written by
Dayana Mayfield

ActiveCampaign Content Marketing Strategy Teardown: Content That Drives Free Trial Signups

Content Marketing Teardowns 7 min read

ActiveCampaign gets a lot of love from corporate marketers and small business owners alike. The company is well known for having some of the best tagging, segmentation, and automation features in the business.

Because the software includes not only email marketing features but also CRM and customer journey automation, it tends to attract users who are serious about digital marketing.

So it’s no wonder that ActiveCampaign’s own marketing is all about reaching the right people with the right message.

ActiveCampaign has a diverse audience (everyone from e-commerce sellers to bloggers to executives). So, it’s crucially important that they segment their own audience. Otherwise, they risk boring advanced marketers and confusing those who are less experienced.

In this teardown, learn how ActiveCampaign executes on content marketing and how they convert blog readers and email subscribers into paying customers.

Table of contents:

Growing and maintaining SEO rankings

ActiveCampaign has an impressive amount of organic keywords and monthly traffic.

Here are just some of the non-branded search terms that drive traffic to their website:

  • Abandon cart emails
  • Persuasion techniques
  • Copywrite example
  • Ideas for newsletter
  • Marketing report
  • Resending email
  • Email sequences
  • Splash page examples

They rank for thousands of short-tail and long-tail key phrases that are relevant to email marketing, other forms of marketing, and business in general.

A huge reason why they rank for so many valuable keyphrases is that the company has been around for over 15 years, and they were quick adopters of SEO content marketing.

For that reason, the team does a lot of post-maintenance. Currently, the company takes a quality over quantity approach. They don’t post frequently. In fact, they didn’t publish anything on their blog in January.

The few posts that they did publish last quarter were all 3000 to 5000 words long.

It’s clear that the ActiveCampaign team is focused on maintaining their current rankings with updates to old posts and on targeting new keyphrases with long-form, high-quality content only.

If you’re a newer company, you might think that you have to play catch up, so you can’t use the quality-over-quantity approach. You’d be wrong. Keep in mind that the Backlinko blog has only 50 blog posts yet ranks for over 300,000 keyphrases and brings in nearly a million in monthly search volume.

Consider taking a page out of ActiveCampaign’s book and identify the 50 - 100 keyphrases you really want to rank for. Then create long-form content for each post, and update them annually or every other year.

Pushing for more free trial signups

ActiveCampaign uses a product marketing approach to growing revenue. While they don’t offer a free plan, they do have a free trial to let users get started with no credit card required. The company also offers a low entry price for small businesses, which is $108 annually for 500 contacts.

For much of their marketing, the focus is on converting traffic into free trial sign-ups. Let’s take a look at a couple of key ways that they do this.

Thank you page

If you sign up for the ActiveCampaign newsletter from the blog (or any webinar), you’re then taken to a thank you page. From here, you can sign up for a free trial or schedule a time for a demo with the sales team.

This is a smart way to remove a step from the process. Typically, marketers assume that email subscribers need to receive an email from us before feeling ready to take the next step. But this isn’t the case.

Give people who are ready to try your solution the opportunity to do so right away.

Blog menu

On their blog menu, you can see that there is a free trial sign-up. This sticks to the top of the page even when scrolling down.

Take ActiveCampaign’s example and optimize your blog with a sticky sign-up button. It’s an easy way to collect free trial sign-ups without having to request that action throughout a blog post.

Take ActiveCampaign’s example and optimize your blog with a sticky sign-up button. It’s an easy way to collect free trial sign-ups without having to request that action throughout a blog post.

Growing and converting their email list

Of course, ActiveCampaign makes email marketing a key part of their strategy.

Here are some ways that they grow and convert their email list.

Creative opt-ins related to the blog post content

ActiveCampaign uses newsletter opt-ins with very creative copy. For example, in this blog post on how to write a great welcome email series, the copy reads “Aren’t you curious what our welcome email looks like?”

This is a great way to get meta. ActiveCampaign, an email marketing software and CRM wrote a blog post about email marketing and is getting people on their email list by teasing them with what their email looks like.

When you get super meta with your marketing, you can attract the right people while continuing to cement your company’s expertise in the subject.

Newsletter opt-in landing page with broad appeal

In addition to those creative opt-ins that are catered to individual blog content, there is also a generic newsletter opt-in button in the blog menu. This page is linked to with the button copy “Get updates.”

The page is more generic because it can accessed from any blog post.

Although the landing page is generic, the emails are anything but ActiveCampaign makes sure to segment its audience straight away.

Segmenting their audience from the first email

The first email in the welcome sequence has two goals:

  1. Segment the new subscribers into people that care about marketing automation, email marketing, or business growth
  2. Send new email subscribers back to the blog

Nearly all of ActiveCampaign’s marketing emails send readers back to their blog. By doing so, they engage these subscribers and also divert them closer towards signing up for a free trial.

Sending email subscribers to conversion-optimized blog content

When clicking on the above “how to grow my business” segmentation link, we get sent to a blog post about finding and creating 1000 true fans.

ActiveCampaign’s email marketing strategy largely centers around segmenting their email list and sending subscribers newsletters with relevant blog posts.

This strategy converts email subscribers into free trial users because of that relevancy. By sending only the right content, the team increases the click-throughs to the blog.

Then, once on their blog, readers see the “Try it free” button at the top of their screen. Even when scrolling, that button sticks to the top of the page. Better yet, they don’t have to click on it and then fill out a form. All they have to do to start their free trial is enter their email and click on the CTA button.

Improving utilization and stickiness

With any SaaS product, user retention is critical for sustaining the business. Many SaaS companies actually lose money to acquire a new customer, and they might not get that revenue back until the second or third month.

With an email marketing system and CRM, customers can stay onboard for years.

That’s why it’s so important to the ActiveCampaign marketing and product teams to make sure their customers know about all of the more advanced features available.

Approximately every week, ActiveCampaign sends an email to paying customers that shares various content formats and resources to get even better results from the software.

Here’s an example of their most recent email to customers:

As we can see, it’s a long email with multiple links. (Don’t believe the gurus that say you should only link to one thing.)

From this email we can see that ActiveCampaign has several different content formats to continue educating its customers:

  • The ActiveCampaign Community - A forum where ActiveCampaign customers can chat about more advanced tagging and automation campaigns.
  • LinkedIn lives - Regular events with marketing experts to introduce customers to a variety of strategies and marketing case studies.
  • Blog content - Tutorial style posts and in-depth guides into email marketing and business growth topics.
  • Webinars - Detailed content on advanced topics like email deliverability and GDPR compliance.
  • Product updates -Blog posts detailing new updates and features, why they matter, and how to use them.
  • Automation recipes - A library of automations and the exact “recipe” to follow to set them up for yourself.

ActiveCampaign also does a great job with onboarding its brand new customers. They offer content in multiple formats to help new users get started.

Take a look at this example email offering an onboarding series. This series is regularly held live to increase attendance and participation.

For SaaS companies, content doesn’t stop after the sale. The content that is required in onboarding emails, customer events, and upsell campaigns is just as valuable as the top of funnel SEO content that is designed to pull new users in.

If you like reading teardowns to learn how successful companies manage content marketing, check out our other teardowns too:

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