E-mail marketing, find business leads, customer relationship management and much much more with Active Campaign.
If you’re running an online business you’ve likely seen or heard that building an email list is essential to being successful. But, how do you grow a list and what do you do with it once you have it? Active Campaign has answer for you and much more. Active Campaign is an automation tool which helps you automate your marketing and customer relationship aspects of your business. They offer e-mail marketing tools, web analytics, live chat messaging, lead generations, and much more. Let’s have a look
Active Campaign helps creates better customer experiences by automating many behind-the-scenes marketing, sales, and support processes. By using hundreds of pre-built automations that combine email marketing, marketing automation, CRM(customer relationship management), and machine learning for powerful cross-channel orchestration, segmentation and personalization.
I know that is a lot to take in, but let’s break it down further and see what you can do with Active Campaign and the Pros and Cons
With ActiveCampaign you can improve your marketing from four different angles. Reach and Engage(find new leads and engage them), Nurture and Educate(retain and work with your existing audience), Convert and Close, and Support and Grow (follow ups and customer relations services).
Reach and Engage
With the use of site tracking, subscription forms, Facebook custom audiences, and precise targeting you’ll be able to find the right audience for your products or services. Once you’ve found them you can use ActiveCampaign to engage them through things like messages, or direct them onto a landing page or sales funnel you’ve created.
Nurture and Educate
Use segmentation, and custom e-mail functions to send the tailor made messages to specific groups of your e-mail list. This allows for you to make sure people see the type of content they want to see. ActiveCampaign also makes use of “Event-Tracking” which allows you to see useful actions of your audience. For example, event tracking allows you to see if they’ve opened an email, or if they’ve watched a video you sent them, or if they’ve looked at one of your products or not.
Convert and Close
Use A/B testing to split some of your e-mails, and see which one performs better. There is a “scoring” system which rates how likely your users and customers are to convert. If someone say unsubscribes from a newsletter they will be rated as less likely to convert. Whereas, if someone submits a question on a web form, they will be rated more likely to be a good customer.
Support and Grow
ActiveCampaigns has a function which lets you reach people by SMS messaging. Easily get your content delivered by text message. Some more awesome features are the ability to follow up on abandoned carts with automated e-mails. Furthermore, you have the option to enable automated follow ups with customers who haven’t been active in some time to try and retain their business. This feature is coupled with the built in AI “predictive sending” to select the best content for your leads and customers; making sure that people are receiving what they want and don’t see it as “junk” or spam.
An idea of how it works
ActiveCampaign works through various methods of site tracking, app integrations, and artificial intelligence. After you set up your account you’ll have to allow ActiveCampaign to deploy some analytic(s) cookies and tools on your website, essentially allowing you to track users and their behavior, much like Google Analytics.
Segmenting Your Contacts
What is segmentation? It’s grouping your contacts by “attribute” or type; think customer vs. leads. Segmentation allows you to deliver more personalized messages, content, and overall a better experience to your customers and prospective clients. I won’t go into full detail, but ActiveCampaign has a powerful and fairly easy to use segmentation builder, that allows you to customize or “segment” your e-mail lists for more powerful and effective marketing.
Lists and Segmentation
After that you’ll have to build some “lists.” Lists are a way to organize your e-mail contacts. The list is the first layer or step of the processes for using ActiveCampaign. After you’ve created a list of your e-mail contacts you can add tags and custom fields to further define sub-categories and get more targeted/specific about a certain sub-set of your e-mail list. Segmenting contacts is to group together contacts that share similar characteristics and exhibit similar behaviors. In essence, you start to “segment” or group your e-mail list in a particular way to allow for more effective and efficient marketing.
Here is visual example of how you might use lists, tags, and custom fields to organize how e-mails are sent and to whom they are sent
You can see that certain content will only be sent to those with tags, or conditional e-mail content will bet sent to both people with tags or with custom fields. Lists will only do the actions with the X(internal display, start trigger, third-party integration), as goes for tags and custom fields.
In traditional email marketing, messages are connected to lists. You cannot send one message to contacts across lists. You have to create a separate message for each list, even if the content of the message is the same. However, in ActiveCampaign, messages are not connected to lists. That is, you can send the same message to contacts who — despite being on different lists — share some other condition(tag or custom field). Automations make this possible, as well as the flexibility of ActiveCampaign.
Types of Lists
Lists are basically your campaigns or categories of campaigns you’re running. You might make a list for: newsletters, promotional offers, special offers, current customers, new customers, cart follow ups, etc..
A simple way to approach this is to just break your list into two categories. Current customers vs. prospective. A list for your current customers, and a list for your leads or potential customers. ActiveCampaign recommends this strategy because it’s simple but effective. You’re either trying to up-sell new products and retain current customers or you’re trying to convert leads and potential new customers.
Here is a visual example of how you might use lists for your e-mail marketing campaigns
Hopefully the image is pretty self-explanatory. You can create the list(s) based on the message type: whether that’s for a product, or a newsletter, or event, new posts or updates you can direct specific content to specific groups of people. In the basic set up that would be: up-sells and new content for existing customers, and conversion type e-mails for leads and prospects.
Ultimately using lists, tags, and custom fields can be a powerful ally when trying to automate and streamline your e-mail marketing. Lists allow for high-level organization, while tags and custom fields enhance your ability to send targeted messages to the right audience.
Import Your Contacts
After you’ve made your lists and done all your segments, you can easily import you e-mail contacts. ActiveCampaign offers a wide variety of ways to import you contacts. Ranging from:
- .csv file
- Import from an external database
- API import
And many more options are available, this is just a short preview.
Automation can be a powerful tool. You can set up things like autoresponders, follow up e-mails, and much more. These automations can be customized to only execute if a certain action has taken place. Say for instance, someone has opened and read your newsletter, you can automate it so that they will receive a special follow up offer. You can use automation for things like welcome letters, sending incentives, promotional offers, dropped carts, follow ups, auto-replies, and much more.
Plans and Pricing
So all of this sound pretty good, but what does it cost and is it good value for money?
Value for Money or not?
The price listed above is for 500 contacts and is billed on a yearly basis, if you want to pay monthly, you’ll have to dish out more money. If you want all the fancy features like the use of AI, A/B testing, and custom FaceBook audiences you’ll have to opt for one of the higher tier plans. Also, keep in mind if you want to send to over 500 contacts the prices of the plans increase more and more depending on your needs. At just under $120 per year for the most basic plan, it’s not too unreasonable. Nevertheless, if you’re going to go for their plus or professional plans you’ll be spending $600-1550 per year on this tool. In the end, each person will have to do their own accounting on whether or not the money spent on ActiveCampaigns will be worth it. They do offer a 14-day free trail, which is always welcomed. Furthermore, anyone can start on the basic plan for just under $120 per year and then opt to go for a higher tier plan later on.
Active Campaign offers a drag and drop landing page builder, but only if you purchase the PLUS plan or above. The builder is easy to use and can actually make some pretty awesome looking landing pages. These landing pages can be used as sales funnels; a page to direct your leads onto, or a page for existing customers who you want to up-sell with some promotional offers. Landing pages are a powerful tool, and this is a welcome addition to the feature set of ActiveCampaign.
- Lots of features
- Reasonable price for the “Lite” plan
- Don’t need to be tech savvy to use
- Chat and E-mail support
- Most features require higher tier plans
- Has somewhat of a learning curve, takes time to understand how to use it.
- Higher number of subscribers requires you to pay more for each plan
- Landing Page is only included on higher tier plans
What People are saying
People are pleased with the automaton, and follow up features of ActiveCampaign. They say it helps build better relationships with their clients, and grow their business. The newly added feature of landing pages is a huge hit among customers and is much appreciated. Some people say there is somewhat of a learning curve and it takes time to get used to all the jargon and features available, but once you get a hang of it, it’s all very useful.
Some people report poor customer service and support, buggy features, and laggy interface. Others complain of missing features like e-mail bounce and spam reporting. You also have to be careful where you’re getting your e-mail contacts from as they will not allow you to use “rented” or “purchased” e-mail lists.
If you’re looking to improve your marketing game, do e-mail marketing, be able to follow up with customers and leads, and implement a chat or customer relationship system, ActiveCampaign might be a good solution for you. The “Lite” plan might be just enough to get you the extra conversions, and boost your e-mail marketing to the next level. Although, we like the features of the higher tier plans, we don’t like the price tag that comes along with them. The automation features and abilities of ActiveCampaign are awesome and can accomplish a lot once you’ve set them up. Automation can save you a lot of time and get your business rolling in the right direction. Lastly, ActiveCampaign does include a landing page feature, which is great. We love that you can direct clients or leads onto a landing page provided with the service. Nevertheless, you won’t get this feature unless you shell out for the plus plan. We’ve written a few other reviews about other e-mail marketing platforms, so go ahead and check out our page here if you want to read some other reviews.
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