A review and comparison of two popular email marketing software solutions
It’s all very well reading the eBook of email marketing tips, but something a guide like that can’t answer is a question I get asked all the time (especially when it comes to CRM systems), namely “which is the best email software for me?”
And to be fair, just like CRM databases, there are 100’s to choose from. And they suit different pocket sizes and objectives.
Some very expensive. Some free. Some very simple. Some very complex. And loads everywhere in between.
What if you already have a CRM?
Now, if you already have a CRM database, it’s best to go with the email software they link to – that way you can do a search in your CRM, and email to the resulting contacts.
Often these days, the CRM tool has an inbuilt email capability, so you should just use that feature – unless it’s dreadful.
What if you don't have a CRM system?
But most people don’t have an CRM system. Either because it’s too much like hard work to setup and run, too costly to buy, or just not needed yet.
And that’s where email marketing comes into play. You can keep in touch with all your clients, your work introducers and prospective clients. Very easily. Very cheaply. And with very quick turnaround.
Of the 100s of email solutions available, I have two favourite marketing email software
Of the 100’s of email platforms, Mailchimp and Popcorn are two I’d recommend you have a look at. There are loads that do similar things, but Mailchimp is a well known trusted solution that does lots of things, Popcorn is a system I trust, and I know the owner of it - and trust you'd get an excellent service from them.
Mailchimp and Popcorn - these two systems cater for different needs, and ends of the market.
Both systems will allow you (as do nearly all)…
- to track open and click rates
- to say the email came from your email address
- to personalise your emails (e.g. Dearest John)
- to have a sign-up page that you can put on your website or Social Media that allows visitors to sign-up to your mailing lists and newsletter
- to have ‘click here’ type links to bespoke landing pages
- to add notes to the contacts
- to import contacts individually and in bulk (after a networking event for instance)
- to have bespoke fields as well as the standard fields for contacts, so you can target and segment your list any which way you like
- to tag contacts so you can run emails to contacts with that tag
- to easily manage unsubscribes
Then the differences between the email software start to crop up.... A comparison
Mailchimp allows you to setup automations (e.g. if a reader clicks on a link – send them X email and update their record to say ‘ABC’) although Popcorn is just about to launch something similar
Want lead scoring?
Popcorn allows you to monitor email engagement better than Mailchimp – being able to score if certain actions are done in your emails over time – which then allows you to say “who are our top 10% of clickers on xyz topic”. Mailchimp has a much simpler scoring system and you’d spend longer trying to work out your best contacts
Want to track what readers do?
If you add some code to your website, Popcorn can link to your website and then follow your readers around it – so you not only find out if they click on a link, but what they did after they clicked on that link into your website, and which pages they visited. It will also still track them if they visit your website on another day. Not many systems do this at all – although I’m happy to be corrected if I’ve missed something.
What about cost differences?
If you want free email sends, Mailchimp allows you to send emails up to 2,000 contacts for free (although you have to have the Mailchimp logo on your emails). Anymore than that and the charging starts – and prices depend on how many emails you send or how many contacts you have. Popcorn gives you a free trial for a few weeks and then charges you by the number of emails you send per month. I think I recall it starts at £29 per month.
Want a sales pipeline / work lead funnel?
If you wanted to utilise a sales pipeline / work lead funnel, Popcorn has this inbuilt – it’s designed as an email & CRM tool. Mailchimp is 95% email.
Popcorn's marketing slogan is 'showing you your next customer'. Something like that anyway. which is telling.
Mailchimp's is 'Build your brand, sell more stuff'
What happens when something goes wrong?
If Mailchimp spots something wrong with your email account (e.g. too many unsubscribes or bounces), it will freeze your account automatically. If this happens in Popcorn, they will phone you up and go over how you can improve your email marketing techniques so you get it right next time.
Popcorn is a UK company, with all their servers in the UK, so if you are very sensitive about the European GDPR laws and where your data resides, this is the safer option. Less people will try and hack it too as it’s not as well known
How would you like to be treated?
You get what you pay for. If you get in touch for a demo with Popcorn and say I sent you their way, you’ll get super-special treatment. You'd no doubt get that anyway to be fair on them! Mailchimp is 95% automated and you’ll have to look after yourself. Which is OK for someone like me who lives and breathes email marketing, but maybe not for someone whose day job is being an Accountant, Lawyer, Architect or whatever - and is more interested in running their own business than working out another piece of software.
How to get a demo
Hope that helps,