Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp

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Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp. We’re talking about a battle between email marketing TITANS.

It can be difficult to find useful insights into these platforms because they are so big they don’t have affiliate programs. They don’t need an army of eager digital marketers (guilty) trying to sell them on their behalf.

But because of that, not so many marketers are motivated to actually hammer out a real in depth review of Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp when there’s little reward for it.

I’d much rather tell you to get ActiveCampaign or GetResponse – or even Aweber – and so you should. Not just because they do make me a commission, but I genuinely find them better platforms for reasons I’ll explain.

And I should know.

I used Mailchimp as my first email marketing service on my first blog – which I did try to upgrade to an online store as well as I battled with Mailchimp’s limited options for ecommerce.

Fast forward a bit and I use Campaign Monitor every day for a financial services client, doing everything from Facebook lead ads to retargeting abandoned quotes.

One thing that stands out having started a website reviewing marketing automation products is both these market leaders leave a LOT to be desired.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp Key Differences

Campaign Monitor is definitely the better option for bigger businesses and organisations while Mailchimp is great for getting started with email marketing with a small list.

This is evident as once you get beyond Mailchimp’s popular free plan the price rockets between the $14.99 Standard plan and the $299 Premium plan that holds all the important features like advanced segmentation, multiple users and advanced automations.

What stands out about Campaign Monitor is its visual interface. Everything about it is visual and drag and drop- whether putting together automated journeys or crafting beautiful emails. It also comes packed with very professional email templates.

Mailchimp on the other hand feels a lot more basic in automated journeys. That said for basic things it is a true market leader in terms of designing beautiful emails and sending them as an autoresponder.

Of course good UX is just a small aspect when choosing an email marketing tool compared to the actual functionality. That said, many marketers really value good UX. When you have thousands of contacts spread across different lists with a range of automations, it really pays to be able to see what is going on at a glance.

Drip makes a big point about its colour coded visual workflows. That sounds laughable but it really does make a difference. But for an established company nearly two decades old, Campaign Monitor does feel reasonably slick.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp Pricing

Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor are very similarly-priced. Suffice, to say, they are both pretty expensive once your list gets a little bigger.

Campaign Monitor starts at a seemingly reasonable $9 per month for 500 contacts on the basic plan. At 50,000 contacts this rockets to £279 (about 370 USD). The basic plan also limits how many emails you can send which depends on your list size. The Unlimited tier is the obvious way out of this.

Mailchimp has a very interesting strategy in terms of how it is renowned for its free plan and yet gets quite complicated once you upgrade, which you will if your business is even remotely successful.

If we take the same process of whacking Mailchimp up to 50,000 subscribers then the recommended standard plan is $320 per month, or $270 for the basic “Essentials” plan.

With the Mailchimp free plan you can have up to 2000 contacts in a single list. This is quite limited besides the single list requirement with Mailchimp branding applied liberally and limited templates.

That said, it is a reasonably useful free plan and the only competitor that comes close is probably Aweber which is free up to 500 contacts. ConvertKit also has a free plan for up to 1000 subscribers but this does not allow marketing automation – only single broadcasts.

It is also important to note that, controversially, Mailchimp counts unsubscribed contacts towards your plan so you are actually paying for dead contacts.

GetResponse is much better value even at its lowest tier of $15 for 1000 contacts which has some excellent features, and take that up to 50,000 and its $250 for basic.

That’s before the discount annual pricing, or the incredible 30% off offer for 2-year subscriptions which brings Basic down to $175/month.

ActiveCampaign paid annually matches Campaign Monitor at $9 per month and rises to $275 for 50,000 contacts.

Campaign Monitor does offer discount pricing for annual plans but you have to contact customer service to get this – this isn’t too prominent as its in the FAQs.

If you really want to budget, Mailerlite is pretty much a direct competitor for Mailchimp’s basic tier with a free plan for 1000 contacts and 12,000 emails or $210 for unlimited sending to 50,000 contacts.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp Marketing Automation

Campaign Monitor has an excellent system for building automations. You can build all sorts of journeys with Yes/No conditions like clicking links or opening emails. That can be very flexible as a form of retargeting and you can effectively siphon off your most engaged leads to hit them with harder sells.

Not only does this increase conversion rates. Doing this is a great form of list hygiene as you avoid sending emails to disengaged contacts which can mean you get marked as junk more, thus affecting your deliverability.

The biggest drawback with Campaign Monitor’s visual automation builder is you have to switch off a journey in order to edit it – anything from a spelling error to adding in new steps. Meanwhile your leads continue in the same timing.

In other words, if you never switched it on again your leads would make their way through each step without any emails being fired, so when you switched it back on they would have skipped the whole journey. For that reason I anxiously edit fast and switch the journey back on as quick as I can.

Mailchimp does have the capacity for some very powerful automations but these are reserved for the Premium plan, which as we’ve demonstrated seems very poorly priced compared to ActiveCampaign and GetResponse.

Unlike Mailchimp Campaign Monitor gives you access to much more features in the cheaper plans.

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