ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. EngageBay For Email Marketing


Email marketing allows you to engage with your leads, nurture customer relationships, and inspire new sales. If you’re seeking an email marketing platform for your small business or startup, you may have narrowed it down to three options: ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, or EngageBay.

You’re having a hard time choosing which platform is right for you. What kind of Mailchimp campaign can you make through their service? What is ActiveCampaign pricing like?

In today’s post, we’ll help you determine a winner in the battle of Mailchimp vs. ActiveCampaign vs. EngageBay. To do this, we’ll discuss the features, pricing, and pros and cons of each of these three viable email marketing platforms.

Let’s begin!

ActiveCampaign’s Email Marketing Platform

Your first contender in ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. EngageBay is ActiveCampaign. Their marketing automation and email marketing services make ActiveCampaign quite a renowned choice, but are they right for your small business or startup? It’s time to take a deeper dive into this platform.


Since email marketing is one of the standout services from ActiveCampaign, you have many features afforded to you through the various pricing plans. Here’s an overview of those features.

  • Website messaging: ActiveCampaign’s site messaging includes SMS messages to take advantage of engagement when it’s highest.
  • Sales automation: Your sales and marketing teams can intersect with sales automation features, including CRM, win probability, and lead scoring.
  • Email marketing automation: Marketing and email automation are useful for email scheduling, lead segmentation, and contact management.
  • Email personalization: From promotional emails to newsletters, you can tailor emails with segmentation and dynamic content.
  • Integrations: At current, ActiveCampaign has nearly 300 integrations, including big names like Shopify, Zapier, Salesforce, PayPal, WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Migration and training: ActiveCampaign offers free migration from your current email marketing platform as well as individualized training on how their platform works.


As we’ve discussed on our blog, ActiveCampaign has four pricing plans to choose from. These are the Lite plan, the Plus plan, the Professional plan, and the Enterprise plan.

The pricing of each plan scales up as you add more contacts to your small business or startup. For example, at 500 contacts and with monthly billing, the Lite plan is $15, the Plus plan is $70, the Professional plan is $159, and the Enterprise plan is $279.

Let’s say your company grows and has 5,000 contacts. Now the Lite plan costs $99 a month, the Plus plan is $169 a month, the Professional plan is $239 a month, and the Enterprise plan costs $449 a month. At 25,000 contacts, you’d pay $259 a month for the Lite plan, $399 a month for the Plus plan, $599 a month for the Professional plan, and custom pricing for the Enterprise plan.

The Lite plan includes some email marketing features, among them newsletter sending, email marketing, marketing automation, unlimited sending, autoresponders, and email templates. That said, you’re limited to 3 users.

If you want to add ActiveCampaign CRM, sales automation, lead scoring, and site messages, you’d have to at least pay for the Plus plan.

Pros and Cons

If your small business or startup wants to go with name recognition, ActiveCampaign is a solid choice. That’s one advantage.

Another pro for ActiveCampaign is that you can use most email marketing features you’d want out of their platform with the Lite plan. To explore more of their automation though, you’d have to at least buy the Plus plan.

The biggest downside to ActiveCampaign’s email marketing platform is its sliding pricing scale. Sure, if your small business only has 500 contacts and you start with the Lite plan, you’re spending $15 a month. That’s reasonable.

As your business grows though, even the Lite plan can be unaffordable for small businesses and startups on a tight budget. At 2,500 contacts, you’re already paying $55 a month, at 5,000 contacts, almost $100 a month, and at 10,000 contacts, $155 a month.

All along, you get support for only three users. Even small startups probably have more staff than that.

This all naturally pushes you towards the Plus plan, which starts at $70 for 500 contacts. By 2,500 contacts, you’d pay $125 a month, then $169 a month for 5,000 contacts, and $249 a month for 10,000 contacts. At least with the Plus plan, you get support for 25 users.

Mailchimp’s Email Marketing Platform

The next email marketing platform in the great battle of ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. EngageBay is Mailchimp. This marketing platform with the monkey mascot says it’s designed for small businesses. Let’s see if that’s really the case.


It’s in the name; Mailchimp has a lot of email marketing features. Here’s a closer look into Mailchimp’s services.

  • Transactional emails: Triggered emails, including confirmations of email signups or even lost password emails are sent to your customers at ideal times.
  • Email deliverability software: Mailchimp uses abuse-detection technology and email authentication to keep your messages out of your customers’ and leads’ spam filters.
  • Email design templates: The mobile-optimized templates let you create email messages of all kinds, from promotional emails to welcome emails, follow-ups, sales alerts, and more. This is all done with drag and drop features.
  • Mobile app functionality: The Mailchimp Mobile App lets you use the above email templates as well as send emails and review how well they’re doing, all from your phone or tablet.
  • Online store linking: When you sync your online store to Mailchimp, the platform can then send your customers relevant recommendations for products or services.
  • Included analytics: Mailchimp presents useful analytics right on its platform, including segmentation data, email open rates, email click-through rates, subscriber counts, and more.
  • Automation: Mailchimp automation can be single-step or multi-step to simplify your workflow.
  • Content studio: The content studio holds onto the files and images that you use for your email templates so you can pull them back up and reuse them when necessary.
  • Integrations: Mailchimp has a laundry list of integrations. Some of the bigger ones are Calendly, WooCommerce, Zapier, Eventbrite, Stripe, Adobe Photoshop, Leadpages, OptinMonster, JotForm, and Square.


Next, let’s take a closer look at Mailchimp’s pricing plans. You have four of these to select from, the Free plan, the Essentials plan, the Standard plan, and the Premium plan.

Here’s a plan-by-plan breakdown of what you might pay to use Mailchimp’s services.

  1. Free Plan

As the name implies, the Free plan costs $0 a month. You never have to pay for Mailchimp if you don’t want to, and these are the features you get:

  • Email support for 30 days
  • Marketing tips and a marketing glossary
  • Knowledgebase
  • App integrations
  • Campaign insights like subject line helper, next best action, and personalized product recommendations
  • Basic analytics reports
  • Single-step automation and a classic automation builder
  • Marketing calendar
  • Marketing features like pop-up forms, postcards, social posting, Instagram and Facebook ads, landing pages, and email
  • Domain connection
  • Custom domain buying
  • Your own Mailchimp domain
  • Website publishing with analytics
  • Basic templates
  • Content studio
  • Creative assistant
  • 1 month of app engagement
  • Audience insights like purchase behavior, campaign engagement, behavioral targeting, surveys, and audience dashboard
  • Marketing CRM features like the Mailchimp Mobile App, contact profiles, tags, and basic segmentation
  • 10,000 monthly emails
  • 1 seat
  • 1 audience
  • 2,000 contacts max
  1. Essentials Plan

If your contacts list continues to grow, then you might look into Mailchimp’s Essentials plan. This starts at $9.99 a month, which is still reasonable.

What do you get in the Essentials plan? All the features available in the Free plan plus these:

  • 24/7 chat and email support
  • A/B testing
  • Customer Journey Builder
  • Pre-built Customer Journeys
  • 500,000 monthly emails
  • 3 seats
  • 3 audiences
  • 50,000 contacts
  1. Standard Plan

The mid-priced plan from Mailchimp is the Standard plan. This starts at $14.99 a month and is packed with the above features as well as these:

  • Email delivery by time zone
  • Email send time optimization
  • Dynamic Content for email
  • Multiple starting points and branching points for the Customer Journey Builder
  • Retargeting ads
  • Social media post scheduling
  • Custom-coded email templates
  • Audience insights like address finder, lookalike audience finder, purchase likelihood, customer lifetime value, predicted demographics, and behavior-based automation
  • 3 months of app engagement
  • 2 million monthly emails
  • 5 seats
  • 5 audiences
  • 100,000 contacts max
  1. Premium Plan

If you want everything Mailchimp has to offer, that can only come with the Premium plan. It’s much more expensive than the other plans, as it starts at $299 a month. Here are the extra features your money buys you:

  • Phone support
  • Multivariate testing
  • Comparative analytics reporting
  • 18 months of app engagement
  • Advanced segmentation
  • 3 million monthly emails
  • Unlimited seats
  • Unlimited audiences
  • 200,000 contacts or more

Like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp prices its plans on a sliding scale. This isn’t immediately apparent by looking at their site, but it’s there.

So if you had 500 contacts, the above pricing as listed applies. Here’s a breakdown of how the pricing plans increase as your small business or startup adds more contacts:

  • 2,500 contacts: $29.99 a month for the Essentials plan and $49.99 a month for the Standard plan
  • 5,000 contacts: $49.99 a month for the Essentials plan and $74.99 a month for the Standard plan
  • 10,000 contacts: $74.99 a month for the Essentials plan, $99 a month for the Standard plan, and $299 a month for the Premium plan
  • 20,000 contacts: $159 a month for the Essentials plan, $189 a month for the Standard plan, and $399 a month for the Premium plan
  • 30,000 contacts: $219 a month for the Essentials plan, $249 a month for the Standard plan, and $499 a month for the Premium plan
  • 40,000 contacts: $249 a month for the Essentials plan, $269 a month for the Standard plan, and $549 a month for the Premium plan

Pros and Cons

In the fight between just ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp, the latter platform is definitely much better-known for its email marketing platform. That’s a big advantage for Mailchimp.

The Free plan is also quite expansive, with support for 2,000 contacts, 10,000 emails a month, basic segmentation, basic email templates, and the email marketing features we discussed above.

To use more templates, you’d have to pay for at least the Essentials plan. The same goes if you want custom-coded templates or get rid of Mailchimp branding on your email communications.

You also can’t do any A/B testing with the Free plan, and you’re missing a lot of the audience insights that Mailchimp has to offer.

Another downside is how the Mailchimp pricing plans look deceptively affordable at first (with the exception of the Premium plan)…until you start doing more digging. Then you realize that Mailchimp prices its services on a sliding scale like ActiveCampaign.

For small businesses and startups on a tight budget who want lots of features in their email marketing platform of choice, sliding pricing scales get expensive fast.

EngageBay’s Email Marketing Platform

The third great email marketing platform we want to discuss is EngageBay, which is both an ActiveCampaign alternative and a Mailchimp alternative, not to mention HubSpot too.

Founded as a more affordable solution for startups and small businesses than a lot of the platforms out there, EngageBay divides its products into its All-in-One Suite, Service Bay, the CRM & Sales Bay, and the Marketing Bay.


We’ll stick to the features in the Marketing Bay, as they pertain to email marketing. Here are the features you need to know about.

  • Email marketing campaign optimization: For optimization and engagement, EngageBay is a top choice. Engage is in the name, after all! Your email campaigns will flow better than ever before, checking off key goals along the way.
  • Campaign tracking: Without knowing whether your campaign has succeeded, you can keep making the same mistakes again and again. EngageBay provides you with all the top email marketing metrics so you can replicate your successes and learn from your failures.
  • Rich-formatted email design templates: Make the most of your emails with rich text-formatted emails that will increase email engagement, open rates, and click-through rates.
  • Email personalization: Personalization is key in getting more of your leads and customers to open your messages. EngageBay has personalization features in spades, letting you input a lead/customer’s first and last name and email address for tailored content. These attributes are not only auto-filled in the future, but you can add those personalized attributes to your emails.
  • Lead targeting and segmenting: You choose how to segment your leads with filters. Some of your options include tags, source, creation date, country, and many more demographics, geographics, and psychographics.
  • Email builder with drag and drop features: Drag and drop makes it easy for you to formulate your emails your way. Instead of only using prebuilt templates, EngageBay’s templates are customizable from the ground up.
  • Included email templates: Of course, EngageBay does have a myriad of email templates for you to peruse and apply for all sorts of industries and message intentions.
  • Integrations: EngageBay’s expansive list of integrations includes many tools and apps you use every day. Some of the well-known options are Zapier, Mandrill, Xero, Stripe, Mailgun, Amazon Web Services, QuickBooks, JustCall, Twilio, DocuSign, ReCAPTCHA, and LinkedIn.


EngageBay’s Marketing Bay has four pricing plans. These are the Free plan, the Basic plan, the Growth plan, and the Pro plan.

As we did with MailChimp, let’s take a deeper dive into these plans, their pricing, and the features.

  1. Free Plan

The Free plan is always $0 a month. This is just one of the many free features EngageBay offers, as its CRM is also always free to use.

With your Free plan, you can enjoy the following great EngageBay features:

  • Chat and email support
  • File repositories
  • 1 gigabyte of file storage
  • Email sequences
  • Email broadcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Landing page SSL and landing page builder
  • Desktop notifications
  • Facebook Ads
  • Video marketing
  • Live chat
  • Custom fields
  • Reporting dashboard
  • Integrations
  • Social suite
  • Tag management
  • Autoresponders
  • Email templates
  • Email template builder
  • Web pop-ups
  • Embedded forms
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Segmentation
  • Lists
  • 1,000 branded emails
  • 1,000 contacts max
  1. Basic Plan

The Free plan is very impressive, but if you want more features, the Basic plan costs $12.99 a month. Besides all the Free plan features, you also add these:

  • Tag manager
  • Third-party integrations
  • SMS marketing
  • 10,000 branded emails
  • 10,000 contacts max
  1. Growth Plan

For small businesses and startups tasting more and more success, EngageBay’s Growth plan for $24.99 a month is a good pick. You get every feature in the Free and Basic plans and these other features:

  • Free onboarding
  • Dedicated account manager
  • SSO
  • Push notifications
  • Time zone-based email delivery
  • A/B testing for landing pages and email broadcasting
  • Landing page coding
  • Workflow and automation
  • Workflows and automation nodes
  • Web rules
  • Site messaging
  • Marketing automation
  • 5 gigs of file storage
  • 20,000 branded emails
  • 20,000 contacts
  1. Pro Plan

The last pricing plan you can select from is EngageBay’s Pro plan. At only $49.99 a month, you get every feature from EngageBay. Besides the above, these other features are also included:

  • Team hierarchy
  • Teams
  • Role management
  • Custom reporting
  • Web analytics
  • Landing page custom domains
  • 20 gigs of file storage
  • 30,000 branded emails
  • 30,000 contacts max

Pros and Cons

EngageBay started as a small business like yours. They understand the rigors that most startups and small businesses have to go through to get their footing. That’s why EngageBay insists on keeping its many great services and features affordable.

The Free plan is sustainable for small businesses just beginning, as you get support for 1,000 contacts. You also gain access to nearly every email marketing service you could need, including a reporting dashboard, email templates, segmentation, email sequences, and email broadcasting.

Once your business reaches 20,000 contacts, you’re probably ready for email automation. The Growth plan has it, and you can send 20,000 emails a month under this plan. It’s also quite affordable at $24.99 a month.

Unlike ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp, EngageBay does not have a sliding pricing scale that goes up as your contacts list grows. That keeps your prices predictable from month to month.

Which Email Marketing Platform Is Best?

Now that we’ve covered the features, pricing, and pros and cons of these three email marketing platforms, it’s time to declare a winner between ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. EngageBay.

We think the winner is obvious, and that’s EngageBay. Their free plan is far more inclusive than Mailchimp’s, plus you can use EngageBay’s CRM at no extra cost. You can’t say that of Mailchimp and especially not ActiveCampaign.

Also, as we discussed above, EngageBay doesn’t use a sliding scale that bases pricing by the number of contacts your small business has. This keeps your pricing affordable. After all, it’s not like you have very deep pockets yet as a startup or small business.

EngageBay even lets you customize your email templates rather than just use premade ones. This makes your email communications with your customers more unique. Customers are savvy and can tend to sniff out premade emails, but yours will ring authentic every time.


Your small business or startup must use an email marketing platform, but deciding on which one is the tough part.

If you’ve been embroiled in the debate of ActiveCampaign vs. Mailchimp vs. EngageBay, we hope this article has shown why EngageBay is the top dog in the fight.

EngageBay prices its plans affordably, ditching the sliding pricing scale you see with both ActiveCampaign and Mailchimp. EngageBay’s email marketing services are designed for small businesses and startups, which is why you get so many useful features under their Free plan. It’s only if you need marketing automation or when your contacts list grows that you’d have to consider a paid plan.

With EngageBay, you can take your email marketing further!

Nicole Malczan

Nicole Malczan is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about marketing and small business. She's passionate about sharing affordable solutions that leverage small businesses with the big fish.

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