AWeber vs. Mailchimp: which email marketing software is best for you?

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February 27, 2020

mailchimp vs aweber

Even with today’s rapidly changing tech landscape, email marketing is still one of the most powerful tools your business can harness to get more customers, purchases and long-term results. 91% of shoppers want to hear from companies they do business with via email.

Despite the potential of email marketing, the best results depend on choosing an email marketing platform that works for you.

Two of the best email marketing tools to add to your shortlist are AWeber and Mailchimp, especially if you have a small business.

But which tool should you choose? When comparing AWeber vs. Mailchimp, there are several advantages and ideal use cases for each tool.

Here's our comparison of AWeber vs. Mailchimp to help you decide which email platform is best for your business.


When to choose AWeber

On their website, AWeber celebrates its "powerfully simple small business email marketing solutions." AWeber's focus is on simplicity and ease-of-use, especially for less tech-savvy business owners.

Back in 1998, Tom Kulzer created AWeber to make email marketing simpler for small businesses. Over twenty years later, it can call more than 100,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world its customers.

Based on where the email tool thrives, here's when to choose AWeber over Mailchimp for your business...

1. You want simplicity

AWeber is perfect for people who know they should be doing email marketing, but don't want to waste too much time trying to get their head around a new system. If this sounds familiar, you'll be glad to know that AWeber is one of the easiest email marketing systems to get started with, no matter how tech-savvy you are (or aren’t).

2. You want support getting set up

While Mailchimp offers limited customer support to free plans, with AWeber you get much more hands-on support getting started with the system. All AWeber plans include 24/7 email and live chat support, plus phone support during working hours (ET).

3. You have a Shopify store

If you run an ecommerce store with Shopify, there are many advantages to choosing AWeber. This is thanks to the AWeber + Shopify integration. By connecting Shopify and AWeber you can:

  • Recover potential lost sales with cart abandonment campaigns
  • Boost sales by pinpointing customers who have shown interest but haven't purchased
  • Email new customers incentives
  • Deliver emails based on a person's purchase history

With AWeber tags based on Shopify activity, it's also simple to create more personalized emails that boost customer satisfaction and ROI.


When to choose Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools on the block – if not the most popular. It now brands itself as an "all-in-one marketing platform" to incorporate the product's many value-adds, from automation to landing pages and advertising campaigns.

Based on everything the tool offers, here's when to choose Mailchimp rather than AWeber...

1. You want more scope for complexity

Complexity can be a good or bad thing for different businesses. For businesses that want more scope for complex email workflows and reporting, Mailchimp tends to be a better alternative. However, this only applies to higher plans (Standard and Premium) that give you access to features like automation, send-time optimization and advanced segmentation.

2. You have fewer than 2,000 people on your mailing list

One of Mailchimp's top advantages is its very generous free plan. As a small business, freelancer or entrepreneur, you can easily get started with Mailchimp's free plan and have everything you need for functional email campaigns until you reach the 2,000 subscriber limit or 10,000 monthly sends.

3. You want more features

While AWeber offers simple and easy-to-navigate dashboards, Mailchimp's higher plans include more advanced options that can be useful for some teams. In particular, Mailchimp offers extensive reporting, autoresponder options, send-time optimization and a stronger RSS to email function in its Standard and Premium plans.

If automation is important to you, Mailchimp’s automation features are more advanced than those offered by AWeber, although the most value comes at a higher price point.


Feature comparison

Setup

Mailchimp is super easy to get set up with, especially if you're new to email marketing or only have a small list of emails to import. The process starts with a simple form to create your account – and the simplicity continues throughout the rest of the setup process.

set up mailchimp

AWeber is also one of the most straightforward email marketing tools on the market, but setup can take longer. Their sign-up form is slightly more time-consuming than Mailchimp's (and you need to input your card details upfront), while importing lists can also require a few more steps.

set up aweber

To ensure you have all the right contacts in your email marketing tool, remember to set up a two-way contact sync for Mailchimp or Aweber.

Ease of use

Once you get to grips with Mailchimp, it's easy to navigate and quickly send regular email campaigns. Mailchimp also has a great visual brand in and outside the platform, which is enough to convince many marketers to add it to their app stack. But some things can be less intuitive, such as list management and finding specific reporting data.

ease of use mailchimp

It's hard to fault AWeber's ease of use – everything is very intuitive and designed to be as accessible as possible for even the least tech-savvy users.

One advantage of using AWeber is for affiliate marketers. Mailchimp has rules against using affiliate links in emails, so AWeber is a better option for affiliate businesses and bloggers.

ease of use aweber

List management

When you get to your Mailchimp dashboard, you can easily click on “Audience” and select which audience you want to manage or view statistics for. With Mailchimp, there isn't an easy way to manage lists collectively, which can be a pain for certain use cases. One example is sending campaigns to two lists of contacts while avoiding duplicates.

AWeber offers simpler and more intuitive list management than Mailchimp for many users. With the platform, it’s easy to view lists and segment by open rates, click-through rates, details they provided at sign-up, geographic location and more.

Templates & design

Mailchimp has a solid range of professional templates that you can easily adapt to your brand, as well as an easy drag-and-drop editor to build your emails. This allows for as much or as little customization as you’d like.

templates mailchimp

AWeber's drag-and-drop editor includes an impressive 700+ mobile-responsive email templates you can get started with, which provides a greater range than Mailchimp's template library. Another value is AWeber’s gallery of 6,000 stock photos you can add to your emails.

AWeber also has a fantastic Smart Designer tool that creates customized templates in seconds based on your website branding. You don’t need to create an account to preview the templates on offer:

templates aweber

Forms

Mailchimp offers all of the key types of forms you'll need, from signup forms to pop-ups. They’re very straightforward to embed on most websites, too. As Mailchimp is such a popular brand, you can expect to find native integrations with other form and pop-up apps, including WordPress plugins like MailOptin.

forms mailchimp

With AWeber's sign-up form generator, you can easily create a customized form that matches your brand’s design and collect the information you need to know about your subscribers with custom fields.

You can embed your forms on your website, in-line within a blog post. You can also build pop-up, pop-over and lightbox forms that disappear after a time delay. With form integrations, you can also attract subscribers on Facebook and WordPress.

Automation

Mailchimp allows you to create simple automated email workflows, which become more complex as you increase your price plan.

With Mailchimp's free plan, you can automate welcome emails, order notifications, abandoned cart reminders and other single-step tasks.

automation mailchimp

With Mailchimp's Standard plan and above, you can create multi-step custom workflows, including nurture campaigns, onboarding series and other event-based automations.

AWeber includes a simple drag-and-drop campaign editor as an easy gateway into email automation. You can use this to create personalized welcome emails, educational courses or lead nurturing campaigns – and trigger internal notifications, too. For instance, you can tag subscribers or enroll them in another campaign based on the links they click and emails they open.

automation aweber

Deliverability

In research by EmailToolTester in February 2020, Mailchimp offered 81.6% deliverability while AWeber emails showed 85.4% deliverability. In the same research in July 2019, Mailchimp had 90.6% deliverability and AWeber emails 80.4%, showing improvement from AWeber and a decline from Mailchimp.

In the February 2020 testing round, zero emails from either provider ended up in Gmail's Promotions tab, which historically happened more often with Mailchimp. However, 31% of Mailchimp emails went to spam compared to 19% of AWeber emails in the study.

This study is just a snapshot of performance, but one in which AWeber nudges ahead at the time of writing.

Reporting

Mailchimp offers in-depth analytics with its Standard plan and above, which can be valuable for many small to mid-sized businesses. This includes conversion data that allows for ROI calculations, as well as smart recommendations and send-time optimization. Even if you’re only using Mailchimp’s Free plan, you still have a handy overview of core insights to measure performance.

analytics reporting mailchimp

AWeber's maximum reporting functionality is simpler than Mailchimp's. This can be an advantage for businesses that want straightforward stats, and a disadvantage for those who want more in-depth analytics.

However, for most small businesses, AWeber gives you all the core metrics you need, from open rates to sales. Based on your analytics, you can also segment your email list based on criteria such as open rates and purchases.

analytics aweber


Pricing comparison

What about comparing Mailchimp vs. AWeber on price?

With AWeber, you get access to every feature from day one. Plans are based purely on the number of contacts in your database, unlike Mailchimp, which gates features as well as contact limits to certain plans.

pricing mailchimp

pricing aweber

If you have a list of fewer than 2,000 contacts, Mailchimp works out cheaper than AWeber (as it's free!)

From 2,000 to 5,000 contacts, AWeber and Mailchimp are very similarly priced.

Mailchimp works out cheaper for between 10,000 and 15,000 contacts, and also starts offering some more advanced tools with Standard and Premium plans at these list sizes.

If you send a lot of emails but don’t need more advanced functionality, it’s worth noting that AWeber allows you to send unlimited emails to the number of contacts in your plan.

Pricing comparison per number of contacts in your database

AWeber pricingMailchimp pricing
For 0-500 contacts$19/moFree
For 501-2,000 contacts$29/moFree
For 2,001-5,000 contacts$29 - $49/mo$29.99 - $49.99/mo
For 5,001-10,000 contacts$69/mo$49.99 - $74.99/mo
For 10,001-25,000 contacts$149/mo$74.99 - $189/mo
For 25,000 + contactsCustom quoteFrom $189/mo

Support comparison

AWeber promises "customer solutions that'll knock your socks off". Their support team is available by email and live chat 24/7, and over the phone from 8 AM-8 PM ET Mon-Fri. That's for all pricing plans.

Alternatively, Mailchimp offers 24/7 email support and live chat support with Essentials plan (starting at $9.99/month) and above, and phone support only with Premium plans (starting at $299/month).

AWeberMailchimp
Email support24/724/7 with Essentials and above
Phone support8 AM-8 PM ET Mon-FriOnly with Premium
Live chat24/724/7 with Essentials and above

Summary: When to choose Mailchimp vs. AWeber

Here’s our quick summary of when to choose AWeber vs. Mailchimp for your small business:

When to choose AWeberWhen to choose Mailchimp
You want simplicityYou want more scope for complexity
You want support getting set upYou have fewer than 2,000 people on your mailing list
You have a Shopify storeYou want more features
You're an affiliate marketerYou love their branding

To add more popular email marketing tools to your shortlist, you might also want to check out SendGrid, MailerLite and Sendinblue:

No matter which email marketing tool you choose, it's important to make sure it plays nicely with the rest of your tech stack. The best way to guarantee this is to instantly update contact data across all apps with a two-way sync.

Both AWeber and Mailchimp can connect seamlessly with hundreds of other tools to ensure that your data is always up-to-date, free of duplicates and reliable. It will be as easy as pie to manage list subscriptions, making sure contacts are subscribed or unsubscribed in all of your tools with just a few clicks.

Find out how to connect AWeber or Mailchimp and sync your app stack fast.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.