Mailchimp is the widely accepted leader in the email marketing space for small and medium businesses. It recently made headlines when it announced the $12 billion acquisition by Inuit.
While it serves many customers, it’s not right for everyone and there’s a lot of space for Mailchimp alternatives. Each one brings something different to the table and this guide will highlight some of the best options available.
What’s the best Mailchimp alternative?
Mailchimp does many things under a single roof. You’re able to send newsletters, set up email automations, create popups, manage your ads, and even send out physical mail. To top it off, it has a free tier.
In essence, it does most of the marketing you’d need as a small business. This begs the question, why would anyone be looking for a Mailchimp alternative?
The answer is surprisingly simple. It’s too much for many people. The interface, from personal experience and the feedback of others, can be confusing. It also has automated systems that accidentally penalize customers more often than is expected. When this happens, it can take days to rectify.
With these challenges, it’s more apparent why many people are looking for an alternative to the email marketing giant.
1. ActiveCampaign – Most powerful Mailchimp alternative
ActiveCampaign has always been on the cutting edge of email marketing and even pioneered a new category called customer experience automation. If it’s possible through email marketing then ActiveCampaign can probably do it.
The surprising part is that even though it has many features, it has managed to keep the interface fairly intuitive for the average user. It’s divided into a few core sections which encompass email automation, CRM, and general email newsletters.
It uses both lists and tags to organize contacts and set up the conditional logic that powers the automations. For example, if someone visits a certain page on your website, you can start an automation, end it, or even apply a new tag.
In addition to tagging, scoring is available and conditions can be set based on what the score subscribers have. When it comes to automations, the automation map is useful for understanding the relationship between email sequences.
Email is only a part of the equation. It integrates deeply with a huge collection of marketing tools and eCommerce platforms. This allows you to pull in data, create segments, and further personalize the messaging your subscribers get from you.
The CRM integrates with the email marketing platform in a way that encourages you to take advantage of all the features available to you. Like within email campaigns, you can set up triggers based on pipeline factors that matter to you.
For all of this awesomeness, ActiveCampaign starts at $9/m and can go up to thousands a month. Give it a try, see if you like it, and take email marketing to a new level.
2. ConvertKit – Best Mailchimp alternative for bloggers
There’s a movement of creators that are building in the open. Nathan Barry, the founder of ConvertKit, was one of the first to do this and shared his journey from losing money to making over a million a month. Today, ConvertKit is an email marketing and conversion toolkit designed for creators.
It makes the Mailchimp alternatives list for multiple reasons – one of the most important being that it was created with certain customers in mind. This means it’s not for everyone but the people who use it get a lot of value from it.
ConvertKit continues to expand its feature set but it currently has four core areas:
- Email marketing and automation
- Landing pages
- Email collection forms
- eCommerce tools
It’s slightly different from ActiveCampaign because it uses a tagging system alone instead of lists and tags. There’s a single list and you can create countless tags based on how you want subscribers to experience your email marketing.
The marketing automation tools are straightforward and there are multiple templates to choose from that’ll allow you to jump-start your email marketing campaigns. It’s not quite as powerful as ActiveCampaign. Only the most advanced users will be hindered by this fact.
The landing pages are quite basic. You can’t go crazy but you’ll be able to build a decent landing page when you’re in a pinch. One of the issues I have with ConvertKit is that it has the opt-in forms carry its branding so everyone will know that it was created using ConvertKit.
The page templates are divided across a few key categories which include:
- Lead magnet
- Coming soon
- Course sign up
The pages are geared towards creators – just like the rest of the platform. If you don’t fall into those categories then you’d be better served by getting a dedicated landing page builder and integrating directly with ConvertKit.
The platform has a free plan you can take advantage to get the lay of the land. After that, the plans start at $15/m when paid monthly and only $9/m when paid annually. Of course, the more contacts you have, the more expensive it’ll be.
3. GetResponse – Best marketing suite
GetResponse has been around much longer than most of the options on this list and it has evolved a lot since the beginning. I remember using it to create basic email autoresponders when that was a thing.
Today, it’s a complete marketing suite for small and medium businesses. You can handle everything from webinars to advertising campaigns. In a way, it’s doing what MailChimp did before its acquisition – becoming the entire marketing toolkit for customers.
This has benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that it’s convenient to have all your marketing tools in one place. The drawback is that it software itself becomes bloated and they often don’t do the best job.
Think of Zoho. It has a lot of tools but it doesn’t excel in a specific area. Instead, it’s a bunch of average tools that get the job done but won’t win an award for innovation.
It has the email marketing tools you’d expect like newsletters, lists, segmentation, and automations. If you’ve used marketing automation tools then you’ll be at home with the drag and drop interface which gives you the ability to create advanced sequences.
It’s far from finished with that because customers also get ad management, webinars, landing pages, opt-in forms, eCommerce integrations, and more.
In essence, you can manage every stage of the marketing funnel from GetResponse. Once you enter the ecosystem, there are many reasons to stay.
The advertising integration is one of the things that makes it the alternative most similar to Mailchimp. It gives you the option to connect Facebook Ads to your GetResponse account and start running ads from there.
It’s also relatively inexpensive with the starting plan coming in at $15/m which increases from there based on the number of contacts.
4. Moosend – best free Mailchimp alternative
This email marketing platform is one of the newest on the list. It quickly grew and surpassed 1,000 customers before it was acquired by Sitecore in the middle of 2021. It has been adding new features to enhance the user experience and functionality but it still has a way to go.
Similar to ConvertKit, it has multiple elements that enhance email marketing elements such as opt-in forms and landing pages. There is a bit more variety available which is a definite plus.
The user interface isn’t the most intuitive out there. I find myself clicking around a lot trying to figure out what I should do next. Maybe I don’t use it enough or maybe they should spend a bit of time revamping the user interface.
With that being said, it does allow you to create multiple lists to segment your contacts and set up fairly advanced email marketing automations. It’s also simple to understand how well your campaigns are performing.
A/B testing, dozens of templates, personalization, and much more make it a solid choice irrespective of how large your mailing list is. The only possible downside is that its email marketing automation isn’t quite as robust as something like ActiveCampaign or GetResponse. Don’t’ get me wrong, if you’re not an email marketing expert or advanced user, you probably won’t notice the difference.
For the landing pages and opt-in forms, keep in mind that they’re still being worked on so it’s not as robust as a dedicated landing page builder. It may never get to that point, but it’s still a great way to quickly spin up pages.
The platform starts for free and you have a quota of 1,000 contacts. If you exceed that then the pricing plans start at $10/m and can go up to thousands a month. Like other platforms, the pricing is tied to the number of subscribers you have.
5. MailerLite – best for smaller brands or personal projects
MailerLite is growing but not as popular as most of the other tools on this list but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking features in a tangible way – there’s currently more focus on the core email marketing.
It inherits a negative feature from Mailchimp – automated account blocking. When you’re trying to set up an account, depending on your geographic location, automated systems will shut you down and the support team will ignore you.
I tried opening an account from Accra and was shut out. When I tried opening an account from Sydney, I was welcomed with open arms. Of course, the data isn’t conclusive but it can be part of an unsettling practice.
If you’re a part of the people MailerLite welcomes then you may enjoy the platform. It comes with the core email marketing plus landing pages, forms, and surveys. It’s a unique combination that gives customers a lot of versatility.
It even has a website builder. I look at MailerLite as a workhorse. It’s not on the cutting edge of innovation but it will get the job done over and over. You may not want to deal with them if you’re a larger brand that thinks of email as mission-critical which is why it’s a great Mailchimp alternative for smaller organizations.
Pricing starts at $0 and goes up to thousands of dollars depending on how many email contacts you’re managing through the platform.
Aweber is another older email marketing service that started around the same time as GetResponse. That’s where the similarities end. GetResponse has focused on expanding its feature set to capture more of the small business market. Aweber, on the other hand, has doubled down on what has worked in the past – email marketing.
Because of this, many people think that Aweber is dying but I’d disagree for a few reasons. First, it’s focused on the business that’s first getting started with email marketing and may not need all the bells and whistles. Secondly, it has world-class email deliverability. These factors keep it competitive in many areas.
It has basic email automations, a drag and drop email designer, multiple templates to choose from, built-in tagging tools, contact segmentation, and much more.
As I said, it won’t win any awards for innovation but it’ll make sure your emails get to the inbox of your recipients. There is a free plan then pricing starts at $16.50/m for up to 500 contacts.
7. Klaviyo – Best for eCommerce brands
I like Klaviyo because they’re clear about who they serve and it’s reflected in the product that they’ve built. There’s no pressure to build an all-in-one platform for all things business. Instead, it focuses on the core features that allow you to get the data you need to better serve customers.
This includes integrating with popular eCommerce solutions and pulling customer data like transaction history, browsing sessions, support tickets submitted, and more. This allows you to build a robust profile to use in your marketing communications.
It also brings together predictive analytics and multi-channel marketing through emails, marketing automation, and SMS campaigns. It refers to these as experiences and is part of the core of what Klaviyo offers.
If you’re running an eCommerce operation then there are few solutions that deliver more value than Klaviyo. It’s free for up to 250 contacts and pricing starts at $20/m.
When the most popular email marketing tool in the world isn’t a good fit for you, it’s time to look elsewhere. The Mailchimp alternatives here have different focuses, strengths, and weaknesses. Some of them are great no matter what your business is while others are only ideal when you’re at a certain stage in your business’ growth.
If you’re looking for something that will serve you well for years to come then ActiveCampaign is my top pick. If you’re looking for a tool that combines email marketing with other functions then GetResponse is a great option.
ConvertKit is pricier than the competition but has a clear emphasis on servicing bloggers and creators. In the end, it’s your choice – I’m only here to make it easier.