There was once a time when Mailchimp was the first name that came to mind when you thought about email newsletter services. The tool was a breath of fresh air within the email marketing industry, with its affordable pricing model and ease of use a big hit with small-to-medium businesses, bloggers, online store owners, and other smaller-scale users.
But with recent (and confusing) changes to their pricing model, coupled with Mailchimp’s shock decision to stop offering a direct integration with Shopify, more and more users are seeking alternatives to Mailchimp.
So if you’re one of those users, or would simply like to understand what other comparable tools are out there, read on to find out which Mailchimp alternative is right for you.
Is there any reason that you should stick with Mailchimp? Despite its recent less-than-ideal changes, moving away from Mailchimp might not be the best move if:
You need detailed reporting:
Mailchimp has one of the most detailed reporting systems for tracking your newsletters’ performance, offering robust options such as Google Analytics integration, Geotracking, Social media and click maps.
You have a very small list (and I mean really small!):
Mailchimp’s new pricing model imposes new limits on their free plan. Now, your 2000-contact limit includes all contacts, including unsubscribes and those who haven’t confirmed opt-in. If you know your total contact count will be less than this, then Mailchimp’s free plan is still pretty decent.
You want to easily design good looking emails:
Their editor is fast, simple and drag and drop. It’s very easy to create stunning emails that will stand out from the rest and engage your audience.
You are on a tight budget:
As soon as you leave the freemium plan, things start to add up at MailChimp, especially now that they charge based on total number of contacts, rather than just subscribed contacts. Working out how much your newsletter service will cost is not always straightforward. For instance, some will make you pay depending on the number of emails you send, others on your amount of subscribers. Luckily, we’ve created a handy cost calculator to help you get a clearer idea.
You need complex automations:
If you are really aiming to get the most from your email marketing campaigns, Mailchimp will appear limited in terms of marketing automation features. Their autoresponders are ok, but for campaigns based on user behavior, tagging, split tests and advanced workflows, you might want to look elsewhere.
You want to manage multiple mailing lists:
Because Mailchimp keeps every list isolated from each other, it limits the amount of flexibility, creativity and precision you can have for your complex campaigns. For example, if user X belongs to 2 of your mailing lists, they will appear as subscribers twice. There is no good way to merge lists or create interdependencies between them.
You require a landing page:
While it’s hardly a deal breaker in our book, some email marketers do like to create special pages to send users once they click a certain link. These pages can offer tailored content and act as a powerful sales funnel or segmentation tool. Mailchimp's landing pages are very basic at this time, not even offering any themes let alone A/B Testing.
You need strong data privacy:
Mailchimp isn't the most data protection-conscious company. For example, a short while back they suddenly announced that they are about to deactivate the double opt-in feature for all customers. After an outcry from (mainly) EU-based customers, they retracted the change. Customers from Europe also usually prefer to have their data stored inside an EU country, which Mailchimp doesn't offer.
After all our tests we believe that the following are the best Mailchimp competitors. Keep scrolling for a detailed breakdown.
This self-described “all-in-one marketing platform” is focused on letting you reach your email marketing goals with fewer emails. To that end, they offer one of the best marketing automation features we’ve ever tested. You can easily create very complex sequences of emails and add a huge number of parameters such as “wait x number of days before sending”, “split test between two messages” and much more.
Also a very good solution when it comes to automations, GetResponse offers a wide range of unique pro features such as a landing page creator and a webinar editor. They also claim to be one of the easiest newsletter tools available, and give you loads of extra tidbits like access to free iStock photo images and an iOS and Android app to send your campaigns on the go. Is it enough to choose them over Mailchimp?
This new Lithuanian email marketing solution prides itself on its modern and sleek aesthetic – and it shows. They also offer good multilingual options as well as a decent offer for free users, which they call the “Free Forever” plan.
Focusing on international markets with a presence in 15 countries around the world, Benchmark’s paying plans place them in the middle to higher end of other email marketing solutions. Unfortunately, their advanced features aren’t as impressive as others, but they are worth considering for their free and low price plans.
A relatively new player on the newsletter scene, SendInBlue is a Paris-based company who have decided to make waves by offering some of the cheapest plans available. And they’re also surprisingly good when it comes to email automations and list management.
Designed with digital marketers in mind, they are the new kid on the block. ConvertKit claims to be all about transparency and they even make their financial situation available to everyone online. Since they first started in 2013, they’ve managed to get more than 35.000 subscribers. Which is not bad. Generally speaking, Mailchimp is a more mature and developed tool, but let’s check this in more detail.
Berlin-based Newsletter2Go has a subscription model that is different in a few ways. For one, you can buy ‘pay as you go' credits as well as a subscription. What's more is that you get charged for the emails you send and not by the number of contacts in your database. If you don't send out a newsletter every month, this can save you money.
Omnisend is an email and SMS platform with a strong slant towards ecommerce – something that shines through in their conversion-focused automation and segmentation options. And while MailChimp does a decent job of ecommerce, there are some clever little extras that we think give Omnisend the one up here.
|Criteria||Ease of use||Price||Features||Review|
|Mailchimp||Very easy. The editor is perfect for beginners and the email templates look good.||Paid plans start at $29.99 per month||Great for reports and amazing for ecommerce integration. Not so good for automations and list management.||Full review|
|ActiveCampaign||Fairly easy. Even if it seems more overwhelming, the support and wizards are very good.||Paid plans start at $15 per month||Very powerful automations. A/B tests, timed automations and much more. Good list management. The reporting is good, but not as powerful as Mailchimp’s.||Full review|
|GetResponse||Very easy to use. Their knowledge base is a bit confusing though.||Paid plans start at $15 per month||Powerful email automations and list management. Interesting extras such as smartphone app, landing page editor and webinar creator. Not so good for analytics and reports.||Full review|
|MailerLite||Excellent editor – fast and logical. Good support too.||Paid plans start at $15 per month||They offer automations and reporting – not as powerful as other solutions, but available for free and/or much cheaper.||Full review|
|Benchmark||Very good editor and outstanding support.||Paid plans start at $31.99 per month||Good for multi languages. Not great for automations, and the file storage charges are an extra worry.||Full review|
|Sendinblue||Not the easiest to use for absolute beginners.||Paid plans start at $25 per month||Pretty good automations and list management in 6 languages. Reporting and analytics aren’t as good as Mailchimp’s.||Full review|
|ConvertKit||Automations are easier to use than average. Other features, like creating forms, can be overcomplicated.||Paid plans start at 29 per month||Good automations and list management functionalities. Newsletter design and reporting should be improved.||Full review|
|Newsletter2Go||Pretty straightforward to use, fast editor.||Paid plans start at $9 per month||Responsive newsletters and a great way to manage different clients from one account (Address Book feature). Supports many different languages.||Try for free|
|Omnisend||Their interface is simple, and they have a fresh and speedy email editor that’s similar to MailChimp’s.||Paid plans start at $13 per month||Automations specific to ecommerce – web tracking, abandoned cart, order confirmations etc. Plus, some cool interactive features like scratch cards and gift boxes for maximizing conversions.||Try for free|
While Mailchimp was once the #1 choice when it came to a cost-effective email marketing service, a few recent pricing changes have made it a lot less affordable than it was once. There are competitors (even free ones) that will work perfectly for you depending on your needs.
To summarize, we would recommend sticking with Mailchimp if you have a decent marketing budget and want to convert it into sales for your ecommerce (unless, of course, you're using Shopify). For users with small subscriber numbers who just want a simple and free solution, they are also one of the better platforms. Your newsletters will look good, as long as you don’t mind the Mailchimp logo in the footer, which could make them look slightly less professional.
However, if you’re a power user, you should really look to ActiveCampaign or Get Response if you want to create complex automations that react to the way your subscribers behave. And if you want quality features with a smaller price tag, it’s worth investigating other companies such as MailerLite.
Hopefully, this little overview has helped you save time in choosing your next solution! And don’t forget to add comments or questions if you need any more information.
PS We also have a detailed comparison of Mailchimp & ConstantContact that you may want to check out.
21 May 2019 – Updated information about Mailchimp's new pricing structure
15 May 2019 – Update about Mailchimp's Shopify integration
20 Sep 2018 – Added Omnisend to list