Campaigner Email Marketing Review: My Take

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By Ewen Finser

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Ewen Finser

If you are trying to figure out if Campaigner is the right email marketing service for your business, welcome! You are in the right place.

Campaigner has been on my radar for some time, but I’ll be honest in that I hadn’t seriously re-considered it until recently. They’ve made some significant improvements over the last few years and I was curious to check it out.

Still, I wanted to get my hands dirty with it before recommending it to our audience here. After 2 weeks of testing, this review is the result of my testing it.

I DO think it’s a great platform for certain types of businesses, (but not all). I’ll get into specifics about these use cases towards the end.

But first, let’s get started with the basic core Campaign features and I what I think about them.

Some Background on Campaigner

Campaigner isn’t a new service, it’s been around since the early days of the internet in 1999 right before the internet bubble (but it survived)!

I first tried Campaigner way back in 2014 when I was just getting started with digital media. At the time, email marketing automation was very basic and fairly technical. The basic premise for most email communications was the old newsletter format (which ironically is coming back now).

Almost all of the major tools back then like Aweber, Constant Contact, and Campaigner have gone through a re-invention, mostly due to the then “modern upstarts” like ActiveCampaign, Drip, ConvertKit, etc… that focused on automation first.

Rather than offer “me too” features like some of their similarly aged peers, Campaigner keeps the focus on a reliable tech foundation, with industry leading email deliverability, built-in SMS capability, and one of the more robust API’s for advanced customization.

Strong Points I Liked About Campaigner

Rather than run through a list of all of their features (you can check out their website for that), I wanted to highlight the exceptions for me.

I’ve used a lot of email marketing systems over the years, so this is where I see Campaigner standing out:

  • Easy to Implement Personalization: Personalization is a major trend in the industry with lots of new tools attempting to fill the gap, but I like how easy it is to create personalized campaigns with Campaigner based on local qualifying factors, demographic data, and other preferences. This is especially valuable now for email marketing teams due to the rise in privacy restrictions for the “open web” (e.g. an email signup = express permission).
  • Visual Workflow Builder: Campaigner has a nice Wizard tool for figuring out basic workflows in a visually logical way with a unique “validation” tool to sanity check the logic. This is a seemingly small feature, but you do not know how many times I’ve built complex sequences, that didn’t work, only to find out through painstakingly inspection that I missed one tiny step. Campaigner highlights these in red and isolates exactly where you need to input conditions.
  • Built-in Testing: I found Campaigner’s ability to test subject lines and design elements to be very straightforward and a nice feature that isn’t included in every email marketing platform, specifically the ability to test entirely different email templates, designs, and messaging (not JUST the subject line).
  • Robust Email Text Editor: I’ve noticed a trend with email marketing services where they try to re-invent their email editors with new functionality and finicky drag and drag solutions… so there’s something refreshing about Campaigner’s robust tooltips and simple (not over-engineered) interface. It might feel a bit dated, but I found it quite effective and easy to use if you’ve worked with a Word product or standard text CMS before.
  • Pre-Configured Autoresponders: Campaigner seems to get that many companies have certain default recurring and triggered automation needs. Their unique distinction between the two is a no-brainer and I’m surprised more email providers haven’t thought to do it this way.
The “recurring” sequences in particular are huge time savers, specifically renewal notices and retention emails and can instantly add value for companies where customer lifecycle management is key.
  • Transparent Pricing: More on this later in a section below, but I liked how Campaigner has a very straightforward pricing system based on number of contacts. It’s not the cheapest, but I’ve noticed a trend with competitors where they start charging for “overages” and/or have very complex pricing plans that make it hard to figure out where you’ll actually land.
  • Great for Magento: I don’t personally use Magento (now Adobe Commerce), but Campaigner’s eCommerce side integrates closely with Magento and this is featured prominently in their marketing. From what I can tell, they were integration partners earlier on.

Things That Could be Better

As with any tool, there are always things I find that could be better. I was pleasantly surprised overall by how much I liked the old(er) school vibe of Campaigner, but there are some things that might turn you off:

  • Dated Curb Appeal: Again, I don’t personally mind this, but if you are use to a cutting edge, modern software stack, Campaigner is content to focus on what’s under the hood without overdoing the UI/UX. At times, the platform “feels” downright retro.
  • No Free or Budget Plans: I was struck by the lack of any free tier, something that is quite common with most email marketing platforms today. Beyond that, their $59/month “Starter” plan for just 5K contacts, doesn’t leave much to work with. For example, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, and even the more aggressively priced ConvertKit, all have lower priced entry points. I think this is because Campaigner is really geared towards established businesses and the middle tier “Essential” Plan is where I see the most value compared to the field.
  • Limited Sales Orientation: Competitors like ActiveCampaign have almost a “CRM-like” quality, but Campaigner leaves this side alone and is more directly focused on standard email marketing use cases and transactional (ecommerce) email automation. UPDATE: I was able to find a Salesforce and Hubspot Zapier integration, however, so Campaigner can definitely be integrated into a sales engine.
  • Could Use More Integrations: Zapier seems to have a fairly robust integration set, but when compared peers like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and Constant Contact, I found the integrations to be a bit patchy. That said, their API is very flexible and if you have the technical chops (or team) can be configured to do what you need.

Campaigner Pricing Plan Analysis

As I mentioned up top, Campaigner has a relatively straightforward pricing plan. There are 3 main tiers and then a separate “eCommerce” tier.

For eCommerce operators, the tiers break out like this:

You’ll notice that the “Starter” plan for eCommerce is about $20/month higher than the standard Starter plan referenced above, BUT there’s one important distinction that you’ll get unlimited contacts and are instead capped by the number of monthly “sends”.

This is an interesting trade-off for ecommerce (sends vs subs). I’ve only ever seen this one way or the other, not with two seperate pricing schemes.

There’s also a combination plan if you also want to leverage SMS capabilities:

Other than that, the pricing plans seem like a good value (eCom and Standard) for more established businesses looking for a reliable tech platform & straightforward (no gimmicks) pricing.

This means if you are just starting out, there are likely some better options (see “alternatives” further down).

Campaigner Integrations

I touched on this briefly in the “things to improve” section, but Campaigner isn’t as robust on the integrations side as I expected for a platform that’s been around since 1999.

Direct integrations seem to consist of:

  • Magento (now Adobe Commerce)
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Surveytown (never heard of it)
  • Google Analytics

You can access the direct integrations under the profile settings:

That said, they DO have some solid native integrations and a good amount of Zapier connects as well.

Campaigner is owned by the same company that owns, so their webhooks and API tooling feels more advanced than most interfaces I’ve seen:

Other Campaigner Alternatives

Campaigner obviously isn’t the only email marketing suite out on the market and I always like to think of these decisions in light of the competition.

These might be worth considering if you are looking for something a bit different:

  • ActiveCampaign: If you need a more sales focused platform, ActiveCampaign is one of the robust email marketing suites for selling high ticket products and is almost a full on CRM.
  • Omnisend: If you are a dedicated ecommerce seller, I can’t think of a better option right now that Omnisend (a great Klaviyo alternative, more cost effective). Read my full Omnisend review for more details.
  • ConvertKit: If you are a solo creator or creative storyteller, I like ConvertKit as a more intuitive and easy to use alternative (also with build in commerce selling tools for digital products).
  • Beehiiv: If you are just STARTING a newsletter, Beehiiv is rapidly shaking up the landscape and is a great place to start (Campaigner is also a good option once you have an established newsletter and want to customize the entire aesthetic and automate). Read my full Beehiiv review for more info.

Who is Campaigner Right For?

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the retro UI and advanced automation features offered by Campaigner. There’s something nice about having a platform that just works and doesn’t bury you with marketing fluff.

All that being said, I do think there are some good use cases for who should use Campaigner. If this is you… go for it!

  • Established, mid-sized service business? I think Campaigner’s feature mix is a great option for offline and online service businesses, looking to keep customers or potential clients engaged in their information funnel. If this sounds like you, go with Campaigner.
  • Trying to built custom / bespoke email setups? I really like Campaigner’s fairly blank canvas to match a wide variety of use cases. Specifically, one of my favorite newsletters (A Media Operator) is built on a customized Campaigner stack. If this feels like you, give Campaigner a shot.
  • Using Magento / Adobe commerce? Due to their close direct integration, I can’t think of a better email marketing partner than Campaigner here.

Side note: I do ALSO think Campaigner is an interesting option if you are running a newsletter-centric business and want to create a customized stack and the ConvertKit’s or Substack’s of the world aren’t meeting your needs.

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