Brian Cliette

MailerLite vs ActiveCampaign: Best for Email Marketing?

Choosing the right email marketing tool can feel like navigating a maze with countless turns and dead ends. I’ve been there, and I know it’s crucial to find a platform that aligns with your business goals. That’s why I’m diving into the nitty-gritty of MailerLite vs ActiveCampaign, two giants in the email marketing space.

What is MailerLite?

When exploring email marketing tools, it’s inevitable to come across MailerLite, a notable contender in the arena. I’ve seen its rise in popularity, especially among small to medium-size businesses, and it’s not hard to see why. MailerLite is renowned for its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing structures, making it an attractive option for those just venturing into the world of email campaigns.

What sets MailerLite apart is its straightforward design. Even if you’re not technically inclined, you’ll find the platform intuitive and easy to navigate. The dashboard presents everything you need without clutter, ensuring you don’t get overwhelmed as you create and track your email marketing campaigns.

Beyond the basics, MailerLite offers a suite of features designed to enhance your marketing efforts:

  • Drag and drop editor: Simply put together visually appealing emails with no design experience necessary.
  • Automation tools: These allow for personalized and timely emails without constant manual intervention.
  • Landing pages and pop-ups: Integrate these into your strategy to grow your subscriber list and maximize conversions.
  • Advanced segmentation: Target groups within your audience based on their behavior or demographics for more effective marketing.
  • Built-in photo editing and file manager: Manage your images and files directly in the platform for a seamless experience.

Another highlight of MailerLite is its commitment to customer support. Despite its budget-friendly approach, they haven’t skimped on help. You get access to 24/7 support, along with a rich library of resources and frequent webinars to keep your email marketing game on point.

In terms of analytics, MailerLite provides essential insights into your email campaign’s performance. You can track open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and more. These metrics are pivotal for tweaking and optimizing your strategies to ensure maximum engagement and ROI.

The platform is also GDPR compliant, which is crucial if you’re handling European subscribers. Their focus on data security and privacy practices can give both you and your users peace of mind.

MailerLite’s straightforward approach might not come with all the bells and whistles of more advanced platforms. However, for many, its simplicity and cost-effectiveness are exactly what make it the right tool for the job.

What is ActiveCampaign?

As I’ve explored the landscape of email marketing tools, I’ve had the opportunity to work with ActiveCampaign and I must say, it’s an exceptionally robust platform. Unlike MailerLite’s streamlined approach, ActiveCampaign is often celebrated for its complex automation capabilities and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integration. These features not only empower businesses with email marketing but also provide a comprehensive suite of tools to optimize the customer experience.

ActiveCampaign distinguishes itself with its advanced level of personalization and conditional content. The platform enables users to craft emails that respond to the behaviors and interests of subscribers, adding a layer of sophistication to campaigns that’s hard to match.

  • Complex Automation Sequences: Unlike simpler platforms, ActiveCampaign offers a depth in automation that can handle a multitude of scenarios and actions based on user behavior.
  • Integrated CRM: This is a game-changer for businesses looking for a seamless transition between marketing and sales, allowing for refined lead scoring and pipeline management.
  • Advanced Reporting: The platform provides detailed insights into campaign performance, website tracking, and customer interactions. This data is crucial for making informed decisions and enhancing targeted strategies.
  • Email Split Testing: You can test various components of your email campaigns to determine what resonates best with your audience, leading to improved engagement rates.

One of the unique aspects of ActiveCampaign is its machine learning capabilities. It harnesses the power of data to predict the optimal sending times for your emails, thereby increasing the likelihood of higher open and click-through rates.

When we look into usability, ActiveCampaign presents a steeper learning curve. The intricacies of its functionalities make it more suited to users with a technical background or those willing to commit time to master the platform. The customer support, though robust, is necessary to navigate the platform’s extensive features.

In terms of pricing, ActiveCampaign operates on a sliding scale determined by the number of contacts. While this can quickly add up for large lists, the return on investment for enterprises leveraging the full suite of tools can be substantial.

Evidently, ActiveCampaign positions itself as a powerhouse for serious marketers focused on fine-tuning their customer journey at every touchpoint.

Pricing and Plans

When choosing an email marketing platform, understanding the pricing structure is crucial. MailerLite and ActiveCampaign differ significantly in how they structure their pricing and the plans they offer.

MailerLite adopts an approach that’s friendly for both small businesses and growing enterprises. Their pricing is chiefly based on the number of subscribers on your email list. You can start for free if you’ve got up to 1,000 subscribers and you’ll have access to most of the essential features. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the platform without upfront investment. Once you surpass the free tier, pricing increments are reasonable. Here’s a quick look at their starting prices as of now:

Subscribers Monthly Cost
1-1,000 Free
1,001-2,500 $15
2,501-5,000 $30

For those who are interested in additional features like priority support or custom design templates, premium plans are also available. MailerLite excels in offering an affordable and scalable solution.

In contrast, ActiveCampaign is more of an investment. It’s designed for users who need advanced capabilities such as integrated CRM and lead scoring. They also price based on the number of contacts, but their tiers include more complex features. ActiveCampaign does not offer a free plan, but they do provide a 14-day trial to test the waters.

Here is a snapshot of ActiveCampaign’s entry-level pricing:

Contacts Lite Plus Professional Enterprise
500 $15 $70 $159 Custom
2,500 $55 $125 $159 Custom
5,000 $99 $169 $239 Custom

Note that with ActiveCampaign, the more advanced plans, like Professional and Enterprise, offer additional features such as site messaging and attribution modeling. For businesses focused on fine-tuning their marketing strategies with sophisticated tools, the extra cost may prove to be a sound investment.

Features and Functionality

MailerLite and ActiveCampaign both offer a broad spectrum of email marketing features, yet they have distinctive strengths. MailerLite’s ease of use makes it an excellent choice for beginners or those with less technical experience. Its drag-and-drop editor is incredibly user-friendly, and I’ve found you can create stunning emails without any background in design. Other noteworthy features include:

  • Automation workflows: Simple to set up and perfect for basic email sequences.
  • Landing pages and pop-ups: Tools to grow your subscriber list and engage visitors.
  • A/B testing: Handy for optimizing subject lines and content.

In contrast, ActiveCampaign’s features tend to cater to more advanced users who need sophisticated marketing tools. ActiveCampaign shines with its automated sales CRM which is a game-changer for those requiring detailed tracking and nurturing of leads. Their lead scoring system is also top-notch, effectively prioritizing leads to increase conversion rates. Here are a few areas where ActiveCampaign outperforms:

  • Advanced automation: With conditional logic and numerous triggers, the automations can become complex and highly tailored.
  • Comprehensive reporting: In-depth insights into campaign performance and customer behaviors.
  • Email Split Testing: More advanced than just A/B testing, allowing for multi-variate tests.

In my experience, while both platforms have a good range of integrations, ActiveCampaign offers more direct integrations with third-party tools and services, which can be a significant advantage for businesses that rely heavily on a tech stack.

It’s essential to weigh these features against the needs of your business. For small businesses or solopreneurs, MailerLite’s straightforward functionality could be a perfect fit. In contrast, if you’re looking to scale rapidly or require in-depth data analysis and lead management, ActiveCampaign’s sophisticated toolset may be the right choice.

Email Templates and Design

When it comes to creating visually appealing emails, the availability and quality of templates are crucial. I’ve found that MailerLite stands out with its selection of modern, responsive templates. Their design flexibility ensures emails look great on all devices. What’s more, for individuals like me who want to add a personal touch, the platform’s drag-and-drop editor allows for easy customization without needing extensive technical know-how.

In contrast, ActiveCampaign provides a vast library of professional templates catering to various industries and purposes. For marketers aiming for a sophisticated feel, ActiveCampaign’s designs can be the perfect fit. Their templates not only look polished but also include advanced features such as conditional content for different recipients. The only potential drawback is that newcomers might find the editing tools slightly less intuitive than those of MailerLite.

As for design features, here’s what both platforms offer:

  • MailerLite provides:
  • ActiveCampaign delivers:

Marketers need to weigh their design needs against their skill level. For instance, if you’ve never dabbled in email design before, MailerLite’s straightforward tools may help you get up and running quickly. On the other hand, if your campaigns require intricate designs and personalization, ActiveCampaign’s dynamic content can be pivotal in achieving higher engagement rates. What’s essential is striking a balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality without compromising the user experience.

Automation and Workflow

When evaluating MailerLite and ActiveCampaign, it’s crucial to delve into their automation and workflow capabilities, as these features can significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. Automation is the backbone of any solid email marketing strategy, saving time and ensuring messages are relevant and timely.

With MailerLite, setting up email automation workflows is straightforward even for beginners. They offer a visual workflow builder that allows me to create complex email sequences based on subscribers’ behavior. For example, when subscribers sign up, they can be automatically enrolled into a welcome email series. Additionally, I can segment users based on their interactions, such as opening an email or clicking a link.

ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, takes automation to a higher level. Their powerful automation builder gives me the flexibility to create multifaceted workflows that are tailored precisely to the needs of my subscribers. I can use a wide range of triggers, conditions, and actions to customize the journey for each subscriber. What truly sets ActiveCampaign apart is its CRM functionality integration, making it exceptionally powerful for managing sales pipelines and customer relationships alongside the email campaigns.

When comparing the practical application of these tools, consider the following:

  • Ease of Use: MailerLite’s simplicity is excellent for those who are new to automation or have straightforward requirements.
  • Advanced Features: ActiveCampaign’s robust options cater to users with complex, sales-driven campaign needs.
  • Customer Journeys: Consider how detailed and customized you need your subscriber’s journey to be.

In terms of analytics, both platforms provide insights into how well the automations are performing. However, ActiveCampaign’s machine learning capabilities offer predictive analytics and lead scoring, which I find invaluable for anticipating the needs of my leads and optimizing my marketing strategies.

In essence, when selecting between MailerLite and ActiveCampaign for automation and workflows, it’s about aligning the tool’s capabilities with my anticipated growth and the sophistication of my marketing initiatives.


When I delve into the world of email marketing tools, I find the breadth of integrations to be a game-changer for many businesses. MailerLite and ActiveCampaign both offer a robust suite of integrations, ensuring they play well with other tools and services.

MailerLite keeps it sleek and straightforward, supporting essential integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, and leading website builders such as WordPress and Squarespace. These integrations help me streamline e-commerce activities and website management, making it easier to connect with my subscribers.

ActiveCampaign steps up the game with over 850 integrations available in its marketplace. It ranges from the expected—like Salesforce, a mammoth in the CRM world, to Zapier, which connects ActiveCampaign to a host of additional apps and tools. This vast network of integrations means I can sync almost any part of my business with ActiveCampaign, from customer support with tools like Zendesk to accounting software like QuickBooks.

The platform’s API richness also allows for custom integrations, a critical consideration for those with unique, enterprise-level needs. Whether I’m looking to link my email marketing with my customer data platform (CDP) or personalize my messaging through advanced segmentation, these two tools provide the flexibility I need.

When I weigh MailerLite and ActiveCampaign, I consider not just the number of integrations but also how seamless and useful they are. ActiveCampaign’s CRM integration truly stands out, offering advanced features that bring sales and marketing teams into a more cohesive unit. However, if my priority is simplicity and I’m operating a straightforward webshop or content site, MailerLite’s focused integrations might be all I need.

Keeping in mind that integration capabilities might evolve, it’s prudent to periodically check for updates or new partnerships that could unlock additional value for my email marketing campaigns.

Support and Customer Service

When it comes to email marketing, having access to responsive and helpful customer support can mean the difference between solving an issue quickly or dealing with prolonged downtime. MailerLite and ActiveCampaign both understand this and offer a variety of support options to assist their users.

MailerLite prides itself on its 24/7 customer support for all users, regardless of their plan. This includes access to an extensive knowledge base, video tutorials, and email support. What’s impressive is that even free plan users can get help whenever they need it, though priority is given to premium subscribers. Through my research, I’ve discovered that users often compliment MailerLite on its friendly support team, which adds comfort for any business relying on their platform.

In contrast, ActiveCampaign extends customer service through multiple channels including email, live chat, and over the phone. Their one-on-one training sessions and a community forum add another layer of support for users looking to maximize their use of the platform. Moreover, active users with Plus plans and higher receive dedicated account reps who offer a more personalized service experience. It’s evident that ActiveCampaign’s approach is more hands-on, aiming to cater to a broad spectrum of needs.

When choosing between MailerLite and ActiveCampaign, consider how much value you place on customer support.

  • Are you comfortable with email and knowledge base assistance, or do you prefer the option of phone support?
  • Does the idea of a personalized service from a dedicated rep appeal to you, or do you just need the basics to get by?
  • How important is 24/7 support to your business operations?

Each platform’s support structure has its strengths and depending on your business size, technical aptitude, and personal preference, you’ll want to weigh these factors carefully. Remember, the level of support you receive can greatly influence how efficiently you can manage your campaigns and, by extension, your overall marketing strategy.

Deliverability and Email Analytics

Email deliverability is a critical aspect of your marketing campaigns; it’s essential that the emails you send actually land in your subscribers’ inboxes. MailerLite and ActiveCampaign both take this seriously, implementing industry best practices to maintain high deliverability rates.

MailerLite boasts an impressive deliverability rate, attributed to their strict anti-spam policies and relationships with major internet service providers. They provide users with tools to test and optimize their emails before sending, ensuring a greater chance of hitting the inbox. Regular list cleaning and engagement tracking further aid in maintaining a sender’s reputation.

ActiveCampaign also excels in deliverability, using a sophisticated testing system to spot potential issues before an email is sent. Thanks to their machine learning capabilities, ActiveCampaign’s predictive sending feature can even determine the best time to send emails to each individual contact, which can boost open rates.

Let’s delve into email analytics.

Tracking the performance of your email campaigns is necessary to understand and enhance your marketing efforts. Both platforms offer comprehensive analytics with real-time reporting. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Bounce rates

MailerLite’s dashboard presents a visual representation of your campaign success, making it easy to assess and iterate on strategies. You can track your subscriber’s journey, seeing exactly which emails are performing and why. Additionally, heat maps for clicks offer insight into user interaction.

ActiveCampaign provides in-depth reporting that isn’t just about opens and clicks. Their platform allows you to monitor campaign performance relative to your sales data, website visits, and even social media interactions. This level of detail helps in making informed decisions about your marketing strategy and tailoring campaigns to your audience’s preferences.

Choosing between MailerLite and ActiveCampaign should consider the depth and accessibility of analytics because those insights are vital to refining your email marketing efforts and achieving better outcomes.


Choosing between MailerLite and ActiveCampaign boils down to your specific needs and preferences. Both platforms excel in automation, deliverability, and analytics, yet they cater to different user experiences. MailerLite’s intuitive design and visual analytics are perfect for those seeking simplicity and clarity. ActiveCampaign’s advanced features and detailed insights, on the other hand, suit marketers looking to delve deep into performance metrics and drive sales. What’s clear is that either tool can significantly enhance your email marketing campaigns, ensuring your messages reach the right inboxes at the right time and providing the data you need to continuously improve your strategy. Remember, the best choice is the one that aligns with your goals and grows with your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are MailerLite and ActiveCampaign?

MailerLite and ActiveCampaign are email marketing platforms that provide tools for creating, sending, and analyzing email campaigns. They both offer automation and workflow features to streamline the email marketing process.

Can you compare the automation capabilities of MailerLite and ActiveCampaign?

MailerLite offers straightforward automation capabilities suitable for beginners, whereas ActiveCampaign provides more advanced automation features, appealing to those with complex marketing strategies.

What kind of support do MailerLite and ActiveCampaign offer?

Both MailerLite and ActiveCampaign offer various support options including email support, live chat, and extensive knowledge bases. The level of support may vary based on the plan you choose.

Why is email deliverability important in email marketing?

Email deliverability is crucial because it measures the success rate of your emails reaching the recipient’s inbox. High deliverability rates improve the odds that your campaigns are seen and acted upon.

How do MailerLite and ActiveCampaign ensure high email deliverability?

MailerLite boasts a high deliverability rate and uses standard best practices to maintain it. ActiveCampaign uses machine learning to optimize send times, enhancing the likelihood of emails being opened.

What analytics features do MailerLite and ActiveCampaign provide?

MailerLite offers visual analytics to gauge campaign success, while ActiveCampaign allows for in-depth tracking of campaign performance in relation to sales data, website visits, and social media engagement.

How should analytics influence the choice between MailerLite and ActiveCampaign?

Analytics should influence your choice by determining which platform gives you the depth and accessibility of insights needed to refine your marketing efforts and to achieve better outcomes based on your specific goals.

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About me

My name is Brian Cliette; I help brands and entrepreneurs find sustainable paths to sales growth on the social internet.

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