Nuno Sancha
Author: Nuno Sancha  |  

Hipster Marketer with a passion for SaaS. Dreams about becoming a full-stack marketer but for now I just want to test software and write about them.


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One is from 1998 (AWeber) and the other is from 2001 (Mailchimp), both of them would be considered young adults if they were people. Being companies that turn those dates into something even more amazing.

Despite being older, people usually consider AWeber a Mailchimp alternative and not the other way around.

And with the recent changes in Mailchimp (becoming an all-in-one marketing platform) people are looking more for an alternative to this former email marketing platform.

If you are a small business, it makes total sense to go out there and find the best alternative, and this is why we are putting them face-to-face in this AWeber vs Mailchimp article.

By the way, being a small/medium business you might as well check us out - SendX can be a great and affordable alternative if you are looking for an email marketing platform, feature-rich and less pricey than most of the platforms from the market.

AWeber vs Mailchimp - Weigh-in Faceoffs

From the blue corner comes AWeber, a very well known email marketing tool, with a lot of experience in the market. That tries to target the SMB with the unique value proposition of helping them grow, and giving businesses a 30-day free trial in order to convince them throughout the first-hand experience using the product.

On the other side, on the yellow corner, we have the happy monkey (Mailchimp) - a well-known fighter in the realm of email marketing that decided to go even bigger and step his game up becoming something more than an email marketing platform. What does this mean? I hope to elucidate you in a bit, I promise.

I must say none of them are that easy to use if it's your first ride with this kind of tool. Mailchimp has a cleaner design, and both of these tools try to help you set up your account for the first time so you don't get lost in there, but I still believe that they could be more straightforward.

1) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Templates

We have all been there, we have this campaign to go out like… yesterday, and we don't have any clue about the aesthetics of the email or even the content. Usually, these tools give us a hand and present us with some templates well designed, and even a written email to modify or get inspired by.

And in this AWeber vs Mailchimp round both of them provide paraphernalia of email templates for you to choose from. We must add that AWeber has a bigger number of templates, but their designs feel a little bit outdated, those from Mailchimp have a clearly superior look.

But if you are an email DaVinci or Michelangelo and you prefer to design your own emails from ground zero, AWeber and Mailchimp have a drag-and-drop email editor, a plain text email editor - for those of you that believe emails should be simple, and even an HTML editor, so if you know what you are doing you can really do powerful stuff.

Speaking about HTML email, we are offering 21 premium email templates for free. If you want them, they are yours.

2) AWeber vs Mailchimp - The way they handle subscribers

Mailchimp has never been an easy tool to handle subscribers, it always had this "obscure" side on the way it handles things. Before it used to be all about the lists, you wanted to segment your subscribers you would create lists and distribute your subscribers to the lists that would make sense for your business.

Now Mailchimp looks more like a CRM than an email marketing platform, using the concept of audience.

Yeah, but what's wrong with that? - you can ask. And I will answer.

The other email marketing tools like AWeber and even us (SendX) are still using lists concept to organize subscribers - so you can tag them accordingly with their source, so you can segment them later.

With the TAGs, you can have one list and still have powerful segmentation, and automation sequences.

And it seems like, with the changes, Mailchimp decided to adopt tags for audiences in order to help with segmentation, something that they didn't use before.

But both companies have this way of charging for subscribers that, in my opinion, "hurt" their customers, especially small businesses - will expand this note on the pricing section.

3) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Time to talk about Prices

Time for the pricing talk, usually, people hate them or love them and there is no single soul that stays in between.

Mailchimp has one of the most generous free forever plan out there, giving you the possibility to have 2000 contacts and 10000 total sends - that would be like 5 broadcast emails per month to your audience of 2000 contacts.

But there is really one problem with this Mailchimp pricing, besides the Free account, everything varies, and they can get expensive really quick if your subscribers start growing big.

Mailchimp's Essentials plan is cheaper than AWeber when you have 500 subscribers, then their pricing starts to level up until 10000 subscribers, and after that AWeber is clearly cheaper.

I promised in the last section to talk about it, so I will talk about it now.

After May 15, 2019, Mailchimp introduced their new pricing model, so what that means, in a nutshell, is the following: for the new users, or for those who are changing from free to monthly paying, Mailchimp will start charging them by contacts, and contacts for Mailchimp now involves "subscribed, unsubscribed, and non-subscribed...", before that it would charge you only for subscribed contacts.

And AWeber seems to do the same, so once in a while you if you using Mailchimp or AWeber you have to clean your unsubscribers because they will charge you for them.

Another thing to have in mind is that Mailchimp and AWeber will charge you for duplicate contact as well. Same contact belonging to a different audience - in case of Mailchimp - and different lists - in case of AWeber - will end up on your billing.

If you think this is abusive, that the same contact shouldn't be charged twice just because it is on a different list, just take a look at SendX it would be a great alternative.

4) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Email automation

This is one section, I would call it a comic irony if Shakespear was the one creating the automation feature for both of them, not making fun of those, just keep reading and you will find out what I mean.

Mailchimp - has this really solid automation. You have pre-made automation templates for common situations, and it lets you create your own custom automation as well. By using triggers, custom fields or even behavior you can set up powerful automation and let it work by itself. The only problem? Not very easy to modify when they are set. That editor is everything but intuitive.

AWeber - totally the opposite of everything I just said about Mailchimp. Automation is a feature called Campaigns by AWeber, only God knows why, but ok it's only a name, so once you know that campaigns really mean automation you are good. The thing is, it's easier to edit and modify than Mailchimp, you have a better UX, but it is not as powerful as automation on Mailchimp. It uses tags to send tailored messages to your subscribers, set up a sequence and even delays… but it is limited for now.

5) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Growing your contacts with forms

Mailchimp enters this round smiling with the confidence of a fighter that knows what he’s got. The hard work and all those long hours of training and sacrifice will finally pay off.

The tool has some options for you to collect the emails on your site and those options are just enough, besides that, it comes with a drag-and-drop editor that will allow you to add and remove items from your sign-up forms or even pop-ups with some easy steps.

AWeber has this really powerful form and popup editor as well, here we can say that the fighters are not holding, going blow by blow at each other. But AWeber tries to go the extra mile to bring this fight home with "Thank You Pages" that supports audio and video if you want to leave a more personalized message to your subscribers.

Overall, you can create the same type of forms using Mailchimp or AWeber, but with Mailchimp you will have a more smooth experience doing it. AWeber has cool features and even goes the extra mile but it could do a better job with the usability.

6) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Reports

"Motivation is misguided if you hit a mark that is not needed" - Pusha T (if my memory is not failing me).

The quote above is especially true with email marketing, it doesn't matter if you are a great email designer or copywriter if you are not putting the right content in front of the right audience. How do you do that? Reading the numbers and seeing what is failing or what is bringing results, so you can avoid or double down.

Both tools made a pretty good job with their reports, they track similar metrics (almost) and they give you a pretty good overview of your email marketing efforts.

The issue is practically the same as other things we compared so far. AWeber has the same features as Mailchimp - if we are talking about email marketing features only - but it seems that the Mailchimp designers take a little more time and effort to think about the aesthetics and UX. The same goes for the reporting menu.

7) AWeber vs Mailchimp - Support

Mailchimp seems to go to extended lengths to not be bothered by its customers, and I am not saying this like it was a bad thing. They have a great knowledge base, and they try to tackle every single question a customer might have.

Besides the knowledge base, Mailchimp offers support via email and chat, although the chat support is limited to business hours.

Heads up if you are a Mailchimp Free Plan user: you will be given support only on your first 30 days. After that pretty much you have to figure things out on your own, you always the KB to help you out.

Overall, Mailchimp’s answers are great, and they are helpful, but it seems that the problem relies on their slowness to respond, and we usually contact support when we have a problem that we need to solve ASAP, so I don't think that a late good answer is that useful.

On the other end of the spectrum, AWeber support is pretty fast. And their chat support operates 24/7, not only in business hours. And they have a phone support during business hours as well. So I would say that AWeber support is better since you can have an answer almost immediately. Maybe it is to compensate for their knowledge base, the info is there but is not that easy to be found like on Mailchimp. If you really need an answer, just ask them.

If support is a big thing for you, give SendX a try. We are well known for the fantastic support we provide.

8) AWeber vs Mailchimp - After the Fight Considerations

Despite both being heavyweights and well-known in email marketing, the fight was clearly won by Mailchimp. They do almost the same, and Mailchimp has a better design making things more intuitive.

AWeber has some strong punches when we talking about support, but that's it. Not saying that the support is not a great thing to have in mind, but there are other great alternatives out there, with great support and better pricing than both of them.

Remember that both tools can become pretty expensive because they charge for duplicate email contacts and unsubscribers.

Take note, in this story we have taken into account only the ‘Email Marketing capabilities of Mailchimp’. So if you are looking only for an email marketing tool that has all these great features and is still more affordable - primarily if you are a small business - just go with SendX since we won't charge you for duplicate contacts and you will have unlimited emails.