It is an undeniable fact that the importance of email marketing will continue to increase in the coming years. And in the email marketing world, some names can’t go unmentioned.
Campaign Monitor, born in 2004 aims to streamline the process of designing and email marketing. I have to say they’ve got some fancy names like Disney and Buzzfeed up their sleeves so that’s something.
MailChimp, on the other hand, claims to be an all-in-one solution for inbound marketing and CRM features. And the grinning monkey mugshot has wooed millions of customers around the globe definitely leaving Campaign Monitor eating its dust.
They say a friendly competition never hurts anyone. So, let’s learn the ropes of both and see which one is the ultimate choice for you!
- Collection of professional-looking email templates
- Attractive and easy to use UI
- Easy to use drag and drop editor lets you build campaigns within minutes
- Advanced marketing automation even for the basic plan
- Affordable pricing for the range of features it offers
- 24/7 email support system
- Flow-chart style visual automation builder for easy sequencing of workflows
- Workable free tier
- A large variety of industry-leading integrations and add-ons
- Advanced reporting and analytic features
- Offers multivariate A/B testing in its premium plan.
- Advanced segmentation features based on groups, tags, and lists to target customer’s behavioral patterns and hence more hyper-targeted emails
- Decent collection of newsletter templates with a robust drag and drop editor
- Fairly good landing page builder with form builder capable of creating both popup and embedded forms
The interface is the first thing you notice when you use a new platform. It should not feel like you have landed on an alien’s planet. Rather, you should feel comfortable using it.
I have looked at so many platforms on the market today and they all take pride in having an easy-to-use interface. Honestly, I am yet to come across one that invites us to be ready to pull our teeth out.
Let’s see if these two meet their ‘ease-of-use’ claim.
Campaign Monitor’s interface is praised for its attractive and slick interface. Though not as simple as MailChimp’s, Campaign Monitor knows how to keep it clutter-free!
The sign-up process is extremely easy. All you need is your name, password, email, and business. The dashboard has seven major sections including an overview, campaigns, automation, transactional, lists, and app store.
All of these sections will be further segmented if you click on any of them. The email creation process is super flexible due to their drag and drop editor.
You won’t feel like you are stranded as Campaign Monitor has a wizard that helps you through each stage in building your campaigns. It’s like having a super helpful teacher walking you through your campaign creation.
You’ll find an option to switch your settings to ‘single business’ or ‘multiple clients’ depending on your preference. This will remove unnecessary options out of your way for a smooth user experience.
As for MailChimp, it’s simplicity defined. It keeps in mind the non-techy audience. The interface is user-friendly and there aren’t too many distracting colors. Okay, they’re plain. But sleek.
The navigation bar has six tabs: create, audience, campaigns, automation, reports, and integrations. You’ll find several options under each tab.
Everything is straightforward making navigation super easy.
MailChimp provides you sufficient help to build your campaigns. Initially, you’ll come across just three major options: create a list, create a campaign, and build an audience.
Beginners would get comfortable using its advanced features as well after some time.
Winner: Tie. None of the platforms have a learning curve. The UI of both is super simple for beginners.
Personalized emails are said to deliver six times higher transaction rates. Therefore, list management features are equally important in building a fancy campaign.
We can’t be sending every Tom, Dick, and Harry the same message. It’s in 2020.
With Campaign Monitor, you can import files or manually add contacts through drag and drop editor. Sometimes, it doesn’t recognize full names and cities accurately and so you have to manually correct them.
On the segmentation front, Campaign Monitor uses lists and segments.
The list is that contact group that you upload on the platform while segments are groups based on certain conditions or rules. You can create segmented lists based on age, location, company.
Well, we’ve got no tags so that’s a bummer. I mean we can’t create hyper-targeted emails based on specific contact behavior.
But you can add multiple conditions to the same segments. For example, people with the same location who subscribed in the last month.
With MailChimp, you can add contacts using third-party software like Salesforce, Google Contacts, Zendesk, and Eventbrite, etc.
And now this is where the magic goes down. It allows you to segment your audience based on groups, segments, and tags. The tags make it possible for you to break down your groups based on each contact’s activity on your site/ email.
The flexibility and customization options that come with tags open up a world of possibilities. Of course, it’s nothing like ActiveCampain or Drip but you’ll get your hyper-targeted emails. GetResponse too is also a real deal.
MailChimp also lets you enable permission-based opt-ins.
The only kicker with MailChimp is that it counts one contact in two different lists as two subscribers. This can increase your number of contacts and hence the cost.
Winner: MailChimp. It allows you to create highly personalized emails that lead to better engagement with your audience. And you know how big I am on personalization.
As we’ve said earlier, Campaign Monitor pride themselves in streamlining the email design process. So they have email creation at the core.
It has a versatile range of email templates. The drag and drop editor lets you make changes as you desire. Although not as many templates like MailerLite, GetResponse, or Moosend, the existing templates are professional-looking and one of the platform’s strongest selling points.
The WYSIWYG drag and drop editor lets you choose web fonts and you can even create dynamic emails – sending email content according to the audience interest. Simply add a dynamic tag in your email creation and voila!
Also, you can preview your emails and newsletters both in desktop and mobile mode. You can import your HTML designs or add CSS and DIY a sleek template.
MailChimp has probably the coolest library of newsletter templates in the market. They are diverse and ready to go. The drag and drop builder is very easy to use. So you can customize and brand your templates on the fly.
If you’re creative like me, HTML or CSS works just fine. You can start out with a blank template and choose layouts, text, image boxes, and buttons. No need to worry about losing your work as MailChimp saves your work automatically every 20 seconds.
Winner: MailChimp. MailChimp has a wide variety of modern designs and their free version also provides you basic templates.
Nobody wants to handle the entire marketing campaigns themselves. That’s why people look for email marketing tools with considerable features for automation.
With Campaign Monitor, you can set autoresponders that send specific emails to your subscribers including birthday, purchase, thank you, and welcome emails.
Apart from basic autoresponders, you can fully automate your campaigns by using specific triggers based on click rate, bounce rate, visits, purchases, etc. The flowchart style workflow builder is straightforward and visual making things simple for you.
And there is one limitation. When you want to add a new contact to your subscriber journey, you’ll have to pause the campaign, go back to the contact adding a stage, and do the necessary. Then press the play button. Awkward, right?
MailChimp isn’t too bad in the automation sector. You can integrate your automation with your website and track the visitor’s journey from page to page. Like a ninja! The emails are then sent according to customer behavior.
MailChimp provides basic automation in their free tier as well including trigger emails like cart abandonment and order notifications.
But advanced automation like custom workflows, retargeting ads, and optimization is available in their pricey packages. MailChimp also doesn’t provide a visual workflow view like Campaign Monitor.
Also, things can get a bit complicated to edit and visualize as you create your workflow. The editing process can be tedious as it’s not as intuitive. Honestly lesser champs like Moosend and MailerLite have done a better job.
The only redemption they get is the premade automation series that allows you to automate on the fly.
Considering variations of your email context can make a huge difference to your click-through rate and in turn, website visitors.
Campaign Monitor lets you create two different versions of your emails and automatically send it to two subsets of your audience. The winning variation is then sent to the rest of the people.
From the subject line, email content, length to word order, visuals, and personalization, Campaign Monitor has the guts to do it for you!
Upon clicking the Campaign overview, you can see the detailed analytics including opens, total clicks, and unsubscribers. You can choose the test period from one hour to five days.
One particular feature I like about their A/B testing is that before launching the campaign, it lets you see the summary in the form of a snapshot. If you need to change something, you can just click on the ‘Edit’ option.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t test your landing pages or automation sequence. Just one email at a time.
MailChimp works the same way. Choose your variables, pick a template, and define the winning metric. The slider lets you choose the ratio of your audience. However, you cannot test landing pages or automation series.
MailChimp doesn’t offer A/B testing in their free plan. However, with their Premium plan, you can get access to multi-variate testing. You can test up to 8 variations of your email.
Winner: Tie. Both have powerful A/B testing features that let you reach your user engagement goals faster.
Campaign Monitor doesn’t have an in-built CRM. It just offers a few integrations with industry-leading apps like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. With the integrations, you can send abandoned cart reminders, personalized receipts, and even upsell products.
This is all it has to offer. Quite unfortunate.
MailChimp has an in-built marketing CRM even in their free plan. It provides all the CRM features for small businesses.
You can get this through their premade eCommerce automation series. You can track your abandoned carts, order notifications, cancellations, purchases, and shipping confirmations.
Also, you can integrate it with WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Paypal, Stripe, among others. Although MailChimp’s relation with Shopify went downhill, you can still integrate with Shopsync to access Shopify.
Winner: MailChimp. They win here, fair & square!
Your landing pages are a gateway for your visitors to go down the road of conversion.
Businesses need to create captivating forms and email marketing tools should not compromise on providing this feature.
I have to say Campaign Monitor let me down here as they don’t have a landing page builder.
You get to create landing pages through integration with tools like Instapage, Unbounce, and Wishpond. There, you’ll find beautiful templates that are responsive and mobile-friendly.
Well, they do have a form builder. Nothing major but you can create embedded forms and lightboxes. You can’t create popup forms or slide-in forms. MailerLite and Moosend give you a better option.
As for MailChimp, they have a landing page builder that gives you basic templates to edit as you see fit. No HTML option. The drag and drop builder is easy to use and customizable.You can add images, social buttons, videos, etc.
The form builder is also pretty basic. And the interface is a bit clunky. It takes you through three processes: build, design, and translate. Good thing you can create all types of popup or embedded forms.
The forms will not get to impress you either. But the silver lining is, the templates are mobile responsive and offer tracking options through Google Analytics (GA), Facebook Pixels, or their own tracking feature.
Winner: MailChimp. Both platforms don’t have much to offer here so I’d recommend GetResponse as a better alternative for landing pages and forms.
Now to track the performance of your campaigns, you need good reporting features.
Campaign Monitor lets you see detailed analytics of your customer’s journey including clicks, open rates, bounce rate, unsubscribes, and total revenue. You can also download your reports in PDF format.
They actually have a nice set-up. Very basic and beginner-friendly.
If you send multiple newsletters and emails, the content dashboard lets you see which campaigns are driving the most engagement to your website.
Its ‘list growth’ graph shows you the increasing number of subscribers. Enjoy the euphoric moment of seeing the graph rise higher and higher!
Another helpful feature is that Campaign Monitor shows you what mobile phone model and browser your clients are using the most.
They go fairly well but we’re not giving them any trophies soon.
MailChimp gives you in-depth analytics and is much more immersive. It shows you clicks, opens, automation reports, revenue, and landing page reports.
For additional data collection, it integrates with Google Analytics (GA) as well. MailChimp has a mobile app too which lets you track real-time data on the go.
The detailed analytics lets you monitor the ROI of your marketing campaigns. Thanks to its ‘Time warp’ feature, you can send automated emails according to your subscriber’s time zone.
All of the analytics can be viewed in one place and you can immediately see where your business is heading.
Winner: MailChimp. They have state-of-the-art reports and analytics details. But for more thorough reporting, Klaviyo is the best if you’re especially into eCommerce.
If your emails can’t reach your subscriber’s inbox, then what’s the point of it all?
I did an email deliverability test to make sure we are actually planting seeds in fertile soil. My test used the top five email clients i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and iCloud. I also activated SPF and DKIM records on the email marketing tools.
Lo and behold, 95.45% of MailChimp emails landed in people’s inboxes. For Campaign Monitor, they say they have deliverability of 99% and they even provide anti-spam policy and protection.
Also, it’s been a while since we conducted the test, things may have changed. Take this test with a pinch of salt.
Winner: Tie. Based on the numbers above, they both have excellent deliverability.
Campaign Monitor can integrate with industry-leading giants WordPress, Magento, Salesforce, Slack, Facebook Leads, Zapier, and much more.
I would say they have limited integrations as compared to MailChimp, which provides hundreds of third-party apps.
But thanks to Zapier, you have access to hundreds of other applications.
If you are a business that needs tons of integrations and add-ons, MailChimp does the job well.
From popular CRMS like Zapier, Square to apps like ClickTale, Eventbrite, BigCommerce, Woocommerce, MailChimp offers you all. You name it!
Winner: MailChimp. It offers more than enough integrations for your business. The only downfall is that it doesn’t offer direct integration with Shopify.
I have to confess, I am a stickler for excellent customer service.
Campaign Monitor has a 24/7 email support system. This is their most preferred form of contact. And then we go downhill. Where is the live-chat? Heck, what about their phone number? Oh! Phone support is on the Premier plan… oops! You got to chuck $29 for a phone conversation.
And money speaks louder than words on Campaign Monitor. Literally. The timelier you are on making your payments, the quicker the support feedback. Really?
Well, it has a help database that contains useful articles, tutorials, and a software guide. Also, they maintain a community forum to discuss real-time issues.
MailChimp also provides email support (for the Premium plan) which is way more expensive than Campaign monitor. You also get some live chat, and they have a knowledgeable database. Their help center contains FAQ sections, Quick answers, Glossary, and video tutorials.
In the free plan, email support is only available for the first 30 days. After that you are in for a snail mail experience.
Winner: Campaign Monitor. Only because of the email support even on the basic plan. That tells you how bad MailChimp’s support is. But if you’re a stickler for support like I am, try out Aweber or GetResponse. They have A1 support services.
Now comes the time to balance the two platforms on the weighing scale.
Remember the last time you shopped for an email marketing platform with no budget consideration?
Can’t recall? Me neither. We’ve all got to think about the cash flow.
Campaign Monitor comes with three plans: Basic, unlimited, and Premier. The pricing packages increase after every 500 contacts.
Campaign Monitor provides a good value of money for the features it offers. But they’ve got no free tier. Sorry.
Also, if you have more than 500 subscribers, the prices shoot to the roof really first. If you grow to reach 50000 subscribers, let me show you how much you’ll folk out.
No further comment.
But MailChimp is popular in terms of pricing for its free forever plan. It is perfect for small businesses and you get access to basic templates, segmentation, tags, pop-up forms, and basic automation. So all those with battered wallets, MailChimp got your back.
Other than that, MailChimp has three more packages: Essentials, standard, and Premium.
But I have to ask, what the heck is going on between the Standard and Premium plans. Someone, please explain to me how you move from $14 to $299 for only 500 subscribers. I can’t bring my mind to comprehend that.
However, they have a pay-as-you-go plan. A very flexible option for seasonal email marketing users.
Winner: MailChimp. It offers a workable free tier and a pay-as-you-go plan for those on budget. But with no cash to splash, MailerLite is a solid option if all you need is basic email marketing functionalities.
Now that we have discussed both the platforms out in the open, I hope you can make a decision for your brand.
For those who are just starting out in email marketing, MailChimp is a great option.
If you stick to the basics of segmentation, automation, and pre-built templates, it will be easy to use. Moreover, their generous list of integrations is hard to beat.
If you need a more supportive system that provides easy to use segmentation, then Campaign Monitor is for you.
For SMBs seeking a versatile solution, Campaign Monitor will be an attractive email marketing solution.
Now you need to take the bull by the horns and see which one serves the best for you!