In a world of social media, AI, and other innovative opportunities for marketing, email is still the best way to connect with your target audience.
Love it or hate it, email gets results. That’s why the US spent over 350 million dollars on email marketing in 2019 alone.
Email is effective because it’s everywhere. It’s the first thing many customers check when they wake up, thanks to a handy app on their smartphone. Plus, our inbox is where we spend most of our time procrastinating or typing out messages to colleagues in the office.
The question is, how do you take advantage of the benefits that email marketing has to offer?
59% of customers say that marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions, but manually collecting a list of thousands of leads and sending them messages one-by-one would take forever.
MailChimp is an affordable marketing tool with a cheeky mascot and a ton of brand reach. It’s hard to find a marketing leader that hasn’t heard of MailChimp these days. On the other hand, Aweber’s claim to fame is its heritage. With over 20 years in the industry, this is a tool with legacy.
So, which do you choose?
Let’s find out.
Aweber vs MailChimp: An Introduction
Let’s start with an overview of what you can expect from both MailChimp and Aweber.
Aweber was created way back in 1998 by a man called Tom Kulzer. He wanted to make email marketing simpler and more accessible to the masses, and thus Aweber was born. Today, the company has more than 100,000 users around the globe, as well as a ton of great features, like in-depth reporting tools, hundreds of templates, auto-responders, and more.
Aweber advertises itself as a stress-free email marketing tool that does 90% of the work for you.
MailChimp, on the other hand, was the brainchild of Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius. The company sparked to life in 2001 – not that long after Aweber. Its quirky ad campaigns, and unique brand appeal grabbed the attention of customers across the globe.
Today, MailChimp is a leading marketing platform with millions of users. The company offers high-level autoresponders, templates, analytics, and a free version that’s compelling for small businesses.
Here’s what both MailChimp and Aweber have in common:
- They let you import and host a mailing list of potential leads.
- They both give you access to sign-up forms for collecting sales opportunities
- Each option allows you to create newsletters in HTML or plain text
- Both come with a range of templates to get you started
- MailChimp and Aweber both include autoresponders, to push your customers through their buying journey
- Both include statistics and reports to give you a better view of your marketing campaigns
- They each come with integrations with other leading tools
- Both help you to optimize the performance of your email newsletters.
So, what do Aweber and MailChimp do differently?
Read on to find out.
Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Pricing
Perhaps one of the first things that anyone looks at when purchasing a new software solution is price. After all, we’ve all got a budget to think about.
Both Aweber and Mailchimp do what they can to keep pricing affordable, although many find that MailChimp is more appealing from a budgetary perspective.
Aweber’s pricing options are very straightforward, with five plans to choose from including:
- $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers
- $29 per month for 501-2500 subscribers
- $49 per month for 2,500-5,000 subscribers
- $69 per month for 5,000-10,000 subscribers
- $149 per month for 10,000 to 25,000 subscribers
If you’ve got more than 25,000 subscribers (lucky you), you’ll need to call Aweber for a custom quote.
On the other hand, MailChimp has four pricing tiers to choose from, starting from its much-coveted free tier. The free tier covers the basics for your email marketing campaign, but that’s it.
The free plan comes with single step automations, a maximum of one customer list, a monthly sending limit of 10,000 emails, and a handful of email templates. You do get a few extra features like abandoned cart emails, but no A/B testing or multivariate testing.
The premium tiers are priced as follows:
- Essential – from $9.99 per month
- Standard – from $14.99 per month
- Premium – from $299.99 per month
The more you spend with Mailchimp, the more you can access in terms of subscriber count, account users, sending limits, and more. Some higher-level plans, such as “Premium,” include things like advanced segmentation and reporting too – things that definitely come in handy for your campaigns. Even advanced split testing is only available at a higher tier.
Although the free plan from MailChimp may seem particularly attractive at first, it’s worth noting that it has a lot of limitations. You can only send up to 10,000 emails, and the MailChimp logo will appear on all of your emails. Plus, you don’t get customer support with the free version.
Though Aweber might seem a little more expensive, you get more of the features you need straight away, including customer service. One area where MailChimp does stand out is with its Pay as You Go pricing tier. This allows you to pay a set fee for every email you sent. This model could be useful for businesses that aren’t sure what they need from their email marketing yet. No such comparative plan exists on Aweber.
Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Ease of Use and Functionality
Even the best email marketing tool won’t be much good if you struggle to use it.
MailChimp and Aweber both claim to be simple and straightforward. However, each solution comes with its pros and cons to consider.
For instance, MailChimp offers a quick and easy-to-navigate back-end. You can find build your emails and skip through template options with ease. Unfortunately, a few things are difficult to find in the system, like how to add opt-in options for new sign-ups.
On the plus side, the navigation menu allows you to keep track of what you’re doing pretty successfully.
Another great thing about MailChimp from a usability perspective is that it comes with large font sizes and a lot of white space. This allows for a much cleaner looking interface that makes everything easier to absorb. However, you might have to spend a little longer searching for what you need.
On the other hand, despite MailChimp’s foibles, Aweber is still a lot more complicated to use. Figuring out how to reuse a campaign or even choose a sender address takes far too much time. Additionally, navigating between different steps of your campaign takes too much effort too.
Aweber also struggles with confusing naming conversions. For instance, newsletters are called “Broadcasts,” which might make them harder to find. Additionally email automations are called “Campaigns.” Aweber, on the plus side, has a more comprehensive dashboard from the moment that you sign in, so you can find what you need a lot faster.
Although neither Aweber nor Mailchimp are perfect usability wise, but Mailchimp is likely to be a better option for beginners just getting started. If you know your way around email tools already, and you don’t mind learning some new terms, Aweber might be the better choice.
Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Design and Templates
Your email marketing platform provides the tools you need to share your brand and message with the world. Templates and themes are the key to ensuring that your image suits your business brilliantly.
The good news is that MailChimp and Aweber both offer a range of templates created to suit companies from different industries. However, Aweber does offer a lot more templates than MailChimp, at a rate of about 700 templates for Aweber to 80 for Mailchimp.
Fortunately, to make your image more unique, MailChimp and Aweber both allow you to tweak your themes, adding your own colors and logos. However, you do need to pay a little extra to unlock a unique design with MailChimp.
Another point to note is the all of the templates offered by both platforms are responsive. This means that they automatically resize to suit the device you’re displaying your newsletter on. There’s also a preview mode for Aweber and Mailchimp, which helps you to see what your newsletter should look like on a mobile device.
In terms of style, both Aweber and Mailchimp have a lot of options. There are a lot of outdated templates on Aweber, but some great ones too:
Alternatively, while Mailchimp has fewer templates to choose from, I’d argue that they are a little better overall, particularly because you get more flexibility with your designs.
The editor for MailChimp is a lot more advanced than the one that you get for Aweber, which means that you can ensure your themes are specific to your brand.
Aweber vs Mailchimp: Data Segmentation
A crucial part of managing your mailing list is making sure that you’re sending the right messages to the perfect people. Research constantly shows that segmented and customized campaigns achieve a lot more than their counterparts.
Segmented email campaigns have a 14.32% higher open rate than non-segmented alternatives, for instance. With MailChimp and Aweber, you can implement certain filters and segments into your marketing routines, but there isn’t a lot to choose from.
MailChimp’s entry-level plan makes segmentation practically impossible. You need to upgrade to a more expensive package. What’s more, Aweber only allows extremely basic segments for your audience. For instance, you can send emails specifically to people who opened a first email, but you can’t target people who bought certain items.
The best segmentation options between both of these email marketing tools come from MailChimp’s pricier Premium plan. Unfortunately, this package starts at a massive $299 per month, which just isn’t going to be affordable for most beginners.
There are plenty of alternative email marketing services out there that can give you segmentation for a much lower price point.
One big bonus for Aweber, however, is that it does allow you to send your newsletters to multiple lists, without paying extra. Although it’s usually a better option to send different emails to different lists, there are occasions where you might need to broadcast the same business updates or information to a variety of customers.
Still, both platforms could certainly do better when it comes to helping you to connect with your customers on a more personal level.
Aweber vs MailChimp: Email Marketing Features
The term email marketing features cover a wide umbrella of capabilities.
Some email tools come with the option to build your own landing pages and forms. Others give you advanced list management tools and segmentation. To compare Aweber and Mailchimp, we’re going to look at some of the most common features that most people expect in an email service.
Let’s begin with email automations.
Aweber vs. MailChimp: Email automations
Mailchimp has a few solid autoresponders to choose from. You can launch campaigns for different subscriber groups, such as people who are interested in specific products. There’s also the option to build immersive email chains. For instance, you might have an introductory email, followed by a sale email, and so on.
There are triggers built into MailChimp that give you the opportunity to message users who purchased certain products in the past or subscribed to a form. Unfortunately, the autoresponder editor on MailChimp can be notoriously difficult to get used to.
Still, even with the learning curve, MailChimp offers more functionality for marketing automation. You can even pick from pre-defined workflows for specific industries, like eCommerce or education.
Alternatively, Aweber’s automation functionality, provided in the form of “Aweber campaigns,” is a lot more essential. You can only use clicks and tags to create automated user journeys here. On the plus side, the company does claim to be working on adding more functionality to its automation road map.
Another thing that many people don’t like about the Aweber email marketing automations is the fact that they’re called Campaigns.
The bizarre naming conventions in Aweber might throw you off, but surprisingly, it can be a lot easier to set your automations up once you’ve figured out where your Campaigns are.
Still, neither MailChimp nor Aweber compares with other options like GetReponse or Active Campaign in automation. Plus, with MailChimp, you can only access fully-fledged autoresponders if you’re using the more expensive plans.
Aweber vs. MailChimp: Registration Forms
Forms are a pretty crucial part of email marketing.
Without them, you wouldn’t have much of a list to send your messages to.
On the MailChimp platform, you get an immersive environment where you can create the ultimate experience with drag-and-drop tools. All the fields that you need are available, including options for names and locations. What’s more, you can pre-segment users, so you know exactly what kind of marketing messages you need to send them.
MailChimp also lets users choose how forms are going to appear, with pop-up forms, embedded options and more.
Although MailChimp’s forms are pretty impressive, that doesn’t detract from Aweber’s functionality. The company offers a surprisingly robust set of registration form options. You can even add audio and video into the mix – something you don’t get with MailChimp.
Unfortunately, the extra features on Aweber come at a price – the templates aren’t the most modern we’ve seen, and the customization options aren’t very intuitive. Although you do get a lot of features, you’re more likely to spend a while learning how to use them.
Aweber vs. MailChimp: Testing and Reporting
If possible, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your email campaigns look and work great on every platform.
Mailchimp allows you to test the functionality of your email using the Inbox Preview service. Unfortunately, it’s only available on more expensive plans. There’s also no functionality for spam testing.
However, even though MailChimp is limited from a testing perspective, you still get a lot more than you would with Aweber, which doesn’t have spam testing or much of a preview system for that matter.
As you dive a little deeper into your email optimization process, you may also come across features for reporting. After all, you want to measure which of your campaigns are most successful.
MailChimp is excellent here because it integrates with Google Analytics. That means that you can track the performance of your messages across multiple platforms and geographical zones. There’s also a click map, a bounce rate, and click-through rates available to discover too.
MailChimp even has something called “social reports”. This gives you an overview of how many people your email messages are actually reaching, and what channels they use to peruse your website and connect with your brand. This is helpful if you want to go beyond email optimization and start exploring the full customer journey map.
The reports available from Aweber are remarkably similar to MailChimp in terms of features.
You can still access a lot of the information that you need to ensure that you’re having the best impact on your audience, and there are various metrics available that you can track. There are measurement options for bounces, clicks, opens, and so much more.
Aweber even has a few advanced tricks up its sleeve, like ecommerce reports and geo-tracking. Unfortunately, like with many other features available from Aweber, it feels as though the design team could work a little harder on the accessibility of the reports.
The reports look considerably basic and bland, which means that they’re probably not going to blow your shareholders away any time soon. Additionally, it can be quite challenging to find the information you need here sometimes.
Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Customer Support
Finally, we come to a very crucial concern for any business leader: customer support.
Even if you consider yourself to be an email marketing wiz, there’s going to be a time when something isn’t working correctly on your platform, and you need some extra help. That’s where a good customer support strategy is crucial.
Unfortunately, there are often limitations to what you can get from your email marketing tool. For instance, MailChimp has a very comprehensive knowledge base, and email marketing support available. However, you don’t get any customer service if you’re on the free plan.
What’s more, the live chat support is limited to business hours, and when you do have the option to send messages to the team, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to wait around for a while.
Aweber, like MailChimp, provides a great knowledge base so you can find your own answers to questions. However, unlike MailChimp, genuine customer support is available on all pricing tiers, and it’s accessible on a range of channels – including email and phone.
The knowledge base for Aweber is good, but it’s much easier to get in touch with the team and have them talk you through something. If you’re looking for genuine human support, Aweber is the better choice. If you do prefer to handle things yourself, then you might like MailChimp’s knowledge base more.
Finishing Thoughts: The Verdict
In a lot of ways, MailChimp does come out ahead of Aweber.
There’s a better user interface on MailChimp and some more advanced customization options to choose from too. The automations are easier to set up, and the reporting is excellent thanks to support from Google analytics.
However, MailChimp isn’t perfect. For most of the advanced features that would make this service really stand out, you’re going to have to pay a lot extra. Additionally, the customer support on MailChimp is severely lacking in a lot of areas.
Aweber does offer many of the same features as Mailchimp, but it’s not as simple to use. You’ll need to dedicate more of your time to getting used to the service, and that might be a problem if you’re running your own business. On the plus side, Aweber does offer customer support, and it’s less likely to restrict features to higher-paying tiers.
Keep in mind that neither tool is probably your best bet for marketing automation, you should consider options like Active Campaign or GetResponse instead.
Additionally, both Aweber and MailChimp aren’t always the cheapest products with the best selection of features. You might want to consider MailerLite or SendinBlue instead.
Rebekah Carter is a dedicated freelance writer with experience in the digital marketing, business growth and technology industries. She has worked with a number of leading brands in the past on PR, website building, and marketing campaigns.