MailChimp vs AWeber

MailChimp vs AWeber: Which is Better? [June 2021]

100% Unbiased MailChimp vs AWeber Comparison

Whether you’re looking at MailChimp vs AWeber or AWeber vs MailChimp, the truth is that both of these hugely popular email marketing services offer a number of benefits for marketing your online business. In this detailed comparison, we’ll look at both email marketing software programs and see if one truly outshines the other.

Which is better, MailChimp or AWeber? Let’s take a closer look:

MailChimp vs AWeber Free

MailChimp’s free plan, with its ability to host up to 2,000 subscribers at no charge is one of the reasons this email marketing service quickly found itself at the top of the list. However, don’t let the number of subscribers be your only consideration when deciding between Mailchimp vs AWeber. It’s important to look at the full picture when comparing these two email marketing services in order to choose the one that’s right for your specific needs.

MailChimp and Aweber Pricing – Which One is Cheaper?

AWeber offers two plans: Free and Pro. Their free plan lets you have up to 500 subscribers but also allows you to use most of the features the service has to offer.

In other words, you don’t need to pay for a higher level plan in order to access more features.

If you have more than 500 subscribers, you’ll pay:

  • 0-500: $19/month
  • 501-2,500: $29/month
  • 2501-5,000: $49/month
  • 5,001-10,000: $69/month
  • 10,001-25,000: $149/month

If you’re wondering why the free plan lets you have up to 500 subscribers, but the lowest level of the pro plan charges you $19/month for the same amount, you can see the differences between AWeber Pro and Free here.

Conversely, MailChimp has four plans, but each level unlocks more features. MailChimp charges based on the number of subscribers you have. So if you have:

  • Up to 2,000 subscribers: FREE
  • Up to 50,000 subscribers: $9.99/month
  • Up to 100,000 subscribers: $14.99/month
  • Over 200,000 subscribers: $299/month (no, that’s not a typo!)

Winner: MailChimp

In terms of sheer list size, MailChimp clearly beats AWeber. Paying just $14.99/month for up to 100,000 subscribers on MailChimp versus needing to get a custom quote from AWeber (but paying over $149/month for the same list size) seems like a no-brainer.

MailChimp Pricing

As an added bonus, if you don’t want to use autoresponders or any other features that MailChimp has to offer, and you just want to send out a newsletter every now and then, you may be interested in knowing that MailChimp has a pay-as you-go plan that charges you a set fee per email sent. The amount you pay depends on where you live, and you get the same feature-set as in the Essentials Plan.

But don’t let that be the only criteria you use to evaluate MailChimp vs. AWeber!

Send Limits: How Many Messages Can You Send Per Day?

It’s no use having hundreds of thousands of subscribers if you’re limited to how many messages you can send them in a given day or month, and how often you can send those messages.

For example, on MailChimp’s Free plan, you can send up to 10,000 emails per month, with a limit of 2,000 per day. Those send limits are multiplied based on the tier you have:

  • Essentials Plan Send Limits: 500,000 emails/month to up to 50,000 subscribers
  • Standard Plan Send Limits: 1,200,000 emails/month to up to 100,000 subscribers
  • Premium Plan Send Limits: 3,00,000 emails/month to up to 200,000+ subscribers

AWeber has no such sending restrictions, making it the clear winner when you don’t want to think about whether or not you’ll reach your send limit if you have a large number of subscribers.

Winner: AWeber

Marketing Automation with Mailchip and AWeber

Both MailChimp and AWeber started out as basic autoresponders, allowing users to schedule sequential emails that went out at certain times over the course of several weeks or months automatically. Since then, they’ve expanded their features to offer a larger suite of marketing automation tools.

However, in order to properly compare Aweber and Mailchimp’s autoresponder functionality, we need to look beyond traditional ‘drip’ style autoresponders and explore the idea of ‘marketing automation’ a feature that has been introduced into several leading email marketing solutions over the past few years.

Marketing Automation in MailChimp

MailChimp offers a wide variety of automations which are based on certain “triggers”. At their simplest, a trigger is something that simply happens over the course of time, like mailing the customer a Happy Birthday email on their birthday or something that happens as a result of the customer doing something (like visiting a product page or adding an item to their cart).

The list of Marketing Automation triggers in MailChimp is fairly long, but you can see them all here (opens in a new window).

Marketing Automation in AWeber

Compared to MailChimp, AWeber’s automations are much more basic. With AWeber, you can tag users based on the actions they take with regard to an email, such as opening it or clicking a link.

And that’s it…really.

Now, it may not seem like much, but unlike MailChimp, Aweber has stayed true to what it does best: managing emails. That’s why, if you want to build an advanced workflow, such as sending certain messages if a customer buys a specific product, you’ll likely be better off with MailChimp, although it can feel overwhelming to slog through all the options it gives you.

If you want to keep it simple, AWeber is a better option. But with regard to sheer flexibility between the two, MailChimp covers more options.

Winner: MailChimp

User Interface and Ease of Use

Both AWeber and MailChimp have tried to make their user interfaces as simple and as straightforward to use as possible. MailChimp has gone with a cleaner, clearer interface with a lot of white space, versus AWeber’s more traditional approach of putting relevant actions all in one spot.

MailChimp user interface
MailChimp’s user interface is neat and clean, but there are more steps to click through to do what you want.
AWeber user interface
AWeber walks you through each step using a progress bar and straightforward options.

Although they might look similar from the images above, AWeber’s step-by-step guidance (shown by the progress bar above for each step) is much more welcoming, especially for first-time users. No matter what you want to accomplish, AWeber’s easily-recognizable progress bars will walk you through it, and as you become more comfortable wtih the platform, you’ll come to know exactly how many steps a certain process will take — be it customizing your newsletter design or sending out your first email campaign.

Conversely, MailChimp may look neat and organized, but there are a lot of steps involved in taking the actions you want to take, and a lot of frustrating back and forth without any clear guidance on where you need to go in order to do what you want. For a service that prides itself on being “chimp-simple”, MailChimp has a long way to go in terms of user-friendliness.

Winner: AWeber

Newsletter Design and Mobile Responsive Email Templates

Both MailChimp and AWeber let you drag and drop different elements in order to create or edit your emails or newsletters. From text and logos to images and links, the process is incredibly streamlined and easy to follow, even if you’ve never designed an email before.

Traditionally, MailChimp’s process has been much more clunky in this regard. You had to essentially drag and drop different elements (like headlines separate from paragraphs) and you couldn’t Undo or Redo any steps. However, they’re currently working on a beta feature called the New Builder which lets you type directly inside of an email — something that Aweber has always let you do.

MailChimp builder
MailChimp is debuting a new email builder, but it’s still a work in progress

When it comes to newsletter design and mobile responsive emails, MailChimp is playing catch-up with AWeber in terms of ease of the use and functionality of designing an email from scratch.

As far as mobile responsive email templates go, MailChimp offers over 100 mobile-friendly templates for nearly any email marketing goal. In contrast, AWeber offers over 700. You can also code your own template with AWeber, whereas with MailChimp, you’ll need to pay for the Standard plan to open up this option.

If you’re sorely lacking for inspiration, you’ll be glad to know that AWeber also allows you to choose from its library of over 6,000 stock photos and images which is a helpful touch for those who consider themselves “design-challenged.” This way, you won’t be starting completely from zero!

Winner: AWeber

List Segmentation with MailChimp vs AWeber

Segmenting your audience into smaller groups is a smart tactic to improve your email marketing response rate and engage with those users who have specific interests and reasons for subscribing to your list in the first place.

It’s important to note that neither MailChimp’s Essentials plan nor Aweber’s Pro Plan lets you email multiple segments at once. Even if you have an offer that’s relevant to one group that falls into two different segments, you’ll need to create a new segment for them that combines the folks in Segment 1 and/or Segment 2.

If you really want to be able to get granular with your list segmentation, GetResponse is a solid option that allows you the freedom to do so. MailChimp also offers this functionality, but with a much higher $299/month price tag.

And although it’s better to have a single list and just segment your users, AWeber does allow you to send the same email message across multiple lists, whereas MailChimp does not. That gives AWeber a slight edge here but this is an area where both MailChimp vs AWeber could stand to improve overall.

Winner: AWeber (barely!)

Reporting and Analytics

Fortunately, both MailChimp and AWeber give you access to detailed statistics all about your email lists and subscribers. MailChimp wins in this regard, since you can click on any part of your report and drill down to get the details. For example, you can view:

  • Emails opened
  • Links clicked
  • Social media activity
  • Inbox (formerly known as Conversations)
  • Google Analytics

MailChimp Inbox requires a bit of an explanation:

MailChimp Inbox, which used to be known as Conversations, allows a more open, back-and-forth two way communication between you and your subscribers. In your MailChimp Inbox, you can see whether or not a subscriber has sent you a message, and from it, you can respond back.

What’s neat about this feature is that MailChimp automatically creates a unique  “reply-to” email address for every conversation, so that you essentially have a log of conversations with your subscribers. MailChimp also compares your email subscribers’ engagement levels with standard engagement levels in your specific industry.

Meanwhile, AWeber does not currently have this kind of functionality, but it does offer something else of benefit, and that’s the ability to create segments based on analytics reports. For example, if you want to send an email only ot those who opened your last email message, you can do so directly from the Reporting area, without the need to back out and go through the process of creating an individual segment again.

MailChimp will let you know, in its Audience dashboard, which subscribers engage often, occasionally and seldom with you, so you can retarget them directly from that area if you wish.

In terms of who wins this round, it’s more of a tie, since both services offer interesting features in addition to robust reporting that helps you better understand your mailing list metrics and subscribers.

Winner: Tie!

Landing Page Design

Both AWeber and MailChimp have recently rolled out landing page design as part of their suite of products. However, compared to standalone landing page design platforms like Unbounce and Instapage, both MailChimp landing pages and AWeber landing pages don’t go much beyond the basics.

Just like with emails, you can click and drag to create mobile-responsive landing pages and use them to entice users to sign up to your mailing list. However, unlike emails, you can’t split test your landing pages with either service, which you won’t know which of your landing pages converts more visitors to subscribers; the landing page design options of both AWeber vs MailChimp simply aren’t extensive enough to want to use them over more full-featured options.

If you just want to be able to create basic, simple landing pages, though, the options that both companies offer are decent enough to get you up and running, just not much else.

Winner: Neither!

MailChimp and AWeber Split Testing

And speaking of split testing, both MailChimp and AWeber offer this option with their emails. If you’re new to split testing, in short, it lets you experiment with different options and split the messages between you subscribers.

Let’s say you wanted to know which subject line would convince more of your users to check out your latest sale, so you send one email to half of your subscribers with the subject line “50% off Sale Happening Now”.  With the other half, you send out the same email, with the only difference being the changed subject line: “Get 50% Off Until February 1st”.  You then send them out at the same time.

Over time, you can then see which of the subject lines encouraged more users to open the email or click through to the page with the sale items. Continuing to do this over time will help you learn what spurs your readers to take action, and in turn, helps you improve the quality of your list.

Of course, you don’t have to send out your emails in a 50/50 split. It can be whatever percentage you choose. AWeber lets you split test up to three different groups. MailChimp lets you split test starting with their Essentials plan and also lets you choose among three different groups. MailChimp has a slight edge here in that they also allow for Multivariate Testing, which means testing different individual pieces of an email campaign simultaneously.

Going back to our previous example, rather than testing just the subject line, you could use Multivariate testing to test the subject line, the sender name and the time of day the email is sent. However, you’ll pay a hefty price for this feature, since it’s only available in MailChimp’s $299/month Premium plan.

Winner: MailChimp (but only if you’re prepared to pay the price!)

Integrations with Third Party Apps and Services

Both MailChimp and AWeber’s own core functionality can be further extended thanks to their integrations with other popular third party apps and services. Want to integrate MailChimp with WordPress? What about AWeber integration with Shopify? There are third party plugins (both official and unofficial) that can help you do just that.

Much of the integrations that are available for MailChimp are only possible through third party programs like Zapier, so you may incur an additional fee depending on the integration you want to use with MailChimp and how extensive you want it to be.

Conversely, AWeber offers hundreds of official integrations with apps and other services. Those that need a third party tool are marked with a symbol in the upper left corner of their integrations page.

aweber integrations
An example of some of the many integrations available for AWeber

Winner: AWeber

We’ve covered a lot of options in this head-to-head review of MailChimp vs AWeber, but the bottom line is that there are going to be some areas where one email service clearly wins over the other. With that being said:

Why Choose MailChimp over AWeber?

It’s free to get started: MailChimp’s popularity is solidly rooted in its free plan. If you’re on a shoestring budget and you don’t mind having MailChimp’s branding attached to every email you send, it’s a good option for those just starting out. However, keep in mind that many of MailChimp’s more advanced options are locked behind its paid plans.

It offers a great blog-to-email feature: If you just want to keep your subscribers updated by automatically sending emails whenever you publish a new blog post (or at any other timeframe you choose), MailChimp has a number of professional-looking RSS to email options that you can customize. This lets you do a sort of “post roundup” digest of your latest blog posts and email your subscribers every week, for instance,with links to the articles. In this respect, AWeber’s own RSS to email templates are very dated-looking and there are few to choose from.

You can have one-on-one conversations with your subscribers: If a subscriber has a question, MailChimp Inbox has the ability to turn your email list into more of a support ticket-style interface without making you ever leave the dashboard area. This is a great way to build a relationship with your readers and keep the conversation going beyond the messages you send.

Why Choose AWeber over MailChimp?

It offers far more design options: With hundreds of mobile-responsive templates to use as your starting point, you can create nearly any type of newsletter or email campaign design you want, and can be sure it will look flawless in any device.  You can also code your own design if you’d like.

Support is second-to-none: AWeber is one of the few email marketing services that offers support via phone, 24/7 live chat and 24/7 email support. That means you can reach someone virtually any time you need help. Support isn’t one of those things we often think about until we need it, and AWeber has gone above and beyond to make sure that you can get the answers you need from an actual human, whenever you need them.

It offers an easier setup process: AWeber is excellent about walking you through processes step by step. Whether you’re setting up your first autoresponder or launching your first campaign, AWeber guides you through it in stages, so you can get comfortable with what you’re doing, making it more familiar and easier each time.

MailChimp vs AWeber: The Final Round — Who Wins?

The question of which is better, MailChimp vs AWeber depends on what you plan to use it for. If you only care about the cheapest service that lets you have the most subscribers but doesn’t really give you tools to go deeper than sending a basic newsletter, MailChimp’s free plan will suit your needs just fine. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Some people only need the basics, and if that’s you, then there’s no need to pay for stuff you don’t need and won’t use.

MailChimp’s pay-as-you go option is also ideal if you’d rather pay per email sent without being locked into paying a monthly fee.

However, if you want access to all of the features right from the start, you’ll feel MailChimp start to nickel-and-dime you as you’re suddenly required to pay to access a higher tier of services if you want, for example, the ability to use your own custom template. You’ll pay even more to access phone support — both things that AWeber offers right out of the box with its Pro plan.

Overall, MailChimp may excel in pricing for the sheer sending power per number of subscribers that you get, but that’s not the be-all-end-all of email marketing. If you’re serious about choosing a mailing list provider that gives you greater freedom to grow your list as well as tap into the features and options that help you do that, AWeber is a far better option. You can start with their free plan or try out the Pro plan for 30 days. They’ll even move over your account from another email service (like MailChimp) for free.