Which Email Marketing Platform is Best for my Business?
Comparing MailChimp, ConvertKit, Flodesk, and Drip
You’ve invested huge amounts of time and effort into creating a loyal customer base, nurturing those relationships, and building an email list of people who care about your business. Now for the tricky part… actually keeping in touch with all those loyal customers with your email marketing platform!
There are so many options for email marketing that the task of choosing just one seems daunting. Between the different features, template options, pricing structures, and guarantees… overwhelming is an understatement, right?
Well, there are a lot of choices…but there are a few that stand out and feel right for businesses like yours. Each one has some special features that the others don’t – as well as some quirks and a few different price points.
Let’s check out some of the highlights of the more popular options….
MailChimp is one of the most widely used platforms among creatives, entrepreneurs, and people on a budget. There’s a good reason for this – it’s easy to use, simple, and it has a great free plan.
The MailChimp platform offers:
- A clean, simple interface.
- Basic support for eCommerce.
- A decent selection of free templates.
- Performance reporting for email campaigns.
- A pretty generous free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers.
- Some (limited) automation features.
MailChimp has been around since 2001, and it is one of the largest email marketing providers out there. Because there are so many users, MailChimp is able to offer a pretty comprehensive free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers. This makes it an easy choice if you’re on a tight budget. Maybe you’ve started here… many people have, so you’re in good company.
Over the years, MailChimp has really built out some beautiful templates that make for gorgeous, personalized-looking emails. You can do a lot to make your emails look nice and adjust the branding to fit your business.
If you’re starting without an existing email list (or a very small one), MailChimp has a form builder that you can use to collect email addresses from your customers. Honestly, this is a little clunky… but MailChimp integrates with services like Thrive Leads and LeadPages so you can get more complex forms without a lot of drama.
MailChimp makes it fairly simple to create an email campaign. The monkey walks you through a step by step process to help you customize your list using audiences and pre-designed templates. You have lots of options to make your emails look how you want them to – from customized web fonts to creating your own custom templates as I mentioned earlier.
MailChimp keeps things pretty basic in terms of features – but there are some helpful things included in some paid packages, such as contact segmenting, app integrations, A/B testing within forms, and time-zone based sending – so if you want those features you can get them without changing platforms.
Many of the features available in MailChimp are pretty basic. Even for people who like simplicity, it can get frustrating to come up against its limitations as your business grows.
For example, while you’re able to automate some workflows, you are basically confined to working within 15 or so pre-designed automations. You can easily set up an automation for new subscribers, so that they can get a single welcome email, a series, or some kind of special offer. Beyond that, you can make some edits to these automations, but the process can be annoying and sometimes a bit confusing. If automation is your thing, you might feel stuck.
And while MailChimp’s extensive free plan is tempting, adding features and sending communications to an ever-growing list can quickly get pricey. Not only do the charges add up quickly, MailChimp is one of the only email marketing platforms that counts the same customer twice if they’re on two separate lists… so you might reach the free plan’s maximum number sooner than you think! YIKES!
ConvertKit is pretty well-suited to creatives – people like bloggers, authors, course creators, and even Instagram celebs! The folks at ConvertKit have focused specifically on the creative community and put lots of great features into their platform to fit the needs of this audience. If you’re one of these people, you might be about to fall in love!
The ConvertKit email marketing platform offers:
- Very basic email builder to help you set up your emails.
- Free landing pages so you can get conversions.
- A limited selection of free templates.
- Easy-to-use automation creator.
- Get two months free if you pay annually.
- Very good support features.
ConvertKit is great for email marketers who want to get serious about connecting with people and take their strategy to the next level. One of the areas where this platform really shines is with analytics. Want to deep dive into your customer’s behaviors and trends in your campaigns? ConvertKit makes that not only possible, but pretty darn simple. The available analytics go beyond email campaigns and include numbers on landing pages and signup forms – so you can closely track what your subscribers are doing with your stuff.
Speaking of those landing pages and signup forms… ConvertKit has some of the best features and functionality when it comes to capturing information. There are lots of ways to personalize both landing pages and forms, automatically add tags, and even change the text shown in search results or social media.
ConvertKit’s autoresponder is also excellent – meaning you can automate communications after customers take specific actions – such as purchasing a course or leaving a product in their shopping cart. Set up emails to send after a trigger… even when you’re not paying attention!
Finally, ConvertKit’s system for creating different audiences and segments is simple, but pretty awesome. Instead of having to create a new list for every campaign, it uses a tagging system. This makes it easy to select an audience using multiple criteria. You can narrow down segments of your list by location, demographic information, and lots more. Sending more tailored content to the right people is a snap.
We might as well start with the biggest downside of ConvertKit… the email editor. It’s okay – but it’s not amazing in any way. You can change color, font, and button color to a few options, but not as many as you would probably like. There isn’t a way to spell check or preview emails either.
Sure, you can do some coding or make some advanced design changes to make things look like you want, but unless you’re a designer you’ll be stuck with pretty simple emails.
Also, ConverKit’s interface feels a bit clunky sometimes. It isn’t really set up for beginners. You might struggle – especially if you really want to get set up quickly.
Flodesk is a newer email marketing software you might not have heard about yet. It’s designed for creatives, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and small business owners…. so maybe you! It’s easy to navigate, wonderfully intuitive and allows you to quickly and easily create email marketing campaigns that are stunning + on-brand (no more struggling for 3 hours to create one email that doesn’t look the way you want).
The Flodesk email marketing platform offers:
- Intuitive email builder with beautiful layout options.
- Unlimited subscribers, unlimited emails/month, unlimited emails/hour.
- Segmenting, automated workflows, analytics.
- Custom opt-in forms, mobile optimization, line-spacing + letter-spacing options, and image overlay capability built in so you don’t have to switch between Photoshop or Canva.
- 30 day free trial.
- One unlimited plan at just $38/month. If you sign up with a referral link, it’s $19/month for unlimited everything for as long as you use the software – click here to grab your 50% off pricing.
Say goodbye to ugly emails, and hellooooo to super pretty emails. Flodesk’s template designs and layout blocks are modern, clean, stylish, and incredibly customizable so you get pretty emails every time. You can choose from several different image block layouts, not just aligning your image to the left or right. Create custom graphics right in the platform with the ability to overlay text on your images – no more having switch between Photoshop or Canva to create a custom graphic.
And the biggest game-changer (and my favorite features) are their selection of embedded fonts (ensures that they’ll show up in all inboxes) and customizable line-height and letter-spacing for every single bit of text – easily keeping everything you create on-brand. Flodesk’s automations are also just as good ConvertKit’s, but way easier to use.
Flodesk is the new kid on the block. Since it’s technically still in beta, that means there are some kinks to be worked out. It’s a little behind the competition in terms of features – it doesn’t have A/B testing, double opt-in (requires new subscribers to manually confirm their subscription before being added to your list), and currently only integrates with Shopify (though you do have the ability to connect with many other apps by using Zapier). Having said that, their team does have amazing support and they’re always willing to answer questions.
Drip is another newer entry email marketing platform you might not have heard about. They’ve targeted eCommerce stores, marketers, and anyone selling digital products. Because of this, they offer a lot of eCommerce support features and a pretty powerful automation builder.
The Drip email marketing platform offers:
- A beginner-friendly interface.
- Robust support for eCommerce.
- A visual email editor.
- Extensive reporting, especially for eCommerce.
- Limited free plan for first 100 subscribers, then a free 2-week trial for other plans.
- Easy-to-use automation builder.
Even though drip offers lots of advanced features and analytics, it is surprisingly user friendly – you don’t have to do much guessing to get where you want to go. Because it is specifically designed for eCommerce businesses, it focuses on things like complex automation and lots of analytics to help you understand what your customers want so you can market more effectively.
The best part is that Drip integrates with other parts of your business. You can connect it with WooCommerce, Shopify, Paypal, and Stripe – just to name a few. Plus, you can use Drip to manage your social media or snail mail communications – so you can use it as a hub for all of your company’s marketing efforts. How cool is that?!
Drip is relatively new to the market, and this creates a few issues. First of all, some people have complained that wait times to speak with a customer service rep are pretty long – which is frustrating if you’re stuck and want quick help. Of course, Drip does have several other ways you can get the help you need – an extensive FAQ page, an information library, and a blog- that may be helpful if you run into a problem.
And even though the automations that Drip offers are advanced, a few of them seem buggy. It can be challenging to test a new automation or workflow sometimes. You might not have too much trouble with this, but I wanted to mention it just so you’d be aware of the issues.
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s an email marketing solution out there that will fit you. You don’t need to get bogged down trying to figure it out. Just start with what YOU want to do and go from there. You’ve got this!!
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