Before companies jump into selecting a CRM and Marketing Automation platform, it is helpful to get a clear understanding of what each one offers.
The features and benefits are not as important as the specific needs of your company. Below is a comparison of two popular solutions: HubSpot and ActiveCampaign.
Review the features of each to make the best decision based on which one suits your specific needs.
Marketing Automation with Everything Under One Roof
HubSpot includes landing pages, CRM, social media manager, calendar integration, pro-sales tools, blogging, email marketing, and a service interaction manager all within a single platform.
ActiveCampaign has most of the same features, however, relies on integrating landing pages and blogging with 3rd party solutions.
There are pros and cons to having increased functionality within one platform. Being able to use a single tool for all your CRM and marketing automation needs is helpful because you can log into one place.
The ability to get meaningful results from reporting features is less cumbersome and faster when using one platform as opposed to one that uses 3rd-party integrations.
You can design landing pages, calls-to-action, emails, and forms in HubSpot. However, the user interface in their design manager is not very intuitive and requires some technical knowledge.
If you want to use one of their templates for your own design, it is much easier than if you’re looking to make changes or create your own.
ActiveCampaign doesn’t include a landing page creator. You must integrate with a 3rd party service. However, for emails, their design feature is easier to use for non-technical users.
You can use one of their templates, start from scratch, or import the code for one you have created on another platform.
HubSpot’s system doesn’t work well with imported code whereas ActiveCampaign plays nicer with your code.
Email Marketing Automation
We have already discussed above the design features for emails with both platforms. As far as the ability to automate your email marketing, they are very similar.
One of the main differences is that ActiveCampaign has a better workflow process. It is easier to segment your lists by branching off into “Yes/No” conditions.
Buildapreneur’s review reports that you can use a trigger to automatically remove a contact from one list and move it to another based on the type of behavior you choose as the trigger.
File Manager/Media Dashboard
HubSpot has a file manager where you can store, images, videos, PDFs, and any other file type you need to have access to for your marketing.
ActiveCampaign does not. This can make sharing images and files with others on your team rather tricky.
Social Media Management
HubSpot has a robust social media manager. You can schedule posts and monitor engagement. If you use spreadsheets to create a social media post calendar, HubSpot provides the ability to upload the sheets to its platform easily.
ActiveCampaign does not have any social media management features.
Running campaigns in HubSpot is one of its strong points. The reason is that they have every tool you need under one roof.
So, you can link everything in your campaign within this single platform. You can segment your efforts based on how each campaign performs.
ActiveCampaign does not have this feature.
Ben Marcoux, a Roofing Lead Generation Expert, reports that ActiveCampaign works seamlessly with all the other tools he uses.
He also shares that if there is no direct integration available, he can create one using Zapier. Ben says he has never run into any technical issue preventing him from doing what he needs.
Carah Counts, Digital Marketing Strategist at CareATC, Inc. finds HubSpot a little slow at times. She attributes this to all the new features they have added to their platform.
However, she also states that most of the time, the platform is very fast. Carah also points out that because the majority of API integrations work in the background, she has never had any trouble with lag.
No matter what tool you choose, there will be a learning curve. Setting up email marketing in ActiveCampaign is relatively simple and yields effective results.
Because HubSpot is such a multi-faceted feature-rich platform, the learning curve is rather long. Many suggest devoting time to learn the platform to make it easier to use. They do, however, have an excellent support team via email, live chat, and phone.
Marketing Automation Cost Comparison
HubSpot is more expensive than ActiveCampaign in general. Also, if you are looking for monthly prices, you won’t find them with HubSpot, but it is an option with ActiveCampaign.
If you are looking for the same functionality for ActiveCampaign that HubSpot offers, you will need to pay for a landing page builder and a blogging platform.
ActiveCampaign’s pricing plans are easier to understand because they have fewer options. HubSpot’s pricing can be a little more complicated.
For both platforms, the cost depends upon the size of your contact list. The more contacts you have, the higher the price.
Here is a summary of ActiveCampaign’s pricing structure. Click on the image below to learn more about how the prices for each option go up as you increase the number of contacts.
Below is a summary of HubSpot’s platform and pricing options. Click on the image to switch between platforms and number of contacts.
Which is Best for You?
There is no one or right answer. It all depends on your needs and what you are looking to do. Based on the features discussed above, you might prefer ActiveCampaign if:
- Your focus is on email marketing
- Being able to segment your lists is something you need
- Cost is a factor, and you need a CRM with marketing tools for your team
- You need advanced marketing automation on a tight budget
HubSpot might be a better option for you if:
- You don’t have strict budgetary restrictions
- Tying inbound marketing into your CRM is important to you
- A CRM is all you need because it is free with HubSpot
- Your conversions are high value, and you spend a lot of time working with individual contacts
Both ActiveCampaign and HubSpot offer powerful marketing automation and CRM features. Both are established companies with good reputations.
They have a lot of similar features, so neither one is the right choice and the other the wrong choice. The answer is still it depends.
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