If you know anything about online marketing, you should know that email marketing is, despite some allegations, still one of the most effective ways of acquiring new and retaining existing customers – surprisingly more effective than much-lauded social media. To use or not to use it is not a question – what’s important is which platform to use. So let’s take a look at four of the most popular ones and make a choice.
At a glance, it seems that MailChimp is much better in this respect than any of its competitors. While they offer free trials for a limited period of time (30 or 60 days), MailChimp allows free use for as long as you want – and as long as you don’t exceed 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. However, all that glitters is not gold. Like most other free services, using MailChimp for free is risky – it is known to sometimes block free accounts without explanation. Besides, its functionality is very limited.
GetResponse seems to be the most balanced option – 30-days trial offering full functionality.
If you are not going to expand, MailChimp is the cheapest – its paid plans begin at $10 a month. However, their prices grow quickly with the number of subscribers. GetResponse starts at $15 a month, but for more expensive plans its prices are lower than those of most competitors. AWeber and ConstantContact are both much costlier.
Autoresponder is justifiably considered to be crucial for a successful campaign – and GetResponse certainly knows it. From the list it is the only service that offers time-based autoresponder as a part of the deal, and includes it into the trial version (in MailChimp and ConstantContact you have to pay extra for them). It is also the only service that has an action-based autoresponder.
Landing Page Creation
AWeber and MailChimp don’t have this option at all. GetResponse and ConstantContact offer them as a part of full-feature packages, but differ greatly in price: $15/month at GetResponse vs. $45/month at ConstantContact.
If you want to do surveys, GetResponse is the way to go – it is the only platform from this list that supports them.
In terms of mobile-friendliness GetResponse certainly looks the best. Other platforms, like MailChimp, may have mobile preview options, but nowhere are they as convenient as at GetResponse, where you get to see the changes in the mobile version of your email in real time, as you make them, instead of having to open a separate screen to do so.
Despite its lower price range, GetResponse overtakes its competitors in most areas. Lots of mail templates and powerful tools for their customization, lots of additional options like convenient mail previewer, surveys, tracking reports and much more make it a good choice both for newbies and experts. MailChimp is lacking in this respect – their tools are easy-to-use, but much less flexible, suitable for beginners, and you will soon want more. AWeber is much less mobile friendly and doesn’t have the same automation possibilities as GetResponse. ConstantContact has comparable functionality, but costs about twice as much, with fees for additional options making the gap even more glaring.
AWeber’s age is starting to show – when compared to competition, its mail design tools look a bit outdated and awkward. It is made even worse by very superficial explanations as to how everything works. MailChimp tries to use ‘clean and simple’ approach, with lots of large fonts and bold lettering, but it makes for not a very effective space use – you have to do a lot of scrolling to find the option you need. All other services are comparatively easy to use; however, GetResponse has a number of very detailed manuals that make getting started that much easier.
As usual, everything depends on what you want. If you want a tool to learn the basics and don’t mind limitations and unstable service, then take MailChimp and play with a free account. But if you are really going to get serious, go with GetResponse – it has the best prices, comfortable user interface, all the functions other services have as well as some interesting options like surveys and action-based autoresponder no other platform can offer.
AWeber cannot seriously be recommended to anyone – it is expensive, clunky and falls behind others in terms of functionality and usability. ConstantContact, while falling behind GetResponse in functionality, is considerably more expensive.