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Omnisend vs. Mailchimp: Which is the better platform?

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Mailchimp casts a large shadow over the world of email marketing. With a 70% market share, it’s known and used by businesses of all types and sizes. So it stands to reason that if you’re looking for an email marketing platform, Mailchimp is the company to use. 

But is that actually true? Recent years have seen:

  • multiple price hikes
  • a public breakup with Shopify due to Mailchimp’s “poor merchant experience” and a refusal to comply with Shopify’s data usage rules (they reconciled in late 2021, more than 2.5 years later)
  • satisfaction scores from Shopify users dropping to a mere 3.5 out of 5 

This raises three questions: has Mailchimp been monkeying around too much? Is now the time to look for an alternative? Can Omnisend go toe-to-toe with the king of email marketing platforms?

Let’s find out, in a feature by feature Mailchimp vs Omnisend comparison.

Who is each platform built for? 

Mailchimp is a generic email marketing platform, designed to be used by almost anyone. It can do most of the things you’d expect it to but it doesn’t have specialist tools to help users with more specific needs. Primarily targeting small businesses, Mailchimp may not scale with your company’s growth in the way you need it to.

Omnisend, on the other hand, is built for ecommerce users. In addition to the usual features required of an email marketing tool, it also has tools designed specifically for building an audience and increasing sales, such as a product picker that lets you pull products from your store (instead of manually inserting images and URLs) and native discount codes

Omnisend also has advanced, real-time reporting and analytics to help users better understand their audience.

Round 1: What’s inside Mailchimp and Omnisend?

Both Mailchimp and Omnisend include email templates and a drag-and-drop composer. But there are two vital differences: the first is that Mailchimp’s pre-built templates are very basic visually, and the limited options can cause frustration if you want to create something more advanced.

Mailchimp’s pre-built templates
A selection of Mailchimp’s pre-built templates

The second difference is that Mailchimp restricts the majority of its templates to its paid plans, leaving users of the free plan with a very limited number.

In comparison, Omnisend provides professionally-made templates to all users, even on the free plan. Plus, Omnisend’s native integration allows you to pull products directly from your online store, offer smart product recommendations, as well as automatically include discount codes within the emails.

Omnisend’s pre-built templates
A selection of Omnisend’s pre-built templates

And while both platforms allow you to create your own templates, only Omnisend allows you to save individual blocks to easily reuse in future campaigns.

Mailchimp vs Omnisend round 1 winner: Omnisend

Round 2: List building and email capture—which tool builds better subscriber lists?

Omnisend and Mailchimp both offer forms and landing pages to help you grow your list size.

Forms can be used in multiple ways, including:

  • Embedded on specific pages of your site
  • Pop-ups that appear after a certain amount of time or when the visitor is about to leave
  • Small sign-up boxes added to the header, footer, or inline of content such as blog posts
Omnisend's sign-up box in a site footer
A small sign-up box in a site footer

Mailchimp and Omnisend both also offer landing pages. They’re customizable with templates and a drag-and-drop builder, and are an effective way of obtaining email addresses. 

So far, so similar. But where Omnisend stands out is with its gamification forms, like Wheel of Fortune. Not only is it a great way to catch your visitors’ attention, but dynamic forms like this are proven to be more effective than even exit-intent popups for email subscriptions.

spin the wheel gamification form

Omnisend vs Mailchimp round 2 winner: Omnisend

Round 3: Segmentation—which tool offers better targeting?

As your list grows, it’s important to be able to put different members into different groups. This is known as segmentation and it allows you to send relevant information to your audience—and avoid sending messages they don’t need, like recommending a product they’ve already purchased from you.

Omnisend segmentation

Segmentation is one area where Omnisend and Mailchimp match up about equally. Both platforms offer segmentation based on:

  • Profile data: language, location, age, income, gender, education, occupation etc
  • Campaign activity: whether the person has opened your emails, clicked certain links, or shown interest in particular campaigns
  • Purchases: products they’ve viewed, purchased, or abandoned from their cart

Both Omnisend and Mailchimp can also be set to sync with your Google and Facebook ad accounts. Rather than hoping people remember to visit your store again, you can show them relevant products through retargeting ads to encourage them back.

Omnisend vs Mailchimp round 3 winner: it’s a tie

Round 4: Integrations—which tool has more?

Omnisend integrates with over 60 trusted technology partners and has a dedicated app market. There are integrations for everything from advertising and customer support to back-in-stock alerts and reviews.

As the email marketing platform with the largest market share though, it’s no surprise that Mailchimp offers more in this category. It claims to integrate with more than 200 apps and web services, so regardless of what tool you’re using, there’s a good chance it already integrates with Mailchimp.

Mailchimp vs Omnisend round 4 winner: Mailchimp

Round 5: Automation—which tool will save you more time?

Automations empower you to scale your business further, faster. Instead of having to manually send every message, you can automate them. 

Best of all, you can create a series of advanced workflows that send specific messages when an action is taken (or not taken, like leaving the store without completing a purchase). This puts your sales on autopilot and reminders, follow-ups, and even retargeting ads all happen whether you’re at your computer or fast asleep.

While Mailchimp does offer automation, it’s limited to basic actions. The interface also makes it difficult to understand everything that’s happening at a glance. You can see the emails and their trigger in the journey:

Mailchimp automation

In comparison, Omnisend offers more advanced automation and the visual interface shows a clearer breakdown:

abandoned cart workflow steps

You can see whether an SMS or email is being sent, how many recipients are in each stage of the workflow, as well as where your delays are. 

Because Omnisend is an omnichannel platform, its automation allows you to incorporate additional channels than just email, such as Facebook Messenger, SMS, and push notifications. Omnisend even suggests which channel to use in each automation sequence.

With this functionality, you can create an advanced workflow using the channels that your audience engages with the most, without the need to break everything into different sequences. You can also use conditional splits to tailor your workflow around your customers’ demographics, engagement, and shopping behavior.

Conditional splits at Omnisend

Omnisend offers up to 10 conditional splits per workflow, which not only simplifies the process but also allows you to hyper target your messages. To create something similar in Mailchimp, you’d need to make several workflows. 

Omnisend’s automation features include custom events, send time optimization, post-purchase transactional emails, workflows, splits and A/B testing, even on the free plan. 

Omnisend vs Mailchimp round 5 winner: Omnisend

Round 6: Channels—which company has more?

Although they’re email marketing platforms, Mailchimp and Omnisend both offer additional channels so you can reach people in other ways.

Aside from email, users of either platform have the ability to sync their audience list with their Facebook and Google ad accounts. This is an effective way to keep your ad costs down while increasing sales—instead of running ads to a cold audience and trying to generate interest, the syncing allows you to run retargeting ads, which show relevant products to people who have already been on your site. You can show them products they’ve looked at, left in their cart, or similar items to what they’ve viewed. 

However, it’s worth noting that while Mailchimp allows Facebook and Instagram ads to be run from any of its plans, retargeting is limited to its higher tiers, Standard and Premium. Pricing for Standard starts at $17 per month for 500 contacts but is based on how many subscribers you have, shooting up to $90 for 5,000 contacts.

In comparison, Omnisend offers retargeting ads on all of its tiers, including the free plan. And unlike Mailchimp, Omnisend natively allows users to send SMS and push notifications as part of their campaigns.

Mailchimp vs Omnisend round 6 winner: Omnisend

Round 7: Customer support—which company offers better?

Mailchimp has four tiers to choose from and Omnisend has three. Users of Mailchimp’s free plan have email support for the first 30 days, then they’ll have to rely on the guides and tutorials. While this does mean the information they need is likely available, it’s also time consuming and can require a lot of digging to find the appropriate articles.

Ongoing email support begins with the Essentials plan, which also includes live chat. Once on a paid plan, Mailchimp’s customer support is 24/7 and the team can communicate in English, Spanish or French. Phone support is only available on the Premium plan, which starts at $299 per month.

Omnisend’s customer support options are similar, with 24/7 live chat from the Standard tier, and Priority support on the Pro plan which starts at $59 per month. However, the main difference is that Omnisend also provides ongoing email support for users of all tiers, including those on the free plan.

Omnisend vs Mailchimp round 7 winner: Omnisend for email support on the free plan

Round 8: Pricing—which tool provides the best value for price?

Previously there wasn’t much price difference between the two, but Mailchimp increased its prices in early 2022, including for existing users. 

Controversially, Mailchimp now considers unsubscribed contacts the same as active contacts—meaning if you had a list with 1,000 active subscribers and 500 people who had previously unsubscribed, Mailchimp would bill you as having 1,500 people in your list. Considering that Mailchimp’s pricing is based on the number of contacts you have, this can make a significant difference to your monthly bill.

Mailchimp has four tiers: Free, Essentials, Standard, and Premium, and the monthly pricing works out as follows:

Mailchimp pricing

There’s significant overlap in pricing between each tier, so what you’ll really pay depends on how big your audience is. Mailchimp offers a pricing calculator to let you know exactly what it would cost you, and its features do mean it can offer good value for money. 

You’ll want to pay attention to the features of each tier too, because although the Essentials plan unlocks powerful features like pre-built templates and A/B testing, it still limits you to just three audience segments and restricted automated workflows.

If your business is new then Mailchimp’s free plan may appeal because it’s more generous than some of its competitors, but be aware of its limitations:

  • No A/B testing
  • No dynamic content
  • No send time optimization
  • One audience and one automated email
  • Limited access to email and landing page templates
  • After 30 days, customer support is restricted to guides and tutorials

Omnisend has three tiers: Free, Standard, and Pro. Like Mailchimp, there’s a pricing calculator to help you figure out the exact costs, and the monthly pricing works out as follows:

Omnisend pricing

The pricing tiers for both platforms can be reasonably similar, depending on how many contacts you have. The main consideration is what features you want, particularly as Omnisend’s Standard plan is like a mixture of Mailchimp’s Essentials and Standard plans. 

If you have 10,000 contacts, Omnisend’s Pro plan would be about half the cost of Mailchimp’s Premium plan, at $150 versus $299. And Mailchimp now charging for unsubscribed members can have a huge impact on what you’ll pay.

The biggest difference between the two platforms is that the Omnisend free plan still offers all the features. You’ll have professional looking templates, pre-built automations, audience segmentation, performance reports, A/B testing, and email support. 

The free plan allows you to send SMS and push notifications, create custom workflows, and use dynamic sign-up forms. There is no restriction on features, making it an ideal plan for new and smaller businesses.

Mailchimp vs Omnisend round 8 winner: Omnisend for a more generous free plan and not charging for unsubscribed contacts

Verdict

This comparison shows that every tool is different, so making a choice from an Omnisend vs Mailchimp comparison comes down to which one suits your needs the best. Your email marketing strategy is important so although you can migrate to Omnisend from another platform, it’s always easier to pick the most appropriate one from the start.

Mailchimp may be the best for people who only want basic features, whereas Omnisend is built to help ecommerce stores scale and increase their revenue. The key takeaways from each round are:

  • Omnisend is built for ecommerce stores and offers more features for marketers
  • Omnisend offers gamified forms, slightly nudging Mailchimp out for best pick
  • Segmentation is equal between Mailchimp and Omnisend
  • Mailchimp has more integrations
  • Omnisend’s automation is far more sophisticated and easier to use than Mailchimp’s
  • Omnisend offers more channels
  • Both offer 24/7 support on the higher tiers, but Mailchimp doesn’t offer ongoing email support on its free plan
  • Pricing depends on what features you want and how many subscribers you have, but Mailchimp has recently increased its prices and now charges even for unsubscribed contacts
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Richard White
Article by
Richard White

Richard is a Content Marketing Manager at Omnisend. An avid writer, he's said to have been born holding a pencil. Fascinated by all things handmade, if he's not reading or writing he can often be found practicing leathercraft.


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