Squarespace Email Campaigns — A Review
Squarespace is one of the world’s leading website building platforms; with its easy-to-use interface, comprehensive feature set and its slick templates, it’s easy to see why so many people love it.
And in recent years, Squarespace has gradually been adding interesting new functionality to the platform, aiming to transform it beyond being a tool for creating simple brochure websites to one which allows users to sell products and offer subscriptions.
Now, with the introduction of its latest feature, Email Campaigns, it’s clear that Squarespace is heading in the direction of being an all-in-one marketing and e-commerce platform: one that allows you to manage your content, store and email communications all in one place.
A laudable aim.
But can Squarespace Email Campaigns really replace established emarketing products like Aweber, Getresponse, Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor? In this short review, I’m going to try to answer this question with a quick look at the pros and cons of Squarespace’s new email marketing tool.
Pros and cons of Squarespace Email Campaigns
Let’s start with the reasons why you might want to use Email Campaigns:
That Squarespace style: the e-newsletter templates are all very ‘Squarespacey’ — attractive in nature and likely to provide a bit of brand consistency between your site template and your newsletters.
You can use the product to manage your e-communications and your website in one place, which is convenient.
You can import content from your Squarespace site straight into your email templates.
It is extremely easy to use (as you might expect from Squarespace). I’d say it’s possibly one of the best email building interfaces I’ve used (if not the most fully-specced).
It integrates neatly with Squarespace’s newsletter sign-up forms, making data capture a breeze (there’s no messing about with embedding HTML forms onto your Squarespace site, or setting up zaps to get Squarespace talking to a third-party email marketing tool).
If you have a small list, the starter plan, which allows you to send up to 500 messages per month, represents a cheap way into email marketing.
And here are the reasons you might want to avoid it:
You have to use a double opt-in system when capturing email addresses — where users have to go to their email account, open a confirmation email and click a link before they are fully subscribed to your list. Yes, this can reduce the number of fake, spammy sign-ups to your list — but will massively reduce the number of leads you’ll capture (which is why nearly all dedicated email marketing tools now allow you to select either a single or double opt-in approach).
The number of templates available is pretty limited — at time of writing, there are only 42 (Mailchimp by contrast offers 100; Getresponse 500 and Aweber 700). That said, the templates that are on offer are very nice.
The pricing structure is confusing, because it places limits on the number of messages sent rather than rising in line with the number of subscribers on your list. This means that it ultimately doesn’t offer great value for money, particularly when you are dealing with larger lists. When you consider all the features you get with a dedicated email marketing platform like Getresponse or Aweber, the price for access to Squarespace’s Email Campaigns’ limited functionality seems relatively steep.
So, should you use Squarespace Email Campaigns?
So what to make of all this? Well, for me, although I love the idea of Squarespace Email Campaigns, based on the above pros and cons of the product, I’m recommending that my clients avoid it for now.
The showstopper for me is the double opt-in requirement: even Mailchimp, a company that used to religiously champion this approach to data capture, eventually realised that it was killing mailing list sign-up rates, and introduced single opt-in.
And speaking of Mailchimp, when you consider that there’s a free Mailchimp plan that integrates very neatly with Squarespace already, and allows you to send 10,000 emails to 2000 subscribers per month, it’s really hard to justify the costs associated with Squarespace Email Campaigns.
But all that said, there is a lot to like about Email Campaigns: hopefully Squarespace will revisit the tool soon with a view to removing mandatory double opt-in, and providing a pricing structure that more accurately reflects the feature set.
If the company does, I can see a lot of Squarespace users switching over to it.