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MailChimp is often the first newsletter tool that springs to mind, possibly because they have great marketing and a charming monkey-fied aesthetic. But I guess I’m not the only one, as they claim to send roughly 10,800 emails out every second over their platform.
GetResponse is a reliable email marketing service that also has some marketing automation capabilities aimed at small to midsize businesses (SMBs). It's got an attractive price tag and a good-size list of enticing third-party integrations. Since we last tested it, GetResponse has added several enhancements including web push notifications and email chat.
WHAT TOOLS SHOULD YOU CHOOSE FOR EMAIL MARKETING?
Each plan is available on a month-to-month basis. If you sign up for an annual contract, then the price goes down 18% for all tiers. If you prepay for two years, then you get a 30% discount. Contrast that with higher end Editors' Choice winner, Campaigner, and you'll find no such discounts for annual sign-ups.
The Plus plan is next on the list and will run you $49 per month also with a 1,000 max contact list limit. Again, you can increase that for additional dollars up to a maximum of $499 for 100,000 contacts. This tier does everything the Basic tier does, but adds the Autofunnel feature as well as the automation builder and basic webinars (up to 100 attendees).
Up from Plus is GetResponse's Professional plan, which is what we tested. This begins at $99 per month for 1,000 subscribers rising to a max of 100,000 subscribers for $580 per month. Again, this tier does everything the Plus plan does and adds webinars for up to 300 attendees, web push notifications, an unlimited automation builder, and unlimited sales and webinar funnels. The automation features let you send auto-responder emails based on actions like filling out a customer form. Setting that up can take some time as well as trial and error, but it's worth it once everything is running.
Across all these tiers, GetResponse supports multiple users per account should you need log-ins for employees or freelancers. The first five user accounts are $20 per month and additional users are $5 per month. In addition, the Free offering has been expanded from 250 to 1,000 contacts, which is a big deal.
Last is the Max tier, for which you'll need a custom quote to determine pricing. However, this has all the bells and whistles, including the full list of integrations, transactional emails, a dedicated support rep, and a whole lot more. But while the Max tier is certainly full featured, what we really like about GetResponse's pricing overall is how robust the Free, Basic, and Plus tiers are. The Plus tier especially will be enough for many small businesses, which makes that $49 per month price tag a really good value.
If you're looking for customer relationship management (CRM) features, GetResponse has an integration for the standard Salesforce Lightning Professional platform. But given GetResponse's small business focus, another integration with Salesforce Essentials might be good, too. Still, the standard Salesforce integration is fairly robust. It allows for a customizable sales pipeline overview, so when you're viewing your pipeline in Stage, you can drag-and-drop deals between stages. If you need to, you can monitor deals and stages as well as add notes and reminders for other team members.
GetResponse also offers WordPress integration. This lets you create a page in the GetResponse landing page editor, then select a page in WordPress, assign your directory name, and then publish the page. By integrating your landing page with WordPress, you can build webinar and promotion pages as well as use pop-ups to generate more conversations.
As mentioned above, compared to the last time we tested it, GetResponse has made some significant integration strides with third-party e-commerce platforms. It now integrates rather tightly with platforms, like Shopify, Magento, and PrestaShop. When these apps talk to each other, you can get e-commerce data and quickly import it into GetResponse. With data like that you'll be able to do some fairly advanced audience segmentation.
Signing up for GetResponse is simple. You just provide your email address and name, and GetResponse sends you an activation email with a blue button labeled "Activate My Account." Once you click the verification link, you continue registration by providing your mobile phone number so you can receive a verification code by text.
Once into the interface, we found a Quick Actions tab on the left that's easy to find and will quickly take you where you want to go. Options include Create Form, Create Newsletter, Create landing page, Add contacts, and Create Autoresponder.
GetResponse gives you various options to build a subscriber list. This will probably vary depending on where those subscribers are coming from. If you have a relatively small contact list, then you can simply key in or copy and paste email addresses. For larger lists, you can upload a number of file types or connect to third-party services, such as Google, Salesforce, Zendesk Support, and many others. Not all its competitors can do that, so this is a win for GetResponse.
To set up our contact list, we dragged a CSV file into the Import Contact box to add five contacts. Then we were prompted to confirm that the individuals in the CSV file had given us permission to be added to the list. Like with Campaigner and Pardot, you have to assign fields for the columns.
Once you've added subscribers, you can segment the list by location, open rate, and other criteria. As part of GetResponse's new marketing automation campaigns, you're now able to do some sophisticated audience segmentation. That lets you target users based on location, opens and clicks, and autoresponder sequences. GetResponse also lets you send out automated emails if customers abandon their online shopping cart. The default setting is for emails to go out 30 minutes after an abandoned cart, but you can customize that if you want to.
GetResponse has a tool called the List Building Wizard that lets you create forms to embed on your website so you can solicit things like newsletter sign-ups. So you can also use it to create order forms, feedback forms, event sign-ups, and similar items. In a nice touch, GetResponse can now build both landing pages and surveys inside the app as well as publish your newsletter to Facebook and Twitter. Finally, you can conduct A/B tests to try out different newsletter formats, subject lines, and other elements.
GetResponse's process for creating an email campaign hasn't changed since our last review. You can create a newsletter using the drag-and-drop editor or the HTML source editor. The latter is useful for people who feel comfortable providing their own code. By using the Email Creator Tool, you can either start from scratch or use one of the hundreds of supplied templates. GetResponse has revamped its template menu and introduced a new marketing automation template to help people launch a campaign quickly (more on that below).
When you preview your newsletter, you can see how it looks on a desktop as well as in a number of browsers, email programs, and mobile devices. We liked how you can scroll down through the newsletter on a mock mobile device so you get a real idea of what your audience will see there.
When you've built and tested your email, you'll receive a spam score, which is helpful since you may be accidentally using terms that email programs flag as suspicious. The company requires all users to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and similar international legislation.
You can send newsletters right away, schedule them for a later time, or use the Time Travel feature to deliver it to recipients based on their local time. For instance, you can have subscribers receive the newsletter at 9 a.m. their time, regardless of the time zone. GetResponse also has a Perfect Timing feature that predicts the best time of day to send mail to your subscribers and automatically delivers it at that time. The company says Perfect Timing can increase customer engagement rates because it's customizing messages based on recipient behavior.
You can also send out newsletters and autoresponder messages based on certain factors, including a subscriber's birthday, a confirmation of a profile change, or any other specific data you might have collected. Start by choosing between time-based, clicked, opened, subscribed, or goal reached. Once you choose the type, then you set up the parameters. For instance, if a recipient subscribes to your newsletter, then you can send a welcome message right away or a follow-up email within a specified time frame. You can also set which days of the week the autoresponder message is active.
Once you're satisfied with your campaign, you can send it to all subscribers, manually add a subset of subscribers, or use saved searches. If you're curious about that last one, just check out the lower left-hand portion of the GetResponse results screen. There's now an Action button and one of its options is Save Search. Click on this and you can create the same list criteria repeatedly. Other options include copy or move a campaign, add a custom field, export, and tag. You can tag subscribers at this point or use that information to target contacts when you're sending a campaign. That's possible with a saved search, though you'll need to assign the tag and then send a newsletter to that search.
For sending, you can choose to use the Perfect Timing feature, do a custom schedule, or send right away. Once you send, a countdown clock counts down from 60 seconds; you can cancel the send until it reaches zero.
We needed to find and customize a suitable template for our pretend test business, which is a small company that refurbishes furniture. We found a bunch of options for that inside GetResponse's large selection of templates. We created a simple newsletter for a summer sale. We didn't find the email templates to be as intuitive for building a newsletter as other platforms, like Mailchimp, but they do well enough after some practice.
Many email marketing services are starting to add SMS messaging as part of their feature stack. More than adding another channel to a brand's omni-channel strategy, SMS is attractive because it currently has a higher open rate (90%) than email campaigns (20% to 25%). It's also inherently a more intimate and direct tool for reaching customers. Unlike email, text messages aren't run through spam filters so they're much more often viewed and responded to quickly. That makes SMS an ideal tool for time-sensitive promotions or for rescuing sales (like abandoned online shopping carts) with things like coupon codes.
But SMS is still somewhat of an emerging marketing strategy in North America, though it's huge in Europe and parts of Asia where smartphones or reliable 4G LTE networks are limited. The question, however, is how long before this kind of outreach becomes forbidden? Consumers see SMS messages as coming from a known or trusted source, so suddenly receiving offers, coupons, and a deluge of messages could quickly lead to dissatisfaction, regulation, or the outright banning of SMS campaigns. Annoy your customers enough and you'll likely lose them, so make sure they can opt out. That's at least a quick and easy way for them to stop receiving texts they might not want.
As mentioned above, GetResponse improved its e-commerce capabilities both internally and through some new third-party integrations. It's added web push notifications to promote sales as well as improved integrations with third-party e-commerce platforms. These features let you segment customers and personalize their offers so you get more targeted sales. GetResponse has also found ways to improve customer engagement. It's added a web chat capability that you can easily add to your site by dropping a code snippet into the page's HTML. Once done, you'll be able to engage with customers in real-time to help with a problem or close a sale.
Even more impressive than the website chat is GetResponse's email chat feature. This is the only email marketing vendor we've reviewed this year with the option to initiate a chat right from an email message. By adding a chat button in email, GetResponse customers get an additional and instantaneous connection to their customers. That means you can transform an email directly into a conversation, which is a powerful sales tool.
For customers that have made a buying decision, jumping on a live chat is preferable to sending an email since that may take hours to get a response. You can also use chat from email can for time-sensitive communication when you consider it from a CRM point of view. That way, it can serve as a stopgap for support issues or to entice customers with promotions or discount codes.
GetResponse delivers a marketing automation suite that's near the top of the class. Automation workflows are based on three elements: Actions, Conditions, and Filters. You start by dragging and dropping a condition onto the Workflow page. These include things such as "Received an email" or "Joined a list." Next, you drag and drop an action you want taken as a response to your condition. Actions include which message to send the contact or to what list to add the contact, among other possibilities. So now you're able to draw lines between actions and conditions by taking recipients back and forth between different workflow stages.
Like Salesforce Pardot and HubSpot, our Editors' Choices in the marketing automation category, GetResponse has a ton of neat workflow features. Not only can you bump contacts from workflow to workflow. you can also drag and drop tags into your workflow to label contacts who've dropped off or navigated to different stages. This lets you shift contacts who've moved through a nurturing campaign into lists for more familiar contacts, or it lets you tag people as unresponsive if they haven't gotten as far in the campaign as you would have liked. How you determine if someone is unresponsive is up to you, as GetResponse lets you set conditions to wait a certain period of time before designating someone that way.
The new Autofunnel feature lets companies create visual funnels for things like webinars that then move into actually selling products. Funnels show the process a customer goes through before purchasing a product. This includes becoming aware of the product, going through a sales process, and then becoming a customer. GetResponse integrates with e-commerce platforms for point-of-sale process using services like PayPal, Square, or Stripe. With these tools, you'll be able to track and quantify your customer's journey and see it spelled out in understandable terms. Again, that's is a fairly big win for GetResponse.
If you want to sell an e-book or an online webinar, GetResponse now integrates e-commerce capabilities to enable these payments. You can use Autofunnel to set up auto-response emails that trigger once a customer makes a purchase. So you could, for instance, create a sign-up page, then an email, a sales page, and then a confirmation page. Everything that happens to a customer buying that product. There are 40 templates for the Autofunnel process that cover several scenarios end to end, including an autoresponder and abandon cart email. GetResponse also integrates with e-commerce platforms like Etsy and Shopify to help pull product information into the email marketing platform. That can help fill out your email blasts with product details.
Support is an important feature for SMBs, especially those who may just be getting started or who do not have a dedicated in-house marketing team or expert on staff. The initial set up of any service and solution is usually the biggest hurdle, so being able to call or chat with knowledgeable experts can be a big help.
GetResponse has a comprehensive Help section that will likely answer most of your questions if you're just getting started. In a move that won't make everyone happy, the company has discontinued its 24/7 phone support in favor of 24/7 live chat support. GetResponse also offers email support. That's still a fairly competitive support arsenal, especially considering the company focus on smaller businesses.
Overall, we think GetResponse provides an outstanding user experience and great third-party integrations for the money. And it's certainly shown innovation with its newer features, especially SMS marketing, chat capability from emails, its e-commerce integrations, and the Autofunnel feature. While some competitors may beat it on raw email throughput, that innovation as well as its friendly starting price and rich range of features mean this platform is well worth a look both for beginning marketers and more experienced folks looking for some new tools.