Whatever industry you work in, it’s vital that you have a mailing list: it’s a simple but effective way to regularly reach the people who have willingly shown an interest in your business.
Not only is this brilliant for connecting on a deeper level with your target audience, but it’s also a proven and successful method for driving conversion and website hits.
And here’s the good news: it’s so easy to implement and maintain!
There are many platforms on the market that will allow you to manage your mailing database, allowing you to send out e-newsletters, automate your mail outs using autoresponders and evaluate how people respond to your important marketing messages.
One of best of the bunch boil down to Mailchimp, MadMimi and Aweber.
All have their advantages and disadvantages: although to many, these differences can be difficult to spot on the surface.
That’s why I’ve taken the time out of your research by rounding up the individual features of each platforms in this easy to follow guide! I’ll take you through all three options, deciphering the key pros and cons of all.
Which Email Marketing Solution Is Right For You?
Aweber is a popular option with businesses as it is attractive, professional and very user friendly. It provides opportunity for versatility so you can really create something unique for your mailing list.
I’ve used them in the past (for like about a year) and I actually liked them, but I had to move to MadMimi mainly because of the pricing. I don’t send a lot of emails, so MadMimi would work just fine for me.
So let’s break it down:
- Usability: Aweber is incredibly simple to use and create without the need for coding. With very little tech-knowledge, you can build something beautiful in no time at all and monitor feedback and conversions. Aweber also allows you to use one account for multiple lists across multiple sites, which is a huge bonus for larger companies or for those dealing with several brands.
- Templates: Leading on from this, you have around 600 email templates to choose from… that’s a huge amount! They’re all extremely visually appealing and serve a wide range of marketing purposes.
- Autoresponder: One of the vital elements of an e-marketing campaign for your mailing list is the ability to send autoresponders. Not sure what they are? No problem! Autoresponders allow you to send out messages to your subscribers at predefined intervals after they have signed up. This is a much more efficient way to send out your marketing messages as it saves plenty of time. It’s great for many reasons: firstly, if you already have a pre written set of newsletters ready to shoot out to all new subscribers. It’s also ideal for filtering out discounts and calls to action over a period of time, as well as delivering any tutorials and courses you are offering to new subscribers.
Now you know the basics, how does Aweber shape up for them? Well, it provides them but only time based (not action based). Aweber also lacks the ability to send out through time optimisation, which can be extremely helpful in producing ultimate website traffic.
- Integration: Aweber can be integrated with ease, with a wide range of 3rd party sites set up to support it. You’ll come into no problems here!
- Transferring mailing lists: This is an area where Aweber could do with improvement. Although subscribers no longer have to go through double opt-in when being transferred from one list to the other (something that used to be a real pain!), the process is still not easy. They will need to answer a series of questions when being moved across, which can be off-putting.
- Support: Aweber’s support is second to none – they offer up a live chat, email and phone support, so you’ll always be well looked after.
- Content: Aweber has no restrictions on the type of content you can send out.
- Price: Of the three, Aweber starts off the most expensive… so for smaller businesses just starting off, it can be a little pricey. However, once you get into the higher subscriber numbers, it averages out with the competition.
- What else: Aweber also allows A/B split testing and lets you deliver attachments in emails.
In a nutshell? If you’re looking for something that is easy to use with LOTS of choice, but aren’t as concerned by the highest functioning autoresponders or transferring mailing lists, this is a great option. It’s more directed at larger companies mainly due to the price, but there’s no reason why smaller ones wouldn’t get just as many benefits out of it.
Pricing: Starts at $19. They offer 30 days trial!
MadMimi (what I'm currently using as of Feb 2016) is irresistibly easy to use whilst remaining really attractive. It’s a cost effective option with a great user interface.
Its simplicity has its positives and negatives. Let’s look into them a little further:
- Usability: As mentioned, MadMimi is so easy to use. You can get set up quickly and with minimal effort but still create something visually stunning. There aren’t as many options to play around with which potentially makes the process a little simpler (albeit limited). However, you can also use one account per site, which can limit you for the future.
- Templates: MadMimi don’t work so much by templates, but rather themes. Why? Because you only have one theme to choose from! Luckily, it’s a gorgeous theme and you are able to amend its colour to make it more suitable for your brand. But if you’re searching for more versatility, this definitely goes against them.
- Autoresponder: MadMimi offer autoresponder for paid accounts. They call this "Drip Campaigns", where you can create a series of emails ready to roll when a subscriber signs up.
- Integration: Whilst MadMimi can be integrated into all the obvious sites, it’s 3rd party integration isn’t nearly as expansive as its competition.
- Transferring mailing lists: MadMimi lets you move between lists easily – no problems there!
- Support: MadMimi offer a live chat (not sure if they do for free users) and an email support. They actually have friendly staff and very responsive!
- Content: MadMimi is slightly restricted in terms of what information you can send out. You can go to their Terms page and see the "Prohibited Use" part. They actually had to approve my first newsletter before they sent it out (they said they only do this on first newsletters though).
- Price: MadMimi is easily the best offer in terms of price. It’s the cheapest option, and also you get tons of data for your money. Here’s just one example: at 10,000 emails, the price for MadMimi is half that of MailChimp! So if you’ve got a big database, this is certainly the most cost-effective (although the most simplified in terms of function!).
If your requirements are not that complex and you are looking for something cheap but visually stimulating, MadMimi can tick your boxes.
Pricing: Starts at $10 (free up to 100 subscribers)
I'm using MailChimp on my other websites like SIXPushMedia.com (example page here). I fell in love with it mainly because of their beautiful forms.
MailChimp is perhaps the most well-known e-marketing solution. It’s got heaps of different options to build something distinctive and is incredibly sophisticated in terms of features.
However, its huge amount of choice can be overwhelming. Familiarise yourself with its main features to find out whether it’s a good fit for you:
- Usability: MailChimp is fairly easy to use, although out of the three it is probably the trickiest… simply because there are so many options! Editing your marketing material can be done with ease through a drag and drop system, but getting your head around all the other functions can be hard for some people. With loads of flexibility, you can add image groups, buttons, boxed text and so much more. It’s many different autoresponder options (which I’ll discuss further down) can be confusing for the less techy users as well. BUT, if this does sit in your field of expertise, it’s a fantastic option to really build something impressive and unique.
- Templates: You’ve got a lot to choose from which can all be adapted. Or you can start blank and build something personal!
- Autoresponder: This is one of the best bits about MailChimp. Although you only have access to autoresponders with the paid package, when you do have them you can do so much with them. Unlike Aweber and MadMimi, MailChimp’s autoresponders are time and action optimised. That means you can use anything from purchases to birthdays to kick-start your autoresponder and can filter it further as you go along. This is a seriously advanced way to manage your mailings and a big bonus if you’re looking for something a bit more complex. You can also send through time optimisation based on click-throughs (all worked out by MailChimp).
- Integration: Similar to Aweber, MailChimp is well-equipped or 3rd party integration and is a much fuller featured tool than MadMimi.
- Transferring mailing lists: Like MadMimi, you can transfer mailing lists without another opt in.
- Support: Right now, I'm still using a free plan so I do not have an access to their email support. I guess that's the con about them, they do not offer email support for those with free plans. But they do offer chat and email support to paid users.
- Content: MailChimp has the same content restrictions as MadMimi, all of which you can find here. Affiliate marketing is also prohibited with MailChimp.
- Price: MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month… If you are prepared to forgo some of its features! The paid plan is fairly average although more expensive than MadMimi. Saying that, you DO get more for your money, so if you are looking for maximum features it really does work out well priced.
- What else: MailChimp also provides A/B split testing.
If you are prepared to pay, MailChimp offers the full package. It’s great for online retail businesses and offers endless flexibility. However, that flexibility can be a hindrance for those less experienced in digital design.
Pricing: Starts at $10 (free up to 2000 subscribers but limited features)
Different needs all require different platforms. Consider the size of your brand, your budget and how experienced you or your team is when it comes to implementing these campaigns. And don’t be afraid to make use of free trails to get a feel for the functions of each option: after all, it’s ultimately about what feels comfortable to you, hence providing the best result!
My winner? To be honest, these companies are all awesome. It really depends on your needs. BUT in terms of features + flexibility, Aweber or Mailchimp. In terms of pricing, MadMimi (currently using) is my winner.