5 Best MailChimp Alternatives: Which Marketing Automation Tool to Choose?
2019 January 7th at 3:59
If you ever needed an email marketing tool - MailChimp was definitely in your list of considerations. The dominating email automation tool has been the go-to choice for years, but now it’s not the only player in the market. While MailChimp’s exceedingly simple user interface and ease of use is known for ages, the email marketing industry pioneer is facing some tough competition. Here are 5 great MailChimp alternatives go get you marketing automation in order:
- ActiveCampaign (For Marketing Specialists)
- SendinBlue (For eCommerce)
- MailerLite (For Small Businesses)
- ConvertKit (For Creators)
- AWeber (For Bloggers)
Probably the most important characteristic of ActiveCampaign is the automation. With outstanding automation capabilities, it outshines the competition by a lightyear on this feature. The extensive Conditions Editor makes building a personalized email marketing campaign, a newsletter or a follow-up easy.
The powerful editor lets you send highly personalized content, using the logic of If/Then/Else conditions, based on your customer’s behavior: links clicked in the past, the number of times the email has been opened, etc.
If you can think of a situation - ActiveCampaign can most likely deliver.
With an easy drag-and-drop interface, ActiveCampaign also makes it easy to do A/B testing (called ‘Split Testing’ on their platform). Testing does not take a lot of time to set up - it works just like a regular email campaign.
In addition to powerful automation, ActiveCampaign offers a built-in CRM (customer relationship manager) system that delivers the most important features, such as contact list administration, pipeline creation, and lead scoring. It cannot compete with the dedicated CRM software, but for an email marketing tool - this is an impressive addition.
ActiveCampaign also supports site messages, SMS messaging and even allows to create custom follow-up Facebook Ads. It is also a fully integrated solution, allowing integration with over 150 apps, including eCommerce platforms, CMS solutions, social media and more.
But the facts prove that ActiveCampaign is definitely on top of the competition when it comes to marketing automation. It is a compelling alternative to MailChimp.
- Exceptional automation
- Strong A/B testing
- Built-in CMR
- Complicated for beginners
SendinBlue might not be the biggest name in the world of marketing automation, but it’s sure worth a look. From the first glance, SendinBlue offers a pretty standard packet of features. They include responsive template gallery, a decent marketing automation tool, SMS messaging, reporting capabilities and a competent pack of third-party integrations.
On the other hand, SendinBlue has a very practical free version of the solution - you can send up to 300 emails a day completely for free. If you’re running a small business, this limit might be just enough to use this platform completely free of charge.
The free version also offers the majority of features that appear in paid plans, such as A/B testing, email template library, mobile-friendly email designer tool as well as storing an unlimited number of contacts. For a completely free version, this is impressive.
Another interesting feature that SendinBlue offers is a dedicated IP address. This, of course, is not included in a free version. Upgrading from a shared IP pool to a dedicated IP is useful if you’re constantly contacting 100,000+ people, otherwise, it’s not really a necessity. Overall, it is a nice addition to the feature list. (Add blacklist info)
As a part of SendinBlue Automation feature, triggered emails is another helpful tool. SendinBlue lets you send emails according to the contact behavior, for example, mail your customers who didn’t finish a transaction on your eShop. While ActiveCampaign offers much more conditioning and personalization, SendinBlue automation might be enough for the majority of marketing professionals.
- A very functional free version
- Low-cost plans
- Great automation
- Limited A/B testing
Aimed at small businesses, MailerLite is a straightforward and simple email automation system. One of its main advantages - the ease of use when creating campaigns. Equipped with a drag-and-drop editor, it allows customers to create professional looking yet very simple-to-make newsletters and campaigns. A custom HTML editor is also a well thought out addition for users with coding knowledge who want to build the newsletters from scratch.
The email automation tool is simple yet powerful. Using conditioning, you can build simple or very sophisticated email campaigns that are triggered by customer’s behavior. Its condition range is not as extensive as it could be, but it delivers more than just basic functionality.
Pricing is another area where MailerLite overtakes its competitors. Similar to SendinBlue, MailerLite has a functional free plan. But MailerLite wins this one - it allows you to send an unlimited amount of emails up to 1,000 subscribers. It gets better - a free version includes all the features of paid plans.
It is unusual for any provider, email marketing automation or other, to let customers use all the features for free. And for an unlimited time.
The inclusion of a built-in photo editor allows you to carry out basic photo editing right on the platform. It's a nice addition that saves a lot of time when creating visual-centered newsletters.
With affordable pricing, broad third-party integration, A/B testing, and decent email automation abilities, MailerLite is a good MailChimp alternative to consider.
- Freemium version with all the features
- Built-in photo editor
- Automation range could be wider
Unlike others, ConvertKit markets itself as a specified marketing automation platform for creators. Bloggers, artists, content creators - ConvertKit focuses on helping them to build an audience.
So of course, the tools they offer are based on this specification. The word that describes ConverKit best is easy.
Creating a campaign (called ‘a sequence’) is extremely simple. A visual drag & drop builder is as straightforward as it gets, letting the user concentrate on the content rather than on the campaign creation process. It also provides good automation and the ability to create custom rules to personalize the content.
Since it’s targeted at building audiences, a landing page builder is added to the toolbox. It lets you easily build beautifully designed landing pages even if you don’t own a website.
However, while ConvertKit allows A/B testing, it is very limited. Currently, it only allows testing email subjects. There’s no way to test the email layout, body text, images or personalization. A/B testing is one of the most important features a marketing automation platform could offer, so ConvertKit loses some points here.
But it easily catches up with extensive third-party integration abilities as well as thorough contact segmenting. ConvertKit offers detailed grouping of contacts using tags, allowing you to create organized and targeted contact lists.
But if you’re looking for a free option - this solution won’t cut it. There isn’t a free plan available (only a free 14-day trial) and the price tag is not very budget friendly either. The cheapest plan will cost you $29/month. Think before you commit - $29/month might be worth it if you’re looking for a low-maintenance and easy-to-use platform.
- A landing page builder
- Decent automation
- Limited A/B testing
- A high price tag
AWeber is another solid tool aimed at bloggers and medium-sized website owners. It seems to have all the necessary tools in place: A/B testing, drag-and-drop editor for autoresponders, contact list segmentation.
AWeber offers extensive customization capabilities with more than 700 email design templates. This is a valuable addition that lets you build unique looking newsletters and emails without worrying about the aesthetics. The number of templates puts this solution ahead of the game - no other automation tool from this list can offer this level of design personalization.
However, compared to its competitors, AWeber severely lacks automation. Extensive automation triggered by customer behavior is, unfortunately, unavailable. However, if you plan on building simple linear email sequences, this tool will do the trick.
One of the downsides - a steep price and no free version available. The cheapest option is $19/month. It’s notable that every single plan offers the same pack of features - you’re paying more for a growing list of subscribers, not for additional functionality.
- 700+ email design templates
- No free version
Which MailChimp Alternative Suits You?
At the end of the day, consider your budget and the size of your contact list. If you’re yet to have a big following, some companies will offer you free solutions. Then, you’d be able to test out the features, see what works and what doesn’t and eventually, when the list will be big enough, you can bump your plan up to Premium.
One of the best free solutions out there is SendinBlue or MailerLite. It might be just enough to kickstart your email campaigns.
If your following is already solid and you need to send loads of emails based on user behavior, ActiveCampaign is an option with exceptional automation.