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ActiveCampaign Features That I Use Daily as an OBM

Apr 9, 2024

As an online business manager, one of the things I do is help my clients figure out which tools and resources to incorporate into their workflows. There’s an endless number of options out there to help you handle every aspect of your business. But they’re not all the same, especially when it comes to features and affordability.

So which ones should you choose? 

When I get this question from my clients, the first thing I ask is whether they have a good email system. Why? Because email marketing is still one of the best ways to drive conversions. It’s so powerful that it’s not really optional. If you want to grow your audience and increase revenue, you need a good email marketing plan — and a platform to make it happen.

So today, let’s talk about my favorite email marketing tool: ActiveCampaign. This platform offers so many incredible features, and it’s something I continually recommend to my clients. Whether you think you need a new email provider or not, keep reading — you might not even realize what you’re missing.

Disclaimer: The below article might contain affiliate links. That means if you click on an identified link* and subscribe to the product or service, I might receive a commission for the referral. Quality and integrity are cornerstones for me, though, so you can rest assured that I’d never recommend anything I don’t use and love myself.

ActiveCampaign Feature #1: Automations

Managing all the aspects of your email marketing by hand is tedious. Fortunately, these repetitive tasks are where automation tools thrive. ActiveCampaign has an excellent set of automations that hit the sweet spot of capability and affordability.

One of the things I disliked about many of the email marketing platforms I used before ActiveCampaign was the lack of flexibility in automations. Either they were too simple to really save time, or they were so complicated that I would have needed to hire a specialist to use them. Plus, those complicated automations were expensive!

ActiveCampaign makes it easy to create complex, multi-step automations that actually save you time. You can build a sequence for almost everything, from welcoming new subscribers to sending abandoned cart emails.

How I use this feature with clients: Every summer, The Happy Ever Crafter hosts Workshop Week, a free 5-day virtual event for artists and art enthusiasts. The challenge is that attendees can register at any time, from months before the event to while it’s in progress, or after it concludes! That means the welcome emails all need to be different. 

With the automations in ActiveCampaign, we could prepare all of those emails ahead of time and then let the algorithm do the rest. That means there’s no need to manually send emails, which is especially important during Workshop Week.

ActiveCampaign Feature #2: Predictive Sending

Another key aspect of an effective email marketing campaign is getting the right message in front of your audience at the right time. You work hard to craft engaging emails that capture your readers’ attention and boost conversions. But if those emails get sent in the middle of the night, they’ll probably get lost in everyone’s inboxes. Your audience might not even know they’re missing communications from you.

That’s where Predictive Sending comes in. It’s more than just the ability to schedule your email to be sent at a certain time. The software actually figures out the best time to send your message to each individual contact — mind blowing, right? You can just sit back and relax knowing that your messages are more likely to be seen and opened. That’s how you build a personal connection to your audience and increase sales.

How I use this feature with clients: Manager Method is a global brand with enterprise clients around the world. The company’s primary audience is in North America, but there are contacts in many other places — some as far away as Australia. We use ActiveCampaign’s Predictive Sending to make sure every subscriber gets their email during the work day — when they’re far more likely to read it and respond. This system is so much more effective than only having the option to send an email X number of hours later.

ActiveCampaign Feature #3: Personalized content

Creating a good customer experience is one of the challenges of running an online business. But it’s essential — customers who feel seen and listened to are more likely to buy. What’s the solution?

Personalization. Think about the last time you browsed for something online. Maybe you put a few products in your cart but decided to wait before purchasing. Did you receive a follow-up email reminding you about your cart? Maybe it even included an exact list of the items you were thinking of purchasing along with a discount to encourage you to complete the checkout process.

That’s a powerful example of personalization that truly improves the customer experience. In fact, I use this all the time when I’m shopping online. I’ll usually leave a few things in my cart on purpose knowing I’ll probably get a reminder email with a discount a few days later.

You don’t have to be a giant online retailer to give your customers the same kind of personalized experience. One of the things I love about ActiveCampaign is that it has features to take care of this for you. Website tracking helps you identify exactly what your customers are interested in, which is helpful for product sellers and service providers.

You can use the site tracking data to segment your email audience based on their interests, which is the best way to improve your open rates and increase conversions. For example, when someone in your contact list visits your online shop, you can set up an automation to send them a follow-up email with a promo code. Simple and effective — the best kind of strategy.

How I use this feature with clients: Soul Degree only hosts two of their signature wilderness retreats per year. So most of the time when someone visits the site, the cart is closed. With ActiveCampaign’s site tracking, we can easily tag any contact who visits the retreat information page, essentially giving us an internal waitlist of interested clients. 

When it’s time to start filling retreat spots, we can send emails just to the segment of people who were tagged as interested. In 2024, Soul Degree sold out both retreats with just two emails sent to the tagged contacts on that internal waitlist — they never even needed to send an email to the rest of the list!

ActiveCampaign Feature #4: Updates and improvements

One of the challenges we face, especially as small business owners, is knowing which investments are going to get a good ROI. Have you ever bought or subscribed to something only to have it be irrelevant to your business a few months later? I know I have. 

ActiveCampaign has a varied pricing structure that helps prevent those unprofitable investments. You can find a plan that gives you all the features you need but doesn’t make you pay for capabilities you won’t use. For example, if you are mostly going to use ActiveCampaign for marketing, you don’t need to pay for the CRM features.

Plus, the platform is always improving. The longer I’ve been a client, the more I’ve been able to see how well the company uses its R&D resources. All the improvements and updates that come along are clearly based on customer feedback. For example, a few months ago, ActiveCampaign implemented personalized coupons for e-commerce emails along with additional site tracking and segmenting capabilities.

Here’s another example: In February 2024, Google and Yahoo implemented some changes to reduce email spam for their customers. That’s what DKIM, DMARC, and SPF authentication are for — Gmail and Yahoo want to verify you and your domain before allowing your emails to reach their customers’ inboxes. 

As great as this feature is for customers (we’d all love less email spam), it can be challenging for small business owners, especially those who don’t have the time or interest to dive into all the tech details. ActiveCampaign responded quickly with a new solution that lets users verify their domain name with one click. I was able to get all my clients up and running in just half an hour. Saving time and staying compliant? Win-win!

(This might seem like an advanced topic, but it’s so exciting for those of us who see the significant potential of email marketing. Want a crash course in email segmentation? Stay tuned for my next blog post — it’s a deep dive into personalizing your email marketing with tags and segments.)

Want a powerful email marketing tool?

Choosing an email system is all about balance — finding something that has all the features you need today but also additional capabilities you can tap into as your business grows. And of course, it needs to be affordable!

I recommend Active Campaign all the time because it really checks all the boxes. It’s affordable while still being comprehensive. It’s easy to use even if you’re just starting out with email marketing, but it still has advanced features you can start using as you scale. Most of all, it helps make email marketing more efficient and effective. All the personalization features give your customers a better experience,  which encourages them to work with you.

Want to see better email marketing results without losing tons of time managing all the pieces yourself? Give ActiveCampaign a try. You’ll save time with automations, improve the customer experience, and have a platform that will grow with your business. 

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