Modern email marketing platforms no longer help to just “build a list” and send some basic emails. They let you leverage advanced automation tools to deliver a personalized experience and market your products or services at scale.
But before you can set up a system that captures and turns website visitors into paying customers, you have to pick a platform — for example, ActiveCampaign or ClickFunnels.
But how do you know which one is the right option for you? That’s exactly what this guide will help you discover.
We’ll cover crucial features, pricing (and different plans), customer reputation, ease of use, and more in this in-depth comparison of ActiveCampaign vs. ClickFunnels. By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of which tool is better for your use case.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this review:
- ActiveCampaign overview
- ClickFunnels overview
- ActiveCampaign features
- ClickFunnels features
- ActiveCampaign pricing
- ClickFunnels pricing
- ActiveCampaign vs. ClickFunnels reviews
- ActiveCampaign is better value for money for most businesses
ActiveCampaign is more than a simple email autoresponder; it’s a complete marketing automation platform — including a sales CRM for keeping tabs on individual interactions you have with a contact, even beyond the emails you send.
Of course, ActiveCampaign also includes basic tools like email templates and a drag-and-drop email builder (and a landing page one) that help you create campaigns effortlessly.
But what sets ActiveCampaign apart is its marketing automation capabilities. With a drag-and-drop automation builder, you can create marketing flows that automatically turn website visitors into customers. You can even set up post-sale automations that improve the customer experience.
ClickFunnels markets itself as a complete marketing and sales platform suitable for anyone who aims to sell anything online, but notably, it has built-in support for hosting and selling digital courses.
While the platform initially positioned itself as purely a funnel builder, it has transitioned into offering “everything you need” to turn visitors into paying customers. ClickFunnels offers landing page creation and email marketing tools, as well as online shopping cart software and payment processing.
These quick overviews highlighted a few key differences, but let’s dive deeper into the features and see which of these two platforms is the right choice for you.
ActiveCampaign has all the features any aspiring (or experienced) email marketer could want. Let’s start with the basics that you would need even to start collecting email addresses and sending professional marketing emails.
The basics: email and landing page builder, 250+ email templates
ActiveCampaign offers an intuitive drag-and-drop landing page builder that makes it easy to start building your list. After choosing from a variety of landing page templates, you can easily edit the page with a few clicks.
Of course, once people start signing up on your landing page, you’ll need a way to send professional marketing emails to your list.
With ActiveCampaign, you also get access to 250+ responsive email templates that you can easily edit in the drag-and-drop email builder.
But just sending mass emails to all your contacts at once isn’t effective anymore — people are jaded from all the blatant ads in their inboxes. So ActiveCampaign also offers segmentation tools that help you send more targeted promotions to your email lists.
That way you can ensure that every prospect only gets emails that actually matter to them.
Advanced features: email automation, split testing, etc.
If you sign up for the Email & Marketing Automation plan, you’ll get access to some of the most advanced email automation tools available. With over 850 automation recipes to choose from, the sky’s the limit.
For example, you can create a dedicated sales funnel for a specific product — perfect if you’re planning on running a limited-time sale. You can use triggers from your website or ecommerce store, or even marketing platforms that integrate with ActiveCampaign.
And that’s only scratching the surface of what it can do. The drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to create a wide range of marketing funnels, from promoting products, to ensuring better customer satisfaction.
Beyond email automation, here are a few of the key features ActiveCampaign offers:
- Split testing for emails and landing pages
- Full-fledged CRM for keeping track of customers and their interactions with your business
- Automated website personalization (change what appears on a given page to suit the profile in the CRM)
- Native support for automated SMS messages in campaigns
ClickFunnels also offers a wide range of features that enable everything from basic email marketing to advanced funnel building.
The basics: Landing page and funnel builder
ClickFunnels also features an impressive landing page builder. It’s super easy to use and shows the page exactly how the end result will look, making it easy to create your ideal design.
What’s more, you can edit the relevant actions in your marketing funnel from the same interface. The form submission is typically the “trigger” that starts a campaign. From there, you can work with all sorts of variables, like whether they open your next email or if they visit a product page in your online store.
Advanced features: complete online course management platform
The standout feature of ClickFunnels is their course management platform, which lets you upload and host course videos, and create a logical flow and experience for enrolled students.
You can create a new course, design the theme and look, add new lessons, and more in just minutes (provided you already have the course content ready to go).
If you’re planning to sell an online course as part of your monetization strategy for your site, ClickFunnels offers almost everything you need to market and manage that course.
Beyond the platform for courses, ClickFunnels offers the following advanced features:
- Split testing for landing pages, emails, and whole funnels
- Basic CRM for tracking customer interactions
- Support for SMS messages through integration (note that you’ll need to pay to use a separate tool like Twilio)
Now that you’ve seen what these platforms can do, let’s look at how much they cost.
ActiveCampaign offers many different pricing plans depending on what your goals and needs are, but the basic Email & Marketing Automation plan — Lite — starts at $29 per month (when billed annually).
However, to get access to crucial features like landing pages and ecommerce integration, you’ll need the Plus plan, which costs $49 per month paid annually.
- Lite: The $29 plan is a good choice for solopreneurs but offers limited features beyond basics like email segmentation.
- Plus: The $49 plan is enough for most businesses, with support for landing pages, ecommerce integration, advanced CRM features like lead scoring, Facebook audiences, and more.
- Professional: The $149 per month plan is for performance-focused teams that need advanced features like predictive sending, split automation, and account-based marketing tools.
If your focus is on B2B and tailored follow-up, rather than automated emails for consumers, a sales bundle might be more suitable, with the Plus plan starting at $19 per month.
ActiveCampaign also offers a free 14-day trial, so you can test drive the platform to see how it fits in with your business.
ClickFunnels offers three pricing plans, with Basic, the cheapest, starting at $127 per month.
Here’s a short overview of each plan:
- Basic: At $127 per month (billed annually), this plan includes all the features we’ve covered in this comparison and is great for anyone who only needs a single site and user.
- Pro: For $157 per month, this plan gives you access to more funnels, as well as different domain names and multiple admin users. That makes it suitable for small marketing teams.
- Funnel Hacker: The $208/month plan includes unlimited funnels up to 15 admin users, and a much higher number of potential contacts at 200,000, which makes it the right choice for large businesses that have big email lists.
Because of its premium price point, ClickFunnels tries to point to the fact that you get “all the tools you need in one package,” including an online shopping cart and payment processing, subscription models, and more. But in reality, many cheaper alternatives also offer the majority of these features today.
Unless you’re planning to sell an online course, ActiveCampaign is a more affordable choice to get an email marketing tool suite that’s just as powerful.
ActiveCampaign vs. ClickFunnels reviews
Both platforms have really good customer reputations (with ClickFunnels at 4.7/5 and ActiveCampaign at 4.6/5) on G2, a software review platform.
But to better understand how real customers feel about the actual products, it’s important to read the few negative reviews that are out there.
With ActiveCampaign, one recurring theme seems to be a lack of in-depth analytics data features for enterprise marketing teams. (We’re talking about things like video watch time, and other advanced metrics that most business owners don’t care about.)
With ClickFunnels, a recurring complaint is simply the high price tag, as many business owners feel that they’re paying too much for what they’re getting (as most competitors cost less than half as much, including ActiveCampaign).
Some SMB owners also feel that it’s “too powerful” for their business, as they just want to send out regular updates or a basic newsletter. If that’s all you need, even the basic plan can seem to offer an overwhelming amount of features.
ActiveCampaign is better value for money for most businesses
After diving into features, pricing, and customer reputation, it’s clear to see that ActiveCampaign is a better, more affordable alternative for most businesses.
There is one major exception, however. If you’re making an online video course and need a platform to host the videos and manage your students, not just an email marketing platform, then ClickFunnels could be for you.
While investing in ActiveCampaign and a course platform like Thinkific (starting at $39/month) is cheaper, having everything on the same platform makes things easier. For example, you can create an upsell campaign for a new course or one-to-one coaching with a few clicks, instead of having to integrate two platforms first.
But if you just want a platform to manage email marketing campaigns and leads, ActiveCampaign is the way to go. With equally (if not more) powerful features for less than half of ClickFunnels’ price tag, it’s not up for debate.