A Guide to Email Marketing Software: Klaviyo vs MailChimp
When you’re in the email marketing business, there are many things to consider. You have to consider how to integrate different marketing tools into an existing ecommerce platform, and those tools will all need to be linked to proper analytics.
You need to run different software for different problems — chat support bots, marketing automation tools, and everything you need for other marketing channels — and it can all get super overwhelming.
Unfortunately, this software overload is part of email marketing. In fact, before you even think about sending your first email message, you need to choose an email marketing platform.
Fortunately, I’m here to help!
As a lover of all e-commerce businesses, I want to ensure everyone has a chance to succeed. To do this, I’ve scanned through some of the most popular email service providers, and I’ll be methodically working my way through each. (That means you should keep an eye on my blog for more tips and marketing advice!)
Today, we’ll go over two of the most popular options: Klaviyo and MailChimp.
What Is Email Marketing Software?
Before we put the pedal to the metal, let’s do a quick review. What are these services, and what do they do?
Both Klaviyo and MailChimp are considered email marketing software. They may also be called email service providers or an email marketing platform. Regardless of what you decide to call them, they ultimately have the same goals.
Both MailChimp and Klaviyo are inclusive software packages that provide marketers with marketing automation tools. There are a lot — and I really mean a lot! — of marketing tools out there, and each has its own function. Which of the many marketing automation tools will be used depends upon the kind of marketing campaigns a brand is running.
As I go through this lesson, I’ll cover some of the basic functions that support modern marketing automation. However, this article is not a comprehensive overview of these essential tools.
Shared Features Between Klaviyo and MailChimp
We know what email service providers are, and we have a basic understanding of what they can do. With this knowledge, it’s time for me to really kick off the lesson!
I’ll start with the similarities, and there are many! Because both Klaviyo and MailChimp are email marketing platforms, both tools offer many overlapping features.
Basic Automation Tools
Even at the lowest tiers, both of these services offer all of the automation tools you need to create successful campaigns in just a few clicks. In other words, both platforms offer the backdoor services you need to create proper segmentation, schedule email campaigns, and add links to your e-commerce store.
Specifically, some of the basic features included as part of both platforms are:
- The ability to create email templates
- Additional paid account features
- Anti-spam and legal compliance help
- Audience segmentation
- Basic analytics
- Chat support
- Data storage and protection
- Easy-to-integrate signup forms
- Email automation tools
- Integration with all major e-commerce platforms
- Phone support
Now, that’s a lot of shared features.
In some cases, the features are essentially the same between both marketing platforms. In other instances, either Klaviyo or MailChimp has a distinct advantage.
Email Templates and Design Tools
As far as email marketing tools go, a simple email design interface is part of every marketer’s essential toolkit.
With just a few clicks, Klaviyo and MailChimp users can create their own email templates. Depending on your needs, you may opt to use pre-built templates or create your own to fit your digital marketing.
Remember that both brands lock some of their templates behind a paywall. If you want to access all of the available designs, you’ll need to think about upgrading.
Free Plan Features
Both Klaviyo and MailChimp have a free plan available.
Think of these as free trials, and they’re perfect for burgeoning ecommerce businesses. Moreover, both of these marketing platforms offer plenty of features for free plan users, including:
- Access to basic design features
- All the basic analytics
- Basic segmentation
- Compliance and legal support
- Free account creation and maintenance
- Integration with various ecommerce platforms
- Limited chat and phone support
- Limited support for other marketing channels
Multiple Marketing Channels
Now, keep in mind that Klaviyo’s specialty is email and SMS marketing. This means that it isn’t built for social media marketing campaigns, although integrations will allow Klaviyo to effectively manage data from these marketing efforts.
MailChimp integrations are a bit more expansive, allowing the marketing platform to manage and track SMS, social media, and traditional mail campaigns.
Tiered Pricing Plans
To make sure that every business has the right services, both platforms also offer tiered pricing plans. The prices differ, but the idea is the same.
Basic plans allow users to access more features and maintain larger mailing lists. As more money is invested in the marketing platform, users gain access to more marketing tools.
A Quick Note About Subscribers
Now, here’s the catch: neither MailChimp nor Klaviyo have a truly unlimited account.
If you’re going to need unlimited emails, then you’ll need to call your company of choice and discuss your pricing plan. The amount you pay will depend upon the number of subscribers you have. This means that companies with extremely large mailing lists will certainly be paying for the premium account.
Klaviyo and MailChimp both have a hard limit of 150,000 subscribers before you need to call them for a customized pricing plan.
Comparing Marketing Platforms: Unique Klaviyo Features
Now that the basic features have been laid out, it’s time to compare these platforms. We’ll start with one of my favorites: Klaviyo!
With its many tools for automation, Klaviyo is a truly in-depth marketing platform. It comes complete with plenty of data science features, and Klaviyo integrates seamlessly with dozens of ecommerce business tools. The free version is fairly generous, and each paid tier unlocks a dizzying amount of slots for new subscribers.
It’s All About the Analytics
One of the first exclusive features of Klaviyo is its analytical system. While MailChimp is perfectly capable of tracking basic metrics, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes data science that goes into Klaviyo’s email automation features. This wealth of data is how Klaviyo delivers all of its content, and it’s essential to achieving success with the platform.
Actually… It’s Predictive Analytics
Let me explain.
In order to guarantee that you’re constantly delivering relevant and dynamic content, Klaviyo offers paying ecommerce companies a full suite of predictive analytics.
Obviously, few people know exactly how Klaviyo does this. It’s a trade secret, after all! What can be sure of is this…
Using previous data sets, Klaviyo can predict factors such as the churn rate of a campaign, a customer’s lifetime value, and the date of their next order.
Exactly How Much Data Can Klaviyo Track?
Another key feature of Klaviyo is the vast depth of its analytics data. Even a free Klaviyo account is given access to plenty of important statistics through its built-in customer data platform.
With its simple interface, users can easily create and track many statistics about individual customers. The possibilities of Klaviyo’s CDP are endless, and just a few examples of the uses for custom segmentation include:
- Finding and contacting customers who have (or have not) interacted with specific email campaigns
- Sending messages based on engagement statistics
- Sorting customers by age, gender, and style preference
- Tracking what type of pet a customer has
So, what does all of this data mean for ecommerce businesses? Well…
Advanced Segmentation Features for All
One of the best things about Klaviyo is its upfront pricing plan. (I’ll explain a bit more about this later.)
When you sign up with Klaviyo, you automatically gain access to all of its segmentation features — regardless of what plan you’re on! This means that users can immediately start to create rich segmentation lists.
Breaking Down the Segmentation
Let’s compare Klaviyo and MailChimp’s low-tier plans for a moment.
MailChimp offers a respectable amount of features on its basic “Essentials” plan. You get branding services, design help, and a limited amount of contacts. The big kicker is that you’re ultimately limited to three lists, and that limitation will put a huge cramp in your segmentation’s style.
Moreover, there are limitations to those limitations!
On MailChimp, every contact on any list is counted against your maximum. This means that having one subscriber in multiple lists will lower the amount of truly unique customers on your list.
Let me clarify this a bit: assume that you have two lists, ‘A’ and ‘B‘. If you add one user to both of these lists, MailChimp counts that one subscriber as two entries on your limited list.
Comparatively, with Klaviyo, you’ll get all of the segmentation! Even the lowest paid tier allows unlimited segmentation, and your only hard limit is your subscriber list.
Create Complex Automated Workflows
Klaviyo offers some of the most advanced features available for marketing automation. Its tools are capable of easily creating incredibly specific workflows. These advanced features are available to all users, including individuals on a free pricing plan.
Compare Klaviyo to MailChimp, which locks the same advanced automation features behind a paywall. And, when unlocked, MailChimp’s automation is far less versatile. Acting upon user feedback, MailChimp has since updated its automation software, though it still pales when compared to Klaviyo’s digital tools.
With Klaviyo, each marketing campaign can be set to respond to a mix of user behavior, time, and interaction. This versatile system is simple to use, and it gives users the ability to create fully customized and unique customer journeys.
Keep in mind that Klaviyo does not have an innate landing page builder. However, a few integrations can quickly fix that!
Extensive Customization Options
The customization doesn’t end there, either!
While Mailchimp offers plenty of ways to customize your experience, it’s miles away from the sheer versatility of Klaviyo. From your dashboard to your integrations, Klaviyo is one of the most powerful and adaptable marketing tools for ecommerce merchants.
In addition to the wealth of advanced segmentation features, Klaviyo’s campaign page can be retooled to meet your individual needs.
If, for example, the bounce rate isn’t important for a specific set of email campaigns, then it can be removed. This means that ecommerce stores (and their marketing teams) can access data in a simple and truly relevant format.
Depending on your integrations, Klaviyo also offers the ability to track more marketing channels. Tying Klaviyo into other marketing tools can give an online business the ability to easily track a cross-platform campaign or see their social media advertising stats.
So, what about pricing?
When it’s Klaviyo vs MailChimp, Klaviyo is the more expensive option on paper.
The most basic MailChimp plan — which includes emails only and covers up to 500 contacts — is $11 per month. A similar plan from Klaviyo is $30 per month.
However, Klaviyo’s pricing is more logical.
Unlike MailChimp, Klaviyo offers inclusive plans. When your online store gives Klaviyo the monthly fee, it gains immediate access to all of the marketing tools.
Comparatively, MailChimp’s pricing relies upon which services you need. This is great if you only plan on using a few features, but it makes for complex pricing plans.
An online business can easily sign up for one of MailChimp’s simple accounts only to discover that it needs more features. To access these, the company must upgrade its plan. At the end of the day, accessing all of MailChimp’s marketing features can cost a company far more than an equivalent Klaviyo marketing plan.
Who Will Prefer Klaviyo?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Which email marketing platform you pick is entirely up to you, and a lot will depend upon your budget and personal preferences.
Nonetheless, both of these options — Klaviyo and MailChimp — have an “ideal” user. In other words, both brands have a target audience.
Klaviyo is specifically created for informed and confident email marketers. That’s not to say that this powerful marketing tool cannot be learned! Klaviyo’s website hosts dozens of helpful tutorials, and paying members can enroll in free online courses.
It’s huge, powerful, and amazing; however, it’s also more complex.
Comparing Marketing Platforms: MailChimp’s Strengths
Now that we’ve seen the first half of the Klaviyo vs MailChimp battle, let’s move to the next toolset.
With its multifaceted approach to digital marketing, MailChimp is a great way to handle the vast majority of any online business’ marketing efforts. Obviously, a free plan isn’t going to give you everything, but it allows access to the tools you’ll need to run decent email and social media marketing campaigns.
So, what are MailChimp’s strengths?
Automation With Just One Click
I’ve already pointed out that Klaviyo’s automation features are superior, but the tradeoff is that it’s more complex. If you’re not an email marketing guru, Klaviyo can be overwhelming!
MailChimp is different.
Its automation may not be the most powerful, — nor is it the most flexible — but its simplicity is unmatched. A single click is all it takes to run fully optimized email campaigns, and every marketing campaign is built on MailChimp’s 20+ years of experience.
Constant Customer Support
Now, this may sound a bit strange.
How could Klaviyo not have customer support!? Surely, if they don’t, this Klaviyo vs MailChimp debate would be pretty short!
Let me reassure you that Klaviyo does, indeed, have customer support. It offers all of its users access to an email support line, and paying members can tap into its live chat support.
What’s unique about Klaviyo is that these support lines are not open constantly. Even paying members must adhere to its working hours. On weekdays, its customer support lines are open from 6:00 AM through 10:00 PM Eastern Time. Its weekend hours are even shorter, spanning from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Eastern Time.
MailChimp offers constant customer support. Free accounts will be limited to their working hours, but all paid plan users can access their around-the-clock chat, phone, and email support.
So, in the battle of Klaviyo vs MailChimp, MailChimp is the customer service victor!
Helpful A/B Testing
I’ll start this bonus off by reiterating that MailChimp’s marketing CRM is less powerful than Klaviyo’s. There’s no way to deny that! Even the most expensive MailChimp plans fail to deliver an experience like Klaviyo’s rich predictive analytics.
MailChimp offers users the ability to quickly and easily create A/B tests. Think of these as simple trial runs, which marketers use to deliver the most relevant content to customers.
Now, as far as the Klaviyo vs MailChimp debate goes, both platforms offer this ability. On Klaviyo, users can create A/B tests on their own. However, the interface is more complex, and the rich data can actually hinder the process!
Folks who are new to the email marketing scene may find themselves overwhelmed by Klaviyo’s analytics. MailChimp offers a much simpler solution. Its tests are run automatically once they’re set up, — just like Klaviyo — and the results are conveniently delivered at a campaign’s conclusion.
Limited SMS Marketing
One of the unique features of a MailChimp account is its ability to send SMS marketing messages. This is also a feature on Klaviyo, but an SMS and email marketing plan will cost more than a standard email-only subscription. On MailChimp, users can utilize a variety of plugins and integrations to send text messages to their customers.
Aside from obvious uses, SMS marketing is the perfect wait to make your online store stand out. There are, of course, certain guidelines and standards that must be followed; however, once you’ve mastered these hurdles, the possibilities are limitless. Some creative uses for SMS marketing include:
- Asking for feedback
- Chat support
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Sending texts when rare items are back in stock
- Updating shipment status
Keep in mind that MailChimp’s SMS marketing features will be limited by your plan.
Who Will Prefer MailChimp?
With all of its features and its complex pricing plans, MailChimp is definitely one of the trickier ESPs to love. Its age is beginning to show, and MailChimp integrations only partially make up for the platform’s outdated features.
Nonetheless, MailChimp has its fans. If you’re looking for a simple and cheap solution to email marketing, then you’ll love MailChimp. This marketing platform is designed for simplicity and ease of access, making it a perfect introduction to the world of digital marketing.
MailChimp’s responsive email templates make it easy to create stunning campaigns, and its templates for landing pages streamline an otherwise arduous process.
If you’re thinking about picking MailChimp over Klaviyo, then my biggest piece of advice is to keep a close eye on your statistics. Stay in touch with your marketing team, and ask them constantly how your marketing is being received.
MailChimp works well enough for a small online store. It’s a decent and longstanding toolkit — a bit like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful. However, as you grow and expand, your email automation needs will change. Eventually, — and this is, of course, assuming that there are no major changes to the platform — you’ll upgrade to newer software.
Klaviyo vs MailChimp: What’s the Verdict?
So, what does all of this mean? Who won the battle of Klaviyo vs MailChimp?
Well, I’ll be honest: there isn’t really a winner! You have to pick the option that’s right for you. That will depend upon many factors, including how many landing pages you’re planning on making, whether or not you want phone push notifications, and how your ecommerce business operates.
Personally, I’m s huge fan of Klaviyo. I think it’s one of the most versatile and powerful ESPs out there, but I understand that it isn’t for everyone.
At the end of the day, it’s your job to decide how to run your digital marketing. To help you out, I’ve whipped up this handy shareable chart!
It may be time to invest in a good email marketing agency. One of my favorites is — and you may have guessed it already! — The Email Marketers. I built this team from the ground up, and they’re all dedicated to delivering your online store the best marketing ever. When you sign up with us, we’ll handle everything, including finding the right email marketing platform for your online store.
If you’re ready to take a leap of faith and invest in your brand’s future, contact me!
Until then, don’t be afraid to check out the rest of my blog. I’m always updating this page with new tips, tricks, and email marketing insights. Regardless of what you need, — whether it’s weighing Klaviyo vs MailChimp or finding out how ecommerce businesses like yours handle their marketing — I’ll always be here!