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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"The money is in the list!"

This is an expression that every single person that lives in the business world read or heard at some point in his professional life. Russell Brunson in his book Dotcom Secrets explains the importance of building an email list so you can have the traffic you can control.

The premise is simple, you don't have to go to the ocean to fish if you already have a big aquarium with the fishes you want. This is why email marketing has become so popular. It saves you the trouble of going out there every single time you need to promote, launch or sell something.

To help you on your quest to find the best tool for the job, we've been searching for alternatives to Mailchimp, one of the most well-known email marketing tools in the market. Well, at least it used to be just an email marketing tool. Now people might be paying for extra features that they don't really need if their objectives are only email marketing, not the whole all-in-one marketing platform.

And this time we are bringing you the Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp face-to-face, to see what Campaign Monitor can bring to the table and Mailchimp can't. It would be the pricing? Features? Support? Let's find out.

Comparison - Campaign Monitor Vs Mailchimp

Campaign Monitor Mailchimp
Price Free with basic features; $10 per month for up to 500 subscribers and all core features Free to send emails to 5 subscribers. $9 per month for up to 500 subscribers and all core features
Subscribers Don't charge you for unsubscribers in the list Charge you for unsubscribers in the list
Templates Great templates for you to choose from. Yet the drag and drop editor is limited when compared to Mailchimp The templates have a clearly superior look
Automation Lets you create a workflow for your automation Provides you a lot of pre-made automation for a lot of situations
Reporting Provides basic reporting One of the best in the industry
Support Email support available on all plans only, phone support available on premiere plans Has 30 day support via email on their free plan. Phone support available on paid plans only
Integrations Has an app store where integrations are stacked as a collection. Lets you choose apps accordingly with what you are trying to accomplish Has 227 integrations with a limited search functionality making it tedious for you to find what you want
Delivery Good Has a 84.9% overall deliverability rate according to EmailToolTester

Before we go any further I would like to remind you that SendX is an affordable email marketing tool, built with the sole purpose to help email marketers on their daily jobs, and we give you a 14-day trial for FREE with no risk, since we don't ask for your credit card upfront.

An Overview for this Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp Comparison

We all know that Mailchimp made a name for itself during all these years in the Email Marketing realm. They created a product that within a short time, the user will be up and running with their Email Marketing Campaigns.

Even if you are not tech-savvy, you will be able to use one of their templates, modify it and send your first transactional email in no time. Sure, there is more to email marketing than compose an email and press Send. But if you’re just starting and you don't have complicated funnels, Mailchimp simply works.

The most important factor for newcomers may be the financial one. And Mailchimp provides you with a Forever Free account that has its limitations but at least you can get your feet wet with the basics and see if the email is indeed a good channel to tap in for your business.

The problem is, as soon as you start growing your list, and the email starts working for you, Mailchimp can become expensive pretty quickly, but even with that Mailchimps provides you with a solution - pay as you go, that can help with your costs.

Campaign Monitor, in my opinion, has a cleaner design with fewer features to choose from and all of them related to sending email campaigns. No fancy social media ads or other crazy stuff that has nothing to do with email marketing per se.

The product is not free, but you can test all the features for as long as you want, and you will be asked to provide a payment method only when you try to send an email or a campaign. Other than that, you can create your campaign, set your subscribers list and import them (presuming you’re not starting from zero), set your automation and so on.

That being said, if you’re just starting and you want to measure results before you commit your money to a tool, Mailchimp takes the advantage here in this Campaign Monitor Vs Mailchimp comparison…

… but if you’re looking for a Mailchimp alternative I must assume that you already got results with emails, and you are looking for a tool that is not Mailchimp to continue your email marketing endeavors. In that case, keep reading.

A little note: Campaign Monitor has two products, the original email marketing tool and the CM Commerce (focused on eCommerce businesses), for the sake of brevity, we will just talk about Campaign Monitor and leave CM Commerce for another time.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - Your Subscribers and Unsubscribers

One of the things many people say about Mailchimp's unfair way to charge you is that they charge you for duplicated contacts. This means that if you are using a paid plan, that allows you to have more than one audience (list) and the same contact appears in two different lists, you pay for both contacts since they will count as two different subscribers.

Another thing that Mailchimp does is considering your entire audience as contacts. Translating in plain English: your unsubscribers will count as contacts as well. So you are paying for them. Unless you do a manual cleaning once in a while, archiving your unsubscribers so they can vacate that space for new subscribers.

On the other side of the spectrum, Campaign Monitor offers you the possibility to have as many lists that you want so you can truly create the campaigns you wish to create, and they don't charge you for your unsubscribers, which is good news if you are less skilled in this email marketing game.

I don't think that Mailchimp charging for your unsubscribers is a bad thing because as an email marketer you should know better - you have to keep your list clean, always! On the other hand, the way they do it is a little bit wrong, in my opinion.

Even if you are a marketer that cleans his lists, you will still be charged for the current month that person unsubscribed from your list.

Winner - So, in the subscribers, unsubscribers, and lists topic it is a W for Campaign Monitor.

Composing Emails and Templates - Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp

The thing with these email marketing tools is that a lot of them offer you templates, but seldom they are better than the ones Mailchimp offers you, most of them have this old design feeling like they haven't been upgraded for a while now.

With Campaign Monitor the feeling is different, it gives you this sense that they have their designs up-to-date in order to provide you great templates for you to choose from, and worry less about creating your own design from scratch.

But the similarities with Mailchimp end right there.

As soon as you click to proceed to the editing part Mailchimp has by far a better editor, with more options to choose from. I can appreciate the simplicity of Campaigns Monitor's drag-and-drop editor, I really do, but it feels limited when compared to Mailchimp's. Only my opinion.

Winner - Hands down, Mailchimp is the winner when it comes to email creation and templates

Automating Your Emails - Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp

Another essential tool for the email marketer, the automation has not been ignored by either tool. The difference is in the way they do it. Campaign Monitor does not have a free account, so we will assume that for this one people are using a paid Mailchimp plan since the free plan only lets you do one-step automation.

Mailchimp provides you a lot of pre-made automation for a lot of situations that an email marketer has to deal with on a daily basis. Which is great because it saves you a lot of time.

The thing is: when you try to compose your own automation sequence the things become hard to follow. You need a lot of trial and error to truly master Mailchimp's automation editor.

Campaign Monitor has pre-made automation as well. When you click on automation, you end up having this fancy customer journey nomenclature, but the central idea is if this happens, then do that.  

And like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor will let you create your own automation, the biggest advantage here over Mailchimp is that Campaign Monitor lets you create a workflow for your automation. With everything being very visual it is easier to follow what you are doing and to see the exact journey you want to send your customer in.

Winner - I guess the score is tied right now because Campaign Monitor gets this round.  

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - It's Time to Report

Mailchimp has one of the best reporting in the market, period. It is natural since they are one of the oldest in this segment. Mailchimp offers you all the metrics email marketing tools offer to their users, like open rates, bounces, clicks and so on.

And it gives you other things like geo-location tracking, shows you your email level of success between different providers, and they have this tracking for eCommerce businesses as well.

Like I said, one of the best.

Campaign Monitor, on the other hand, has this very basic reporting. Tracks the basic metrics that all email marketers need to know if their email efforts are performing as expected, and that's it.

Maybe, CM Commerce has more to add, I mean, I am sure it does, but since I didn't test it, I can’t say it for sure.

Winner - Three two for Mailchimp.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - How is the Support?

One thing we have been talking about Mailchimp a lot in the other articles is the fact that most of the alternatives we've tested so far had more support channels than Mailchimp. Well, this is not the case with Campaign Monitor though.

Assuming only the paid plans, Mailchimp has a 24/7 Email Support, a live chat during business hours, and phone call support if you are on a higher plan.

With Campaign Monitor it seems you have only email support to save yourself. Unless you are in the Premier plan, then they will give you a phone call support if you need it.

Winner - As I said, this is the first time we found a Mailchimp alternative with a support service more limited than Mailchimp itself.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - How well do they play with others aka Integrations?

Well, considering that Mailchimp is one of the oldest players in the market, one would think that they integrate with a lot of other services, and one would be correct. Mailchimp integrates with almost 230 services and other apps that probably is part of your marketing tech stack.

This means that you will not have a lot of headaches or even have to beg the tech team to build that one integration that would save your life.

About Campaign Monitor…

… it's a little bit trickier to tell exactly how many integrations they have under the hood because unlike Mailchimp they don't truly say it out loud but on the other hand, they take "another" approach when the subject is integration, and call it app store.

And with this app store, they even help you with your stack by offering you something called collection. That is Campaign Monitor grouping apps accordingly with what are you trying to accomplish. A huge help for newbies and a time saver for experienced email marketers.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - How is the delivery?

Unfortunately, the test demigods from EmailToolTester don't have the data from Campaign Monitor's deliverability, so we will have to present an impartial side and a biased side.

In the last time, EmailToolTester put all the major competitors to a test Mailchimp came up in the fourth place and kept the third place in the overall because of the past results.

The other opinion is straight up from Campaign Monitor's comparison page, and they don't claim to be better with numbers, but at the service in general. Stating that Mailchimp has a protective mechanism of shutting down accounts that receive too much spam complaints, even when something went wrong and it wasn't your main goal to spam people.

They state the importance of having a team that will help you with your deliverability, which is something SendX agrees 100%, and no wonder customers love the support.

Well, if you train your clients they will indeed perform extremely well and have better deliverability than the ones that don't know what they are doing.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - How Much?

Now let's talk about something truly important: pricing.

To be honest you shouldn’t make a decision about an email marketing tool based only on how much it costs.

The features you need for your job should be the most important factor. Yes, the pricing for those features should be fair. And if you are a small business you need to put things on the scale and see how much you can pay. And then try to choose something inside your budget that can do the work you need to be done.

Campaign Monitor Pricing for 500 Subscribers
Mailchimp Pricing for 500 Subscribers

I used the 500 subscribers’ pricing base because it is the most basic one for both tools, and as you can see, the price starts pretty much the same. For the basic plans, the middle plan Campaign Monitor goes all crazy. For the premium one, Mailchimp goes up to the roof.

But I can't point this enough, read all the features, see if they are aligned with what you need. And then, see if it is aligned with your budget as well. If you don't do that, you can end up overpaying for features you don't need/use or you can "save" some money at the expense of having a poor performance with your email marketing.

As a reminder, SendX is an affordable email marketing tool, built with the features to help email marketers on their daily jobs, and we give you a 14-day test for FREE with no risk, since we don't ask for your credit card upfront.

Campaign Monitor vs Mailchimp - Final Words

Another article and another Mailchimp alternative that we checked out for you. With the changes that Mailchimp made this year a lot of marketers and business owners began seeking a platform that focuses on email marketing and just that.

Some of those platforms changed their messaging to show on their homepage that they are all about email and that they won’t be having any of this All-in-one Marketing Platform thing.

Campaign Monitor is one of these companies that stood their ground.

Others like Constant Contact decided to chase Mailchimp on this road to the all-in-one marketing platform.

But I am glad Campaign Monitor decided to stick to email. Like other alternatives we already tested, Campaign Monitor has a clean design, and an easy to use interface. They don't bury you with a lot of features right in your face.

Campaign Monitor could do better with its reports, giving more than the basics metrics. Although it’s is really solid software, it is not the cheapest alternative out there. So, have that in mind when choosing.

Frequently asked questions

1) As a small business, I just need a free starting plan with under 500 to 600 subscribers, and we will grow as we go on. But as of now, which is a better choice - Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp?

Mailchimp has a forever free plan, so it is a better option for up to 500 subscribers. With Campaign Monitor, it’s free to set up an account and create a campaign. But to send to more than 5 subscribers, you’ll need to choose a plan.

2) If I don’t want to pay for unsubscribes, what should I choose - Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp?

Campaign Monitor is an easy choice in this case, as they don't charge you for your unsubscribers, unlike Mailchimp.

3) Price is a factor, but we also need a lot of ready-made automation for a large-scale business. Which one is better - Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp?

The biggest advantage for Campaign Monitor over Mailchimp is that Campaign Monitor lets you create a workflow for your automation. And Campaign Monitor has pre-made automation as well.

4) We can’t afford to spend much time on creating email templates from scratch and need up to date templates. Which is a better choice - Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp?

Mailchimp has the best in class email editor out there, but it is on the pricey side. Apart from that, Mailchimp is clearly the better option.

5) Reporting is not that important for us, but basic is needed. Does Campaign Monitor offer that much?

Yes, Campaign Monitor offers basic reporting features. But if you are looking for something more than basic yet affordable, SendX would be worth giving a try.

6) We want agile integrations depending on the campaign objectives. What should we choose - Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp?

Campaign Monitor is better since it has an app store where integrations are stacked as a collection. It lets you choose apps accordingly with what you are trying to accomplish.