In this article, we’ll discuss Mailchimp’s recent move to channel out its email automation/drip campaign feature for the free plan and what you can do about it.
In a move likely to cause a stir online, the cute little email marketing monkey company of the internet, Mailchimp, has discontinued its email automation feature for its free, and even one of its paid tier plans. It’s a bizarre move considering Mailchimp was famed for being one of the most early business-friendly email service providers, especially for those just starting out, but as they say, not all good things can last forever.
Here at SMBfission, almost all of our clients utilized MailChimp as most of them had a list size of under 2,000 users (the free limit), the simple automation features provided for a perfect email solution for almost all of them, even without having to pay a dime. It was a generous gift considering that all of this was provided for free. As automation is a key feature and component for a business owner – we’re shocked to see that Mailchimp took it a step further and removed email automation from even their first paid-tier (although they aren’t the only company to have made such a move). Surprisingly, Mailchimp approached this move slightly under the radar, avoiding President Trump-like behavior of broadcasting all of their doings via Twitter through a public announcement.
Alternative Email Automation Solutions will Soon Benefit
Mailchimp has become a hallmark name in the small business, medium-sized business, entrepreneurs, non-profits and even to some extent enterprise-sized company communities. It’s tenure, while not the eldest email marketing provider, is fairly senior in comparison to other players. It’s likely that they either had too many inactive accounts or too many accounts that didn’t give them a return on investment (I know, I know, they made a nice $500 million last year, but you know what I mean.) Because Mailchimp has made such a user-friendly product and provides integrations (whether in-house or by third parties) to almost every single platform, it’s very likely this segment of users will go elsewhere. The question is where… we have 3 suggestions for email marketing providers with free automation features for you just below.
What are some Mailchimp alternatives?
Email Automation Provider Recommendation Number #1: Sendinblue
We’re going to start off with our favorite recommendation, in fact, we personally possibly prefer this provider more than Mailchimp itself. Technically Sendinblue provides more emails and contacts per month, but there is a catch, you can only send 600 emails per day (depending on the free plan that you received). You’re thinking, damn! I have 1,000… 2,000…. 3,000… people on my list! Well, it’s not really so bad as breaking out the launches over a span of a few days may pay off in deliverability; it also allows for you make changes if your campaigns are not performing. Here’s why we love this little French company:
- Technically unlimited contacts and email sends (limited to 600 per day).
- Nice WYSIWYG email design editor.
- Full automation features through a nice visual journey-flow editor.
- Tons, and tons of integrations with other third-party vendors – including many WordPress plugins.
- The first paid-tier is only around $25/month for 40,000 emails per month (a lot of emails) (used to be $17 🙁 ).
- Great SMTP & transactional messaging integration (good for WordPress users).
- Great sender verification and send reputation.
- Unlimited contacts (can we say… data dump!)
- Includes opt-in forms and reporting/statistics as well.
Free Email Automation Recommendation Number #2: Sendpulse
Our second recommendation comes originally from Ukraine, which is a country that despite it’s political and economic situation provides of a lot of tech talent to countries around the world. Sendpulse has long since migrated operations to the United States. The Sendpulse email marketing tool is rich with impressive features, especially for a free plan. It also comes with slightly more contacts (2,500) with the ability to send up to 15,000 emails. There are no daily limits like with Sendinblue but this dreamy picture just got more dreamy because they recently removed a domain verification limitation that kept you from fully verifying your ownership of your domain (they used to only provide it to paid users)… thus this solution may prove to be an even better solution than MailChimp for small business. With the free plan, you’re able to do the following:
- Have up to 2,500 contacts with up to 15,000 monthly emails.
- Send affordable marketing text and Viber messages.
- They have a sleek and feature-rich email journey automation wizard/feature.
- Like Sendinblue, there are a good number of third-party integrations, including several with WordPress plugins.
- Utilize their push-message tool, free.
- Great SMTP & transactional messaging integration (12,000 emails per month for free).
- As of 2019, you can now fully verify your domain and sender ownership with DMARC, DKIM, and SPF credentials in the free plan.
- Includes opt-in forms and A/B testing features as well.
Email Automation SaaS Recommendation Number #3: EmailOctopus
Last but not least is a light-weight, and leaner competitor, EmailOctopus. The thing about this provider is that technically EmailOctopus utilizes the free Amazon SES account to send emails (up to a whooping 62,000 per month) and like Sendpulse, EmailOctopus gives you up to 2,500 contacts in the database. The features may feel a bit more limiting than Sendpulse or Sendinblue as the automation tree is a bit more linear and simple – however we feel some business owners may actually appreciate that. Analytics are only tracked for a max of 90 days and there are less integrations out there (however they do exist). If simplicity is your game, this might be a good solution. PS – if you don’t have an Amazon SES account, EmailOctopus guides you through the process but do be aware it does take a little time. Here’s what we see in EmailOctopus:
- Simple but easy to navigate email WYSIWYG designer.
- 2,500 contacts.
- Up to 62,000 free emails.
- Free linear/autoresponder-like automation feature.
- Simple reporting tracked for 90 days.
- Good send reputation as the emails are send via Amazon.
- Includes opt-in forms and a WordPress plugin.
- Fairly simple compared to Sendpulse in terms of features.
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