Let’s break this down. Shall we?
As a small business owner, content marketer (author, blogger, coach, copywriter, internet marketer, social media expert, or other online business person), you need a large email list. Secondly, you need a strategy for building your email list. Thirdly, you need to find a way to provide insane value to the people on the list, and develop a relationship with them. And then, you should market solutions to the people on the list, giving them not only what they want, but also what they need. For this to work, you need an email marketing software to provide a ‘home’ for your email list.
MailerLite vs ActiveCampaign
As a lot of you know, I have 2 blogs. My first blog has an email list housed by MailChimp. By the way, MailChimp offers the EU general data protection (gdpr) compliance on your forms and landing pages. When I started Astute Copy Blogging, I decided to go with MailerLite. And I loved it. And couldn’t stop recommending it…until something happened recently.
More about that in moment.
Why was I in love with MailerLite? Well, because of the following features:
#1. MailerLite pricing – The forever free plan.
You can sign to up this plan in minutes. You don’t even need your credit card details. And the awesome thing about this plan is that it includes the following:
- Full access to all features (including automation and landing pages)
- Up to 1,000 subscribers
- Unlimited emails
- Double opt in feature
- 24/7 customer support via live chat and email
In other words, with MailerLite, you get free email automation, without upgrading to MailerLite premium, as long as your subscribers are less than 1000!
#2. Drag-and-drop Editor
With MailerLite, you can create beautiful email newsletters with their Drag-and-Drop Editor. This is easy, fast and simple!
MailerLite offers a variety of great-looking pre-designed email templates to help you deliver the best looking content to your subscribers.
#4. Built-in photo editing feature
With MailerLite you can crop, resize and edit photos using the built-in photo editing tools. No need to use another software to make your photos look good.
#5. Email Automation
The automation tool allows you create sophisticated marketing campaigns within minutes. With MailerLite, automations are known as Automation Workflows. Unfortunately, I discovered that this tool isn’t as rugged as I would have liked. For instance, there were a couple of occasions, when I messed around with the email sequence in my automation (by adding more time to delay a particular workflow sequence), and the automation just simply refused to work. On another occasion, an email that had been sent was sent again (which was quite embarrassing 🙁 )
#6. A/B Split Testing
This is one feature I was absolutely in love with in MailerLite. The ability to send two slightly different emails, see which performs better and automatically send the winning version to the rest of your subscribers.
#7. Delivery by Timezone
This is another feature, I loved. With MailerLite, you can make sure your subscribers get your email campaigns at the exact time you want in all timezones across the world. Simply awesome!
My Problem with MailerLite
Bust first, why does this matter? And why should you care?
One of the most effective ways to monetize your blog is to sell affiliate products. This works especially well if you recommend affiliate products that you yourself are using in the running of your online business.
When you sign up to become an affiliate you’ll be given an affiliate link which is linked to your affiliate account. So when someone buys the product using the link, you receive the credit for the referral. If you can’t include those links in an email to those on your email list, then there is a big big problem.
Now back to the problem I had with MailerLite. My account was blocked in the middle of a campaign. When I contacted MailerLite, I was told it was “as a result of including an affiliate link in [my] newsletters”. However, it turns out that including affiliate links is acceptable by their terms of service. Here’s a part of the conversation I had with MailerLite:
Interestingly, here’s what MailerLite says in the terms of service:
Affiliate Marketing and Affiliate Links
Affiliate Marketing and Affiliate Links are two different things. Affiliate Marketing is prohibited in MailerLite, but Affiliate Links are fine in most cases.
Affiliate Marketing (Prohibited) – is a type of business where you earn commission by promoting other company’s products. We don’t allow this activity, because there’s no direct relationship between you and your subscribers. You are not allowed to send unrelated offers to your subscribers or pretend to be another brand.
Now be honest:
Having read their terms of service, what’s the difference between affiliate marketing (which is prohibited) and affiliate links (which is allowed)?
As I said earlier, my account was blocked (in the middle of a campaign) “as a result of including an affiliate link in [my] newsletters”. Although reinstated when I contacted Mailerlite, the harm had been done and I had had enough: Why should I be banned for using affiliate links which are okay, by their terms? I decided to shop around for an alternative.
And here’s what I discovered: ActiveCampaign is a far better software than MailerLite in every way imaginable. It is a much more robust, powerful and complex system that will allow me to serve you better.
#1. Relative ease of use
Customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing tools can be complicated pieces of kit, so it’s not uncommon that these tools have lots of elements to learn to unlock their powers. I am happy to say that ActiveCampaign does not have the steep learning curve associated with competitors such as Infusionsoft or Ontraport.
ActiveCampaign has a fantastic dashboard which you can customize. You can drag/drop widgets around on the screen, remove widgets that you don’t need to keep a close eye on, or add new widgets from the doc that sits at the bottom of the page.
You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days. No credit card required. And should you decide to sign up, ActiveCampaign starts from as little as $9/mo for 500 contacts.
#2. The ability to connect to your website
Site Tracking is a powerful feature that connects your marketing and sales processes to your website activity. It allows ActiveCampaign to “see” and then “react” in real-time as contacts visit your site and view specific categories and pages.
Site Tracking allows you to create marketing and sales processes that leverage behavioral targeting, triggered messages, and granular segmentation, all of which have proven to improve the contact experience and increase conversions.
A key thing you’ll want to do to is track where people are going on your site and capturing leads through your site.
With Site Tracking you can create marketing & sales processes that automatically adapt as your contacts interact with your website:
- You can trigger a message with a coupon code to send 30 minutes after a contact views a product page of your site… but only if they didn’t make a purchase.
- You can apply a tag to indicate a contact’s interest and begin a targeted follow-up sequence after two or more visits to a specific product category.
- You can fork an automation so you treat a contact differently if they’ve already viewed a certain page of your site.
- You can have automations only begin if a contact has viewed a page of your site
- You can automatically move contacts to another stage of your sales pipeline when they view 3 or more important pages of your website (such as your pricing, product, and demo pages).
#3. Lead scoring
Lead Scoring is a flexible, powerful tool that empowers marketers to apply a points system for contact action, or inaction, based on what’s important to an organization.
Lead scoring allows you to rank someone based on their activity. For example, some people will engage with you to just to get your freebie and couldn’t care less about you. Such people may never open another email. This is incredibly flexible, empowering you to add and subtract points to their contacts based on actions or inaction and they can expire after a set period of time.
So you can add or subtract points for:
- Email opens
- Page visits
- Products brought
Once a user hits a certain amount of points, you can move them to your sales funnels. Or if a person has brought lots of your products you could automatically tag them with your VIP tag or move them to your VIP list.
#4. Active Campaign marketing automation
Automations is what ActiveCampaign calls their marketing and sales automation feature. It is a chain of events that runs when triggered by starting conditions you define. With the automation builder, you can easily create fully automated workflows tailored to the goals of your unique business. Automations can save you time, help you stay organized, and make more money, by improving your marketing and sales processes. After an automation is set up, it can run with no input from you, so creating automations is an extremely high-leverage activity.
For example, if someone signs up for a free guide or one of your other lead magnets you don’t want their journey to stop there with you. You’ll want to send a few emails – 1 to deliver the guide, another to ask what they thought of the guide and another 1 or 2 with an offer.
Automation is a super powerful feature that you’ll love once you get to grips with.
Segmentation gives you the ability to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Sometimes, the emails you do not send are more important than the ones you send.Sometimes, the emails you do not send are more important than the ones you send. #EmailMarketing Click To Tweet
If you email the wrong people, your deliverability will plummet. The people you want to reach, the contacts who want to hear from you and are ready to buy, will never even know you emailed them. By sending messages only to the exact contacts who would want and expect it, your contacts become conditioned to open your emails.
But, it only takes a couple of irrelevant emails to ruin everything and then a contact might get in the habit of ignoring your emails. Every email you send after that is a nuisance. The next time the contact opens your email it will be to click the unsubscribe link.
ActiveCampaign offers some of the best segmentation capabilities you’ll find in email marketing and marketing automation services. You can create unlimited segments from over 60 conditions. Any data point that is attached to the contact record can be used to segment. These data points can be mixed and matched to create extremely granular segmentation.
#6. Track and manage your sales inquiries
In ActiveCampaign, a pipeline is a defined set of stages for a sales process. You can create any number of pipelines. You may have one sales process for selling ads, another for selling a subscription service, and maybe another for following up with existing customers to try to upsell them.
You have the ability to see a visual representation of where new leads are in your sales pipeline. The ActiveCampaign comes with a built in deals pipe drive called Deals. You can also trigger an automation based on where the user is in the pipeline.
Stages represent the steps included in your pipeline (or sales process). For instance, let’s say you send a prospect a quote. Once you move the prospect to the Quote Sent Stage you can then schedule an email to automatically go in 2 or 3 or 5 days time to see what they thought of the quote.
#7. Zapier Integration
With over 150 apps, ActiveCampaign provides a truly integrated platform, via their Zapier integration. While this enables you to connect ActiveCampaign with a huge variety of tools, you will need a paid Zapier subscription to access certain integrations.
On average most companies now use four different online systems for general operations, that’s quite a lot when you think about it. We use seven different tools for the various parts of our business.
These can include
- Sales systems
- Diary bookings
- Project management tool
- Accounting software
By connecting these tools, you can bring new subscribers and customers under one roof and manage them and market to them more effectively.
I absolutely adore this feature in ActiveCampaign. Generally, tags either help you stay organized or cause an action; sometimes they do both. In ActiveCampaign, tags have these three main functions:
Organization: Tags’ preliminary purpose — to help with organization — is not lost in our platform. You can filter your contact database by tags, and you can also view tags on individual contact records.
Serving as start triggers: The addition or removal of tags can be the criterion for start triggers. How you configure your start triggers determines who enters your automations and how often they can.
Conditional Content: As we note in our segmentation guide, tags are one of many conditions you can segment contacts by. That means you can target contacts that have or lack certain tags.
You can target contacts via automations (which already are set to engage a segmented audience based on the start trigger you chose), and you can also leverage tags to send relevant messages in your one-off campaigns by crafting conditional content, as shown in the image below. That way, you can hide or show content blocks in emails based on contacts’ tags.
#9 Activecampaign Pricing
ActiveCampaign has four plans: Lite, Plus, Professional and Enterprise. The entry level starts at $9 per month (for up to 500 subscribers) and includes features like a template editor and marketing automation. Higher plans add a CRM and lead scoring, starting at $49 per month (Plus plan). There is no setup fee. The Activecampaign free trial is a 14 day free trial. Activecampaign billing information is easy to access. If you are the Primary Account Admin, you can access the Billing & Upgrade page to update your billing information. Changing your billing information is easy and can be done at any time during your billing cycle.
ActiveCampaign contact limit
ActiveCampaign does not automatically increase your contact limit. You’ll need to move your account limit up manually. An alert will display in your account when you approach your limit. A red indicator will appear in the upper right-hand corner of your account near your user avatar.
ActiveCampaign lite vs plus
ActiveCampaign Lite: This is ideal for small teams. It only allows 3 users. However, it comes with most of the powerful email automations, design options and social media integration.
ActiveCampaign Plus plan: This one is great for bigger teams of up to 25 accounts. It is also suited to organizations that need a CRM to manage their customers. An additional feature of this plan is the ability to send SMS.
Wrapping It Up
Compared on every level, I believe that ActiveCampaign features are better than those offered by MailerLite. And this is not because my account was blocked, because as I said earlier, my account was reinstated after I contacted MailerLite. For a more detailed Activecampaign review, check out this blog post »»» The Definitive Guide To The Top 12 Email Service Providers For Bloggers.
- Do you understand MailerLite’s difference between affiliate marketing and affiliate links? Should there be a difference?
- Which email marketing software do you use?
- Have you considered ActiveCampaign?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
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