Last Updated on by Karl
See the man in the suit? Yeah, Infusionsoft can do that to you…
Today, I want to tell you about how Infusionsoft will eventually drive you BATSH** CRAZY, make you want to close your agency, and start a taco stand in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
OK, seriously… I don’t want you to go through the torture that I did.
So, I’ve got 5 way easier and cheaper Infusionsoft alternatives that are just as good if not better for small business and solopreneurs.
Switching to a more affordable tool (my #1 choice) will save your sanity and cost thousands less, and deliver pretty much the same results.
The Best Infusionsoft Alternative -ActiveCampaign (The Tool I Use)
ActiveCampaign gives small businesses the best features of Infusionsoft at a fraction of the monthly price and without shady setup fees.
AND you don’t need an advanced degree to use it.
I made the switch in 2018 after Infusionsoft caused a nervous breakdown, and I only regret not doing it sooner. It’s so much easier, and I don’t stress when they charge my credit card.
Why I Switched From Infusionsoft to ActiveCampaign
Dead simple marketing automation.
Pretty much anyone can set up basic segmentation, email campaigns, and other marketing automations after watching a few quick tutorials. This tool is specifically for small and medium sized businesses looking for an affordable, easy way to grow sales without growing your sales team.
CRM and sales tools are supposed to automate routine tasks and save you time every day. Not become a never ending timesuck.
Advantages of ActiveCampaign vs. InfusionSoft
- Get started for as low as $9/mo
- Save $500 on setup fees
- Lite plan includes advanced segmentation
- Simple to learn, operate, and train others
- Way better email templates
- Free migration and onboarding
Already sold on it? Click here to check it out.
If not… Let’s dig deeper and look at CRM software options as well.
My Favorite Feature of ActiveCampaign – Email Templates
The email templates in ActiveCampaign are way better than Infusionsoft. They look more professional and I can actually pass them off as being personal emails rather than templates.
And none of them look cheesy and childish (keep reading to learn more).
The Problem With Infusionsoft
Infusionsoft is the only software in the world that has its own natural phenomenon named after it.
The Infusionsoft effect is a time-space theory that posits the following:
Every hour spent using Infusionsoft is actually two hours of real time.
Infusionsoft is a supermassive black hole disguised as a CRM software. It’s not intuitive at all, and there are so many tools (most of which you’ll never use) that you don’t even know where to start.
I don’t blame Infusionsoft for not being intuitive, though. It’s just the nature of the complexity of their tool.
That’d be like NASA building me a Mars spacecraft and me complaining “the cockpit isn’t intuitive”.
Uhhh, yeah. It’s designed for a 300 MILLION MILE round trip through the death vacuum of space. It’s not supposed to be easy.
Let me put it another way – Infusionsoft forces all new customers (mostly advanced marketers) to go through in-depth training and one-on-one coaching just to get set up.
If they didn’t, nobody would know where to start. So it’s like if the International Space Station were a marketing automation platform. Still, all the annoying phone calls can ruin your day quickly.
That’s the problem in a nutshell, but let me clear up a few more misconceptions before we get to the nitty gritty.
1. The Kickstart Fee is Evil (A Necessary Evil)
Nobody likes paying $500 extra dollars for anything, but the setup fee is 100% a necessary evil for two reasons.
The first one is psychological.
If you invest more money up front in learning how to use Infusionsoft, you’re naturally more motivated to use it and stick around long-term. The longer you stick around, the more money you (and Infusionsoft!) make. Everyone wins.
The second is purely value.
Infusionsoft doesn’t want you to pay $200/mo for software you can’t even figure out how to use. So, they make sure you actually learn campaign management, social media features, email automation, all the marketing and sales features, etc.
Most alternatives to Infusionsoft don’t even bother.
Say you’re a medium-sized business with about 5,000 contacts. Your first year of Infusionsoft would be about $2,500 compared to about $100 for ActiveCampaign. $2,500 for killer marketing campaigns is fair, but still a tough pill to swallow.
And that’s only for 1 user.
Speaking of that…
2. One User is Kind of a Ripoff
$90/mo for 3 additional users is pretty annoying.
The whole idea of having a customer relationship management (CRM) and sales automation tool is to make it easier to run your business, but how are you supposed to do that if your staff can’t even use it?
If you’re a mid-sized business, you could pay $1,000+ a year just for the “privilege” of letting others in your office access campaigns, contacts, projects, email marketing, etc.
Just for reference, ActiveCampaign includes 3 users in their Lite plan for $9/mo.
EXAMPLE: A full subscription with 4 users (normal for a small office) would be roughly $3,400 for the first year. And that’s for the Lite plan, the lowest plan that’s recommended for solopreneurs.
Now imagine if you have a full-blown sales team…
3. Basic Email Templates
I’m a bit different than most marketers. I prefer a personal touch in nearly all of my emails. I hate spammy-looking email marketing.
And Keap isn’t a dedicated email marketing tool, it’s CRM software at its core, so I wasn’t expecting ConstantContact-level templates.
But, man. Some of the designs reeked of 5th-grade photoshop bootcamps.
Some were really childish (see blue plane) or had a super “stock photo” feel. If you actually want emails that convert, you’ll have to put it in some more design work or look elsewhere.
You’d think as a sales automation tool, they’d put a little more work into making things convert better.
While they may have a designer for the marketing efforts, sales teams usually don’t come with a developer to customize email templates and configure fancy marketing automation software.
4. Inconsistent Support
I’m not going to badmouth them too much here, but
I’d say support is about 90% available and 70% well-informed. Remember, Infusionsoft is probably the most complex automation software out there. This ain’t your typical marketing automation tool.
I noticed that most staff sent up my requests rather than answering them, which is kind of frustrating.
If you get someone who doesn’t seem to have any grip on reality, just hang up and call again.
Compared to rivals like HubSpot, Infusionsoft is way behind. I never have any issues with HubSpot.
5. Expensive Employee Training
Might as well pile some more “stuff” on top of everything and complain about excessive employee training.
If you ever want to delegate responsibility or god forbid offload your sales process onto someone else, you’ll be looking at weeks of training just to get them up to speed.
If you’re thinking of making the switch to a new CRM, consider lost man hours another hidden cost and multiply that by each employee you want to let in on the party.
And what if you want to hire someone? Say you want to bring on someone to be a dedicated account rep. Good luck finding someone who knows how to use the damn thing (that’s a big issue for anyone using Salesforce CRM too).
How to Choose an Alternative to Infusionsoft
I find that entrepreneurs tend to not put much thought into what they need before getting a CRM.
That’s how you end up with a $5,000 piece of marketing automation software that you never use.
Every CRM fills a different niche, so if you get the wrong one you’ll either not get all the features you want or wind up going to the looney bin like I did.
Here’s how you get the right alternative for your company size, needs, and budget:
Start With Why (Be Realistic)
Start by asking yourself what you’re actually going to use the software for.
Do you need basic email segmentation and a landing page builder? Then there are plenty of cheap email marketing tools that fit the bill.
You can probably get away with MailChimp. Free. Easy. No meltdown. Life is good.
Lead generation, social media integration, sales leads, automated campaigns, custom tracking for ads, email tracking, marketing automation, and CRM? HubSpot is probably more your thing.
Remember that Infusionsoft does everything. It’s like the Death Star of CRM (core flaws included). It handles CRM, email marketing automation, accounting, eCommerce, referral program management, landing pages, sales reports, and way too much more to cover here (PTSD kicking in).
Do you really need all that?
Be realistic about your business. Everyone thinks they’re going to grow to 7-figures in the next year, but chances are that’s not going to happen. Just list out your absolute must haves (EX: email campaigns, basic segmentation, etc) and get a tool that does those particular functions well.
UX Matters More Than Elite Features Like Sales Automation
I’m not being dramatic here. Your mental health matters.
You’ll be using the CRM every day, and that includes training and monitoring others in your company.
I used to be all about functionality. More templates. More features. More landing pages. More campaigns. More tags.
Trust me, that will drive you INSANE. Ask me how I know.
In my old age, I’ve realized user experience and simplicity are the two most important features of any tool.
Get to work, drag an email template into a pre-made sequence, click a couple of buttons, and voila, you’ve got a custom campaign and a landing page to boot. Something like this…
Less is more. Fewer templates. Fewer features. Fewer meltdowns.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there’s no reason to get software with 100 cool tools you’ll never use. You’re much better off getting something that’s usable and gets the job done without causing bottlenecks, wasting hours of training time, and keeping you up at night.
Prioritize Flexibility and Growth
Most entrepreneurs focus on the here and now only without planning for the future.
Just don’t fall into the same trap of thinking only about price, contacts, and little minutia like segment types, Google apps, or outlook integration.
The flexibility to grow with your CRM is more important than its current price. Think about it this way. Say your CRM works like a charm.
You’re making money hand over first and adding new employees every month. Well, now you need more users. 3 new users might cost $1,000 a year and dozens of hours of training.
Oh, cool. You just added 5,000 new contacts? What if your CRM doesn’t allow you to add contacts without totally upgrading your plan and wasting hours on coaching for new features?
I highly recommend a tool with flexible pricing plans or a free trial, a la carte options, and easy onboarding/training. That’s why you’re getting the CRM in the first place, right? To grow!
The Best Alternatives to Infusionsoft 2021
Still with me?
Here are my top 5 Infusionsoft alternatives.
1. ActiveCampaign – My CRM Software Since 2018
Price: Starting from $9/mo paid yearly
Who ActiveCampaign is for:
- Anyone on a budget
- Anyone more focused on email marketing
- Businesses who don’t need to take payments through forms
Why Choose ActiveCampaign Over Infusionsoft?
The only tool that gives you all the key CRM and marketing automation features without insane pricing, weeks of training, and an impossible to navigate interface.
ActiveCampaign is the best Infusionsoft alternative for solopreneurs, small businesses, bloggers, SEOs, small agencies, and anyone else who prefers the best mix of price, UX, simplicity, and functionality.
You get all the best features of Infusionsoft without the heavy fees, UX headaches, learning curve, or growing pains. Building email campaigns is easier, the templates are better, and lead scoring is just as good. And it comes for as little as $9/mo without a “consulting fee”.
My quality of life has been way better since making the switch. Yours will be too.
- Price: Get started for $108/year. That’s 80% less than Infusionsoft’s mandatory consulting fee.
- Smooth and easy: ActiveCampaign’s UX is smooth, simple, and intuitive. Point, click, drag, done.
- Learning curve: It’s not out-of-the-box easy, but pretty much anyone can use ActiveCampaign with minimal experience.
- Great mix of features and usability: ActiveCampaign gives you all the best features for growing your business – automations, segmentation, social media, email campaigns – but none of the super advanced features that overload your brain.
Why I Use ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is my favorite tool for email marketing, capturing new leads, and closing deals.
I’m able to create custom campaigns across all of my customer’s touch points with next to 0 effort. With Infusionsoft, I’d be lucky to get that done in a full working day.
It’s the closest thing to that real 1-to-1 customer experience that we all dream of. It’s not totally immersive like Infusionsoft, but I doubt you actually need those features or will ever actually use them.
After my Infusionsoft-driven meltdown, I wanted something easier even if it meant I could do less. But ActiveCampaign really blew me away with how powerful it was.
What you get with ActiveCampaign:
- 500+ prebuilt marketing automations so building campaigns requires minimal thinking
- Customization based on customer behavior, point in the buying cycle, personal factors, and tons of other custom attributes
- Integrations with Shopify, Facebook, Square, Salesforce, and 800+ more tools
- Professional looking email and newsletter templates
- Live chat and automated chatbot workflows (a godsend)
- A/B testing for improving campaigns
The user friendly interface is a breath of fresh air coming from Infusionsoft, and so is the email builder:
Everything is just a click away, and everything feels like it is where it should be. Again, Infusionsoft lets you do way more, like adding infinite customer data to every contact…but do you really need that? If you’re reading this, probably not.
Even chat marketing is super easy.
ActiveCampaign is far from perfect. I don’t recommend it for large eCommerce businesses, membership sites, or big businesses that need in-depth reporting, heavy segmentation, and accounting all under one roof. But for small businesses with straightforward needs, this is the ideal CRM.
2. HubSpot – The Only Marketing Automation Tool You’ll Ever Need
Price: Free – impossible to say
Who HubSpot is for:
- When budget doesn’t matter
- If you’re interested in full sales and marketing software
- Anyone who wants to combine lead generation with hosting, SEO, and operations
- Anyone who’s tired of Infusionsoft’s interface and wants an immersive, friendly UI
- Large business who need customer support software
Why Choose HubSpot Over Infusionsoft?
HubSpot is to Infusionsoft like a resort concierge service is to a bellhop that carries your bags from the limo to your room. Infusionsoft is great for nurturing leads and converting them. HubSpot is great for building and hosting your website, creating and executing all of your marketing efforts, creating an elite customer service experience, and building a data framework that your entire company runs on.
Think of it this way – Infusonsoft replaces your marketing automation software, email marketing tool, payment processing, and sales processes. HubSpot is a unified platform that replaces EVERYTHING.
HubSpot’s Advantages over Infusionsoft
- A unified platform for your business – everything under one roof
- Free-for-life tools that actually help
- Build and host websites without switching ecosystems or paying for hosting
- Create and execute inbound marketing campaigns
- SEO recommendations
- Google AdWords and Facebook Ads
- Customer service capabilities (EX: knowledge base, feedback surveys)
- Accurate predictive lead scoring
Why You’ll Like HubSpot
Imagine running your online business with one tool. Seriously, one tool. One that’s your home on the web, your marketing and sales department, your customer service department, and your CRM plus more.
I’m talking about everything from building a site to bringing in leads, automating email sequences, closing the deal, managing the customer experience, and even overseeing the daily operations of your company.
And it does all of that without compromising UX.
In my opinion, the best part is it offers free tools plus a la carte options and all the way up to custom plans in the tens of thousands of dollars. That’s the cool thing about it. As you grow, HubSpot grows with you.
Here’s what you get with HubSpot:
- CRM: Improve conversions with contact management, live chat, tasks, and company insights. And it’s super easy to teach a new sales rep, so less training on your part. HubSpot was built for managing customer relationships easily.
- CMS: If you can drag an icon, you can build a website (probably won’t be that good though!). Building and hosting your site through Hubspot lets you plug your site directly into your growth machine for a seamless experience. No switching ecosystems, paying for other hosting, or dealing with annoying package renewals.
- Digital Marketing: The best way to attract attention. SEO, blogging, video content, social media, paid ads, email marketing, A/B testing – Hubspot is the best inbound marketing tool available. Hands down.
- Customer Service: Live chat, ticketing, knowledge base, reporting, customer surveys, and more. You don’t get that with any other CRM.
- Operations: Connect your apps, sync and clean customer data, and automate data quality all from one platform.
- Project Management: A single home for task management within HubSpot. Plan, create, and launch all of your online marketing projects in one easy-to-use tool.
NOTE: These are all separate services with separate prices. See below.
Like I said before, HubSpot grows with you as you grow. You can start with freemium CRM tools (all the basic features), get cooking slowly, and upgrade your plan as you go along to include more and more products, integrations, and services as you need them.
WARNING: All this comes at a price. There are free tools in every service, but you’re looking at a few hundred dollars per year minimum for each HubSpot service. I know people spending $60,000 PER YEAR on it.
My recommendation is get a demo, start for free, and build from there if you like it.
BONUS: HubSpot has a lot of great marketing content to help you sell online, bring in more leads, and grow a business.
3. Ontraport – Like Infusionsoft But With Key Advantages
Price: $79 – $497
Who Ontraport is for:
- Membership sites
- Entrepreneurs focused more on Facebook and SMS marketing automation
- Anyone looking to upgrade their emails with videos, timers, and testimonials
- Entrepreneurs who thrive on community
- Anyone who needs a lot of handholding (I don’t mean that condescendingly)
Why choose Ontraport over Infusionsoft?
Ontraport is the closest thing to Infusionsoft on the market. They both look and feel similar, and they do pretty much the same things, just Ontraport gives you more bang for your buck and comes with a few key advantages.
It’s the only CRM on the list with advanced capabilities for membership sites, and the only one I’ve ever used that actively encourages you to live chat with support as you learn the platform.
Plus, the active and thriving Facebook community is also super helpful if you ever get stuck. The best part? You can buy custom templates from other successful members and copy exactly what they did.
- Better SMS marketing and Facebook ads
- More email template options
- The best community online
- Industry-leading support
- Membership site function
Why You’ll Like Ontraport
Ontraport vs. Infusionsoft is like Mercedes-Benz vs BMW. Both are powerful, sleek, handle well, and have the most advanced technology possible… and they’re both bloody expensive.
What I mean is you can’t go wrong with either.
Let me cover a few key advantages before we get into more detail:
- It comes with more contacts in each plan. It’s nice to have a bigger sales pipeline for the same price
- There’s a zombie horde of Ontraportmaniacs that are helpful and encouraging. Having real, successful experts helping you overcome challenges is a lot better than typical sales reps or support agents. They’ve got that been-there-done-that-type swag
- Ontraport’s Facebook ads targeting is unrivaled
- You get a dedicated number so prospects can text you, and you can build automated SMS campaigns. Just choose a keyword, and if your customer sends a text with that word, it automatically triggers a targeted SMS. It’s nice not to rely only on email to boost sales
The Key USP of Ontraport
The best thing about Ontraport is the one-of-a-kind membership site function. It’s a no-brainer if you’re selling anything behind a paywall and need sales and marketing software. With Ontraport, you can:
- Set different membership levels
- Create a customer care center so users can log in and see payment history, change details, or view purchases
- Set up drip campaigns for members that keep them engaged
- Manage collections and recharges
- Suspend memberships
Oh, and it all comes without that annoying consulting fee.
My biggest gripe with Ontraport is that it doesn’t actually solve either of the two key issues with Infusionsoft: overload and learning curve.
If you need it for SMS and Facebook ads or a membership site, start your 14-day free trial now and see how you like it. If you just need email, landing pages, and basic CRM, it’s overkill.
4. Agile CRM – The Best Cheap Alternative to Infusionsoft
Price: Free – $79.99/mo | $64.99/mo yearly | $47.99/mo bi-yearly
Who Agile CRM is for:
- If you’re on a tight budget
- If this is your first time using a CRM
Why choose Agile CRM over Infusionsoft?
Agile CRM is the only “cheap” CRM that I ever recommend. You get everything growing businesses need to keep expanding – lead scoring, landing pages, analytics, email automation, and forms – for FREE for the first 1,000 contacts. No free trial needed.
It’s like HubSpot or Infusionsoft, but for the working man/woman. You can start for free and grow by adding customer service, integrations for payment processing, extra contacts, and social media marketing as you need it. You’d struggle to spend more than $50/mo.
Agile CRM Advantages
- Free for 1,000 contacts
- Simple and easy to use
- Clear, simple pricing
- Enterprise costs the same as entry-level plans elsewhere
Why You’ll Love Agile Customer Relationship Management
If you’re a ramen noodle and cheap beer connoisseur moonlighting as a small business owner, then it’s best to start with something small and build once you’re making real money.
My first business was a pet niche website about what dogs could and couldn’t eat. Looking back, I probably wasn’t qualified enough to be telling pet owners life or death information about their beloved fluffy.
I built, scaled, and eventually got my first flip all with free CRM up until the very end. Out of all the cheap or free CRMs out there, I only recommend Agile. No other entry-level tool has this quality of features.
The free plan is enough to grow a small business into something valuable.
What You Get With Agile CRM
- Email tracking and campaigns
- High-quality templates
- Drag-and-drop landing page builder
- Web engagement tools like forms and pop ups
- 1 automation trigger (a bit lacking but you can make it work)
- And even 1 plugin/integration
All of the key features above come for FREE up to 1,000 contacts. If you really work hard, you can grow a business into the 5-figure range for FREE or for $15/mo. And you can switch plans at any time. So start out free and only upgrade once you’re making money. Then, you won’t care.
Agile isn’t the best CRM. It’s actually nowhere near it. But if you’re on a budget, there’s no more affordable way to get marketing automation, decent landing pages CRM, and customer service all in one place.
If you’re on a budget, get it. You don’t need high-end services at this point anyway, so you won’t even notice the difference.
BONUS – A Niche Alternative to Infusionsoft
5. BenchmarkONE (Formerly Hatchbuck)
Who BenchmarkONE is for:
Why Choose BenchmarkONE Over Infusionsoft?
BenchmarkONE is a lot more affordable and comes with some built-in advantages that make life way easier for a SPECIFIC subset of customers.
Why Educators Will Love BenchmarkONE
BenchmarkONE is an all-in-one sales and marketing automation solution with niche services for K-12 schools, non-profits, higher education, and even consultants. And it has a FREE plan for up to 500 contacts.
The CRM itself isn’t anything special, but the templates and built-in settings for different niches help save time. For example, for schools, you can add parents, emergency contacts, families, staff, donors, etc. all in a click rather than adding custom fields. Plus you’ll get email templates for that particular niche.
It’s ideal for sending newsletters and low-level marketing efforts, and that’s pretty much it…
I’ll keep it 100% with you – I’ve never used it. So I can’t say much more than what others in those particular industries have told me.
If you’re in the education, nonprofit, or consulting sectors, BenchmarkONE has simple, affordable, and tailored services for you.
Verdict – What is the Best Infusionsoft Alternative?
It really depends on how you define “the best”.
Do you mean the one with the most features? One that can actually run a full marketing campaign? Then it’s HubSpot. It’s basically an entire all in one CRM, digital marketing, pipeline management, and customer service tool
Do you want the easiest alternative solution that solves the two biggest drawbacks of Infusionsoft? Then it’s easily ActiveCampaign. It’s way easier to use, more affordable, and better value overall.
If you’re just looking for something quick and cheap, then Agile CRM is the best alternative. It really all comes down to your budget, and what you’re actually looking for. So let me quickly sum it up again here:
- Simple, affordable, and powerful – ActiveCampaign
- Your entire business in one place – HubSpot
- Like Infusionsoft but better – Ontraport
- Super cheap CRM – Agile CRM
One Thing to Remember When Choosing An Alternative
I can’t stress how important it is to start small and build. The vast majority of entrepreneurs totally overestimate what they need and how much they can handle. And most never factor in “hidden” costs like time needed to train employees.
Regardless of which CRM you choose, choose the free options or entry-level plan, get a feel for things, and add as you grow. It’s way better to build gradually than it is to overspend, have a meltdown, and have to scale back while admitting all the time and money you invested in Infusionsoft is now a sunk cost.
Ask me how I know :).
Infusionsoft Alternatives F.A.Q
Q: What is better than Infusionsoft?
A: In my opinion, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, and Ontraport are all better than Infusionsoft. They either offer better flexibility with pricing, better UX, or better features or some combination thereof.
Q: Is there a free version of Infusionsoft?
A: No, there is not a free version of Infusionsoft, which is why I recommend HubSpot’s free tools or the 14-day free trial from Ontraport.
Q: What is the difference between Keap and Infusionsoft?
A: There is no difference between Keap and Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft is now Keap, that’s all. The name changed. To be more accurate, Infusionsoft is actually now a product within Keap.
Q: Does Infusionsoft have a CRM?
A: Yes, Infusionsoft does have a CRM. It’s actually one of the best in the industry once you get the hang of it. Within it, you can segment contacts, add personal data, score leads, track sales totals and other key data, and see where your customers are within the buying cycle.
Q: How much does Infusionsoft cost per month?
A: Infusionsoft costs anywhere from $79/mo to $199/mo depending on which features you need and how many contacts you have. The pricing structure is very fluid, which is sometimes confusing for new users. For the basic level of 500 contacts, the max price is $199 PLUS a consulting fee.
Q: How does HubSpot compare to Infusionsoft?
A: HubSpot is on another level compared to Infusionsoft. It’s like comparing an X-ray machine to an entire emergency room. Infusionsoft is basically a CRM, whereas HubSpot is an entire business building tool with CRM PLUS customer service, processes, online marketing, and predictive intelligence tools (big for lead management) in one. All that, plus web hosting too. Technically, you could build a site, bring in leads, close leads, manage relationships, and serve your customers all through one piece of software.