The visual editor makes it easy to specify how you’re using your features.

Winner: Draw

Comparison: Email Automations

When it comes to email marketing, both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign offer a range of features to help you engage with your audience.

ConvertKit focuses on simplicity and ease of use, making it a great choice for beginners. With ConvertKit, you can easily create email sequences, automate your marketing processes, and segment your subscribers based on their interests.

ConvertKit's automation function requires a paid plan.

ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, is known for its powerful automation capabilities. It offers a visual automation builder that allows you to create complex workflows and triggers based on user behavior.

This makes it a great choice for businesses with more advanced automation needs.

ActiveCampaign's automation library is more robust.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

Comparison: Facebook Custom Audiences

If you lean heavily on Facebook or Instagram ads to grow your online business, the ability to integrate with Facebook custom audiences is a huge advantage. I’ll get right to the point: ActiveCampaign takes the cake here.

A Facebook custom audience is a group of users you are specifically targeting with your Facebook or Instagram ads. These users might be people who have visited a specific page or follow you on these platforms.

One category of Facebook custom audience is a list of email subscribers, which Facebook can then match to user profiles. Not all email addresses use the same email for their profiles, but many do, and this can be a great way to make your marketing more integrated.

On ActiveCampaign, you can automatically add or remove users from a Facebook custom audience within the automations feature, helping you ensure you’re targeting the right users with the right advertisements.

ActiveCampaign has automation recipes that will add your new subscribers to a Facebook custom audience, making it easy to retarget active readers.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

Comparison: Reporting and Analytics

Monitoring the success of your email marketing campaigns is crucial for making data-driven decisions. Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign provide detailed reporting and analytics features to help you track and measure your email marketing performance.

ConvertKit offers a simple but effective reporting dashboard that shows you key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. ActiveCampaign takes it a step further with more advanced reporting features, including the ability to create custom reports and track granular data points.

Winner: ActiveCampaign

Comparison: Free Migration Services

Both ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign offer to help you migrate your email list and campaigns from your previous provider to their platform. This can be a great way to ease the annoying task of importing contacts and their history into a new email software.

Take advantage of this feature if you decide to switch email service providers.

Winner: Draw

Pro Tip:Whenver you move from one email service provider to another, email deliverability will drop for a few weeks or months as you re-establish authority. Keep this in mind when migrating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ActiveCampaign Better Than ConvertKit?

ActiveCampaign has all the features you’d ever need in an email service provider, but ConvertKit is simpler and also has a free tier. For the paid tiers, the pricing is comparable between the two.

What Is ConvertKit Good For?

ConvertKit lets you create emails and sell products, and its Creator plan enables more advanced features like email automation. Generally, ConvertKit targets creators and solopreneurs.

Who Should Use ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is a good fit for solopreneurs who are just getting started or who are just dabbling with email. Since there’s a free plan, you can experiment with the software before making any financial commitments.

What Is ActiveCampaign Best For?

ActiveCampaign is a great email marketing tool if you want to do more targeted, automated marketing. This is important for established businesses, as well as consultants and service providers who want to offer a premium experience.

Who Should Use ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is a good fit for the serious service provider or established business. With ActiveCampaign, you’ll be able to manage data more precisely, and the software has a Wordpress integration you can leverage if you have a Wordpress blog.

Is There a Free Plan for ConvertKit?

ConvertKit does have a free plan that has limited features and lets you have up to 300 email subscribers. After that, you’ll need to move up to the Creator plan.

Is There a Free Plan for ActiveCampaign?

There isn’t a free plan for ActiveCampaign, but there is a free 14-day trial. Use this trial intentionally to determine whether the software is a good fit for you.

Find the Right Email Marketing Service for Your Needs

ActiveCampaign takes the cake on features, but ConvertKit is simpler. So ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which email service provider is the right fit.

Whichever tool you decide to go with, learn your way around it well so you can take advantage of all the perks email writing and marketing have to offer. ◆

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