Getresponse Review (2017) - In-Depth Guide to a Leading Email Marketing Solution
In this updated Getresponse review, we take a look at one of the most popular tools for designing and sending HTML e-newsletters. Read on to see how it fares in terms of pricing, features, templates, usability and more.
Our overall rating: 4.5/5
What is Getresponse?
Getresponse is primarily an email marketing app that allows you to:
- import and host a mailing list and capture data onto it
- create e-newsletters which can be sent to the subscribers on your mailing list
- automate your emails to subscribers via use of ‘autoresponders’
- view and analyse statistics related to your email marketing campaigns – open rate, click through, forwards etc.
Recently however, Getresponse's feature set has evolved quite a bit, to the point where it is becoming more of an 'all-in-one' marketing solution. In addition to email marketing, it now also provides webinar hosting, landing pages, and basic CRM (customer relationship management) functionality.
We'll discuss all these features in depth below, but first, let's look at pricing.
There are three main types of Getresponse pricing plan - 'Email', 'Pro' and 'Max' - and within each of these, several additional types of plan to choose from (all based on list size).
- Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max')
- 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers: $25 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max')
- 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $45 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max')
- 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $65 ('Email')/ $75 ('Pro') / $ 165 ('Max')
- 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $145 ('Email') / $165 ('Pro') / $255 ('Max')
- 25,001 to 50,000 subscribers: $250 ('Email') / $280 ('Pro') / $370 ('Max')
- 50,001 to 100,000 subscribers: $450 ('Email') / $490 ('Pro') / $580 ('Max')
Additionally there is an "Enterprise" plan for users whose lists exceed 100,000 email addresses: this starts at $1199, with exact pricing depending on requirements.
Discounts are available if you pay upfront for 12 or 24 months of service (18% and 30% respectively).
Key differences between plans
All three Getresponse plans cover the important basics; key features include:
- the ability to import, grow and host an email database
- a wide range of templates
- excellent autoresponder functionality
- responsive email designs
- split testing
- in-depth reporting
- RSS / blog to-email functionality
- comprehensive segmentation options
- social sharing tools
There are a number of differences between the 'Email', 'Pro' and 'Max' plans but for me the key ones are:
- landing pages - you can only avail of landing pages that allow split testing and unlimited views if you are on a 'Pro' plan or higher
- webinars - this functionality is not available at all on the 'Email' plan and the number of webinar attendees is capped for the 'Pro' and 'Max' plans at 100, 500 respectively (it's unclear what the limit is on the 'Enterprise' plan).
- users - you can only have one user account on the 'Email' plan; 3 on 'Pro', 5 on 'Max' and 10 on 'Enterprise'.
How does Getresponse pricing compare to that of its competitors?
So long as you are happy to use one of the entry-level 'Email' plans, Getresponse is on the whole cheaper than many of its key competitors, particularly if you have a reasonably large number of email addresses on your database.
For example, if you have a mailing list containing between 9,000 and 10,000 records, you'll find that hosting it with Getresponse costs $65 per month. This is
- $4 per month cheaper than with Aweber
- $10 cheaper than Mailchimp
- $24 to $184 cheaper than Campaign Monitor (Campaign Monitor's pricing structure depends not just the number of email addresses on your database but on how many emails you send per month too).
The only well-known service I can think of that comes in significantly cheaper is Mad Mimi, which charges $42 per month to host email addresses (note however that the functionality offered by Mad Mimi is nowhere near as extensive as Getresponse's).
It's also worth pointing out that Mailchimp offers narrower pricing bands, meaning that depending on the size of your list, it might occasionally be a slightly cheaper option than Getresponse.
At the smaller database end of things, Getresponse's pricing is pretty competitive too - you can host a database containing 1,000 email addresses for $15 a month with Getresponse, compared to $29 with Aweber; and $29 to $149 on Campaign Monitor. Mailchimp's fee for a 1,000 record database is the same as Getresponse's; and Mad Mimi provides slightly a cheaper, if less fully-specced offering for $12.
It is worth noting however that some competing providers - notably Mailchimp - offer completely free accounts for users with a small number of records (but these do not offer the full range of features that you get on a paid plan).
Bottom line: Getresponse is pretty competitive in the pricing department. But what about features?
Getresponse features - how good are they?
Getresponse's feature set is arguably one of the most comprehensive out there. Not only does it provide all the key stuff you'd expect from an email marketing platform - list hosting, templates, autoresponders, analytics and so on, but as mentioned above, it's recently been expanding the feature set to the point where it's morphing into an all-in-one / CRM-style marketing platform.
The question is whether Getresponse is a jack of all trades and master of none - let's drill down into the key features to find out.
Autoresponders are e-newsletters that are sent to your subscribers at intervals determined by you – you can set them up so that immediately after somebody signs up to your mailing list, they receive a welcome message from your business; a week later they could receive a discount offer for some of your products or services; three weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on social media. And so on.
Getresponse's autoresponder functionality is a key selling point - it offers one of the most comprehensive feature sets available.
You can send either time-based or action-based messages; time-based options include cycles such as the example above, and action-based messages can be triggered by user actions or information, for example:
- subscriptions to particular lists
- changes in contact preferences
- completed transactions / goals
- changes in user data
Recently Getresponse launched a new version of their new autoresponder functionality, called 'Marketing Automation.' This allows you to create automation workflows using a drag and drop builder - you basically set up an 'automation flowchart' that instructs Getresponse what to do if a user opens a particular offer, clicks on a certain link etc.
This kind of functionality goes way beyond what's traditionally been on offer from autoresponders, and allows you to create a user journey that can be customised to the nth degree.
For a quick overview I'd suggest taking a look at Getresponse's video overview for Marketing Automation.
It's important to note, however, that the more advanced marketing automation features are only available on the more expensive plans - the 'Pro' plan and up.
Getresponse offers some very comprehensive analytics and reporting options. You get all the basics of course - open rate, click-through, unsubscribe rates and so on - but in addition to that there are some very nifty features that are worth a particular mention, namely:
- 'one-click segmentation': the option to identify people who did not engage with an e-newsletter you sent and put them in a segment of subscribers which you can then email again with a different version of the e-newsletter
- 'metrics over time': you can find out exactly when most of your subscribers take action on your emails, and time your future mailouts based on this information
- 'email ROI': by adding some tracking code to your post-sales page on your site, you can find out how effectively (or not!) your email campaigns are driving sales, and work out your return on investment in email marketing.
- per-user information - you can click on one of your subscribers and see where they signed up from, where they're located and which emails they've opened in the past.
Mailchimp and Aweber offer some similar reporting functionality (particularly around sales tracking) but Getresponse's reporting tool is definitely one of most fully featured out there (it definitely trounces the stats options offered by Mad Mimi and Campaign Monitor).
Another Getresponse feature that stands out is its split testing functionality - it's more comprehensive than that provided by several competitors, because it allows you to split test up to five different messages - Aweber currently doesn't offer any split testing functionality; Campaign Monitor allows 2; Mailchimp allows 3 (on its cheaper plan - more are available on the 'Pro' feature, but at a cost of an eye-watering $199 per month on top of the standard Mailchimp montly fees); Mad Mimi doesn't provide split testing at all.
Getresponse e-newsletter templates
So far so good with Getresponse, but when it comes to templates, Getresponse arguably falls down a bit.
Unfortunately, the templates provided out of the box look a bit dated; they are not as attractive as those offered by Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor (and I slightly prefer Aweber's offering here too).
On the plus side, the templates are very tweakable - you can change fonts, layouts and imagery easily enough using the controls provided; and of course there is nothing to stop you simply designing your own HTML email template and importing the code for it.
Additionally, there are tons of templates to choose from - over 700 - and they are presented in easy-to-understand categories - so it is generally pretty straightforward to find a good starting point for a template and edit it until you are happy with the design.
If you're really unhappy with the templates provided by Getresponse, there's also the option of buying a template from a third party supplier such as Theme Forest.
Another gripe I have with Getresponse's templates concerns the ones they offer for RSS-to-email applications: the range is not very extensive and some of them played up a bit for me when I tested them in Outlook (2010). I eventually found something that worked for me, but I think that there are some improvements that could be made in this area.
Responsive email designs
Getresponse was ahead of its competitors for some time with its responsive email design functionality, which automatically adjusts your e-newsletter's template so that if a user is reading it on a mobile device, the layout and fonts will be automatically optimised for the device in question.
Most competing products have caught up on this now, and offer responsive email templates, but Getresponse is better than most similar products when it comes to displaying a responsive preview of your e-newsletter - you simply hit a 'mobile preview' button to get an instant snapshot of what your email looks like on a smartphone (see image right).
Not only this but you can 'flip' the smartphone preview around, so that you can preview what your email looks like when the screen is used in either portrait or landscape mode.
One thing I'd love to see added to Getresponse is support for web fonts - as things stand, only the usual 'web safe fonts' can be used (Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, Trebuchet etc.) in e-newsletters created with Getresponse. This leads to emails appearing more consistently across email programs - but can result in e-newsletters looking a bit more boring than they otherwise could.
It would be nice, given the major email clients' increasing support for web fonts, to see Getresponse allow users to incorporate them into their HTML emails. Some competing products now allow use of a limited number of some web fonts, so it would be good to see this feature added to Campaign Monitor soon.
(Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor are two examples of products which facilitate web font usage - the fonts included in Mailchimp are very boring ones however, to the point where you might as well use the web safe ones!).
Opt-in processes in Getresponse
There are two methods you can employ to add subscribers to a mailing list: using a 'single opt-in' or a 'double opt-in' process.
If you use use a single opt-in process, the person signing up to your mailing list is added to your mailing list the moment they hit the submit button on your sign up form.
With a double opt-in process, the person signing up to your list is sent an email containing a confirmation link that s/he must click before being subscribed.
The main benefit of a single opt-in process is that it makes it really easy for users to subscribe to your mailing list; 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 (because open rates etc. are calculated based on a list containing only real email addresses).
Now, the good news here is that Getresponse allows you to make use of either opt-in approach - this is not the case with all competing products. So a thumbs up for Getresponse for being flexible on this point.
Data segmentation options in Getresponse
One of the things I like most about Getresponse is the way you can send to (or exclude) multiple segments of data at once. This is not the case with some of Getresponse's key competitors, including Mailchimp and Aweber.
For example, say you have a mailing list in Getresponse that you've divided up into four segments:
- Segment A
- Segment B
- Segment C
- Segment D
With Getresponse it's dead easy to message segment A, B and C all at once (you just tick three relevant checkboxes). You could also message segment B and C and exclude segment D.
Not only can you message / exclude multiple segments at once, you can also do the same with individual lists - for example, if you had three separate mailing lists on Getresponse, you could mail individuals across all three of them.
This sort of flexibility marks Getresponse out from its competitors - of the similar products I've reviewed to date, only Campaign Monitor offers a similar level of flexibility (but this comes at a price). Along with the flexibility around opt-in processes, it's possibly one of the biggest arguments in favour of using Getresponse over key competitor Mailchimp, which doesn't unlock advanced segmentation features unless you are on its expensive 'Mailchimp Pro' plan.
The only frustrating thing about Getresponse's approach to data segments is that it doesn't refer to them as such! Rather, they are called 'saved searches', which is a bit confusing. But so long as you remember that, you'll be fine.
On the whole, Getresponse is pretty straightforward to use. It's certainly easy enough to do all the basics: import contacts, create campaigns, set up autoresponders and check statistics (which, incidentally, are very comprehensive) and the interface is pretty clean and intuitive.
In terms of how it stacks up against its competitors in this regard, I would argue that Campaign Monitor is a little more user friendly, and Mailchimp has a slicker user interface (although one that makes finding certain functionality a little bit tricky at times).
One area I feel that could be significantly better from a user-friendliness point of view is the Getresponse e-newsletter editor. Whilst its drag-and-drop approach does in theory provide a very flexible way to create blocks of content and move them around an e-newsletter, in practice it is quite clunky to use and can lead to accidental deletion of content, or placement of it in the wrong part of the e-newsletter. If you can get your head around it, and practice using it a bit, it does make for a useful tool - it's just that the implementation of it could be considerably better.
Landing page creator
Online advertising campaigns that make use of landing pages will usually generate far more leads if, rather than simply directing people to a (cluttered!) website, they point users to attractive 'squeeze pages' containing clear information and a clean, well-designed data capture form.
Getresponse offers something very useful in this regard that most of its competitors don't: a landing page creator (and one that's mobile-friendly to boot). Products like Campaign Monitor, Aweber or Mailchimp all require you to make use of a third party (and paid-for) landing page creating tool like Unbounce or Instapage.
However, unless you are on a Getresponse 'Pro', 'Max' or 'Enterprise' plan, the landing page functionality is rather limited: you can only create one landing page, which can only be displayed 1,000 times per month.
Additionally, and very importantly, you can't use the landing page A/B testing functionality on the cheapest Getresponse plan (whereby the system shows a sample of your users different versions of your landing page, calculates conversion rates, and ultimately rolls out the best performing landing page automatically).
If you're serious about landing pages, then it's definitely worth looking at one of the more expensive Getresponse plans. You can buy the Landing Pages feature as an add-on for an extra $15 per month, but very frustratingly, the add-on version doesn't include A/B testing. As such if I was interested in the landing page functionality, I wouldn't bother with this rather half-baked add-on: I'd just go for one of the more expensive plans (which I guess is what Getresponse want you to do - but it's annoying).
Getresponse recently introduced the ability to host webinars on the platform. Given that webinars are generally used as a lead-generation tactic, the idea of having your email database and your webinar tool under the same roof is extremely appealing.
The pricing is also very competitive too by comparison to established webinar solutions: Gotowebinar, for example, charges $199 per month to host webinars with up to 500 attendees; you can actually do the same (and a whole lot more obviously) with Getresponse for $165 (so long as your list size is under 25,000).
With regard to attendee limits, the Getresponse 'Pro' plan allows you to host a webinar with up to 100 participants; the 'Max' plan's cap is 500. You can also buy webinars functionality as an add-on to a cheaper plan: $40 per month buys you a 100 attendees limit, $99 per month buys you a 500 attendees limit.
I have not tested the webinar functionality, and as Getresponse is a new kid on the block here, it's likely that the more established solutions such as Gotwebinar and Webex provide more advanced webinar-related features than Getresponse - but still, it's a potentially very useful feature to have sitting in your e-marketing arsenal and its inclusion as a feature gives Getresponse a significant edge over its key competitors.
One of the most frustrating aspects of using many well-known CRM tools is the need to export data to CSV and back into your email marketing tool in order to do mailouts (or the need to export data from your email marketing tool into your CRM to add leads to it). So when I saw Getresponse recently introducing a new CRM feature into their plans I was intrigued - this could potentially do away with all that data exporting and importing, and keep everything neatly in one place.
Having had a play I can say that it's not yet a replacement for a standalone CRM. It's currently a very basic tool: you can currently use it to create sales pipelines, add contacts to them and track activity (emails, phone calls etc.) with those contacts manually.
However, based on some conversations I've had with the Getresponse support team, it looks as though more sophisticated options are on the horzion (perhaps involving triggering messages based on position on the pipeline, automatic email tracking etc.).
If this feature develops to the extent that Getresponse plans include a well-specced CRM tool, then I think the product will start to become extremely attractive to SMEs. So I'm fascinated to see how this new CRM functionality evolves over time.
Up until very recently Getresponse support was amongst the most comprehensive available for email marketing tools: the company offered phone support alongside live chat support, email support and various online tutorials / resources.
Sadly, the phone support has now been discontinued. Instead you'll have to use live chat (24/7) or email support. To be fair, most similar e-marketing platform providers only offer these two channels - if phone support is a deal-breaker for you then you might want to consider Aweber, which still provides it (you can read our Aweber review here).
In terms of the quality of Getresponse support, I've not had to use it very often (a good thing) but when I have I've found it to be a bit of a mixed bag (less of a good thing). Some of the live chat support I've received has been excellent; the email support less so.
Some of the feedback I've got from our readers does suggest that there do need to be improvements made in terms of the quality of support Getresponse offer. As with a lot of these types of companies, I expect it often boils down to who you get on the day.
Getresponse free trial
The 30-day free trial that Getresponse provides is fully functional and the free trial is not contingent upon providing credit card details. This helps you avoid that annoying "oops I forgot I signed up for that trial and now I'm getting charged for a product I don't use" scenario.
The only down side to the free trial is that it limits the number of subscribers you can send to to 1000. It would be good if this could be increased a bit, as it would help potential users try the tool out in more 'real-world' scenarios.
Review conclusions / Getresponse pros and cons
Getresponse represents one of the more cost-effective ways to host and communicate with an email database. It's also one of the most interesting products of its kind - in that it provides email marketing, landing pages and webinars all under one roof. If, as looks likely, CRM functionality is also added to this mix, it will make the product a very attractive one-stop-shop marketing tool for businesses.
It's this 'all round' aspect that persuaded us to use it for Style Factory's email marketing.
Some improvements to Getresponse do need to be made however, particularly where the email designer is concerned - its drag and drop interface is more fiddly and less responsive than it should be. And from what I gather from reader feedback, there are improvements that could be made as far as support goes.
Here are a few pros and cons of using Getresponse overall:
Pros of using Getresponse
- So long as you are happy to use an 'Email' plan, Getresponse is cheaper than most of its key competitors (in certain cases, significantly so) whilst offering just as much, if not more functionality as them.
- Its webinar functionality is a USP - something that is not offered by any of Getresponse's major competitors.
- Its reporting and comprehensive split testing features are very strong.
- It offers a very flexible approach to data segmentation - more flexible than many competing products.
- It allows you to add subscribers to a mailing list on both a single-opt in and a double opt-in basis.
- It sends responsive emails and allows you to preview smartphone versions of your e-newsletters very easily.
- It comes with a useful landing page creator - although you have to either be on a more expensive plan to get the fully functional version of this.
- You can try out all its features free for 30 days without the need to enter credit card details.
- The Marketing Automation functionality sets it apart from many similar products.
- It looks like a built-in CRM tool is on the way, which would add huge value to the product.
Cons of using Getresponse
- The drag and drop interface for designing emails can be a little bit on the fiddly side.
- There is a limited range of RSS-to-HTML e-newsletter templates provided.
- The templates are a little bit on the dated side.
- You can only use 'web-safe' fonts, which can make the templates look slightly less slick than those provided by competing products.
- The pricing structure is a bit confusing, with users having to pay something of a premium to access the landing page creator tool.
- The user interface would benefit from being refreshed - competing products such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor come with a cleaner, more modern back end (a beta version of 'New Getresponse' suggests this is on the way however).
- The free trial limits the number of subscribers you can send messages to to 1000.
- The landing page add-on doesn't allow you to perform A/B tests, meaning that in order to gain this functionality you're forced to use a more expensive plan than you might like.
- No phone support is provided.