21
67 Comments

Switching away from Mailchimp

I cannot login to my mailchimp account and have enough of it. Which email automation solution do you use and recommend? Preferably with a free or cheap starting plan

  1. 9

    EmailOctopus is where it's at! 2500 subscribers on their free plan!

    They're big selling point for me (alongside price) is that they are really focused on emails. All of Mailchimp's superfluous features just got really annoying for me. It was very cluttered.

    Disclaimer: EmailOctopus does sponsor my website haha! But honestly, I've been using well before that happened and would recommend them either way!

    1. 2

      Thanks @harrydry, I love your website ;)
      Does EmailOctopus work well with both email campaign and transactional?

      1. 1

        EmailOctopus doesn't support Transactional email campaigns last I checked.

        Here is a comparison of low cost email marketing services, including EmailOctopus and transactional leaders SendGrid and MailGun (plus the product I own - BigMailer). The article has a feature comparison and helps understand the difference in pricing models - per records stored vs. per email sent (with limits and overage fees that providers like Sendgrid have)

      2. 1

        Thanks a lot Sam. And yep!

  2. 7

    If you are running a SaaS and want to have all emails done under one roof - try Sidemail (I'm a co-founder).

    If you're looking for something newsletter specific - Butttondown and Email octopus have free plans and are popular in the community.

    1. 3

      Sidemail developer here. Curious, what sort of email automations you need, @Sam_insurgent? Email sequences?

      Also, on Sidemail's free plan you can have unlimited subscribers :).

      We're in private beta (product-ready) and if you'd like to try it - join our mailing list and Kristyna or me will give you the access :)

      1. 3

        I would like to try it, but I don't have Saas. What features make it just for Saas?

        1. 2

          Great to hear that! 🙃Take it as a mission statement that dictates on what on who we're focusing on :) You don't have to run a SaaS to use Sidemail, but as a whole package, you'd get the most value out of it if you did.

          To get inside, please join our mailing list and we'll add on the whitelist. Otherwise, get in touch with me directly: [email protected].

          1. 1

            I joined the mailing list. I will start testing your product with my next product launch (scheduled by the last week of september). I don't want to test a new email service at scale, I suppose that you can understand it.

      2. 1

        Hey Hi @pkrupar, I have joined your mailing list for access, but the site was not working properly. Anyways, whats the catch with unlimited subscribers? How many emails can I send per month? do you offer automated emails like welcome message or series of 3 automated messages like a funnel? That would be super helpful. Again why I am not choosing sidemail is that currently I am automating my leads through a survey form via Zapier. Zapier and Integromat doesnt seems to have option of integrating Sidemail. If you could add your app into this tools, may be there's a much better scope of getting customers down the line.

      3. 1

        Mostly transactional (sign-up, error...) and email campaign.

    2. 2

      Thanks and good luck with Sidemail. I am looking for a slightly more mature solution with advanced analytics and integration with Zapier, etc...
      I think Email Octopus seems a better fit

      1. 2

        Thanks, Sam. It appears you may have misunderstood that. The difference between Sidemail and Buttondown/Emailoctopus is:

        • Buttondown and Emailoctopus are for marketing emails only - it's great for newsletters and marketing campaigns
        • Sidemail is a complete solution - it handles all marketing and transactional emails (e.g., password reset, SSO, welcome email). And of course, it has all essential analytics like deliveries, open rate, bounce, and history, including email's timeline.

        Hope it's more clear now 🙂 We have a new landing page in making where all features are described with screenshots. Hope we'll release it next week. Good luck to you too!

        1. 1

          Out of curiosity, why making it specific to SaaS? Is it just marketing or do you develop features specific to SaaS that nobody else does?

          1. 1

            A few comments above there is a similar question, Patrik already answered: "You don't have to run a SaaS to use Sidemail, but as a whole package, you'd get the most value out of it if you did."

      2. 1

        EmailOctopus doesn't offer support for transactional emails. BigMailer (I own) on the other hand supports all major types - bulk, automation/drip, and transactional, and we have been live for 3+ years. We are currently working on Zappier integration and will have it available within a few weeks (<1month).

        Our Startup plan is FREE for up to 5,000 contacts (email adresses) and comes with unlimited monthly emails. We also have live chat support 7 days a week :-)

        1. 2

          I just signed up but was disturbed by the UI. Is it working only if I have an aws account?

          1. 2

            Yes, same as EmailOctopus*, which IH community seems to like a lot. This is why the price is so low. You connect your own Amazon SES to BigMailer. SES has its own free tier - up to 2k emails per day free (up to 60k per month).
            Why is explained here: https://www.bigmailer.io/amazon-ses-email-marketing/

            We offer free setup assistance, so you just need to create an AWS account yourself if you don't already have one.

            *EmailOctopus was positioned as a platform that runs on SES for 3 years, but 2 weeks ago they renamed that part of their original core service to EmailOctopus Connect and now offer typical service, but it's x3 the price tag compared to the service via Amazon SES.

  3. 2

    I had enough of them yesterday.
    So far I made a super dumb version of newsletter software myself in under 1 hour, but at some point I will switch to some other app.
    Right now I just post updates on how appliku.com development is progressing.
    Later I'll need all sorts of marketing, onboarding sequences etc

    1. 2

      Mailchimp is so painful to use. The good news is there are tons of alternatives listed in this thread, and they almost all are at least 2x better.
      SendingBlue, Mailerlite, Convertkit, ActiveCampaign, Moosend, SendGrid, Mailjet SendPulse, EmailOctopus...

      1. 2

        Thanks.
        Yeah good to know that I am not the only one feeling this way about MC.
        How come oldest service becomes the worst.
        Evidently lack of focus, trying to be a tool for everyone and no one.
        They gotta find their niche or they will go out of business at some point. Dinosaur

        1. 1

          They MC has the worst UX/UI of all solutions, is full of bugs, but still is market leaders. Probably because MC makes easy for people to start on their free plan.

          I have spent an entire day reviewing all solutions. If your usage is really basic then Mailerlite, Sendinblue, Moosend, EmailOctopus, Sendgrid will do the job for free. Let me know which one you prefer in the end :)

    1. 1

      Can you please share more about choosing ConvertKit for your email needs? It seems to be targeting bloggers as ideal customers, how well is it suited for say SaaS businesses? Do you use a different service for your transactional emails? If your list size is more than 5,000 what is pricing like (since it's listed as custom on CK pricing page)?

      Big thanks in advance for any additional info.

    2. 0

      Not bootstrappers/startup friendly :-(

      ConvertKit's 3 pricing tiers all fall under BigMailer's free tier :-o Mind boggling...

  4. 2

    Personally I am a big fan of mailer lite (mailerlite.com). It's easy for me to create & filter group and they and have an intuitive automation workflow. It's free for the first 1000 subs.

  5. 2

    For email campaigns and automation you should give https://www.klaviyo.com a try :)

    1. 1

      What's great about them?

  6. 2

    Hey @Sam_insurgent
    You can try Mailmeteor if you are using Gmail: https://mailmeteor.com

    Mailmeteor lets you send email campaigns from your Gmail inbox, contrary to email marketing softwares - like Mailchimp. For your recipients, it is as if you actually wrote each and every emails. It means better email deliverability, less spams and way better opening rates!

    1. 1

      Thanks, but I am looking for good analytics reports, automation and API

  7. 2

    I have been using Sendgrid for the last few years. If you dont need anything complex they are good. Their main product is good. After the sale to Slack their tech support seems very slow though.

    1. 1

      I like their UI and analytics, their contact management is not the best though

  8. 2

    If you need to send event-based emails, do more sophisticated marketing automation — like send leads to a CRM, etc. then we can. I run Encharge.io which starts at $16/mo.

    Our customers are early-stage SaaS and mobile startups.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing. The UI looks good which is a good start, but why is the pricing so high? $16 to get started then $130 from 5001 subscribers?
      Perhaps I am missing the real value of that solution

      1. 2

        Great question. And thank you for the feedback. We need to define our value and positioning better.

        The short answer is Mailchimp, Mailerlite, EmailOctopus, etc. are ESP (email service providers), Encharge is a marketing automation tool. Different categories really.

        The longer answer:

        If you need a simple email sending solution for one-off, untargeted newsletter blasts go with Mailchimp, Mailerlite, EmailOctopus/AWS or a similar. They're cheaper and would do the job.

        The value of Encharge comes when you need to do more advanced automation based on triggers, events, hyper-segmentation, and using customer data from other tools.

        We have a visual drag and drop workflow builder that you can set up automations like:

        1. Start an email sequence when a new Stripe subscriber subscribes for your SaaS.

        Send different dynamic email content based on their subscription plan.

        Add Small plan subscribers to a Facebook Ads Audience

        and big plan subscribers to Hubspot lead for high-touch nurturing.

        1. Multi-step visual flows/customer journeys with dozens and hundreds of steps. This flow is an example flow from one of our clients - https://cl.ly/90cf2cc7c111

        2. You can check our templates for more examples: https://encharge.io/#flow-templates

        Most of our customers are high-tech startups that need to go beyond email newsletters with complete lifecycle marketing automation campaigns.

        While some of this is partially possible with ESP + Zapier, it's like using a hammer to slice bread. You'd probably be able to do it, but it's going to be messy and slow.

        ---
        Use ESP when:

        • you're pre-launch and just collecting pre-launch emails
        • don't have an email list at all
        • want to send weekly/monthly newsletters

        Use Encharge/marketing automation tools:

        • If you're post-launch
        • Want to send lifecycle messages that feel like an extension of your product
        • Need to convert more trials/free users to paid
        • Have a high-touch sales + self serve model and need to orchestrate and automate that process
        • Have customer data in multiple different locations

        I hope that explains it better.

        If you share more about your situation, I'm happy to give you a more tailored answer.

        1. 1

          So who would you say main competitors of encharge are - ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Customer.io, and Drip?

          A smaller version of a comparison chart like this might help:
          https://www.bigmailer.io/bulk-email-marketing-services/

          I have a giant Gsheet spreadsheet with 2 dozen providers that helped me find gaps in competitor offerings and figure out pricing. I find it helpful to reference when talking to customers that are comparing services. Maybe I can share it with you, DM if interested.

          P.S. I do understand your positioning, but probably because I work in same space.

          1. 1

            You nailed it down! Customer.io, ActiveCampaign, and Auotopilot are our main competitors. Convertkit is not so sophisticated when it comes to marketing automation and Drip has really moved into the eCom space, while we target SaaS/mobile apps, so I don't see them as direct competition.

            We have a huge work to do to articulate (and figure out) our positioning, we're far away from product/market fit. That spreadsheet would definitely help! Dm'ing you now

            Edit: I noticed you haven't left your contact email here, so I can't get in touch :/ Any chance you can send it over to [email protected] ? Really appreciated.

        2. 1

          I have tried Mailerlite, Sendgrid, Moosend, Emailpulse, Sendingblue and they all have ruled-based workflow automation and event-based triggers.

          Having an email solution that acts like an extension of the product is great in order to have used behaviour-based emailing. That's what mixpanel does, but their plans are expensive.

          How does encharge do it?

          1. 1

            Mailerlite and Moosend are geared towards eCom companies and really lack in terms of Triggers and Actions for SaaS/mobile apps.

            Also, I wouldn't recommend Mailerlite for workflows. it does lack some features that will make creating workflows a pain in the butt once you start to do more advanced sequences. I know because we had a couple of customers switching from Mailerlite to us recently.

            Haven't used Emailpulse and Sendinblue flow builder, so can't say there.

            Sendgrid is a good choice for transactional emails especially if you're a developer but they don't really have a visual workflow builder.

            "Having an email solution that acts like an extension of the product is great in order to have used behaviour-based emailing. That's what mixpanel does, but their plans are expensive.

            How does encharge do it?"

            Native integrations with Segment.com, Stripe, CRMs, and others + powerful segmentation based on attributes and events.

            --

  9. 2

    Hi Sam, I've been using Sendgrid to send 1-6k emails per month without problems for my SaaS (three years and counting), there was one time where messages were being delayed but I've never experienced something that I consider a deal breaker. I switched away from MailChimp when they updated their pricing table, at that moment we could not pay for it and now we are sticking with SendGrid.

    1. 1

      Sendgrid looks really solid and free to get started ;)

  10. 2

    I am currently using Sendinblue for https://www.jobtrackable.com/ but I have tried Sendgrid and Mailchimp.

    Although Sendgrid has good deliver-ability and open rates, Sendinblue is much easier to use. You can send 300 email/day on their free plan.

    1. 1

      If I have 900 subscribers, is it possible to send a newsletter over 3 days using the free plan?

      1. 1

        Yeah. You can spread it out.

        1. 1

          Perfect. I found that Sendingblue has the best UI and audience management functionalities

          1. 1

            Great. All the best.

  11. 2

    We just wrote an article about 17 of our favourite - https://mailfloss.com/17-of-the-best-email-marketing-services-for-small-businesses/. You can skip number 1 since it's MailChimp :) But they all have their pros and cons. My favourite low-cost, paid ones are Drip, ConvertKit, and ActiveCampaign. If you want free and simple you could go with MailerLite.

    1. 1

      Interesting article. Although I don't understand how it's possible to position Mailchimp in the first place. Their UI/UX is unbelievably bad.
      Why did you rank MailerLite only #14?

      1. 1

        It's not best to worst. Just our favourites. I definitely wouldn't say MailerLite is #14 vs MailChimp #1, it really depends on use cases. It's funny how you mention how bad their UI/UX is because they probably spend more time and thought on their UI/UX than any of the other services out there. You can google "mailchimp ux" to see what I mean. They do put a lot of effort into theirs, but I understand it isn't for everybody.

        1. 1

          Oh so they actually have product designers? I thought the whole UX was made by developers between 2 integration tests :D

    1. 2

      You must be a hardcore dev ;)

  12. 2

    I'm working with mailchimp for my FbaMonthly project, I do run into multiple annoyances with it as well. But currently, my biggest bet is on automation -- I'm generating newsletter with a Jekyll website.

    And trying to plug my own template into mailchimp as well, through api's.

    I'm really loving Postmark for transaction emails, they are bootstrapped and awesome support. They have announced Message Streams feature:
    https://postmarkapp.com/blog/feature-announcement-introducing-message-streams

    We’re now ready to start our final push to make bulk sending via our API and SMTP available to everyone.

    I'm seriously considering using them for all my emails!

    1. 1

      Is Postmark good only for transactional emails? I went on their website and couldn't see any email marketing automation.

  13. 2

    I'm going to announce https://icemail.app soon - the SaaS I'm building right now, tailored specifically for indie hackers, startups and small businesses.

    1. 1

      Thanks, please let me know once you launch and I will have a look ;)
      But I need a new solution right now

  14. 2

    I've had enough of Mailchimp, too (lost their focus, horrible UI imho)...

    I switched from Mailchimp and Mailgun to Mailjet (https://www.mailjet.com) and use it for all my projects now. Fairly solid template editor, built for both marketing and transactional emails, straightforward API and fair pricing. Another plus for me personally was that they are EU-based.

  15. 2

    I had serious issues with mailchimp too.

    I would throughly recommend mailerlite. Super simple to use and pretty well-known.

  16. 1

    There are so many good email marketing solution that I don't even know which one to pick: mailerlite, moosend, sendgrind, sendingblue, sendpulse, emailoctopus, mailjet, activecampaign... and certainly many more

    1. 2

      I would highly recommend picking a platform that supports transactional, automation, and bulk campaigns on a single price point - this would cut your list of providers to choose from by 75%. This will save you migration or paying at 2 platforms. The biggest reason - you want to have your bounce/unsubscribe data synced automatically and build automations based on engagement with other campaign types (esp. transactional).

      Most platforms don't support bulk + transactional on a single price plan. If you didn't mind the price tag my top choice from your list would be ActiveCampaign.

      If you send a lot of transactional emails or plan to send frequent bulk campaigns (more than 2 per month), then pricing based on contacts stored is more favorable. For infrequent campaigns the pricing based on emails sent (preferred by transactional email leaders like SendGrid, MailGun) is better.

  17. 1

    For transactional email I've been incredibly happy with Postmark. However, you can not use them to send out marketing mails. Their cheapest plan is $10 for 10K emails per month.

  18. 1

    I’ve been using GMass by @RealAjayGoel and it’s one of the most amazing tools I’ve ever used.

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