Yet another step on my journey to finding an affordable but reliable email marketing service. Short recap…
INinbox was a total failure. The cheapest prices. But not a professional service.
MadMimi was a good alternative to AWeber. Good for bloggers, but not the best alternative for some marketers. MadMimi’s extra care for good deliverability makes them exaggerate sometimes and reject some types of marketing content.
When it comes to affordable prices for email marketing services, SendinBlue was next in line. So I gave it a try…
As usual, I’ll skip the typical review fluff. Yes, it has many features and it sends newsletters. Buy this service now! LOL
Did I put a little smile on your face? Now let’s get serious…
Really, I won’t list here all the common features. I won’t post some screen captures showing you how easy it is to send a message. It’s not that I’m lazy, but you don’t need another worthless review, do you? There are tons out there anyway.
I’ll show you only the important features and I’ll insist on the potential cons. At the end of the review, I’ll assess the cons. The decision will be yours, of course. Let’s start…
1. SendinBlue’s Free Plan Includes All Important Features
Unlike MadMimi or MailChimp, SendinBlue’s free plan includes all the features a regular blogger or email marketer needs. Including the autoresponder. That’s a big plus.
While there’s no time limitation for using this plan and the number of subscribers isn’t limited either, the only major limitation of their free plan is the amount of emails you can send: 300 emails/day — 9,000 emails/month.
2. SendinBlue’s Prices: Affordable for the Little Guy
SendinBlue’s pricing model isn’t unusual. But it’s different from the model used by the popular services. It isn’t based on your number of subscribers, but on the number of emails sent per month:
Special Offer for My Readers: Use the coupon code BACK20 at checkout and save 20%. This offer expires on October 15, 2016.
The advantage of this pricing model is that there are no additional half-hidden costs caused by the segmentation of your mailing list (MailChimp’s case), or caused by the fact that you didn’t delete the unsubscribers (AWeber’s case).
If your mailing list has up to 6-7,000 susbcribers and you contact them 4 times per month, the first paid plan works like a charm. You pay a very low price and you still have enough room to grow your list.
3. A False Con on SendinBlue’s Pricing Page
According to the Pricing page, the feature “Openers & Clickers Details” isn’t available for the free plan and the first paid plan.
Quite scary to get a paid plan but not to get openers and clickers details. Don’t worry. The name of the feature isn’t very inspired.
Actually various reports are available for all plans, including the free plan: who opened a certain message, what links were clicked, who clicked them, who didn’t click your links since a certain date, etc.
What the free plan and the first paid plan don’t include are the heat map and some additional charts and details.
4. The Answers to Blogger’s Regular Worries
You can import your actual subscribers without them being required to re-confirm their subscription.
Yes, I’ve tested the deliverability. It’s good. The interface includes also the feature “Start an Inbox Test” that checks with some email providers (Gmail included) whether your message is OK or not.
Before sending your message you can preview it on different browsers and then edit it if you notice any problem.
You can add to your emails a set of icons that link to your social media accounts.
SendinBlue integrates with: WordPress, Drupal, Magento, PrestaShop, Highrise, Salesforce, Shopify.
5. SendinBlue’s Customer Support: A Potential Con
In order to test the customer support, I’ve submitted quite many help requests. On different days of the week, at different hours.
Here are the result of my test:
The quality of the answers was pretty good. I’d give them 9 out of 10 points.
No customer support on weekends. Working hours on business days: 9.30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Paris, France local time. Consequence: big delays in getting your help tickets answered. From 15-16 hrs (tickets submitted on Monday-Wednesday) to more than 2 days (tickets submitted on Friday night).
I don’t know what your needs are, we have different needs. Based on these needs, SendinBlue’s support may be a con to some marketers or an irrelevant disadvantage to others.
6. SendinBlue’s Prohibited Content: Another Potential Con
When I first read their General Terms and Conditions I thought that I discovered another internet marketing friendly service. But the following generic phrase made me check it with the customer support, just in case…
This is not an exhaustive list, and SendinBlue, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to describe the activity, and can determine whether the use is prohibited, and its decision shall be final and binding for all purposes of this agreement.
This is the answer I got:
“We definitely do not accept ‘work from home, make money online, lead generation opportunities, affiliate marketing’ emails on our shared IPs.”
“We sometimes accept them on our platform with the condition that the client buys and sets up a Dedicated IP. This way the results of their campaigns do not influence the reputation of our shared IPs.”
My Note: A dedicated IP is free for the customers who buy the last plan shown in the table above. Otherwise its cost is $145 per year.
7. Intuitive Plaform. Several Exceptions + Solutions
Most parts of the interface are intuitive. Easy to use. For the rest, you may need guidance. So if you decide to give SendinBlue a try, remember to read once again this section. After you learn these tricks plus a few others not listed here but easy to be discovered by yourself, the interface is OK.
7.1 How to Find Out How Many Subscribers a List Has
The figure displayed by SendinBlue for each list isn’t the total number of subscribers. It’s a figure almost no one needs: the number of contacts, i.e the number of subscribers + the number of unsubscribed email addresses + other email addresses removed from your list for various reasons.
Btw, learn their language: the email addresses removed from your list for any reason are titled “Blacklisted”.
To find out how many subscribers a list has, go to Contacts, choose the list and apply this filter: Email Blacklisted – No. Then click Search. You’ll get an unordered list of subscribers, but you’ll see the total on the right hand.
7.2 Where’s SendinBlue’s Autoresponder?
You won’t find the word “autoresponder”. Go to Campaigns and Choose “Trigger Marketing”. That’s where you can setup triggers. (Trigger: a procedure that initiates an action when an event occurs.)
To send an email to each new subscriber X days after they subscribed (other than the welcome message), choose the filter “Added Date” – “Between” – “X days before today and” – “X days before today”
8. SendinBlue Review – Assessment
If you’re looking for the perfect service, this isn’t it. But if you’re willing to change the perspective just a little bit, let’s see what we’ve got:
If you don’t have a large list that requires a Plan that gets you a free dedicated IP but you intend to send emails including the content SendinBlue prohibits, this email marketing service isn’t for you.
If the case above isn’t yours, let’s analyze the remaining problems…
The platform: After you play some minutes or hours with the tool, you’ll get used to it. No matter how counter-intuitive several parts are. The section 7 above will save you some time anyway ;-)
The customer support delays: Honestly, how many times do you think you’ll contact the support and why? Do you contact your actual email marketing service each and every day? I guess not! You may contact them several times until you understand and get used to the platform. After that, you won’t really need the customer support except for special occasions, will you?
Conclusion: Your start may be a little bit difficult in comparison with other email marketing services and maybe you’ll waste some hours. But then… the cons disappear. The low monthly price is still there.
Ask yourself, is it worth paying a double or triple fee each and every month only to get a fast customer support you may not need?
I’m not you. I cannot answer any question on your behalf. But if you think that my approach makes sense and you wanna test the waters, the free plan is waiting for you.
Click the image below to test SendinBlue…
To your email marketing success!
P.S. Should you have any questions, the comment area is waiting for you.