Email marketing is THE marketing activity your business just has to have! It is much cheaper than other marketing activities, yet it has the highest ROI - on average 40:1, while average Google Ads ROI is 2:1.

Email marketing is THE marketing activity your business just has to have! It is much cheaper than other marketing activities, yet it has the highest ROI - on average 40:1, while average Google Ads ROI is 2:1. Obviously, ROi is not the only reason to do email marketing - it is one of the best solutions how to get to know your clients better and improve good communication with them!

 

Email has endless opportunities to engage with your customers - if you are an e- commerce company you would need automated abandoned cart emails in addition to monthly/weekly newsletters. You could send important and useful info to your customers so that you would become the opinion leader in their eyes. Or maybe you simply want to reach out to customers who have not made a purchase with you in a while. In any case you need some kind of email marketing service to help you out.

 

There are many many email marketing platforms out there and they all do the one basic things- help you send your letters to your customers and give you feedback about open rates and click rates. Yet, not all the the platforms are the same, have similar additional functionalities or comparable prices.

 

Here is the list of mailing platforms that email marketing agency Maildo has worked with compared by how easy it is to upload list, maintain hygiene, send campaigns and see statistics:

 

Mailchimp 

Mailchimp is one of the most used platforms in Estonia and probably also elsewhere thanks to its various possibilities starting from really easy and user-friendly integration with Wordpress until landing pages and postcards.

 

Uploading list: 4,5/5

The easiest way to upload your client list is by using the copy-paste form, just copy your contacts from excel sheet and paste them to Mailchimp. If you paste more than just email address then you can link the field values with information field in the next step.

The only reason for not getting full 5 stars is because you still have to link some fields manually.

 

Maintaining list hygiene 5/5

Mailchimp makes sure your unsubscribes will not get more emails from you. The system is pretty bulletproof, deleting unsubscribes is made so difficult that you cannot do it by accident. Mailchimp also deals with bounces by itself - if an email address hard bounces, it is automatically cleaned from the list. That makes it really easy for the list manager to make sure the deliverability will stay high.

 

Sending campaigns 5/5

Mailchimp has a lot of different options of how to send emails and they have made it really easy! You can do a one time newsletter, automated campaign or A/B testing, use your own premade templates, make a custom one from blocks or write your own HTML code. You can edit sender name, sender email address, subject line and preheader manually, and of course schedule the campaign. Ps, Mailchimp is the only platform in this list which offers to manage preheader in campaign settings.

 

Campaign statistics 5/5

Mailchimp gives you unique open rates and click rates under statistics, which is really awesome! It also compares your campaign to your industry average which is a really good insight. As most other platforms, it also shows you which links your customers have clicked. Besides the visual statistics is you can also download all the numbers as csv campaign by campaign or make a bulk export.

 

Overall, Mailchimp is a really good too for most companies, it is very easy to use, it does a lot of work for you and offers many different integrations. The pricing is reasonable and it offers free plan until you reach 2000 contacts.

 

Getresponse 

Getresponse is another worldwidely known platform which has one unique feature - webinars. So if your business wants to engage customers with webinars, you might want to have a closer look!

Uploading list to get response 3/5

If you want to upload more than just email address you would need to make custom fields first. If you do use this option, make sure your field name is exactly the same as column name in csv, otherwise you would need to match the fields manually with each import. Once you get through the difficult part of matching the fields, the import is actually awesome, because Getresponse will also validate your list and delete invalid emails which would hard bounce and harm your reputation!

 

Maintaining list hygiene 5/5

Similarly to Mailchimp, Getresponse takes care of hard bounces and unsubscribes for you. In addition to that, you still have the opportunity to manually add suppression lists by yourself. This is extremely handy if you manage different platforms which share the same list (like for testing purposes), so that you can add unsubscribes from other platforms under suppression lists in Getresponse.

 

Sending campaigns 4/5

In Getresopnse you need to predetermine the emails and sender names you are going to use for mailings and while sending the campaign you just need to select your preferred option from a drop-down list. As usual, you can edit the subject line for your campaign and build your own template or use a plain html version for coding. Getresponse has a very useful way of selecting recipient lists and suppression lists, which gives you a lot of options for different segmentations. Getresponse also calculates a spam score for your campaign and if you would happen to exceed the score, then you need to edit your template before you can send out the email (otherwise you would damage your reputation). Also they offer a nice option to send out the campaign to customers at the time which they are most likely to see the email and interact with it. If you do not need to send out campaigns on certain times, I recommend to use that option!

 

Campaign statistics 2/5

Getresponse shows you both total and unique open and click rate under campaign statistics. It also gives you the other basic numbers like total number of clicks and opens and unsubscribers. You have the option to compare two campaigns to each other and see average statistics for your preferred time (weekly, bi-weekly or other timelines). It does not offer campaign statistics export though and the amount of statistics shown is somewhat limited.

 

Overall, Getresponse is good for a bit more advanced users as the platform is not as easy to use as some others. It has some great functions like webinars, also automatic list hygiene maintenance, just more advanced users will find more awesome details there (suppression lists, quite advanced segmentation etc).

 

SendSmaily 

SendSmaily is an Estonian email marketing platform and it is one of the most used ones next to Mailchimp. It offers great deliverability and is as good as worldwide platforms in every way!

Uploading new list 5/5

The most comfortable list upload I have seen that far! You can upload both excel sheets and csv files, the platform will read the headings from first line so no manual matching needed! It also reads different type of date formats, you just need to know which format you used while you do the segmentation.

 

Maintaining list hygiene 4/5

As most platforms, SendSmaily excludes unsubscribers and hard bounces from recipients automatically. It is more difficult though if you want to add some suppressed recipients manually - either you ask Smaily to add a certain list to supressions so that those receivers are automatically excluded or you keep a list of unwanted receivers and exclude it from each campaign (while still paying for those contacts).

 

Sending campaigns 5/5

Sending a campaign in SendSmaily is easy- you can determine the subject line and pick any sender name you wish (only sender email is predetermined). You cannot add a campaign name though, which is difficult if you happen to run a lot of campaigns. You can make nice templates on your own or use the template builder. Just make sure you first make the template and after that start making the campaign. Choosing sender list is also awesome, because besides picking the lists you want to send the emails to, you can also pick the exclusion lists. For example, if you would like to send an email to all people in your list who do not have kids, then it can be done really easily.

 

Campaign statistics 4/5

SendSmaily shows you Click Rate and Open Rate for each campaign that you send out. The only downside is that it shows statistics by campaign subject line, which means that in case you send the same subject line out more times, it is more difficult to read the statistics (You can use tags though to make the campaigns different). When exporting all the campaigns you get to see lot more statistics in more details.

 

Overall, SendSmaily is very user-friendly platform with all the possibilities you need to make your email marketing work like magic! There are plugins available for Wordpress so it is easy to make Sendsmaily work together with your website. In addition, pricing for SendSmaily is cheaper than for example Mailchimp.

 

Sendgrid

Sendgrid is the best emailing platform for many many serial campaigners with its simplicity and very good user experience. Their main advantage is the dual view for html-editor, meaning that you can code your template and see the preview next to the code, which makes it really easy to not so proficient email specialists to make changes to the template.

Uploading new list 5/5

It is really easy to add contacts to emailing list in Sendgrid - just upload csv and you will get info about new emails, updated emails and errors into your mailbox. You can add custom fields as well and use all the info for creating segments.

 

Maintaining list hygiene 2/5

Sendrid is a bit more demanding platform as it does exclude unsubscribes from send outs, but hard bounces need to be taken care of manually. That means that every once in a while you would need to download undeliverable email list, upload them to a new list and delete those contacts from your account. If you do not do it, there is a chance your reputation will go down (depending on your list size and send out frequency)

 

Sending campaigns 5/5

Sendgrid has the best template preview that I have seen- you literally have code and visual side next to each other and if you make a change in the code you will immediately see how it affects the visual side. You can also edit the email subject line, choose the sender name and make other adjustments to the send out. It is really easy and all in one step which makes it the most user friendly sending experience that I have seen.

 

Campaign statistics 3/5

The platform does show most important statistics next to each campaign (open rate, click rate and delivery rate) as do other platforms. Compared to others it has much more info in the csv file, but at the same time it also makes the file much more complicated. Why? Because in Sendgrid campaign statistics export file it shows statistics by days, meaning it has campaign total row plus each day in a separate row. So if you want to compare statistics from Sendgrid to some other platform, you will need to do some extra work with the file and that can take some extra time.

 

Sendgrid is a very good platform for a bit more aggressive marketing campaigns and it offers less automation than some other platforms. You need to understand a bit more about emails than with Mailchimp because you need to keep your sender score up and it requires a bit more work than in Mailchimp. But for those who want to control thing by themselves, it is a perfect platform as you can control a lot by yourself.

 

So which email marketing platform does Maildo use?

Each of those four platforms has its own extras and best use cases I personally like Sendgrid the most because it lets me control everything the most and I also love the simplicity of the user interface. SendSmaily is also really good and easy to use, just some minor improvements would be needed. Mailchimp is definitely the best one for beginners and it offers a lot of extra features to help you grow your online business. Getresponse has also a lot of extra features but by user experience it is the weakest - it is somewhat difficult to understand compared to the other platforms. In our ongoing projects we are currently using Mailchimp and SendSmaily as these suit the best with our clients needs.

 

If you are thinking about which platform to choose, feel free to leave a comment below or write to info@maildo.ee! We are more than happy to help you with finding the best solutions that meets the needs that you have!