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Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a CRM platform with e-commerce and email marketing functionality – in theory, anyway. When I tested it, I was left exhausted and confused by its extremely limited email marketing tools. If your focus is on finding a decent CRM platform though, Keap does has some redeeming features. However, if you’re looking for a feature-packed email marketing solution, ActiveCampaign would be a stronger option.
I spent days learning how to use Keap (formerly called Infusionsoft) and familiarizing myself with its complex array of tools. Even now, several weeks later, I can’t say I’ve managed to utilize Keap to its full potential.
Keap’s UI isn’t terrible, but it’s not the best either. Remnants of Infusionsoft linger on, as there are still features (like A/B testing) that users can only access by switching to the legacy tool. Other essential tools (such as the landing page editor) are buried deep into the settings menu.
Meanwhile, important email marketing features, such as campaigns and advanced segmentation, are missing altogether – something many Infusionsoft CRM reviews tend to omit.
However, if you’re running a small business and are looking for an efficient way to track your leads’ journey (and maybe send an email or two), Keap offers some neat features.
There’s a Lot Going On, but I Was Left a Bit Confused
So, how does Infusionsoft by Keap work? Keap advertises itself as a one-in-all tool that combines CRM (Customer Relationship Management), marketing automation, sales, and payments.
Keap boasts an email editor, a landing page builder, and pre-made automation templates, as well as extra features designed to help you keep a close eye on your leads’ journey. The problem is that it feels less like an all-in-one marketing tool and more like an expensive CRM platform that’s trying to do too many things at once.
Keap’s set of features is impressive, but only when you know how everything comes together – and only when you’ve unlocked most of the features with a Pro plan. If you’re a Lite user, you’re left with bits and pieces that don’t make too much sense on their own.
As an email marketing tool, Keap feels incomplete. As a CRM tool, valuable insights are locked behind a paywall. And as a sales tracker, it charges more than competitors.
Email Campaigns, Templates, and Personalization
Keap doesn’t really do email campaigns. You can access the Broadcast feature with any paid plan, which will allow you to send a one-off email to specific contacts. But you’ll need to purchase the Pro plan and unlock advanced automations if you want to set up a series of emails. This is a problem if you’re looking to run long email campaigns and automate processes – which I’ll return to shortly.
Sending broadcasts with Keap is relatively straightforward. You can choose to create a message using the simple text editor, or you can choose a template. If you’re an experienced marketer, you’ll be happy to know that Keap also allows you to build your own template from scratch – there’s even the option to add your own HTML.
I counted a total of 78 templates, which is average at best. That said, Keap’s templates don’t look too bad. The designs are clean, modern, and to the point – precisely what I was looking for. You never want to work with templates overloaded with graphics, as that could affect your deliverability rate.
All templates are mobile responsive, and you can switch to mobile view at any point during the design process. There’s even an option that lets you hide specific blocks on mobile/desktop.
When I made it to the email editor, my template took a good twenty seconds to load. Subsequent visits were considerably faster, but the app would occasionally freeze for a few seconds. You don’t have to worry about losing your work since everything is saved automatically, but I wish things ran a bit smoother.
The email editor itself features drag-and-drop functionality, and it gets the job done. You can craft a message that matches your vision by picking from numerous content elements and blocks on the right-hand side. You can edit everything on the template, adding new columns, buttons, images, videos, countdown timers (with time zone selection), and the list goes on.
If you click on an element that contains text, the text editor menu will pop up. Most of the basic fonts you’d need are there (about 30), and you can also experiment with color, alignment, and padding.
Currently, it seems like Keap only supports emails written from left to right. If you’re writing in a RTL (right-to-left) language, such as Hebrew or Arabic, you’ll quickly discover that Keap doesn’t automatically adjust blocks and elements to fit these unique scripts. The only way to make it work is to add custom HTML code.
Chances are you’ll also want to switch up quite a few of the pictures that come with these pre-made templates. Although Keap doesn’t have an image library, it integrates seamlessly with Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay, allowing users to pick from millions of high-quality, royalty-free images with the click of a button.
When you’ve picked – or uploaded – the images you like, you can resize them, crop them, and add filters using Keap’s integrated editing suite. I’m the kind of person who can easily spend hours playing with filters, frames, stickers, and the like, so this handy tool came as a pleasant surprise. Not everyone can afford Photoshop, and free tools often ruin your look with annoying watermarks.
Remember, though, don’t go too crazy with your images! While it’s true that eye-catching emails make you stand out, they also tend to get flagged as spam by email service providers, such as Gmail and Hotmail.
When you’ve got the perfect email ready, it’s time to start thinking about adding a human touch. With Keap, you can easily add personalization fields both in-text and in your subject line. These fields can include your contact’s first and last name, country, city, postal code, or time zone.
Needless to say, you’ll first need to collect the relevant data if you want this to work. The more you know about your contacts, the more you’ll be able to do with personalization. My custom fields weren’t listed on the dropdown menu, but a relevant Keap article reassured me I could still use them with a correctly formatted merge field.
One important personalization feature Keap doesn’t do justice is dynamic content. Dynamic content (aka conditional content) allows you to show/hide certain elements based on who’s viewing your email. For example, think of a special discount that’s only available to users in the US – you don’t want to send two sets of emails, but you also don’t want to alienate international users.
You can add dynamic content with Keap, but you need to know Liquid, a specialized programming language.
Once your email is ready to go, just click on the big blue Send button on the top-right side. Here you’ll have the chance to choose your recipients, and you’ll also write a subject line and optional preview text. Keap can send your email right away, or you can schedule a time to send your emails based on your/your contact’s time zone.
It’s worth mentioning that Keap’s older version (Infusionsoft) featured an intelligent send-time optimization option. Infusionsoft by Keap would track past clicks and opens, using that data to learn more about your contacts and deliver your emails at the best time. Advanced timing tools can improve reach and deliverability, but unfortunately, Keap left this feature out with the new version.
Before you send your broadcast, you can send a test to yourself to make sure everything looks okay on multiple devices. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to share my broadcast on other platforms, which is a shame. If you want to share content, you’ll have to set up integrations.
Lastly, it’s worth knowing that Keap’s new email editor doesn’t include an A/B testing tool. If you need to test emails against each other, you’ll have to switch to the legacy Infusionsoft builder, which is available from the Broadcast tab (before you select a template).
Keap not offering this is a major inconvenience. The Infusionsoft legacy builder comes with a different layout, so if you’re running tests often, you’ll have to learn how to navigate both builders. Aside from that, the two editors don’t share the same templates, which complicates things even further.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
Importing contact lists on Keap is straightforward enough. Your files can be either in CSV or excel format, which is the industry standard. You can, of course, manually add contacts too, but if you value your time, you shouldn’t make a habit of it.
Other importing options include Google Contacts, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Hubspot. While it’s true that most apps and programs allow you to easily export your lists in CSV format, it’s always good to know you can save some time with useful native integrations.
When adding contacts manually one by one, Keap won’t ask if you have permission to add them to your list. However, when importing larger lists, a message will pop up, asking whether these contacts are expecting emails from you. This confirmation message indicates that Keap doesn’t take spam lightly.
And here’s where things get tricky. You see, segmentation on Keap isn’t as advanced as I’d like. Yes, there are tags and custom fields, all of which I could access and edit from the Settings (?!) menu – it took me some time to figure this out, but that’s a whole different story.
Keap doesn’t really have dynamic segments. These are the kind of lists that are automatically updated when certain conditions are met. For example, with other email marketing services (EMS), you can create a dynamic segment (e.g. titled “opened”) that includes all subscribers who opened an email but didn’t click your link. You can then run some tests and create a new campaign that specifically targets those subscribers.
You could technically create segments by taking advantage of the advanced automation tool available with the Pro plan. But why would you want to spend days trying to work out a complicated system when other platforms make this process so much easier for you? Keap advertises its automation tool as the most powerful in the industry – but it seems that comes at the price of abysmal user-friendliness.
That – combined with the total absence of campaigns – makes me think that Keap wasn’t really designed with email marketing in mind. It feels more like an expensive CRM tool with some added email functionality.
And that’s not where the problems end. There’s no advanced contact filtering system either. You can search contacts by name, and if you navigate to Settings, you can also search contacts by tags and custom fields – and that’s pretty much it.
If you’re a Pro user, Keap offers plenty of information about your leads’ journeys but very little information about how these leads engage with your emails – which is what email marketing is all about. If you’re a Lite user, you won’t be able to do much in terms of ecommerce and sales tracking, either – most of Keap’s advanced CRM tools (including Pipelines and Reports) won’t be available to you.
What about list hygiene? Well, if you’ve paid for the Keap Max plan (this is slowly becoming a theme), you can access Keap’s Automated List Management tool. With this tool, you can decide when contacts are tagged as unengaged (set at three months of no interaction by default) and unmarketable (set at six months of no interaction by default). If you’re a Lite or Pro user, you’ll have to do all that manually!
And while you want to use your email marketing platform to send emails, you shouldn’t insist when your recipient doesn’t want to hear from you. Keap won’t send emails to unsubscribed users, but it won’t automatically remove them from your lists, either – it will simply add an opt-out tag.
If you want to quickly track (or export) contacts who’ve unsubscribed, you’ll need to navigate to Keap’s Unsubscribe tracker under Reports. And – you guessed it – this tool is only available to Pro users. It should be possible to create an advanced automation that adds users with the opt-out tag to a user-created “unsubscribed” list, but again, you need to be paying for a Pro plan to do that.
I’m not sure why Keap imposes so many limitations on Lite users – the cheapest plan starts at $79.00. Tracking your unsubscribers is essential to email marketing, and doing so should be as straightforward as possible.
Keap has a landing page builder, but for some reason it’s only available through the Settings menu. As with most platforms, landing pages are only available with the more expensive plans (Pro and Max).
I counted 18 templates, all with a distinct look and impressive visuals. There’s a lead magnet template, as well as promotional and more complex product pages. I only wish there was a little more variety.
Whether you’re building your page from scratch or using one of the templates as a starting point, you’ll end up on the same editor as the one you used to create your broadcasts. All the columns, buttons, and blocks were where I left them, which led me to breathe a sigh of relief – having to use two different editors on the same platform is never fun.
That said, Keap’s landing page editor suffers from the same slow load times I experienced with the email editor. When choosing a template for the first time, it takes a while for the edit page to load, which can be frustrating, especially if you’re short on time. Once the editor does load, everything works fine – I managed to create my test landing page in less than half an hour.
And while all 18 templates are mobile responsive and there’s no limit to how many pages you can create, remember that there’s no RTL support.
By default, all landing pages are hosted on a Keap subdomain (e.g., your page’s domain will look something like infusionsoft.net/your-page). If you want to maintain brand consistency and increase sign-ups and conversion rates, there’s a helpful guide that can help you set up pages under your own custom subdomain.
Keap doesn’t have campaigns and segments, so it’s no surprise that its automation system doesn’t do email marketing justice.
As a Lite user, you’ll only be able to use “Easy Automations,” which are very basic automations based on simple user interactions. Most of these options center around capturing leads, scheduling appointments, and offering deals.
Although some triggers can activate emails (sending a user an introduction email when they submit a form, for example), there isn’t any real email marketing automation happening here. You can start with blank emails or choose from one of five pre-set emails.
If you want more advanced email marketing automation tools, you’ll have to purchase the Pro plan. According to Keap, its advanced automation system is extremely robust, capable of combining powerful CRM functionality with email marketing.
All I see is a complex tool with no pre-set templates to help me get things done (aside from the birthday greeting automation you see above). A pop-up reminded me that I could contact the support team through live chat if I needed help with automation, but why would I?
Other email marketing platforms, such as ActiveCampaign, make the whole process so much easier. With ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan (which is $50 cheaper than Keap’s Lite plan), you unlock an easy-to-use automation system, along with plenty of automation workflow templates with duplicates in different languages.
As a user, I couldn’t get Keap to do the things I wanted it to do, and that was frustrating. I know it’s a CRM platform first and foremost, but it shouldn’t advertise itself as an all-in-one marketing solution if I need a Ph.D. in Keap technology to create more complex email marketing campaigns.
Keap might not be the best solution for email marketing, but it’s still a solid CRM platform. You can easily set up tasks and appointments with leads and clients, and if you’re a Pro user, you’ll also unlock the Pipeline and Reports features.
Pipelines optimize your sales process by helping you keep an eye on your leads as they move through your funnel. You can use the easy automation tool to set up deals or trigger follow-ups, and the analytics dashboard will give you plenty of info about the effectiveness of each stage of your funnel.
The Reports tab can generate all kinds of sales and contact tracking reports. If you want to unlock crucial data about engagement and email performance, this feature is a must-have. Even then, advanced lead scoring is only available with the Max plan – I can’t say I’m surprised.
Your Emails Will Likely Reach Your Subscribers’ Inboxes
As a marketer, there’s nothing worse than spending hours building your lists and designing your emails, only to realize that your emails never reach their destination. So how do we work out precise deliverability rates?
From what I’ve seen, most review sites send out a set number of emails, count the ones that get delivered, and come up with a percentage. For example, they might send 10,000 emails, and see that Keap manages to deliver 7,200 of those emails, and so come up with a deliverability rate of 72%.
That sounds reasonable enough – but how far is Keap responsible for that performance? What if the emails contained spammy elements or heavy graphics? This deliverability rate is completely arbitrary – I can’t know if my problem has to do with Keap, me, or my subscribers. There are just too many variables to consider.
Instead of running meaningless tests and coming up with arbitrary percentages, I look at features that might improve my odds. The deliverability score at the end of this section reflects the inclusion (or omission) of such features on Keap.
So, first I checked whether Keap offered DKIM authentication. You can think of DKIM as the ultimate defense against email fraud – it helps email services and recipients know if the sender really is who they claim to be.
You can easily set up DKIM authentication on Keap by navigating to Settings. If you get stuck, there’s a detailed DKIM help guide.
Next, I looked at Keap’s anti-spam policy. You see, because many users share the same servers when sending out emails on a platform, a strict anti-spam policy can deter spammers and boost individual deliverability rates. It doesn’t matter if your emails adhere to all guidelines – a few spammers using the same server as you can negatively affect your performance, too.
Keap has a strict anti-spam policy, and it also claims that 98% of the emails sent through the platform are accepted by the recipient’s server. If you intend to use Keap as a marketing and CRM tool, you shouldn’t ever run into trouble. The platform’s Acceptable Use Policy clearly outlines what’s not allowed.
You can’t use Keap to:
Send unsolicited email (all contacts must be opt-in).
Promote spam content and prohibited material.
Sell or loan any personal information.
If Keap receives a complaint concerning your account, you could be asked to pay a $250 fee. Further violations can lead to account termination.
To put Keap to the test, I used the import function to add hundreds of spam contacts to my list. I then waited several hours to see how Keap would react. Unfortunately, Keap didn’t pass this test. I imported 198 spam contacts without issues.
How a platform handles affiliate marketing can also affect your deliverability rate – because affiliate marketing is often associated with spammy practices, many email marketing platforms impose restrictions.
With Keap, you can include affiliate links in your communication, but additional rules may apply depending on your business/industry.
The best way to boost your deliverability rate is by sending your emails through a dedicated (or private) IP address. Acquiring a dedicated IP means you don’t have to rely on a platform’s reputation to have your emails delivered. If you have thousands of contacts and send hundreds of thousands of emails every month, a private IP might be precisely what you need.
Keap does offer a dedicated IP, but it’s only available with the Max plan, which starts at $249.00/month for 500 contacts. If you need a private IP, then you likely have more than 10,000 contacts…at which point a Keap Max plan will set you back $499.
Analytics & Reporting
Limited Email Stats with More Focus on Sales
You can spend hours designing the perfect email, but you should also be able to track your email’s performance as closely as possible. How many contacts opened your email? Did they click on your links? When and how are they consuming your content? These are all questions an EMS should be able to answer.
Unfortunately, Keap doesn’t have all the answers, as its email reports tool is extremely limited in scope and detail. You can see how an email has performed by clicking on the View Report button under Broadcasts. But all you can see here are your total opens, clicks, bounces, opt-ins, opt-outs, and complaints.
Keap doesn’t distinguish between soft and hard bounces – which is problematic. A hard bounce means that an email couldn’t be delivered because the recipient’s email address simply doesn’t exist. A soft bounce points toward a temporary issue, such as a full mailbox, a server delay, a security hiccup, and so on. Infusionsoft came with more detailed bounce statistics, so maybe this is just an interface issue that’ll be fixed soon.
That aside, Keap offers just the bare minimum. For example, there’s no way to know how your subscribers access your content. Are they using a PC, or are they mainly mobile users? Who’s viewing your email, and where do they come from? Which links are driving the most clicks? Keap can’t answer any of these questions.
Since Keap has locked the lead scoring feature behind the Max plan, there’s zero data on that, too.
That said, what Keap lacks in email marketing stats, it makes up for in e-commerce insights. If you’re paying for a Pro plan, Keap will provide detailed stats on your earnings, allowing you to generate sales reports on specific payments, receivables, and sales totals by product.
All in all, I can’t say I’m impressed.
Other marketing platforms, such as ActiveCampaign can generate much more advanced email reports while at the same time offering similar CRM functionality. In fact, what I love about ActiveCampaign is that you get all the standard reporting you would expect – opens, clicks, forwards, unsubscribes – as well as the ability to set your own self-defined goals and then get reports on whether you’ve met them. That’s pretty clever stuff.
By the Time They Got Back to Me, I’d Forgotten What My Question Was
Navigating a new platform can sometimes be a daunting task, so I’m always relieved when there’s a decent support team on hand. Keap offers support through phone, email, and live chat, plus an extensive knowledge base. Just keep in mind that the UI has changed, and some older Infusionsoft tutorials haven’t yet been updated.
Overall, I expected a lot more from Keap, especially since I was excited to see it’s one of the few platforms that offer phone support on all their plans – including the free trial.
Keap advertises live chat as a feature that’s available 24/7, but that’s simply not true. While you can technically ask questions any time you want, the support team will only get back to you Monday to Friday, 6am to 7pm PST. Even then, getting to talk with a real human isn’t as easy as you’d think.
I first used the live chat feature because I couldn’t find any information about RTL language support on the website. Once I’d submitted my question, a bot sent some links it thought might help – which didn’t. Only then was I able to contact a representative by clicking on the “Talk to a person” button. Finally, some ten hours later, a representative answered my query.
It was a straightforward answer to a straightforward question – no complaints here.
A few days later, I was researching Keap’s affiliate marketing policy but couldn’t find whether it allowed referral links in emails. I left a query about this on Thursday and didn’t hear back from a Keap representative until Tuesday.
My question was: “Does Keap allow affiliate links in emails? If yes, what are the rules?”
There were no public holidays in between, so there’s no excuse. If I relied on affiliate marketing for my campaigns, I would have had to pause my operations for several days – a situation that might have resulted in substantial financial losses.
Not only that, but they didn’t really answer my question. I suppose different affiliate marketing rules apply based on industry and line of business, but I would’ve appreciated a more general, less inquisitive reply.
Although most platforms only offer phone support with their most expensive plan, Keap has three different phone lines all customers can use:
The first is a US support line, available 6am to 7pm PST (8am to 9pm EST) Monday to Friday
The second is a UK line, available 1pm to 2am GMT Monday to Saturday
The third is an AU support line, available 12am to 1pm GMT+11 Tuesday to Saturday
Since I had trouble reaching Keap through live chat the second time around, I decided to call them instead. Unfortunately, every time I tried to connect to their UK number, I received the same message:
You have reached us after business hours for our phone support. To receive assistance, please chat from your application.
When I did manage to reach their line on a Monday afternoon, I was put on hold indefinitely – Keap’s representatives were always busy.
I found several contact email addresses on the website. There’s a peculiar line regarding Keap’s expert coaching in their official FAQ:
“To ensure all Keap users are set up for growth and success right from the start, we have made enrollment in the expert coaching program a prerequisite.”
What does that even mean? A prerequisite for what? Is Keap’s $499 coaching program compulsory if you want to use the service? I emailed Keap to shed light on the case.
Keap got back to me in less than 24 hours. It turns out Expert Coaching isn’t a prerequisite – thankfully! I honestly still have no idea what that was all about.
Keap’s support team let me down.
Way Too Expensive for the Average User
Keap offers three plans, with the prices scaling based on the number of contacts you have.
The Lite plan starts at$79.00/month for 500 contacts and comes with the platform’s most basic set of tools. With Lite, you get access to multiple CRM tools, broadcasts, basic segmentation, five easy automations, and live chat support.
The Pro plan starts at $168.00/month for 500 contacts, throwing landing pages, A/B testing, pipelines, reports, and advanced automation into the mix. Bear in mind that these are all features that other EMS include with their lite plans.
If you go for the Max plan – starting at $249.00/month for 500 contacts – you’ll also unlock a dedicated IP, lead scoring, and advanced performance analytics. Other features, such as sales funnels and a Shopify integration, will be released soon.
All Keap plans are limited to one user. If you want to add more, you need to pay an extra $30 per user.
If you have more than 25,000 contacts, you’ll have to contact the sales team. In all honesty, though, these prices seem astronomical when compared to similar offerings by competitors.
All plans are billed monthly, so there are no annual discounts. Infusionsoft’s benefits don’t come cheap, but you can try out most of the platform’s premium features with the 14-day free trial – no credit card required.
What is Infusionsoft used for? Keap (or Infusionsoft) is a CRM platform that also offers e-commerce and email marketing. While it does the first two relatively well, its email marketing tools are extremely limited, to say the least.
It’s easy to keep track of your leads with tasks, appointments, and the Pro pipelines feature, but if you want to do more than send one-off emails, you’ll be disappointed. There’s no advanced behavioral segmentation, and you’ll need to Pro plan to set up complex email campaigns. Even then, there are certain things you simply can’t do.
Still, if you’re looking for a strong CRM platform and can afford the pricetag, Keap definitely has its strengths.
What Is the Difference Between Infusionsoft and Keap?
Infusionsoft and Keap are the same company. Infusionsoft was founded in Arizona in 2001 and was known as a robust yet hard-to-use marketing software. Rebranding in 2019, including changing the name to Keap, aimed to change that. After thoroughly testing it myself, I’m not sure that much has changed. In all honesty, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use marketing tool, take a look out our breakdown of the best email marketing services in 2023.
What Happened to Infusionsoft?
Infusionsoft changed its name to Keap. Before 2019, Infusionsoft was running two different versions of its software simultaneously. There was the old, classic Infusionsoft app and a newer, updated version. This new version became Keap, but you can still sign up for the older software if you so wish – it’s now known as Max Classic.
How Many Customers Does Keap Have?
According to Keap, more than 125,000 users use their software to grow and scale their businesses.
Is Keap HIPAA Compliant?
Yes, Keap is HIPAA compliant. Keap offers customers the opportunity to execute their standard Business Associate Agreement (or “BAA”) that satisfies the applicable subcontracting requirements under HIPAA and the HITECH Act. You can configure your Keap app as a HIPAA app by enabling the HIPAA Security Controls under Privacy & Compliance in Settings.
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
A freelance writer and editor with experience in digital marketing, Alex has published over 40 product reviews and comparisons on Website Planet. He has tested email marketing services, freelance websites, social media management tools, and more. Before joining our team, he worked at an Australian agency where he experimented with all things digital marketing. In addition to his work, Alex enjoys cooking and writing about games.