We live in an age so saturated with products, brands, and advertising that the average user has learned to tune out all the noise. As a result, more than ever before, inbound marketing such as email is crucial.
The success of any email marketing campaign relies on a range of factors. For one, you need to send professional-looking emails. But you also need to generate leads, schedule and automate campaigns, and analyze their performance.
That’s a lot.
This is where all-in-one email marketing solutions such as ActiveCampaign and GetResponse shine. Both platforms provide everything you need to hit the ground running with email marketing.
So, in this article, we’re taking a close look at both tools to provide you with all the info you need to decide if either service is right for you.
Pros and Cons of ActiveCampaign vs GetResponse
Before getting started with the in-depth comparison, here are my top pros and cons for both providers.
ActiveCampaign is a customer experience automation platform that comes with various email marketing, CRM, and marketing automation tools.
- Highly flexible segmentation.
- You get access to a powerful workflow builder.
- Robust reporting features.
- Advanced A/B testing.
- Intuitive email and landing page editor with good design capabilities.
- You can automate website messages and set up live chat.
- SMS marketing is included.
- There’s a wide range of personalization tools, including predictive content blocks.
- Well-suited to larger teams with multiple users.
- You can’t create and send transactional emails.
- The learning curve is steeper than GetResponse’s.
- Pricing is expensive compared to GetResponse.
- 24/7 support isn’t available.
- There’s a lack of in-depth self-help resources.
GetResponse is a popular inbound marketing platform with features such as email marketing, landing page and webinar creation, and more.
- More budget-friendly plans, with all basic functionality available in the cheaper plan, including unlimited landing pages.
- There’s a wide range of templates for landing pages, emails, funnels, and more.
- Intuitive editors for emails, landing pages, and automations.
- There’s a wide range of self-help resources and in-depth courses available.
- You can create and sell webinars.
- You can add live chat functionality to your site.
- You can tweak designs for mobile visitors and get stats on mobile performance.
- You can send transaction emails to keep customers up to date with their eCommerce purchases.
- 24/7 live chat support is available.
- Its automation builder isn’t as customizable and powerful as ActiveCampaign’s.
- Segmentation and reporting are more basic.
- If you have a large team, you’ll need to get a quotation for the MAX plan, as the fixed-priced plans only include up to five users.
- SMS marketing isn’t available.
- There aren’t as many advanced personalization features.
ActiveCampaign has been around since 2003. Fast forward to today, and over 50,000 businesses rely on their service to meet their email marketing demands.
In short, ActiveCampaign provides everything you need to enhance the customer journey at every customer life cycle stage. Namely, by empowering you to automate the entire marketing process and optimize it to generate maximum profits.
That said, ActiveCampaign isn’t the cheapest email marketing tool on the market. Still, it’s undoubtedly one of the most well-rounded. Its feature-rich plans suit B2C, B2B, and eCommerce businesses serious about their email marketing strategies.
GetResponse is another holistic email marketing solution. By this, I mean you can build landing pages and websites and access everything you need to automate high-quality email marketing campaigns.
Rather impressively, over 760 million emails are sent every week, and over one million leads are generated each month using GetResponse. So, it sounds like they’re doing something right!
Also, unlike ActiveCampaign, GetResponse enables you to launch webinars as another inbound marketing strategy.
The email editor is a core feature of any email marketing tool. This is where you’ll build and design your emails ready for sending.
So let’s take a look at how ActiveCampaign and GetResponse’s email editors compare.
Thanks to its drag-and-drop interface, ActiveCampaign’s email editor is pleasantly intuitive.
You can kick-start the design process by choosing a template and customizing it to suit your needs. There are over 125 email templates to choose from, designed for both B2B and B2C audiences. These templates are organized by categories, including newsletters, conference events, reviews, feedback, holidays, customer service, and abandoned cart emails.
All templates are responsive and can be edited using HTML. Once you’ve picked a template, you can drag in all kinds of content blocks, including images, videos, RSS feeds, products, social links, and more. You can also use HTML blocks to code content from scratch.
There’s tons of design freedom. For example, you can adjust settings such as borders, background colors, margins, and paddings from the sidebar. There’s also a simple media library where you can store images and reuse them in later emails.
Before moving on, I also want to talk about the predictive content blocks available with ActiveCampaign’s higher plans. These allow you to fine-tune email content to better appeal to your customers. More specifically, you can create up to five content variations with different copies, links, calls to action, etc. Then ActiveCampaign chooses which variation is most likely to engage with the customer based on their previous interactions with your emails.
You can also add personalization tags that automatically insert a customer’s name, location, age, company, and other details into your email. Plus, all content blocks can be marked as conditional, which means they’re set to appear only to specified customer segments. Pretty neat, right?
Where the basics are concerned, you can expect similar things from GetResponse’s email editor. This includes a drag-and-drop interface with all the major content blocks.
Plus, there are over 220 email templates to choose from, all of which are goal-oriented, covering objectives such as welcome, educate, sell, promote, and others. For something more simple, you can choose from three basic layouts (one-, two-, or three-column emails). Alternatively, you can start entirely from scratch with a blank template. You can also build custom templates and curate your own template library.
Unlike ActiveCampaign, GetResponse places a greater emphasis on sections and layouts, making it easy to restructure your email. You can also arrange content into layouts and save them in your library to reuse as blocks later. However, GetResponse is slightly more reliant on the sidebar editor, as even the text has to be changed from the options menu rather than within the template itself, which isn’t as intuitive.
Like ActiveCampaign, GetResponse also offers a basic image editor. Here, you can crop images from your media library and apply text and filters. In addition, GetResponse provides access to over 5,000 royalty-free stock photos, which you can use to jazz up your email designs.
Plus, there are hundreds of fonts to choose from!
Email Editor – Winner: It’s a Tie!
Both ActiveCampaign and GetResponse have similar, intuitive email editors with comparable functionalities.
ActiveCampaign makes it easier to edit the text inside your templates. Whereas, GetResponse comes with a greater choice of themes and the neat ability to save and reuse layout blocks.
As such, it all comes down to your needs — but, in either case, you likely won’t be disappointed.
You can use landing pages for advertising your products, lead magnets, services, and more. But most importantly, you can collect customer data using subscription forms.
In light of that, here’s how ActiveCampaign and GetResponse’s landing page builders square up.
ActiveCampaign’s powerful editing capabilities shine in its landing page editor. There are over 50 customizable templates that you can edit and save to your template library. You can use a drag-and-drop interface to place content elements in a grid and resize them as needed.
Similarly, you also have a great range of design options to choose from. You can even edit advanced visual elements such as inner shadows, opacity, background colors, drop shadows, corner radius, and more.
In addition, you can optimize landing pages for different devices by using the desktop or mobile mode to easily add, remove, or edit blocks.
Examples of content blocks available for your landing pages include countdown timers, navigation, columns, lists, subscriptions forms, social links, PayPal buttons, and the Shopify Buy button.
However, I’d like to point out that ActiveCampaign only unlocks landing page creation with one of its more expensive plans. If like me, you consider landing pages an integral part of your email marketing funnel, ActiveCampaign might seem a bit costly.
In contrast, even with GetResponse’s cheapest plan, you can build unlimited landing pages. And there’s no shortage of templates to choose from, either. In fact, there are over 200 customizable templates explicitly designed to meet different business goals.
GetResponse’s drag-and-drop interface allows you to move, resize, crop, group, color, and reshape all of your elements in minutes.
You can also tweak your landing pages to optimize them for mobile devices and add images from GetResponse’s free selection of stock photography.
Landing Pages – Winner: GetResponse
When it comes to landing page creation, there isn’t much difference between the two platforms. However, I like that GetResponse enables you to create unlimited landing pages on its cheapest plan. It also has a wide range of templates available to choose from — win-win!
Email automation is the next biggest feature we’re all here for. This is what makes sending emails in your sleep possible and enables you to lead customers down a meticulously crafted sales funnel that hopefully ends in a purchase.
That said, let’s see how ActiveCampaign and GetResponse compare when it comes to automation.
ActiveCampaign comes with an intuitive drag-and-drop automation workflow builder that makes funnel creation a bit like setting up a flowchart. Needless to say, this makes visualizing your automation sequences much easier — especially when partnered with the automation map tool. The latter provides an overview of all your automations in one giant map. You can see how they all work together, which makes spotting bottlenecks much easier.
Automation workflows start with a trigger condition and can then be populated with delays, conditions, and actions. Actions allow you to add notes, remove or add tags to contacts, update contact information, adjust customer scores, add customers to Facebook audiences, and more.
Impressively, for more granular control over when a funnel starts or continues, ActiveCampaign enables you to use advanced site tracking features. You can get as specific as launching an email campaign once customers have watched 30% of a particular video, for example.
Lastly, ActiveCampaign also makes it easy to track your automation goals. So you can quickly see how many customers make it to specific parts of your funnel before dropping off.
GetResponse’s automation builder comes with 30 funnel templates to help get you started, including lead magnet, sales, webinar, and opt-in funnels.
These pre-designed scenarios make it super quick to launch a funnel. You simply auto-generate all the steps, and all that’s left to do is fine-tune the funnel to your liking. Where GetResponse varies significantly from ActiveCampaign is its focus on pre-built funnels.
For example, if you want to create a sales funnel, you’ll be given a choice between a quick sales funnel and a full sales funnel. Quick funnels, by default, don’t include a landing page for email subscriptions, whereas full funnels are more complex and include extra steps.
That said, you’re tied to these blueprints. While they cover most scenarios, you don’t have the freedom to fully customize an automation workflow according to your specific needs.
Automation – Winner: ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign boasts the more complex and powerful automation workflow builder. GetResponse, in comparison, relies too heavily on pre-built funnels and therefore doesn’t give you as much freedom. It’s quick and easy but doesn’t provide the same in-depth experience as ActiveCampaign.
Email segmentation enables you to split your contacts into smaller groups so you can send out more targeted email campaigns.
Personalization and relevance make a big difference to conversions, so let’s see how segmentation works with ActiveCampaign and GetResponse.
ActiveCampaign offers a super flexible segmentation system. For example, you can combine lists, tags, and custom fields to create highly targeted segments. Or, you can segment by location, demographics, and the product types customers interact with.
You can also trigger campaigns based on subscriber behavior such as opened emails, coupons received, purchases, and others.
What makes ActiveCampaign’s segmentation so powerful is that you can apply 20 conditions to each segment. This means you can target the tiniest groups amongst customer lists containing several thousand contacts.
Segments are also easy to create. Just use the advanced search on your subscriber list and select a condition. Once you’ve filtered your contacts down, you can further refine conditions based on other values or AND/OR logic. Then, you can combine them into one segment.
You can even create segments while you’re setting up campaigns within the automation builder, so rest assured, the whole process is immensely intuitive.
GetResponse’s segmentation is also pretty flexible. For example, you can assign tags and scores to your contacts and use behavioral and engagement data to create segments. You can also upload contact lists and add customs data fields for quicker grouping.
The advanced search comes with a good number of conditions to filter customers by. The eCommerce condition, for example, includes metrics such as the number of purchases, total spent, product purchased, brand purchased, and more — all of which may come in handy for segmenting your audience.
Segments update dynamically when contacts start or stop fitting the requirements, and engagement scores can be assigned automatically based on performance metrics.
Segmentation – Winner: ActiveCampaign
GetResponse’s segmentation features are perfectly robust. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at them! But with the ability to assign up to 20 conditions with logic statements and a wide range of tags, custom fields, and behaviors, ActiveCampaign takes segmentation to the next level.
The only way to successfully optimize your email campaigns is to learn what worked and what didn’t by looking at the data. Therefore, providers such as ActiveCampaign and GetResponse strive to make these insights easily accessible.
Both tools let you review metrics such as your emails’ click, open, bounce, and unsubscribe rates. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what other insights they provide.
ActiveCampaign enables you to set customer scores to assign a numeric value to customer loyalty, making it much easier to track. Similarly, you can also set conversion goals to help monitor whether you’re on track to meet your targets.
The service also offers attribution monitoring. This feature lists every customer interaction with your brand, including where they came from and what their customer journey looks like. Observing these customer paths will highlight which platforms are better for lead generation, clarifying what to prioritize.
There are several reports available in your dashboard that provide different kinds of data, including site, automation, eCommmerce, campaign, and other reports.
You can also generate custom reports using a wide range of metrics revolving around your campaigns, contacts, automation, and services. This is the easiest way to compile the information most important to you in one centralized report.
ActiveCampaign boasts very robust A/B testing capabilities as well. You can split test your automations and emails based on factors such as wait times, site messages, number of emails, message content, subject line and header, and more. You can also schedule a specific date, time, or condition to stop splitting your automations.
GetResponse also offers some pretty solid analytics features. For example, you can intuitively compare campaigns side by side to see which performed better and learn which email links led to the most sales, signups, or visits.
You can also access intuitive reports such as your most popular subscription models, daily and monthly average subscription rates, and subscriber locations.
At any time, you can also create activity and post-delivery reports. Activity reports show the number of subscribers and unsubscribers. It also touches on your autoresponder performance. Whereas, post-delivery reports are one-time reports compiling all performance metrics after a newsletter delivery.
As with ActiveCampaign, you can create goals from your Settings menu. This will give you an HTML snippet to place onto your websites to track visitors. The goal counter increases each time the condition is fulfilled and a visitor arrives at a specific URL. For instance, this could be a checkout page to track sales.
GetResponse also provides desktop vs mobile client performance metrics.
Like ActiveCampaign, GetResponse enables you to run A/B tests for newsletters, autoresponders, and automation messages. However, this primarily focuses on the subject line — there’s no way to test for other email campaign elements.
Analytics – Winner: ActiveCampaign
Overall, I found ActiveCampaign’s reports to be much more comprehensive. You can choose from a broader range of reports and A/B test email campaigns and workflows to a much more granular degree.
Before I conclude this features comparison, I’d like to briefly mention some other capabilities of these tools. These might make one or the other more attractive to your business, depending on where your focus lies.
ActiveCampaign offers SMS marketing and live chat. You can even automate these features using the workflow builder, triggering automations that follow up with contacts and update contact information with tags and custom fields as you go.
Another nifty feature is ActiveCampaign’s ability to personalize your website to show visitors a different message based on their history with your brand. This includes showing relevant content to the right customer segment or personalizing welcome messages for return customers. You could use this feature to share a company update, qualify your leads, give a solid call to action, or just say “hi, thanks for visiting!”.
ActiveCampaign also enables you to offer real-time support and feedback by connecting with WhatsApp.
GetResponse comes with quite a range of features that don’t strictly fall into the realm of email marketing. For one, they offer a website builder to create your own site and integrate it directly with your marketing tools.
The platform also enables you to add a live chat function to your pages and emails. You can also apply tags and custom fields to your contacts based on chat history to create more targeted segments.
And finally, I can’t not talk about GetResponse’s webinar feature.
GetResponse enables you to host and build webinars from several recording layouts. It’s up to you whether you make webinars available live or on-demand — GetResponse facilitates both. You can also include polls to see how your audience is feeling during the webinar.
You can host unlimited webinars and support 1,000 live attendees at any one time. You can even invite two other presenters to collaborate with you and store up to 20 hours of webinar recordings in your account.
Webinars aren’t something ActiveCampaign includes, so if this sounds sensible for your business, it makes GetResponse an excellent package deal.
Other Capabilities – Winner: It’s a Tie!
ActiveCampaign boasts some handy extra features that help with marketing automation. Still, GetResponse takes things in a whole new direction with its webinar functionality.
In other words, both providers have something extra to offer, so what is best for you depends entirely on your business needs.
I caveat everything I’m about to say by recommending that you check out their websites to get an accurate quote for your own needs.
As a basis for our pricing comparison below, we’ll assume a list size of 1,000 contacts.
ActiveCampaign offers four premium pricing plans, billed either monthly or annually. All plans come with marketing automation and unlimited email sends, plus access to the email template library.
However, it’s worth noting that you don’t unlock landing pages, automation maps, the built-in CRM, and website messages with the cheapest plan. You also can’t split automations until you opt into a higher program.
However, one area where ActiveCampaign is a little more generous is how many users you can sign up with. On the cheapest plan, three users are included, which extends to 25 in the next tier. In comparison, GetResponse’s cheapest plan only comes with one user and only unlocks five with its most expensive plan:
For 1,000 contacts, this is what you can expect to pay for ActiveCampaign’s different pricing packages:
- Lite: $29 per month, or $25 per month when billed annually
- Plus: $70 per month, or $49 per month when billed annually
- Professional: $159 per month, or $129 per month when billed annually
- Enterprise: $279 per month, or $229 per month when billed annually
If you want to check ActiveCampaign out before you buy, there’s a 14-day free trial available.
In comparison, GetResponse is considerably cheaper. This is especially true if you opt into annual billing, where you’ll enjoy an 18% saving, or even two-year billing, where you’ll benefit from 30% savings.
GetResponse has a limited free plan for up to 500 contacts, three premium plans, and a MAX plan that can be requested at custom pricing.
Every premium plan includes email marketing, unlimited landing page creation, and GetResponse’s website builder. Upgrading unlocks webinar functionality, extra sale funnels, additional automation, and sales features such as abandoned cart recovery emails.
For 1,000 contacts, the pricing looks as follows:
- Basic: $15 per month, or $10.50 per month for two years
- Plus: $49 per month, or $34.30 per month for two years
- Professional: $99 per month, or $69.30 per month for two years
You can also try GetResponse for 30 days with no obligations.
Pricing Plans – Winner: GetResponse
GetResponse is much more affordable overall. Plus, it doesn’t drastically limit your email marketing capabilities on its lower plans — this is especially true of the savings you make for longer commitments.
I would stress, however, that GetResponse is only more affordable if you have a small team. As soon as you want to sign up more than five users, its custom pricing might get more expensive, and ActiveCampaign might be the better fit for your budget.
Customer support is an essential consideration for any email marketer. To get the most out of your software, you need to ensure you’ll receive prompt and helpful support when you get stuck.
That said, here’s what you can expect from ActiveCampaign and GetResponse in this arena.
ActiveCampaign offers live chat and email support on all its plans, operating from Monday to Thursday 8 AM to 11 PM CST and 8 AM to 6 PM on Fridays.
Phone support is only available to Enterprise plan users. One-on-one training and onboarding are also reserved for more expensive tiers.
While the platform has a “University” populated with video resources and helpful articles, I didn’t find any of their courses very extensive. Instead, they focus on shorter video tutorials without going into too much depth.
There’s also a forum where you can network and discuss any questions with your peers, but it doesn’t seem incredibly active.
All GetResponse plans come with live chat and email support as well. But here, the platform has an edge: their live chat is available 24/7.
Phone, Slack, and dedicated support services only become available with the custom-priced MAX plan.
On top of that, there’s an extensive online help center with hundreds of articles. You can sign up for a getting-started training webinar and six free courses on mastering your email marketing strategies as well.
Their resources also include long-form video webinars, covering topics such as getting more leads, converting through chat, designing emails, and more.
Customer Support – Winner: GetResponse
With 24/7 live chat support and more in-depth courses, videos, and articles, GetResponse makes finding answers to your questions easier.
ActiveCampaign vs GetResponse: Final Verdict
Both ActiveCampaign and GetResponse are feature-rich email marketing platforms. However, their capabilities distinctly move towards different target audiences.
ActiveCampaign doesn’t waste any efforts on expanding into other territories. Instead, it’s entirely focused on marketing automation. In addition, all its tools are complex and in-depth. As such, it’s best suited to businesses or corporations wanting to take email marketing automation to the next level and have the budget to support it.
In contrast, GetResponse is a more budget-friendly option. So, it may better suit smaller businesses looking for one platform to cover all their email automation needs. In addition, they have a great webinar and live chat feature. However, GetResponse’s automation and email functionalities are more basic in comparison.
Which email marketing tool has caught your attention more? Let me know what you think in the comments below!