How Mailchimp’s Free Marketing Automation Tools Compare to Other Platforms

Marketing automations help small businesses save time and money—finding a platform that offers these tools at a price you can afford makes all the difference.

Building your business really begins when you reach your customers and earn their loyalty by showing that you understand their needs. Talking to them in a targeted, personalized way makes that engagement possible.

Creating timely and personalized marketing can seem daunting to many small business owners, but with the right platform, it’s not just easy—it’s automatic.

Marketing automations allow you to reach the people in your audience with the right message at the right moment, based on what you know about them and the way they interact with your business (or don’t). With Mailchimp, many powerful marketing automations are a part of our Free plan.

In 2020, Mailchimp was rated the No. 1 marketing automation software by Capterra* based on user reviews, and recently Mailchimp was named as one of 50 Best Marketing products for 2021 by G2.

Compared to Omnisend, Sendinblue, and HubSpot, Mailchimp offers more free automation tools on our Free plan. Mailchimp’s other free tools also outshine the competition, with over 250 integrations and a wealth of features.

Automations make it possible to send targeted marketing messages at scale, which boosts results. With automated emails, for example, Mailchimp customers saw, on average, a 95% increase in email open rates and 167% increase in click-through rates compared to sending bulk email.

Mailchimp offers effective marketing automations as part of our Free marketing plan, but with a paid Mailchimp account, you get access to the Customer Journey builder to take automations even further.

 
 

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a way to deliver marketing messages more efficiently and meaningfully. It works by using software to take over repetitive tasks that you or your team would usually perform manually, reducing the guesswork and data-combing on your part.

Marketing automation can help your business engage customers by delivering relevant content based on their interests and preferences. With automation you can do more than send one-size-fits-all emails, generic ad campaigns, and bulk social media posts.

You can automate things like event reminders, abandoned cart emails, or an annual “happy birthday” message—all of which are personalized in terms of both timing and content.

Many platforms offer marketing automations as a part of automated workflows. These allow you to determine how and when you communicate with people in your audience—automatically. With Mailchimp, similar technology is part of the Customer Journey builder, which helps you plot a path for your customers’ experience.

Unlike automated workflows found on other platforms, however, Mailchimp’s Customer Journey builder features different levels of sophistication and the power to create highly customized pathways that take your audience from prospects to buyers.

Businesses just getting started, for example, may want to use prebuilt journeys—like sending new subscribers a welcome email, followed by a survey to learn more about them. For businesses that are ready to create more tailored and variable journeys, the tool offers the flexibility to do so.

Above all, marketing automation can save you time and money, allowing you to put more of these resources toward other business needs that matter to you. In addition to making repetitive tasks more manageable, marketing automation allows you to market smarter based on what your customers want.

Free marketing tools

Many marketing platforms offer free trials, which are not the same as free services. When the trial eventually runs out, you may find yourself paying a monthly fee to get services similar to those you could get elsewhere for free. Of course, a free trial is a great way to find out if a paid service might be right for you—just be aware that “free” doesn’t last forever.

Some free services run into issues of capacity—they offer limited features or volume allowances that may not match your business needs. Imagine using a free service but being limited to only a handful of email sends a month. That may not work for your growing business.

Also, some services may allow you to send free emails, but don’t offer more advanced features like automations for free. Mailchimp’s Free plan, for example, offers both, and more.

 
 

How marketing automations compare across platforms

There are several marketing platforms that offer free plans—Mailchimp, Omnisend, Sendinblue, and HubSpot are a few of the most popular. Some offer marketing automation tools as part of their free plan; others don’t.

It’s important to evaluate what’s included before choosing the marketing platform for your business.

Mailchimp's Free Marketing PlanOmnisend's Free Marketing PlanSendinblue's Free Marketing PlanHubSpot's Free Marketing Tools
No. of Subscribers or ContactsUp to 2,000UnlimitedUp to 2,000Unlimited
No. of Email Sends10,000 per month2,000 per day; 15,000 per month300 per day2,000 per month
Free Marketing AutomationsWelcome series

Abandoned cart

Personalized product recommendations

Product retargeting

Best customers

First purchase

Order notifications

Product follow-up

Campaign engagement
No marketing automations included in free planWelcome email

Coupon code
Birthday (or date-based) message

Lead scoring

Transactional email

SMS
No marketing automations included in free plan
Marketing Automations Available with Paid PlansCustomer Journeys

Send-time

Trigger-based

Transactional

Behavior-based

Date-based

And more

Paid plans featuring more marketing automations begin at $11/mo
Welcome series

Abandoned cart

Transactional emails

Cross-sell

SMS

And more

Paid plans featuring marketing automations begin at $16/mo
Marketing automation workflows for unlimited contacts

Paid plans featuring marketing automations for unlimited contacts begin at $65/mo
Email marketing

Social media

Ads

Visual editor to build customer journeys

Paid plans featuring marketing automations begin at $800/mo
Customer Support on Free PlansEmail (free for first 30 days)

Access to guides and tutorials

Mailchimp’s Marketing Glossary

Marketing tips, small business reports, and customer success stories

Webinars

Access to the Experts Directory to hire help if you need it

Inspiring entrepreneurial content from Mailchimp Presents and Courier
Reports and white papers

Customer success stories

Cart Insiders Podcast

Omnisend Onboarding Course

Access to the Agency Partner directory to hire help if you need it
Email

Marketing tips and customer success stories

Help Center articles

Access to the Agency Partner directory to hire help if you need it

Sendinblue Academy
Marketing tips and customer stories

E-books, guides, templates, and more<br

HubSpot Academy courses and certifications

Access to the HubSpot Solutions Directory to hire help if you need it
Customer Support on Paid PlansEmail available on all paid plans

Chat available on all paid plans

Phone available on Premium plan
Email available on all paid plans

Chat available on all paid plans
Chat available on paid Premium and Enterprise plans

Phone available on paid Premium and Enterprise plans
Email available on all paid plans

In-app support available on all paid plans

Phone available on paid Professional and Enterprise plans

Why marketing automations matter

These tools make a difference. One study found that 91% of consumers surveyed were more likely to shop with brands that recognize and remember them and provide relevant offers and recommendations. That means targeting your marketing, which is easier and more effective with automation. Another study shows that personalized experiences can increase a customer’s likelihood of making a purchase, and that’s precisely what automation allows you to create.

How Mailchimp compares to other top platforms

Marketing automation is best used in tandem with other marketing channels and features. A more in-depth look at the free tools that each platform offers can help you decide which is best for your business.

Mailchimp vs. Omnisend

Omnisend and Mailchimp have many similar features as part of their free plans, like audience management, reports, signup forms, pop-ups, landing pages, and the ability to track visitors to your website. While Omnisend does have some additional features such as discount coupon codes, an image editor, and click maps, it only includes 8 integrations with its free plan. Mailchimp has over 250 integrations, plus 7 marketing channels, 1-click automations, basic templates, Marketing CRM, segmentation options, smart recommendations, Creative Assistant (an AI-powered design tool), personalized product recommendations, and some social media ad and post tools included at no charge on the Free plan.

Mailchimp vs. Sendinblue

Chat and SMS notifications are among Sendinblue’s free features, which Mailchimp doesn’t currently offer. However, Sendinblue’s integration options are limited on their free plan and Mailchimp’s extensive integration library is available on the free marketing plan. Sendinblue offers landing pages as part of its Premium or Enterprise plan. The Premium plan starts at $65 per month, but only 5 landing pages are included. You can pay an additional fee for 5 extra landing pages each month (up to 20 landing pages). Mailchimp, on the other hand, offers unlimited landing pages for free. Facebook ads are also paid features in Sendinblue, starting with the Premium plan, but they’re part of Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan.

Mailchimp vs. HubSpot

Because HubSpot offers a lot on their free CRM platform, you get a lot of the same features that Mailchimp includes on our Free marketing plan, like forms, pop-ups, contact activity and management, insights, deals, and email templates. But again, there are limited integrations. They do offer a few other free features Mailchimp doesn’t, such as a conversations inbox, calling, live chat, and document filing, which are internal features to collaborate with your team. But as marketing tools go, many that are included in Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan are part of expensive HubSpot plans. Landing pages and ad management are on Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan, but to access these tools on HubSpot, you must have the Starter plan, which begins at $45 per month. Mailchimp also offers social media posting and several marketing automations as part of our Free marketing plan, but these are only available beginning with HubSpot’s Professional plan, which starts at $800 per month.

Why use Mailchimp for free marketing tools

The features included in the Free plan for Mailchimp’s all-in-one Marketing Platform are hard to beat. Not only do you save money with the plan itself, but you can make more of it through automations. Mailchimp data has shown that marketing automations can generate up to 6 times more orders than bulk email alone.

Automations featured in Mailchimp’s Free plan include:

And Mailchimp’s Free plan goes beyond these capabilities to offer advanced marketing tools that can give your business an edge:

A distinguishing feature of Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan is its extensive integrations. (But note that some third-party service providers may have their own fees.) With over 250 integrations available, you can connect your existing tools to Mailchimp and unlock more features. This is especially helpful if your business has an existing storefront.

 
 

Growing your business with Mailchimp’s paid plans

Mailchimp provides a lot of advanced features in our Free marketing plan, but if your business outgrows what’s offered, there are 3 paid plans with additional options to meet your needs.

Starting at $11/month, each paid plan has its advantages. The most significant automation advantage comes in the form of the Customer Journey builder, which makes it easy to build unique and effective automated workflows. With more than 20 starting points to choose from, Mailchimp can help you identify and select relevant ways to send customers down the right paths. Whether your aim is to keep your brand top of mind, get more out of your marketing, or drive better engagement, the Customer Journey builder provides a visual, customizable tool to meet your business goals.

The Customer Journey builder allows you to design a journey for your customers based on their behaviors and interests. Easy-to-use visualizations help you create a truly relevant marketing experience for each customer. You can create a journey that will feel natural to your customer, and your messages are more likely to be opened because they’re sent at the right time.

Another benefit that starts with the Standard plan is access to more automation options, such as behavior-based and date-based automations. You can even automate postcards, sending blog posts to email, and transactional email. With a paid plan, you’ll get the ability to schedule your social posts and send retargeted ads. All these upgrades will help you reach your customers more efficiently.

Getting the most out of your marketing automation software

There’s no perfect one-size-fits-all plan out there—either free or paid—but finding one that offers powerful features at an affordable rate is possible. Mailchimp’s comparison guide shows how its plans go beyond free email with other marketing tools and automations to outperform the competition.

Here are a few questions to keep in mind when considering marketing automation software:

  • What results are you trying to achieve, and will the software help get you there?
  • Does the software help you as you’re building your business, or only after you’ve acquired the customer?
  • Does the software enable you to nurture the customer relationship at every step, even after the sale?
  • Does it offer a free plan or at least a free trial? Does it have the features you’re looking for?
  • Does it provide good integration options for any additional features you’re looking to use?
 
 

Get started today

Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan offers many automation features that allow you to save money and time while you build your business.

These automations empower you to create personalized marketing at scale and deepen your relationship with your customers. Beyond this, Mailchimp’s Free marketing plan includes comprehensive marketing tools to boost your presence and improve how you connect across channels.

If you’re looking for more advanced automation tools, like the Customer Journey builder, you can opt for the Essentials plan, starting at $11 per month. If you decide your business would benefit from building your own personalized automations using the full features of Customer Journey builder, then the Standard plan, starting at $17 per month, may be a better choice for you. Regardless of the plan you choose, Mailchimp’s robust automations help you connect with your customers and achieve your business goals.

*The Capterra Top 20 report constitutes the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Capterra or its affiliates.

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