Sendlane vs ActiveCampaign
Switching up your marketing automation tools down the line is often expensive and disruptive for your business.
Use this guide to make the best decision for your business.
This Sendlane vs ActiveCampaign comparison guide was last updated October 2019.
Is it time to upgrade to Sendlane or ActiveCampaign?
If you’ve been in business online for awhile, you might have reached a point where your current online marketing systems aren’t serving you as well as they used to.
Maybe you have more products and need to be able to segment your email lists better, or you’d like to automate different campaigns and track affiliate sales more effectively. Or, you’ve just got too many different systems cobbled together and things are falling through the cracks.
That's where marketing automation platforms like Sendlane and ActiveCampaign come in. Both of these systems require an investment of time and money to get set up so I want to give you my honest take on each one so you can make the right decision for you and your needs.
I’m an affiliate for these companies, which means I might earn a commission if you sign up through my link, at no additional cost to you.
Both platforms provide some sweet automation, which can definitely streamline your email marketing and site management. However, advanced functionality comes at a slightly higher price point than some of the free email marketing systems that are embraced by those who might not have a huge budget.
Who is behind this ActiveCampaign vs Sendlane comparison?
We've used our fair share of email marketing solutions, and we help our clients make the best decision for their businesses every day.
You'll find links that use our referral tracking links, which means we may earn a commission if you sign up through us. Rest assured that our recommendations aren't influenced by the affiliate commissions, and it won't cost you more to sign up through our links.
Tag contacts for organization
Both Sendlane and ActiveCampaign utilize "tags" to categorize and assign properties to the members within your CRM. In each platform, these tags are automatically applied and function according to the parameters that you set. Within both platforms, these tags can be used for a variety of purposes.
For example, you might choose to segment your email list, or grant a user specific permissions based on a purchase or opt-in. Tagging is invaluable when you're ready to really start targeting specific client groups and provide a more personal experience for them.
Unfortunately, neither marketing automation tool allows you to organize these tags in any way (although you can always search by tag name). Realistically, for a number of entrepreneurs who have, say, less than 100 tags, this doesn't pose a problem in the least. And you can certainly create a spreadsheet to help manage the tags (as long as you have a process to always keep it up to date).
E-Commerce & Sales Tracking
If you are planning to sell products on your website, the integrations available through Sendlane and ActiveCampaign is going to make a big difference in which platform works best for you.
SENDLANE: LIMITED E-COMMERCE OPTIONS
Conveniently, Sendlane includes a list of available integrations directly inside your account. This makes it easy to search for and connect with the 3rd-party tools you need to extend your marketing automation system's functionality.
Unfortunately, while Sendlane allows you to integrate with some bigger-name tools like Shopify and WooCommerce, the list to choose from is extremely limited.
Note that AccessAlly also does NOT currently integrate with Sendlane.
ACTIVECAMPAIGN: INTEGRATE WITH A 3RD PARTY TOOL
Like Sendlane, ActiveCampaign also does not include any e-commerce within its platform. However, it does have the capability to integrate with a much larger selection of payment processing systems, such as PayPal, Stripe, WooCommerce, etc.
Before you get super excited that your favorite payment processor claims an ActiveCampaign integration, be aware that not all integrations work the same. (See the current list of integrations here.)
Example: The Shopify integration will actually auto-add a new customer to your ActiveCampaign email list only if that customer chooses to optin to your marketing updates during the checkout process.
If they don't, you'll have to manually add them yourself before you can apply any tags and add them to a follow-up sales sequence.
Whereas the Bigcommerce integration does point out that it will automatically add any new clients to your ActiveCampaign CRM.
Sendlane and ActiveCampaign both offer drag-and-drop visual builders to help you create a variety of marketing automations. While ActiveCampaign has a slight edge in terms of the variety of elements you can add, both systems offer a nice selection of fundamentals, from conditional logic to webhooks and wait timers.
ACTIVECAMPAIGN: WIDE VARIETY OF AUTOMATION OPTIONS
ActiveCampaign's automation builder is high-contrast and easy to navigate. You can either drag and drop an option from the right sidebar, or click on the plus button to reveal a popup menu.
If you are utilizing ActiveCampaign's CRM features (or have a Salesforce account as well), you'll be happy to see an additional set of options that allow you to update a user's CRM contact (or create a Salesforce lead) based on actions inside the automation.
SENDLANE: EASY, POWERFUL AUTOMATIONS
Sendlane's automation builder is designed to be a bit more minimalist than ActiveCampaign's: the right sidebar is hidden until you click on one of the "+" buttons in the builder.'
While it lacks the CRM/Salesforce options, entrepreneurs who are primarily interested in email marketing automations with a smaller list (and no sales team) won't notice a difference.
Affiliate Tracking & Payments
Setting up an affiliate program can be a great way to boost your sales and business reach. Of course it also includes an entirely different set of responsibilities for you to manage, including unique affiliate links, sales, and refunds.
Not surprisingly (since they don't include e-commerce), neither Sendlane nor ActiveCampaign offers a built-in affiliate tracking system. Again, this is where you will want to review the available integrations carefully, as neither system offers a wide selection of integrations for referral tracking.
If the whole Sendlane vs ActiveCampaign decision is still a toss-up for you, the pricing system might help you lean in one direction or another.
The ActiveCampaign pricing system is separated into three tiers: Lite, Small Business, and Enterprise. Each of those tiers represents the functionality you'll get, rather than a set price range. Within each tier, the price continues to fluctuate based on the number of subscribers you have on your list. (So an ActiveCampaign subscription at the Lite level could still change dramatically as your business grows and flourishes.)
The Sendlane pricing system is also separated into three tiers: Growth, Marketing Automation Pro, and Enterprise/Agency. As with the ActiveCampaign pricing format, the ultimate price of each tier is largely dependent on the number of contacts you have.
Definitely take time to look through each of their pricing pages to see which area you fall into.
ActiveCampaign vs Sendlane: Pros and Cons
- Great automation and tagging of people based on their actions
- A solid marketing automation system that can integrate with 3rd party tools
- Can integrate with other platforms for e-commerce or affiliate programs
- You can use AccessAlly to design your membership area on WordPresss
- A visual automation builder that's straightforward and fun to use
- Not an all-in-one solution, so you'll have to turn to 3rd-party tools for e-commerce, affiliate programs, etc.
- A large volume of email contacts can significantly raise your subscription price
If your business is experiencing growth and requires more complex email marketing automations, ActiveCampaign is probably your strongest option.
- Great email deliverability, and segmentation of people.
- A visual automation builder that rivals ActiveCampaign's
- Easy-to-use, flexible platform that allows you to send one-off emails, manage your list, and create powerful automations
- Limited number of integrations and plugins in the marketplace for this platform
- No integration with AccessAlly
- As your business grows, the cost of staying with Sendlane is going to grow significantly as well.
If you're looking for more advanced marketing automation than sending basic, one-off emails and don't have a ton of extended systems that you want integrated, Sendlane is a great, affordable option.
How Will These Systems Integrate with Your Tech Stack?
Chances are, you won't be using your CRM in isolation and you'll want to integrate with other tools. If you plan to take payments, run online courses, or put together a membership site, then you'll love knowing that AccessAlly fully integrates with ActiveCampaign.
Sendlane vs ActiveCampaign:
It's Your Turn
While I can’t make the decision for you, I hope that now you have a better understanding of what each system is best used for, and which one you’ll want to investigate further.
In terms of when the right time to make the move is... I say before you’re ready. Because it takes awhile to make a big move to a new platform like this. I’ll also say that it’s best to be running from a profitable place, because these monthly fees are in the triple digits.