While this is not something exactly revolutionary or unknown, many online marketers fail to realize the full significance and value of analytics as it relates to their online business. From this perspective, I suggest that you check out one of my recent posts: 7 Must-Have Ecommerce Analytics Tools.
📢 Editor's note: This post was originally published on January 21, 2015 and has completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
👉 Moving on now, here is my detailed review of the SendinBlue email marketing service:
Standout Features from SendinBlue
SendinBlue is an email marketing and automation solution designed for the modern business.
Unlike other tools that were designed with the desire to take over the world, SendinBlue took a slightly different approach, prioritizing user experience and simplicity over complicated and cutting-edge features. That's not to say that you can't get state-of-the-art solutions with your SendinBlue email marketing. However, there's less of a learning curve with this tool than you'd find in competitors like HubSpot or Klaviyo.
SendinBlue serves small to mid-sized businesses with automation, text messaging campaigns, email drip plans and so much more.
When running an online store, it's necessary to have an email list and marketing campaign tool. SendinBlue provides email marketing features, but you also get far more than some of the competition. For example, you receive contact management, transactional messaging, and automated campaigns. You can also take advantage of the SMS and IP plans if you're looking to expand your marketing processes.
Quite admirable, I must say. However, that’s not the only new thing here. If you’ve been reading our updated SendinBlue reviews, you might have noticed the trend that the software has been keeping up with lately.
I can tell you for sure that today’s SendinBlue is not similar to last year’s. The company is always conducting reviews of its entire feature set, and it continues to introduce new functionalities to improve SendinBlue’s overall efficacy as a marketing tool.
What is SendinBlue?
So, what exactly does the current SendinBlue version offer?
SendinBlue’s Standout Features:
- Support: Apart from live chat, you can contact the support team via SendinBlue’s online messaging system and phone. It also provides a knowledge base with helpful guidelines and tutorials that cover pretty much everything.
- Landing Page Editor: Premium and Enterprise plans come with a landing page editor, which is handy for creating your own specialized landing pages. You can choose to build yours from the ground up, or simply capitalize on the available templates to make your work much easier.
- Integrations: SendinBlue can be embedded with a wide range of third-party software, including CRM, payment, marketing, and ecommerce tools. Then to top it off, it grants access to a decent set of supplementary services through its Zapier integration.
- DMARC, DKIM, and SPF Authentication
- Bounce Management: SendinBlue provides logs of both soft and hard email bounces. The hard ones are then blacklisted automatically.
- Email Preview: You can preview how your email message will appear on various clients before you send it.
- Multilingual: SendinBlue’s main site comes in six different languages.
- Reports and Analytics: You get all the critical reports you might need to keep tabs on your marketing campaigns- including Google Analytics reports, as well as geo-tracking and click-map insights.
- Deliverability: Going by numerous review tests we conducted, SendinBlue managed a decent score in email deliverability. But, we noticed it experienced issues delivering a couple of emails to Outlook and Hotmail.
- Opt-In and Opt-Out Forms: The subscription forms on SendinBlue are quite dynamic, with advanced features like captcha verification and data auto-population. It’s also possible to give your leads the option of choosing the specific mailing lists they’d prefer opting into.
- List Management: You get to manage your mailing lists based on user demographics, behaviors (actions taken), and lead scores. And if you’re handling many leads at once, you can take advantage of SendinBlue’s multi-parameter filtering tool to segment them accordingly.
- Email Automation: SendinBlue is built to offer powerful and dynamically versatile email automation functionalities. Its workflow editor, for instance, allows you to target leads based on their on-site actions, web behaviors, email engagement, plus contact data. And to ensure precision, you can test them before activation. The corresponding lead scoring system is also admirably accurate.
- Transactional Emails: You can set your system to send transactional emails containing stuff like receipts and purchase confirmations- through SMTP.
- Templates: By default, SendinBlue comes with 65 different options of professionally designed layouts.
- Email Types: Apart from standard emails, SendinBlue supports SMS messages, A/B tests, transactional emails, and auto-responder messages.
- Personalization: There are various flexible ways of personalizing messages you send to your leads. You can, for example, set up advanced custom conditions using “If/Then/Else” parameters, which might require some coding on Excel.
- Email Editor: SendinBlue comes with an intuitive design builder, plus and responsive drag-and-drop email editor, which happens to be loaded with multiple pre-set elements.
Well, let’s review the SendinBlue’s core functionalities and overall usability in detail:
SendinBlue’s User Friendliness
The user interface here, for starters, is seemingly designed using the same approach we’ve discussed in previous SendinBlue reviews.
Just like the name itself suggests, you’ll notice a lot of blue around the entire SendinBlue layout, which happens to alternate with sections of white. Then to help you spot the main controls, SendinBlue has used other colors. But, they all blend seamlessly to create a neat and minimalistic layout.
But, it’s not all about contacts. Adjacent to that figures review section, SendinBlue outlines your trigger, SMS, and email marketing campaigns. Plus, a corresponding set of shortcuts for setting up additional ones.
And in case you’d like to quickly scan through your past campaigns, SendinBlue has provided a convenient list right at the bottom of the dashboard.
Moving forward- one of the things you might want to start off with, of course, is contact list building. Thankfully, SendinBlue is generous enough to facilitate different methods of doing that.
You can jump right in and begin entering the details manually. Or alternatively, save yourself the heavy lifting by simply importing via a .csv or .txt file. And since a generic CSV layout would probably complicate things for you, SendinBlue avails a relevant template.
Sadly, you don’t get the option of importing contacts straight from an existing mailing list. Therefore, if you have one already, you’ll be forced to first convert it into .csv or .txt before you eventually transfer the details to SendinBlue.
That notwithstanding, you have to admit that the whole process is pleasantly simple and straightforward. But, unfortunately, those feelings may be short-lived because the situation changes slightly when you get to the SendinBlue automation function.
Now, let’s be honest about one thing. Of course, we’d all appreciate working with a simple automation system. But, here’s the problem- after conducting reviews of many marketing tools, I’ve realized that the simplest options come with very limited customization capabilities. In other words- if you want an extensively customizable system, you have to deal with the complexities of advanced automation engines.
Well, SendinBlue’s automation framework is not only powerful, but also dynamically versatile. So, you can bet that you won’t have such an easy time at first. Creating the ideal sequential trigger rules for your marketing campaigns, and then drafting the corresponding series of messages takes time.
Don’t get me wrong though. SendinBlue’s automation is only challenging when you’re starting out. You should be able to master all the ropes after several rounds of tweaks.
But then again, it might turn out to be a bit annoying. In that case, you can proceed to SendinBlue’s settings and disable the function.
Creating Email Marketing Campaigns on SendinBlue
The whole process of setting up email marketing campaigns is pretty dynamic, with several holistic layers and options. The first step entails defining the sender name, sender email, email subject, and of course, the campaign name.
If you want to specify additional parameters, you can proceed to the advanced options sections and tweak elements like custom fields, tags, and unsubscribe links.
Now, when you get to the subsequent email design stage, you’ll notice that SendinBlue offers three options. There’s a straightforward text editor for HTML coders, a typical drag-and drop editor, plus my favorite, an intuitive design builder.
Ok, I can guess the latter two sound like one and the same thing. But, the fact is, they are two distinctive tools provided by SendinBlue.
I like the design builder for its overall responsiveness and straightforward operability. It’s particularly optimized for mobile app users, and it provides multiple email template options.
Although emails are mostly associated with text, SendinBlue seemingly pays keen attention to its images. It comes with an exceptional image editor, whose elements admittedly outshine what we’ve covered in other email marketing tool reviews.
SendinBlue Review: Setting Up Your Campaigns
Designing the ultimate email for your drip campaigns is just the first step in effective marketing. Once you've got your message looking just how you like it, you'll also need to think about how you're going to get that content out to your target audience.
You'll have two options with SendinBlue. The first is to send your message to everyone on a selected contact list. The second option is to send your messages to specific segments of a list. You accomplish the second option by selecting a specific “condition” for the message. For instance, your email may only be sent to people who clicked on a link in a previous message or bought a specific item from your store.
💡 One great thing about SendinBlue, is that it lets you to check a proof version of your campaign before you send the whole thing out to the digital masses. After all, you don't want to risk sharing content that's going to make your business look bad. For such a cost-effective tool, SendinBlue provides a very high level of control over how you schedule and send campaigns.
Another major plus is that you can rest assured that the emails you create with your responsible builder tools will display just as well on smart phones as they do on your laptop or computer.
Remember, for an immersive drip campaign, you'll need to turn to SendinBlue's automation features, which means preparing all of your messages in advance, and creating a chain of events that triggers each piece of content to send. The process is simpler than you'd think – but it requires a bit more tweaking than you would need for sending a basic message.
On the plus side, setting up automations also means that you can send SMS messages alongside your emails to improve your chances of engaging the right audience members.
Plus, once you get everything fully set up with your automated campaigns, you can leave them to run without your input for a little while – at least until it's time to come back and check the performance of your messages by looking at your reports and analytics.
SendinBlue Review: Sending your Campaigns
A big part of creating successful email marketing campaigns, is being able to review your email efforts and find out what's working for your brand.
SendinBlue can help with this by providing a basic suite of reporting tools for you to work through. Using these tools, you can check the numbers of your email opens, clicks, subscribes, and even complaints. Compared to a lot of basic email marketing tools, SendinBlue's offering is actually quite advanced – particularly since it offers geographic information about where your emails are being opened.
SendinBlue also goes above and beyond by giving you an insight into how the designs of your emails are paying off. When you can track down which links are being clicked most often, you can develop a better strategy for where you should be placing key CTAs and buttons.
There's a heat map available for your clicked links – but you can only access this if you have a higher level account with SendinBlue, so expect to pay a little more for advanced analytics.
If you're sending transactional emails, you can also connect to some interesting information about how many of your messages are “soft” bouncing, and how many experience a hard bounce.
One particularly valuable part of the reporting and analytics offering from SendinBlue, is the fact that you can dive a little deeper into the details of your “openers and clickers.” In other words, you get to learn more about who's actually interacting with your emails.
By looking at where in the world your openers and clickers come from, what time of day they typically open their emails, and even which devices they prefer to use to check their email, you can begin to improve your optimization efforts for future campaigns.
SendinBlue’s Contact Management
Unlike pro features like the landing page editor, unlimited contact management comes in all SendinBlue’s plans, including its Free package.
Well, this review has already covered the process of creating a contact list. But, make no mistake. The contact management function does much more than that.
For instance, for the purpose of GDPR and other regulations, you can make sure that all of your contacts are fully opted-in to your emails before you start sending content.
Although marketing automation is also included in all plans, Free, Lite, and Essential plan users cannot set up workflows with more than 2,000 contacts. Come to think of it, however, that could be a huge number for a standard small business.
But, if you happen to exceed that, consider upgrading to the SendinBlue Premium plan. Its workflows accommodate an unlimited number of contacts.
SendinBlue Review: Transactional Messaging
If there's one thing that really sets SendinBlue apart from the other email marketing and automation tools on the market – it's probably transactional messaging. This is the feature that makes the SendinBlue software an excellent addition to any company's advertising strategy. After all, while you can get pretty significant solutions for contact management and automation through tools like ActiveCampaign or GetResponse, few companies compete with SendinBlue's transactional emails.
If you're new to the concept of transactional emails, these are basically the messages that you send as part of your sales cycle or strategy. They provide customers with access to payment receipts, order confirmations and more.
So, why are these messages so valuable?
Well, they keep customers involved with your brand, first of all. What's more, transactional emails get 8 times more clicks than any other message. Despite this, a surprising number of email marketers ignore or forget about their transactional emails completely
Fortunately, SendinBlue takes a different approach. This solution allows companies to automate their transactional emails for a wide variety of crucial customer actions, including subscriptions, receipts, purchases, sign ups, and so much more. You also get reports to tell you exactly how many of your emails are ending up in the inbox, rather than their junk folder.
For many business leaders, transactional emails are what sets SendinBlue apart from the other email software solutions on the market.
SendinBlue Review: Improving Deliverability
Even the best email marketing tools can't do much for your business if your messages aren't reaching your target audience. Unfortunately, making sure that your content gets to the inbox of your intended customers is often easier said than done.
Fortunately for today's email marketers, SendinBlue has a solution to your deliverability issues. The company has developed a range of features specifically optimized to drive better deliverability rates. For instance, any message in your campaign that triggers a hard bounce from a customer will automatically be blacklisted to prevent you from sending further messages that way. You'll also be able to sort your contacts according to whether or not they've engaged with a message in the last 6 to 12 months.
If people don't seem to be interested in your messages after a while, you'll have the option to either target those individuals with a quick re-engagement campaign or remove them from your list entirely.
Another of SendinBlue's features that helps a lot when it comes to email marketing deliverability, is the option to access dedicated IP addresses. If you have an Enterprise account, then you'll get a dedicated IP automatically. However, if you can't afford that package, don't worry. SendinBlue will also let you buy a separate IP address for a single yearly fee.
Since there are many different things in an email campaign that can affect deliverability, SendinBlue won't be able to promise you high inbox rates. However, what the application does do, is make sure that you have all the tools you need to improve deliverability as much as possible.
SendinBlue even provides documentation and guides that can help you to improve your deliverability strategies one step at a time too.
SendinBlue Review: Other Noteworthy Features
SendinBlue's ability to send transactional emails (order and dispatch confirmations etc.) is another feature that is not supported by many email marketing apps. One quite rare feature is the ability to send transactional SMS messages directly via your store. (You will have to pay extra for this feature but it can still be a very useful feature especially when directly integrated with your store operations.)
SendinBlue Review: Pricing
SendinBlue offers email plans, SMS plans, and IP plans. The SendinBlue IP plans are for digitally signing your emails and taking full control of the IP reputation. You might use that at some point, but for now, our main review focus is on the email plans.
To start, you're able to sign up for the SendinBlue marketing service for free. This provides unlimited contacts but there is a sending limit. After that, the plans go all the way up to the Enterprise plan, which has custom pricing you'll have to figure out with SendinBlue. The most expensive plan with an actual price tag on it is for $66 per month.
As for the plan specifics, here's what you have to work with:
- Free – $0 per month for 300 emails per day. There's no limit on the number of contacts you can have, and you receive items like marketing automation, an email template library, and a mobile-friendly editor.
- Lite – $25 per month for 40,000 emails per month. There's no daily sending limit and you get everything provided in the previous SendinBlue plan.
- Essential – $39 per month for everything in the previous plans, the removal of the SendinBlue logo, and advanced stats.
- Premium – This SendinBlue plan starts at $66 per month, but it could go up in price depending on how many emails you want to send out per month. For the $66 you get a nice limit of 120,000 emails per month. There's also no limit on marketing automation and you receive all of the features from previous plans.
- Enterprise – This one has a tailored volume and a custom price. It comes with a dedicated SendinBlue account manager.
Our previous reviews featured the SendinBlue pay-as-you-go plan, but that's no longer available.
SendinBlue Review: Customer Service and Support
Even email marketing masterminds need help sometimes.
Just like any software, SendinBlue isn't foolproof, there's a risk that something could go wrong when you're using your applications, or that you don't know how to use a specific tool. Fortunately, SendinBlue provides a range of options for users who need help making the most of their new investment.
For instance, you can check out the SendinBlue help center, which features plenty of guidance and advice on how to use your account, manage your email campaigns, or create transactional emails – among other things.
If you have a more specific issue that you can't solve with a DIY approach, then you can also submit questions and concerns to SendinBlue through their ticket system.
There's a phoneline available, although it's not really intended for help and support. On the other hand, you can reach out to SendinBlue on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn if you're having trouble getting a response from them via email. Twitter is probably your best bet for quick customer service.
SendinBlue Review: Integrations
SendinBlue is excellent for integrating with other handy programs that you might need to make the most of your email marketing strategy. For instance, SendinBlue has a “featured” integration with Magneto, which automatically syncs all of your Magneto customers with your SendinBlue account. You can also access handy connections with tools like Drupal, WordPress, WooCommerce, Optinmonster, and even Salesforce.
Some of the other integrations that SendinBlue supports include:
- Shopify (Shopify Reviews here)
- Google analytics
- Facebook lead ads
Go and check out what kind of interactions you can access here.
Don't forget that SendinBlue also offers access to an open API for developers that want to embed parts of the SendinBlue experience into their own workplace apps too.
SendinBlue: Security and Protection
It's difficult to find much information on SendinBlue's security and privacy policies.
However, you can rest assured that the SendinBlue data centres are protected by video surveillance 24/7, and in the event of any incidents, all of the video recordings, activity records, and logs the company has access to will be analyzed. What's more, SendinBlue has an intrusion detection system for each data centre.
Aside from protection for data centres, SendinBlue also provides robust protection in the form of SSL technology to keep your messages encrypted and secure. What's more, the SendinBlue company is dedicated to being fully GDPR compliant, so you can rest assured that your personal information isn't going to end up with any third-party brands.
To protect against spam, SendinBlue also has a zero-tolerance policy for any user that attempts to send spam content to audiences. You'll need to make sure that everyone in your contact list has opted in to receive emails from you. Additionally, SendinBlue will reserve the right to suspend accounts that have been suspected of spam posting, without warning.
User Reviews: SendinBlue Pros
For the most part, people feel overwhelmingly positive about the experience that they can get from SendinBlue. The cost of the software is relatively good, and it's worth noting that the tool comes with some pretty impressive analytics tools too. Other positives include:
- It features powerful and flexible email automation functionalities.
- SendinBlue’s Premium plan comes with an extra landing page builder for the creation and review of landing pages.
- There are numerous attractive templates you can capitalize on to make your email designing and review process much easier.
- SendinBlue’s customer support teams review issues raised and respond swiftly through email, live chat, and phone.
- Compared to its competitors’ cost reviews, SendinBlue plans are reasonably priced.
- SendinBlue features a free plan, complete with contact management and email automation functionalities.
User Reviews: SendinBlue Cons
Unfortunately, any email marketing tool, including SendinBlue can also have its downsides. For instance, the tool is still relatively basic compared to some other autoresponder software on the market today. Additionally, the UI might take a while to get used to. Issues include:
- SendinBlue supports a limited number of integrations.
- Learning curve for some users – not as basic as it could be
- Limited functionalities for mergers and autoresponders
- Our review tests revealed a couple of email deliverability problems that SendinBlue continues to experience.
- Mailchimp (Read the comprehensive review here)
- ActiveCampaign (Read the comprehensive review here)
- ConvertKit (Read the comprehensive review here)
- AWeber (Read the comprehensive review here)
- Constant Contact (Read the comprehensive review here)
SendinBlue Review: Conclusion
As an email marketing service, SendinBlue has improved quite a bit over the years. It's a solid alternative to the other popular email services like MailChimp and AWeber, since it now has ready-made templates and a drag and drop builder. It's nice to have the plugins for some of the popular ecommerce platforms, along with the ability to send transactional emails and SMS messages.
Overall, SendinBlue’s worthwhile for most ecommerce businesses. The templates are beautiful and you can't go wrong with the builder. I also like that it provides the SMS tools for when you want to expand your marketing arsenal. It's things like this that aren't offered by the competition. You can also read my Mailchimp review to see if that better fits your needs.
You can start your SendinBlue free trial by clicking here.