Getresponse vs ActiveCampaign vs Mailchimp – I have tried it all and here’s my brutal review

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Table of Contents

What is Email Marketing?

First, let’s see what is Email Marketing and how it works?

Email marketing is an influential digital marketing strategy. It is a method of direct marketing. It uses email address lists to promote our business. It can keep customers updated about the latest items, packages, or offers.

It also plays a crucial role in our commercial strategy with finding new customers, increasing brand visibility, and keeping customers involved among availing our services via different types of marketing emails. Effective strategy increases customers and their loyalty.

Need for an Email Marketing Service

If you are writing a blog or running any website, and hopefully to start earning money from it then you must be maintaining an Email list. This email list should contain emails of those people who like your content, website, or interested in a product.

Traffic on your website can be reduced or increased due to any reason. Maybe you will lose your ranking at a search engine, but your subscriber's list will always remain with you however it is only possible if you start maintaining this list effectively from start.

An effective email marketing service will automatically do this for you, where you can create campaigns, newsletters, specialized emails, and you can get reports of your progress. These can be automated with an effective email marketing solution. According to Forrester, marketing automation can boost your sales pipeline by as much as 10%.

Primary Features of an Email Marketing Solution

There is a certain criterion of email solution which needs to be considered:

  • Templates: should have email templates and sign-up forms
  • Delivering the Email Service should not be landing as spam emails.
  • Segmentation: Targeting the right customer for the right product.
  • Automation: Defining rules and logic for a solution to take-action automatically.
  • Testing: Testing with different content.
  • Analytics: Integration with Google Analytics. And analyzing the reports to get insight.
  • Pricing: One of the important factors which need to be considered is the pricing criteria.

There are multiple email marketing solutions in the market. Each of those has some positive and some neutral features. We have chosen three of those tools for you and we will compare them.

These are

  • GetResponse
  • ActiveCampaign
  • MailChimp

Let’s have a short look at each of them and then we will compare them with respect to their features.

GetResponse

GetResponse is versatile and easy to use, one of the best email marketing tools which allow us to send promotional emails to them. We can automate these emails as well. Once emails are generated, statistical analysis is also provided by this tool from which we can see how our campaign performed.

It helps small to medium-sized businesses to grow their business via digital marketing. In addition to digital marketing, GetResponse has started the provision of eCommerce features, automated sales funnels, landing pages, and webinar hosting.

ActiveCampaign

Due to the digital era, consumer of this century looks for more than just a product or service as we are used to social media, which provides us with relevant information. ActiveCampaign is an advanced email marketing, marketing automation, and sales CRM platform which is best suitable for small and mid-sized businesses.

Mailchimp

MailChimp is such a tool that offers the capability to create and manage automatic campaigns, newsletters, and mailing lists which can be used for advertisements.

It is a flexible tool with enough features to provide control over email marketing efforts end-to-end. Due to several advantages, it is found to be among the top choices for businesses who are looking for email marketing strategies and tools. Hold, hold, we will discuss it in detail.

By targeting the right base for the right product or service makes it more productive. It can help to send an appropriate message on their required channels. It can build emails, postcards, landing pages, social media ads, and much more.

Comparison of Basic Features

Let’s start discussing the major features that they offer and how they are competing with each other in these.

Who is this solution for?

GetResponse is a unique marketing solution that provides a better experience. It targets small to medium businesses and helps to create email campaigns, eCommerce solutions, and hosting webinars.

On the other side, ActiveCampaign, being a mature tool, is more suitable for is suitable for skilled marketers who already know how to handle email marketing software and already know how to set up autoresponders and create subscriber segmentation.

It is good for business customers also, along with consumer accounts. It is a better option for both B2B and B2C businesses.

MailChimp is easy to handle and provides marketing tips as well. These tips are personalized for business owners as per their targets. So, this makes it a good solution for new entrants as well. It has advanced segmentation and personalizations, which makes it useful for those marketers who want to create complex campaigns.

However, it is a type of solution in which you have to understand all the features and how they work.

User Friendliness

Let’s assume that I am new to email marketing so first I will see how user-friendly is the tool which I am using.

Now, let’s start considering our tools one by one. Starting from, GetResponse. It is claimed to be the easiest marketing solution by itself. It looks correct sometimes.

Most important features are given in Quick Action buttons.

 

Its email editor is modern-looking, elegant, easy to understand, and easy to use.

 

This is one of the easiest marketing tools as per their claim, and it looks correct sometimes. Bulk load emails can be sent within a few clicks. More elements can be added to the email.

Let’s see the other one, ActiveCampaign to see how it stacks up:

Its interface on the main screen is also good. It has clearly stated options and action words.

 

The email editor is not that easy to use. There are just a lot of multiple things you need to have in this place to get a professional email. Also, for more advanced features, proper training will be required.

 

In short, GetResponse is easy to build campaigns with Quick Action buttons with a beautiful editor. However, MailChimp is easy to send an email. ActiveCampaign makes emails a bit complex and takes time to create a professional one.

Lastly, let’s see starting a campaign with MailChimp, I almost knew zero about all of it however interface at MailChimp was self-explanatory and I was able to get the basic idea of all that it offers.

 

MailChimp has an easy drag-and-drop email builder, which makes it very easy to use. We can drag anything from the left side to the email body and place it anywhere. It is quite easy to navigate.

We can select our own layout and can edit the header, body, and footer as per our requirements. Entering pictures, changing the font, and even HTML code can be added.

MailChimp’s editor is:

  • Intuitive
  • Sophisticated
  • Influential
  • Comprehensive

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a process to identify potential consumers and automating the process of taking that lead to sales. Email automation is the feature to send emails to a particular individual based on some trigger.

Let’s see how our tools perform in this area.

GetResponse, provides another useful option that can start sending emails automatically. This is known as Marketing Automation.

 

It allows us to create automation workflows based on some conditions or logic. These are based on three elements: Action, Condition, and Filter. The action includes which message is intended. Condition is the logic at which email will be triggered. The filter option allows changing the customer journey to experience the original path in a workflow.

 

There are some built-in automation templates present on the website. We can create our own template as well. A sample workflow to send birthday wishes:

 

Secondly, ActiveCampaign is one of the best tools for emails and newsletters. It is user friendly and allows to automate the follow-up campaigns. It has an easy flow diagram system in which all these changes can be made. There are available templates for this however you can start from scratch as well.

Here is an example is shown for a sample flow diagram in which each step can be configured for this automation.

 

Lastly, MailChimp helps you create specific emails that sent when triggered by a specific event, date of any contact’s activity. It offers a number of automation choices with pre-selected triggers, which helps to quickly find and create the right campaign for your organizational requirements. This is comparatively efficient, with defined logic to send subsequent emails based on specific conditions, such as user engagements, It offers a bit more complex automation with respect to targets, however; the usability is not that much because there is no view for workflow.

Newsletter Creation

Email newsletters are the emails that keep your customers updated about the latest news, product, or service of your organization. Like other marketing tools, it is also an important feature of digital marketing. The customer feels privileged to get this information, and it increases its loyalty.

All of our three solutions offer newsletter creation. Let’s see how is the interface and what options are available.

Let’s start with GetResponse.

It has a drag-drop editor, which is user friendly and offers a broad range of email types. The editor looks more flexible however needs a little practice to use all available options. It maintains revision history as well. We can personalize the subject line and email text using contact data with a minor condition-based coding.

What only lacked was a central style editor. It might have been useful to change colors or fonts for a complete newsletter.

Available newsletters in this tool are typical newsletters, Testing like A/B testing, RSS, Autoresponders.

While using ActiveCampaign, we came to know that editor is fast and has good features. All changes are saved automatically to avoid any data loss. However, there is no quick preview option.

There is an option of conditional content, which means that we can show specific content to some customers based on the condition like their previous interests, open links, etc.

Available newsletter types are typical newsletters, birthday emails (date-based), SMS, Testing like A/B testing, and autoresponders.

Lastly, MailChimp’s editor is quite simple, fast, and has a drag-and-drop interface. It also offers condition-based logic, which is not that much user friendly.

Available newsletters in this option are usual newsletters, RSS, autoresponders, and testing like A/B testing.

Sales & CRM

A CRM platform helps businesses target different customers, set goals, and triggers based on customer’s activity. It helps to work with contacts proactively and build loyal relationships. A CRM system can be part of all departments and all front end teams to have the right data to have a valuable experience.

Due to its importance, email marketing services are also using this feature for their effectiveness. This helps them to have a better dashboard with all data in-hand to handle customers in a better way. Let’s have a look at what our tools offer in this regard.

The lead ranking is an essential part of daily life in any business providing services or selling products. It is a time-consuming task if we do it manually. This can be automated by using custom forms that direct an inquiry the right way and help find the best possible leads to generate business accordingly.

GetResponse also has a built-in CRM within the platform. It can easily get feedback from other features. It helps to evaluate the contacts who are potential buyers and add them to a separate list. It can also help to create new segments that include deals and schedule messages for them. It manages information flow about our contacts. So, we are sure to have the right people on our recipient list.

ActiveCampaign has a CRM within its solution. It effortlessly connects all your email promotional data and allows the commercial team to act quickly. It has multiple tools within CRM solutions, including the use of personalized emails and efficient, tailored communication. It is simple in handling and easy to use. It has multiple functions that can be customized with respect to users.

Let’s talk about MailChimp now, which was not actually a CRM for some time. However, they revamped their solution and added CRM functionality in 2019. However, it is still not that much strong as others.

If you are running a blog site and collecting leads by using a form, then MailChimp will serve the purpose. However, if you want to manage your sales and support some customer-centric process, then MailChimp has limited functionality to d the needful.

External Integration

Sometimes you need to integrate your email marketing solutions with different tools. This helps to avail the capability of other tools and to achieve a bigger goal in an effective way.

Most email marketing services offer this ability to integrate with other useful software solutions. Secondly, email marketing solution having an API to build this integration is also an important factor.

Let’s start a discussion about our services.

If you want to connect GetResponse with any other external service, there are approximately 140 integrations available.

This can be connected to famous eCommerce and content management systems like Shopify, WordPress, and a few more CRM systems like Highrise. Google integrations are also possible like Gmail Contacts, Google Analytics, etc.

Few major integrations include:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Etsy
  • PayPal
  • Eventbrite
  • Salesforce
  • Zendesk
  • LiveChat

Another way for this integration is GetResponse API itself. It helps to integrate with those tools which are not on its basic integration. API helps to send and receive data in whatever way is best for your application.

Let’s learn about the second one.

ActiveCampaign offers more than 260 integrations towards the most used important tools. These include:

  • Shopify
  • Salesforce
  • WordPress
  • Google Analytics
  • Zapier
  • WooCommerce
  • Facebook

It also offers an API via which you can integrate it to any other business software which allows integrations. It has a knowledge base available at the developer portal from where you can have more guidance. There is a community as well from where you can ask for help.

Let’s see the last one.

MailChimp offers more than 220 integrations to a wide range of software in different categories. It also integrates directly to eCommerce through Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. For example, if paid ads are important, MailChimp has a set of tools to let it create on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

These integrations include:

  • Canva
  • Facebook
  • WooCommerce
  • Eventbrite
  • Zapier
  • Chargify
  • Google Analytics
  • PayPal
  • Magento

MailChimp also provides an API to build our own integrations to other software. However, MailChimp doesn’t have any guides or knowledge base for its development, so it means that cost is involved in this development.

Support

GetResponse has dedicated live chat support 24/7, with agents located in multiple geographic locations. Agent addresses all the queries which are sent to support. It offers targeted and personalized help.

It also provides multilingual email support. It gives GetResponse an edge that it is one of the few marketing solutions that are providing support and localized help. Phone Support is also available, but it is only for Enterprise customers.

GetResponse has its help center, which includes multiple how-to guides, webinars, tutorials that can help us polish our skills.

ActiveCampaign has live chat and email support for all its plans. However, live chat is available at specific timings only. Expedited phone, live chat, and email support are available for Enterprise plan only.

ActiveCampaign offers quick support through its “Contact Us” action button on the main page. The knowledge base is also available on the main page which has several articles and guides. An online community is also there where we can get a response from our peers for our problems or queries.

MailChimp has a strict criterion of having support for only paid customers. For the free plan, they initially offer 30-days of free email support, and afterward, it is also withdrawn.

It offers 24/7 email and live chat support for paid plans. Dedicated Support is available for Max Plan only, which includes phone support as well.

Pricing

All the email marketing solutions provide their services at competitive prices, but as the contact list grows, prices also go high. Secondly, it also depends on what sort of plan we want to opt for. Some solution starts from free and go higher, other starts from Basic Plans (with price) and move towards higher prices.

Let’s see what our tools are offering and at what prices.

The pricing regime in email marketing services is per month basis and as per contact list sizing and number of emails.

MailChimp offers a “Free Plan” though with some limitations, but it still works for small businesses. Other tools ActiveCampaign and GetResponse have no free plans, though they provide a free of cost trial with basic features to test the solutions. We will see the plans of all these tools in the below table:

 

GetResponse

ActiveCampaign

MailChimp

Starting from

$15 /month

For up to 1000 contacts

$9 /month

for up to 500 contacts

$0 /month

for up to 2000 contacts

Packages

Basic: $15 /month

Plus: $49 /month

Professional: $99 /month

Max: Custom Pricing

Lite: $9 /month

Plus: $49 /month

Professional: $129 /month

Enterprise: $229 /month

Free: $0 /month

Essentials: $9.99 /month

Standard: $14.99 /month

Premium: $299.99 /month

Level 1

Basic Plan offers

  • Autoresponders
  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages & automation Samples
  • Facebook Ads
  • Sales funnel (one funnel)
  • Sell E-products

Lite Plan offers

  • Marketing Automation
  • Email Marketing
  • Newsletters & Subscription Forms
  • Segmentation
  • Campaign & Automation Reporting

More than 500 Automation & more than 300 Integrations

Free Plan offers

  • Marketing CRM
  • Website Builder
  • Forms & Landing Pages
  • Creative Assistant

MailChimp Domain

Level 2

Plus, All in Basic +

  • Automation builder (5 workflows)
  • Webinars (up-to 100)
  • Work in Parallel (3 users)
  • Sales funnel (5 funnels)

Plus, All in Lite +

  • Landing Pages
  • Facebook Customized Audiences
  • SMS based Promotion
  • Advanced Analytics

Customized Branded Forms

Essentials, All in Free +

  • Email Templates
  • Multi-Step Journeys
  • Custom Branding
  • 24/7 Email & Chat Support

A/B Testing

Level 3

Professional, All in Plus +

  • Automation Builder (Unlimited)
  • Web notifications
  • Webinars (Paid)
  • Unlimited sales funnels
  • Work in Parallel (5 users)

Professional, All in Plus +

  • Website Personalization
  • Marketing Attribution
  • Split Automations
  • Conversion Reporting
  • Site Messages

Predictive Content

Standard, All in Essentials +

  • Customer Journey Builder
  • Email Time Optimization
  • Behavioral Targeting
  • Customized Templates

Dynamic Content

Level 4

Max, All in Professional +

  • Email campaign consulting
  • Transactional emails (paid)
  • Dedicated support
  • Deliverability Support
  • Single sign-on (SSO)

Enterprise, All in Professional +

  • Customized Reporting
  • Custom Mail-server Domain
  • Free Design Services
  • Email Design Verifications
  • Offers Social data integration

Custom Domain

Premium, All in Standard +

  • Advanced Segmentation
  • Variable Testing
  • Comparative Reporting

Phone Support

From all the above details, MailChimp is taking advantage of providing a Free plan which gives it a clear edge over others.

Analytics and Reporting

Let’s look at these solutions with respect to their reports and the results of our activities executed within them.

Let’s start with GetResponse.

GetResponse shows top-level information such as how many subscribers got our email and what was open rate, click rate, un-subscription rate, and many more, all on one page.

GetResponse also provides reporting tools in which it is possible to measure the outcomes of email campaigns. Analytics page provides basic reports about email campaigns. Tracking tool shows email open rate, link click rate, un-subscription rate, etc. We can generate graphs from this as well.

We can track our members against some specific action, growth report, and autoresponder statistics.

It can deliver an analytics report to the inbox which is quite convenient.

With ActiveCampaign, we can have campaign goals, like additional page views, or webinar subscriptions, then react according to target achievements. These outcomes help you to understand the audience and their statistics. It automatically keeps track of conversion rate to check how many subscribers reached us and how many of them achieved the set goal.

 

ActiveCampaign also integrates with different aspects of data including social, behavioral, lead scoring to get a better insight and increase assistance towards our sales efforts and CRM.

Lastly, MailChimp provides a dashboard that gives a summary of your campaign. It includes how many contacts opened the email, its click rate, audience growth, and campaign engagement. Paid plans come with more detailed reports and provide enough information against a campaign to calculate ROI from that in real-time.

Reports show about customers to us:

  • Which emails they opened
  • When they opened them,
  • What they clicked.

 

 

We can also send targeted emails to segments after getting the above results. It offers different graphs that help to display these statistics in an interactive manner. These graphs help to check w.r.t country engagements, subscriber habits, etc.

Pros and Cons

Positive Side

GetResponse

ActiveCampaign

MailChimp

Easy to use with a trending learning curve

Drag and drop builders for email, automation, and forms with free templates.

Email creation interface is easy to use with a drag & drop interface.

Live support availability for 24/7

Good rate of deliverability.

Autoresponders for time-based and action-based.

Autoresponders for time-based and action-based rules

Enables multiple emails set up in parallel and run in parallel.

Email templates available. Can be created more.

A/B split testing feature which allows testing behavior of emails, autoresponders

Split testing features, especially A/B testing.

Split testing feature A/B

Segmentation features offer location-based and subscriber type.

Segmentation & dynamic content to get the right message to the right people.

Segmentation is available to extract the target base for each campaign

Superb analytics, reporting, and statistics

Personalization possible to include customized data fields.

Find out the optimum time to send an email. Can also send an email by time zone.

Great tracking and reporting tools especially for eCommerce

Multiple users can work at the same time on one project with Revision history maintenance.

Pricing-wise, MailChimp is free of cost for up to 2000 customers and up-to 10000 emails in one month.

Email visibility testing on computers and mobile phones.

The entire CRM solution is available within ActiveCampaign solution.

Another additional option is to pay only for what you use.

 

Room for Improvements

GetResponse

ActiveCampaign

MailChimp

Un-subscription or opting out from one list is not that easy.

Limited time support in a day. Only available during live hours of the USA time zone.

The interface is a bit complex as segmentation and configuring welcome messages is time taking effort.

Having multiple sales funnels running makes it a bit complex.

It is a bit expensive option

MailChimp footer is added in emails in case of the free version.

Email templates should be increased

The interface can be a bit slow to navigate (but they have improved)

Limited support in case of the free version.

The user interface for automation builder

Lesser number of email templates.

Content restriction is applied by MailChimp for some categories. We can see here full list.

Conclusion

All these email marketing solutions offer drag-and-drop interfaces and several templates that help a new user starting effectively. Testing options are available in all these. ActiveCampaign has limited support option however other two offers a good level of support.

GetResponse on the other hand is easy to use and offers eCommerce solutions along with webinars.

ActiveCampaign has more features than other solutions for those businesses that want to enhance sales and build their CRM.

MailChimp has the advantage of offering a free solution over the other two but it is a limited set of features. It is only useful if we limit the size of our audience and intended email count.

All these three solutions are better in their own context, but it depends on our requirement that what we want to achieve for our businesses by using these marketing solutions.

 

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