The two most popular email marketing services, Mailchimp and Aweber, continue to lead the market, both in terms of their features and price. However, you only need one, and choosing between these two is often a daunting task. After all, you’ll be using this service for years to come so it’s best to think wisely before you get started.
The basic service you’re looking for is an easy subscribe/unsubscribe option, excellent deliverability, and good support. All email marketing services, including Aweber and Mailchimp, provide these.
So we’re going to dive deeper, looking at features, pricing, template design and even opt-in forms available to you. Once you’re done reading, you should be able to easily make up your mind on which service will work better for you.
Aweber vs Mailchimp: Basic Features
Aweber allows you to send email newsletters easily, has over 700 templates and 3000 stock photos, allows you to send your RSS feed as a newsletter, uses autoresponders for drip emails, provides optin forms and has iOS and Android apps.
Mailchimp, with a slightly bigger focus on usability, has all this plus drag-and-drop email designer, email personalization, and advanced analytics.
Simply put, they’re very similar. Let’s look at some key differences.
Aweber vs Mailchimp: Sign-up Forms
But of course you want new subscribers. And the best way to get them is through an effective sign-up form.
Aweber lets you make signup forms with up to 25 fields of information, using either your own design or a pre-made template. Forms can be embedded into your site, turned into a landing page, and you can carry out A/B tests on them. It also integrates with Worpdress, Paypal and Facebook so you can add contact information from customers that already connect with you on these platforms. You can also use the mobile app to add subscribers on the go, for example at an event.
Mailchimp sign-up form requires some HTML knowledge. While the easy to use service allows you to create a sign-up form quickly, once the code for it is generated you will need HTML knowledge to embed it into your website. Normal sign-up forms are hosted on Mailchimp's website, so your readers will be directed to their servers to fill out the forms unless you make the effort to embed it.
Aweber vs Mailchimp: Email Templates
Mailchimp wins out in email design, as you can design the whole thing from scratch while collaborating with your team, and also send out test emails while finalizing the campaign. You’ll see how each email looks on different screens as well.
Aweber has pre-set templates you can use, which make it seem simpler, but with over 700 templates to choose from it may take you a while to find the perfect one. You can have them design a premium template for you ($229), or modify any existing template to your layout ($29).
Aweber vs Mailchimp: Ease of Import
When you’re getting started, you’ll need to import your email subscriber list into your chosen service. Aweber has made this easy, by allowing you to import from a variety of spreadsheets or text formats, or even copy-pasting the emails from another app. You can then map the contact information with Aweber’s list fields, and specify where each subscriber is for so you can send the subscription confirmation email to the relevant ones.
Mailchimp also allows you to import using a CSV file or an excel sheet, or even a TXT file. Again, like Aweber, you’ll need to map the information you’ve imported with Mailchimp’s list fields, but it’s a relatively easier process to go through due to their focus on user experience.
In order to determine how successful your email campaign is, you need to be able to track analytics. Both services offer excellent options, allowing you to split your subscriber base into lists, sending different communications to each one. Aweber’s dashboard provides clear information on opens and clicks, as well as letting you track unsubscribers.
Mailchimp also provides similar analytics, as well the most clicked links in emails. You can send modified campaigns to subscribers who haven’t clicked on links in previous emails, plus identify bounced emails with Mailchimp advising you on which ones to re-send. Mailchimp also lets you compare your email performance against others in your industry. Finally, Mailchimp’s A/B testing setup is a lot easier to use, allowing you to test subject lines or even the time of day to send emails.
Both services have extensive online tutorials and help guides that you can use to solve issues as they come up. They both also offer email tech support. However, Aweber also offers live-chat support, as well as a toll-free number, so you can speak to someone in their customer service department quite easily.
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of figuring out solutions to an issue by using online support guides, or don’t want to wait for email support to get back to you, Aweber is a clear winner.
Depending on your business plan, you may want to include affiliate links in your emails. Mailchimp, unfortunately, has very strict affiliate link policies. While they don’t ban links entirely, they have a long list of blacklisted domains that you’ll need to avoid.
So if affiliate links are a key component of your email marketing, we’d strongly suggest using Aweber which has no such restrictions.
The all important question, what do they cost?
Aweber has a simple pricing plan, starting at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers and scaling up from that. Before you sign up, you can use their 30-day free trial to see if the service matches your needs.
Mailchimp provides a free basic plan that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails to 2000 subscribers. Once you cross the 2000 subscriber mark, you can sign up for one of the paid plans, which scale as your subscriber list grows.
Both Aweber and Mailchimp are giants in the world of email marketing, and you can’t really go wrong with either. However, there are best case uses for each, and it’s quite possible one service will serve your needs better.
Mailchimp is better if you’re just starting out, and looking to setup an email list without committing a budget to it. They focus more on user-friendly designs and options, so apart from their sign-up form HTML requirement you don’t need to be tech-savvy to get started with the service. Mailchimp also offers multiple integrations, so you can import contacts in from different services. However, the service is probably not a good option if you have any plans of including affiliate links in your email marketing.
Aweber costs more, and even though it has gone through re-design recently, loses out to Mailchimp in ease of use. But if you’re willing to pay more money, you can always get their designer to work on a template, and undoubtedly the end result will be better than a Mailchimp design. AWeber is the better option for large companies and agencies, since they usually have a larger budget for email marketing. Many larger blogs that have been around for a while prefer it for its better customer service, and easier to use sign-up forms.
Which service do you use for your email marketing, and why? Would you recommend a third service to someone else? Let us know in the comments!