One of the most effective ways to expand top-line revenues for any business is through the use of email marketing. Two popular options in this category are iContact and MailChimp. Both have an established history of providing high quality email marketing software to businesses of any size and individual marketers.
Both have some similar features, but they are geared toward different audiences. If you are looking for big growth opportunities and want sales revenues that are measurable, then the enterprise supports and Salesforce integration that iContact provides could be invaluable.
On the other hand, MailChimp offers a drag-and-drop solution that can help a business of any size quickly get their message out to their subscribers. It allows you to have a DIY solution, but without the need to know advanced coding to make something happen.
In the iContact vs MailChimp debate, which software option is going to be right for you?
1. List Maintenance
When using iContact, you can build and maintain your email marketing lists through several different options. You can take advantage of social signups, landing pages, and other subscriber options. You then maintain the list by offering emails that can be created on one of several templates that are immediately ready to send out.
You can then segment your reports and lists to determine how much data you see from the responses that each email blast obtains to every specific list.
MailChimp offers users more front-end help when it comes to email creation. You’re also taken through the data that is generated by each email step-by-step, helping you to see where there are more opportunities for engagement. Multiple users can also access a MailChimp account, making collaboration easier, without an additional cost.
You can also code your own emails through MailChimp if you prefer to individualize the templates that are offered.
Both iContact and MailChimp offer thorough automation features throughout their email marketing software. You are able to build custom workflows so that autoresponders can help to support several different types of on-page actions that a visitor may have. Then each visitor receives a customized email message based on your automation, allowing for you to drive further engagement as your brand and business stays at the top of the mind.
The process of automation is what separates iContact and MailChimp. When using iContact, you are using visual automation workflows, allowing anyone of any skill level to design an autoresponder that can have deep variability.
MailChimp uses a triggering process instead. Triggers can be product recommendations, a previous purchase history, or browsing preferences. You need to setup the triggers or take advantage of the software’s preset options. Then you fill-in the rest of the information that will help you target specific visitors.
When using iContact, you can connect your automation and customer insights directly into Salesforce. This allows you to create specific contact profiles so that you can target very specific demographics. There are several API endpoints that are available, but you need to have a Premier account and Salesforce in place before you can maximize what this email marketing solution is able to provide.
MailChim integrates with 100+ different solutions, including Salesforce. Most of the integrations are intended for retail or e-commerce sites, with the hope of improving customer engagement with each contact. The amount of information generated through the integration isn’t as deep, but you have more individuality in how the data can be used from the emails that are being sent out.
4. Consultation and Assistance
If you’re just getting started with your email marketing plans, it can be helpful to have someone available to consult with you to make sure that you’re not wasting your time. With iContact, you have access to seasoned marketing professionals who know all of the ins and outs of email marketing. They can help you discover new ways to help your business grow or use your data to increase your conversion rates. Personalized coaching can be customized when you have a Premier plan.
MalChimp does not offer any internal design services, nor do they offer any marketing assistance with their email software. They do allow you to access their list of content writers, API developers, and other email marketing experts that can help you make the most out of what this email marketing platform offers. Each vendor is considered a third-party to MailChimp, however, and you’ll need to contact each one to receive a specific quote for services.
For most iContact plans, you are going to want to take advantage of a custom quote. The Premier membership offers features that are only available with this upgrade, which means you will want to tailor the available features to your current needs. This may include high volume email blasts, auditing services, design assistance, and changes to the number of subscribers that are being served.
At the 500 subscriber level, the email marketing plan offered by iContact is as low as $11.90 per month if an annual prepay is used. Pro Automation plans are available for as low as $84.15 per month.
MailChimp offers users a plan that is completely free. Under the free plan, you can have up to 2,000 subscribers, but are limited to 12,000 emails per month. Paid plans begin at $10 per month, which will give you unlimited emails for up to 500 subscribers.
MailChimp also offers a Pro subscription add-on for all paid plans that is $199 per month and gives you full access to the data, automation, and database reports that you may need. This includes connecting your shopping cart to receive revenue reports and target emails to Facebook ad campaigns.
There are also pay-as-you-go plans that are available through MailChimp, which allows users to purchase email credits in blocks. The smallest block that can be purchased is 300 email credits for $9.
Which Email Marketing Solution is the Right One for You?
If you’re a larger business which has an established email marketing list, then iContact can help you mine the data that you’re receiving every month to maximize your revenues. With their tailored supports, you can do more with what you already have and still be able to grow bigger with an easy-to-use email automation system.
MailChimp is more for individual marketers and SMBs who are just starting to establish their email marketing lists. It offers more integration, but accessing deep data comes with a very high price tag. It is more of a software solution for those who want to experiment with email marketing to see how it can improve their business now so that it can begin the growth process.
Each software solution has a free trial that can be used to experience how it may help in real-time. That may be the best way to settle the iContact vs MailChimp debate for your business needs.