ActiveCampaign vs. MailChimp: Which is Better for You?

Email marketing tools are extremely important for any marketer or business owner who wants to automate what can be a time-consuming process to create, test, optimize and send email campaigns. MailChimp is an undeniably popular choice with 11 million active users,  but ActiveCampaign has been making its mark on the email marketing/CRM world. If you’ve been hearing about the features of both and you’re wondering which one gives better value for money, we’ll help you sort through it all so you can figure out the option that’s right for you.

Is One Easier Than the Other to Use?

MailChimp gained much of its popularity due to the fact it was easier for the average person to use than the alternatives at that time. It is still a platform that is easy to navigate and it features an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that makes customization super simple.

Considering the fact that ActiveCampaign is known for its powerful suite of advanced features, many users have been surprised to find that its refined interface is not at all complicated. This platform has its own drag-and-drop editor, too. The ability to revert to earlier versions of emails is a welcome feature. Be warned though, newbies to email marketing software may be intimidated by the steps required to set up an automation. You don’t need to be a tech genius, but it may all seem daunting at first. The reality is that it may just take you a bit longer to get used to navigating ActiveCampaign.

Which One Will Deliver the Better Design?

You’ll get 100 templates or designs to choose from in Mailchimp, many of which are mobile-responsive. The themes are categorized by the purpose of the email or campaign. Whether you’re promoting events or sales, or sending out newsletters, you can also customize the colors and images in any of the boilerplate design options. Best of all, you can drag and drop into your email any feature for maximum functionality for your recipients, including products, social buttons, images and promo codes.

Similarly, ActiveCampaign offers mobile-responsive templates. Even though the selection is smaller than Mailchimp’s, you still get blocks that make it easy to drag and drop various elements and you can also import your own templates.

Which One Offers More Effective Testing?

Mailchimp’s Inbox Preview feature allows you to see a preview of your email in a variety of email clients so you can be sure how it will look to every recipient. Mailchimp’s link checker is great, too, because it identifies any links that may be missing from your email. The downside is that there is no spam checker, an important feature for ensuring deliverability.

In contrast,  ActiveCampaign automatically performs a spam check on every email. However, you can only preview emails in your own email client and on a computer. Previews in other email clients are available for a fee.

Which One Allows You to Manage Your Lists As You Would Like?

Mailchimp does not allow you to send a campaign to contacts on different lists. This can be a pain for everyone who doesn’t have multiple projects in play. You can organize your contacts into groups, segments and tags but this can be challenging to wrap your head around.

On the other hand, ActiveCampaign is much more flexible in this regard. Not only can you send the same campaign to contacts on different lists, but you can also use tags and custom fields to segment your email list subscribers. What’s more, ActiveCampaign allows you to apply lead scoring to your contacts. This means that you can give each contact a score that reflects their level of engagement based on actions they take. This is one of the most powerful segmentation techniques around, especially when integrated with ActiveCampaign’s built in CRM.

Do Both Offer a CRM?

Mailchimp claims you can use their platform as a CRM but the software does not have a true CRM to offer you. However, it does offer some CRM-type functionality, such as data on your contacts, revenue reports and e-commerce integration.

This does not compare with ActiveCampaign’s built-in CRM, which allows you to manage sales-related opportunities and integrate marketing activities with sales processes with ease. In fact, ActiveCampaign allows you to automate these sales processes as well as sales communications. You can also build sales pipelines and record deals you close.


Mailchimp is the better option if its wide range of attractive email design options and more affordable pricing for relatively small email lists are important features for you. However, ActiveCampaign’s marketing automation, flexible features to help you segment and manage your email list and better deliverability rate give it an edge over Mailchimp.