The email marketing, small business CRM, and marketing automation features of ActiveCampaign have made it a popular software solution for many companies. If you’re a new startup or small business, you too may have contemplated using ActiveCampaign.
Yet the one issue that held you back was pricing. You’ve heard that the ActiveCampaign pricing model is an expensive one. You don’t want to commit to what you can’t afford, but is ActiveCampaign really as costly as you think?
In today’s post, we’ll answer just that question. First, we’ll go over ActiveCampaign pricing as well as what you get for your money. Then, we’ll touch on some great ActiveCampaign alternatives to consider.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll feel confident that you’ve bought the right sales and marketing software for your company’s budget.
ActiveCampaign Pricing: What Do I Get?
If you decide to become a subscriber, you can choose among four ActiveCampaign plans at different costs. These are the Lite, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. Here’s an overview of ActiveCampaign costs for each of the four plans.
First is the Lite plan, which includes the following features:
- Lite implementation
- Data migration
- Managed email delivery
- Email-based support with live chat
- Webhooks and API
- Social media tools
- Event and site tracking
- Basic subscriptions
- Unlimited email sending
- GEO tracking
- Optional paid email testing
- Contact importing
- Optional paid social data
- Email designer (drag and drop)
- 3 users
- Marketing automation
- Email marketing
- Newsletter sending
ActiveCampaign pricing for any of its four plans varies based on how many contacts you have. Here’s an overview of the Lite plan pricing by contacts:
- $9 a month for 500 contacts
- $25 a month for 1,000 contacts
- $45 a month for 2,500 contacts
- $79 a month for 5,000 contacts
- $125 a month for 10,000 contacts
- $205 a month for 25,000 contacts
- $275 a month for 50,000 contacts
- $340 a month for 75,000 contacts
- $405 a month for 100,000 contacts
Those prices assume you pay yearly.
Next is the Plus plan, the second tier of ActiveCampaign pricing. Your subscription earns you everything in the Plus plan as well as these features:
- Automation strategy consultation
- Detailed onboarding consultation
- Basic free custom email designs
- One month of one-on-one training
- No ActiveCampaign logos on forms
- SMS subscriptions
- Database syncing
- Facebook Custom Audience integration
- More advanced subscription forms
- SMS sending
- 5 free inbox previews a month for email testing, then paid after
- SMS subscriptions
- Custom user permissions
- 25 users
- Conditional content
- Lead and contact scoring
- Sales automation
- Automations mapping
- Landing pages
Going back to the sliding scale of ActiveCampaign pricing by your number of contacts, here’s what you’d pay for the Plus plan:
- $49 a month for 500 contacts
- $49 a month for 1,000 contacts
- $99 a month for 2,500 contacts
- $135 a month for 5,000 contacts
- $199 a month for 10,000 contacts
- $319 a month for 25,000 contacts
- Custom pricing for 50,000 contacts and more
Again, these prices assume you’re paying annually.
The third pricing plan available to you if you use ActiveCampaign is the Professional plan. This adds even more features, including what you’d get in the Lite and Plus plans as well as:
- Pro implementation
- 3 months of one-on-one training
- 50 users
- Predictive sending
- Site messages
- Split automations
Let’s take a closer look at the Professional plan pricing per number of contacts you have:
- $129 a month for 500 contacts
- $129 a month for 1,000 contacts
- $129 a month for 2,500 contacts
- $199 a month for 5,000 contacts
- $279 a month for 10,000 contacts
- $479 a month for 25,000 contacts
- Custom pricing for 50,000 contacts and over
These prices are for annual pricing only.
The most encompassing plan ActiveCampaign offers is undoubtedly the Enterprise plan. Every feature above is included. Here’s what else your money gets you at this level of ActiveCampaign pricing:
- Custom implementation
- Uptime SLA
- Reputation monitoring and personalized message deliverability
- Expedited support via email, live chat, and phone
- A dedicated account representative
- Custom marketing strategy and updates every quarter
- Phone support
- Premium custom email design and a waiver of your $395 fee
- Unlimited one-on-one training
- Custom SMS phone number
- Custom email server domain
- Custom app CSS and HTML
- Custom app URL
- Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Unlimited email testing
- Unlimited users
Here’s what you’d pay for the Enterprise plan from ActiveCampaign when charged annually:
- $229 a month for 500 contacts
- $229 a month for 1,000 contacts
- $229 a month for 2,500 contacts
- $359 a month for 5,000 contacts
- $399 a month for 10,000 contacts
- Custom pricing for 25,000 contacts and over
Is ActiveCampaign the Right Newsletter Service for You?
Next, let’s take a bit of a closer look at one particular feature of ActiveCampaign–their newsletters–and unpack the features.
ActiveCampaign lets you create and send email newsletters to your subscribers to keep them engaged and eager to open your next emails. You can select from a variety of templates for creating newsletters. These templates may be more text-based or image-based depending on your company’s preferences.
According to ActiveCampaign, you can work with 10 different newsletter templates for 10 email types. You can also automate your newsletters, selecting when they get sent out, and to whom.
All that said, is ActiveCampaign’s newsletter service ideal for your small business or startup? Well, for companies on a budget, you can send newsletters as part of the Lite plan. You can also use ActiveCampaign’s marketing automation services in this first pricing plan.
Do keep in mind that at this tier, you’d have to pay to test your emails.
ActiveCampaign’s automation is quite renowned, and with their included CRM, you can take your marketing campaigns and newsletters further. Remember though that you can’t access the CRM features until you at least upgrade to the Plus plan.
If you don’t need a lot of automation at this stage of your business, then the newsletter and automation services through ActiveCampaign likely won’t suit you. You can create simple email sequences with other software that we’ll discuss later, and often by paying less.
Also, ActiveCampaign is considered an advanced marketing solution, be that for their newsletters and other areas of marketing and sales. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use software, this isn’t it.
The Downsides of ActiveCampaign
Are you still on the fence about whether ActiveCampaign could benefit your small business or startup? Here are some ActiveCampaign downsides you’ll want to give some serious consideration to before you proceed.
Before you commit to any software, we always recommend downloading the software on a trial basis first. During this crucial time, you should play around with all the features, even those your company usually wouldn’t bother with.
Many sales and marketing solutions give you ample time to get a feel for their software, about a month. That’s not so with ActiveCampaign. You only get 14 days to explore the software in full.
Given how expansive ActiveCampaign’s software is, this might not be enough time for you to truly learn the ins and outs.
No Free Plan
If the trial is short, then at least you could rely on a free plan to play around with the most basic features. That’s what some sales and marketing solutions offer, but again, you won’t find this with ActiveCampaign.
You’re forced into paying for any plan, even the Lite plan. Granted, this isn’t super expensive if you stick to a minimal number of contacts, but there are other problems with ActiveCampaign pricing. We’ll discuss these momentarily.
Not having a free plan is a glaring issue for a few reasons. As we discussed, if you want to use ActiveCampaign for longer than a trial basis but without paying, you can’t. If your company is on a budget–which is common of small businesses and startups–you might be reticent to sign up for ActiveCampaign because you’d have to fork over a lot of your hard-earned money.
Hard for Beginners to Grasp
We’re not the only ones to say this: ActiveCampaign is not super beginner-friendly.
For example, ActiveCampaign lets you write your own code with their custom app feature as part of the Enterprise plan. You can use HTML and CSS to create an app that’s truly yours.
This sounds great, and if you’re talented at coding languages, then you’ll be grateful for this feature. If you’re not so savvy at coding, then this feature has a very steep learning curve, even too steep. You’ll almost never touch the feature even though you’re paying for it month in and month out.
Even outside of that, some users have experienced difficulties with aspects of the software that shouldn’t be super hard. Placing radio buttons and text boxes are two such issues that even someone moderately okay at tech should be able to figure out. Yet with ActiveCampaign, the software has a higher degree of difficulty than average.
Again, for some users (especially tech-savvy ones), this might not be such a big deal. For others, it could be a dealbreaker or darn close to it.
Expensive Pricing Tiers
Upon first glance at ActiveCampaign’s pricing plan, their service looks inexpensive. However, it’s only for 500 contacts that you’re paying to the tune of $9 to $229 a month. As you recall, that’s for an annual plan too; all plans cost more if you’re billed by the month.
At 1,000 contacts, your bill jumps to between $25 and $229 a month. You won’t pay less than $75 a month once your company grows to 5,000 contacts, and the Enterprise plan at that point costs $359 a month. That’s more than likely well outside of the budget of most startups and small businesses.
No CMS for the Lite Plan
ActiveCampaign gets a lot of acclaim for its CMS, but you’re shut out from the service if you subscribe to the Lite plan. The built-in CRM only becomes available to you once you commit to the Plus plan.
Going without a CRM is not recommended, even in your company’s early days. Your options then are to either pay for the Plus plan or to buy a separate CRM. Both choices are expensive.
When charged annually, the Plus plan costs $49 a month for 500 contacts, $99 a month for 2,500 contacts, $135 a month for 5,000 contacts, and $199 a month for 10,000 contacts. In other words, it gets pricy fast for startups on a budget.
Limited Users for Lower Pricing Plans
Even if you didn’t need ActiveCampaign’s CRM and thus decided to buy the Lite plan, you get so few users that this pricing tier almost isn’t an option for many companies. With support for 3 users, you’re capped pretty low.
Small businesses and startups likely need more users than that, or they soon will. The Plus plan increases your user count to 25 people, which is better, at least for a company of your size. Again though, with the extra users comes the higher fees of the Plus plan.
What Are the Alternatives to ActiveCampaign?
If ActiveCampaign pricing exceeds your budget as a startup or small business, you’re not out of options. The following solutions are viable ActiveCampaign alternatives that may fit your company even better.
Your first option is EngageBay, an all-in-one sales and marketing solution with CRM. Created as an affordable alternative to today’s more costly software, EngageBay is for small businesses and startups alike.
You don’t have to pay a single cent to use EngageBay’s CRM, already making this service more cost-effective than ActiveCampaign.
In EngageBay’s All-in-One Suite, you get these features:
- CRM (available for free)
- Landing pages
- Email marketing
- Contact management
- Live chat (also available for free)
- Email sequences
- Web forms
- Landing pages
- Marketing automation
The Marketing Suite will help you harness your marketing potential with the following features:
- Bulk SMS marketing
- SMS marketing
- Email templates
- Contact segmentation
- Push notifications
- Email marketing automation
- Site messaging
- Inbound marketing automation
Don’t forget the sales! Here’s what you’ll find in EngageBay’s CRM & Sales Bay:
- Deal management
- Sales tools
- Employee management
- Sales CRM (available for free)
- CRM email integration
- Lead management
- Contact management
- CRM Telephony
- Appointment scheduling
- Project management
- Lead scoring
- 360-degree customer views
Finally, in the Service Bay, you have these handy features:
- Custom tickets
- Canned responses
- Service automation
- Helpdesk reports
The All-in-One Suite starts at $8.99 a month, the Marketing Suite at $7.79 a month, the CRM & Sales Bay at $7.79 a month, and the Service Bay is free. These are your pricing options when charged biennially.
EngageBay offers a free plan with any of its services as well. If you stay on those free plans, you never have to pay to use EngageBay, including its CRM. You can’t say that of ActiveCampaign!
Another ActiveCampaign alternative to consider is Drip. Their company offers optimization, engagement, personalization, and customer data tools.
Here is an overview of Drip’s features:
- Email marketing and automation
- Social media tools
- Revenue attribution
- Audience segmentation
- Customer behavior and event tracking
- Custom fields and tagging
Drip prices increase per user. This is what their pricing model looks like:
- $19 a month for 500 users
- $29 a month for 1,000 users
- $49 a month for 3,000 users
- $59 a month for 3,500 users
- $69 a month for 4,000 users
- $79 a month for 4,500 users
- $89 a month for 5,000 users
Reviewing the info above shows that Drip is a far more affordable alternative to ActiveCampaign pricing, especially for small businesses and startups with around 100+ employees.
The third option you might consider over ActiveCampaign is Insightly. This CRM and marketing automation platform include these features:
- Data security such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and single sign-on
- iOS and Android app for opportunities management, project updates, and business card scanning
- Dashboards with metrics tracking
- Custom apps that include workflow automation, calculated fields, and validation rules (but don’t require coding knowledge)
- Dataset modeling
- Relationship linking
- Email sending
- Workflow automations
- Lead routing
- Email template builder
- Customer journeys
- Lead segmentation
Insightly offers different pricing plans for its marketing and CRM services.
For the CRM, the Plus plan starts at $29 a month per user, the Professional plan is $49 a month per user, and the Enterprise plan is $99 a month per user.
Insightly’s marketing plans include the Plus plan at $299 a month, the Professional plan at $599 a month, and the Enterprise plan at $1,299 a month. You’re not charged per user for Insightly’s marketing services.
You can also bundle Insightly’s CRM and marketing features together for a custom fee. Outside of that, Insightly is also more reasonable than ActiveCampaign pricing.
ActiveCampaign is a CRM, marketing, and sales tool that seems incentivizing at first glance. Upon doing some further digging though, you may find that ActiveCampaign pricing is a little outside of your budget, especially if you’re a startup or small business.
For an efficient option that doesn’t skimp on features, EngageBay more than delivers. Their free plans never cost you a cent, and if your company needs more features, EngageBay’s paid plans are inexpensive.