Email is without a doubt my #1, top-performing marketing method. I adore email marketing because it:
- Has a higher ROI than social or many other “free” platforms.
- Is mine. I can download my list and keep it. Nobody can take it away from me.
- Keeps me from becoming a victim to algorithmic changes (such has those with SEO and social) that completely destroy all the growth I have obtained.
- And more.
I consider mine to be a small business because my list has under 10,000 people.
For years I happily used ActiveCampaign for my email marketing software. Their Lite plan offered everything I needed at an affordable rate.
But, about a year to a year and a half ago, I started having more complaints than compliments and price increases came more frequently.
This past April, I received an email informing me that the rate for my plan would be increased by $28 a month. That was more than I was willing to pay.
ActiveCampaign argued that they were implementing improvements which would be well worth the cost. As a small business, I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to make money so their new features were not worth the amount they were asking for in my opinion.
I began to check around to get recommendations for new email marketing software. A strong majority of online friends gave me their personal ConvertKit review. When I took a look at what they offered, and their pricing structure, I was impressed.
Is ConvertKit better than ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign has more features along with higher rates. ConvertKit has the features I need and is less expensive. Neither one is perfect and It depends on what your wish list includes.
Let’s go over:
- ActiveCampaign’s pricing and features
- My ConvertKit review with features I like
- My migration experience with ConvertKit, and
- What I think about ConvertKit after using it for about two months (as of the publishing of this post)
ActiveCampaign Pricing & Plans
There are pros and cons with ActiveCampaign’s pricing structure because it has wide gaps. For example, they leap from 1,000 subscribers to 2,500 and then to 5,000 and it doubles again to 10,000 and so on.
Yes, it takes longer for you to reach the next level, and the higher rate that comes with that. However, if you are coming on board for the first time, you could find yourself forced into a much higher tier because of these wide gaps.
If you have 5,100 subscribers, for example, you will have to start and pay for the 10,000 level.
A lot of features are common between ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit, but here are a few I liked and used daily.
- Flexible split testing. I had the option of sending one of the test emails to a portion of my list to determine the winner. Then the winning subject line would be sent to all the other subscribers.
Or, I could split the test between the two subject lines, and send it out all at the same time.
- Making changes. If I decided to change the send date or time, if I wanted to tweak something in the email, or make other changes, I could do that without having to unschedule the email.
- Shaded boxes. Using shaded boxes to highlight information or draw attention to important information was simple with the click of a couple of links.
What I Didn't Care for With ActiveCampaign
- Formatting. My assistant and I constantly had to go in and fix formatting issues in the emails. Often we had to completely remove all the formatting and start over from scratch.
- Create segments for everything. Every time we wanted to send to a list of different people (tags), we had to stop and create a whole other segment. Tiresome.
- Scheduled emails failing to send. There were many times I would remember that an email should have been sent. After logging in to check on the status, I would see "sending" even hours after the scheduled send time.
Support members would have to login and fix something. Or they would tell me I had to delete the email and schedule it again.
- Support times kept getting longer.
ConvertKit Pricing & Plans
ConvertKit pricing is based on the number of subscribers, and their levels are closer together. The tiers go from 300 to 1,000 to 5,000 then 8,000, etc. When comparing ConvertKit vs. ActiveCampaign, the ConvertKit prices are lower overall. However, because the tiers are not as far apart you will get additional savings for not being forced to jump to a much higher level.
As I mentioned previously, there are many common features between ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit (and most other email marketing software). Here are a few I particularly like with ConvertKit.
- Cleaner interface. To me, ActiveCampaign’s, interface looks old and rather cluttered. I think ConvertKit’s interface is much more open, cleaner, and easier to use.
- Stats summary is easier to find. New subscribers, engagement, and email performance statistics are available conveniently on the home page.
- Searchable segments and other dropdowns. Looking for a segment to send an email to? You can search the dropdown list to find it immediately instead of scrolling forever to find what you need. The same holds true for most of the other dropdown menus. You can't do that with ActiveCampaign.
- Sending to anyone is easier. Unlike ActiveCampaign where we had to create a whole new segment for each group of people, with ConvertKit, we just choose the tags we want to send to from a handy dropdown menu and we're all set!
- Sequences (follow-up email series) are easier to set up and work with thanks to a more cohesive, structure and page layout than with ActiveCampaign.
- Broadcast email data summary is available on the broadcast home page instead of having to click through multiple menus to find. This makes it much more simplistic to see how individual mailings performed.
- Phenomenal support. The support team is fast, accurate, and goes well beyond the call of duty.
- No mailing glitches, so far.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of features, rather the ones that I use most on a daily basis. And don’t forget, ConvertKit has an advanced Creator Pro plan that offers more features than the Creator plan.
What I don’t especially care for is:
- You must unschedule an email to make any changes to it and then schedule it again.
- Split testing is only done in one way. ConvertKit sends both subject lines to a portion of your list. Then four hours later the winning subject line is sent to the remainder of your list. This makes it extremely difficult to test last call emails that have a defined cut off time. You also cannot test the body content; only subject lines.
- No quick shaded boxes. You can accomplish this manually, however, if you use HTML.
- Multiple tags can only be added to clickable links if you go to the extra step of combining them into a group tag. It’s not a huge deal, but it does take a bit more time.
My Migration Experience
My ConvertKit review wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the ConvertKit migration team. They were fantastic!
My VA and I had a pre-migration Zoom call to make sure everything would be lined up properly, and that we knew what to expect, before we ever started. We were asked to give an overview of our ActiveCampaign use and we were allowed to ask questions about how specific features worked in ConvertKit.
Then we were assigned a personal migration representative that we communicated directly with. Working within a team platform, we were able to reach our representative in a very timely manner about any issues or questions we had.
There were a couple of things that needed a little massaging to get them to work the way we wanted including a few including a few visual automations. But the ConvertKit team got it done and did it all in a timely manner. Oh! Did I say that migration services are free?
I have been through other migration processes for email marketing software, website, hosting and more. I must say this is the smoothest experience I have had.
While ActiveCampaign’s Lite level provided more features, I had no need for most of them. Switching to ConvertKit is saving me $56 a month over what I would be paying at ActiveCampaign with the increase. That’s $672 per year!
This is, of course, not a 100% comprehensive ConvertKit vs. ActiveCampaign review. But I wanted to give you a personal account from someone who has actually used both of the services instead of a boilerplate review.
If you have questions about either email marketing software, let me know.