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Searching for the best affordable email marketing service (or even a free one)?! Two widely popular services, Benchmark and MailChimp, go toe to toe in this review to see which one comes out on top.
It’s not an easy call — MailChimp has been the longtime go-to service for free plans and affordable higher plans. But Benchmark has stepped up the competition big time over the last few years in what appears to be a direct challenge to MailChimp’s pricing and features. Read our Benchmark vs MailChimp review to learn about what each has to offer.
There’s a clear winner in this category. Benchmark offers live chat, phone and email customer service with all plans, including their free plan. MailChimp only gives you live chat and email support with their paid plans (and neither is available with their free plan).
Both services provide a drag-and-drop editor for quick set up, an HTML coding option for experienced users and hundreds of attractive templates to choose from. MailChimp’s editors and general user interface are simply easier to use than Benchmark’s, and you can even set up mobile-friendly landing pages with MailChimp.
MailChimp also provides better customization options for layouts, buttons, social media icons and more. If you work with a ton of images, MailChimp gives you unlimited storage, while Benchmark’s storage is capped at 10MB.
MailChimp and Benchmark have excellent reputations for getting emails to inboxes, with rates well into the 90th percentile. Both also have built-in anti-spam software to identify potential problems within your emails and your campaigns that could trigger spam filters.
MailChimp has really stepped up its automation game with the addition of more trigger-based responses, and they even give you autoresponders in their free plan. However, Benchmark’s Automation Pro tool still edges out MailChimp. It’s incredibly easy to set up and use, and offers a wider variety of autoresponders.
Both Benchmark and MailChimp offer fantastic basic reporting features, as well as social media tracking and geotracking. MailChimp, however, goes beyond the expected stats, like opens, bounces, unsubscribes, etc. MailChimp’s advanced analytics give you information on conversions, which links were clicked, revenue reports, subscriber activity reports and much more.
|Free Plan||Up to 2,000 contacts/month|
|Up to 2,000 contacts/month|
|Lowest Price Plan/Month||$13.99 (600 contacts)||$10 (500 contacts)|
|Up To 2,500 Contacts||$31.99||$30|
|Up To 5,000 Contacts||$51.99||$50|
|Up To 25,000 Contacts||$164.99||$150|
MailChimp and Benchmark offer the best free email marketing plans on the market. Their free plans are pretty similar, with a generous number of features. Both give you 2,000 contacts per month, but Benchmark has a slight edge, allowing for 14,000 email sends per month compared to 12,000 with MailChimp.
With both services’ free plans you get full access to all their templates, easy drag and drop editors, contact importers, basic list management and segmentation, and basic reporting features.
The major differences? MailChimp includes automation and A/B testing in its free plan; Benchmark does not. Benchmark, however gives you free 24/7 customer support; you have to have a paid plan to access MailChimp’s customer service. Still, for only $10/month, MailChimp gives you more features than you’d get with Benchmark at $13.99/month.
|Template Editor||WYSIWYG & HTML||WYSIWYG & HTML|
|Social Media Marketing|
|RSS Feed Integration|
|Spam Score (Checking)|
|Private (Dedicated) IP Address||$28.95/month|
|Split A/B Testing|
|Trigger Based Messaging|
|Customer Support||Live Chat, Email, Phone (Hours Unlisted)||Live Chat, Email|
Both Benchmark and MailChimp have an impressive set of features with their free and paid plans to satisfy most small to medium business needs. We give MailChimp the edge in this category, although it’s a close call. In addition to what we’ve already covered in this article, some key differences include:
- MailChimp’s Developer API and the number of apps/integrations offered far surpasses what you’ll get with Benchmark.
- Benchmark provides demographic list segmentation capability whereas MailChimp does not.
- MailChimp’s inbox preview features are more advanced than what Benchmark offers.
Video Of Email Marketing Features And How They Work
Although MailChimp has a slight edge over Benchmark for overall features, Benchmark created a video we find gives you a good, quick overview of common email marketing features that most providers offer, so you can get some additional ideas as to what you might use one of these services for.
MailChimp and Benchmark have a lot of things in common, so this battle was a close call. We do recommend Benchmark for email marketing newbies over MailChimp. Benchmark’s customer support access and reputation are better than MailChimp, which could make all the difference if you’re new to email marketing programs.
MailChimp gets our vote for more seasoned email marketers, or if you just need a bit more bang for your buck. MailChimp’s advanced features have the edge over Benchmark’s; you get unlimited image hosting, and they offer significantly more integrations/apps (and a powerful developer API) compared to Benchmark. But it’s worth looking into both in more detail — and you can try each out with their fantastic free plans!
How do Benchmark and MailChimp stack up against their competitors? Check out our Email Marketing Provider Showdown, where we review more than 20 companies. There you’ll find key features, pros and cons, pricing, and even our “best of” picks for different business types and needs. We also include a large comparison table to help you easily see the differences side by side.
Are added features important enough for you to go beyond a free plan?
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