(Last Updated On: December 31, 2017)
When you’re investigating bulk email marketing solutions for your business, it’s easy to be a little lazy about it, and lean towards the cheapest option.
After all, about 85% of them throw around the same key words to entice you with how great they are. Which suggests that they’re mostly much of a muchness. So why on earth would you not opt for the cheapest solution, if they’re all pretty much the same?
I agree. I see how it happens, and it’s completely a valid approach. However, we’re here to try and help these solutions fit what’s best for your business, and there’s a good chance that’s not as simple as the cheapest.
When you start looking under the hood of these products, you can actually start to narrow down what they do, and how well they’ll work for whatever your organization does.
Say hi to GetResponse
GetResponse have been around forever. Well, since 1998, but in tech terms, where mergers and acquisitions happen left, right, and center, I’m sure 19 years counts as forever.
There’s not really a lot of information about the company beyond that. Their start year suggests that they were one of the earliest companies to find a commercially viable way of helping people to do email marketing really well, and I guess in that respect, one of the first companies to acknowledge that there was a certain way to do it well.
GetResponse has a few different elements, like webinars, landing page creation, and automation, but their core functionality is very much still all about the email marketing. I always find the webinar aspect of GetResponse odd when I think about it, but we’ll talk about that more later.
Say hi to ConvertKit
ConvertKit only launched in 2015, but don’t be put off by the fact that they’re essentially still in their startup stage. They’ve been working hard, and in two years, they now employ 24 people across 17 countries.
Apart from that, ConvertKit seem to be keeping their history close to their chest. Nathan Barry, who founded the company, has a blog that talk about building it up, but that’s kind of it.
So how does a baby company like ConvertKit distinguish itself among a slew of companies offering such a similar service?
Well, they could do it all kinds of ways, include the usual claims of being better and cheaper and easier to use, but they’ve taken the approach of focusing at catering really well for one group of people. The niche audience they’ve chosen to do this with is professional bloggers.
As is standard for such digital marketing tools, GetResponse has a tiered pricing system, where the price varies depending on what you want or need. The main variable are the amount of features you want and the number of people you’re going to need to contact.
Let’s start with their most basic package. If you want to contact up to 1,000 people, it’ll cost you $15 per month. This is not a bad starter package if you’re brand new to email marketing, and will certainly allow you to hit the ground running.
It is the basic package though, so its functionality is very much hanging on those emails. But when you’re dealing with something like this for the first time, I do think it’s best to take your time and get a solid grip on one element of it, before handing over more cash for stuff that sounds great in the sales pitch, but that don’t fully understand.
Although the basic package hangs largely on email, you do get a little automation functionality, and landing pages for campaigns – more than enough to get you rolling.
As your business expands, you can keep that basic package and its functionality for up to 100,000 subscribers. If you keep it that far, it’ll cost you $450 per month. Quite frankly, if I had 100,000 subscribers, I’d be looking at upgrades to find the most efficient way of managing all of them!
We’ll take a look at some of the features GetResponse offers to help with that in a little bit.
It should also be noted that GetResponse offer discounts for those who can pay for a year of service at a time, and a further discount for those who can pay for two.
Like GetResponse, ConvertKit doesn’t have a free version. I know, there are plenty of email marketing solutions that do offer some kind of a free experience, but it’s the sort of thing that without a contract commitment, it’s worth paying for just a month, just to see how you get on.
It does come with a free two-week trial, but I feel like unless you have a dedicated somebody committed to the email marketing cause, that might not be enough.
For the cost of a month of a service that might not be right for your business, it’s worth spending a little bit of money on it now, rather than latching onto a service just because it’s free for just a little bit, and that will cause headaches down the line when it doesn’t do what you need.
Anyway, ConvertKit has three regular tiers. Each tier offers the exact same set of features, with the price increments based entirely on the number of subscribers you want to reach out to. Here’s how it breaks down.
|Up to 1,000 subscribers
||$29 per month
|Up to 3,000 subscribers
||$49 per month
|Up to 5,000 subscribers
||$79 per month
Obviously their service won’t tap out at 5,000 subscribers, but if you have more, you’ll need to call them directly to arrange a custom package.
There’s not actually too much to say about the features in GetResponse’s initial tier. It really is the most basic email marketing functionality, and a little bit of basic automation. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’ll certainly get you rolling.
I always find it weird talking about GetResponse’s webinar function, which is one of the features introduced in their second tier. I always feel like the marketer who would need this would be operating in such a niche. It might be useful if they’re pushing a product that might require explanation, or maybe an educational service of some kind.
Either way, when you move to GetResponse’s second tier, you’ll be able to put on a webinar for up to 100 people. Among other additional features at this tier are triggers for your automation, such as an email if somebody abandons their cart on your ecommerce site, as well as event tracking from the web, which is useful for the landing pages you create with it.
By the time you get to the third tier, GetResponse starts to feel a little bit like an agency rather than a digital marketing tool, primarily because this bundle includes campaign consulting. It’s a relatively common feature of higher SaaS tiers, where the provider will assign you an actual human individual for you to work with to ensure success for your campaigns.
This tier also includes integration with Salesforce CRM. I like this – I’m a big fan of things I use integrating with other things I use. What isn’t clear is if it can integrate with other packages.
The top tier goes full agency with a dedicated account manager for you.
With its focus on such as niche as bloggers, ConvertKit has been very smart, and developed a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms, and its ability to customize stuff without coding knowledge via its plugins is one of the main reasons it’s so popular.
It says ConvertKit knows its audience, and they’d rather spend time writing than figuring out coding.
ConvertKit largely has an “if this, then that” approach to its feature. I say this because its main features feel like they are reliant on drip sequences of emails, where an appropriate email will be sent to somebody, depending on what action they take in relation to your campaign, so whether they buy something, or abandon a cart, or even just look at a campaign page.
It has a forms feature that I quite like. It’s a convenient way to have a dedicated, sharp looking landing page without too much of a headache, and have it intrinsically linked with your email marketing efforts.
I’m a big fan of data analysis and knowing as much as possible about the audience I’m talking to. For me, this is where ConvertKit falls down a little bit. When you log in, you’ll be shown a graph illustrating the performance of your subscriptions, and a little information about opt-ins, but that’s about it.
If you’re similarly data obsessed, you might also feel let down by this. You can use Google Analytics and its custom campaign URL builder to help, but I normally use that in conjunction with the data available from the email provider.
GetResponse feels like it’s framing itself as a CRM platform, rather than just an email marketing platform. There are some pros and cons with that.
For an email marketing newbie, that might get a little bit scary. I appreciate that, if all you wanted to do was literally get the ball rolling on your email marketing.
On the flip side, if you have some understanding of CRMs and what they do, but know that you don’t need a full one, GetResponse might be an appropriate alternative, acting as a “light CRM.” It feels like they stripped away most of the functionality of a CRM to focus on its emailing capability.
In terms of its general use, everything is navigated from the menu going across the header. The menu titles are mostly self-explanatory, so it’s not too difficult, even for beginners to find their way around and do what it is they need to do.
As soon as you login to GetReponse, it starts begging you for your contact list. I mean, I get that that’s a things that’s quite integral to what it’s supposed to do, but it comes across as needy: we get enough warnings throughout our internet use about privacy, I feel like I’d want a bit more to develop my trust before I start handing over my contacts’ information. I’m sure it’s completely harmless. But still…
One thing that I think makes GetResponse an attractive package or newbies is that they provide consultation sessions, free of charge, for new users. I think that’s a very nice thing to have available, especially those who are completely new to email marketing, and could do with some initial guidance.
With ConvertKit aiming itself pretty exclusively at bloggers, you can be sure it’ll be super-user-friendly, avoiding anything remotely technical like the plague. That’ll definitely keep its bloggers happy! The most coding you’d have to do is if you’re tweaking some HTML code to refine the design of your email.
There’s not a lot more to say about it really. Due not its anti-technical nature, I’d say it’s one of the easiest solutions imaginable, thanks in no small part to its WordPress plugin. The navigation menus are quite self-explanatory, and it’s easy to find your way around, even if you’ve never looked under the hood of an email marketing package before.
As well as WordPress, they tout numerous other integrations as one of their features. True to form, these are easy as anything to… well… integrate.
No more than GetResponse, they tout the capability of their customer service team. They offer regular training sessions to help you get the most out of your package. If you have over 5,000 subscribers, they have a dedicated teams to help support your transition from other tools. Having seen what a mess it can be if you’ve started your email marketing with the wrongs solution, I know that’s a great service to have available!
If you’re not completely au-fait with the terminology regarding CRMs, it may get a bit fiddly when you’re trying to integrate them. It’s difficult to make a mistake, but I would recommend having somebody on hand who knows whatever you’re integrating it with.
I feel like GetResponse is very much aimed at those using email marketing for sales. I know that sounds odd. What I mean is that I feel sales professionals would get the most benefit from it, rather than those focused on marketing or just informative emails.
Its segmentation functionality in particular suggests this. It points at people who know enough about their audience to know they’re not all the same, and that a little bit of personalization will go a long way. I guess it comes back to what I was saying about it being a light CRM.
The lack of in-depth analytics also points at this conclusion, because marketers want to know everything about the audience, down to what they eat for breakfast.
It would be nice to see more integration than with Salesforce, but Salesforce is one of the most popular products on the planet, so I doubt it’s leaving them too stuck for business!
I like ConvertKit for what it is. I’m not running a professional blog, but I do see how it’s a spot-on tool for directly connecting with the audience of those who do.
It avoids getting at all technical, and for bloggers comfortable with the WordPress platform – and there are plenty – that little plugin of ConvertKit’s will certainly keep them happy. If you’re pushing sales through your blog, the number of integrations it has with other platforms, such as e-commerce ones, should keep things pretty seamless for you.
Although ConvertKIt says they can do things outside of blogging, I’m afraid I’m a little skeptical. It’s not that its functionality couldn’t be applied to other types of online outlets, but I’d have reservations on how appropriate they’d be.
|Pricing Options||Four tiers, starting at $15 per month||Four tiers, starting at $29 per month
|Features||- Forms for signing up subscribers|
- Landing pages
|- Forms for signing up subscribers
- Set up sequence of triggered emails
- CRM integration
|Usability||Simple and intuitive||Anti-technical
|Conclusion||Good for sales professionals||Good for bloggers
The main thing you need to consider in squaring these two products off against each other is which would be better for your business.
GetResponse is very much ideal for salespeople, operating as a light CRM, where it has some of the feel of a CRM that would appeal to marketers, but stripping back a lot of the usual CRM stuff to a dedicated email tool.
ConvertKit is a great tool for signing up subscriptions to a professional blog. It’s embarrassingly easy to use, and you’ll be connecting directly wth your readers in no time.
Both solutions offer free trial periods, so if you’re still not sure, sign up for each of them, and see which one you feel works better for your business objectives.