Getresponse vs Mailchimp (2019) - A Comparison of Two of the Most Popular Email Marketing Tools

Getresponse vs Mailchimp - image of the two company logos beside a postbox

Getresponse vs Mailchimp — which is best? In the light of Mailchimp’s recent (and radical) overhaul of its pricing structure, this question has become quite an urgent one for many businesses.

So in this Getresponse vs Mailchimp comparison review, I’ll examine both these leading email marketing solutions in depth, to see which of them best meets your business’ needs.

As you progress through the post, you’ll get a detailed overview of both products’ pricing, key features and pros and cons — and by the end of the comparison, you’ll have a much clearer idea of which product is for you.

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


Getresponse and Mailchimp: what do they do?

Getresponse and Mailchimp are email marketing tools that allow you to:

  • create (or import) a mailing list and capture email addresses onto it

  • 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 rates, click-throughs, forwards and more.

Over the past year, Getresponse has evolved into more of an 'all-in-one' marketing solution, and as such now has some features which are not to be found in Mailchimp, namely:

  • Webinars

  • CRM-style sales pipelines

  • Automated sales funnels

But Mailchimp increasingly also aims to be an all-in-one ‘marketing platform’ that offers some CRM functionality, and has changed its pricing model accordingly.

We'll discuss these ‘all-in-one’ style features in more depth later on in the review, to see if either product can really replace a dedicated CRM tool.

But first, let's discuss something that's really integral to both Mailchimp and Getresponse, and a feature that they’ve been traditionally best-known for: autoresponders.


Autoresponders: a quick overview

Autoresponders are e-newsletters that are sent to your subscribers at pre-defined intervals – for example, you can 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 receive a discount code for some of your products

  • three weeks later they 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).

The above example of an autoresponder cycle is typically called a ‘drip’ campaign, where e-newsletters are triggered by time intervals — but autoresponders are increasingly being used in more sophisticated ways, with messages being triggered by opens, clicks, purchases, web page visits, abandoned orders and more.

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.

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


Autoresponders in Getresponse and Mailchimp

Getresponse and Mailchimp both provide extensive autoresponder functionality — 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 mades, 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

  • purchases — if somebody buys a product from your website, you can use this information to trigger an email broadcast in Getresponse or Mailchimp

  • data changes — i.e., when somebody changes their details on your list

  • date and time - for example, you can send automatically send messages x minutes or days after sign up, or on birthdays.

In short, both products are really strong when it comes to autoresponder functionality: the range of triggers available to you is extensive.

The key things to think about when deciding which platform handles autoresponders better are:

  • the interface you use to create them

  • how much it costs to access autoresponder functionality

With regard to interface, Getresponse allows you to manage email automation via a ‘flowchart’-style journey creator — it’s very sophisticated stuff, which you can get a sense of from the screenshot below — but it’s also reasonably straightforward to implement. (For more basic ‘drip’ style campaigns, there’s also the option of a more traditional ‘sequencer’ interface).

 
Example of a Getresponse marketing automation workflow

Example of a Getresponse marketing automation workflow

 

Mailchimp also allows you to create similar — and similarly sophisticated — subscriber journeys, but provides a more template-based approach, where you choose a predefined set of automated emails which you then tweak to meet your requirements (see below screenshot for example).

Mailchimp automation templates

Mailchimp automation templates

Personally, I prefer the Getresponse automation workflow to Mailchimp's more template-driven approach, as I’ve found it to be more flexible to use, but it’s probably a case of what works best for you.

And now to the costs question. There is a BIG catch with Mailchimp’s autoresponder features, which needs to be pointed out loud and clear: autoresponders are unavailable on the entry-level ‘Essential’ Mailchimp plan.

On this plan, you can only use Mailchimp to automatically send ‘one-off’ emails (for example, a welcome email or an order notification) but that’s it: ‘multi-step custom workflows’, to use Mailchimp’s phrase, is not-included.

This is one of the biggest arguments for using Getresponse over Mailchimp, as fully-fledged autoresponder functionality, which facilitates both drip campaigns and trigger-based subscriber journeys, is included on every single Getresponse plan.

In most cases, you’ll be able to avail of professional autoresponder functionality at a considerably lower price point with Getresponse — the exact difference depends on list size, but for a list containing around 5,000 subscribers, you’ll save $35 per month by using Getresponse’s ‘Basic’ plan rather than the Mailchimp ‘Standard’ one; with a list containing 40k-50k subscribers, you’ll save $19 per month.

Oddly, however, there is one pricing band where Mailchimp ‘Standard’ works out considerably cheaper than the Getresponse ‘Basic’ plan — if you have between 50k and 75k subscribers, Mailchimp costs a whopping $251 less than Getresponse per month. There are also some savings to be made by choosing Mailchimp if your subscriber count is in the 75k-100k range. But when you get over the 100k mark, the Mailchimp costs become considerably higher than the Getresponse equivalents again.

However, there are some sneaky charges to consider with Mailchimp which may affect your overall costs — so let’s look at pricing in a bit more depth.


Pricing

Overview

With Mailchimp, you're looking at four pricing plans. In order of expense, these are:

  • Free — a cut-down version of the product featuring an advert for Mailchimp at the bottom of e-newsletters

  • Essential — starting at $9.99 per month to send emails to a list up to1,500 subscribers in size

  • Standard — starting at $14.99 per month for a list up to 2,500 subscribers in size

  • Premium — starting at $299 per month for a list up to 10,000 subscribers in size

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

  • Basic — starting at $15 per month to send an unlimited number of emails to up to 1,000 subscribers

  • Plus — starting at $49 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers

  • Professional — starting at $99 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers

  • Enterprise — starting at $1,199 per month for lists exceeding 100,000

Each plan boasts different features (which I discuss in more depth throughout this post) and rises in price with the size of your list.

Send limits

In May 2019, Mailchimp introduced (controversial) monthly limits on the number of e-newsletters you can send to your lists. These vary according to the number of subscribers you have on your list, but for the plans and subscriber counts listed above, the limits are 10,000, 500k, 1.2 million and 3 million respectively.

Now, many users will never breach these limits, but if you use autoresponders extensively or send a lot of ad hoc newsletters, it’s conceivable that you could, particularly if you’re on the cheaper plans.

So, an instant win for Getresponse here, because all its plans allow you to send an unlimited number of emails per month — even the entry-level one. This represents much better value for money.

Defining list size

When it comes to list sizes, you have to watch out for something REALLY sneaky in Mailchimp: the company charges you for both subscribed AND unsubscribed contacts on your lists (or ‘audiences’ to use Mailchimp’s new terminology). Getresponse, by contrast, only charges you for active contacts.

So, for example, if you had 1500 subscribers on a list, 200 of whom unsubscribed, Getresponse would consider this to be a list containing 1,300 people. Mailchimp would consider it to be a list containing 1500 subscribers, and charge you accordingly.

This is pretty ridiculous in my view and again presents a pretty compelling argument for going with Getresponse over Mailchimp.

Free plans and trials

Obviously one very welcome feature of Mailchimp is its free plan – you can use it to send up to 10,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers per month.

This is generous and extremely useful for users who wish to send occasional emails to a relatively small list.

However, emails sent using this plan display Mailchimp advertising on them, which, whilst reasonably subtle, makes them look slightly less professional in appearance.

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

  • the ability to remove Mailchimp advertising

  • access to most of the templates (you can only use 5)

  • split testing

  • support

  • custom-coded templates

  • send-time optimization

  • full autoresponder functionality

That said, the free plan remains pretty generous for what it is — a way to build an audience and send basic newsletters for free.

Getresponse doesn’t provide a free plan, but rather offers free trial — it's limited to 30 days, but you can try out all of the Getresponse features using it (for lists smaller than 1000 subscribers in size).

Key differences between the plans

As discussed above, the biggest thing to watch out for with the Mailchimp plans is fully-specced autoresponder functionality — you only get this on the ‘Standard’ plan and up.

Other key differences to be aware of involve the ability to code your own templates, comparative reporting and send time optimization — features that again, are only available on the more expensive ‘Standard’ plan or higher.

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

Zooming in: the Getresponse "Basic" plan vs Mailchimp "Essential" plan

I suspect many readers of this review will be interested in comparing the Mailchimp "Essential" plan against the Getresponse "Basic" plan. These are the cheapest paid-for offerings from the two companies.

When looking at these two plans, Getresponse comes out cheapest in terms of pricing if your list is between 0 and 20,000 records in size. You can typically save between $5 and $15 per month with Getresponse, depending on the exact numbers of subscribers you have.

But if you have a list between 20,000 and 50,000 records in size however, Mailchimp’s ‘Essential’ plan tends to work out cheaper (in some case considerably so: hosting a 30,000 list on Mailchimp costs $219 per month; the Getresponse equivalent is $250 per month).

Additionally, if your list is less than 500 records in size, Mailchimp will let you get into email marketing more cheaply — its very cheapest plan, which allows you to host up to 500 records, is $9.99 per month.

But Mailchimp’s sneaky approach to calculating list size (by including unsubscribed contacts on it) means that we are to a degree comparing apples to oranges here — as your list grows, and people unsubscribe from it, your costs can grow considerably by using Mailchimp.

Furthermore, if you are prepared to pay upfront for your Getresponse account, there are some sizeable discounts available which make 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 comparable discounts are available for Mailchimp (there used to be an ongoing 10% discount for using two-factor authentication on the platform, but that’s bitten the dust too now it seems).

And finally, there are three really important features that are available on the Getresponse ‘Basic’ plan that you won’t find on the Mailchimp equivalent:

  • multi-step autoresponders

  • the option to code your own templates

  • send time optimization (where your email marketing solution automatically figures out when the best time to send emails to individual subscribers is).

So given all this, it’s hard not to conclude that Getresponse offers way more bang for the buck when you compare its entry level plan against Mailchimp’s.

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 more Getresponse templates available (there are 200+ Getresponse templates to choose from, versus Mailchimp's 100+). 

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 (note however that you will have to be on a more expensive ‘Standard’ plan if you intend to do this in Mailchimp).

You can also buy additional templates for both platforms from a third-party supplier like Theme Forest.

Mailchimp templates

Mailchimp templates

However, whilst testing the product out, I’ve identified a significant problem with Getresponse’s templates: many of them are currently not displaying correctly in the Gmail mobile app (both the Android and iOS versions).

In some cases, a non-responsive version is being shown, and in others, thumbnail images are not displaying correctly — the padding around images is being ignored by Gmail (a workaround exists, involving photoshopping some white space to the right of your images — but this is not ideal).

Now, I’ve spoken to Getresponse about this issue and apparently a fix is coming at the end of September 2019. However, it’s really not a good situation and in my view they need to fix it immediately.


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. It’s quite distinctive and some users will probably appreciate the ‘big and bold’ approach.

Getresponse, by contrast, 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 or click 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 not always 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).

I have also found Mailchimp’s interface to be more robust — I’ve occasionally come across the odd glitch on Getresponse; nothing serious, but Mailchimp’s back end seems just a little bit more reliable and less buggy.

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


Editing email designs

Drag-and-drop

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 email editor can be a bit buggy, and for my money Mailchimp’s is considerably better when it comes to the actual dragging and dropping – Getresponse’s is very fiddly and makes it easy to put items in the wrong spot in your email.

Fortunately, there’s an undo button, but there are definitely more than a few improvements that Getresponse could make here. (They have promised to do so, with a new email editor coming in September 2019).

Web fonts

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 on that).


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 getting higher.

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 a couple more clicks.

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.

As discussed above, however, emails sent via Getresponse are currently not displaying correctly when viewed on the Gmail app — something I find incredible, given that Getresponse’s core functionality is essentially e-newsletter creation and broadcast.

As mentioned earlier, a fix for this problem is due towards the end of September 2019, but for now, it’s fair to say that Mailchimp is the more robust option for anyone wishing to send emails to people who use the Gmail mobile app (and there are rather a lot of those).

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 and 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 or 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 rates 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 quite 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 facilitated.

Getresponse also facilitates both a single and a double opt-in subscription process.

This is not the case with all competing email marketing products — Zoho Campaigns and Squarespace Email Campaigns, for example, both restrict you to double opt-in — so a thumbs up for both Mailchimp and Getresponse here.


Split testing

An important feature of email marketing solutions is split testing. This allows you to try out a variety of subject headers and/or content on some sample data (for example, 5% of your list) before automatically sending the best-performing version to the remainder of your list.

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 cheaper 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 ‘Premium’ plan to avail of them. These plans start at an eye-watering $299 per month. 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.

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 red and green 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 usually 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 'Premium' plan. (You can read more about the sort of segmentation options you can expect on a ‘Premium’ 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 — possibly the strongest.


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.

One reporting feature in Mailchimp that I really like is its ‘engagement stats’ panel. This shows you the percentages of your subscribers who are engage often, occasionally or rarely with your e-newsletters. Furthermore, it allows you to email them really easily — you just click a little paper plane icon and you can send them a message immediately.

Engagement stats in Mailchimp

Engagement stats in Mailchimp

Getresponse’s reporting system has an excellent feature which is not present in Mailchimp however: its automatic creation of emailable ‘groups’ — based on more precise 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. This is 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 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 that, in general, Mailchimp tends to be more of a ‘default’ option than Getresponse for many services (Squarespace and Facebook being prime examples), 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 straightforward to do that (see below for more information on sign up forms).

But there are times — particularly with services like Squarespace — where integrating a mailing list sign up form into your website is a bit easier if you're a Mailchimp user.

(Interestingly, there is no longer an official Mailchimp integration for Shopify, because of a dispute over data protection and privacy issues. But there are workarounds available.)


Facebook ads and Mailchimp

It's worth drawing particular attention to the way that Facebook ads and Mailchimp work together — as it’s 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 get to see your ads (or use a paid-for integration like LeadsBridge).

Be careful though: new GDPR rules mean that using custom audiences — which effectively means sharing user data with Facebook — can be risky from a legal point of view (at least where EU users are concerned).

Both Mailchimp and Getresponse now allow you to manage Facebook ad campaigns from within your their platforms, so if you’re somebody who likes to work on all aspects of a marketing campaign 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 you can add to embed the form on your website.

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 for creating forms for use on mobile devices — unlike Getresponse, its pop-up forms are responsive, and it automatically displays a more discreet banner version of them on smartphones.

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 Getresponse in conjunction with a product called Sumo to get around this issue. Although this gives me extremely fine grain control over the appearance of my forms and their behaviour, I’d rather not have to do this, as it involves an additional monthly fee.

Mailchimp also provide some iPad / Android forms that you can use for capturing data via tablets at events, something which used to be available with Getresponse but unfortunately seems to have been discontinued.


Landing page creation

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

These are distraction-free sign-up pages that are designed to improve sign-up rates. A/B testing is often used to test different versions of landing pages against each other, in order to identify the best-performing ones and use these 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.

If you wanted to use landing pages with Mailchimp, you had to either code something yourself or make use of a tool like Instapage or Unbounce (the fees for which are very 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 a bit limited: no A/B testing is included, and only a few templates are available.

So, Mailchimp users may end up being nudged back in the direction of Instapage or Unbounce anyway…

Landing pages in Getresponse

In Getresponse you get comprehensive landing page functionality: hundreds of responsive templates, A/B split testing, countdown timers and free stock photography are all included with this feature.

As with Getresponse’s email editor, the landing page designer could be better from a usability point of view — it’s clunky and fiddly to use — but it is ultimately a powerful tool that allows you to do considerably more with landing pages than the equivalent Mailchimp functionality.


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 differences between Getresponse and Mailchimp: webinars, CRM and ‘Autofunnel’

Webinars

With Getresponse 'Plus' 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 managing your email marketing.

Getresponse have been quite clever here by offering webinars as part of their email 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 should 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 'Plus' plan, 300 on its 'Professional' plan and 500 on its ‘Enterprise’ plan.

Webinars are not available at all on the cheapest Getresponse offering (its 'Basic' 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 and Mailchimp both claim to offer CRM functionality, and this something of a departure, functionality-wise, for email marketing tools — traditionally, you integrate an email marketing tool with a CRM product rather than trying to replace one!

Looking at the CRM functionality in Getresponse, on first inspection things seem great. You get basic sales pipeline management, activity recording and contact tagging.

And Getresponse CRM integrates fully with the email automation workflows — for example,

  • you can 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.

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

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

However, when you dig deeper, you discover that not all is hunky dory in the world of Getresponse CRM. There are some big things missing:

  • There’s no email activity tracking — i.e., if you send a contact an email manually (i.e., outside the Getresponse interface), there’s no way to track this automatically (you have to manually add a note to a contact’s file).

  • There’s no task management functionality.

  • Adding contacts to a pipeline stage is difficult. You have to add contacts to a list first, then go to the CRM pipeline, add a deal and search your lists for the contact you just added.

To be fair to Getresponse, the CRM functionality is a relatively new feature. It does provide some interesting features which some businesses will find useful — but big improvements to it do need to be made. Hopefully Getresponse will flesh out this tool so that it becomes a more fully-specced CRM option in future.

As for Mailchimp, well, the company says it provides CRM functionality. But if you look at the actual CRM features listed on the company’s website, it becomes fairly apparent that you’re not going to get traditional CRM features like pipelines, task management, activity logging and so on — we’re talking about data segmentation and autoresponders, which are standard features of an email marketing solution rather than a CRM. (And, as discussed above, data segmentation functionality isn’t all that great in Mailchimp anyway).

The closest Mailchimp gets to CRM-style functionality is, in my view, its conversation tracking feature, which does provide a degree of activity tracking.

The bottom line is that neither Getresponse or Mailchimp offer enough CRM functionality to replace a traditional CRM system, but Getresponse comes a bit closer to doing so.

‘Autofunnel’

Both Mailchimp and Getresponse provide a lot of useful ways to integrate with leading e-commerce platforms and you can trigger mailouts based on a wide range of user actions on an online store.

With the introduction of its new ‘Autofunnel’ feature, Getresponse has now effectively become an online store — of sorts — in its own right. It’s now possible to manage an e-commerce inventory within and sell products directly from Getresponse (albeit using a third-party payment gateway), and to make use of a system called ‘Autofunnel’ in conjunction with this to automate ad campaigns, data capture, transactions, abandoned cart recovery and more.

You can do similar things with Mailchimp, but you will need to connect a third-party online store to proceedings - i.e., people won’t be able to buy your products using Mailchimp alone.

Now my feeling is that for now, serious e-commerce operators will continue to make use of established platforms like Bigcommerce or Shopify to sell products online (and get better results from doing so) rather than using a marketing platform like Getresponse.

That said, Getresponse’s all-in-one approach has the potential to be useful to some merchants, particularly those starting out, or those who want to manage as many aspects of a sales process using only one tool.


Two-factor authentication

An advantage of using Mailchimp over Getresponse involves the login process — with Mailchimp, you can set up two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication requires you to not only enter a password at login, but also to verify your identity as an account owner by entering in a second piece of information — for example, a code sent by SMS to your phone.

Given the emphasis placed by GDPR on the importance of data security, it is disappointing that Getresponse does not yet feature this.


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 however — on all but their $1199+ per month Enterprise offering (for business with 100k + subscribers) — so now both products provide a similar level of support on their more affordable plans. Mailchimp provides phone support on its most expensive offering too (the $299+ ‘Premium’ plan).

If phone support is an absolute deal-breaker for you, you might want to take a look at Aweber — one of the few email marketing products which still includes it at an affordable rate. (For more details, please see our Aweber review).


Which is better, Getresponse or Mailchimp?

Up until Mailchimp changed their pricing structure, I generally argued that both Getresponse and Mailchimp were feature-packed tools which met the needs of most businesses wishing to use email as a marketing channel — and that deciding between them usually boiled down to personal preferences on their interfaces and templates.

I had my concerns about the inflexible data segmentation and list management features in Mailchimp, but I always thought that the rest of the platform’s feature set and pricing had a lot going for it, and this comparison review used to reflect that view.

Although I ultimately came down on the Getresponse side of the fence, I had a lot of time for Mailchimp and often recommended it as a good option to my clients.

Now, however, I generally recommend Getresponse over Mailchimp. Mailchimp’s new pricing structure introduces send limits; counts unsubscribed contacts when calculating list size; and doesn’t include the most basic of email autoresponder features on its entry-level plan…making Getresponse the much better value product of the two being discussed here.

There are two remaining arguments for using Mailchimp: first, there’s its free plan, which is admittedly very generous for anyone with a small list and very basic requirements.

Second, Getresponse’s Gmail app bug, where its e-newsletters don’t display properly in the Gmail mobile app, is hard to overlook. Thankfully a fix is slated in for the end of September 2019, but given the centrality of an email’s appearance to an email marketing campaign, I remain unimpressed that this problem is going to continue till then.

I’ll leave you with a list of the key pros and cons of each product. Of course, it’s always worth making your own mind up by using the free trials / plans available: you can try Getresponse for free here, and Mailchimp for free here.


Summary

Reasons to use Getresponse over Mailchimp

  • You get way more functionality on the entry-level ‘Basic’ plan than the Mailchimp equivalent (including fully-fledged autoresponders and the option to code your own templates).

  • You are only charged for active subscribers on your list — Mailchimp, incredibly, charges you to host unsubscribed contacts.

  • There’s no send limits in Getresponse.

  • Emailing and excluding multiple segments and multiple lists is very easy in Getresponse — but impossible in all but the most expensive version of Mailchimp.

  • Webinars: you can host them with Getresponse; with Mailchimp you'll need to use another application.

  • Getresponse offers considerably more email templates than Mailchimp.

  • The Getresponse split-testing functionality that is provided on the cheapest plan is better than that offered on the equivalent entry-level Mailchimp plan.

  • Getresponse's landing pages facilitate A/B testing; Mailchimp's currently do not.

  • Hundreds of templates are available for Getresponse's landing pages; Mailchimp only offers a few.

  • Getresponse's Marketing Automation interface arguably makes it easier to create tailored user-journeys.

  • You get some functionality CRM built in (on 'Plus' plans and up), which integrates pretty neatly with Getresponse's email automation features (that said, it needs a fair bit of work — it’s by no means a fully-fledged CRM package yet).

  • Generous discounts are available for Getresponse if you pay upfront for a year or more's service.

  • Some users may find the built-in e-commerce / ‘Autofunnel’ features useful.

You can try Getresponse for free here.

Reasons to use Mailchimp over Getresponse

  • Its free plan is generous, allowing you access to many key features (including autoresponders) and to send 10,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers.

  • Its emails display properly on the Gmail mobile app — until Getresponse’s fix arrives for this (due September 2019), Mailchimp remains the more robust option for sending email to users of this app.

  • Its pop-up forms are mobile responsive.

  • Mailchimp arguably integrates better with a wider range of third-party tools and services.

  • It’s currently easier to work with Facebook Ads using Mailchimp.

  • You can use some web fonts in Mailchimp.

  • 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 — which is less buggy than the Getresponse one.

  • It features two-factor authentication.

  • Its e-newsletter editor is a bit more robust than the Mailchimp equivelent, and again, a bit less buggy.

You can try Mailchimp for free here.


Got any thoughts?

Have you got something to say about Getresponse or Mailchimp, or do have you any further queries about these products? Share your thoughts or questions by leaving a comment below!

Also, please note that this review is updated regularly (to reflect changes in both products) so you may encounter observations in the comments section which are no longer applicable.


More email marketing resources / further reading

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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