Which is the Best Email Marketing Software?


Today in this post, I am going to review SendGrid vs MailChimp and help you decide which is right for your business.

Despite the rapid transformation in online business models, email marketing remains an important component of doing business.

Picking the best software for the job is more complex than expected, thanks to the flooded marketplace.

Today, we’ll look at two dominant platforms, MailChimp and SendGrid.

MailChimp dominates the world’s marketing world by offering a diversity of features.

It’s one of the oldest boys in the field so it has experienced many upgrades and updates over the years and for a good reason.

Currently, MailChimp has features like lead scoring, social media management, and display Ads. I won’t be surprised if it gets a way to do your laundry online! The team is ambitious.

SendGrid, on the other hand, has a USP that creates specific standout features. Its major selling point is email deliverability.

In fact, by using this approach, SendGrid has been able to attract billion-dollar brands including Airbnb, Pinterest, Uber LinkedIn, and many others.

So, what is the best option? Being a jack of all trade, or being a master of a few things? I’ll tell you, “It depends.”

Don’t yell at me, yet. There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what best suits your business needs.

But read on to make an informed decision.

You can also check out other comparisons in this series including, MailChimp vs Drip, and Moosend vs MailChimp. You’ll be surprised when you get a match made in heaven.

Features SendGrid MailChimp
Starting price $14.95/mo $9.99/mo
Free plan available? Yes Yes
Split testing You can only split test the
subject line or the email content.
You can test different metrics
including subject lines, names,
content, and sending time.
Automation templates Yes Yes
Landing page builder Available Available
Zapier integration Available Available
Explore more Explore SendGrid Explore MailChimp

What do I like about SendGrid over MailChimp?

  • They are an A1 email deliverability platform. It’s their major selling point and for a good reason.
  • It’s the number one solution for your transactional email needs. This helps you drive your purchases.
  • It offers you scalability. You can send millions of emails and their tech won’t blink or glitch.
  • They have a reporting and statistics suite that provides you with so much analytical data for every single email.
  • They offer excellent 24/7 customer support for all their customers.
  • Its interface is a coder’s haven as developers can create almost anything with SendGrid.

What do I like about MailChimp over SendGrid?

  • The user interface is very easy-to-use.
  • They have great automation features that can’t be compared to SendGrid’s.
  • You can easily segment and group your contacts hence sending highly-targeted emails.
  • There are numerous email and newsletter templates to choose from.
  • They have a responsive drag and drop builder for easy customization of landing pages, email templates, and forms.
  • Detailed reporting and analytics through integration with Google Analytics and other eCommerce platforms.
  • They have an extensive menu of third-party integrations.

SendGrid vs Mailchimp: Features compared

Interface

The ease of use of an ESP should be considered when deciding which tools to use. The ROI of the email campaigns depends on the user’s ability to use the tools at full capacity.

Despite having a modern and crispy look, SendGrid’s Interface isn’t all that. There are many menu items, which may overwhelm beginners while navigating.

For instance, email creation, autoresponders, contact marketing, and segmentation are all crowded under one menu.

SendGrid dashboard

MailChimp’s user interface is customized for ease of use by beginners. One look at the dashboard and you know exactly where everything is.

It’s a pretty simple design, no pomp, and color (lots of white and black). But that doesn’t mean it’s not sleek.

MailChimp dashboard

MailChimp’s ease of use makes it the go-to solution for small businesses and freelancers with limited technical knowledge. Mailerlite users will find no hurdles with the Mailchimp interface.

They have step-by-step tips and hints on how to make your marketing campaigns a success for the new users.

Winner: MailChimp. It’s a simple design that is easy to navigate and use. There is however room for SendGrid’s improvement if they decide to customize their interface.

Listing management

sendgrid list management

List management is an important part of email marketing tools, and it helps users import and manage subscription lists.

SendGrid contact import

SendGrid lets you build lists using the following ways: CSV upload, Signup forms (but limited to 15 sign up forms), Manual addition of contacts, and Contact management APIs.

You can segment your contacts but that’s where segmentation begins and ends.

Plus, using custom fields to further segment your audience is quite a hassle for less techy people. It is an unnecessary headache if you ask me.

.

Block lists

On the bright side, SendGrid also gives users access to suppression functionality.

It allows you to create suppression lists that you can implement to counter moves such as unsubscriptions and blocking from the recipient’s end. You don’t see this on MailChimp.

The lists include Global unsubscribes, spam reports, blocks, invalid, and bounces. Twilio SendGrid automatically drops lists from the spam, invalid, and bounce categories automatically.

MailChimp lists

List management in MailChimp is easy and effective to implement. You get a diverse palette with MailChimp.

How I see it, its value for money. From the ability to import files in multiple formats to contact segmentation functionalities.

MailChimp allows you to segment your contacts based on different behavior and then further group them based on different demographics. It takes email personalization a notch higher.

Subscriber segments

Also, it allows you to clean email subscriptions that have no interest in your emails, it makes every email count.

Winner: MailChimp. They win hands down. The segments and groups make list management fun and easier. It doesn’t do it as good as Moosend which comes at the same price tag but it’s way better than Sendgrid.

Email broadcasts and templates

Email design and its interaction have an important part to play in marketing campaigns. Both MailChimp and SendGrid offer email creation functionalities.

Now let’s see what SendGrid has to offer in the template and email creation.

I have to admit that SendGrid’s templates and email builders offer the modern dynamism that many businesses crave. It has several customizable templates, and you can also create your own templates from scratch.

SendGrid drag and drop editor

SendGrid also features a drag and drop builder with an HTML code editor integration.

The design editor offers streamlined, WYSIWYG campaign creation with access to HTML. This design editor has a diverse library of content blocks, allowing you to build beautiful emails quickly and intuitively.

SendGrid comes with a time-saving feature – global styling. In addition to editing the styles for individual modules within your email/template, you may also make changes to the global styling of your entire email/template.

Design editor and code editor

It also has a code editor with features like live Template Preview, Error Flagging (If the code editor finds something inconsistent with best practices it flags).

Scroll Syncing (easily pinpoint the HTML element you wish to edit), and Syntax Highlighting.

HTML editor

Heck, I was amazed too!

SendGrid provides you with Substitution Tags which allow you to use any custom field data. The additional custom fields will be seen under the Tags tab of the Marketing Campaigns editor.

SendGrid allows you to use any custom fonts or CSS styles you would like. You can add the custom font using the HTML head:

Developers can use the POST /campaigns API to programmatically upload a design that you can then go in and edit using the Marketing Campaigns application.

MailChimp email templates

Now let’s talk about MailChimp. The templates are categorized in terms of use, purpose, and design. You can create designs to showcase products, tell brand stories, follow up, and educate the target audience. Your selection is never-ending.

Template gallery

Getting started is easy-peasy. All you need to do is navigate to the ‘Campaigns’ link at the top of the navigation bar. Fill out the required information and you’re in! From the design tab, you can then create your own emails or customize existing templates.

Customization elements

Thanks to the responsive drag and drop builder, it’s easy to customize the fonts, color, content blocks, you name it.

As expected, MailChimp also has an HTML editor to give developers room for creativity.

Winner: Tie. If you decide to go with quality over quantity, SendGrid. However, MailChimp wins in ease of use.

While MailChimp offers hundreds of different templates, SendGrid offers few customizable modern templates. Also, SendGrid’s HTML editor is much more advanced.

Automation builder

Automation building is very important, especially when it comes to email marketing campaigns.

Now let’s look at how SendGrid delivers Automation services.

SendGrid templates

SendGrid offers users the ability to select existing automation templates or create custom automation from scratch. Well, they only have a pre-built welcome email series with no other options. Be ready to get to work.

With SendGrid automation you can: create a warm welcome with an onboarding series, create your own matrices or conditions, as well as follow up with leads who interact with content. You can still do all these with MailChimp.

Automation builder

MailChimp has an advanced automation builder that helps marketers keep their audience engaged. Its automation builder enables users to monitor subscriber activity and increase ROI.

You can choose to customize workflow from scratch using various triggers based on campaign activity, workflow activity, eCommerce activity, or date-based activity.

But it’s not playing in the same league with automation giants like ActiveCampaign and Ontraport.

Or use the numerous pre-made workflow templates available from recurring events to welcome series, education templates, etc.

MailChimp automation workflow

The kicker, you’ve got to pay to access most automation features.

Winner: MailChimp. They win the automation round, with a lot of points! MailChimp’s automation builder is customized for ease of use, and efficiency.

SendGrid’s automation builder has limited functionality and may be difficult for beginners to use.

A/B testing

A/B testing is essential if you want to get a grasp of what marketing technique or approach can work on your audience to guarantee a high conversion rate.

With SendGrid, you can only split test the subject line or the email content. You can test up to 6 different variations for each A/B test.

The Winning Criteria for the A/B Test is similar to MailChimp’s, as it’s either open rate or click rate.

However, the A/B test duration is between 30 minutes and 24 hours. That’s a bummer. No freedom to choose if you want the test to run longer.

Unless it’s a landing page split test when you have to wait to get statistical significant page visits for more accurate results.

Another kicker is that you can’t do automation split testing. You can only test your single sends.

MailChimp split testing

MailChimp A/B testing feature is robust. You can test different metrics including subject lines, names, content, and sending time.

All you need to do is create a new A/B testing campaign, add the variation to the campaign, edit the testing pool, decide on the testing period, and then choose a winner.

The winner is decided by either open rates or click rates. Plus, you can opt to choose a winner manually or automatically.

You can split test your landing pages but Mailchimp doesn’t allow automation split testing. Just like Sendgrid.

Another downfall is you got to pay up for the cool feature. Also, the premium comes with multivariate testing. You can test up to 8 variations of one email. Cool, right?

Winner: MailChimp. You can test three variations and you have the option to choose how long your campaign runs. Of course, we can’t compare it to Ontraport that has immersive automation A/B testing capabilities.

eCommerce CRM

Ever since E-commerce took over the internet, competition is growing stiff each and every day. To stand out from the community, it’s all about implementing effective strategies and tools.

SendGrid is built as a transactional email solution resulting in a brilliant solution to drive your sales.

You can easily promote your products, confirm bookings, and manage subscriptions. It’s scalable for sending all your transactional emails as it grows with your business.

SendGrid transaction email templates

However, I find it a bit lacking. There are no in-built eCommerce APIs or ready to use eCommerce segments.

Also, they don’t integrate with Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, okay, they have Amazon. But, It’s still a big disappointment.

On the bright side, SendGrid partnered with Klaviyo! Meaning you’ve got a mini-powerhouse to help you better segment your list, send triggered email, and run better Facebook ads. It’s a sales drive y’all!

Plus its integration with Agile CRM equips you for lead scoring, link tracking, and real-time customer alerts.

Moving on…

MailChimp’s eCommerce CRM capabilities are pretty decent. They have pre-made eCommerce segments that make it easy to start targeting immediately.

The segments can be based on buying history or campaign activity. You can easily send abandoned cart emails, win back lapsed customers, enable order notifications, among others.

eCommerce automation templates

On a paid plan, you can send transactional emails like On SendGrid. It’s a powerful feature as you can send up to 100 emails daily. MailChimp’s partnership with Mandrill has made it all possible.

Also, they offer seamless integrations with big eCommerce names like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and ShopSync. With this agile CRM integrations, you can easily automate all your sales and marketing.

However, it’s said Klaviyo’s eCommerce is equal to Mailchimp on steroids. If you need an eCommerce platform that makes you money, Klaviyo or Drip will do. ActiveCampaign also has robust eCommerce features and it’s more affordable.

Winner: MailChimp. SendGrid has nothing to offer in terms of eCommerce.

Forms and landing pages

If you have crafted amazing email templates and content, but poor landing pages and forms, then you may miss out on a lot of opportunities.

Let’s look at how MailChimp and SendGrid provide you with landing pages and forms creation tools.

I have to mention again that SendGrid is built with dynamism in mind. Despite having a few forms and landing page templates in their arsenal, they are the best option for people who are not afraid of code.

SendGrid landing page builder

Their landing pages and form templates are also amazing. Try the HTML editor, it will blow your mind! You can code on a split-screen, and get notified when there are bugs on your code.

When it comes to creating forms, SendGrid also calls your coding skills. For some of us, we can’t handle code.

However, Sendgrid has partnered with apps like Privy to help you create exit intent banners and other customizable pop-ups.

MailChimp, on the other hand, has 10 landing pages and numerous form templates. They have a responsive drag and drop editor that enables you to customize your forms and landing pages as you see fit.

Landing page templates

You can also decide to create your own designs from scratch using HTML, CSS, and javascript. Whether its pop-up forms or landing pages, they are mobile responsive.

Various form types

With Mailchimp popup modal forms, you can add three triggers to your pop-up forms. Time-based delay triggers, scroll-based, and exit-intent triggers. All these to ensure the perfect timing of your forms.

I also love how you can translate your form to 50 languages of your choice. You can reach an audience of different nationalities. How cool is that?

Winner: MailChimp. You have numerous options to choose from. You don’t have to be a developer to have sleek, and responsive forms and landing pages.

Reporting

SendGrid offers a detailed reporting and statistics suite. You can easily see your report under the Email Activity Feed. You’ll see the clicks, delivered mails, opens, unsubscribes, drops, bounces, blocks, etc.

SendGrid reports

I love that you can see details like ISP, the device used, and even geographic location.

One unique feature is the Reputation Reporting Indicator, located on the dashboard. Here, you’ll be able to see how SendGrid rates your IP (0-100%).

This rate is based on the spam mails, bounced, blocked, and invalid rates. As a result, you’re in a better position to increase your deliverability.

The only kicker, they don’t integrate with Google Analytics.

Like everything else with MailChimp, the reporting is simple.

It gives you access to all industry baseline performance overview of your email sequences from CTR to open rates, unsubscribes, bounce, etc.

If you want deeper insights, you can integrate it with Google Analytics to get Google data to your MailChimp reports. It lets you get data on traffic, clicks, and purchases from your website.

MailChimp reports
Predicted demographics report

Additionally, you can get reports from your eCommerce store activities as it integrates with WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc.

Winner: Tie. SendGrid offers detailed reports but offers no integration with other reporting tools. You can get deeper insights by integrating MailChimp with the necessary platforms.

Deliverability

You can’t be sending emails that don’t land in your contacts’ inboxes. Why waste your time?

SendGrid’s main selling point is email deliverability. They say, “If you need stellar deliverability, go to SendGrid.”

For both shared and private IPs, SendGrid offers a complete authentication set (DKIM, SPF, and DMARC) and support. Additionally, they have excellent delivery analytics including webhooks and real-time stats.

Well, according to the participants of their Expert Service Program, 97% of their emails got in their contacts inboxes.

That’s a stellar performance if you ask me. It’s up there with ActiveCampaign.

For MailChimp’s deliverability, I am going to base my analysis on the email marketing deliverability test we conducted. MailChimp’s results are a whopping 95.45% success rate.

That’s pretty elite for MailChimp. Thanks to their partnership with Mandrill, they also offer support for dedicated IPs and DKIM/SPF authentications.

Winner: Tie. They are both stellar deliverability platforms.

Integrations

The productivity of software solutions depends on its ability to play well with others.

In relation to Integrations, SendGrid has a very limited menu to offer. There are only a handful of integrations. Like WordPress, Mercanto, Github, Autopilot, Airtablle, Drupal, Magento, and Agile CRM.

I’d say well in, for getting WordPress and Magento onboard. But, they should work on adding more integrations.

The good news, you can use API to add more software aboard. Any coder will find it easy to integrate with SendGrid.

And Zapier is present to save the less tech-savvy users. You can connect Sendgrid to Shopify, BigCommerce, and Facebook Lead Ads using Zapier.

Now let’s see what Integrations MailChimp offers.

Considering the fact that MailChimp has been in the business longer, it is expected that their integration list would be longer. I have to admit that MailChimp has almost all the software integrations (over 200 integrations) that your brand may need to use. The list is just endless.

You can also use their API to build your own software integrations.

Winner: MailChimp. It offers more diversity. For them it’s you need it, we’ve got it!

Support

We all hit roadblocks in our day-to-day interactions with software, and sometimes we may not be able to figure out the way forward by ourselves. This is where Technical Support comes in.

SendGrid’s support is well-structured and effective. They offer support using different channels including email tickets, live support, and phone calls. Their online community also has valuable information that you can use.

MailChimp’s support is not the best. Due to the volume of people using MailChimp, reliable support is limited to those who have premium subscriptions.

Well, many startups and SMEs don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions. Drawback number one. Two, the response time for the email support may take longer than expected. I call it snail-mail.

Winner: SendGrid. No doubt. SendGrid offers all kinds of support to all its users, including phone calls and live chats.

Pricing

You may want the solution but your pocket is saying, No! You can’t have it.

For the two platforms, pricing is based on the features you need and the number of subscribers you got.

SendGrid pricing

SendGrid’s beginner’s package is juicy, and they offer up to 40,000 emails in one month. Once you have used up your free month, emails are limited to 100 a day. For a startup, this is a deal.

As you can see, the prices are friendly for beginners. They also offer free support 24/7 for all their users.

MailChimp also has its lowest-priced package free, and the most expensive one is premium, which costs $299 and more.

MailChimp pricing

The free package has no automation and you can’t send transactional emails. If that’s not a deal-breaker, you can use it until you grow.

Winner: MailChimp. For the functionality and price, their deal is a steal.

Conclusion

If you are a developer with a list of complex requirements then SendGrid is for you. Also, if you’re looking for eCommerce transactional emails or you need to operate at a scale, SendGrid will give you that in spades.

Not forging their stellar deliverability and data.

However, if you need a simple email marketing solution with excellent user experience, go to MailChimp. It will give you awesome automation features and an extensive menu of third party integration options.

The good news is that they both offer a free version. Take advantage of that and give them a run before making a decision.

Let me know what you pick.





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