Jason VandeBoom launched ActiveCampaign back in 2003 in Chicago Illinois as a small consultancy firm. Taking advantage of the Internet boom and the appearance of social media, the company has become a leading cloud-based email marketing platform. It provides tailored marketing automation, CRM, and sales automation services to small and medium-sized businesses.
HubSpot entered the market three years later, in 2006, as the brainchild of Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. The company’s specialty is customer relationship management (CRM), but it also provides social media marketing, content management tools, and customer support solutions.
At a glance, ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot appears to be a rivalry between a CRM provider and an online marketing platform. In the paragraphs below, we shall see which of their services overlap, which are unique to each platform, and how much they charge per month.
HubSpot Vs ActiveCampaign Key Differences
In the following paragraphs, we shall have a look at some unique features of ActiveCampaign and HubSpot that distinguish each marketing platform from the other. These will help you choose the one that will work best for your business.
The free CRM tools of HubSpot are for salespeople, operations managers, customer service representatives, and marketers. The user-friendly CRM dashboard provides a detailed visualization of your company’s sales pipeline, complemented by in-depth reports on the sales activity and productivity of your team.
Regardless of your plan, HubSpot gives you a directory for 1,000,000 contacts and automatically enriches their entries with valuable data across millions of other businesses. When you open a contact entry, you can see your communication history, including cold calls, marketing emails, support tickets, etc.
Use the powerful CRM software of HubSpot to automatically send notifications to your sales team as soon as a potential customer opens their email or visits your website. This way, they will be able to close more deals with fewer mouse-clicks and phone calls. If you run a multi-location business, you can set different levels of access to the main contact list.
All plans of HubSpot include the following free CRM features:
- Live chat
- Prospect tracking
- Meeting scheduling
- Email tracking & notifications
ActiveCampaign has tied its CRM tools with sales automation. This bundle is available only with the Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. Compared to that of HubSpot, ActiveCampaign’s CRM tools aren’t that sophisticated and comprehensive. The CRM automations of ActiveCampaign provide the following algorithms:
- Salesteam notification
- Deal update & task creation
- Automatic leads nurture
Let’s take the sales CRM as an example. If one of your contacts submits an online form, the CRM software interprets this action as a new lead and automatically creates a deal with status Active. Then, it sends the contact a Welcome! message from a preliminarily-assigned template and notifies the company’s sales team.
Customer Support Tools
HubSpot has vowed to bring order to customer service chaos and prove that customer service isn’t a sunk cost. And they’ve pretty much achieved their goal by launching their Service Hub™ tool. It offers a fully-functional help desk with automation and reporting capabilities. The help desk is really easy to use and allows you to quickly turn chats and emails into tickets.
One of the most impressive features of Service Hub is the unified Conversations Inbox. It can integrate different email inboxes, live chats, ticket forms, as well as social media messages. Each conversation is organized in a separate tab. Thanks to the seamless communication between Service Hub™ and HubSpot CRM, you can always track a customer’s history with your business.
As far as ActiveCampaign provides customer service features, they are oriented towards shifting these duties from your team to your clients by creating self-help automations. The customer support email templates are designed to make every customer feel special.
The CMS Hub by Hubspot offers marketers powerful content management tools that they can use to create beautiful landing pages. The Drag-and-drop editor is easy to use. Its SEO recommendations will help you choose the right keywords to take your marketing and sales to the next level.
When building your landing pages, choose one of HubSpot’s default website themes or customize one according to your preferences. The editor will help you build a webpage that tells your potential customers who you are and what you do without having to hire a dedicated team of developers.
The creation of valuable content specially-tailored to your customers’ needs and experiences is the basis for the so-called inbound marketing strategy of HubSpot. Compared to traditional outbound marketing, inbound marketing appears to be the friendlier and more humane counterpart of email marketing. It is about establishing a meaningful relationship with your customers and helping them solve their current problems.
At first glance, ActiveCampaign does not seem to provide any content management tools. This is quite normal having in mind that the platform’s primary focus is on email marketing and marketing automation. However, you can still create and manage content on ActiveCampaign via a third-party app called Drupal.
When integrated with ActiveCampaign, this powerful open-source content management platform combines the engaging content you create with specially-targeted subscription forms. These appear and behave as you would expect them to. The combination of ActiveCampaign and Drupal will help you convert your visitors into customers fast.
Log into your Drupal account to Insert ActiveCampaign forms at strategic places and maximize leads. You can also keep tabs on your new leads using the CRM suite of ActiveCampaign or create follow-up algorithms with their drop-and-drag marketing automation builder.
This tool really makes ActiveCampaign stand out from the crowd of email marketing platforms. In broad outlines, this feature tells you which of your leads are likely to become loyal customers and which you’d be better off letting go. By analyzing the consumer behavior of your website’s visitors, the Machine Learning software of ActiveCampaign “learns” when they check their emails and automatically sends ones they’re more likely to open. This serves to effectively generate leads. Armed with data-backed predictions, you’ll know which deals you’re most likely to close and spend less money on winning new customers.
HubSpot offers its SalesHub tool as an ActiveCampaign alternative. It provides efficient marketing automation algorithms that enable the user to quickly close deals and make sales. However, it lags behind ActiveCampaign in terms of its ability to make marketing predictions and analyze the collected data.
ActiveCampaign vs Hubspot: Shared Features Comparison
The marketing automation tool of HubSpot is called Marketing Hub. This comprehensive and versatile inbound email marketing software enables you to regularly launch targeted email marketing campaigns, thereby converting your leads into returning customers.
Again, it appears that HubSpot has developed its marketing automation features around the creation of engaging content and the generation of SEO-driven traffic. These tools will drive huge volumes of traffic to your landing pages through various social media promotions and online ads.
The marketing automation algorithms of HubSpot are designed to provide a personalized path to purchase to each one of your valuable leads. At the same time, HubSpot offers powerful email tools and drip campaigns that can queue up a long series of emails. In this way, the visitors to your landing page will inevitably become staunch followers of your business.
The marketing automation solutions of ActiveCampaign aren’t as content-rich as the ones provided by HubSpot. At the same time, they are designed to provide interconnected marketing experiences across multiple communication channels such as email, social platforms, instant, and text messages.
ActiveCampaign is a powerful automation platform whose email marketing features let the user meet their customers at their favorite online places and engage them in meaningful, sales-oriented communication. You can also make use of different tags to segment your leads based on their online activity and interests.
The marketing automation features of ActiveCampaign use highly-customized email forms to collect contact info and landing pages. They activate algorithms that provide irresistible lead magnets and automatically start nurture sequences. Last but not least, the marketing automation platform of ActiveCampaign helps the user create targeted, multi-channel marketing campaigns. It pivots their messages to their customers at every stage of the sales process.
Lead Generation Tools
Unlike Hubspot, ActiveCampaign does not have its own lead generation tool. Instead, it relies on several third-party apps to accomplish this goal. These include, but are not limited to Antavo, Bloom, CaptainForm, as well as Beacon, Bonjoro, and Convertflow.
For the purpose of this article, let’s have a closer look at ConvertFlow. It captures, segments, and updates your leads in ActiveCampaign as soon as they show interest in your email campaigns. The application also allows you to create different automations that add or remove contacts from the lists in your ActiveCampaign. ConvertFlowcan can also add or remove tags on contacts, or profile visitors across multiple websites.
The marketing strategy of Hubspot relies on blog posts, live webinars, and engaging online content to achieve inbound lead generation. For this purpose, the company has developed two powerful tools that work together seamlessly- the CMS Hub and the Marketing Hub.
As already mentioned, the CMS Hub generates leads by allowing for the creation of interesting web pages full of attention-grabbing content. At the same time, the MarketingHub launches your professional-looking pages as soon as they are ready to hit the web. It also lets you attach a form to your page, run split tests, or engage visitors with live chat.
Both the CMS Hub and the MarketingHub connect with HubSpot CRM or Salesforce to automatically track down and organize every communication a customer has ever had with your business. Then, the tools link all of your data to closed revenue with multi-touch revenue attribution.
HubSpot has developed a predictive scoring tool that uses algorithms similar to the ones used by the Machine Learning tool of ActiveCampaign. In a split second, it whizzes through massive volumes of sales data to identify your most promising leads. The more you use the tool, the smarter it gets, optimizing your lead scoring strategy along the way.
Аs your business grows, you may start selling your products to new audiences in new regions. If your leads aren’t “one size fits all,” your scoring system shouldn’t be either. HubSpot allows you to create over 25 different scoring sheets. These will guarantee that you’re classifying your leads the right way.
On the ActiveCampaign marketing platform, lead scoring is found within the Manage Scoring dropdown menu on the Contacts tab or within the individual automation menu. Click “Add New Score” to indicate if the score is for a contact or a deal. When you see the conditions screen, you can input your score criteria. ActiveCampaign has launched many tutorial webinars explaining the steps you have to take to create lead scoring algorithms.
The email marketing software of HubSpot allows marketers to quickly draft, personalize, and optimize different marketing email templates or email campaigns without having special IT skills. The marketplace of HubSpot offers hundreds of professional-looking templates that will enable you to send emails that convert. You can always take advantage of the platform’s easy-to-use drag and drop editor to make a unique email template in line with your creative vision.
The email marketing features of ActiveCampaign give you the power to broadcast emails, send triggered emails, scheduled emails, and create highly-converting email funnels. Also, you can send up different email autoresponders for your different customer groups.
You can use HubSpot to perform split tests of the pages you’ve created with their editor, but this function is only available on their Professional and Enterprise plans. The platform’s complete A/B testing kit is free to download and install. It includes an Intro to A/B Testing, a Calculator, and a Tracking Template. The suite also includes ten A/B testing guidelines that will tell you what variables you should test and how to evaluate the tests. If you want to learn more about A/B testing, you can visit the comprehensive blog of HubSpot.
Split testing is far more straightforward on ActiveCampaign. All you have to do is write an extra subject line and click the “Split Test This Campaign” button. The A/B testing features of ActiveCampaign let you test email subject lines, forms, call-to-action-buttons, and images. The tool allows you to compare up to five emails at a time and even entire workflows.
The social media management software of HubSpot provides the marketer with valuable time-saving tools that let them prioritize their communication with their most promising leads. The tool has the following features:
- Blog post and content sharing and publishing
- Delayed content sharing and publication
- Suggested best times for social media posting
The social media features of ActiveCampaign allow the user to get and target leads or turn promising leads into returning customers. Besides, the Facebook Custom Audiences feature lets you target individual contacts based on the stage they have reached in the customer journey. It is important to follow up with Facebook ads because they offer precise lead targeting and traceable costs per lead. In this way, you are more likely to connect with people who will show interest in your business.
It is interesting to mention here that HubSpot can show you the prices of their plans in seven different currencies. The prices in USD are as follows:
Starter – $40/mo or $480 a year
Professional– $800/mo or $9,600/yr
Enterprise – $3,200/mo or $38,400/yr
HubSpot is one of the few online marketing platforms out there that offer a free plan. Given that you’ll pay nothing at all, the features it includes are quite useful:
- Basic fill-in forms
- Send 2,000 emails per month
- Basic ad management features
- 5 smart / 25 static lists
- One team email inbox with live chat and chatbot
- 3 Dashboards
- 10 Custom properties
If paid yearly, thе pricing plans of ActiveCampaign cost as follows:
Lite – $9/mo
Plus – $49/mo
Professional – $129/mo
Enterprise – $229/mo
The Lite plan includes the following features:
- Unlimited emails and newsletters sending
- Subscription forms
- Marketing automation tools
- Chat and email support
- 3 User accounts
And the winner is…
Let us now see which platform wins our prize in each of the above categories:
We think that each platform offers useful social media marketing features and will call it a draw.
In this category, HubSpot has a small edge because of its drag-and-drop editor.
The prize here goes to HubSpot because of its predictive scoring algorithms.
The prize here goes to ActiveCampaign because of its straightforward approach.