Welcome to the clash of the Titans
While you can’t go wrong with either, it is likely that either one email service provider will serve your needs better.
This is why it is crucial to be clear about your exact requirements before you select either of them. Keep reading to find out more.
The two most popular email marketing services, Mailchimp (read our Mailchimp review) and Aweber (read our Aweber review), 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.
The basic service you’re looking for is an easy subscribe/unsubscribe option, excellent deliverability, and good support. All email marketing services like SendinBlue, GetResponse, including Aweber and Mailchimp, provide these.
So we’re going to dive deeper, take a look at features, pricing, and 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 and go for the service which suits you the best.
Tom Kulzer created AWeber in 1998 with the goal of making email marketing simpler for small businesses. Today, it boasts over 100,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world.
AWeber has all that you require to build an email list from over 700 templates, free stock images, autoresponders and much much more.
On the other hand, Dan Kurzius and Ben Chestnut co-founded Mailchimp back in 2001. It started as a side project to provide email marketing services for small businesses.
The company has grown to become a leading marketing platform with about 16 million users. Mailchimp offers advanced analytics, templates, autoresponders as well as optimization features.
At a glance, both seem quite similar. So which to choose?
To answer this question, I will be taking you through an email-marketing journey to show you what each platform offers in each step.
Are you ready? So let us begin!
User Interface Aweber
When it comes to signing up, AWeber has a big green button where you click to start. Here you provide user basic information and details.
After this, AWeber provides a welcome video that takes you through the account set up, creating your first list and customizing your confirmation email.
The user interface has a very logical menu with four sections. The first section displays the main components of the system. This includes subscribers, messages, and lists.
The second section shows the tutorials available including webinars, online guides, and videos.
The third section highlights subscriber statistics while the forth part displays recent data including emails sent and statistics.
Getting Started with Mailchimp
Mailchimp collects similar information to use in other settings. However, it doesn’t require credit card information due to its free account. Even though this plan comes with some restrictions on the number of features you receive, although it has an unlimited trial period.
Once you finish this step, you will be taken to the dashboard that displays your options. These options include learning more prompts on each section. With MailChimp, you have the option to create and send a campaign, create a list, start building your audience, invite your colleagues and verify a domain for sending.
Its user interface is uncluttered and comes with more options for templates, campaigns, reports, lists, and automation for simple navigation.
Here is how to get started with Mailchimp.
Ease of use?
Both AWeber and Mailchimp take ease of use into consideration. Each platform has a fairly simple signup process and dashboard navigation as simple as it can be. For this reason, they tie on this round.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Ease of Import
The next thing you want to do is to import your subscriber list into your selected platform. This could be from files or third-party services such as CRM or your eCommerce tool.
AWeber allows you to import your list from various text formats, spreadsheets or even copy-paste from another app. You will then be required to map the information with their list fields.
Similarly, Mailchimp lets you import lists using excel sheets or CSV files. It also requires you to map the information submitted with their list fields. The only difference is that Mailchimp focuses on user experience making it easier for its users.
I would consider this to be a tie again. Both services make data import fairly simple and easy.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Sign Up Forms
Creating a sign-up form through AWeber.
To build your subscriber list quickly, you will need to have an enticing sign up form. AWeber provides sign up forms that have up to 25 fields of information. You can create your own design or use a pre-made template. You can then embed the forms into your site, turn it into your landing page or even carry A/B tests on them.
On the other hand, Mailchimp sign-ups need HTML knowledge. This is because it generates a code for its sign-ups forms that need some HTML expertise in order to embed it on your site.
AWeber takes the win here because it takes into consideration the less tech-savvy users. It also allows you to split test multiple sign up forms to drive great results.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Type of Messages
AWeber offers five different types of messaging options on its top menu. They include:
AWeber saves your messages under draft status which can be sent it as broadcast, follow up series or sent a test.
These are automated messages that enable content customization. This helps your subscribers receive messages based on the triggers you create.
- Legacy follow up series
This sends follow up messages to your subscribers using a schedule. They act as autoresponders that constitute a crucial part of email marketing automation.
These messages are the one-off messages you send to your subscribers. This can help you notify them about your webinar or a special sale discount.
- Blog broadcasts
Blog broadcasts use the RSS feed to send blog posts to your subscribers using email.
In contrast, Mailchimp refers to its messages as campaigns. It offers four main types of campaign options including:
- Regular campaigns
This is the most prolific type of campaign. It lets you design and customize your content. You can also choose to send it immediately or schedule it for a later date.
- Plain text campaigns
The plain text campaign is the simplest form of an email to send. They do not have formatting options.
- Automation campaigns
These campaigns let you automate email marketing using set triggers.
- A/B testing campaigns
This allows you to send more than one version of a similar campaign. You can test subject lines, text and send times.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Email Templates
AWeber and Mailchimp provide numerous email templates designed to meet different needs. However, AWeber offers over 700 templates as compared to MailChimp’s 100 templates.
They both allow you to tweak templates and even upload your own. The email templates have a responsive design so they can automatically resize to suit any device.
Even though AWeber clearly has more options when it comes to templates, Mailchimp wins out in email design. You get to design your templates from scratch instead of being limited.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Editing Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are a vital part of your email marketing strategy. This is largely because they help you nurture existing clients and stay visible. An email newsletter contains valuable content such as product reviews, product recommendations, announcements, tips, blog posts, and guides.
The big question when choosing an email marketing software is how do you edit your newsletters? Luckily, both AWeber and Mailchimp use a drag and drop approach. This makes it quite easy to add, move and edit elements including text, logo, and images.
One aspect that stands out for me in AWeber is its visual builder that lets you just type onto your e-newsletter and make the changes right there. In contrast, in Mailchimp, you have to make changes from the back end. The back and forth edits slows you down a bit.
And the Winner is…
AWeber does it here with the visual builder that makes editing your email newsletters a breeze.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Segmentation
Segmentation or categorization lets you break down your subscriber list into subsets. This helps you to reach out to a group of people who show interest in selected topics without agitating other subscribers who do not have any interest in them.
For instance, imagine you’re selling apparel for both men and women. It’s a good idea to target your emails in such a way that women receive product updates on the latest dresses while men get emails on the latest clothes for men.
You can use subscriber activity in AWeber to make segments. This could be using those who opened the email, clicked links or even sales and page visits. Secondly, you could also make use of tools in the subscriber page. For example, you can select those who didn’t open you’re third follow up message to make a segment.
Mailchimp has an extensive list of segmentation options depending on the plan you choose. You could use automation report data, email domain, and campaign activity to create segments.
Mailchimp wins this round due to its more advanced segmentation options.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Autoresponders
Autoresponders are a series of emails focused on a specific topic. You send them in a pre-determined sequence as per schedule. They help you automate your marketing campaigns.
You can use autoresponders to provide product training, offer birthday discounts, follow up shopping cart abandonment, upsell and cross-sell your products.
To set up autoresponders using AWeber you create an email list, customize the follow-up series’ welcome email then add more entries.
In MailChimp, you navigate the campaigns section, click the drop-down menu to the autoresponder you want and select replicate to automation. The automation builder then lets you create your automation.
Mailchimp offers more functionality as you can choose from predefined workflows or create your own based on your goals.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Email Deliverability
Deliverability ensures that your emails reach your subscriber’s inboxes. This helps you determine if your emails reach your target audience.
Some of the factors that affect deliverability include using single opt-in, spammy subject lines, short URLs, lacking custom authentication and using a free domain address.
AWeber adheres to ISP standards for sending and managing opt-in emails. It has strict restrictions on spamming and closely monitors its user’s accounts.
Mailchimp uses an abuse-detecting technology known as Omnivore to detect unethical email campaign practices.
Mailchimp is a member of the wider organization (AOTA, ESPC, EEC, and MAAWG) that are dedicated to delivering and maintaining the email ecosystem. Mailchimp stays up to date with the latest technological and industrial standards.
Mailchimp handles spam email complaints by immediately moving them from the active list into the abuse complaint area. Mailchimp is registered with major ISPs that receive alerts when a campaign is marked as junk.
And the Winner is….
It’s a Tie. Both Mailchimp and AWeber have a good reputation on their deliverability rate. They both promise over 99% delivery results.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: A/B Testing
Also known as split testing, A/B testing is comparing two versions of any communication to know which performs better. A/B testing enables you to do more with existing traffic.
Anything that affects visitor’s behavior can be A/B tested like subheadings, paragraph text, testimonials, headlines, call to action text, call to action buttons, links, images, social proof, media mentions, etc.
Mailchimp offers limited split testing in their free plan. If you opt for the paid plan, you can test 3 email versions against each other. Mailchimp Pro offers tests that are more sophisticated. You can test up to eight variables of e-newsletter against each other.
If you have a large list, Mailchimp configures the test so that 50% of your subscribers receive the test combination. The winning combination can be sent to the remainder on the list.
In Mailchimp, the winner campaign is based on open rate, total revenue, and click rate. It takes a minimum of four hours to run the test.
Until recently, AWeber has been allowing users to split test four different emails against each other.
It’s a Tie. At the basic plan levels, both Aweber and Mailchimp are tied. (Mailchimp offers advanced testing but only on more expensive plans)
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Affiliate Links
Your business plan may include having some residual income from affiliate links. This means that you will need to include those affiliate links in your emails.
AWeber has no restrictions when it comes to promoting affiliate links using its platform.
MailChimp, on the other hand, has strict affiliate link policies. Even though it doesn’t ban you from using them, it has a long list of blacklisted domains. This includes many retailers and you might risk being shut down trying to get around them.
For businesses that have affiliate links as a major component of email marketing, AWeber is the definite go-to email service provider.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Integrations
Both email service providers integrate easily with major eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Shopify. In addition, you can integrate both with social platforms such as Facebook.
Mailchimp has a bigger selection of integrations. Squarespace uses Mailchimp as their default option such that it requires some configuration to set up AWeber.
It is also synced with your Facebook account meaning that Facebook will automatically begin showing ads to new subscribers. With an AWeber list, you’ll have to upload your list manually for new subscribers to see your ads.
Mailchimp has a lot going for it when it comes to integrations. You can even run your Facebook ad campaigns and Google remarketing ads straight from your Mailchimp account.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Reporting & Analysis
The insights that you get on what worked and what failed give you an advantage on future campaigns.
Mailchimp offers reports that explain bounce rate, open rate, click-through rates, and other metrics. It presents this information using interactive graphs and provides the click map overlay to show what elements attracted your subscribers the most.
With AWeber, the analytics dashboard provides a clear view of opens and clicks using a graph format. You get to see where subscribers clicked to have a clear picture of what content resonated with them. In addition, you can see those who have unsubscribed from your list to monitor the causes.
Mailchimp has slightly more advanced features on reporting as compared to Aweber. It just edges a victory here.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Customer Support
Nothing does wonders for technical support than the ability to talk to a customer service representative. Only Aweber currently has phone support in addition to email and chat support.
Both services offer online tutorials and guides to help you solve any issues you face. They also provide email support to help you come up with solutions. However, Mailchimp does its best to eliminate the need for customer service and that leaves it at a disadvantage.
AWeber does more when it comes to customer support by providing a toll-free number. They also offer live chat support for instant problem handling.
AWeber vs Mailchimp Pricing
Sometimes choosing an email service provider comes down to pricing. So if you’re wondering, how much do they cost? Here is the lowdown.
In AWeber, the price you will be paying is based on the number of subscribers you have. It also includes a 30-day free trial for users to sample all their features. Its pricing plan starts at $19 each month for up to 500 subscribers and scales up from that.
In contrast, Mailchimp offers three paid plans. The free plan caters for up to 2000 subscribers and allows you to send 12000 emails each month. The second plan is the Essentials plan which starts at $9.99 every month to cater to 50000 subscribers and emails. The Standard plan caters to 100000 subs for $14.99 monthly. Finally, the premium plan starts at $299 per month and comes with unlimited email and subscriber options.
Even though AWeber does not offer a free plan, the 30-day free trial period is not restrictive. You are able to get a good sense of what it offers. Unfortunately, MailChimp’s free plan is quite restrictive.
Regardless, it offers a pay as you go option for users who send emails less often. Here, you only get to pay for the number of emails that you send. This makes it stand out from AWeber and take the lead.
Who Should Consider Using AWeber
- AWeber has more templates (over 700) than MailChimp.
- Its autoresponders are simpler to set up.
- The real-time editor in the newsletter builder makes editing easy.
- It has more free stock images.
- It provides more extensive support options.
- It doesn’t have strict restrictions on affiliate marketing.
Who Should Consider Using Mailchimp
Mailchimp is a decent choice if you’re starting out on email marketing. This is especially when you don’t want to commit a budget. Its designs are more user-friendly and it offers more integrations. Below are the reasons you should choose Mailchimp instead.
- It has a functional free plan to get started.
- Its autoresponder options are more extensive.
- It includes sending time optimization.
- You can easily use different languages for confirmation pages.
- It has a wide range of integrations with third-party apps.
- It offers a better RSS to email feature.
AWeber vs Mailchimp: Final Word
Both AWeber and Mailchimp are excellent options for email marketing. AWeber features more templates and does its best to simplify its processes for newbies. On the other hand, Mailchimp offers more options when it comes to reporting and designing emails. However, its drawbacks are too big to overlook especially when it comes to restrictions on affiliate links and lack of customer support. If these two features are not a deal-breaker for you, then Mailchimp is the better choice.
Read the complete review of Aweber here