Email marketing has been a real boon to small businesses, as it’s a means of communication that makes staying in touch with lots of contacts easier, faster, and a whole lot less expensive than the traditional snail mail way. Along with a strong social media presence and a business website with fresh, compelling, and updated content, email marketing is an essential part of any company’s digital marketing strategy.
If you’ve spent any time researching email marketing services, you know that there are a lot of them out there. They all claim to be the best, but how do you know which one is the best fit for you and your business? In this post, we’re going to take a look at three of the most popular: MailChimp, GetResponse, and AWeber. We’ll take it point by point.
Each one of these services handles price a bit differently. MailChimp offers a free option that’s perfect for businesses just starting out: you can send up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. (So, six blasts.) As long as your numbers stay under those caps, you can use the service at no charge. After that, plans start at $15 per month for 1,000 subscribers. Their free forever program is awesome, especially for small niche businesses. However, once you start needing a paid subscription, MailChimp is a bit on the pricier side compared to other email marketing services out there.
GetResponse offers a free 30 day trial with no commitments at all. After that, plans start at $15 per month for emails to 1,000 subscribers, and they go all the way up to $450 per month for 100,000 subscribers; there is no free option like there is with MailChimp. If you’re running a small business, though, you’ll probably top out at $45 per month for 5000 subscribers, or maybe at $65 for 10,000. GetResponse does offer an 18% discount if you pay for a full year up front.
Finally, AWeber’s pricing structure is a lot more convoluted than the other two. The first month of their 500-subscriber option is free; it normally costs $19 per month, which is on the high end. But then things get complicated. To use AWeber, you pay either $19 per month, $49 per quarter, or $194 per year. (There’s actually not much cost savings between paying quarterly and paying annually.) Then, on top of that, you pay by the number of subscribers you have. Fewer than 500 is no added charge, but 501 to 2500 is ten bucks more per month. The more subscribers you have, the more you pay per month in addition to the service charge.
What You Get
All three services offer quite a lot and are, with small variances, all fairly easy to use. They all offer lots of templates; AWeber may offer the most (there’s over 700), but after a certain point, more may not be an advantage because you have to look through more to find the one you want. All of them offer drag and drop customization, making it easy to include images, graphics, and links. You also get responsive design with all three services, which is immensely helpful since so many people read their email on mobile devices. Finally, turning off double opt-in is possible in all three.
Each service offers some unique advantages. MailChimp offers its own mobile app for iOS and Android; while initial feedback for the app has been mixed, it appears that the buggier aspects of it have been fixed. With GetResponse, you get features like an Inbox Preview Tool, which lets you see what your recipients see, as well as a Landing Page Creator to help with specific marketing initiatives. And if you’re looking for an email marketing service that has education as one of its core values, AWeber delivers with regular free webinars on various marketing topics. They offer really solid auto-responder tools as well.
What Users Say
The good news is that all three of these services are reviewed quite favorably by their users. Going by rank, it looks like GetResponse has a slightly higher rating than the other two, while AWeber’s is slightly lower. However, the overwhelmingly good reviews are a strong indication that all three of these services do what they’re supposed to do and cause their users minimal frustration.
Which is Best?
The best email marketing service for you and your business depends on your particular needs. The good news is that you can start for free on all three of them, so you’ll have at least 30 days to decide if the one you think you want to use really is the one that will serve your needs most effectively.
And of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the world of email marketing (and digital marketing in general) is constantly evolving. New features are added, services are upgraded, and needs change. The decision you make today may not be the best decision 18 months from now. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate your marketing strategies, including your email marketing service, on a regular basis to make sure that you’re still getting what you need and that you’re getting your money’s worth.