Free email marketing tool that will blow your mind

Image: Free email marketing tool that will blow your mind

Ok, let me guess what you are thinking: “Duh, of course, this article is gonna talk about Mailchimp.” Well, I suppose you might be wrong. I used Mailchimp for many years, truth be told, I never really liked it.

Mailchimp grabbed my attention in 2012 when I read Aarron Walter’s book “Designing for Emotion.” He is the UX founder of Mailchimp.

This book inspired me to test my first email marketing tool.

In his book, he showcases apps, ads, and e-commerce sites that had carefully crafted great user experiences using emotion.

That was a high selling point for me to start using Mailchimp for my design business. Ok, I admit the fact that being free is a no brainer.

As time passed by, Mailchimp added many great features. But removed or never implemented, at least in their free tier, some essential things for people that care about a well-crafted email marketing flow. Their business plan was clearly developed around helping businesses to grow and then get paid. I don’t think that’s the case anymore.

Instead of pointing out the features I wish Mailchimp had, I will concentrate this article on the tool we are using on this blog, and I’m in love with it. It’s called Sendinblue.

After years of researching and testing email marketing tools, finally, I found the one that fits our needs and most Elumina’s clients, too.

The email marketing tool we love

Sendinblue offers in its free tier, the toolset that we need. We can send 300 emails per day, which is not much, but for starters or small audience list, is sufficient.

The template builder is intuitive, I feel that just a few features are missing to build awesome email templates. Right now, you can pretty much design emails like you do in Mailchimp. And there’s a bonus here; you can preview your email template on different clients, like Apple Mail, Outlook, and Yahoo. A feature that Mailchimp charges for.

The email marketing tool we love

The way Sendinblue handles subscribers is very much similar to Mailchimp’s tagging system, which by the way, is fantastic!

For our European fellows, Sendinblue is a certified GDPR-Compliant.

These features are just the tip of the iceberg. The email marketing tool also provides:

  • SMS marketing campaigns, 
  • embed chatbox to your website, 
  • customer relationship management (CRM) tool, 
  • forms and landing page builder, 
  • Facebook ads integration, 
  • retargeting ads.

SMTP delivery

Email marketing tool and SMTP integration.

Here is where Sendinblue starts to shine. They provide an out of the box SMTP integration that you can use to send emails from your website contact form. A feature that Mailchimp forces you to use and pay for their other product, called Mandrill.

This feature will guarantee that your emails hit the inbox and not spam folders, increasing open rates because of Sendinblue enhanced deliverability.

In addition to this email optimization, it allows you to track and analyze your email’s performance, a must-have for marketers.

If you use WordPress, Sendinblue provides an outstanding plugin, being one of its features the override of wp_mail() function to automatically use SendinBlue’s SMTP.

If you use a WordPress managed hosting provider like Cloudways, this feature is most needed. By the way, if you are looking for WP Hosting, we strongly recommend Cloudways, check it out!

Form builder

Another differentiator of the product is the ability to create multiple forms for various contact lists (tags, if you think with Mailchimp mindset). It gives you the freedom to have different fields, depending on your needs.

Sendinblue form builder

Their embed forms are well coded. They use a minified vanilla javascript file, instead of that messy, jQuery dependent, huge, javascript file that Mailchimp provides. This sounds like “just a technical detail,” but it makes all the difference when it comes to page speed raking, hence SEO.

Email marketing automation

Yep, Sendinblue gives an email automation tool for their free plan users! Maybe you are asking: “what does this mean?”

This means that you can automate specific tasks in your workflow. In other words, it is a set of rules and conditions that trigger automatic actions.

Email marketing automation

These actions include sending emails and SMS messages, organizing contacts into different lists, and updating information in your contact database. Features that every serious marketer needs to grow an audience.

Our newsletter subscription workflow

This feature is so impressive that we want to share with you how we are using it. Stay tuned because we will be uploading a Youtube video soon.

Senbinblue vs Mailchimp

What’s missing in Sendinblue

We know that nothing is perfect. Thus, I have a few complaints.

The account setup process is not automatic. There are some back and forths of emails, and they activate everything manually. To get started, you will have to give more personal data than Mailchimp. And the most annoying part: you will have to jump into a call with one of their sales representatives.

From my experience with the email builder, I missed only one thing: the ability to set the dimensions of an image without cropping or resizing it.

And finally, I miss the possibility to embed the Update Profile form into my website.

I genuinely believe these cons are not a big deal. In general, I would give Sendinblue a 4 out of 5.

If you want to take your email marketing to the next level, subscribe to Sendinblue now!

Disclaimer: The email marketing tool indicated here is really used and loved by us. If you click on these links and subscribe to the service, we’ll make affiliate money, which helps us keep paying the bills. Thank you so much! 🙂

Choosing an email marketing tool is hard. After many years of tests, we at Elumina found our ultimate email marketing tool, and it's free!