The Top 7 MailChimp Alternatives for Small Business Email Marketing

June 6, 2017 Cathy Reisenwitz

Update 7/20/18: This post has been updated with current information and has been reduced from ten options to seven.

In the world of tissues, Kleenex is indisputably king, and you can use the words “tissue” and “Kleenex” interchangeably. Mailchimp is the Kleenex of the email marketing world.

But just because these brands have become the generic trademarks of their industries doesn’t mean they necessarily work for you and your business (personally, I’m a fan of the soft, plushy Puffs). Just as every nose is different, so is every company.

The MailChimp logo (a monkey) winking at the viewer surrounded by floating envelopes

So, what’s the Puffs of email marketing software?

I’ve compiled this handy list of seven MailChimp alternatives for your business. To be included, the product must have all of the following features offered by MailChimp. All of these features are also categories/criteria in Capterra’s email marketing software directory.

Criteria for inclusion:
  • A/B Testing
  • Auto-Responders
  • CAN SPAM Compliance
  • Drip Campaigns
  • Event Triggered Email
  • Image Library
  • Mailing List Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Subscribe/Unsubscribe
  • Template Management
  • WYSIWYG Email Editor

Additional criteria? A minimum of 250 reviews. That left us with seven options in Capterra’s email marketing software directory (ordered below by number of reviews, from most to least).

A chart showing how seven email marketing software options compare to Mailchimp

Let’s compare 7 MailChimp alternatives for small business email marketing

So, what differentiates these software options? Below, we’ll talk about each system’s special features (if applicable) along with what Capterra reviewers have to say about aspects, including usability, customer service, and reporting.

Almost every software vendor claims their product is easy to learn and use. They’ll say their customer service is great and that their reports are detailed, yet easy-to-understand.

But before you plunk down the cash for a new system, you should know what other, real users like you have to say about all that. Reading user reviews before buying software can save you a lot of time and money. I saved you even more time by reading them for you.

Let’s dive in.

1. HubSpot Marketing

HubSpot Marketing

HubSpot Marketing’s team dashboard (Source)

Standout features:

HubSpot offers free in-depth inbound marketing training via HubSpot Academy. These videos and worksheets train you on the company’s software, as well as on marketing best practices. Users describe the eLearning courses as easy to digest and a great way to learn inbound marketing methodology.

What users say:

Pros: Reviewers on Capterra complimented HubSpot Marketing’s customer service team, describing support as responsive, prompt, and even proactive. The system’s user interface and workflows also received compliments, with customers describing the software as easy to use.

The biggest user raves concerned HubSpot’s tracking and analytics capabilities. Users love knowing the ROI for all of their marketing activities, and described the system’s reporting dashboard as easy to read. Users also praised the depth of reporting; HubSpot Marketing tracks lead source, web traffic, and blog and email marketing performance all in one platform.

Cons: Some users noted that customizing emails and landing pages often requires CSS knowledge (rather than just being able to drag-and-drop). Frequent system updates can disrupt work according to some customers, and others said it can be hard to move your content to another provider if you decide to stop using HubSpot Marketing.

The majority of complaints centered around HubSpot’s pricing. In sum: you may end up paying more than expected after you factor in things like paid campaign tracking and additional contacts. Users have to commit to a one-year use contract, and when your contact list exceeds a certain limit you’re automatically billed at a higher monthly rate.

2. Marketing 360

Marketing 360 advertising dashboard

Marketing 360 advertising dashboard (Source)

Standout features:

Marketing 360 is a “software and service hybrid.” It combines a marketing agency and marketing automation software aimed at small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

What users say:

Pros: Reviewers on Capterra love Marketing 360’s customer service, and having marketing executives dedicated to their account. Reviewers raved about these marketers, saying that they are proactive about offering suggestions and happy to take the time to get to know their businesses to develop a marketing plan tailored to them.

Users also praised Marketing 360’s reporting dashboard, which displays in-depth, easy-to-understand performance data on user marketing activities so you can quickly see how each marketing channel is working for you.

Cons: Setup and familiarizing yourself with the software can take longer than other MailChimp alternatives, according to reviewers. Some users noted that your experience with Marketing 360 depends on the quality of your marketing executive.

A few less-than-enthusiastic reviews centered around neglectful pros and unclear communication around expectations. When you’re talking to Marketing 360’s sales team, get it in writing that you can change marketing pros at any time if the relationship isn’t going well. This will ensure you get the most value out of the system.

3. Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft overview video (Source)

Standout features:

Infusionsoft is marketing automation software designed for small businesses. The company tagline is: “We help Small Businesses Succeed.” The system offers built-in features for the following types of software:

What users say:

Pros: Reviewer on Capterra have a lot of nice things to say about Infusionsoft. They like that it offers so many features, including a customizable online storefront and shopping cart. It also generates forms you can embed on your website. Because all of the above software is included in one system, customer order history is automatically linked to their CRM profile.

Users love Infusionsoft’s flexible and powerful campaign builder, which lets you create campaigns based on user behavior on your site. Infusionsoft automates things like sending your customers letters/cards, and sends push notifications for important milestones in your sales and fulfillment pipeline.

Customers like that Infusionsoft can do pretty much whatever you want it to through copious integrations with third-party providers, and complimented the software’s large, active community of users.

Cons: While the available integrations are numerous, they’re not always easy. Customers complained about having to find developers outside of Infusionsoft to make certain integrations work. In general, Infusionsoft suffered more complaints than compliments on its customer service, with unhelpful agents and slow response times.

According to users, because Infusionsoft is so robust, functionality-wise, it takes a long time to implement and learn. Most of those same users, however, agreed that the results are well worth the initial effort.

Infusionsoft’s anti-spam policies can make it difficult—in some users’ opinion—to get their emails out the door. As an example, if your list is 2,000 contacts and even one of those contacts marks the message as spam, you’ll lose the ability to send emails to anyone.

4. Constant Contact

Constant Contact overview video (Source)

Standout features:

Constant Contact ranks second on Capterra’s most popular email marketing software list and third on our most user-friendly email marketing software list. Their autoresponder feature not only lets you set emails to respond to transactional triggers, but also milestones such as customer birthdays or loyalty anniversaries. Another bonus? Constant Contact recently introduced A/B testing.

What users say:

Pros: Unlike MailChimp, HubSpot Marketing, Marketing 360, and Infusionsoft, Constant Contact is not a marketing automation tool. Capterra users describe it as a powerful email marketing platform.

Users find list segmentation easy with Constant Contact, and appreciate that it merges duplicate contacts so the same email never appears in the same inbox twice. It also lets you set up events and registration within the software.

Customers raved about Constant Contact’s analytics, saying that the reports on how many emails are opened, who opens them, what they click on, and who opts out make it easy to see what’s working and what isn’t in your email strategy. Some data—such as the percentage of opens/click-throughs per recipient group, or how various keywords or send times compare to each other—requires hand-coding to see.

Cons: When it comes to ease-of-use, reviews are mixed. Some marketers find Constant Contact easy to learn and use, while others don’t find it intuitive at all. Most agree that you don’t need to know CSS or HTML to send professional-looking emails, but the provided templates also divided users.

While the templates aren’t hard to edit, they’re a little limited in what you can change. And you may want to change a lot, because a few users described the templates as dated. If you want to create a custom template, you may encounter trouble placing and sizing your images; users described this functionality as inflexible.

Another area with mixed reviews is customer service. While some customers raved about their technicians, others complained of inept agents. And while many users said Constant Contact is well worth what they pay for it, some complained that the pricing is high compared to competitors.

One last thing to keep in mind about Constant Contact is that when you upload a new list of subscribers, the system requires you to prove how they subscribed (if people subscribed via a paper sign-up sheet, for example, you’ll have to upload it.) This can be a problem for older lists lacking such information.

5. iContact Email Marketing

iContact email builder screenshot

iContact email builder screenshot (Source)

Standout features:

iContact ranks seventh on Capterra’s most user-friendly email marketing software list and most popular email marketing software list. The system also lets users copy email templates to use in multiple accounts.

What users say:

Pros: Reviewers on Capterra gave overwhelmingly positive marks to iContact’s user interface, saying that it’s easy to learn and use, including its automation workflows and email builder. Users say that iContact offers a wide array of templates, most of which are sales-related.

Users complimented iContact’s reporting dashboard, saying it keeps them informed of sent emails and queued emails while offering in-depth reporting. iContact also de-duplicates your lists automatically.

The area where iContact users raved the most was customer service. Again and again, customers described their dedicated advisers are friendly, helpful, responsive, creative, and patient. When it comes to pricing, there were no complaints and a few compliments on value for price.

Cons: The one area of consistent complaint was integrations. A few users wish there were more offered integrations, and that the connection to social platforms and CRMs were better.

If you need a save-the-date email or event announcement, you can create your own template with iContact. But modifying or creating emails does require some HTML/CSS knowledge.

6. Robly

Robly website screenshot

Robly website screenshot (Source)

Standout features:

Robly ranks nineteenth on Capterra’s most user-friendly email marketing software list and is, as far as I know, the only email marketing software that guarantees that businesses and non-profits that switch to their system will see a 50% increase in opens.

More impressively, users agree that Robly increased their open, click-through, and subscribe rates and reduced their unsubscribes. Robly uses data science to deliver emails to individuals when they’re most likely to open them, and will automatically re-send emails that aren’t opened with new subject lines.

What users say:

Pros: Reviewers on Capterra adore Robly’s smart sending functionality and raved about its ease of use. Users say that getting colleagues up to speed is easy and quick, regardless of their level of tech savviness. It doesn’t take long to create and schedule professional-looking emails with the drag-and-drop interface.

Robly was also complimented on stability and its lack of bugs and glitches. Its analytics also received compliments, with users saying that the data is easily accessible.

The feedback on Robly’s customer service was overwhelmingly positive, with users saying agents are immediately available via chat, helpful, and even proactive about checking in and asking how they can better serve their customers.

While there were a few complaints about Robly’s pricing being high, far more praised the pricing than complained. Many users love how much value they’re getting for their money and claimed to be saving money since switching from competitors.

Cons: While Robly’s templates are modern and attractive, users wish there were more of them, especially when it comes to mobile-responsive templates.

According to users, it’s not terribly difficult to modify the templates or create your own, but it could be easier. As an example, resizing an image requires manual size editing, rather than dragging the corners.

Another user gripe is the inability to create and save style palettes with pre-set font, color, spacing, etc. Unlike most options on the list, Robly doesn’t yet auto-send birthday or anniversary messages, nor does it have event functionality.

Users also cited insufficient integrations. And if you’re working on a team, it’s worth noting that Robly doesn’t offer separate logins for multiple users on the same account.

7. AgileCRM

AgileCRM workflow screenshot

AgileCRM workflow screenshot (Source)

Standout features:

AgileCRM is a CRM with email marketing functionality, meaning you get all of the email features MailChimp offers along with things like lead scoring and the ability to track deals across the sales pipeline.

What users say:

Pros: Reviewers on Capterra went on about how great it is that AgileCRM offers so many CRM and marketing automation features, loving that you can use it for everything from help desk tickets to creating landing pages for ad campaigns.

Users like that you can easily see your leads’ potential revenue and track and forecast sales with a few clicks. The system’s deals page displays milestones in columns, making it easy to see where all of your deals are in the pipeline.

The system’s campaign builder feature was complimented for its ability to correlate website user behavior to campaign triggers. Users also complimented the marketing automation functionality and landing page builder, describing the system overall as intuitively designed and easy to learn. AgileCRM also offers webinar training and an onboarding team at no extra cost.

Reviewers praised AgileCRM’s customer service, onboarding team, and support agents, saying that the company’s support team really cares about and listens to customers, and will make changes to the system based on user feedback.

Another thing people really like about AgileCRM are the copious native integrations.

User comments about pricing were nearly uniformly positive, with reviewers loving how many features you get for the price. Users also like that instead of upgrading based on number of contacts, you can buy access to features you need via modules.

Cons: Some users complained that the email templates are limited, but noted that you can import existing HTML templates or use the system’s WYSIWYG editor to build your own.

Complaints about glitches primarily concerned integrations. As an example, some reviewers noted that you may need to authorize social media sites over and over again. And because the developers update the system often, you may find the user interface changes drastically from one use to the next.

Which MailChimp alternative is best for your small business?

If you want excellent tracking, customer service, and you’re willing to host your website with your software provider,  HubSpot Marketing  is a great choice. The vendor offers in-depth training on the software and inbound marketing best practices overall at no extra charge. Keep in mind that you’re going to be paying for all of this functionality.

If you’re like most SMBs, you’re long on vision and short on staff. If that’s true at your business,  Marketing 360  provides software and a marketing team all-in-one, plus a great reporting dashboard and excellent customer service.

 Infusionsoft  is aimed at SMBs, but instead of dedicated marketing advisers it’s got a ton of great features. Choose this system if you need email marketing software and a CRM with a customizable online storefront and shopping cart.

 Constant Contact  is both very popular and user-friendly while offering email marketing functionality that other products lack. It’s not a good choice if you need full-on marketing automation or great customer service, but many SMBs don’t. It’s a great choice for the SMB that needs excellent analytics.

 iContact  is both easy to use and popular. It’s a lower-cost choice for the SMB that needs great reporting and solid customer service without many integrations.

 Robly  is an ideal choice for SMBs prioritizing their open, click-through, and subscribe rates and reducing their unsubscribes. While it’s missing some functionality (like auto-sending emails and numerous pre-built templates), it’s inexpensive, offers great customer support, and is easy to learn and use according to users.

And if you really need a CRM, plus marketing automation software, plus a ton of integrations,  AgileCRM  is your best option. It’s got all of that, paired with great customer support. The vendor’s onboarding team makes adopting the software a breeze.

Still looking for your email marketing software version of Kleenex? Check out our email marketing software directory, where you can narrow your choices by desired features and compare options side-by-side.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The post The Top 7 MailChimp Alternatives for Small Business Email Marketing appeared first on Capterra Blog.

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