Considering ActiveCampaign but aren't fully convinced that it's the right tool for your SaaS? Wondering if there are alternatives that fit your needs better?
If you're serious about your email strategy, you need to use the right tool not only to drive your campaigns forward, but also be able to cater to the unique needs of SaaS businesses.
ActiveCampaign is certainly one such tool to consider. But is it the best option to drive the email marketing strategy of a SaaS company, or should you be looking at alternatives?
Let's start by looking at ActiveCampaign first.
What is ActiveCampaign and what makes it work?
ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one email marketing platform with a built-in CRM that focuses on helping its users "deliver incredible customer experiences."
That's a bold promise. But the product does offer a whole range of features to drive email marketing strategies:
- A whole range of email marketing automation tools and automation workflows
- Visual email builder and a whole set of email templates
- The ability to communicate with customers via SMS
- Email marketing options and segmentation
- Lead scoring, site tracking, event tracking, and more.
Higher plans also give customers access to advanced features like win probability, sales attribution, predictive sending, and more. All in all, the tool offers a powerful marketing automation platform for businesses, large or small.
The company bases its pricing on two factors — a feature set in a price plan, and the number of users.
The lowest tier plan starts at $15/mo and includes 500 users and various marketing automation features, email marketing, and site and event tracking, among other features. However, the plan does not include landing pages, SMS marketing, lead scoring, and other advanced features.
Despite its advanced features, customers report issues with ActiveCampaign too. That's one reason why many begin to look for alternative options.
Let's look at these issues.
Where ActiveCampaign falls short
- ActiveCampaign boasts an impressive feature set. But that also makes the tool incredibly difficult to use, especially for someone who is new to email marketing. Its interface can be overwhelming too, which only makes it even harder to get around and launch an email strategy.
- Another issue and one that's often a deal-breaker in the SaaS industry — ActiveCampaign does not focus on SaaS, specifically. As a result, the product lacks many features a software company would need to communicate with its user base. The company aims its product more at eCommerce businesses and generic B2C and B2B companies.
- There are some technical issues with the data model, too. For example, ActiveCampaign uses email addresses as a user identifier, which only makes data management quite complex. Email addresses make poor identifiers: they can change or have duplicates. For example, at Userlist we use separate unique user identifiers, which is a better approach.
- The product offers no option to set up company accounts. If your business often has multiple users per account, you won't be able to manage your relationships with them at an account level with ActiveCampaign.
- You can't use in-app messages to communicate with users either.
- Finally, ActiveCampaign offers no visual reports, and its impressive range of email templates does not include anything that covers a specific SaaS customer journey.
Here are the 16 best ActiveCampaign alternatives for SaaS
We've listed 16 ActiveCampaigns competitors, and separated them into two categories to make your decision-making easier.
The first category includes platforms ideal for managing advanced email automation strategies for your SaaS. The other list includes tools to help you with delivering more generic email marketing campaigns.
Let's jump right in.
Part I. Advanced email automation tools
Userlist (disclaimer: this is our product) is a dedicated email marketing software for SaaS.
We built it with SaaS companies in mind. As a result, Userlist offers all the features and options a company like yours needs to communicate with users: from nurturing leads to user onboarding and managing the customer relationship.
At the core of Userlist lies the understanding that SaaS companies use email marketing differently than other businesses. Our business model is different from ecommerce or services, after all. And we built Userlist to deliver on those unique needs.
That's why Userlist can help you communicate with users at every stage of your SaaS funnel — acquisition, activation, retention, and referral.
Some of the Userlist's primary features include:
- User onboarding emails
- Lifecycle emails
- Marketing emails
- In-app messages
- Behavior-based triggered emails
- One-off broadcasts
- Company accounts, and more.
Compared to ActiveCampaign, Userlist is incredibly intuitive to use for any SaaS founder and marketer, and you can get started in minutes.
Userlist pricing. The monthly fee is based on the number of users and scales organically as your SaaS grows. Plans start at $99 for 5,000 users.
Intercom is not a dedicated email marketing platform, and is more known for its live chat. However, it offers robust messaging capabilities that allow companies to automate communications across multiple channels. Email is one of them.
Intercom allows you to build stronger relationships with customers through live chat, email, onboarding tours, knowledge bases, and more.
Because of these, its main draw for SaaS is in allowing you to reduce the number of tools you use to engage your customers. So if you're planning to launch more than the email strategy, it might be a tool to consider.
Intercom pricing. Intercom doesn't disclose its pricing. The final cost is a combination of various factors such as usage levels and functionality.
HubSpot has grown far beyond its original inbound marketing capabilities. Today, the platform includes a whole range of tools to manage client relationships — from acquisition and sales to support and customer service.
As part of their expansion, the company launched a suite of marketing automation tools allowing you to manage drip campaigns, create targeted workflows interconnecting data from email campaigns with the CRM, and automate countless tasks to make your email campaigns run smoothly.
HubSpot pricing. HubSpot offers free plans on many of its tools, including basic email marketing. However, you need to purchase a marketing hub subscription starting at $50/mo for 1,000 marketing contacts for more advanced features. Full-fledged email automation is unlocked at a much higher price level.
Customer.io is a tool for advanced marketers not shy of getting stuck in designing complex automations to drive better customer engagement. It boasts a range of tools and features to help you send emails, push notifications, and SMS messages.
But for someone who's only starting out with email and marketing automation, it can become quite challenging to use. It also doesn't focus on SaaS exclusively, as ecommerce businesses make a large part of their user base.
Customer.io pricing. Plans start at $150 per month, and allows you to send unlimited emails, SMS, and push notifications to up to 12,000 profiles.
Vero's platform offers two marketing tools: Newsletters and Workflows.
Newsletters are a simple email marketing tool that allows you to send your audience one-time broadcasts.
The other one, however, is a sophisticated email automation platform that allows you to communicate with users based on their activity. Workflows can integrate data from Segment or Freshpaint to collect user activity. With that, you can design various automations to reach users at the right time with the right message.
Vero pricing. Vero calculates its packages based on a combination of various elements like user records, email quota, the number of tracked events, and so on. The basic package starts at $49 per month.
Encharge is another complex marketing automation tool that allows you to map email campaigns to your users' journey. With the platform, you can convert more visitors into trials, onboard those users, and build strong relationships with them.
However, its real draw is integration with other tools you might be using such as HubSpot, Mixpanel, or Intercom. With these integrations, you can pass data between tools and increase the effectiveness of your email marketing.
Encharge pricing. The pricing plans are based on the number of subscribers, starting at $49 for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Part II. General email marketing automation
Mailchimp is, without a doubt, the most popular email marketing software on the market. It's what most bloggers use to send emails to their subscribers. Small businesses and online stores use Mailchimp's features to communicate with leads and customers.
But there's the other side of such a wide appeal: Mailchimp offers quite a standard toolset, lacking many options that a growing SaaS company would need.
Having said that, when it comes to general email marketing needs, Mailchimp is definitely a champ.
Mailchimp pricing. Mailchimp offers different price options, depending on the feature set and what you'd use the platform for. Its basic marketing platform offers a free plan. Paid packages start at $9.99 per month for 500 contacts.
Sendinblue is another email marketing platform you could use to engage, convert, and communicate with customers.
Sendinblue focuses a lot on design, allowing you to send messages that will truly amaze your audience. The tool offers various personalization options to ensure better open and click-through rates.
Sendinblue pricing. Unlike other tools on the list, Sendinblue does not restrict the number of contacts per plan. Instead, it differentiates plans by email usage and functionality. It also offers a basic, free plan, whereas paid plans start at $25 per month.
AWeber has been around for quite a while. The software offers all the features you'd expect from a typical email marketing software. Its email builder lets you design stunning messages. You can schedule them to be sent at a specific time or send them right away. The tool's automations let you segment customers and deliver relevant messages to each persona and more.
Aweber pricing. AWeber offers simple pricing plans based on the number of subscribers on your account. The basic plan starts at $16 for 500 subscribers.
GetResponse offers a complete suite of options to run an email marketing campaign — from a powerful email creator, autoresponders, transactional emails to lead magnet funnels. On top of that, the tool allows you to create conversion funnels and create landing pages to convert more visitors into leads and subscribers.
GetResponse pricing. GetResponse offers a basic free plan. Paid plans are based on the number of contacts on the account and the functionality, with the basic plan at $13 per month for 1,000 contacts.
ConvertKit is a tool of choice for many bloggers, online publishers, digital course creators, and more. But the platform also offers email marketing functionality to help SaaS companies run basic email campaigns.
Suppose you're looking for a simple tool to send beautiful emails to leads and users, ensure great deliverability, and get insights into your audience's preferences. In that case, ConvertKit might be just the tool for you.
ConvertKit pricing. ConvertKit also offers a basic free plan, allowing you to communicate with up to 300 subscribers. Paid plans give you access to more features and start at $15 per month.
Drip started as a simple email automation tool for sending drip campaigns (hence the name) and became famous for their signup widget. Over time, the platform expanded to include basic email marketing options, the ability to send SMS messages, create landing pages, and more.
Worth noting that Drip's core market is ecommerce. However, if you're looking for a solid alternative to ActiveCampaign's basic automation campaigns, the platform is a good choice to consider.
Drip pricing. Drip's email marketing platform (excluding SMS) starts at $19 per month for 500 contacts.
Ortto started as an email platform. Over time, the tool also expanded to include various data analytics modules to understand your customer behavior better. These insights aim to help you drive more relevant actions to acquire, convert, and retain new customers more effectively.
Ortto pricing. Ortto plans focus on subscribers and app usage, with the basic plan starting at $29 per month for 2,000 contacts and 8,000 emails a month.
Moosend offers everything you'd expect from an ActiveCampaign competitor — an easy to use editor to create amazingly-looking emails (and pre-built templates), segmentation options, email automation, as well the ability to create landing pages, and signup forms.
Moosend also offers CRM functionality and powerful data analytics to improve your campaigns further.
Moosend pricing. Moosend offers a free plan that allows you to communicate with 1,000 subscribers. Beyond that, you need to purchase a paid plan, starting at $10 a month.
At first glance, MailerLite may seem like a tiny tool. But contrary to what "lite" suggests, it offers a range of features to communicate with users over email effectively.
MailerLite allows you to convert traffic with popups, signup forms, and other lead generation strategies. You can set up email campaigns and automations to engage those leads further and even build a website with it if you need to.
MailerLite pricing. Aside from the free plan, MailerLite plans offer unlimited emails and start at $10 per month for 1,000 subscribers.
Sendlane is another ActiveCampaign alternative that offers an impressive feature set for any business. In particular, the company prides itself on its visual email builder, capable of creating stunning click-worthy messages that make you stand out from the competition.
Aside from email marketing, you can also use Sendlane to send SMS messages and build popups to convert more visitors into leads.
Sendlane pricing. The company offers simple pricing, with the plan depending on the number of contacts on the account. Packages start at $99 for up to 5,000 contacts.
And that’s it…
Now that you've seen the best alternatives to ActiveCampaign, all that's left to do now is to do a little more in-depth research and select the one that fits your SaaS needs perfectly.