The Most Comprehensive, No-Frills Comparison of Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign
What’s the difference between Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign?
Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign are both platforms that bring together marketing automation, CRM, sales pipelines, and campaign management – along with e-commerce and (in the case of Infusionsoft) payment processing. Both platforms are designed to take as much “busy work” as possible out of your hands, and handle most common sales and marketing tasks automatically, according to rules you set.
I can tell you from personal experience, personalized email marketing is a lot more effective than social media marketing when it comes to getting actual conversions. Don’t take my word for it – as of 2017, the majority of marketers are saying the same thing. Problem is, your typical email provider doesn’t come pre-loaded with the tools required for planning and executing a high-impact campaign – hence, the need for an email marketing automation platform.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried quite a few campaign management platforms – and while I wouldn’t say Infusionsoft is the all-around top performer, it’s definitely got some unique features that set it apart from its competitors. On the whole, I’m partial to ActiveCampaign, and I’m going to explain why.
First, let’s talk about what Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign actually do, and how much you’re going to have to pay for each of them.
There’s no getting around the fact the Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign are definitely both in the upper-mid price bracket. While they costs less per month than enterprise-level platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, you’re still going to be shelling out a considerable amount of money.
If you’re looking for a free trial for Infusionsoft, you’re out of luck. ActiveCampaign has a 14 day trial. The lowest-priced Infusionsoft plan starts at $199 per month, and the cheapest ActiveCampaign plan is $9– then the costs multiply from there. Still, the sheer number of components and features you’ll be getting for that price will be hard to find on many other platforms.
All plans require an annual contract, billed monthly.
Essentials: $199 USD per month (with 2,500 contacts and 3 users)
Deluxe: $299 USD per month (with 5,000 contacts and 4 users)
Complete: $379 USD per month (with 10,000 contacts and 5 users)
Team: $599 USD per month (with 20,000 contacts and 10 users)
The Essentials package gives you the CRM and marketing automation components, which may be all you need if you’re already running your own sales pipeline. At the Deluxe level, you get a choice between adding on the sales automation or e-commerce component, along with an upgrade to four users instead of three, and about double the emails and contacts. The aptly named Complete package gives you access to all the components, along with 50,000 emails a month and five user accounts. If your business grows to the point that you need to break out the larger guns, you also have the option to upgrade to the Team package, which gives you 20,000 contacts, 100,000 emails per month, and 10 users.
Two other important things to keep in mind with all Infusionsoft plans: one, they’re billed monthly but require an annual contract. And two, all plans require the purchase of a minimum “kickstart” program, which costs $999.
Lite: $29 USD per month (with 2,500 contacts and 3 users)
Plus: $113 USD per month (with 5,000 contacts and 25 users)
Professional: $238 USD per month (with 10,000 contacts and 50 users)
Enterprise: $350 USD per month (with 10,000 contacts and unlimited users)
As you can see, ActiveCampaign is a slightly more affordable – although this can be hard to tell from the pricing chart on its own site, which starts with monthly pricing for only 1,000 contacts, and requires you to adjust a slider to see how the prices rise for bigger contact lists. For $350 per month, you get to use the full suite of CRM and sales automation tools, plus automated lead scoring, and even one-on-one training from ActiveCampaign’s own staff of experts. You’ve also got the option to upgrade to Professional for $238 per month (if you go for the 10,000 contacts that Infusionsoft offers access to at this level), doubling your number of users to 50. The top-notch plan, Enterprise, is $350 per month – which is still less expensive than Infusionsoft’s Complete plan, as long as you limit your contact list to 10,000. For more contacts than that, though, you’ll have to contact ActiveCampaign for pricing.
On the whole, ActiveCampaign’s prices are more reasonable than Infusionsoft’s – but an even bigger advantage is that ActiveCampaign doesn’t require you to purchase any kind of minimum setup package, or to sign up for an annual contract (though they do offer discounts if you choose to).
Propel vs. Deals CRM
One of Infusionsoft’s biggest selling points is its “Propel” feature, which provides a centralized control panel for organizing contacts and orchestrating campaigns. The platform syncs information from phone contact lists, email services and social networks – and it even automatically gathers logos, fonts and other marketing assets, so all communications you send from Infusionsoft will match the look and feel of your brand.
The idea behind Infusionsoft’s approach to CRM is that you should never have to do anything manually, as long as the software can figure out how to do it for you. Once you’ve connected up your other tools and databases, the software will automatically pull out customer contact info, past orders and balances, lead scores, scheduled appointments, and interactions with your brand across every touchpoint where you’ve got analytics running.
ActiveCampaign’s “Deals” CRM feature does pretty much the same thing. Like Infusionsoft’s Propel, it generates and recommends new campaigns on the fly according to your customer data and the goals you define. Once you launch a campaign, you’ll be able to see real-time results on sales, reviews, and other key metrics – and make adjustments as necessary, all from the same centralized panel.
On both platforms, it’s easy to segment your leads in all the ways you’d expect – by demographic, lead score, clicks, purchases, and other attributes. In fact, Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign both handle quite a bit of this on their own as long as you give them the rules they need to analyze lead behavior and interactions. Tell the software what to look for, and it’ll scan through your whole database and score every lead for you.
I found the automatic contact syncing in Infusionsoft to work a little more smoothly than in ActiveCampaign – but on the whole, ActiveCampaign’s Deals tool offers a greater range of integration with other components of the platform, like sales and marketing automation.
Just about every digital marketing platform on the market these days offers some form of campaign automation – so it’s no surprise that Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign both provide a range of tools for making sure you reach the right leads with the right offers. Both platforms’ campaign managers integrate seamlessly with their CRM components, so you can easily scan through your leads by score (or other attributes) and plan campaigns around the ones you want to target.
Another handy feature of both platforms is the ability to build and deploy landing pages from right within the campaign builder, A/B test variations, and immediately act on the results of your analytics. For someone who loves to constantly tinker with their campaigns (like yours truly) this can be a real time-saver.
Like most marketing automation software, Infusionsoft has a drag-and-drop campaign builder interface – and while it gets the job done, I have to say it’s clunkier than ActiveCampaign’s, which is smooth as silk. Plus, ActiveCampaign also lets you define campaign pipelines by Goals, which trigger specific follow-up events, re-segmentations, or other changes when a customer doesn’t take the expected action. Infusionsoft doesn’t really have an equivalent of this, which makes ActiveCampaign my platform of choice for campaign automation.
The backbone of the sales automation component in both Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign is a powerful lead scoring algorithm. This algorithm constantly runs in the background, updating lead scores and other info in real time. It’s also easy to add or subtract points from scores manually, or otherwise adjust the criteria for your leads – the automatic segmentation will adapt around your adjustments pretty quickly.
On a broader scale, this approach to sales automation helps you manage your entire sales pipeline in a data-driven way, from one central interface. You can automate reminders for your sales staff, generate real-time reports, and even create forecasts of sales cycles.
One benefit of this constantly updated lead scoring is the ability to intelligently tailor personalized quotes and bids for each lead – and email them offers that can be accepted or declined digitally. Infusionsoft handles this especially nicely: as soon as a lead makes a purchase, the software converts the quote into an order, adds it to the customer’s balance, and alerts your sales reps so they know how and when to follow up. ActiveCampaign handles all the other components of sales automation extremely well, but I have to say Infusionsoft has them beat on this particular feature.
As we all know from personal experience, we’re much more likely to return to an online store (and keep buying from it) if it gives us recommendations tailored around our interests and purchase history. Nobody likes to get an email advertising a product they’ve already bought – or have already made it clear they’re not interested in – but follow-up offers can often turn into major drivers of repeat business.
Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign both streamline this offer-tailoring process, by letting you build data-gathering forms right into your landing pages. After every checkout, Infusionsoft imports the customer’s latest behavioral data into its database, so you can segment and automate campaigns based on a customer’s purchase history, geolocation, redeemed promo codes, and so on.
While ActiveCampaign isn’t quite as e-commerce focused as Infusionsoft, it also comes with tools for automating the follow-up, nurturing stages of your pipeline, and stimulating referrals and public reviews, to build your brand’s reputation through organic word of mouth.
Obviously, none of this marketing automation stuff would be worth much if your platform didn’t track and analyze your campaigns. Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign both provide analytics that are as detailed and helpful as you’d expect – although, on the whole, I’ve found that ActiveCampaign tends to handle them in more intuitive ways.
As you’d expect, both Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign generate marketing reports on the fly, populating them with conversion reports, sales funnel progress, top-performing assets, email delivery statuses, and so forth. Both platforms also have tools for generating sales reports by lead source, segment, interest, product, and a variety of other attributes – and for generating lifetime value reports on individual customers.
But ActiveCampaign really does come out the winner in the analytics category, simply because its analytics and reports are so much simpler and more intuitive to work with. Segmentation, lead scoring, and report generation can all be done with just one or two clicks – and the results are always easy to understand, and easy on the eyes.
If you’ve been running your own business for a while (like I have), you’ve probably already got your own payment processing solution in place – but one of Infusionsoft’s more unusual value propositions is the extent of its payment integration, especially on mobile.
Infusionsoft’s payment component is built to accept most major credit cards, with a ten-minute setup and no activation fees. They’re also very clear about their pricing: you’ll pay a flat rate of 2.9 percent plus $0.30 on each transaction. Beyond that, you won’t pay any monthly fees, no matter how many payments you process.
Also, Infusionsoft provides a dedicated 24/7 payment support team, who are always on call to help with any payment-related issues. Throw in the fact that the payment system sends automatic real-time updates to the sales, CRM, and campaign components of the software, and the idea of switching to Infusionsoft’s payment processing suddenly sounds like a pretty attractive one.
ActiveCampaign doesn’t really have an equivalent for this level of payment integration – but at the same time, I’m not entirely sure it’s necessary if you’ve already got your own payment processing system in place. I’m definitely not sure payment processing is worth Infusionsoft’s fees, when so many other payment solutions already exist on the market.
As you can see, Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign both offer most of the tools you’d expect from any marketing automation platform in their class – campaign management analytics, sales automation, integration with other databases and software, and a centralized interface that makes it easy to manage everything from one place.
That said, some of Infusionsoft’s features aren’t quite as streamlined and intuitive as you’d expect at this price point. ActiveCampaign’s campaign automation interface is by far the more intuitive of the two, and its Goals feature really is helpful for making sure your leads never slip through the cracks. I also like ActiveCampaign’s analytics and reports better.
The only feature that really makes Infusionsoft unique is its emphasis on payment processing – and while that’s definitely a big plus, I’m not sure it’s enough to merit Infusionsoft’s price all on its own. Other than that, you’ll be getting many of the same features either way.
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