Posts in E-newsletters
How to Create a Newsletter (2018) - 10 Simple Steps to Email Marketing Success
 How to create an e-newsletter (image of an @ symbol on a wooden surface)

In this post we show you how to create an email newsletter that you can send to your business leads or clients; we also advise on how to build a larger list, and run an effective e-marketing campaign in general.

But first: why do you need to send an e-newsletter in the first place?


Why the humble e-newsletter still matters

Given the popularity of social media and online advertising as a way of generating business, it's easy to think of the humble e-newsletter as being something rather outdated or quaint. This is a mistake: even with the huge range of other marketing and advertising avenues now available, email marketing can be a hugely effective way to generate revenue.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of around 4300%, and 25% of Black Friday revenue is generated via email campaigns. Given these sort of stats, it's clear that every email address you capture has a monetary value, and that email marketing is something that can be key to the growth of a business.

Below we'll look at 10 key things you need to do to create and send the best e-newsletters you possibly can. 

The first thing we're going to look at is data.


1. Start with the most important thing: your data

Before you think about ‘how’ you are going to send an e-newsletter, you need to think about the ‘who’. Without a database, you're not going to be able to send any e-newsletters; and without a clean, well-structured one, you're not going to generate as much revenue as you could.

You probably have an existing database of leads and clients tucked away in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere – or more likely, your database is spread across several very messy spreadsheets.

If this sounds like you, it's a good idea to consolidate all your files into one clean, well-organised spreadsheet before you try to send newsletters to any of the contacts on them.

You should also ensure that your cleaned database is ‘segmented’ as well as possible – i.e., ideally you should have a field in it containing information which lets you flag data as leads, current clients, past clients and so on.

(That’s just an example of how you could organise things though: how you segment your database should depend on what you are selling and the nature of your business – for example, if you sell different types of products, you may wish to flag your data by product type.)

The basic aim of the exercise is to get your data into shape, so that you are able to send an appropriate message to an appropriate prospect at the right time.


2. Create a content plan and e-newsletter schedule

The next step is to plan your communications carefully. It’s a good idea to create an ‘e-communications schedule’ which maps out what you are going to send out in your email newsletters, to whom, and when.

You can then refer to this schedule throughout the year, and ensure you have all the necessary content ready to go. And because you’ll have segmented your data nicely in advance (see above) you will be sending your beautiful and interesting e-newsletter to precisely the right group of contacts.


3. Pick the right tool for sending your e-newsletter

For many small businesses, sending e-newsletters means compiling a mailing list in Excel, then copying and pasting the addresses into the BCC field of a clunky-looking Outlook message.

This is a time-consuming way to go about things; it’s also very ineffective, because

  • it doesn’t allow you to send very professional-looking e-newsletters

  • it prevents you from accurately measure important stats like open rate and clickthroughs

  • it increases the likelihood of your email triggering spam filters (email programs usually hate emails that are bcc'd to loads of people).

It is a much better idea to use a dedicated tool for sending your e-newsletter. There are many web-based solutions available now: big-hitters include GetresponseAweber, Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and Mad Mimi.

These all allow you to import your database, create attractive templates, and send out proper ‘HTML e-newsletters’ that stand the greatest chance of being delivered (and crucially, read!). They also provide free trials / plans (of various degrees of quality) - it's worth trying a few out and seeing which suits your requirements best.

There are pros and cons to all of these. Out of the above list, our preferred options are probably Getresponse and Mailchimp: Getresponse because it has the best all round feature set (which includes landing pages, webinars and CRM) and Mailchimp because it allows you to host a small list (up to 2000 subscribers) for free.

(You can read our Getresponse vs Mailchimp comparison here).


4. Create an attractive e-newsletter template

Once you’ve decided upon which bit of software you’re going to use for your e-newsletters, you need to design a nice HTML template for it.

With the exception of Mad Mimi, most of the solutions we referred to above provide a wide range of e-newsletter templates which you can tweak extensively - using a drag and drop editor - so that your e-newsletter matches your brand.

If your design skills are not all that strong of course, you might consider hiring a designer to set up your email templates. Either way, you should try to get to a point where your e-newsletter template looks professional and uncluttered and adheres to your organisation's branding guidelines.


5. Split test!

Once you’ve got your database, your e-communications schedule, your choice of software and your template sorted, it’s finally time to start sending some e-newsletters. But it’s really important to send them in the best way possible! This generally means 'split testing' your subject headers and/or your e-newsletter content.

Split testing involves trying out different versions of your message on a relatively small sample of your data before sending it to the remainder of your database.

You might, for example, create three versions of the same newsletter, each with different subject headers, and send it to 500 people on your database – after a day or so, you can identify which subject header led to the best open rate, and then use that header for the remainder of your data.

Note that this is only worth doing if you have a relatively large database – if your business database is only a few hundred records in size, you might find split testing doesn’t really lead to particularly informative results.

You needn't restrict split testing to your e-newsletters - you can also split test forms (to see, for example if shorter sign-up forms work better than longer ones) or your landing pages (the pages where people can sign up to your list).

And speaking of landing pages...


6. Use good landing pages

It’s not just essential to have attractive, well-constructed e-newsletters: it’s important that the links in those e-newsletters take you to pages that actually ‘convert’ readers into taking further action too.

Generally speaking you don’t want to send people to a page that contains a huge number of competing calls to action or links – it’s better to present a page that encourages users to take one specific action, be that buying a product or completing a form. Your landing pages should be attractive, easy-to-use and focused firmly on conversion.

As mentioned above, you can split test your landing pages to see which pages 'convert' visitors to leads most effectively. This involves creating two or more landing pages, testing them against each other and ultimately rolling the one with the highest conversion rate out as your preferred landing page. 

Some email marketing products, such as Getresponse and Mailchimp, provide this functionality out of the box (see image below) or alternatively, you can use a dedicated tool like Instapage or Unbounce to create and split test landing pages.

 Getresponse's landing page creator

Getresponse's landing page creator


7. Measure success

Most e-newsletter tools come with detailed reporting functionality – after sending an e-newsletter, you will be able to access statistics that let you measure the performance of your e-newsletters.

Study these stats carefully, as they will help you create better e-newsletters that generate more conversions in future. The key things you need to look out for are:

  • open rates - which type of subject header / content encourages the most opens of your emails

  • clickthrough rates (CTRs) - what sort of links in your emails are popular?

  • unsubscribe rates - what content really turns people off?

 E-newsletter statistics

E-newsletter statistics


8. Allow people to sign up to your mailing list via your website and social media profiles

All email marketing tools allow you to easily embed sign-up forms for your mailing list directly on your website or social media profiles.

Make sure you do this, as it will save you having to repeatedly upload spreadsheets of data to your e-newsletter service.

Ideally, you should have a sign-up form for your e-newsletter on every page of your website, and you could also consider using pop up boxes on certain pages of your site too to maximise the number of sign ups to your mailing list.

Be careful with pop-ups on mobile devices however - Google can penalise sites that use pop up boxes in a way which negatively affects usability. Tools like Sumo can help you create pop-up forms that can be switched on and off on specific devices.


9. Use autoresponders and email marketing automation

By connecting your website’s mailing list form directly to your e-newsletter software, you can make use of autoresponders or ‘drips’ – automated emails that you can ‘pre-program’ in advance so that when somebody signs up to your mailing list via your website, they will automatically receive messages of your choosing at intervals of your choosing.

For example, a subscriber could get a welcome message immediately upon signup; a special offer one week later; an encouragement to follow your company on Facebook two weeks later and so on.

Recently however, some of the major email marketing solution providers have developed autoresponder functionality to a new and far more sophisticated level, providing 'marketing automation' functionality that allows you to use user actions to trigger emails.

For example, you can ask your email marketing software to automatically send a follow-up email if a subscriber

  • purchases a product

  • opens a particular email

  • clicks a particular link

  • visits a particular web page

And so on.

Some products even allow you to move a subscriber along a CRM sales pipeline automatically if they take a particular action. It's amazing, if slightly scary, stuff.


10. Allow people to share your e-newsletter easily

Most e-newsletter tools will allow you to add ‘forward to a friend’ or social media sharing buttons to your e-newsletter.

Add them! It means that your content and offers get a good chance of being seen by an audience outside of your mailing list.


And finally...always follow best practice

And finally, every time you create or send an e-newsletter, you should ensure that you are (1) obeying the law and (2) not over-communicating with your subscribers. If you don't, at best you risk a higher unsubscribe rate; at worst you face your email marketing tool account being suspended and/or legal action.

There are six important things you need to do to follow best practice and the law:

  • When you capture email addresses, make it very clear on any sign up forms and landing pages that people are subscribing to your mailing list (ideally you should provide people with a link to a privacy policy)

  • Don’t spam: always ensure that anyone on your list has actually signed up to it

  • Don’t over-commmunicate: leave decent gaps between messages

  • Always send relevant, interesting content to people on your mailing list: this will minimise unsubscribes

  • Always make it easy for people to unsubscribe

  • Be very aware of data protection legislation (particularly GDPR!)

Hope you find these e-marketing tips useful. If you enjoyed this article, please do share it with others - and of course, make sure you subscribe to our mailing list :)


Free trials of email marketing tools

Below you'll find links to free trials of email marketing tools. 


Email marketing tool reviews

You may also find our email marketing reviews and comparisons helpful:

Aweber vs Getresponse (2018) - A Detailed Comparison of Two Leading E-newsletter Creation Tools
 Aweber vs Getresponse (image of the two companies' logos on a piece of paper)

In this comparison post we take an in-depth look at Aweber vs Getresponse, so that you can make an informed decision on which of these email creation and sending tools is best for your business.

Below you'll find an overview of their pricing, a discussion about their key features and a summary of why you might choose one over the other.

But first: what do Aweber and Getresponse actually do?


What do Aweber and Getresponse do?

Aweber and Getresponse are tools for hosting your mailing list, creating attractive e-newsletter templates and sending e-newsletters out to your subscribers. They also allow you automate your communications to subscribers via ‘autoresponders’.

Autoresponders are used to provide subscribers with e-newsletters from you at pre-defined intervals – for example, immediately after they sign up, a subscriber might receive a simple welcome message from your business; a week later they could receive a discount voucher for some of your goods; three weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on social media etc. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg though: e-newsletter tools like these allow you to do a lot of other funky stuff, which we discuss below. Before that though, a quick look at pricing.


Getresponse pricing vs Aweber pricing

Getresponse pricing

It can be a little bit confusing working out which Getresponse plan to pick, as there are three tiers of plans - "Email", "Pro" and "Max" - and within each tier,  several different plans to choose from. 

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max') 
  • 1,001 to 2,500: $25 ('Email')  / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max') 
  • 2,501 to 5,000: $45 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max') 
  • 5,001 to 10,000: $65 ('Email')/ $75 ('Pro') / $ 165 ('Max')
  • 10,001 to 25,000: $145 ('Email') / $165 ('Pro') / $255 ('Max')
  • 25,001 to 50,000: $250 ('Email') / $280 ('Pro') / $370 ('Max')
  • 50,001 to 100,000: $450 ('Email') / $490 ('Pro') / $580 ('Max')

If you have a list larger than 100,000 subscribers, there's an 'Enterprise' plan you can use, which starts from $1199 per month (exact pricing will depend on your requirements - you'll need to negotiate these rates with Getresponse).

There are also separate pricing plans available for not-for-profit organisations, but you will need to contact Getresponse directly about those.

The key differences between the Getresponse plans involve the addition of landing pages, webinars and CRM as you go up the pricing ladder (more on both anon).

When comparing Aweber vs Getresponse, the Getresponse 'Email' plans are the ones to focus on as they are similar, feature wise, to all the Aweber plans.

Aweber pricing

There are 5 Aweber plans to choose from:

  • Up to 500 subscribers: $19 per month
  • 501 to 2,500 subscribers: $29 per month
  • 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $49 per month
  • 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $69 per month
  • 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $149 per month

If you have a list larger than 25,000 subscribers, you will need to get a quote from Aweber regarding your requirements. 

There is no difference in features between each Aweber plan - the functionality of each plan is the same, regardless of payment.

Discounted plans are available for non-profits (3 months free, 25% off after that) and students (20% off) too. 

Who wins on price?

Well, at the starter end of things, Getresponse is definitely the most cost-effective solution: if you have a list with 500 to 1,000 subscribers on it, you're looking at a not-inconsiderable $14 per month ($168 per year) saving by using the Getresponse 'Email' plan instead of Aweber's equivalent.

For lists over 1,000 subscribers in size, each Getresponse 'Email' plan effectively comes in $4 per month cheaper than the equivalent Aweber plan (an annual saving of $48).

Additionally, Getresponse offers sizeable discounts if you pay upfront for one or two years - 18% and 30% respectively.

There are discounting options available with Aweber too, but they are not nearly as generous - if you pay quarterly, Aweber will discount your plan by 14%, and if you pay annually, the saving will be 14.9%.

Overall, I'd say that Getresponse is the overall winner on pricing, but as we shall see below, this is not the only thing you should base your decision on here.

Let's take a look at features.


Overview of core Aweber and Getresponse features

Similarities between Aweber and Getresponse

Getresponse and Aweber offer similar core features, the key ones being:

  • Ability to capture data and host mailing lists (you get a little bit of HTML code that you can insert on your site or social media profiles to capture email addresses)
  • A wide range of pre-designed e-newsletter templates
  • Autoresponder functionality which allows you to send automated e-newsletters at pre-defined intervals to subscribers after they sign up
  • Statistics on the percentage of subscribers that are opening your emails, clicking links or unsubscribing
  • RSS to e-newsletter functionality (useful for automatically sending your blog posts to subscribers on your mailing list)
  • Message builders that allow you to create and edit e-newsletters without coding
  • Integration with various third-party sites/tools (for example, online shopping services such as Amazon Payments, Paypal and Google Checkout or CRM tools like Capsule and Salesforce) - this allows you to add customers to mailing lists at the point of sale, for example, or use Aweber and Getresponse to send e-newsletters to customers on your CRM system.
  • Responsive email templates.

Key differences between Aweber and Getresponse

There are some Getresponse features which are not available in Aweber:

  • Webinars
  • CRM functionality
  • More advanced marketing automation
  • A landing page builder

We'll discuss these in more depth later, but first, let's take a look at something very important in email marketing: visuals.


Templates

Both Aweber and Getresponse provide a wider selection of templates than their major competitors.

This is a pretty subjective area, but for me Aweber’s templates look a little bit better than Getresponse’s. And there are more of them (about 700 vs 500 respectively).

Example of an Aweber template - they are arguably slightly more elegant than the Getresponse equivalents, but there is not a huge amount in it.

Getresponse’s templates look fine – and are fairly easily editable – but they’re just, well, a bit boring and slightly dated-looking; Aweber’s templates are slightly more visually appealing and, for my money, usable for a wider range of marketing applications.

All that said, the gap in quality is by no means huge and unless there is an Aweber template that you are mad about, you should be able to find something similar enough in Getresponse’s arsenal which you can then tweak to bring it up to date a bit. 

 Some Getresponse template examples

Some Getresponse template examples

Responsive templates

The email templates provided by both Getresponse and Aweber are now all responsive — this means that they will automatically adjust the layout of your e-newsletter to suit the device it's being viewed on (mobile, tablet, desktop etc.).

However, Getresponse is significantly better than Aweber when it comes to previewing what your email will look like on a smartphone.

In Getresponse, as you build your email using the drag-and-drop builder provided, you see a real-time preview of what it will look like on a mobile device on the right hand side of the editor. This is great, because you can simultaneously see the desktop and mobile versions of your e-newsletter — as you build it. Not only this, but you can flip the orientation of your e-newsletter around to see how it looks in both portrait and landscape mode on a smartphone.

With Aweber, I couldn't see an easy way to preview the mobile version of my email at all - I may be missing something, but I ended up having to send myself a test email and open it on a phone to view the mobile version. This is obviously disruptive to workflow — so a win for Getresponse here.

Web fonts in Aweber and Getresponse

Major clients such as Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo are increasingly supporting the use of web fonts - and accordingly, some leading e-marketing apps are starting to include them in their email editors.

Sadly, Getresponse and Aweber have yet to follow suit and only offer the 8 standard 'web safe fonts' for use (such as Times New Roman, Arial, Trebuchet etc.) - which is a shame really, because web fonts can make e-newsletters look considerably slicker.

If web fonts are an absolute show stopper for you then you'll find them available in Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp - however, it's important to note that

  • only a small selection of web fonts are available in these two apps and
  • in Mailchimp, the web fonts offered are particularly boring, to the point where there's not a huge aesthetic benefit in using them.

(Campaign Monitor's font offering is better, but you'll pay through the nose to use this product!)

I wouldn't view web fonts as being a show-stopping issue at all, but it would be nice to see their inclusion soon in Aweber and Getresponse.


Autoresponders

Autoresponders are emails that are sent automatically to your subscribers at intervals that you define – for example, you could create  a programme of autoresponders so that 10 minutes after somebody signs up to your list, they receive a welcome message; exactly one week later they receive a discount code; three weeks later they receive an email showcasing a particular product – and so on. This type of email marketing is often referred to as a 'drip' campaign.

Both Aweber and Getresponse provide good basic autoresponder functionality, allowing you to automatically send particular e-newsletters based on time intervals (as in the example above) or trigger them based on user actions (joining a particular list, making a purchase etc.). Aweber's is particularly easy to use.

For me, Getresponse's autoresponder functionality is considerably stronger however, because the range of actions you can use to trigger the sending of a particular e-newsletter is more comprehensive, and it's easier to set up these action-based triggers in the first place. 

As such Getresponse's autoresponder functionality now goes well beyond traditional 'drip' style campaigns and forms part of its 'marketing automation' feature.

And speaking of which....


Marketing automation

Getresponse recently introduced a new feature called 'Marketing Automation' which takes autoresponders to a much more sophisticated level.

This allows you to create sophisticated automation workflows using a drag and drop builder - you basically set up an 'automation flowchart' that tells Getresponse what to do if a user takes a specific action.

There are a large number of triggers you can use to shape your automation workflow in Getresponse, but key ones include:

  • Email opens
  • Link clicks
  • Product purchase
  • Abandoned carts
  • URLs visited
  • A change in a subscriber's custom field data

This means you can extensively customise your subscribers' user journeys based on how they interact with your emails. Not only this, but you can integrate this workflow with Getresponse's CRM features (of which more later).

The video below gives you an idea of how it works.

Aweber offer something similar with their 'Campaigns' tool - but at the moment it's a very basic affair, which essentially allows you to tag subscribers and send particular follow-up emails based on the links that they click.

So for now, Getresponse is significantly ahead in the area of workflow based automation.

 Marketing automation in Getresponse is significantly more sophisticated than in Aweber

Marketing automation in Getresponse is significantly more sophisticated than in Aweber


Importing data

Getresponse was traditionally a much better option for those wishing to create email marketing campaigns using an existing list, because when you imported your own mailing list to Aweber, your subscribers could not join a list without reconfirming their subscription – with predictably awful results.

Thankfully they've now changed their approach and Aweber customers can import their own data (albeit after they've answered quite a lot of questions about its source).

In terms of the types of files that Aweber lets you import, you can bring in data from the following types of files:

  • XLS
  • XLSX
  • TSV
  • CSV
  • TXT

Getresponse lets you import from the following file types:

  • CSV
  • TXT
  • VCF
  • XLS
  • ODS

In addition to allowing you to import the above file types, Getresponse also allows you to import from various third-party services.

Both platforms also let you add contacts manually - either by adding individual contacts or by copying and pasting rows of contacts.

Finally Aweber and Getresponse both allow you to add users to a particular autoresponder cycle when you import them, which is not the case with all competing systems.

One thing you'll need to bear in mind with Aweber is it can take 1 business day to process a the import of a new list. Something to bear in mind if you're in a hurry.

So a general thumbs up for both platforms here when it comes to imports, but the Aweber processing time is not ideal.


Single opt-in and double opt-in

There's two ways to run a mailing list: using a 'single opt-in' or a 'double opt-in' approach to subscriptions.

When you use a single opt-in method, the person who completes your sign-up form is added to your mailing list there and then.

With a double (or 'confirmed') opt-in process, the person signing up to your mailing list is sent a confirmation email containing a link that they have to click before they are subscribed.

Both approaches have their pros and cons. The main benefit of a single opt-in process is that it makes it easy for users to subscribe and maximises conversion rates; a double opt-in process is better for verifying that the people subscribing to your list are using real email addresses and leads to cleaner data and more accurate stats.

I'd argue that both single opt-in and double opt-in processes have their place in email marketing and it's vital for your chosen solution to facilitate both processes. And the good news is that both Aweber and Getresponse allow you to choose your preferred opt-in method easily.


Integration with other systems

Both Aweber and Getresponse offer a wide range of integrations with other sites and apps. These include integrations with very-well known services such as Amazon, Paypal, Salesforce, Facebook and Twitter.

There are 400+ Aweber integrations available, to Getresponse's 119, meaning Aweber is a clear winner in this area.

It should be noted that some of the integrations for both products - particularly those for less well-known services - involve setting up a connection between your accounts using the third-party sync tool Zapier. This is not madly complicated, but it can take a little trial and error to sort out. (And whilst I love Zapier, sync errors can occasionally occur which then involve some manual intervention to sort out.)


Split testing

Split tests allow you to try out different versions of your emails on segments of your data and send the best performing one out to the rest of your database.

This can be done by testing different subject headers, different e-newsletter copy or even different templates against each other.

Getresponse allows you to test up to 5 variants of e-newsletters against each other, which makes it much better in this area than its key competitors (Mailchimp's entry-level plans facilitate split testing of 3 variants; Campaign Monitor's just 2).

Aweber used to offer split testing functionality (allowing you to split test up to 4 variants), but at time of writing they've disabled this feature. Their sales team have told me on quite a few occasions over the past year that this functionality will return, but there's been no sign of it.

As things stand then, split testing is a pretty big omission from Aweber's feature set - a lack of it ultimately means lower open rates and makes other products more attractive in this department.


Data segmentation

A key reason why I generally prefer Getresponse to Aweber involves data segmentation.

Both Getresponse and Aweber allow you to create data segments easily enough - you can use a variety of filters to identify subscribers based on particular criteria and save them.

However, Getresponse beats Aweber when it comes to sending e-newsletters to your segments. This is because Aweber only allows you to send e-newsletters to one segment at a time.

For example, if you had a mailing list of car owners with three pre-existing segments in it, 'red car owners', 'blue car owners' and 'green car owners', and you wanted to send an e-newsletter to the red guitar and blue car owners in one go, you could do this in Getresponse really easily - you'd just tick the relevant segments and hit send. 

But in Aweber to do the same thing you'd have to create an entirely new segment containing red car owners OR blue car owners. This leads to more manual effort and a bigger list of segments to trawl through.

Similarly, excluding segments from a mailout is much easier in Getresponse than in Aweber - once you've picked your list of recipients, you can just tick the relevant segments or lists that you want to exclude from the mailout. 


Landing page creation

Another area where Getresponse currently has an edge over Aweber (and indeed most other email marketing apps) involves landing pages.

Landing pages or 'squeeze pages' are web pages that are designed with one thing in mind: data capture. They typically contain a form, some attractive images and a small amount of text spelling out the benefit of submitting your email address - it's generally better to use landing pages for online ad campaigns over a form that sits on your website, simply because they are optimised for capturing data (as they contain less content to distract users).

With Getresponse, you get a landing page creator out of the box, which allows you to make use of various templates and a drag and drop editor to create a strong landing page.

By default each type of Getresponse account ('Email' / 'Pro' / 'Max' / 'Enterprise') has the landing page editor available, but unless you pay for a Pro, Max or Enterprise account you get limited functionality: you can only create one landing page, it doesn't provide A/B testing and only 1000 views per month of it are permitted.

Getresponse's Landing Page Creator - a drag and drop editor for creating 'squeeze pages'

Purchasing a plan featuring the fully-featured Getresponse landing page creator however allows you to create an unlimited number of landing pages, display them to an unlimited number of viewers and crucially, do A/B testing too, where you can try out up to 10 different versions of your landing page - with the system automatically rolling out the best performing one to the majority of your site visitors (thus maximising the number of signups).

Landing pages are available on the Pro plan (and up), which means the cost of obtaining this functionality looks at first inspection to be pretty high for some users. For example, if you plan to host a list with 1000 contacts on Getresponse, it will cost you an additional $34 per month to avail of the landing page functionality (because you'll need to upgrade from an 'Email' plan to a 'Pro' one). Users planning to host 5,000 records on Getresponse however will be faced with a difference of just $4 between the 'Email' and 'Pro' plans.

You can also purchase a Getresponse add-on for $15 per month which provides landing pages functionality - but although you can create as many landing pages as you like with it, and them an unlimited number of times, you don't get A/B testing, so it's not necessarily that useful.

You can also make use of landing pages with Aweber, using a variety of third party integrations / apps or by manually coding your landing page and inserting an Aweber form. You can also split test individual Aweber sign-up forms, so that may provide some sort of a workaround too. 

Ultimately however, using landing pages in Aweber is not as straightforward as Getresponse, and if you rely on third party software, it can all get rather expensive (for example, using landing page creators Unbounce or Instapage to create your landing pages for Aweber can set you back anything from $69 to $399 per month). 


Getresponse Webinars

A new feature of Getresponse is 'Getresponse Webinars', and this is something you're not going to find as a feature of any of Getresponse's major competitors - Aweber, Mailchimp, Mad Mimi et al. are all yet to offer this service. 

By purchasing a Getresponse plan (Pro or higher) you gain the ability to run webinars directly from within your Getresponse account. Since webinars are typically used as a lead generation tool, integrating them closely with your email marketing application is potentially a very good idea.

The feature set for Getresponse Webinars is pretty good too and similar to that you'd expect on dedicated webinar solutions.

Key features include:

  • a multiple presenters option
  • chatroom
  • whiteboards / presentation design tools
  • screenshares
  • webinar recording

In terms of attendee limits, the 'Pro' plan allows you to host a webinar with up to 100 participants; the 'Max' plan's cap is 500. You can also buy the webinars functionality as an add-on: $40 per month buys you a 100 attendees limit, $99 per month buys you a 500 attendees limit.

It's not entirely clear what happens if you need to host webinars to over 500 people - I'd suggest dropping Getresponse support a line about that - but I suspect those limits will work fine for most SMEs.

If you wanted to run webinars with Aweber, you'd need to use a third party tool such as Gotowebinar. This can work out expensive.


Send time optimisation

There's a really interesting Getresponse feature called 'send time optimisation', which is not yet available in Aweber.

Send time optimisation automatically sends your email at the time at which it's most likely to be opened - Getresponse looks at your subscriber list and their email-checking habits and makes this call on your behalf.

If you can live with using this big-brother sort of technology then according to Getresponse, you can expect a 23% median improvement in open rates and a 20% median improvement in click-through rates.

Aweber do offer a feature called 'send windows' which allows you to limit the time you send your automated emails out to a particular time slot - but it's not as sophisticated as send time optimisation, and also requires you to do a bit of legwork and stats-eyeballing in finding out when the best time (in general) is to send emails to your list.


CRM in Getresponse

Another feature which you'll find in Getresponse but not in Aweber (or indeed any other major email marketing platform) is a customer relationship manager (CRM) tool. And it's pretty great.

Not only can you use the CRM to manage sales pipelines, track customer activity and so on, but you can link it up with Getresponse's autoresponders, email marketing automation and webinars to create very sophisticated subscriber journeys.

For example, 

  • you can add a contact to a particular stage on a sales pipeline based on the page of your site that they completed a form on;
  • you can then send them an automated email tailored to that pipeline stage a couple of days later;
  • and then, based on the action they took with regard to that email (clicking on a certain link etc.) you can automatically move them onto another stage of the pipeline and automatically invite them to a webinar.

It's extremely sophisticated stuff, and I can't think of any product similar to Getresponse offering such a tightly integrated, automated customer journey. For this kind of functionality you normally need to look at dedicated — and more expensive — CRM products such as Salesforce and Infusionsoft.

For me, the CRM feature probably presents the best argument for using Getresponse over Aweber (so long as you have the budget for it: it is only available on the 'Pro' plan).


Support

Support is an area where Aweber is better than Getresponse (or at least more comprehensive).

Unlike Getresponse - and indeed - competitors Mailchimp, Mad Mimi and Campaign Monitor - the company offers phone support (and toll-free to boot, if you live in the US). Email and live chat support channels are also available. On top of this, Aweber have won 'Stevie' awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for customer service, which obviously says good things about the quality of support it provides.

Getresponse used to offer phone support, but now offers live chat and email support only. This is a shame as when it comes to tech support, there are times in life when only a real conversation with a real human will do.

So all in all Aweber's support offering is better than the Getresponse equivalent - if you think you're the kind of customer that is definitely going to require phone support, then it's worth giving Aweber some consideration over Getresponse.


Free trials

Both Aweber and Getresponse offer a fully functional free one-month trial. Aweber's trial doesn't limit the number of subscribers you can broadcast messages to; Getresponse's does however (to 1000).

    If you want a free trial of Aweber, you should note however that you'll need to enter credit card details before you can avail of it.

    The free trial of Getresponse, on the other hand, doesn't require your card details in advance (I much prefer the latter approach because the risk of getting charged for a product you don't want after a free trial expires is much lower). 

    The links for each free trial are below:


    Which is better, Aweber or Getresponse?

    Both Aweber and Getresponse offer a good range of tools to help you create, maintain and communicate with an email database; even if you’re not all that technically minded, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty using either to manage your e-communications.

    However, I don't have much hesitation in saying that Getresponse is the clear winner in this shootout - it's much more of an 'all-in-one' solution than Aweber, and is cheaper too.

    Here's a lowdown of why you might pick one over the other. 

    Reasons to pick Getresponse over Aweber

    • You can sign up to a free trial without entering credit card details.
    • Getresponse is more competitively priced (particularly if your subscriber list contains between 500 and 1000 records).
    • An 18% discount is available if you pay for the product on an annual rather than monthly basis, and a 30% discount is available if you pay for two years upfront. These discounts are more generous than the Aweber equivalents.
    • Getresponse offers more comprehensive split testing options.
    • Getresponse comes with a built-in landing page creator, albeit one you have to pay extra for to unlock. The pricing plan is confusing and could be improved, but it's still cheaper to use the Getresponse option than combining Aweber with a tool like Instapage or Unbounce.
    • Getresponse's 'Marketing Automation' features currently trounce similar workflow-based automation tools offered by Aweber.
    • The CRM functionality is great for the price, and integrates really well with Getresponse's other marketing automation features.
    • Getresponse's 'send time optimisation' feature has the potential to significantly improve your open and clickthrough rates - there's no equivalent functionality in Aweber.
    • The new webinars functionality is potentially fantastic for any business that uses webinars for lead generation.

    Reasons to pick Aweber over Getresponse

    • The Aweber templates are a little bit more attractive than the Getresponse equivalents, and there is a greater selection of them available.
    • More third party integrations are available for Aweber than for Getresponse.
    • Phone support is available.

    Finally, with all my comparison reviews, I always advise potential users to try both products before they buy, simply because free trials of the products under discussion are readily available and you may find that one tool has particular features that suit your business needs which you can’t find in the other. You'll find links to the Getresponse and Aweber free trials below.


    Alternatives to Aweber and Getresponse

    There are quite a few alternatives to Aweber and Getresponse out there, including Campaign Monitor, Mad Mimi and Mailchimp. You may find some of the below reviews helpful:

    Additionally, you may wish to read our full Getresponse review or our full Aweber review.


    Any thoughts?

    Finally, if you've got any thoughts on the Aweber vs Getresponse debate, do feel free to share! Just leave a comment below (note: if you're reading this on a mobile device, you may be seeing an accelerated 'AMP' version of the page, which doesn't include comments. You can switch to the regular version here if you'd like to read or post a comment).


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    Getresponse vs Mailchimp (2018) - A Comparison of Two of the Most Popular Email Marketing Tools
     Getresponse vs Mailchimp comparison (image of the two company logos beside a postbox)

    In this Getresponse vs Mailchimp review, I examine two of the leading email marketing solutions in depth, to see which of these two well-known email marketing tools is best suited for your business’ requirements.

    You'll get a detailed overview of their pricing, key features and strengths and weaknesses.

    Let's start with a basic question: what do Getresponse and Mailchimp actually do?


    Getresponse and Mailchimp: what do they do?

    In essence, Getresponse and Mailchimp are tools that allow you to:

    • import and host a mailing list (i.e., a database containing email addresses) and capture data onto it using website sign-up forms
    • design HTML e-newsletters (emails containing graphics, photos, branding etc.) that can be sent to your subscribers
    • automate your emails to subscribers via ‘autoresponders’
    • monitor statistics related to your email marketing – open rate, click through, forwards and more.

    However, Getresponse has been evolving a bit lately in to more of an 'all-in-one' marketing solution, and as such now has a couple of features which are not to be found in Mailchimp, namely:

    • Webinars
    • CRM

    We'll discuss these features in more depth later on in the review.

    But first, let's discuss something that's pretty integral to both Mailchimp and Getresponse: autoresponders.


    Autoresponders: a quick overview

    As part of this comparison review, I thought it might be worth spending a bit of time exploring something very important offered by both Getresponse and Mailchimp: autoresponder functionality.

    Autoresponders are e-newsletters that are sent to your subscribers at pre-defined intervals – for example, you could set them up so that

    • immediately after somebody signs up to your mailing list, they receive a simple welcome message from your business
    • a week later they could receive a discount code for some of your products
    • three weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on Twitter and Facebook.

    And so on.

    The idea is that a lot of your email marketing gets automated – once you’ve set things up correctly, subscribers will automatically receive key messages from your business without you having to bother sending out e-newsletters manually (although you can still of course do this as and when required).

    Regardless of whether you plump for Getresponse or Mailchimp, it’s well worth investing some time in understanding what autoresponders are and using them effectively. When used correctly, they save a huge amount of time and have the potential to generate significant income.

    So what's the autoresponder functionality in Getresponse and Mailchimp like?


    Autoresponders in Getresponse and Mailchimp

    Getresponse and Mailchimp both provide extensive autoresponder functionality – arguably some of the best in the business.

    Both products offer a similar set of autoresponder triggers to choose from – subscription to a list, opens, clicks, purchase made, URLs visited and user data changes all can be used to kickstart an autoresponder cycle.

    With both tools, you can trigger autoresponders by

    • action - for example, when somebody opens or clicks a link on an existing email, they can be automatically added to a particular set of autoresponders
    • data - for example, when somebody changes their details on your list
    • date / time - for example, you can send automatically send messages x days after sign up, or on birthdays.

    In short, both products are really strong when it comes to autoresponders.

    One thing worth a particular mention however is Getresponse's new 'marketing automation' feature, which allows you to create autoresponder cycles / user journeys based on flowcharts - very sophisticated stuff, which you can get a sense of from the video below.

    Mailchimp's workflows also allow you to create similar - and very sophisticated - user journeys but my hunch is that most people will find the new Getresponse interface better for designing 'bespoke' journeys, because it's a much more visual and flexible process (as the screenshot below highlights).

     
     Example of a Getresponse marketing automation workflow

    Example of a Getresponse marketing automation workflow

     

    That said, some users - particularly those who like a bit of hand-holding from their software - may find the 'templated' nature of Mailchimp's automation workflows preferable. When setting up marketing automation in Mailchimp, you can choose from a wide range of predefined user journeys (some examples below):

     Mailchimp automation choices

    Mailchimp automation choices

    Personally, I much prefer the Getresponse automation workflow to Mailchimp's more template-driven approach. With Getresponse you can create bespoke user journeys that are completely tailored to your business processes, and the level of control you get is quite remarkable.


    Pricing

    There are several tiers of pricing plan with both Mailchimp and Getresponse, and within those, many sub-tiers, which makes both the products' pricing structures quite complicated. 

    With Mailchimp, you're looking at three tiers. In order of expense, these are:

    • "Starting up" (a free plan)
    • "Growing Business" 
    • "Pro Marketer"

    With Getresponse, there are four — again, in order of expense, these are:

    • "Email"
    • "Pro"
    • "Max"
    • "Enterprise"

    Obviously one very welcome feature of Mailchimp is its free plan – you can send up to 12,000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers per month. This is generous and will be useful for users who wish to send occasional emails to a relatively small list.

    As you might expect, the Mailchimp free plan does not provide all the functionality that you can expect on a paid one. The features that are not available on a Mailchimp free plan are:

    • support 
    • inbox preview (a way to see what your e-newsletters look like in a variety of email clients)
    • predicted demographics (a tool provided by Mailchimp which identifies demographics on your mailing list and segment your list accordingly)
    • delivery by time zone
    • advanced segmentation 
    • comparative reports
    • multivariate testing 
    • social profiles (a feature that allows you to find out who your most influential subscribers are and target them in various ways)

    That said, the free plan is pretty generous, providing many of the features available on the entry level 'Growing Business' plan. A 'Pro Marketer' plan is required to access the advanced segmentation, comparative reports and multivariate testing features.

    Getresponse also offers a free plan - it's limited to 30 days, but it's fully functional (for lists smaller than 1000 subscribers in size).

    The key differences between the Getresponse tiers involve access to webinar and landing page functionality - neither of which are available on the 'Email' plan but are, to varying degrees of usefulness, included with all the other plans.

    Zooming in: the Getresponse "Email" plan vs Mailchimp "Growing Business" plan

    I suspect most readers of this review will be interested in comparing the Mailchimp "Growing Business" plan against the Getresponse "Email" plan. These are the cheapest paid-for offerings from the two companies; and they offer a broadly similar feature set.

    When looking at these two plans, it's probably fair to say that in generalGetresponse comes out cheapest in terms of pricing.

    For example, with Mailchimp, hosting

    • 2500 subscribers will cost you $30
    • 5000 will cost $50
    • 10000 will cost $75.

    The comparative costs with Getresponse are $25, $45 and $65 respectively making Getresponse seem, on the face of it, a cheaper product. (These plans all allow you to send an unlimited number of emails per month to subscribers). 

    However, Mailchimp offers narrower pricing bands than Getresponse – for example, several "Growing Business" Mailchimp plans are available for those with mailing lists of between 5000 and 5800 records (hosting 5001 to 5200 subscribers costs $55; 5201 to 5400 costs $60 and so on), whereas Getresponse only provides a 5001 to 10000 subscriber plan (at $65 on the 'Email' tier).

    This all gets a bit confusing but basically means that depending on your list size – and so long as the size remains fairly static - you may find yourself able to avail of a cheaper deal with Mailchimp (for example, a list with 5001 subscribers on it will be $10 cheaper to host with Mailchimp than with Getresponse).

    Additionally, if your list is less than 500 records in size, Mailchimp will let you get into e-marketing more cheaply - their very cheapest plan, which allows you to host up to 500 records, is $10 per month.

    The bottom line is that if you intend to pay monthly, it's a case of swings and roundabouts: depending on list size, sometimes Getresponse will be the cheaper option, sometimes Mailchimp.

    However, if you are prepared to pay upfront for your Getresponse account, there are some sizeable discounts available which may Getresponse a substantially cheaper option for you: paying upfront for a year entitles you to an 18% discount; paying upfront for two years results in a 30% discount. No such discounts are available for Mailchimp.

    Pricing, of course, is not the only factor you should be basing a Mailchimp vs Getresponse decision on. Let's take a look at features.


    Templates

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp offer a variety of email templates you can use ‘out of the box’. These are of a fairly similar quality.

    I would probably say that on balance I slightly prefer some of the aesthetics of the Mailchimp ones; but against that there are significantly more Getresponse templates available (there are 500+ Getresponse templates to choose from, versus Mailchimp's 80+). 

     Some examples of Getresponse templates

    Some examples of Getresponse templates

    In any event, you can tweak most of the templates pretty easily with both systems (more on that below) meaning that if you are broadly happy with a design, you can whip it into shape.

    You don’t need to use one of the supplied templates though - you can use your own HTML code on both Getresponse and Mailchimp to design your own template. You can also buy additional templates for both platforms from a third-party supplier like Theme Forest.


    Interface

    The user interfaces offered by Getresponse and Mailchimp are quite different – Mailchimp opts for a very minimalistic sort of approach, with lots of big fonts (on big spaces) being employed to present menus, stats and data; they also present a lot of functionality in ‘wizard’ or ‘to-do’ list format. It’s quite distinctive and some users will probably appreciate the ‘big and bold’ approach.

    Getresponse provides a user interface that is based more around traditional drop-down menus. Neither system is particularly hard to use – personally I marginally prefer the Getresponse interface because you don’t seem to have to scroll quite so much to get at particular features or data (all the big fonts employed by Mailchimp mean a lot of stuff is ‘below the fold’, particularly on laptops – it makes for a clean interface but one where screen ‘real estate’ is arguably not all that efficiently used).

    One thing I'm definitely not keen on is the positioning of the 'save' and 'next' buttons in Mailchimp - they're often at the very bottom of the screen or generally hard to locate, meaning that when you're working on an email or setting up a sequence of autoresponders, you occasionally find yourself scratching your head regarding how to save your work and proceed to the next step. 

    There's no denying however that the Getresponse interface could do with some visual improvements - it looks a bit tired compared to the sleek minimalism of Mailchimp (and this is despite a recent overhaul of the Getresponse interface).

    Both back ends are in general fine though really – it’s a case of personal taste here.


    Editing email designs

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp allow you to edit your templates using a ‘drag and drop’ style editor. These editors are fairly similar in concept, in that they allow you to lay images and text out in a manner that suits you without resorting to any HTML coding.

    Getresponse arguably offers a more immediately 'flexible' interface - once you've dragged a piece of content onto your e-newsletter, you can just click on it to edit it directly.

    However the Getresponse interface can be a bit buggy occasionally, and for my money Mailchimp’s is slightly better when it comes to the actual dragging and dropping – Getresponse’s is rather the fiddly side. It’s quite easy with Getresponse to put items in the wrong spot in your email (it’s not a showstopper though, and there is an ‘undo’ button).

    When it comes to formatting text, Mailchimp steals a bit of a march on Getresponse, because it allows you to make use of web fonts; Getresponse limits you to using 'web safe' fonts like Arial, Times New Roman etc.

    Web fonts have the potential to help make e-newsletter templates look considerably slicker than those using web safe fonts only. However, the selection of web fonts provided in Mailchimp is extremely limited - only a very small number of Google Fonts can be used, and really boring ones at that (they look so similar to web safe fonts that you might as well use the web safe ones!).

    If you really want to use web fonts in your emails, then Campaign Monitor's selection is better (the problem with Campaign Monitor however is that it is extremely expensive - see our Campaign Monitor review for details).


    Mobile-friendly emails with Getresponse and Mailchimp

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp let you create mobile-friendly versions of your HTML email, and a good thing too, as the proportion of people checking email on smartphones keeps growing.

    I prefer the way Getresponse handles previewing of mobile versions of your email. With Getresponse, as you create your email using the drag and drop editor, you see a preview of the smartphone version on the right hand side of the screen (i.e., in real time, as you make changes using the drag and drop editor).

    You can preview your smartphone email versions with Mailchimp too – but not in real time and it involves another click (again, this is probably a casualty of the big fonts / lots of space approach to interface design).

    Finally, Getresponse's mobile preview feature allows you to see how your email looks on a mobile device when the email is being viewed either in landscape or portrait - this is not the case with Mailchimp.

    Getresponse's drag and drop builder lets you see how your email looks on a smartphone, in real time, as you build it.


    Single opt-in and double opt-in in Mailchimp / Getresponse

    There are two ways you can add subscribers to a mailing list: using a 'single opt-in' or a 'double opt-in' process. When you use a single opt-in process, the person completing your sign-up form is added to your mailing list immediately. With a double opt-in process, the person signing up to your list is sent an email containing a confirmation link that he/she must click before they are subscribed.

    The main benefit of a single opt-in process is that it makes it easy for users to subscribe; it also generally increases conversion rate and therefore the number of subscribers on your list. A double opt-in process is better for verifying that the people subscribing to your list are using real email addresses and leads to cleaner data and more accurate stats.

    Up until very recently, Mailchimp forced users to use the double opt-in method, which nudged a lot of users in the direction of other tools. But the good news for Mailchimp users is that both methods of opt in are now faciliated.


    Split testing

    An important feature of email marketing solutions is split-testing. This basically allows you to try out a variety of subject headers (and, depending on the tool in question, content) on some sample data (for example, 5% of your list) before rolling out the best performing subject header / email version to the list as a whole – where ‘best performing’ generally means the version of the email that generated the most opens or clickthroughs.

    It is a clear win here for Getresponse over Mailchimp: with Getresponse, you can test up to 5 different versions of your email, and try out a wide range of variables - content, subject line, 'from' field, time of day and day of week. This is the case regardless of which type of Getresponse plan you are on.

    By comparison, on its cheapest ('Growing Business') plans, Mailchimp only allows you to split-test three different versions of your email. If you are using relatively small lists, this is not such a big deal, because for statistical reasons split testing is only worth doing on relatively large lists — but anybody intending to do mailouts to big databases will definitely be better served by the split-testing functionality offered by Getresponse.

    To be fair, there are some more advanced split testing options available with Mailchimp - but you have to be on a 'Pro Marketer' plan to avail of them. This will set you back $199 per month on top of whatever it costs to host your mailing list with Mailchimp. If you can live with this sort of cost, you'll be able to split test 8 variants of your e-newsletters against each other. 


    Creating data segments in Getresponse and Mailchimp

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp allow you to create data segments easily enough - you can use a variety of filters to identify subscribers based on particular criteria and save them. In Getresponse segments are called 'saved searches' - I'd prefer if they were called segments myself, as it can be a bit hard to remember, when sending out e-newsletters, where the segments live.

    However, Getresponse beats Mailchimp hands down when it comes to sending e-newsletters to your segments. This is because the basic version of Mailchimp only allows you to send e-newsletters to one segment at a time.

    For example, if you had a mailing list about guitars with three pre-existing segments in it, 'red guitar owners', 'blue guitar owners' and 'green guitar owners', and you wanted to send an e-newsletter to the red guitar and blue guitar owners in one go, you could do this in Getresponse really easily - you'd just tick the relevant segments and hit send. 

    By contrast, in Mailchimp, to achieve the same thing you'd have to create a brand new segment containing red guitar owners or blue owners. More work, and more segments cluttering up the place.

    Similarly, Mailchimp only allows you to send to one list at a time. Although it is definitely best practice to consolidate your data into one list and use fields to flag data types, there are nonetheless occasions where you may end up working with subscribers which are stored in multiple lists. In Getresponse you can send e-newsletters to multiple lists at once - this isn't possible in Mailchimp.

    Additionally, excluding segments is much easier in Getresponse - once you've picked your list of recipients, you can simply tick the segments or lists that you want to exclude from the mailout.

    If you want more advanced segmentation options, you can get these in Mailchimp - but you'll need to be on an expensive 'Pro Marketer' plan. (You can read more about the sort of segmentation options you can expect on a Pro Marketer plan here).

    Getresponse's more flexible approach to both segmentation and list management is, in my view, one of the strongest reasons for using it over Mailchimp.


    Reporting

    Reporting on both Mailchimp and Getresponse is very comprehensive: you can track all the usual things like open rates, clickthroughs and unsubscribes, but you can also drill down into the data further – for example, you can look up somebody on your mailing list and get an overview of what lists they are on; their location; IP address; and what emails they’ve previously opened.

    This is all very useful data for understanding your audience and informing your future marketing strategy, if rather Orwellian.

    There are two Mailchimp reporting features I particularly like:

    • Its ‘member rating’ system (available on all plans), which automatically assigns a score out of five to each subscriber on your mailing list based on the number of times they’ve opened or engaged with your mailouts. This allows you to spot potentially good leads more easily. To be fair, Getresponse also offer a 'scoring' option, but this requires more a bit more user intervention to set up - you need to manually create marketing automation rules to assign the scores (the plus side of this is that it is considerably more flexible and, used carefully, sophisticated).
    • Its ‘conversation tracking’ (paid plans only), which allows you to manage and store any replies to your campaigns within Mailchimp. This is very useful, particularly if your business is one which typically has regular email contact with leads and clients, and almost brings Mailchimp into ‘CRM’ territory.

    Getresponse’s reporting system has an excellent feature which is not present in Mailchimp however: its automatic creation of emailable ‘groups’ - based on user action - after a mailout is sent. 

    After an email broadcast, Getresponse will show you several segments of contacts who took specific actions – you’ll see groups of people who opened your email, did not open your email, clicked your email but did not meet a goal etc. – and you can mail them all again really easily. This is extremely useful for sending quick reminders or follow-up offers to relevant contacts. 

    Mailchimp does let you see this information too - but in order to create segments from it you'd need to export and reimport the data, using new flag fields to manually create your segments. Unnecessarily fiddly - and, as discussed earlier, you'll quite possibly run into some headaches with emailing these segments, because Mailchimp is so restrictive in this area.


    Integrations

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp integrate with a wide range of other services – you will need to check their relevant websites for an exhaustive list, but services like Paypal, BigCommerce, Facebook and Magento are examples of the kind of services catered for.

    I have found in general that Mailchimp tends to be more of a ‘default’ option than Getresponse for many services (Squarespace and Shopify being obvious examples, along with Facebook), and Getresponse seems to rely quite a lot on a third party tool, Zapier, for quite a lot of its integrations (which may make them a bit longer to set up).

    That said a lot of the ‘big’ services are catered for perfectly well with Getresponse; if you like the tool and want to integrate it with an established service like Paypal or Facebook, you won’t have any difficulty doing so.

    Additionally, an ‘integration’ often means simply adding a sign-up form to a website, and both Getresponse and Mailchimp make it very straightforward to do that (see below for more information on sign up forms).

    But there are times - particularly with services like Squarespace and Shopify - where integrating a mailing list into your website is considerably easier if you're a Mailchimp user.


    Facebook ads and Mailchimp

    It's worth drawing particular attention to the way that Facebook ads and Mailchimp work together - as its an area where using Mailchimp can be more beneficial (or at least easier).

    You can connect your Mailchimp account to Facebook, which will then - in its trademark big-brother way - examine the email addresses on your list and show ads to anybody on your database with a Facebook account (this is called a 'custom audience').

    When you've connected your accounts, Mailchimp list is also synced with your Facebook account, meaning that Facebook will automatically start showing the ads to any new subscribers (i.e., in addition to the people who were on your list when you connected your accounts).

    Now, you can do this with a Getresponse list too, but you will have to upload your list manually periodically to ensure that new subscribers continue to see your ads.

    On top of this, you can actually run Facebook ad campaigns (and for that matter Google ad campaigns) from within your Mailchimp account, so if you're the kind of person who wants to manage everything in one place, you may find this functionality handy.


    Adding a sign-up form to your website

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp allow you to design sign-up forms and grab a snippet of code which then you can then embed on your site to embed the form.

    With Getresponse, the design options are a bit more extensive, and you can also choose from a range of pre-designed form templates (some good, some cheesy). 

    Mailchimp is better at the forms business however where mobile versions of forms are concerned, automatically creating a more discreet banner version of a pop-up form when it is viewed on a mobile device.

    This can be beneficial from an SEO perspective - Google's search algorithm is not a fan of intrusive 'interstital' forms. I have spoken to Getresponse's support team about this issue and they have said that better mobile forms are on the way (I don't have any timescales to share yet on this however). In the meantime — as a Getresponse user myself — I'm using Sumo to get around this issue.

    Mailchimp and Getresponse also provide some iPad / Android forms you can use for capturing data via tablets at events (however, Getresponse's 'Forms on the Go' app seems to be available on certain versions of iTunes - when I tried to download the app in the UK, I was informed that the app was not available in my territory).


    Landing page creation

    A landing page creator allows you to make use of various templates and a drag and drop editor to create a 'squeeze page' which improves the sign-up rate to your list. 

    These are distraction-free sign-up pages that are exclusively designed to improve conversion rates. Ideally, A/B testing is used to test different versions of your landing pages, with the best-performing ones being used automatically to maximise the number of sign-ups.

    Getresponse's landing page creator

    Landing pages in Mailchimp

    Up until recently, landing pages were not included with Mailchimp plans, making Getresponse a more attractive option for users wanting to capture email addresses off the back of online advertising campaigns. 

    If you wanted to use landing pages with Mailchimp, you to either code something yourself or make use of a tool like Instapage or Unbounce (the fees for which are quite high).

    The good news for Mailchimp users is that landing page-building functionality is now provided on all Mailchimp plans. However, as things stand, this functionality is very limited: no A/B testing is provided, and only two templates can be used.

    Landing pages in Getresponse

    Every Getresponse plan makes the landing page creator available to users, but only the more expensive 'Pro', 'Max' and 'Enterprise' plans come with the fully-featured version of it. 

    On the cheapest 'Email' plan you can only create one landing page - and this can only be viewed by users 1000 times per month. The 'Email' plan's version of the landing page creator also disables A/B testing (which is probably the most useful aspect of landing pages in general).

    If you are keen to use Getresponse's landing page creator it therefore makes sense to invest in one of the more professional plans. (For the record, an add-on version of the landing page creator is available to 'Email plan users' for $15 per month - it unlocks the number of views but doesn't provide A/B testing...rendering it a bit pointless in my view).

    To sum up: as things stand, Getresponse offers a better landing page creator, so long as you are on a 'Pro' plan or higher.


    Translation

    For users wishing to provide versions of their confirmation emails and thank-you pages in different langauges, Mailchimp is a better bet than Getresponse, as it provides this functionality.

    This a bit on the fiddly side however, and generally relies on the language of the web browser being used to display content in a local language, rather than sending users to a particular URL based on the version of the website they are signing up on. 


    The biggest difference between Getresponse and Mailchimp: webinars and CRM

    Webinars

    With Getresponse 'Pro' plans and up, you get something that is not included in Mailchimp's feature set at all: the ability to host webinars.

    Webinars are commonly used as a way to generate business leads, with businesses offering access to webinar content in exchange for an email address. Normally this involves using two apps - one for hosting the webinars, and one for hosting (and broadcasting e-newsletters to) a mailing list.

    Getresponse have been quite clever here by offering webinars as part of their e-marketing offering. I have not tested the webinar functionality, and I suspect that it is of more of a 'cut down' nature than a dedicated webinar app like Gotowebinar - but nonetheless, the integration of webinar hosting and e-mail marketing services into one package will serve many users perfectly well and will be more cost-effective than using two separate apps. 

    One thing to watch out for is the attendee cap: Getresponse limits this to 100 people on its 'Pro' plan and 500 on its 'Max' plan (it's not clear what the limit for Enterprise plans is - I suspect it's negotiable). 

    Webinars are not available as standard on the cheapest Getresponse offering (its 'Email' plan), but you can pay another $40 or $99 per month to enable this functionality and allow 100 or 500 attendees respectively to tune in.

    CRM

    Getresponse now offer a CRM tool on their 'Pro' plans and up. This is something rather unique to email marketing tools - Mailchimp doesn't offer this, nor do competitors like Campaign Monitor, iContact or Mad Mimi.

    And it has to be said that the CRM functionality provided by Getresponse is rather powerful indeed.

    Not only does the CRM cover the basics like sales pipeline management, activity recording and contact tagging, but it also integrates fully with Getresponse's email automation workflows.

    So, for example,

    • you could add a contact to a stage on a sales pipeline based on the page of your site that they completed a form on;
    • you could then send them an automated email a couple of days later;
    • and based on the action they took with regard to that email (clicking on a certain link etc) you could automatically move them onto another stage of the pipeline.

    It's really clever stuff and as things stand, there is nothing comparable in Mailchimp at all. For me, this is a standout feature of Getresponse.

     Getresponse's CRM integrates extremely well with its email marketing features

    Getresponse's CRM integrates extremely well with its email marketing features


    Support

    Finally, there's support to consider. Getresponse used to be a clear winner in this department, because phone, live chat and email support were offered, whereas Mailchimp only offered email or live chat support.

    Getresponse recently axed their phone support - meaning that both products now provide a similar level of support.  

    If phone support is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to take a look at Aweber - one of the few email marketing products which still includes it.


    Which is better, Getresponse or Mailchimp?

    Both Getresponse and Mailchimp are feature-packed tools which will meet the needs of most businesses wishing to use email as a marketing channel.

    However, I ultimately come down on the Getresponse side of the fence. For the record, we use it for our own email marketing here at Style Factory.

    There are four key reasons why I prefer Getresponse to Mailchimp:

    • The Getresponse CRM functionality will prove extremely useful to many businesses, and Mailchimp doesn't offer anything similar at all.
    • Getresponse is MUCH better for working with segments and multiple lists. On the basic version of Mailchimp, you can't send to multiple segments or lists (or exclude them from your mailouts). 
    • It's generally bit cheaper than Mailchimp (considerably so if you pay upfront for one or two years of service).
    • The feature set is better - CRM, landing pages with A/B testing and webinars are all available with Getresponse; not so with Mailchimp.

    The strongest argument for using Mailchimp is its free plan: it is admittedly very generous for anyone with a small list. It's also worth seriously considering Mailchimp you're using a web application that is designed to integrate easily with it. Power users of Facebook ads will also appreciate how easy it is to create custom audiences with Mailchimp.

    Here is a more complete rundown of reasons why you might want to use one of these tools over the other.

    Reasons to use Getresponse over Mailchimp

    • You get CRM built in (on 'Pro' plans and up), which integrates very neatly with all Getresponse's email automation features.
    • Webinars: you can host them with Getresponse; with Mailchimp you'll need to use another application.
    • Depending on your list size, and whether or not it is likely to grow, using Getresponse will usually work out cheaper than Mailchimp (particularly for larger lists or if you pay in advance for one or two years of service).
    • Getresponse offers considerably more email templates than Mailchimp. 
    • Emailing and excluding multiple segments and multiple lists is very easy in Getresponse - but not really doable in the standard version of Mailchimp.
    • The Getresponse split-testing functionality that is provided on the cheapest plan is considerably better than that offered on the equivalent entry-level Mailchimp plan.
    • Getresponse's landing pages facilitate A/B testing; Mailchimp's currently do not.
    • Over 30 templates are available for Getresponse's landing pages; Mailchimp only offers 2.
    • Getresponse's Marketing Automation provides a slick new way to put together autoresponder campaigns.
    • Getresponse are in the process of adding a CRM tool to the platform - which may prove extremely handy for businesses that want to keep all their systems under one roof.
    • Generous discounts are available for Getresponse if you pay upfront for a year or more's service.

    You can try Getresponse for free here.

    Reasons to use Mailchimp over Getresponse

    • Its free plan is very generous, allowing you access to many key features (including autoresponders) and to send 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers.
    • It has more pricing bands than Getresponse, which may make it cheaper for some users (particularly those whose mailing list size is likely to remain very static).
    • Mailchimp generally integrates better with a wider range of third-party tools and services - especially Facebook ads.
    • You can use web fonts out of the box in Mailchimp (note however that the selection is limited to a few very boring fonts!).
    • Its ‘member rating’ system is potentially very useful in identifying key leads / customers.
    • It provides translation functionality.
    • If your list is very small (i.e., contains less than 500 records), you can start sending e-newsletters more cheaply with Mailchimp.
    • Some users will appreciate the modern, minimal interface.

    You can try Mailchimp for free here.

    As usual, we suggest you try both products and have an in-depth play about with them before deciding on the best solution – free trials are available for both Getresponse and Mailchimp:


    Got any thoughts?

    Have you got something to say about Getresponse or Mailchimp, or have you any further queries about these products?

    Share your thoughts or questions by leaving a comment below (note: if you're reading this article on a mobile phone, you may be viewing a faster loading AMP version which doesn't feature the comments. You can access the full version of this post, which includes comments, here). 


    More email marketing resources

    You may also find our below email marketing tool comparisons and reviews useful:

    You might also find our guide on how to create a newsletter and AppInstitute's guide to email marketing helpful.


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