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Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days

Did you know that email marketing generates $44 for every $1 spent?


To get this kind of return on investment (ROI), you’ll need a powerful email marketing strategy combined with a tool that can do it all.


SendGrid and Mailchimp are popular options that you’ve probably heard of ― but which tool is better for your business?


This review will give you all of the necessary information (including features, pricing, and pros and cons) so that you can decide for yourself.


If they can’t do everything you need them to, we’ve got a more affordable alternative that can do so much more!


Let’s get started!

1. What is SendGrid?

SendGrid logo

SendGrid's logo

SendGrid is a cloud-based email marketing tool that focuses on email deliverability — helping you send emails to your list pretty effortlessly.


They deliver more than 18 billion customer engagement emails every month!


Let’s take a look at the features they use to do this.

1.1. SendGrid's features

SendGrid offers a multiplicity of features that vary depending on your chosen plan.


Here’s a look at what they’ve got to offer:

  • Email automation, design, and templates
  • Signup forms
  • Email testing and statistics
  • Email validation
  • Deliverability
  • 5-minute integration

With these tools, you’ll be able to run campaigns using templates and a drag-and-drop design feature ― they’ve even got choose-your-path marketing workflows.


They promise approachable automation with analysis tools to help you optimize your campaigns.


With SendGrid, you can choose whether your emails are sent via SMTP or API.


They offer interactive API documents, a setup guide, a knowledge center, and customer support to make your integration process as smooth as possible.


SendGrid’s number 1 priority is getting your emails delivered.


To do this they use:

  • Dedicated IP addresses (on their most expensive plan)
  • Feedback loops and SPF records
  • Consultation from delivery experts
  • Partnerships with mailbox providers (including Gmail)
  • Automated queue handling and throttle threat detection
  • Troubleshooting to identify delivery issues

But SendGrid’s deliverability can’t be trusted due to the shared IPs on their Free and Basic plans.


If anyone using their service sends spam, all of their users will experience deliverability issues.


Social proof is key, let’s see what some reviewers on Capterra have said.


Multiple reviewers struggled to do integrations with SendGrid ― this is a huge issue considering it’s a tool that requires integrations for functionality that isn’t included out of the box.


According to others, you need to know how to code if you want your emails to look a certain way.


A couple of users have said that new updates made the software clunky and more difficult to use.

1.2. SendGrid's pricing

SendGrid offers 2 types of plans: Email API plans and Marketing plans.


The Email API plans are for integrating your emails into your website or app.


They’re priced as follows:

SendGrid Pricing

SendGrid's Email API plans

As you can see above, pricing “starts at” and is not set at the given values.


If you want to go for the most popular plan, the Pro plan, you could end up paying anywhere from $89.95/month to $749/month depending on how many emails you want to send.


While $89.95 doesn’t sound too bad, $749 is a lot of money.


The Marketing plans let you design and send email marketing campaigns and set up automation.


Here’s what that pricing looks like:

SendGrid Pricing

SendGrid's Marketing Campaigns plans

Once again, we are dealing with pricing that “starts at”, so you won’t know what it’s going to cost until you’ve spent it.


The most popular plan here, the Advanced plan, ranges from $60/month all the way to $900/month depending on the number of contacts you have, as well as the number of emails you send per month.


If your business is just starting out, it can be scary not knowing what your software is going to cost at the end of the month.


This “starts at” issue is really out of touch.

1.3. SendGrid's pros and cons

Here’s a quick recap of some of the pros and cons of SendGrid:

Pros:

  • A (very limited) Free plan
  • Decent support, including phone support
  • Automate your email marketing campaigns and split test emails

Cons:

  • Difficulty with integrations
  • Not user-friendly (you need to be able to code to design emails)
  • Pricing plans become super expensive the more emails you send

If SendGrid doesn’t sound like your perfect fit, maybe you’ll like Mailchimp more.

2. What is Mailchimp?

Mailchimp logo

Mailchimp's logo

Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that allows you to easily create, send, and manage newsletter campaigns.


They promise up to 6 times more orders when you use their email automation feature!

2.1. Mailchimp's features

All-in-one is a big claim to make ― and Mailchimp is making it!


Let’s see if their features can back it up:

  • Drag-and-drop builder
  • Content studio
  • Marketing automations
  • Real-time analytics
  • Transactional emails

These are only the features offered specifically for emails.


Regardless of the additional features they have to offer, when it comes to email marketing, deliverability is all that matters!


Mailchimp’s deliverability is described as acceptable but not necessarily good.


They’ve also got tools for:

  • Getting your business online
  • Marketing your business
  • Managing your audience

With Mailchimp, you can build your website or online store using their library of 100+ templates as well as their AI creative assistant.


Their marketing goes beyond email. They help you to set up digital ads and make sure your social media marketing is on par.


They prohibit affiliate marketing ― their reasoning for this is that “it isn’t the type of marketing Mailchimp is meant for.”


You can share the odd third-party link via Mailchimp, but you can’t market third-party links.


In their own words, “the difference here isn’t super clear.”


If you accidentally cross their blurred line, they’ll stop your campaign and suspend your account.


This prohibition is a huge pity considering 80% of businesses have affiliate marketing programs and 16% of ecommerce orders originate from affiliate links.


That’s what you’re missing out on if you use Mailchimp.


Automations include customer journeys and send-time optimization.


They also cover segmentation, behavioral targeting, predicted demographics, and customer relationship management (CRM).


So Mailchimp sounds pretty good, but let’s see what users have said about it on Capterra.


The main complaints are problems with spam, coding, design difficulties, and extreme limitations on the Free plan.


The coding and design difficulties point to a larger problem ― users are unsatisfied with the templates on offer and are trying to code their own designs.


Many users have said that Mailchimp is easy to use but the app isn’t.


A few users also complained that Mailchimp’s price is higher than its competitors, so let’s have a closer look at that.

2.2. Mailchimp's pricing

Mailchimp’s pricing is divided into 3 categories:

  • Marketing
  • Websites and Commerce
  • Transactional Email

These are the options for Marketing:

Mailchimp Pricing

Mailchimp's Marketing plans

As you can see, there’s a Free plan and a pricey Premium plan.


Like with SendGrid, the pricing starts at a certain point and goes up depending on how many contacts you’ve got.


This means that the Standard plan can cost you anything from $14.99/month (with a maximum of 500 contacts) to $540/month (with 100,000 contacts).


The Websites and Commerce plan comes with 3 options, once again including a Free plan:

Mailchimp Pricing

Mailchimp's Websites & Commerce plans

The Core plan costs $10/month plus a 1.5% fee on every transaction and Stripe processing fees.


This transaction fee is a bit of a letdown, and it’s even charged on the Free plan.


It’s quite dishonest to call the plan ‘free’ with the inclusion of transaction and processing fees.


The Transactional Email plans are designed for developers and sold in blocks.


This is charged in addition to your chosen Mailchimp monthly plan.


The blocks represent the number of emails you buy per month, and their prices get better the more you buy.


For example, you can buy 1-20 blocks that equate to 1,000-500,000 emails and it will cost you $20/block.


If you need a bit more than that, you can buy +161 blocks and send over 4 million emails for $10/block.


Again, you purchase blocks on top of the cost of your main subscription.

2.3. Mailchimp's pros and cons

Pros:

  • Free version (like SendGrid’s, it’s very limited)
  • 100+ templates
  • Deliverability is acceptable

Cons:

  • Mailchimp prohibits affiliate marketing
  • Templates offer quantity but not quality
  • Expensive and unpredictable pricing

Are you getting any closer to making up your mind?


If not, the next section will take you through a comparison of both tools.

3. Comparing SendGrid and Mailchimp

3.1. Key differences

The best way to compare two tools is side-by-side, so that’s exactly what we’ve done here:

Comparing SendGrid and Mailchimp

This table compares SendGrid’s Advanced plan with Mailchimp’s Standard plan, both with 5,000 contacts. These are their most popular plans.


SendGrid is superior in terms of allowing affiliate marketing, phone support, and more staff access.


But Mailchimp trumps them if you’re looking for a mobile app, deliverability, unlimited signup forms, and SEO tools.


As different as they are, the two have a few similarities as well.


They both offer:

  • A/B testing
  • Chat and email support
  • Automation
  • GDPR compliance
  • Email validation

Now that you know what’s different and what’s the same, it’s time to see what these tools might cost your business.

3.2. Price comparison

We’ve already discussed what SendGrid and Mailchimp cost, but with their various price points (depending on the number of contacts you have), it might be easier to use a case study to compare the value for money of these tools.


Let’s say you’re a small to mid-size business with 50k email contacts, and you want a tool to improve your email marketing.


You decide to compare the SendGrid Advanced plan and the Mailchimp Standard plan.


Here’s how their prices differ for 50k contacts:

SendGrid and Mailchimp cost

It would be cheaper to go with SendGrid which includes phone chat support and allows affiliate marketing.


But you might want to spend a bit more to get access to the other features Mailchimp has to offer.


A few months later, your business is booming, and suddenly your email list has 150k contacts on it.


You can still use SendGrid’s Advanced plan, but you’ve outgrown Mailchimp’s Standard plan which maxes out at 100k contacts.


Let’s have a look at your new options:

SendGrid and Mailchimp cost

Again, Mailchimp is the more expensive option, but you’ve also upgraded to their best plan which is quite comprehensive.


With this plan you’ll have:

But if you’re not looking to spend over $1,000 (we don’t blame you), you’ll have to go with SendGrid... Or will you?

4. So who wins?

In the business world, there can only be one winner.


But is that always true? This reviewer said neither of these tools are worth using.


An integral part of email marketing is delivering emails to your contacts’ inboxes and, with their deliverability issues, neither of these tools fits the bill.


SendGrid is recommended if: You’re wanting a more affordable option and you’ve got someone on your team who can code.


While Mailchimp is recommended if: Your budget is on the larger side and you’re looking for sleeker, more modern designs.


Both tools are not recommended if: You want to stick to a specific budget every month, avoid coding, and have high deliverability rates.


Again, they both offer Free plans, so you can try the software for yourself.


By now you may be thinking that neither SendGrid nor Mailchimp really deserves your hard-earned cash.


But we know a tool that can really help you up your email marketing game, with very little involvement from that hard-earned cash.

5. What if I want an all-in-one digital marketing tool?

Enter our masterful tool that delivers way more than it costs: systeme.io.


When it comes to email marketing systeme.io offers:

  • Unlimited emails
  • Automation email sequences
  • In-depth statistics and analytics
  • A/B split testing
  • Audience segmentation
  • Integration of your email list with your websites and funnels

With us, you can put together email campaigns that will bolster your bottom line and grow your business.


Our software does more than email marketing though.


Our software can also help you to build:

Now that’s all-in-one!


And you haven’t even heard the best part: We not only allow affiliate marketing, but we also encourage it with our affiliate marketing management functionality.


If you’re wondering what all of this will cost, have a look at our pricing options:

Systeme.io pricing

systeme.io's pricing plans

You’ll notice that we offer a forever Free plan ― but ours won’t hold you back. All of our plans, including our Free plan, give you the following:

Head to systeme.io to get set up today!

6. Conclusion

You came to find out which tool is best, SendGrid or Mailchimp, but maybe you’re leaving with a slightly different outlook.


Deliverability is all that really matters when it comes to email marketing, and if you can’t get that from these tools, then they’re not worth your time or money.


If you want to get serious about your email marketing strategy, give us a visit at systeme.io ― our proven tools will change the way you look at your entire business!


And we can’t wait to help you grow.

Other posts about email marketing tools:

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