ActiveCampaign offers four tiers of pricing: Lite (from $9 a month), Plus (from $55 a month), Professional (from $129 a month) and Enterprise (from $229 a month). These prices are if you pay annually.
- – Note: these prices are for up to 500 subscribers.
ActiveCampaign does not offer a free plan. You can try it for free for 14 days.
ActiveCampaign Pricing For Larger Subscriber Lists
ActiveCampaign Features by Plan
Chat & Email Support
Up To 3 Users
|Everything from Lite|
CRM w/ Sales Automation
Contact & Lead Scoring
Deep Data Integrations
Custom User Permissions
One on One Training
Up to 25 users
|Everything from Plus|
Up to 50 users
|Everything from Professional|
Custom Mailserver Domain
Dedicated Account Rep
Free Design Services
Free Social Data
Up to 50 users
The Pricing for ActiveCampaign has two variables, the number of contact that you have in the system and the functionality that you are utilizing.
ActiveCampaign is a competitively price tool that can provide a return on investment unlike other email marketing systems on the market when it is implemented correctly.
Now that you have a general understanding of the pricing for ActiveCampaign, I wanted to give you my review of how to set up ActiveCampaign. These recommendations are based upon 10+ years of use.
When I am setting up an installation of ActiveCampaign, I approach the menu system in a different order then the system lays out. I do so because there are some dependencies and prerequisites that are needed when setting up particular segments, especially the Forms and Automations.
I will walk you through why I do it this way in this article. Follow along and you will be set up with ActiveCampaign in no time at all.
The order of the ActiveCampaign Menu
Here is the order I use to set up ActiveCampaign
Once you are up and running with the system, the menu order makes sense, but for now, let me explain why I approach the system in this way.
List – The Top Level Way that I Segment my Contacts
List are the robust foundation of the house / castle / empire that you are going to be building. List allows you to group your contacts at a baseline level. With this power comes great responsibility, and because of this concept, a lot of ActiveCampaign users can find the system to be complicated at first glance or worse yet, they don’t know the power exist and end up neglecting it.
What cracks me up is so many other email marketing and CRM systems just dump every contact into one big bucket, and users only deal with this structure, not know that they are missing out on the power that a system like ActiveCampaign can provide.
Let me give you some use case examples to help you in designing your list.
Affiliate Marketing or Online Marketing
List can be set up for each external marketing campaign that you are promoting. If you are running ads with squeeze pages to promote ClickFunnels and another campaign to promote an online course like Affiliate Secrets 2.0, you can set up a list for each of these promotions. Don’t worry. Everyone that is entered into your system is a contact and can be added to any Campaign in the future.
Sticking with this structure, a 3rd or 4th list could be created to segment the contact information of those that purchased the course or signed up for the software.
Yet list is not locked in silos. A contact can belong to multiple lists. And just because they are on a particular list does not mean that you can not include them in a mass email campaign. Or better yet, add them when you are looking to promote a new product launch.
You can get as complicated or simple as you want with the list.
You could have two lists with one for those that haven’t purchased and one that has. Keep it that simple.
A Real Estate Example
You could create a list for buyer inquiries, seller inquiries, investor inquiries, and then another list for vendors. Each one of these lists would receive different messaging throughout the month, but would all receive your monthly newsletter or announcement of a just listed or just sold the property.
Further segmentation is accomplished through the use of Tags, which I will cover in the Contacts section.
The submenu to clicking on List on the main menu reveals the following options.
You can create a list or remove a list. (The system has a confirmation screen with multiple checkboxes that have to be completed so that you acknowledge that you are removing a list. Be careful. This also eliminates contacts within the list that are not in any other lists.)
When you create a list, you are asked to give the list a name, associate a web URL with the list and provide an explanation of the list that is used on the double opt-in message and unsubscribe screens to remind contacts that they are the ones that signed up for the list and where they signed up.
This structure has allowed me to use the same ActiveCampaign account for multiple ventures, separated by numerous lists.
The next option on the List submenu is Manage Fields.
ActiveCampaign will show you the base contact fields that are standard in the system. It is at this point that you can create custom fields that are used with specific lists of across the entire system.
One example that I will cover further in the Forms section is the ability to create a radio box or checkbox or dropdown fields that allow contacts to select what services they are interested in or topics. So many other systems force you to store information like this in a common Notes field, or they limit you on the usage of custom fields. Not with ActiveCampaign. I will cover this in the Forms section because when you select the manage fields option, it takes you to a submenu under Forms, so don’t get confused.
You also have the ability to allow a prospect to subscribe by email. This unique email address can be used to add a contact to a list when they send an email to that address.
Also, the submenu is the option to manage exclusions. These are either contact that clicked an unsubscribe link or those contacts that you manually add to this list. When emails are sent or campaigns created, these contact will be excluded from the recipients. (Manage Exclusions is a submenu of the Contacts section)
Managing email headers is for Enterprise Level accounts that are using their custom domain service. You can find out more about the different levels in my ActiveCampaign Pricing Plans article I recently wrote.
Once you set up the list, you rarely have to come back into this section. That is why it is so important to take some time on the front end to decide how you want to harness the power of this system. Keep reading, because, with the Forms and Automations sections, you will learn even more about the power and usage of the Lists.
Now that we have our Lists created, it is time to create the Forms that prospects will use to have their information captured out on our websites.
The Forms Section
You can create four types of forms with the ActiveCampaign system. With the ability to add custom fields and integrate with other ActiveCampaign Landing Pages and form building systems, the possibility is endless.
The Standard Form option allows you to embed a form into your WordPress web page or post or sidebar widget with the ActiveCampaign WordPress plugin or via the copy and paste method with HTML and CSS code.
Creating a form is broken into a four-step process.
• Naming and assigning to a list
• Form Design (Fields, Style, and Options)
• Automation Triggers
When you create a form, you have the ability to associate this form with a list or multiple lists. So back to our Affiliate Marketing example from before, the list would be identified at this point, and two forms would be created, each associated with a specific list.
Because you have the ability to duplicate a form, you could create the capture form and then duplicate it and just make a change to the associated list under the Options section of the form creation screen.
While list is very tangible to explain, tags are not. Why? Because there is an infinite number of possibilities available with tags.
Tags allow you to segment a contact at a granular level. In addition, the presence of a tag within a contact record can trigger marketing automation. Another complexity to tags is that you can add or remove tags from a contact at any time. They are not stagnant and provide a level of control over your marketing empire that is second to none.
Let me provide you with some examples.
You can create and assign tags based upon the traffic source that you used. One form could be used for Facebook advertising and a tag assigned to contacts if they completed that form.
Another form could assign a different tag because the traffic source was now Google PPC. Although both of the contacts that completed the form would be placed into the same List, the tags would allow you to follow up in different manners with triggered automation.
I will describe this more in the Automations section, but the same automation could be used. The same follow-up email could be sent, but the contents of the email could be conditionally varied based upon the presence of a particular tag. Imagine being able to acknowledge a contact that completed a form today as being a past purchaser.
If the form was used as a Request for a Free Consultation, or a Request for more information on a property or open house, then the contact could be added to a Deal pipeline in the CRM with an assignment to a member of your staff to follow up and manage the pipeline.
Automations can be triggered as soon as a form is completed. This is why it is the next section of our setup.
Within the form creation screen, you have all of the options that you would expect—the ability to add form fields and identify the type and if they are required. You can control the look and feel of the form with color sections and text.
You can also identify where the contact show is sent or better said what they should be shown when the form is completed. Either a default thank you page can be displayed, or a custom URL can be included to continue the education or sales process.
I have used the thank you page before to provide a list of frequently asked questions along with ta welcome video. In another case, I displayed the required forms or reading material needed to prepare for our upcoming appointment. I have also displayed the phone number that I was going to be using to text and call them so that they knew it was me and didn’t ignore the call. After all, they are the ones that just requested the information.
One the form is designed, and your options are set, it is now time to integrate the form into your website or landing pages.
You are given five options to include your form on the internet. You can embed the code with a copy and paste of the HTML and CSS script in it a full form, which will allow you to customize the form further or with a simple embed script. You can also allow ActiveCampaign to host the form with a link provided. When the prospect clicks the link, they are taken to the server, and the form is displayed. Another option is to display the code in your WordPress site with the installation of the ActiveCampaign WordPress plugin. This method allows you to include a shortcode in page or post where you want the form to be displayed. The last option is to display a form on your Facebook Business Page.
Form Submenu Choices allow you to manage your custom fields. You can do this on the fly while creating a form as well.
The View APP directory option takes you to the list of potential Integrations that are available in the system with such tools as Facebook, WordPress, Zapier, or Google Analytics, just to name a few.
Site Tracking connects your marketing and sales process to your website activity by tracking webpage visits made by contacts in “real-time.” In addition, Site Tracking also provides deeper visitor details when using Conversations. (An ActiveCampaign plan add-on)
ActiveCampaign API and Webhooks are used for the Integrations with other software systems and websites.
I have yet to come across a use scenario that the Forms section of ActiveCampaign has not been able to handle.
What is an Automation?
An Automation in the ActiveCampaign system is the assembly line that you develop to communicate with contact and nurture and build relationships that lead to sales, without you having to execute each step of the way. Using the assembly line analogy, the steps of the automations are the robots that repeat set tasks over and over again in the order that they are supposed to act.
The entire Automation process is designed by you. Either from scratch or by the use of pre-written automation that is called a recipe.
Although you start with a blank screen, building an automation is actually very simple—especially when compared to other systems.
In 2012, I bought a book on implementing a SaaS product called Infusionsoft (now called Keap). Designing a simple follow up program was complicated, tedious, and confusing. So much so that the company got the reputation of being called “ConfusionSoft.”
Fast forward to ActiveCampaign. This software can do everything that was covered in this book and then some.
One of the reasons that I can say this with confidence is all of the built-in “Recipes” that come standard with ActiveCampaign, no matter your subscription level.
Have you ever signed up for an email newsletter or free report and then get an email or a series of emails that talk about something completely different than the subject that you signed up for?
This happens when the companies sending the email have a one size fits all approach to their email marketing and don’t develop market segments with their messaging. Again, this of the real estate example with buyers and sellers. Two different wants and needs.
ActiveCampaign realizes this and has pre-written automation recipes for real estate and other industries like Fitness, Authors, Event Coordination, Travel, Loyalty Programs, Salesforce Integration, Ecourse delivery, & Shopify.
There is also a marketplace available with even more recipes. Automate Sales Team, Automate Sales Pipeline, Boost Contact Satisfaction, Customer Support, Strengthen Relationship, Increase Revenue, Customer Follow-up, Prospect Follow-up, & Increase Traffic.
Let’s take a look at building an automation in action. I am going to select one of the recommended recipes, called Welcome Series. The Welcome Series “Sends a small welcome series to new contacts as soon as they are added to your list. After a few days, we’ll check to see if they opened the welcome email. If so, we’ll send them a follow-up message with a little more depth. If not, we’ll send them a reworking of the welcome email with a new subject line and slightly different messaging.”
Notice when we launch the design editor for the automation, it indicates that there is an error in the initial trigger. We can correct this by assigning this automation to be triggered when someone is added to a list. This trigger will occur when someone completes a form that is assigned to a list. Now you see why I followed this order of setup.
The Setup Wizard can correct this. The first step of the wizard is to assign a list for this automation. (Automations can be triggered by multiple list, but that might defeat the purpose of having the segmented list, but the functionality is there if you need it.)
In the next step, you set the Name and email that the messages will be sent from. Again, because you can use the ActiveCampaign system for multiple ventures, this is an important step.
The next steps of the setup wizard are specific to the recipe that you have selected. They will have to do with setting the options for If/Else statements in the automation or determining the campaigns that you want to use for specific steps.
Once the wizard is done, we are taken to the design screen of the automation. Yes, it kind of looks like a whiteboard drawing on steroids.
Why don’t we walk through what this automation is doing?
The automation starts or is triggered when the first action takes place, which in the case of this Welcome Series example, is the contact was added to the AidtoNav Newsletter List that I create. A contact could have been added via a form that I created, or I manually could have added a contact to the list of transferred the contact from one list to another.
The way this is set up, the contact will immediately get a Welcome Email. If you wished to add an interim step, you could. Just click the circle with the plus sign in it.
The next step is to set a delay or waiting period until the next step is started. In this case, the time is set to one week, because we want to give the contact time to have read our email. The Wait function can work in one of two ways. It can wait until a set period of time has passed (which you can set anywhere from minutes to years), or you can set it as a wait until set. The wait until setting can be used to wait for a certain condition has been met.
An example of the wait until maybe a setting that waits until they have visited a certain page on your website or until another tag is added or action has been taken by your sales staff, like a follow-up phone call. You are in control of the process and can automate it.
Back to the example, the next step is an if/else or yes/no setting. We are monitoring the system to see if they have opened the original email. This could be set to anything from have they opened the email to have they replied or the one I like, have they taken the desired action, like clicked a link in my original email that took them to a specific page or offers on my website. From their actions, I know that this contact is more engaged than others, allowing me to tailor the message in the next step of the automation, just like the example has done.
Another powerful portion of the system that is available to you as a user is a conditional function. Using the example, I could have the 2nd email set up to send to the contact a week after the initial welcome email, but the contents of the message could be set to only include a certain paragraph or section if the contact read the first email or visited a page I have identified.
The reason that they have the welcome series set up the way that they do is so that you can easily see where a contact is in the process. Using the conditional formatting of a message does not make it as clear as the method used.
At any time, I can come into view an automation and click the View Contacts blue button on the top of the screen and see how many contacts are at each step of the process, including the wait steps.
The one thing that the example recipe does not cover is what happens to the contact once the steps have been completed. It is up to us, setting up the automation to make that determination. We could just add a step that ends the process, we could move the contact to another list, or we could add a tag to indicated that the welcome is completed and that tag could trigger another automation to begin.
Again, pressing the circle with the plus sign pops up another screen with the actions that you can add to the Automation.
This screen shows the conditional workflow options, including waiting, ending, and automation, or starting another one or even splitting the contacts into different paths. The split function could be used for a sales team to road robin the leads to different sales team members.
The Manage Messages submenu allows you to edit all of the messages, email, or SMS that are included in your automations in one place.
The Automation Maps submenu presents a different way to display the automations in the system. Is how you, which once are active and inactive at a glance as well as allowing you to search for specific functions or task or triggers that you have previously used.
I like to set up automations and just let them run, occasionally monitoring the steps and the efficiency of the process and then take action to adjust the messages or steps to get a better response rate. I do this daily when automation is first launched but tapers back to a monthly or quarterly review once it is setup.
The daily monitoring of contacts occurs for myself and a lot of users under the CRM portion of the ActiveCampaign system under the Deals option.
Deals do this is another term for pipelines. Deals are also as flexible as Forms and Automations. And because of this, they are underutilized in many cases.
The first thing that you notice is that the Deals Section does not have a submenu. When you click on the $ icon, you are taken directly to your deals.
Your first step in creating a deal is to create a pipeline. Think of Pipeline as the structure that your organization is going to use to respond to the contacts you hope to do deals or sales with.
Pipeline Name, Group Access, and Assignment Method to include manually, round-robin, or round-robin with a deal value.
Group access is how you can organize your sales team. Using a real estate team example, you may have buyer agents and listing agents (that work with sellers) that are assigned to separate groups and assigned leads in a Round Robin manner. You may also have a Senior agent or a Luxury agent that handles the higher-priced homes or clients, and they get assigned based upon the deal value.
Other Deal Management or Pipeline systems that I have worked come pre-installed with stages that you can not modify. This is very frustrating and annoying because it assumes a one size fits all approach. One size fits all doesn’t work for flip flops, and it doesn’t work for CRM Pipelines.
The deal designer and deal management systems are drag and drop. You can add steps, reorder steps, and color code the steps. You also can control the data regarding the contact that is displayed. I always like to have the contact name, phone number, and contact score displayed. For an email follow up system, the phone number would be excluded.
I went ahead and added a stage to this pipeline and displayed it in the list view vs. the grid view. This makes it very easy to use for a call list or one on one follow up. When you click on a deal, it shows you the contact and all of the associated information.
The next section that I focus on is Contacts. Now that I have a list, have captured the contact information, and started them on an automation and placed them in a deal, I can now focus on the contact level.
When you click on the contacts tab, you have the ability to sort and search through all of your contacts. You can filter by Tags, List, or status.
When you click on a specific contact, you can view and manage all of the contact information. In addition, you can see there most recent activity, like emails received, Any deals that they are in, all tags applied to the contact, and all of the automations that they are currently in the process of completing and automations that they have completed.
An entire history of emails sent, task, and notes are also part of the contact record, making ActiveCampaign a true CRM system. Once the system is set up, I spend the majority of my time in the Deals, Contacts, and Dashboard tabs.
Accounts are for your system ventures and have a URL associated with them.
Manage Scoring lets you establish engagement and tracking rules and scores that contacts achieve based upon their interactions with the steps of an automation process. Are they a past client, have they visited your site more than once, did they click on a specific offer. All of these actions can have a score assigned and add up as they come closer to converting or are an actual client.
Manage Tags almost needs its own section as far as I am concerned, right us there with Forms and Deals and List.
It shows you how many contacts and how many automations are associated with a particular tag. My only functionality request would be to have an ability to group like tags, but I accomplish this with my naming conventions.
Two contacts could fill out the same form on the same day, and after 24 to 48 hours, based upon the actions that they have taken with the automation that I set up would have different tags. One could have 2 or 3 with the other having 10-12. It all depends on how the Automation was set up and the actions and responses of the contacts.
Manage Exclusions shows you the contacts that have unsubscribed or that you have unsubscribed from your list.
List Cleanup allows you to remove contacts by status, including inactivity over a period of time.
Manage Tasks gives you a place to identify the manual task that you have to take with a contact, like a phone call needed, or to complete a proposal in a service industry application. (ActiveCampaign can’t automate everything, at least not yet.)
Database Sync lets you connect to your own external database to fetch contact data. This is a manual process, meaning you have to visit this page and run the appropriate sync each time you want data to be synced. Please note our specific IP addresses, which you will need to allow in your global database settings. Also, only one sync can be run at a time, and a few minutes are required in between each run.
Exports are self-explanatory.
All in all, the Contacts section is second only to another tool that I have used called Contactually. But the tag function and deals function allow me to accomplish all of the same tasks, and the marketing automation found in ActiveCampaign far exceeds that of other systems on the market.
In my opinion, the Campaign section alone, if it was all that ActiveCampaign offered, would be equal to if not better than the services offered by MailChimp, aWeber, or GetResponse, just to name a few.
Add on the forms and automation systems on ActiveCampaign, and it has become my go-to choice.
ActiveCampaign lets you create the following marketing campaigns, no matter which Pricing plan you select:
Send a regular, one-time email campaign.
Create custom sequences of email actions and conditions.
An automated campaign that will send after someone subscribes.
Compare multiple emails to test which work best.
Sends whenever your RSS based feed is updated.
Send on contact birthdays, anniversaries, and more.
All of these campaigns can be added to an Automation, increasing the power of your messaging exponentially. This also allows you to set up your monthly newsletter campaign or to send out one-off offers any time that you would like.
Every campaign has tracking capabilities on the campaign overall and every individual message to help you track open rates and adjust future messaging or adjust to an A/B test the next go around.
Campaign Reports, which are part of the over Reporting section, allow you to get detailed reports for all campaigns or individual messages, including Opens/Reads, Clicks, GEO, Social, Replies, Unsubscribes, & Email clients.
Campaigns also let you set up templates to match your corporate branding, and the system also comes with a number of templates that are already created.
One of my favorite features with regards to Campaigns is the Variables that you can set in one place and then reuse in other campaigns. These variables can be a simple as your company name or address, or it can be an HTML block to include a coupon or an affiliate link in the email without having to retype it.
So there you have it. A complete rundown of the Pricing and ActiveCampaign plans and my guide to implementation.
This is the way that I approach setting up my ActiveCampaign account and how I proceed every time that I am looking a launching a new marketing initiative.