Email marketing is the most direct way to reach your audience. And unlike your social media accounts, your email list is something you own.
Yet we keep hearing about agents who have yet to get started building one. It’s too easy to make excuses. And one of those excuses is “I don’t even know which platform to use.”
Which one is better for you? The short answer is “It depends” —
- On what features you need for your business
- On your experience with email marketing software
- On your familiarity with HTML and CSS
We’re taking a closer look at both tools to see what each does better than the other and what you can expect during set-up if you’re new to either of them.
We’ll also share some feedback from those who’ve used either or both tools to help you get a sense of which tool is a better fit for you and your business.
Two solid options—with two different users in mind
Both Mailchimp and Flodesk provide email marketing services to small and medium-scale businesses (SMBs). But each is designed for a different type of user.
Both are great at what they do. And ultimately, the better choice for you will depend on your specific needs and email marketing strategy, your approach to email marketing, and pricing.
Let’s start with the one most people think of when the term “email marketing” comes to mind.
What Mailchimp does well
Mailchimp is designed to impress (and serve) marketing executives with experience using email marketing tools. It is not as beginner-friendly as other options, as users need at least some facility with HTML and CSS to customize emails and template design.
Mailchimp does provide advanced analytics, which are more helpful to experienced professionals than to beginners.
As a member of the old guard in the marketing industry, Mailchimp has evolved far beyond basic email marketing services. While it still provides these, its recent diversification of features has turned Mailchimp into a full-fledged CRM.
Compare that to Flodesk, which is relatively new and, at this stage, only offers features typically considered necessary for email marketing.
Unlike Flodesk, Mailchimp integrates with both Shopify and WordPress. One platform that offers integration for both Mailchimp and Flodesk is Salespanel.
Flodesk has yet to provide an app for users to mail, track, and analyze data on a mobile device. Mailchimp, on the other hand, is available on both mobile and web, giving it an edge for marketers who want 24-7 access wherever they are.
Mailchimp also has features that keep your emails out of spam jail. And it has other options Flodesk does not, including—
- Drip campaigns to re-engage cold leads
- Customer Surveys
- Auto Responders
- A/B testing
What’s great about Flodesk
For an entrepreneur running a small to medium-scale business who’s just starting out with email marketing, Flodesk is a great option. It’s user-friendly and beginner-friendly. It also provides analytics that are easy for beginners to understand and use.
Templates are one area where Flodesk excels. While Mailchimp has thousands of email templates, you can’t access those unless you’ve subscribed to their premium tiered plan, which starts at $299 a month. Also, Mailchimp’s design is more focused on function than visual appeal.
In comes Flodesk, giving you not only a wider selection of templates but also a serious upgrade when it comes to visual appeal. Flodesk’s template design is a perfect union of form and function, proving that emails can be both beautiful and highly effective.
Customizing those templates is easy, too, as Flodesk allows you to import custom fonts and styles, and tweak the designs to make them your own, using their drag-and-drop editor.
Speaking of user experience…
Obviously, your user experience of either platform will depend on your experience with email marketing tools, as well as your general tech savviness.
Mailchimp is designed to favor professionals with an understanding of the technical side of email marketing. If that’s you, you probably want to see more advanced features in your email marketing software. If that’s not you, you’ll probably find Mailchimp more difficult to setup and use. And when you’re just getting started, you don’t want something super-complex with a steep learning curve. Even die-hard Mailchimp fans describe it using words like “clunky.”
[Could be a term of endearment. Raise a hand if you’ve ever driven an old beater car that looked like hell but still got you where you needed to go.]
Flodesk, taking a page out of Apple’s book, makes it much easier for less tech-savvy beginners to get started and actually enjoy the learning process. Flodesk users get drag-and-drop editing and customization, access to web fonts, and the ability to upload custom fonts and designs.
What Flodesk lacks are a mobile app (here’s hoping that’s in the works) and advanced features like drip campaigns and A/B testing. But for many new email marketers out there, that’s not a deal breaker—at least not yet.
Here’s an example of a BAMx Facebook post asking a question on the minds of many real estate agents.
To be fair, another post with the same question has more comments favoring Mailchimp. Here’s one example:
And then there’s pricing
Another area where Flodesk stands out is in its pricing. While Mailchimp isn’t as pricey as some of its more feature-rich competitors, the cost of its tiered premium subscription is still up there.
As a premium Mailchimp user, your monthly fee goes up with every extra feature you opt for. And since their pricing is progressive, your rate goes up as your email list grows. Using Mailchimp’s own pricing calculator, you can plug in a number for the size of the email list you’re aiming for to get an estimate of your monthly subscription cost.
Flodesk, on the other hand, offers three subscription plans:
- Email (marketing) for $38/month
- Checkout (ecommerce) for $38/month
- Email + Checkout for $59/month
Both Mailchimp and Flodesk offer a one-month/30-day free trial. Mailchimp also has a free limited subscription option for those with 500 or fewer email contacts.
When it comes to essential email marketing functions, both Mailchimp and Flodesk provide everything you need to get started. The setup and features differ, but the function is more or less the same.
Essential email marketing is where Flodesk ends, while Mailchimp offers a wide selection of advanced features for more experienced and tech-savvy users.
Just looking at their homepages gives you a sense of what you can expect from each of these platforms. Mailchimp’s has a lot going on, but the overall focus is clearly more on function than aesthetics. Flodesk’s homepage has a more streamlined and relaxed feel to it.
Which one has a stronger pull for you? Answer that question and spend some time poking around to get better acquainted.
The sooner you get started, the sooner your content will find its way to the inboxes of current and future clients—making it far easier for you to keep in touch and consistently deliver value.