ActiveCampaign vs. Flodesk: Which One Should E-commerce Business Owners Use?

by Corey Philip //  October 12, 2022

Email marketing is one of the primary sales channels for most e-commerce business owners. And if you do it right, it can turn out to be a sales-generating machine. But, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in a dilemma most e-commerce business owners face: Picking the right email marketing tool.

And, although you’ve narrowed your choices down to ActiveCampaign and Flodesk, you’re not sure which one to pick. Don’t fret though. By the end of this post, you’ll know which one of the two email marketing tools is a better fit for your e-commerce business.

Let’s dive in.

ACTIVECAMPAIGN

ActiveCampaign is a great choice for small businesses. It comes with powerful auto-responders, built-in social media integrations, and an intuitive interface that’s easy to use even if you’re not tech-savvy.

  • ActiveCampaign offers to do the account migration for free if you are coming from a different email marketing software.
  • The conversations (on-site chat) feature is an add-on and not included in the standard plan.

FLODESK

If you are looking for an email marketing tool you can get acclimated to quickly, Flodesk is a great choice as it doesn’t include any unnecessary features that can only complicate things.

  • With Flodesk, you have access to dozens of stunning, professionally designed templates that are all chic, modern looking, and even artistic.
  • You won't be able to measure the effectiveness of your campaign using Flodesk, which can be a deal-breaker for experienced marketers.

Factors to Consider for Ecommerce Business Owners when Choosing an Email Marketing Tool


Before diving into the comparison, let’s first talk about the qualities of a great email marketing platform. In other words, what features you should look out for while reading this ActiveCampaign vs. Flodesk review.

  • Ease of use. It’s easy to overlook this feature in a software platform. But, a user-friendly dashboard can make things a lot easier for you in the long run. So, you want to consider the overall ease of use while selecting an email marketing tool.
  • Automation features. Some tools offer more powerful marketing automation features than others. A big reason to invest in an email marketing tool is to automate as many workflows as possible. However, keep in mind that you don’t want to pay for the features you don’t need. So, although a tool might offer powerful automation features, it will also cost accordingly.
  • Marketing analytics. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to identify the best marketing strategies as soon as possible and stick with them (Until you find even better ones). Your software should be able to give you enough insights into how your strategies have been working. Having enough data can help you understand your market and move in the right direction. 

With all that out of the way, it’s time we talked about what the two email marketing tools have to offer.

ActiveCampaign vs. Flodesk: Which one is Suitable for Ecommerce Business Owners?


Before we take a look at their specific features and attributes to see how they stack up against each other, let us first have an overview on what ActiveCampaign and Flodesk truly is.

About ActiveCampaign


The fact that ActiveCampaign has been around since 2003 makes it one of the pioneers in the email marketing industry. Interestingly, ActiveCampaign is known to be the go-to solution for many e-commerce store owners. But, whether or not it offers better e-commerce features than Flodesk remains to be seen. (Related: ActiveCampaign vs. Mailerlite: Which One is Best for Infopreneurs)

About Flodesk


Now, Flodesk came to the email marketing scene recently in 2019. However, don’t let the software’s infancy prevent you from seeing the amazing features it has to offer. Flodesk’s email designer is quite an attraction in the email marketing community.

Plus, the company has recently launched the “Checkout” feature, which you can buy separately as well. But, it’s hard to tell if Flodesk is a better overall option than ConvertKit for e-commerce business owners without looking at its features. (Related: Flodesk vs. Mailerlite: Which is the Best Choice For Use With WordPress?)

ActiveCampaign Features


Here we go...

Interface and Ease of use


ActiveCampaign has an intuitive dashboard. From your recent campaigns to automations, it offers everything at a glance. However, it may not be as user-friendly and easy to navigate as you might like. You’ll be able to know your way around the software with time though.

List Management


ActiveCampaign lets you manage your email lists in one window under the “Contacts” option.

From the top-right of your dashboard, you can export and import your contacts and add new ones manually.

The top bar lets you filter your contacts based on their:

  • Status
  • List
  • Tags

Also, there’s a search bar that lets you find individual contacts. The left bar lets you:

  • Manage tags
  • Clean lists
  • Sync database
  • Manage exclusions, and more

Segmentation


With ActiveCampaign, you can segment your email lists based on:

  • Geography
  • Name
  • Date subscribed
  • Action taken
  • Site data, and more

To see the segmentation features, you’ll have to go to “Advanced Search” under the “Contacts” option.

In the next step, you’ll see different conditions that you can apply to your list.

That’s not the only way to segment your contacts on ActiveCampaign though. The software also gives you that option while you’re creating your campaign.

“Lead scoring” is another likable feature that tags your top leads automatically, helping you retarget hot prospects. The feature adds someone to your “Top leads” list as soon as they take a pre-defined action.

Automation


The more you can automate your workflows effectively, the better you can focus on your business’s other important aspects. Plus, you can’t expect your prospects to buy from you the first time they interact with your business online. An overwhelming majority of your prospects will just move to the next stage of their buyer’s journey.

Automation workflows help you retarget those prospects, helping you maximize your lead conversion rate. Impressively, ActiveCampaign comes with 270 built-in automation workflows to give you a great head start. These workflows can help you send personalized content to different segments of your audience, depending on where they are in their buyer’s journey.

As soon as you click “Automations” in the left sidebar of your dashboard, the software will show you the list of recipes.

As you can see, these automation recipes can also be filtered out on the basis of industry, which would be “E-Commerce/Retail” in our case. Remember that you can always create an automation from scratch as well.

Here’s what an automation workflow looks like in ActiveCampaign.

The automation workflow lets you add triggers and actions, helping you nurture your leads automatically. A trigger is essentially any action taken by a prospect that puts them on your list, or anything that converts a stranger into a lead.

So, for instance, let’s say you want to send out a retargeting email to anyone who unsubscribes to your newsletter. You can do that by choosing the “Unsubscribes from a list” trigger.

So, as soon as someone unsubscribes to a list, they’ll enter your automation workflow. If you take a look closely, you’ll notice that it lets you filter out e-commerce-specific triggers. 

You can then add different “Actions” to your workflow to nurture your leads. One way to do that is by clicking the “+” icon and selecting an appropriate action from the pop-up window. Another would be to simply drag and drop any action onto your workflow.

Forms and Landing Pages


Like any good email marketing software, ActiveCampaign lets you create converting landing pages and beautiful forms.

The “Site” tab has four options.

And as you can see, the “Pages” page gives you multiple pre-designed landing page templates, in addition to a blank one.

Here’s what one of the templates and ActiveCampaign’s landing page editor looks like:

Moreover, there are four types of forms you can create:

Let’s say you want to create an inline form. Clicking on it will take you to ActiveCampaign’s form builder.

You can then add any fields you want by simply dragging and dropping them.

A/B Testing


Spit-testing is another handy feature you get on ActiveCampaign.

It lets you test several variations of the same email. 

Marketing Analytics


ActiveCampaign has one of the most in-depth “Reports” feature.

It even lets you create custom reports, allowing you to analyze your most important email marketing KPIs in one place.

Pricing


ActiveCampaign follows the pay-as-you-grow model of pricing. On the basic (Lite) plan, you can get 500 contacts for $9/month (when paid yearly), which isn’t enough in most cases.

So, the issue is that you’ll have to invest more as your list grows. However, generally, your business grows with your list. So, you’ll probably be able to afford the additional costs when you have more leads and customers.

Flodesk Features


Here we go...

Interface


Flodesk has the simplest of interfaces. The interface is clean; you’ll just see your latest emails on the dashboard.

Automation


Flodesk’s automation workflows are simple yet effective. You can start designing your automation by going to “Workflows” at the top of your main dashboard and creating a new one.

And depending on your goal, you can select a pre-designed workflow.

You’ll find more as you scroll down. Or, you can create one from the ground up by selecting the “Or start from scratch” option.

Once you’re inside the workflow editor, you’ll have to add a trigger that’ll decide how someone enters that workflow. 

Next, you can add emails, time delays, conditions, and actions to the sequence. 

Forms and Landing Pages


As you’d expect, Flodesk’s landing pages and forms are simple and easy to create. The intuitive drag-and-drop builder is what makes this software an attraction for many e-commerce business owners.

To access Flodesk’s landing page builder, you’ll have to go to “Forms” and then “Full page”.

It does seem a little strange that there’s no dedicated “Landing pages” option. You have to find it under “Forms”.

Here’s what you’ll see after selecting a “Full page” template:

The templates are simple and good-looking, but there isn’t much that you can do to customize their look and feel.

The same goes for Flodesk’s pop-up builder.

Email Builder


It’s the email builder that makes Flodesk stand out from the pack. On the first page after you click on “New email”, you’ll see different templates and the “Start from scratch” option.

Picking a pre-designed template would be a better option unless you have a specific design in mind. The good thing is you can customize these email templates as much as you want.

We chose a pre-designed “Welcome” email template. Here’s what it looks like:

Pretty basic stuff. There’s a lot that you can add to your Flodesk emails. Just click on the “+” icon and you’ll see all the elements.

Importantly, the email designer/builder is incredibly easy to use. You can even see how your email looks on desktop and mobile devices.

It’s a handy little feature that can help you make sure your emails appear in their best form on both types of devices.

Next, you’ll have to enter the “From” name.

Moving forward, you’ll be typing in your subject line.

The second last step would be to select the target audience for your email. Lastly, Flodesk will ask you if you want to send the email now or later.

Checkouts


This is where e-commerce business owners will find Flodesk a great option going forward. The “Checkouts” feature is still in its BETA stage, but it looks promising. It lets you create checkout pages for your products without hassle.

The cool thing is you get a generous number of pre-designed checkout pages.

Importantly, here’s what Flodesk’s simple checkout page looks like:

This simple template can help you convert your traffic instantly.

A/B Testing


Now, this is where ActiveCampaign takes the lead. You can’t A/B test your emails with Flodesk, which can be a turn-off for some marketers.

Having said that, this isn’t a must-have feature, so it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. Unless, of course, it’s one of your core marketing needs.

Marketing Analytics


If you’re an advanced marketer, you probably need marketing analytics to identify your best-performing strategies.

Unfortunately, Flodesk lacks in this department. In fact, there’s no marketing analytics feature as of yet.

Pricing


Flodesk’s pricing model is every email marketer’s dream: unlimited everything at a single price.

This means no matter how big your list gets; you’ll continue to pay a fixed monthly/yearly amount.

So, although there are a couple of missing features, the pricing model might make you want to grab this tool.

Verdict


After comparing the two email marketing software, it’d be fair to say that there are some stark differences. On one side, the lack of A/B testing and marketing analytics in Flodesk makes ActiveCampaign a better option.

On the other hand, Flodesk’s “Unlimited everything” pricing model and the “Checkout” feature are too good to ignore. So, it really boils down to your goals and needs as an e-commerce business owner. If you’re still not sure...

Choose ActiveCampaign if you want:

  • To A/B test your emails
  • Powerful marketing analytics and reports
  • Advanced automation workflows

Choose Flodesk if you:

  • A simple, easy-to-use software
  • A great email editor
  • The checkout feature
  • Unlimited everything (have a lot of subscribers)

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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