Is This Email Marketing Tool Worth It? (+Tutorial)


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Ready to create a solid email marketing strategy for your blog but overwhelmed with all the email marketing tool options out there? Let me make this simple for you: ActiveCampaign is the best email marketing tool for bloggers, and is what we personally use ourselves.

Email marketing should be central to any blogger’s business strategy. It’s a direct lifeline to your audience, allowing you to connect with them on a deeper level, provide individualized recommendations, and drive them back to your blog over and over again.

When we first started our travel blog, Adventure in You, we didn’t give much thought to email marketing. We collected some email addresses and sent out the occasional newsletter, but there wasn’t much to our email marketing strategy.

That is, until we realized how valuable email marketing really is.

Now, email marketing is one of the biggest reasons we get double the traffic and triple the income on our blog! It is seriously a gamechanger when it comes to blogging.

We started out slow, and like most bloggers, started using a free software (hello, Mailchimp) but quickly realized how important it was to have an email marketing tool that can do it all. The right email marketing tool can make all the difference when it comes to strategy, results and reporting.

After trying a million and one tools out there, we pivoted to ActiveCampaign and have been with them since. 

ActiveCampaign has simplified the email marketing process so that anyone can create compelling campaigns and standout automations. With ActiveCampaign, you can manage your email lists, view complete reports, and even split test your emails to see what works best for your audience.

It’s an amazing tool for growing your email list and keeping your audience engaged, while providing backend support in all the ways a blogger needs.

To truly engage with your email subscribers in a meaningful way, ActiveCampaign is the best tool out there. 

In this article, I give a complete rundown of ActiveCampaign, what it is, how to use it, and why we love it so much!

What is Email Marketing and Why is It Important to Use the Right Tool?

You’ve probably heard the term “email marketing” thrown around when talking about blogging… but what is email marketing exactly?

In the blogosphere, email marketing is the act of sending emails to your audience as a way to consistently deliver content to their inbox.

Through email marketing, you can drive readers back to your blog in order to consume more content and ultimately make purchases through your affiliate links.

Email marketing is a great way to build trust with your readers, boost your organic traffic, and guide your audience through the reader’s buying journey… all while connecting them to content that they’re sure to love!

But to do this, having the right tool is of the utmost importance. 

There are free email marketing tools out there, like Mailchimp, which allow you to maintain an email list and send emails to subscribers. But like anything free, email marketing services that don’t cost anything are generally super limited in what they can do and can throw a wrench in your email marketing strategy.

That’s why we believe it serves any blogger’s best interests to invest in a high-quality tool right off the bat.

That way, as your email list grows and your marketing needs expand, you’ll already be set up on a tool that can handle these changes rather than having to pivot to a new tool when you pass the subscriber limit or need more functionality.

You also want to choose a tool that allows you to actually do the things you’d like with email marketing. While lots of tools share similar features, it’s how these tools set them up and make them accessible to users that make all the difference.

For example, almost all email marketing software has an automation component, where you can send automated emails to your subscribers. However, on many email marketing tools, this feature is confusing and tricky to work with, leading many bloggers to put this strategy on the back burner until they can figure out how to use it.

But if you have an email marketing tool that’s easy to use and simple to set up, you won’t have to spend days, weeks, or months learning the software. You can get started right away and spend less time trying to figure out how things work and more time crafting emails that convert. 

With ActiveCampaign, there are flexible plans that move with you as your subscribers and unique needs increase.

The features are intuitive and user-friendly, allowing anyone to set up advanced email marketing campaigns. The end result is professional-looking email sequences that actually convert readers into customers and build a loyal following of your subscribers. 

ActiveCampaign allows you to easily segment your lists, access in-depth reporting and metrics, and split test your campaigns to see what truly works best. 

This is just scratching the surface of what ActiveCampaign can do (more on this later), but in our minds, it’s certainly an email marketing software that’s worth investing in as soon as you’re ready to get started growing your list. 

What is ActiveCampaign?

ActiveCampaign is our go-to tool when it comes to email marketing. 

Let me start by telling you that we’ve tried just about every email marketing tool under the sun. Seriously, we’ve used everything from MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, and Constant Contact, but have truly found ActiveCampaign to be the best and have been using them for more than 2 years now. 

ActiveCampaign is an email marketing tool that goes above and beyond when it comes to delivering messages to your audience and keeping them engaged through strategic emails.

Besides just the general email marketing tools like building newsletters and creating campaigns, ActiveCampaign takes things a step further and allows you to set up automations, create segmented email lists, build full funnels, and so much more.

Integrated into their platform is a full metrics and reporting system that allows you to see what’s working well with your email marketing and what could use some tweaking. This thorough reporting is invaluable as it offers insights into activity on both your website and your emails. 

For example, we sent out an email to detail updates to our blogging course and here is a report that we got from it:

Not only can we see how many people opened the email and the clickthrough rate, but we can also see at what times people opened the email. This is super useful because we can see that we had a big spike in openings around 1.00pm, giving us a good hint that for the future, this is a good time to send out emails.  

The main reporting dashboard also shows an overview of recent campaigns and the open/clickthrough rate so that you can see campaign performance at a glance, without having to click into anything specific. 

ActiveCampaign has made our lives so much easier when it comes to email marketing. The platform is wildly user-friendly, so we didn’t have to spend weeks learning how to get the process rolling. 

While ActiveCampaign doesn’t offer any free plans like Mailchimp, they have a competitive base plan which allows users to send unlimited emails, create segmented lists, integrate social media, and view advanced reporting, among other highly sought after features.

Starting off with ActiveCampiagn will save you the headache of moving off a free tool later on. 

No matter what you’re looking for in an email marketing tool, ActiveCampaign has it… and more.

How to Use ActiveCampaign (Tutorial)

To give you a peek into all that ActiveCampaign can do, here’s an ActiveCampaign tutorial that gives you a complete walkthrough of some of the main features this tool offers. 

How to Send an Email Campaign to Your List

Sending an email campaign to your list with ActiveCampaign couldn’t be more simple.

But first, let’s define what a campaign really is.

When we talk about a campaign in email marketing, this is a one-off email that you send to a dedicated list. This can be something like a newsletter, a promotion you’re running or any other quick email that you might want to send off to a specific list. 

To send a campaign, fist click “Campaigns” on the sidebar of your dashboard. If you have any past campaigns or ones that are currently running, this is where you’ll find them.

When you want to create a new one, click “Create a Campaign” in the top right-hand corner. 

Add a name for your campaign (this name is only for your purposes, your list won’t see it), and choose the campaign type you’d like to run.

For general campaigns, you’ll probably be set with the “Standard” option, which is the one-time email.

But ActiveCampaign has lots of cool features here, so you can also use the campaign option to run split-tested emails, which is where you send 2 versions of a campaign to see which performs best, playing around with different headlines, titles, etc.

Once you insert a name and choose the kind of campaign you want to run, click “Next” in the upper right corner and you’ll be able to start putting together your email. 

ActiveCampaign will walk you through the process of choosing the list you’d like to send your campaign to, the design of your email, and a complete summary so that you’ll be able to double-check everything before shooting it off to your readers. 

One thing we really like about creating campaigns with ActiveCampaign is the ability to create templates to use whenever you’re creating an email for your list.

In the “Design” step of creating a campaign (just after choosing which list it’s going to), you have the opportunity to pick from tons of different layouts premade by ActiveCampaign or the chance to design one from scratch.

They even have a section full of past campaigns by other email marketers for inspiration! 

ActiveCampiagn also saves all of the layouts from previous campaigns so that you can choose one that’s already worked well which you can then just modify with your new content. 

Overall, creating a campaign in ActiveCampaign is straightforward and to the point. The whole process is extremely simple, making it a breeze to send out emails to your list. 

How to Set Up and Use Email Automations

Another great feature of ActiveCampaign is how easy it is to create automations.

Automations are emails that are set up to automatically send out when the time is right. This is generally when a reader takes a certain action on your website and an email fires off to them based on that action. 

For example, for our travel blog, Adventure in You, we have an automation set up for Liveaboard diving.

When someone opts in to our Liveaboard email series, they also get added to the value series, which is a sequence of follow-up emails aimed at providing value to our readers. 

This value series is a collection of 10 different emails that get sent over a period of time after the initial opt-in. Obviously, the length and timing will vary depending on the objective of your automation, but overall, this 10-email series is totally automatic and gets sent out based on the initial opt-in.

The point of these automations is to continually deliver value to our reader’s inboxes surrounding a topic they care about. This Liveaboard series is particularly powerful as it has the ability to send people back to our money-making articles over and over again.

You can check out our case study to see how email marketing helped drive our Liveaboard affiliate income through the roof!

free training home

On top of that, automations are so useful because it means that you don’t have to go into ActiveCampaign every time someone signs up for an email list and send them out yourself. Instead, ActiveCampaign takes charge and does it for you based on the automations set up ahead of time.

When creating an automation of your own, first think about the objective of this email series. What do you hope your audience will gain from it? How will it help your blog?

Again, in the case of our Liveaboard value series, the objective was to send people back to our affiliate articles, but this can completely vary based on your unique goals for email marketing.

Now, when you’re ready to create an automation of your own, click “Automation” on the sidebar and select “Create an automation” in the upper right-hand corner.

From there, you can either start from scratch, or choose one of ActiveCampaign’s templates for automations. This is very useful when you’re just starting out because these “recipes” already have cues and triggers set up… you just have to make them unique to your blog and audience.

So once you choose a template (or a blank canvas), you can start to fill it in for yourself.

Start at the top and add a tag. For example, in our Liveaboard value series, this tag is “Interested in Liveaboard” because they have already opted in to our Liveaboard emails.

From there, you can add a timing duration from when you’d like an email sent out based on the specific tag. This can be an hour, a day, or several days.

Then you get to create your series. After the first timing tag, create an email that will be sent out. 

Continue going down your automation set-up like this, by creating specific emails and adding a timing sequence based on when they’ll be delivered to your list.

In automations, you can also set up different triggers that alter the course of your automation.

For example, if someone makes a purchase based on what you’re promoting, this “purchase” trigger can stop the email sequence. Similarly, if a trigger is set for someone who opts out or unsubscribes from this particular sequence, then they will no longer receive any other emails. 

Automations in ActiveCampaign are very useful for creating email series that pertain to specific lists and will drive your audience back to your blog over and over again, without you having to do anything (after the initial set-up is done).

Automations are central to our email marketing strategy. This is a huge reason why we love ActiveCampaign as they have the best automation sequences that we’ve seen so far. 

How to Manage Your Segmented Email Lists

When it comes to email marketing, nothing is more important than creating segmented lists. Big claim, I know, but it’s true!

Instead of having one jumbo email list of all your contacts, take the time to break down your lists into specific categories surrounding interests.

For example, on Adventure in You, we have dozens of email segments. In fact, each opt-in form we have on our blog leads to a different segment.

So if someone opts in on one of our Southeast Asia articles, they’re added to the Southeast Asia segment and only receive emails related to travel in Southeast Asia. If someone opts in on our Liveaboard articles, they only receive emails that pertain to liveaboard diving.

The more niche your lists are, the better!

If you can create very specific lists, you can send super tailored emails based on your reader’s interests. This ensures that you are only really emailing content that is relevant and interesting to your subscribers. 

To create a list or segment in ActiveCampaign, click “Lists” on the sidebar and then “Add a List” in the upper right-hand corner.

From there, you’ll be able to add specific contacts to your list segmenting them.

ActiveCampaign also has “Tags” that come from specific opt-ins. You can use these tags to create your segmented lists as they tend to surround a specific topic.

Once you have your segmented lists, you can go ahead and create automations or campaigns to send their way.

If you want a complete overview of your email list, you can go to “Contacts” on the sidebar and you’ll be shown everyone who’s subscribed to your emails.

When you want to take an action with a specific contact or group of contacts, you can click the check box and hit “Edit” on the top bar. From there, you’ll be able to add or remove them from a list, add to an automation, add a tag or update a contact field. 

One thing we love about ActiveCampaign is a feature that allows you to see if someone has or hasn’t been engaging with your emails.

If they haven’t engaged with your emails for a long time, you can enter them into a “List Clean Up” automation, where they’ll get a series of emails asking if they’re still interested. 

How to See Your Campaign and Automation Reports

When you want to see how your campaigns and automations are performing, you can click “Reports” on the sidebar and it will bring you to a list of all of the emails you’ve sent.

You can filter this by segments by selecting the “All Lists” tab at the top and selecting which list you’d like to check out.

You can also see reports by date or timespan by selecting days on the small calendar icon.

ActiveCampaign reports are quite handy as they allow you to see how many emails were sent, the amount of emails that were opened, and clicks within the email. This shows how engaging your emails are and if they’re having the desired effect or not. 

If you want to toggle back and forth between the reports shown, you can select exactly what you’re looking for on the sidebar, which has options like CampaignReports, Automation Reports, Contact Reports, and more. 

Want to see what we’re talking about? Try out ActiveCampaign today!

ActiveCampaign Review: Why We Love It

In all honesty, we couldn’t love ActiveCampaign more. It’s allowed us to take our email marketing strategy to the next level and actually build an entire Trust Marketing system around its automations and segmented lists.

ActiveCampaign really is a one-of-a-kind email marketing tool because it allows you to do so much with it while remaining extremely user-friendly. 

Here are exactly why we love ActiveCampaign. 

All-in-One Email Marketing and CRM Tool

Active Campaign integrates everything you need for email marketing into their platform so that you don’t have to bop around between different providers to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Some of its key features include: 

  • Unique campaigns
  • Full integrated automations
  • Plenty of pre-built templates to choose from
  • Segmented lists
  • Bulk list management
  • Advanced reporting
  • Unmatched deliverability
  • Registration forms 
  • Unlimited storage

ActiveCampaign is a great choice for bloggers who are looking for an email marketing tool that includes segmented lists, easy-to-use automations, and metrics to go along with their campaigns. 

User-Friendly Design, Easy to Navigate

Learning new tools and software can be daunting but ActiveCampaign has simplified the process to a tee. The entire platform is extremely user-friendly, making it a breeze to navigate around and find what you’re looking for.

The main dashboard covers the key features you’d want to see when you log in, such as number of contacts, active automations, campaigns in the works, top contacts, and recent activity.

From there, you can take loads of actions right from the sidebar. Elements are clearly labeled, making it simple to run campaigns, build automations, and play around with your lists.

Powerful Automation & Deliverability

Above all else, what we love most about ActiveCampaign is their powerful automations… that are so simple to use!

Automations are central to building a Trust Marketing system for your blog, which works around the clock so that you don’t have to. With ActiveCampaign, you can set up heaps of automations tailored to specific lists, with individual triggers, timing, and email sequences. 

Their deliverability is also fantastic which is huge when you are monetizing your email list. This alone has has skyrocketed our email marketing strategy and allowed us to create automations that bring in the $$!

Great Reporting Allows You to Tweak Your Campaigns for Better Results

Finally, ActiveCampaign offers stellar reporting for campaigns, automations, and lists… all in one place. From here, you’re able to see all of the important metrics, while making tweaks for better results down the road.

With ActiveCampaign, you’ll never be left wondering whether something worked or not. The results will always be a click away!

Don’t take this for granted – having simple and seamless reporting is crucial when it comes to email marketing. 

ActiveCampaign Pricing

Compared to other email marketing tools, ActiveCampaign is really reasonably priced, considering all you can do with it. 

The pricing also depends on how many email subscribers you have, making it a great tool to start with while leaving plenty of room for growth.

Here are the plans they offer (at the time of this review):

The Lite plan has everything a blogger needs to get started with email marketing, as it includes campaigns, automations, subscription forms, and up to 3 user access.

Prices increase depending on how many contacts you have, but these are the base prices for having up to 500 contacts.

Compared to other email providers, this is extremely reasonable!

Let’s check out some competitor’s pricing for their basic plans:

MailChimp ConvertKit Constant Contact
Essentials Plan: $9.99/month for 500 contacts Complete Plan: $29/month for 1,000 contacts Email Plan: $20/month for 500 contacts

Although Mailchimp offers a free plan, you cannot create multiple automations which is a huge limitation. So if you want to get started with a proper email marketing strategy, going for a basic plan is the way to go.

While there are better deals in terms of price, ActiveCampaign really offers the best value for money when it comes to email marketing. It’s also the most intuitive software, with components like automations and segmenting lists.

On top of that, these other plans barely scratch the surface of what ActiveCampaign offers with their Lite plan.

To get the advanced features that ActiveCampaign offers to all users, you’d have to upgrade to one of the more advanced plans on these other platforms.

ActiveCampaign Review: Our Verdict

Overall, we’re super happy with ActiveCampaign as our email marketing software.

After going back and forth with just about every email marketing tool out there, we can confidently say that ActiveCampaign offers the best features, value for money, and ease of use.

While we do love ActiveCampaign, there are a few cons that are worth mentioning.

From our experience, when you add in the link tracking feature, sometimes it doesn’t work right, which essentially breaks the link as it takes too long to redirect. We get around this by using our own link tracking instead of ActiveCampaign’s.

Another downside is that there’s no free plan and it gets a bit pricey the more subscribers you have.

As a beginner blogger, you probably won’t have thousands of people on your email list but as it grows, you may find that ActiveCampaign gets quite expensive as you reach several thousand subscribers.

However, if you are properly monetizing your list, the monthly cost of Active Campaign more than pays for itself!

Finally, while we believe that ActiveCampaign is the best email marketing software out there, it may be overwhelming for beginner bloggers or email marketers.

There’s a lot going on on this platform and while it’s pretty intuitive to use, people just starting out with email marketing may not need half of the features. That being said, we believe it’s worth investing in software that you can grow with, rather than the opposite. 

The bottom line is that ActiveCampaign is an all-in-one email marketing software and CRM that’s great for putting you on the fast track to email marketing success.

Not only can you run awesome campaigns and set up seamless automations, but you have access to advanced reporting, metrics, and testing features. 

If you’re looking for a tool that will take your email marketing strategy to the next level, ActiveCampaign is the software to use. 

Ready to give ActiveCampaign a try for yourself? 

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