I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
AWeber vs. Mailchimp: Which Is Right for You?
If you run a business, staying on top of your email marketing game is crucial to your success. While Mailchimp has dominated the email marketing tool space for years, it’s not the only game in town for businesses that want to keep their email strategy on lock.
There’s no one-size-fits-all email marketing tool: every offering on the market has its own pros and cons, and instead of looking for the “best” marketing platform, you’ll be far better off finding the platform that works best for you.
And that will be precisely the goal of this guide. Here, we’re going to take a look at email titans AWeber and Mailchimp to see which one is better for your business. So, get ready for the prize fight of the email marketing world: AWeber vs. Mailchimp.
When discussing email marketing tools, there’s one name that immediately comes to mind for almost everyone: Mailchimp. Without a doubt, Mailchimp has become the go-to tool for all things email. Since its foundation in 2001, Mailchimp has grown its user base to over 16 million users and has expanded its toolset as well. Mailchimp advertises its services to businesses of all sizes, ranging from sole proprietorships to large corporations.
Although AWeber has been around for 20 years, it hasn’t received the same amount of attention that Mailchimp has, perhaps because AWeber focuses entirely on the needs of small businesses, not enterprise solutions. AWeber is all about simplicity: it knows that many small businesses simply don’t have the manpower to dedicate much time to email marketing, and small business owners want powerful, simple solutions that are cost-effective, easy to implement, and don’t require too much upkeep.
Let’s start out by seeing how Mailchimp and AWeber compare as far as pricing is concerned.
AWeber’s pricing is very straightforward: all plans come with the full suite of AWeber features, and the only variable that determines price is how many subscribers you have on your list.
All AWeber plans come with the following features:
- Unlimited emails
- Customer solutions
- Sign up forms
- Image hosting
- Over 6,000 stock photos
- Over 700 email templates
- Educational resources
Pricing is as follows:
|Number of subscribers||Cost per month|
You can also save a bit of money by prepaying on a quarterly or yearly basis. Paying quarterly saves you 14% and paying annually saves you 14.9%.
We really appreciate AWeber’s straightforward pricing. Many email providers have some pretty complex pricing tables, as you’ll soon see with Mailchimp.
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Mailchimp’s pricing structure is a far cry from AWeber’s. While AWeber’s features stay the same no matter what pricing tier you subscribe to, Mailchimp bases its pricing on three different variables: features, subscriber count, and whether you pay on a monthly or yearly basis.
Without derailing this article too far into pricing, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from Mailchimp (you can find a more detailed look here). The price per month will vary within the given range based on how many subscribers you have and whether you pay on a monthly or yearly basis:
|Plan||Price per month|
|Premium||$299.00-$1,099, or custom pricing for lists with over 200,000 contacts|
Here are the features in each plan:
- A 2,000-contact limit
- Up to 10,000 monthly email sends
- 1-click automations
- Basic templates
- Marketing CRM
- Behavioral targeting
- Websites (beta)
- A 50,000-contact limit
- Up to 500,000 monthly email sends
- All email templates
- A/B testing capabilities
- Custom branding capabilities
- Email and chat support
- A 100,000-contact limit
- Up to 1.2 million monthly email sends
- The full suite of Mailchimp’s analytics tools
- Retargeting ads
- Custom templates
- Custom domains
- Event-based automation series
- Advanced segmentation
- Multivariate testing
- Unlimited seats and role-based access
- Phone support
When it comes to both the simplicity of the pricing structure or bang for your buck, AWeber beats Mailchimp. AWeber’s email solutions are far more affordable, and much easier to understand pricing wise.
That said, Mailchimp does offer a free plan, while AWeber does not. However, it’s quite a ways away from the capability of the full version of both programs, so AWeber is still the better choice for small businesses that want a powerful email marketing solution.
The signup process for both platforms is quite similar with only a few minor differences.
Signing up for AWeber is just what you’d expect from most SaaS offerings. To sign up, just navigate to the AWeber free trial page, and then select if you’d like to sign up for the monthly plan, which includes a free trial, or for a quarterly or annual trial, both of which do not include a free trial.
Our only gripe with the signup process is that it’s a bit hard to find — there’s no landing page that specifically says “signup”. Instead, you need to go to the free trial page, which makes it a bit confusing for those who may not want to get a free trial.
Otherwise, signing up for AWeber is an easy experience with nothing significant good or bad.
Mailchimp’s signup process doesn’t stray too far from the norm either, but it does have one major drawback. When you first start the signup process, it looks incredibly easy: it appears you only need to input your email address, username, and password, and you’ll be on your way.
However, in reality, Mailchimp just spreads out the signup process over several different pages. While this does help to guide you through the process, it also means you can’t autofill everything on one go, which is a bit annoying.
However, since Mailchimp offers a free plan, you don’t need to input your credit card info at your initial sign up, and that’s a major plus.
The signup process for both platforms is not particularly different, but it’s a bit easier to figure out how to signup with Mailchimp. Plus, you can start using Mailchimp without inputting your credit card number, so we’re big fans of that (and you probably are as well).
Design and user experience
Now it’s time to get into the real meat and potatoes of each platform. Here’s how the user experience compares on each platform.
AWeber design and UX
We can’t quite put our finger on it, but something just doesn’t seem polished on AWeber’s UX. It looks nice, but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that differentiates it from its peers. It’s a bit bland and lacks individuality, making it feel a bit tacked together.
That said, it’s quite easy to navigate, and that’s the most important thing. Getting around the tool is pretty easy to do, and most users won’t have too much trouble figuring out where to go for any particular feature.
Mailchimp design and UX
Mailchimp’s design is a step up from AWeber’s, but it’s still not as nice as some of the other designs we’ve seen on platforms like Klaviyo. The best thing about Mailchimp’s design language is that it’s utterly unique and gives the impression of a high-end luxury experience. Its black and white minimalist design appears to be imitating the look of a newspaper and makes you feel like you’re in the middle of an episode of Mad Men whenever you use it.
However, to some extent, Mailchimp’s UX, although unique, feels dated. If you approach it as we described above, it feels high-end. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to look at it as a relic of dial-up internet or a web app from the days before modern CSS practices really started going. Think GeoCities websites from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
As far as ease of use goes, Mailchimp and AWeber are on equal footing. Mailchimp makes it clear where to find everything, and no task is particularly difficult to perform.
Although we can’t quite tell whether Mailchimp’s design is more newspaper luxe or dialup nostalgia, it does have a language all its own, and that will without a doubt appeal to some users. All in all, there’s simply more to talk about when it comes to Mailchimp’s design, and that’s enough for us to give it the gold in this category. That said, when viewed through the lens of a high-end newspaper or marketing agency, Mailchimp’s minimalist black and white design really does give a great feeling, and deserves the win anyway.
Functionality, features, and integrations
Here’s an overview of the differences and similarities between AWeber’s and Mailchimp’s features and integrations.
AWeber feature and integrations
When it comes to integrations, AWeber has a wide variety of offerings. From WordPress to PayPal, whatever you want to integrate with, AWeber likely has you covered.
One major win for AWeber is that it integrates with Shopify, which Mailchimp does not. That’s a pretty big deal because Shopify is the largest e-commerce platform around.
Features wise, AWeber focuses on simplicity over everything else. It simply does not have the same development resources as a huge player like Mailchimp, but it does offer an easy-to-use streamlined experience. If you want to design email newsletters and set up automation, AWeber has you covered. Just don’t expect to get all sorts of bells and whistles, like a fully-featured website builder, in your subscription.
Mailchimp features and integrations
Mailchimp has a major weak point here. While it does have a good suite of integrations, it does not integrate with Shopify. It’s rather surprising as you’d think such a large email marketing platform would have ironed that out, but for whatever reason, it’s just not available as a native integration with Mailchimp. Ouch.
Aside from that, Mailchimp touts a much more impressive feature set — with a heftier price tag to boot. Mailchimp has advanced analytics, automation features, and even comes with a website builder. However, not integrating with Shopify really hurts, especially considering so many small businesses operate on Shopify.
Without a doubt, Mailchimp has a more fleshed out feature set. However, the fact that you can’t natively integrate with Shopify from Mailchimp is a major problem for a lot of small business owners, so we can’t make Mailchimp the winner here in good conscience. AWeber, on the other hand, does integrate with Shopify, and that’s a major selling point.
That said, if you don’t need that integration, Mailchimp will give you more features. It’s much more expensive, of course, but if it’s within budget, and the extra features are useful to you, it’s worth the money.
Let’s see how AWeber and Mailchimp’s customer service compare.
AWeber customer service
AWeber prides itself on its customer service. In fact, the company offers 24/7 customer service from its headquarters in Pennsylvania for each and every subscriber. What’s more: AWeber has won awards for its customer service, so you can be sure you’re getting a high-quality, personalized customer service experience every time you call in.
Mailchimp customer service
For Mailchimp, customer service is clearly an afterthought. Unfortunately, phone service is only available to enterprise subscribers, and that’s a lot of money to invest before you even get to speak with someone on the phone for urgent questions.
AWeber wins this round hands down. AWeber is still a small business, so it needs to make a greater effort to retain customers, not just rack them up in the first place. AWeber makes customer service a priority, but it’s just an afterthought for Mailchimp.
Overall Winner: Tie
Mailchimp and AWeber are hard to compare because they’re each clearly designed for a different type of user. Mailchimp goes after both large and small businesses (with a bit of bias towards the larger side), while AWeber clearly focuses on offering great service and easy-to-use tools to small businesses.
If you’re a small business, AWeber is a great choice. If you’re a bit larger, you’ll likely benefit from the richer feature set that Mailchimp brings to the table.
If neither of these fit the bill for you, you may want to look into Ampjar. Ampjar is similar to AWeber in that it integrates with Shopify, focuses on small businesses, offers great customer support right from the get-go, but Ampjar also lets users rent out space in their emails to generate some extra revenue from campaigns.
To learn more about Ampjar, give it a spin for yourself.
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