MailChimp is one of the leading email marketing platforms that offers easy-to-use interface which is perfect for beginners who want to send newsletters and automated emails with little to no learning curve.
While MailChimp is often consider the go-to choice for email marketing, MailChimp has several downsides and may not be the best choice for you.
For starters, you can only truly leverage MailChimp if you have design and coding skills to create beautiful email templates.
Apart from that, MailChimp isn't the best option if you are an affiliate marketer or planning to use emails to sell affiliate products. If you do so, your account may be terminated or closed without any notice.
Make no mistake. MailChimp is a good email marketing software but it certainly has some major disadvantages especially with affiliate marketers. You may want to take a look at this article where I highlight some of the biggest disadvantages using MailChimp.
Without further a due, let's dive into the top MailChimp competitors for 2018.
Top MailChimp Competitors Worth Checking Out
1. AWeber—Email marketing software for affiliate marketers
If you are an affiliate marketer, you are going to to love what AWeber can do. AWeber is a great MailChimp alternative because provides a lot more email marketing features compared to what MailChimp can offer.
Advantages using AWeber
Split testing ability
Drag and drop visual editor
Supports HTML and plain text emails
Automation based on RSS to Email
Easy to use (low learning curve)
Mobile application available
Fast support (respond under 10 minutes)
High delivery ratio
Constant features upgrade
Intuitive dashboard and reporting tools
Mobile responsive templates
Integrated popup and lead generation forms
Used by top influencers such as Neil Patel (CrazyEgg) and Brian Dean (Backlinko)
Highly affordable (starts at $19 per month)
Disadvantages using AWeber
Doesn't come with a forever free plan
AWeber vs MailChimp
I am a huge fan for both AWeber and MailChimp. Personally, I hate the fact that AWeber doesn't come with a forever free plan. In terms of email marketing features, AWeber offers more detailed reporting and more importantly, zero coding skill is required for using AWeber.
If you love plaintext email marketing, you are going to love what ConvertKit can offer. Period.
ConvertKit understands what it takes to grow a successful online business and therefore, ConvertKit comes with features tailored to your needs to help you achieve success faster.
ConvertKit is as powerful as Infusionsoft but as simple as MailChimp. Plus, ConvertKit is way much cheaper compared to Infusionsoft (and doesn't cost you a dime to get onboarding too)!
Advantages using ConvertKit
Easy-to-embed, customized opt-in forms
Detailed homepage dashboard
Simple workflows with "if this, then that" style automation rules
Powerful drag-and-drop sequence builder helps you create personalized automated emails to grow your list
ConvertKit is subscriber-centric (that means you can easily organize your subscribers from one list with tags and segments)
ConvertKit’s plain text emails not only give your marketing efforts a personal feel, they also help you avoid spam filters (that means you’ll start seeing higher open rates that turn into more conversions to help you grow you business)
Extreme high delivery rates making sure that your emails get delivered to inboxes without fail
Excellent and reliable support around the clock
Disadvantages using ConvertKit
Not suitable for those who require HTML or image-rich emails
Slightly more expensive than other MailChimp competitors
Doesn't come with a forever free plan
ConvertKit vs MailChimp
ConvertKit is a great email marketing software if you are serious in building an email list and staying engaged with your email subscribers.
ConvertKit pricing starts at $29 per month and while it is slightly higher than most of the MailChimp competitors in the market, it is still considered very affordable with the features which ConvertKit offers.
Drip is another top MailChimp competitor. Unlike ConvertKit which focuses heavily on bloggers, Drip put its focus on businesses (brick and mortar, and eCommerce).
Drip used to be covered with 'blue' and now, it had redesigned, making it more interesting and effective for eCommerce.
Advantages using Drip
Easily integrate your most used marketing tools with Drip
Drip’s tracking code delivers insights into who your customers are and what they want
Learn about your subscribers and website visitors, with Drip, and track the data any way you like
Drip allows you to apply custom tags, fields, or events to your customers in just a few clicks
Increase customer engagement with workflows that adapt to your customers’ interests and behavior
Drip's email builder makes it easy to customize every detail of your messaging for individual people
Availability of custom conversion tracking
Offers forever free account (up to 100 email subscribers)
Disadvantages using Drip
Steep pricing structure
Rather steep pricing structure for beginners
Drip vs MailChimp
To be honest, Drip is a great MailChimp alternative. It is easy to use and setup, Drip offers very professional display and interactive features so that you can spend less time on email.
Drip stands as one of the top MailChimp competitors because it offers forever free marketing plan (up to 100 subscribers) and $49 per month for the next tier pricing.
Another huge advantage using Drip is that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars on web design or coders. Everything can be done easily through their visual builder and their pre-made templates are best to none.
I could not emphasize enough the importance of starting a mailing list. As a self-claimed plugin junkie, I find it very difficult to work with the just your average plugin. Instead, I wanted to work with the best plugin available to ensure that I am grabbing all the chances available to me.
As a blogger, you might be wondering which is probably the best plugin for your money and just like me, you want to make sure every visitor is converted into loyal subscribers.
Related: 30 Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugins For 2015
The best of the best mailing list plugins for 2014
10 of the best mailing list plugins for bloggers in 2014
In this article, I will cover 10 of the most popular, recommended and best mailing list tools that is guaranteed to skyrocket your mailing list building for the upcoming 2014.
Best mailing list plugins with advance features - Hybrid Connect
Hybrid Connect or HC is a tool that offers feature rich mailing list options for bloggers
When it comes to the best mailing list plugin, Hybrid Connect is certainly one of my arsenal when it comes to list building. It offers a vast variety of ready-made templates which fits perfectly into:
In-text (content area)
Integration with videos and webinars
Setting up Hybrid Connect is easy and probably one of the easiest among all the plugins I have tested. Besides that Hybrid Connect also makes it easier to create multiple sign up forms with the form builder feature, video opt-in and split testing.
Your visitors can also sign up using their Facebook account using Hybrid Connect which is a great way boost conversion rate.
What I truly love about Hybrid Connect are the automatic responsive designs to fit any browser or layouts and as well as the quick response from support team for any inquiries.
Hybrid Connect costs $49 for single site, $67 for multi site and $147 for a developer's license. It comes with a full 30-days money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the plugin.
Best mailing list plugin for easy usage and integration - OptinSkin
A plugin that does everything it is suppose to do; build a mailing list ... fast
OptinSkin is probably the best mailing list plugin (alternative) for many bloggers. So, what makes OptinSkin so popular?
Personally, OptinSkin offers one of the best skins I have ever seen in a list building plugin. All the designs and layouts are perfectly done. This means that all you need to do is to integrate your mailing list provider code into OptinSkin and the rest is self-explanatory.
OptinSkin offers several features such as:
Fade out forms
In-text (content area)
While many other list building plugins are offering different packages, you can get OptinSkin with just one price for unlimited usage, $67. It also offers a full, 30-days money back guarantee.
The revolutionary mailing list plugin - OptinMonster
The latest, ground breaking and game changer mailing list plugin
When you have two of the best WordPress developers working together, you get probably the best mailing list plugin for 2014. Syed Balkhi from WP Beginner and Thomas Griffin from Soliloquy slider are the ones behind this game changer plugin.
I am not going to lie to you; OptinMonster offers around the same features Hybrid Connect, OptinSkin or probably a dozen more plugins.
So, what makes OptinMonster ... such as monster when it comes to mailing list building?
Introducing 'Exit Intent' from OptinMonster. For me, this is the groundbreaking, mind blowing and explosive feature every mailing list plugin should have.
Exit Intent is basically a feature which tracks the mouse speed and your visitors gestures. When OptinMonster detects they are about to leave your blog, it will automatically trigger a pop up to 'lure' you to stay longer and build a bigger subscriber's list.
Personally, I call Exit Intent as 'smart pop-up'.
Exit Intent is a feature because over 70% of your visitors will NEVER return and it allows you to capitalize on that with Exit Intent and extremely powerful targeting features.
While OptinMonster could probably be the best mailing list plugin for bloggers, and Internet Marketers, it costs $49 for a basic account, $99 for a plus account, $199 for a full year license and $349 for lifetime licence.
Now, if the price is driving you away, don't be! OptinMonster offers 14-days money back guarantee for all packages and thus, you know your money is in good hands.
The best 'all-in-one' mailing list plugin - Subscriber's Magnet
Subscriber's Magnet offers a full list building 'package' at a very affordable price
For those who are already building a list, Subscriber's Magnet from MaxBlogPress is already a household name. Subscriber's Magnet is probably one of the only 'all-in-one' plugin that offers everything you could ever wished for such as:
Optin form within post, embedded inside comment
Facebook connect feature
Exit pop in
Header and footer bars
Form auto filler
What make me really attracted to Subscriber's Magnet is that it offers a huge range of features which I could leverage especially when it comes to building a list.
You can try Subscriber's Magnet for $1 for the first 14 days and after that, you can either choose the $37 for single site usage or $97 for multi site usage.
The best value for money mailing list plugin - WP Lead Magnet
The newest and the only plugin that is smart enough to automatically enable and disable view
This is the latest plugin I came across and it really brings mailing list building process to the next level. Basically, WP Lead Magnet works in a very distinct way where each widget or sign up form will interact with each other to maximize the conversion rate.
For example, news visitors to your blog will see sign up forms on the sidebar, in the content area and after post. Once they have signed up using any of these forms, the rest of the forms will automatically disappear from their view.
This means that you utilize the spaces for banners, related post links and many more. At the moment, this is the only list building plugin which offers such feature.
While this is probably the newest plugins available, it is highly recommended by Neil Patel and it had proven to be useful by increase conversion rate by over 317%.
WP Lead Magnet costs $47 and as usual, it comes with a full 30-days money back guarantee.
What makes Hello Bar such as an important tool when it comes to building a mailing list?
Hello Bar is not a mailing list plugin but with it's features, credibility and support, I believe it deserves to be in this top 12 spot. Hello Bar is a notification bar that could boost your conversion rate multiple times.
While the success of using a notification bar is highly dependable to your blog, report and studies had shown that it is indeed a great move to build a mailing list.
To name a few, here are some authority sites which are using Hello Bar:
For me, Hello Bar is a great tool to increase subscribers as that little small bar at the top can literally fetch thousands of subscribers without you knowing.
And yes, currently it is free for all and therefore, I see no reasons why you shouldn't use it.
Foo Bar allows you to customize your notification bar to places you have never imagine before
I came across FooBar when I was trying to find a more custom notification bar. As much as HelloBar is a great tool to start with, I always wish to have a better control over my site. For example, I wanted to remove the 'H' brand and make it more unique.
Top or bottom bars
Twitter and RSS feed integration
FooBar only cost you $14 for lifetime license and if you ask me, this could possibly be one of the best and cheapest investment I ever done in my entire life.
With the right CTA, FooBar could easily beat any list building plugins out there.
The best and affordable mailing list provider (not plugin) - GetResponse
GetResponse offers many inbuilt signup forms if you are tight in budget
Don't get me wrong; GetResponse is not a mailing list plugin and I am sorry for the confusion.
But wait! Why did I even include GetResponse in this roundup?
When I published this article (Hybrid Connect vs OptinSkin review), some of my readers asked if there are other alternatives if they are tight in budget and do not want to invest in any form of plugin.
I totally get it and I actually tested running popups using my email marketing provider, GetResponse (and a few others). As far as I can tell you, it works pretty well and you certainly do not need to use a mailing list plugin just to build a list of subscribers.
So, how do you possibly leverage this from your email marketing provider?
If you are using GetResponse, you could easily build popup forms using the web builder as seen below:
Build stunning sign up forms using GetResponse Drag and Drop editor
This doesn't only applies to GetResponse but also to over a dozen email marketing providers out there. Well, all you ever need is possibly time and patience.
While it is not pretty out-of-the-box, take sometime designing it and you would probably get the best and most complete signup form you ever need. Period.
Previous, I had shared on my email list building technique from scratch. If you have yet to read it, I suggest that you take a quick peek at it here.
Briefly, I wrote which opt-in form works the best and how to go around it. As for the record, about 35% of my signups come from the featured opt-in form like this one below:
If you finding for list building techniques or ways to extend your mailing list, I suggest you to do that (the above) NOW!
But here's the thing; featured call to action (CTA) could easily backfire you especially when you are trying to get 'involved' with the big boys.
I was lucky to be able to have a quick discussion with BizSugar support team on using the right list building techniques. More juicy parts below!
*Important disclaimer: Kudos to the team over at BizSugar who took my inquiry seriously and they were more than just patience in answering them. I know I am a tough customer but thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Link building catastrophe
I am always a website speed junkie and really passionate about link building. Recently I was building my authority with BizSugar and I came to something so catastrophe. Here's the snippet of the email:
I was stunned and speechless. The featured CTA which had been serving me well with 35% of total signup, got to be either removed or I'll lose my backlinks from BizSugar.
The concept here is having a featured opt-in form is rather distracting. Agree to disagree?
I wasn't happy about it and decided to discuss over the matter with BizSugar. And finally, the last reply which connects the dots together.
This was huge!
I doesn't blame BizSugar for their terms and conditions but this incident really thought me something about list building.
Over using your featured opt-in form is a bad, bad move. And yes, I have a featured CTA on every page!
Immediate action plan: Change all my featured opt-in CTA!
Now this got me thinking. Will there be more established websites that sees this as an issue? Of course, this wouldn't be good right?
Research that could change my list building techniques forever
I decided to check if BizSugar is the only one who enforces that rule. I don't want to have all my articles or backlinks being deleted just because I was crazy about building an email list for myself!
Out of 10 websites that I checked (and read their terms and conditions), 8 of them does not allow advertisements to be placed right above or below the title. Of course, we can debate that opt-in box and ads banner are two different things but do you really want to go down that road?
I was chatting with Corina and she basically 'confirmed' that as well.
If you have no idea who is Corina, she is the woman behind Work From Home Concepts. Getting her insight on the matter was a great boost and proof for me.
Did BizSugar taught me anything about list building?
List building lessons:
1. Do not over use featured opt-in forms
2. Using featured opt-in forms are accepted if they are right in size
Yes it does and it is a great advise indeed!
Even thought building an email list with featured opt-in forms could be a good move, but some readers don't really like it. Honestly speaking, having an oversize and featured CTA could be very distracting instead.
Big sites such as BizSugar doesn't really have the time to 'check out' each post. Therefore, this is probably the best way to control the quality of the posts submitted.
Now, what should I do since I have to live without my lovely, featured opt-in form? I wasn't ready to kiss good bye my list building plans and thus, here are some counter measures I did:
Enable floating opt-in form on sidebar for all posts
'Overhaul' all my opt-in forms with the hopes of increasing the sign up rate