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ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot for email marketing, comparing apples to oranges

ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot: Which is best for your email marketing?

ActiveCampaign and HubSpot are both popular top-of-the-line customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that also offer sales and marketing automation features. Which is better for your business email marketing? The answer, inevitably, is: it depends. In this article, we‘ll compare the two platforms and give you information about each to help you make the right decision.

Can’t you just give me a quick answer?

Every business’ needs are different, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But if we must choose straight away, ActiveCampaign* is generally the better option for small to mid-sized businesses predominantly looking for an email marketing solution. Here’s why: ActiveCampaign is an email and marketing automation tool that also offers an integrated CRM. HubSpot, on the other hand, is built as an all-in-one marketing solution. While that may sound ideal, our experience using it with our clients (generally smaller, service-based businesses) has been that it adds unnecessary complexity.

So, if you wanted a quick answer, there it is. Now, let’s dig into some details to help you make the right choice for your needs and budget.

What do ActiveCampaign and HubSpot have in common?

  • Simple, easy-to-use interface
  • Strong automation capabilities
  • Plenty of templates
  • Wide range of sales and marketing capabilities
  • Functional, intuitive email builder

What are the main differences between ActiveCampaign and Hubspot?

  • Hubspot is built around CRM (customer relationship management) capabilities; ActiveCampaign is built around email marketing and automation
  • Hubspot offers a free CRM; ActiveCampaign does not (although it does offer a free trial)
  • When it comes to paid plans, ActiveCampaign is generally less expensive than HubSpot
  • On certain plans, HubSpot can act as a content management system (CMS); with ActiveCampaign you’ll need to use integrations to achieve similar functionality
  • ActiveCampaign’s email split testing and list segmentation are simpler to use
  • ActiveCampaign is easier to implement in an organization that is already using other CRM apps; to get the most from HubSpot, it’s best used for enterprise-wide CRM

The D-day test of ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot for email marketing

What’s the point of sending carefully-crafted emails if they’re disappearing into cyberspace? You need them to land in your target reader’s inbox. EmailToolTester has been monitoring the deliverability of the top email marketing providers for a number of years. Here are the latest average scores from their last three email deliverability tests:

Overall Deliverability Rate7292

That’s a big difference!

How do ActiveCampaign and HubSpot differ in pricing?

Because ActiveCampaign and HubSpot don’t offer apples-to-apples packages, it’s impossible to definitively say that one is cheaper than the other. However, there are some key differences to bear in mind when considering ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot for email marketing:


HubSpot offers a very generous Free CRM plan, but ActiveCampaign only offers a 14-day free trial. Hubspot’s free plan allows you to send up to 2,000 promotional emails monthly to your contacts.

Pricing structure

ActiveCampaign’s plans and pricing are based on the features you require and the number of contacts you have. All plans come with unlimited emails. Packages start at $9/month for 500 contacts and increase incrementally on a sliding scale as you add more. Essentially, the pricing scales with your business growth (or at least the growth of your contact list).

HubSpot’s pricing structure is separated into Marketing, CRM & Sales, and Service; each of which has various tiers with prices ranging from less than a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. In the past, HubSpot had some bumpy times with customers who had come in at a low rate and were shocked to hear their renewal rate in year 2 of using the platform. We can’t vouch for whether this is still happening, but it was a significant motivator for us to switch our clients over to ActiveCampaign.

Cost to email 1,000 contacts

Hubspot’s Marketing Starter plan includes 1,000 contacts and 5,000 emails for $45/month. If you have 1,000 contacts on ActiveCampaign’s Lite Plan, it will cost you $29/month and you can send unlimited emails.

Hidden costs

With HubSpot’s higher-tier packages (Professional and Enterprise), customers are required to pay onboarding fees that run into the thousands. ActiveCampaign has similar onboarding and support features, but they are already built into the package prices, so no additional onboarding costs apply. Depending on the length of the contract you sign with HubSpot, you may see annual price increases. ActiveCampaign’s price increases are tied to the size of your contact list, so it’s straightforward to keep costs in check.

When should I use HubSpot?

If all you’re looking for is a basic, free CRM, the free HubSpot CRM plan is the obvious choice. HubSpot offers far more features and functionality than ActiveCampaign, so it’s also recommended for large enterprises that can make use of the entire HubSpot ecosystem—at a cost.

When should I use ActiveCampaign?

If you’re a small to mid-sized business looking for an email marketing and automation solution to help you manage contacts, automate lead nurturing, and deliver emails, we recommend looking no further than ActiveCampaign. We use it for all our clients because it’s affordable, easy to use, and has everything we need to maximize the impact of our email campaigns. It also plays nicely with WordPress, which is our website platform of choice.

You may also be interested in: How to integrate ActiveCampaign with WordPress

Final thoughts comparing ActiveCampaign vs HubSpot for email marketing

In summary, ActiveCampaign is an email and marketing automation specialist, whereas email is part of HubSpot’s suite of comprehensive sales and marketing products. Both platforms should give you everything you need if you’re planning to do a lot of email marketing. However, if you need more than HubSpot’s Free CRM plan, the platform’s paid plans get pricey quickly. For small businesses looking to scale, ActiveCampaign’s plans are more affordable, and the email marketing and automation features are just as good as HubSpot’s.

If the whole idea of email design, automation, and managing contact lists and segmentation sounds like something you just don’t have the capacity for right now, let the team at Brighter Messaging help you get the right email messages in front of the right people. Get in touch to discuss your email marketing needs.

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