MailChimp vs AWeber: Which Email Service Provider Is Best for You?
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If you think that the best way to promote your blog and engage with your audience is to post on social media, think again. While social media can be a powerful tool for getting people to visit your blog (and for informing current followers about new blog content), the power of social media is nothing compared to email marketing.
Email can feel like an old-fashioned tool, yet millions of people continue to use it as part of their daily lives. This represents an opportunity to get your message in front of more people than would ever realistically see it on social media.
Yet, it can feel overwhelming to choose an email marketing tool. There are dozens out there, all claiming to be the best. To keep you from going crazy, let’s take a look at how two of the most popular email marketing tools compare: MailChimp and AWeber.
To help you figure out which tool is right for your needs, we compared AWeber and MailChimp based on the following criteria:
With each of these criteria considered, we’ll be able to give you an overall assessment of each program and help you decide which you should use.
Both MailChimp and AWeber claim to offer a variety of powerful email marketing tools. But how do the two compare when it comes to features?
Though both are long-standing players in the email marketing game, AWeber has been around longer — CEO Tom Kulzer founded the company in 1998. Thus, the company has had a long time to develop and perfect their software.
Here’s a list of the key features AWeber offers:
- Email Automation — Welcome new subscribers, follow up with prospective customers, and automatically send emails notifying subscribers of new posts.
- Email Newsletters — Turn each blog post you publish into an email newsletter, or send custom newsletters to keep your subscribers updated.
- Sign-Up Forms — Create and customize forms to capture emails and turn readers into subscribers.
- Drag and Drop Editor — Customize the way your emails look without having to know any code. You also have access to over 6,000 free stock images and buttons to use in your emails.
- Subscriber Segmenting — Once your blog is growing, you can segment your subscribers in order to send them customized content.
- Email Tracking — Track important statistics like open rates and click-throughs, all displayed in graphs for easy reference.
- Third-Party Integrations — Integrate with WordPress, Leadpages, and dozens of other programs that you use to run your blog.
- Mobile App — Offers several apps to track subscriber information, create emails, and grow your list.
MailChimp entered the market a few years after AWeber (in 2001), but they’ve since grown to become one of the biggest players in the email marketing industry, even entering the mainstream through television and radio ads.
They don’t disappoint in features, either, offering all the things you’d want in a modern email marketing program:
- Email Templates — Create beautiful HTML emails using the many templates available, or code your own design from scratch.
- Email Designer — Drag and drop photos and content blocks to create the design you want.
- Marketing Automation — Target people based on behavior, preferences, and previous sales in order to welcome new subscribers, reach out to people who abandon their online shopping carts, and win back lapsed customers.
- Segmentation and Groups — Allow subscribers to choose which content they want to receive, ensuring that people only see the messages that are most relevant to their interests and needs.
- A/B Testing — Compare how different subject lines, email copy, and delivery time affect open rates and engagement.
- Landing Pages — Create landing pages to promote products, sell courses, or get new subscribers to opt-in to your email list.
- Custom Sign-Up Forms — Use pop-up, embedded, and hosted forms to attract new subscribers, all with complete control over the way the forms appear.
- Mobile App — Create new email campaigns and track subscriber activity on the go.
In general, the two programs are equal in terms of the features they offer. The main differences are as follows:
- Built-In Landing Pages — While AWeber technically supports landing pages, they require you to use a third-party provider such as Leadpages in order to make the functionality available. MailChimp, in contrast, has a built-in landing page feature that requires no external apps.
- Ecommerce Tools — MailChimp offers more tools for ecommerce overall, with features such as abandoned cart emails and support for Google Remarketing Ads, Facebook Ad Campaigns, and Instagram Ad Campaigns. These will only be relevant, of course, if you’re running a blog as a marketing tool for your ecommerce store.
For a beginner, however, these minor feature difference won’t matter that much. Either tool has all the features you need to begin using email marketing for your blog.
Features are fun to talk about, but at the end of the day, usability matters just as much. It doesn’t matter how many cool features a program claims to have if you can’t easily use them. Between AWeber and MailChimp, which is easier to use?
Overall, both programs are equally user friendly. To be sure, there are some features of one program that are easier to access than the other. AWeber, for example, has a more intuitive automations interface than MailChimp. And MailChimp’s direct integration with Google Analytics makes it much easier to track where your subscribers are coming from (this is possible to do in AWeber, but it requires manual tracking that’s tedious to implement).
When you’re just getting started, however, both programs will be easy enough to pick up and start sending emails from day one, which is all that matters in the beginning.
Email marketing platforms provide a powerful service to bloggers and business owners. But this power isn’t free, especially given the costs of developing and running email marketing software at scale.
When you’re first starting out, cost can be an essential factor when choosing which email marketing tool to use. How do MailChimp and AWeber compare based on cost? Let’s take a look:
The amount you pay for AWeber is based on your number of subscribers. This is how they price:
- 0–500 subscribers: $19/month
- 501–2,500 subscribers: $29/month
- 2,501–5,000 subscribers: $49/month
- 5,001–10,000 subscribers: $69/month
- 10,001–25,000 subscribers: $149/month
- More than 25,000 subscribers: Custom quotes available
To help you decide if their software is right for you, AWeber offers a 30-day free trial. They do require you to enter credit card information to sign up for the trial, but you are free to cancel anytime before your trial ends to avoid being charged.
Regardless of your list size and monthly payments, you’ll receive all the features that AWeber has to offer, including their responsive customer support (which we discuss in more detail below).
The pricing structure that MailChimp uses is more complicated than AWeber’s. It is based partially on the size of your list, but it also depends on the features you want. Let’s look at each part of the pricing.
MailChimp has three base prices that you’ll pay, which have to do mainly with the features you want access to. The plans are as follows:
- Forever Free: This free account costs $0/month for up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails sent per month. You’ll get free email support for your first 30 days on this plan, as well as all the features you need to start building your email list.
- Growing Business: This plans starts at $10/month. With it, you get additional features such as an unlimited number of email sends, live chat and email support, send time optimization, and custom branding.
- Pro: This plan costs an extra $199/month, for which you get priority support, advanced segmentation tools, multivariate testing, and more.
Beyond these pricing tiers, the cost of MailChimp depends on your list size. As long as you stay under 12,000 emails per month, your cost for a list of up to 2,000 subscribers will be $0. Once you get beyond that number of emails, the cost goes up to $20 (before any other add-ons).
Beyond 2,000 subscribers, the cost jumps to $30, increasing from there in a manner that isn’t exactly straightforward. The best way to figure out what you’ll pay is to use MailChimp’s pricing calculator, which you can see an example of in the screenshot below:
As you can see in the screenshot, MailChimp also offers another pricing option: Pay as you go. In this system, you pay a flat price for a certain number of “Email Credits,” which allow you to pay for each email you send individually. This plan is for infrequent email senders who don’t use MailChimp often enough to justify a monthly pricing plan but also want more features than are available in the Forever Free plan.
The minimum number of credits you can buy is 5,000, which will cost you $150. As you buy more credits, the cost per email sent decreases. See the screenshot below for an example:
Comparing AWeber and MailChimp’s pricing, it’s difficult to pick a winner. It really depends on where you are in your blog or small business. MailChimp’s Forever Free plan is a compelling option for new bloggers who want to grow their email list to a decent size without having to pay anything.
However, the lack of certain features (especially ongoing support) can be frustrating, and the combination of per-subscriber cost as well as additional charges for certain features likely makes AWeber a better price when you reach higher numbers of subscribers.
For instance, at 20,000 subscribers, you’d pay a flat fee of $149/month for AWeber. For that number of subscriber in a MailChimp account, you’d pay a minimum price of $150/month before the Pro add-on (whose extra fees would bring your total monthly cost to $349/month).
No matter how easy it is to use or how many cool features it has, you’re inevitably going to encounter a time when you need customer support for your email marketing software. How do MailChimp and AWeber compare in their customer service?
MailChimp Customer Support
MailChimp offers live chat support and email support to all paying customers on the Growing Business plan. They also give the same support to Forever Free customers during their first 30 days using the platform, as well as priority support to Pro subscribers. They also have a Knowledge Base that anyone can search for free to get answers to common questions.
AWeber Customer Support
AWeber offers 24/7 email and live chat support to all customers, regardless of how many subscribers they have. They also offer phone support 8 a.m.–8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, as well as an extensive Knowledge Base where you can search for answers to common questions.
In addition, their customer service has won awards, with recognition from the Stevie Awards and the National Customer Service Association.
Between the two platforms, AWeber’s customer service wins. In addition to their official recognition for customer service excellence, they stand apart from MailChimp in offering phone support. Furthermore, they offer an equal level of support to all their customers, no matter their business size.
At the end of the day, who wins in the battle of AWeber vs MailChimp? It all depends on what you value most.
Choose AWeber if:
- Customer service is most important to you (and you want phone support)
- You have (or anticipate having) a large email list
- You don’t mind paying a small amount of money to start
On the other hand, choose MailChimp if:
- You need more powerful analytics tools (especially for ecommerce)
- You want built-in landing pages
- You want a free tool to test email marketing for your blog
We hope this guide has given you the knowledge you need to decide which email platform is best for you. AWeber and MailChimp are just a couple of the email marketing services out there. For an examination of how AWeber stacks up vs ConvertKit in terms of split testing, usability, and autoresponder features, check out our ConvertKit vs AWeber article.
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