Compare Small Business Automation Software – Side by Side

Please view this page on a computer screen, not a mobile device. It will be much more fun, I promise!

On this page you will find several tables to help you compare small business automation software products so you can choose the best one for you!

Although there is a large – and steadily growing – number of tools available today, this website focuses on the four automation software products in the Small Business space that are the most popular, most established, and the best fit for small business: OntraportInfusionsoftHubspot (coming soon!) and ActiveCampaign.

This page is a work in progress. The time commitment to research the information and keep it up to date is significant. Our apologies that the Hubspot column is not there yet – it will come soon!

Overview and Pricing

This table summarizes the absolute need-to-know basics when you compare small business automation software tools.
Is their target market a good fit for you own small business?
How easy is it to sign up, is there a trial period, a setup fee, and finally, what are the prices for different sizes of contact lists?

Summary for busy readers:

  • ActiveCampaign definitely is a great product to start getting your feet wet with automation. Pro-level functionality at a beginner-level price point, free trial, monthly billing and no setup fee – they can’t make it any easier for you. But beware of price creep once your list grows into the 100k region.
  • Ontraport packs an insane amount of features into their software. In that sense, it is a true all-in-one automation package. You get so many features out of the box (see the feature tables below if you don’t believe me) that you will hardly need anything else. They offer generous pricing that doesn’t skyrocket as your list grows bigger, monthly billing and a 90 day refund period. However, the nature of the beast is that when you cram a lot of features into a tool, those features can’t possibly go as deep as dedicated single-point solutions. Which brings us to…
  • Infusionsoft is a good, honest, solid workhorse. It’s not accidental that a huge percentage of the most respected online personalities has loved (and hated) Infusionsoft for years. They don’t include as many features out of the box as Ontraport does, and rely heavily on the vast ecosystem of excellent 3rd party single-point solutions to provide and enhance functionality. Compared with the built in features that come with Ontraport, these 3rd party solutions often go far deep but of course they come at an additional monthly subscription fee. Each of them. Those hidden costs, together with the mandatory kickstart fee and the new, annual commitment (but monthly billing) makes signing up with Infusionsoft a bit more of a commitment and risk.

Detailed comparison:

Overview and Pricing
  •    Target Market / best fit
  •    Signup
  •    Trial Period
  •    Commitment
  •    Setup Fee
  •    Cloud Based
  •    Pricing Levels
  •    1,000 contacts
       2,500 contacts
       5,000 contacts
       10,000 contacts
       25,000 contacts
       100,000 contacts
       200,000 contacts
  •    Can purchase additional contacts/mo, emails/mo and users
  •    Maximum # of Contacts

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
  • Small businesses who need solid marketing automation but no strong CRM/sales features
  • Online, immediately
  • 14 days free trial with all features
  • Month to month, no contract
  • No setup fee
  • Lite: $9/mo Plus: $49/mo Professional: $99/mo Enterprise: $149/mo
    Pricing Table…
  • from $17/mo
    from $29/mo
    from $45/mo
    from $70/mo
    from $135/mo
    from $415/mo
    Upon request
  • 100,000

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300
  • Solopreneurs, information products, coaches, speakers
    Case Studies…
  • Online, immediately
  • No free trial, but 90 day full refund policy
  • Month to month, no contract
  • No setup fee, 2 hours kickstart help included
  • Basic: $79/mo (1000 contacts max) Pro: $297/mo Team: $597/mo
    Pricing Table…
  • from $79/mo
    from $297/mo
    from $297/mo
    from $297/mo
    from $297/mo
    $396/mo - $597/mo
    $495/mo - $696/mo
  • > 2 Million

Infusionsoft

vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
  • Classic small business, B2B, brick and mortar, several employees, stage 4 businesses
    Case Studies…
  • Through sales person or Certified Consultant
  • No free trial (only a demo video), no refund
  • Annual Contract with monthly payments
  • $999 - $2999 mandatory kick start fee
  • Starter: $99/mo Essentials: $199/mo Deluxe: $299/mo Complete: $379/mo
    Pricing Table…
  • from $199/mo
    from $199/mo
    from $299/mo
    from $379/mo
    > $599/mo
    Upon request
    Upon request
  • 500,000

CRM and Sales

This table examines the core functionality of every serious small business automation software tool – the CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, a very important aspect when you compare small business automation software tools.
This is where all data about your contacts, leads and clients is being stored and accumulated.
Different tools have different strengths in this department, specifically the ability to customize the layout of the CRM section and tools to build a structured, and even automated, sales pipeline.

Summary for busy readers:

  • ActiveCampaign really doesn’t have much of a CRM to speak of – it comes with very few fields pre installed. It is simply not their main focus. Beginning with the”Small Business” tier the do offer a commendable sales pipeline module with automation that would be absolutely sufficient for smaller businesses with a small team.
  • Ontraport has an awesome CRM that is fully customizable, but no built-in sales and opportunity pipeline module. However, Ontraport is the only small business automation software that offers the ability to create custom objects that can be related to each others in the fashion of a true relational database. The use cases for that are endless and powerful, and one could easily build a sales pipeline with custom objects, it’s just not pre-installed.
  • Infusionsoft has a solid but slightly cluttered CRM and (from “Deluxe” tier upwards) a robust, tried and tested sales pipeline functionality with great automation capabilities.

Detailed comparison:

CRM and Sales
  •    Look and Feel, Usability
  •    CRM Layout
  •    Custom Fields
  •    Custom Objects
  •    Sales Automation
  •    Sales Pipeline and Opportunities
  •    Task Management
  •    Sales Reports
  •    Mobile App
  •    Lead Scoring
  •    Segmentation
  •    Dashboard With Stats
  •    Productivity Tools
  •    Email Integration

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
  • Clean, modern
  • Very minimal to non-existent CRM
  • Limited data types available

  • Only three predefined types - Contact, Company and Deal
  • n/a

  • Powerful Gmail sidebar, create contacts, assign tags, create deals etc. from within Gmail

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300
  • Clean, modern
  • Powerful CRM, layout is fully customizable
  • Many data types, 150 fields per object type

  • Create custom record types for companies, opportunities, bids or quotes, customer installs, courses and students, trips, pets or any other data you like to store, and relate them to any other record type
  • Not predefined but can be built using custom objects

  • With automation based on different task outcomes

  • With automatic degradation

  • Per SMTP

Infusionsoft

vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
  • Clean, slightly cluttered
  • Powerful CRM, layout not customizable
  • Many data types, 100 per object types

  • Only three predefined types - Contacts, Companies, Opportunities. Using companies and relationships between contacts is useless.

  • Powerful pipeline features and automation (Deluxe Sales, Complete, Team)

  • No automation based on different task outcomes

  • Including mobile payments with proprietary card reader.

  • MyDay Task and Appointment manager, Calendar

  • Sidebar for Gmail and Outlook (for Windows)

Marketing and Automation

The marketing and automation capabilities are another core element that you need to pay attention to when you compare small business automation software tools. After all, this is why we call them automation tools.
All compared tools have very strong capabilities but differ in style and versatility.

Summary for busy readers:

  • Infusionsoft has good, solid automation functionality but is lacking some important features that serious online marketers will miss, like tracking – and triggering actions based on – a contact’s online (website) behavior. Their visual campaign builder is decent but lately falling behind the capabilities of other builders, especially in the realm of in-campaign reporting.
  • Ontraport has the most trigger and action elements of all compared tools, and thus the strongest automation flexibility. Their new visual campaign builder is cutting edge in building automation maps and providing in-campaign reporting.
  • ActiveCampaign has very strong automation functionality for a tool at this price, can almost compete with Ontraport’s automation features, and also sports an intuitive and visually pleasing drag and drop builder.

Detailed comparison:

Marketing and Automation
  •    Campaign Builder
  •    Premade Campaigns
  •    Email Automation
  •    Private IP Available
  •    Mobile Responsive Emails
  •    2-Way SMS Automation
  •    Color Postcards
  •    Personalized URLs (PURLs)
  •    Split Testing
  •    Mobile Responsive Forms
  •    Mobile Responsive Landing Pages
  •    Trigger Types (If this happens...)
  •    Action Types (...then do this.)
  •    Trigger actions with web activity
  •    Timer Types
  •    Email Send Times
  •    Membership Sites
  •    Affiliate System
  •    Facebook Custom Audiences
  •    Wordpress Integration
  •    Social CRM
  •    Social Media Listening

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300

  • Excellent visual, drag and drop builder

  • Marketplace with tons of free and paid campaigns, called recipes

  • In enterprise plan

  • Per 3rd party integration only

  • Emails only

  • Not very customizable
  • Grade: "B+" - Very many, including forms, clicks, opens, website interactions, replies by email etc.
  • Grade: "B" - Decent, useful amount of action types
  • Delay, date, field values, wait until
  • Base on recipients OR sender's timezone

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300

  • Cutting edge, industry leading powerful campaign builder with unparalleled in-campaign analytics and reporting

  • Private IP or 3rd party ESP possible

  • A/B/C/D testing built in for emails, pages, forms and text messages

  • Very flexible and customizable (Ontraforms is included in Ontraport)

  • Very flexible and customizable (Ontrapages is included in Ontraport)
  • Grade: "A+" - Very many, most of all tools, including forms, clicks, opens, website interactions, replies by email, e-commerce events etc.
  • Grade: "A+" - Very many, most of all tools. Including e-commerce or adding to Facebook custom audience etc.
  • Delay, date, field values
  • Base on sender's timezone

Infusionsoft

vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300

  • Decent visual, drag and drop builder, no in-campaign reporting or analytics to speak of

  • Huge library (200 and growing) of free campaigns to install with one click, and marketplace with paid campaigns (for specific niches and verticals)

  • Per 3rd party integration only

  • Extremely limited split testing capabilities and only through 3rd party app

  • Per 3rd party integration only

  • Forms extremely limited and not really mobile responsive (use 3rd party app like LeadPages or Ontrapages)

  • Severely limited page builder (use 3rd party app like LeadPages or Ontrapages)
  • Grade: "C" - Ok variety of triggers, enough for most conservative use cases, but serious online marketers will miss a number of important triggers e.g. monitoring of website interactions
  • Grade: "C" - Ok variety of actions, enough for most use cases
  • Delay, date, field values
  • Base on recipients OR sender's timezone

  • Per 3rd party integration only

  • Per 3rd party integration only

  • Per 3rd party integration only

E-Commerce

Summary for busy readers:

  • Ontraport and Infusionsoft, being all-in-one small business automation software systems, do offer e-commerce functionality. Both of them also integrate with Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce via Revenue Conduit, but hey, there’s a LOT of people who really only need order forms to collect money for their products and services.
  • Infusionsoft has a little more to offer than Ontraport in the regard that they provide a very simple out-of-the-box shopping cart solution, which, of course, can not compete with one of the dedicated shopping cart solutions. However, their cart skins and order forms are very simple, lack some functionality and customization, and are barely mobile responsive.
  • Ontraport has no built-in shopping cart, only order forms, but at least those are good-looking, easier to customize and mobile responsive. Ontraport even offers 1-click up/down sell functionality out of the box, something that in Infusionsoft can only be achieved with – you’ve guessed it – a 3rd party plugin.
  • ActiveCampaign has no e-commerce built in, since this hasn’t been the company’s focus, but thankfully it integrates with the four most relevant e-commerce solutions Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce via Revenue Conduit and several others via Zapier.

Detailed comparison:

E-Commerce
  •    Has E-commerce
  •    Order Forms
  •    Shopping Cart
  •    Invoices
  •    Quotes
  •    1-Click Upsells
  •    Coupon Codes
  •    Payment Processors
  •    Mobile Payments
  •    Digital Products
  •    Subscriptions
  •    Payment Plans
  •    Fulfillment Lists

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300

  • Integrates with Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce via Revenue Conduit and several more via Zapier

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300

  • Built in

  • Group Codes and Personal Codes (with dynamic expiration)

  • Stripe, Paypal, Auth.Net, many others

  • Hosted at Ontraport

Infusionsoft

vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300

  • Built in

  • Not fully mobile responsive!

  • Rudimentary and not fully mobile responsive!

  • Only per 3rd party integration

  • Group codes only

  • Infusionpay (similar to Stripe, sign up in seconds), Paypal, Auth.net, many others. No Stripe integration!

  • Infusionsoft proprietary card reader via Infusionsoft Mobile App (iOS and Android)

  • Hosted at Infusionsoft, limited to 10MB per file!

API and Integrations

The API, or Application Program Interface is something that normal users will never have to think about – it is a programming doorway through which a program communicates with another program, e.g. a CRM with a shopping cart, or a marketing automation tool with a time scheduler. However, it is important when you compare small business automation software tools that a software has a strong, flexible, secure and well documented API so that it can integrate with many other specialized tools.

Summary for busy readers:
ActiveCampaign, Ontraport and Infusionsoft all have very good APIs, but differ greatly in the number of native integrations with other tools.

  • ActiveCampaign fulfills most it’s integration needs through Zapier, an excellent tool that connects several hundreds of tools and apps from all business disciplines.
  • Ontraport has a strong API, has a around 60 native integrations, but sadly a very limited set of triggers and actions available in Zapier.
  • Infusionsoft has a good API and is surrounded by a thriving, healthy ecosystem of 3rd party developers with amazingly powerful apps to complement or augment Infusionsoft’s core functionalities.

Detailed comparison:

API and Integrations
  •    Has API
  •    Native Integrations
  •    Send Webhooks
  •    Zapier Integration
  •    3rd Party Apps

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300

  • Several (mostly via Zapier)

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300

  • Extremely limited triggers and actions

  • Several

Company and Customer Service

Of course you want to know who you’re dealing with. All compared companies have been around for more than 10 years. All of them have carved out a good, healthy share of the small business automation software market, and most likely all of them are here to stay.
The numbers below may help you determine how much you trust these companies.
This table rounds off our “compare small business automation software” section.

Detailed comparison:

Company and Customer Service
  •    Year Founded
  •    Employees
  •    Customers
  •    Free Support
  •    Chat Support Hours
  •    Phone Support Hours
  •    Certified Consultants

ActiveCampaign

vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
vendor-logo-activecampaign-300
  • 2003
  • < 100
  • No data
  • No data
  • No data
  • Around 20

Ontraport

vendor-logo-ontraport-300
vendor-logo-ontraport-300
  • 2006
  • > 100
  • > 5,000 in 60+ Countries
  • Same as phone support
  • Mon - Thu 6AM - 12AM PST
    Fri 6AM - 9PM PST
    Sat - Sun 9AM - 9PM PST
  • Around 100

Infusionsoft

vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
vendor-logo-infusionsoft-300
  • 2001
  • > 300
  • > 25,000
  • 24/7
  • Mon - Fri 6AM - 7PM MST
  • Hundreds