In today’s fast paced age of constantly changing technology, running a business or getting yourself out there for potential customers, followers or subscribers takes a lot more than just talking to friends and family. We connect online now more than ever, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, but just how much do we really connect beyond the surface?
At first, we may have a much closer relationship with our first subscribers or followers or the first regular customers to help support our goals and business, but after a while when the numbers build up it can become exponentially more difficult to keep track of things.
It’s not hard to send a small greeting, notification, or maybe an update every once in a while to the people that have helped grow your business on Facebook when there’s only a few people that you have on your mailing list, but eventually that gets to be work in and of itself when the numbers reach a certain point.
Having to send messages to everyone to keep them updated or to even just make them feel like valued customers can become too much when it’s something you’re not getting paid directly to do, but that’s where having an ESP (Email Service Provider) comes in.
This type of communication autoresponder is the solution that will keep you connected to your audience and more.
As the market matures, so too does the necessity for multi-channel marketing—such as Facebook Messenger, SMS text notifications, and Web Push Notifications; in addition to the more traditional email engagement. This could be more accurately dubbed an Engagement Service Provider or simply a Cross-Channel or Omnichannel Autoresponder.
What exactly is an ESP or Autoresponder?
These services vary in what they can do and how they work, but for the most part, they help with streamline processes while also helping companies keep connected with their customers.
A good example of a popular ESP is ActiveCampaign, an email autoresponder that focuses on sending emails to leads and gauging their interest based on how responsive they are or how far along they get in a form
Along with that, they have reports, support, an automation builder and even an email builder. With various plans that offer more features, it’s a powerful tool that I personally loved when trying it for myself, but its price can become a bit much.
Starting off with only 500 contacts for $129 a month, it didn’t feel all that worth it as the numbers grew and the price of ActiveCampaign grew with it.
This is especially true for those with cheap products where the business relies more on a higher number of customers, as compared to businesses with more expensive products that are more targeted to specific customers in a lower number.
In the end what I needed was something more geared towards that which could do the things ActiveCampaign did at a lower price. After learning more about what ESPs were and finding the time to do further research on them, I discovered a few alternatives that could help others who have also been in the same boat as me.
How much does ActiveCampaign Cost?
There is no free version with ActiveCampaign so you’ll have to jump right in on one of their paid plans.
The general consensus across the internet is that the cost for ActiveCampaign is extremely high and only becomes more expensive as you scale your business and your list.
They do offer some lower plans which honestly shouldn’t even exist in my opinion because they are so bare bones that they are pretty much useless. For anyone really needing an autoresponder you’ll have to shell out at least $159/month to have all the features you’d expect to have from an ESP.
And so continued my search for the best Email Autoresponder…. In my journey to find an alternative to ActiveCampaign, I found many ESPs such as…
Mailchimp which is quite popular but falls short on the best features.
ConstantContact which has great integration with tons of platforms and was built for small businesses.
SendLane which promises multiple channel communication but has poor email deliverability
GetResponse which used to be pretty good but has gotten worse and worse at hitting the inbox lately.
Still though, I felt they were all just a bit lacking in comparison to ActiveCampaign or were just not right for me… that is, until I came across SmartEngage. Now, I can’t say what’s perfect for everyone since we all have different needs for our own businesses and goals, but I can’t imagine who SmartEngage wouldn’t be for.
Just take a look at this screenshot I grabbed from one of their customers posting honest feedback to their Facebook group:
When it comes to the things that I felt mattered most for my business, SmartEngage is a clear winner and that’s what I want to talk about.
Not only is it a lower price for more features, SmartEngage allows you to try it risk free just to let you get an idea of what it can do. From its hybrid lead magnets to its amazing email deliverability, SmartEngage has all the main features that make ActiveCampaign great and much more, but for a much better deal.
Even when it comes to SMS text messaging, SmartEngage actually includes more free SMS sends per month than ActiveCampaign. To give a list though, here are just some of the main features of SmartEngage:
– Website Visitor Tracking
– Web Notifications
– WYSIWYG Email Editor
– Visual Notifications
– Facebook Messenger
– Social Marketing
– Sales Intelligence
– Notification Scheduling
– Mobile Optimized Emails
– Mobile Notifications
– Mass Email Delivery
– Marketing Automation
– Landing Pages/Web Forms
– Geo Targeting
– File Sharing
– Expiry Notifications
– Dynamic Content
– Drip Campaigns
– Device Targeting
– Customizable Fields
– Customizable CTAs
– Customer Surveys
– Contextual Targeting
– Email Templates
– Analytics/ROI Tracking
As you can see, SmartEngage offers a pretty wide variety of features that will be more than useful for just about anyone trying to grow anything that needs more people and can benefit from their engagement. If you’re still not convinced, here is an example of just one of the many great things other users of SmartEngage have had to say about it after finding success with it:
Who is SmartEngage for?
Video Marketers and local business owners, digital agencies and influencers, e-commerce store owners or website owners in general, it doesn’t matter what you do. SmartEngage is powerful enough to help you grow in any of those things and more like never before.
Website owners will love using Hybrid Lead Magnets to easily collect subscribers while having the Facebook Chat Assistant to send unlimited messages to their list. For e-commerce stores, you can make follow ups for abandoned carts by Email, Facebook Messenger or even web push notifications.
Influencers can link the SmartEngage Chatbot in their profile and collect Emails to interact with their followers and fans in ways that would have been impossible before. Digital Agencies can charge clients monthly payments and make use of SmartEngage’s Facebook Chatbot Marketing with Email Marketing, Facebook Messenger ads, website chat assistant and much more.
Local businesses can use marketing automation to acquire more leads with autopilot engagement and grow their business exponentially. With Facebook Messenger Conversations and cutting edge Lead Magnets, video marketers can send all their video traffic straight into their opt-ins with ease.
With so many uses, SmartEngage is the only auto responder and ESP you’ll ever need to use. Not only does it have tons of features, it can support integration with WooCommerce, WordPress, Magento, OptimizePress, Stripe, Click Funnels, Shopify, PayPal, Convertri, Unbounce, WarriorPlus, Zapier, JVZoo.com and Salesforce to name a few.
With that all said, one of the major features of SmartEngage I feel isn’t talked enough about is its unlimited Facebook Chatbots. Although chatbots have been around and in development for along time, only somewhat recently have people begun to notice their immense potential and usefulness for business and marketing strategies.
Going more into Facebook chatbots, these ones in particular live within Facebook Messenger and are able to chat with the 1.3billion users of Facebook who log in every month. You yourself also likely have a messenger strategy if you’re already on Facebook, but the power of chatbots allows you to expand upon it significantly!
Customers hate having to wait just to be put on hold, but chatbots put you at the 24/7 availability they expect without having to work non-stop or hire other people to be there for that.
If that’s not convincing enough yet and all this talk about what bots can do sounds too good to be true then let me reassure you, as someone who thought it sounded a bit too sci-fi myself at first, the times have changed.
The things bots can do can range from identifying leads to handling e-commerce transactions; everything from asking what your budget is, to asking if you’d like fries with that order.
Data shows that not only is Facebook considered the second best way to talk to companies based on a recent survey, there are only 300,000 chatbots despite Facebook having at least 6 million advertisers. That means using SmartEngage’s unlimited Facebook chatbots puts you at an advantage where you won’t even have all that much competition!
Think about this – every month, over 2 billion messages are exchanged over Facebook Messenger which is used by over 68 percent of people who use apps. Meanwhile, the rest of the market for mobile apps sees at least 71 percent of those same people delete an app within 3 months.
This is why I can’t stress enough just how useful the unlimited Facebook chatbots can be if you have any desire to grow your business online.
Web Push Notifications
Along with its unlimited Emails and Facebook Chatbots, SmartEngage also allows for unlimited web push notifications. Those more new or less in touch with more modern advances in computer software might be confused on what that is, so it’s probably worth explaining what that means exactly for your business.
We’ve already covered Facebook and Emails which most people already know about and probably use on a nearly daily basis, but what about Web push notifications?
Web push notifications are a relatively new development in the world of online marketing that allow notifications to make their way to your customers from website, even when they aren’t on the website the notification is coming from.
They keep your visitors engaged without having to know their contact details such as their Email or Facebook by showing messages directly on their screen wherever they are. Not only will you reach the most tech-savvy of your customers with the most tech-savvy and modern updates, studies have shown that you’ll likely have up to 30 times more success with them!
Along with that, opt-ins from web push notifications have been shown to easily be higher than Emails since users don’t have to give contact details such as their Email or Facebook. Unlike Emails, web push notifications are also significantly more likely to be seen since they don’t have the problem of possibly going straight to a spam folder or failing to deliver.
They’re delivered straight to your audience or customers as soon as you decide to send them out. Having unlimited web push with SmartEngage means unlimited potential for re-engaging with users even without their contact info.
Finally, the last big feature I want to go over that SmartEngage has is its customer tracking. For the many who don’t know what customer tracking exactly is or what it does, just as I didn’t know at first either, customer tracking is essentially following every step your subscriber takes; this includes what emails they open, what links they click, even what pages they visit on your website.
With customer tracking, if I were to go to your site or place of business online, you would be able to see that along with other details. You could see what pages a potential customer visited, how long they stay and where they stay, what their biggest interests on your site are, etc.
You could also gauge out what things might have caused them to leave, what brought them there in the first place, where people are most likely to go and a variety of other things along those lines which can be followed up with in messages or notifications.
More than just that, you can use customer tracking to help keep track of information that would be difficult to just memorize. Customer tracking is essential in the modern online world for keeping organization.
Normally, customer tracking software is something separate from other things such as ESPs, but SmartEngage has customer tracking built in that allows you to be even more organized with everything all in one place.
Overall, I would have to say SmartEngage having all of these features makes it a clear winner over its competition. Not only does it take the lead with what it can do with those features, but in its price and reliability as well.
While other auto-responders and similar software to SmartEngage only focus on Emails most of the time, SmartEngage takes into account all the other missed opportunities when it comes to ways you could be profiting.
Nothing else exists that will get you more engagement, more leads and more profit, and with its risk free trial you have nothing to lose. That’s how confident they are that you too will love SmartEngage.
If you ever get lost or confused on how to use SmartEngage, their Knowledge Base has tons of help articles and training videos to help you get the hang of things from start to finish. If you still need further help, they even have a support desk for when their Knowledge Base isn’t enough.
With even more features than ActiveCampaign and great reviews, SmartEngage will keep your audience and/or customers fully engaged with you and what you have to offer them. In the past, I hadn’t realized just how much money I was just throwing away to a variety of different services.
Thanks to SmartEngage though, I can now put my business on autopilot in just three steps with one tool and I can’t recommend it enough to everyone else facing the same issues I had.
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I needed to replace ActiveCampaign for my agency and luckily a friend of mine recommended SmartEngage. Wow! It actually got us more opens on our emails...and we were able to switch all our automations over without too much hassle. So yeah we switched. Better product for a cheaper price? Yup!