Campaign Monitor (which begins at $9 per month) is an email marketing platform that provides an intuitive range of email or newsletter solutions for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). Offering a generous amount of flexibility by way of design options and analytics features, it is a solution that could be just right for startups or businesses just getting around to building mailing lists. Campaign Monitor’s robust email builder delivers a set of analytics, dubbed Campaign Monitor Insights, which provides a granular look at your campaign’s overall performance. You get an aggregated view across brands and campaigns and can view metrics about audience health, including subscriber activity and engagement as well as detailed engagement and acquisition trend analysis to help speed return on investment (ROI). Designed to make email marketing campaigns easy yet responsive, Campaign Monitor feels and works like a modern and intuitive solution that marketers of all levels will be able to use. Despite these notable features, Campaign Monitor falls behind our Editors’ Choice picks Mailchimp and Campaigner in overall functionality and tech support, but it’s still a viable solution priced right for SMBs.
Pricing and Features
Campaign Monitor offers a tiered subscription structure with a slew of choices, mostly based on the number of contacts you have and the amount of messages you send each month. The cheapest plan costs $9 per month for up to 500 subscribers and 2,500 emails. There are also packages for 2,500 subscribers and 12,500 emails (starting at $29 per month), 5,000 subscribers and 25,000 emails (starting at $49 per month), and 50,000 subscribers (starting at $299 per month for 250,000 emails). Custom high-volume plans are available if you have more than 50,000 subscribers.
At each tier, you can also opt for Unlimited or Premium plans. The Unlimited option includes unlimited emails to your subscribers each month, and starts at $29 per month for 500 subscribers and also includes unlimited inbox previews and spam testing. Our Editors’ Choice Campaigner is a better deal at $29.95 per month for a small business with 3,500 contacts. The cost goes up to $699 per month for 50,000 contacts. This pricing is more expensive than the close-to-$500 price that Infusionsoft by Keap charges for 50,000 contacts.
Finally, starting at $149 per month, the Premier plan adds pre-built engagement segments to calculate subscribers’ activity, optimization of send scheduling, advanced tracking of links and content-editing permissions for templates. It is also tiered based on the number of subscribers. If you’re not planning to send emails regularly, then you can sign up for a pay-as-you-go plan for $5 per campaign and 1 cent per recipient.
Signing up is simple. It’s easy-to-follow, like Editors’ Choice Mailchimp ($10.00 at Mail Chimp), which has clear steps like “design your first email,” “add your contacts,” and “send your first email.” You don’t have to provide payment information until you’re ready to send a campaign to more than five people, which is nice. After you provide your name, company, email, and password, you must choose an account type. Option one is if you’re emailing for your own company, and option two is if you’re managing someone else’s email communications and reselling Campaign Monitor’s services. Then you indicate whether you’re a single team or multiple teams or departments. After that, you can jump right in and start creating campaigns. You must also verify your email in order to send. Campaign Monitor automatically creates a custom URL for you based on your company name.
As for mailing lists, once you’ve completed the mail, you have an option to engage web signups, manual uploads, or one of Campaign Monitor’s Integration partners like Salesforce or WordPress. Campaign Monitor has a compelling resources section that covers various solutions including how to migrate services from competing products like Mailchimp, or timely topics like how to develop email content with dark mode settings in mind or COVID-19 Marketing and Business Resources.
Subscriber List Creation
You can add subscribers to Campaign Monitor as you’re setting up your first campaign or as a separate process. Subscribers must be part of a list that you create, although you can set up unlimited lists, which is one way to segment your users.
To add subscribers to a list, you also can type or paste names, emails, and other information into a box, with information separated by commas, each on a separate line. For example: Molly McLaughlin, [email protected], New York City. Then, Campaign Monitor will try to match your entries with custom fields. You can also upload a contact file via drag-and-drop or by selecting from your computer. You can also import from a file on your computer. Importing our CSV file of contacts into Campaign Monitor actually worked well. All the names and email addresses went in the correct columns and like with Mailchimp and Campaigner you’re able to choose from a drop-down to specify what each piece of data is, like a first name or last name or email address.
On the right-hand side of the screen are guidelines for acceptable uploads. Subscribers must have opted in on your website, purchased a product within the last two years, or shared their contact information in person or via another offline manner.
Restrictions include paid subscriber lists, those you haven’t emailed in more than two years, addresses obtained from a third party, or those that you scraped or copy-and-pasted from the internet.
Next, you match up fields. Campaign Monitor identified the email addresses we uploaded correctly but didn’t recognize full names or cities, which we thought was odd. You can use a drop-down list to correct a field or create a new one. Then, click finish and you’re done. Using the List & Subscribers tab, you can manage your subscribers and view unsubscribes, bounces, and deletes. From here, you can also create a sign-up form for your website, create workflows (aka, automated emails), add custom fields, and create segments (subsets of your subscribers, such as new customers or regional subscribers).
Setting Up a Campaign
Creating a campaign is also easy. To start, you just need a name, subject line, and an email address for the “From” field (you can set up a separate “reply to” email as well). In the subject, you can also add the subscriber’s first, last, or full name for extra personalization. Next, select a template or import your own HTML design. You can also send a plain text email but Campaign Monitor can’t track open or click rates on non-HTML emails, which will limit tracking for folks specializing in HTML-only newsletters.
Campaign Monitor has boiled down the options for initial campaigns to announcements, newsletters, deals, offers, or feedback and events. Conversely, managers can select and upload existing HTML templates, which helps for companies or customers that have specific branding guidelines. There might be some tweaking involved, so some knowledge of HTML is required to get it just right. Campaign Monitor’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) style editor makes it easy to drag and drop images and elements as well as type in text that can be formatted and resized at will. Adding call to action buttons is similarly easy and the app also offers a wide range of fonts to choose from. A big feature is being able to see the mobile optimized version of the email next to the desktop version, since most consumers access email on their smartphones, it makes sense to be able to emulate how the campaign will play out in smaller screens and if all the elements work for that format.
We started to create a campaign for a sample newsletter. Campaign Monitor provides several template options. We manipulated the newsletter template and changed some of the text around. Emails can be previewed on desktop but not mobile platforms, a handy feature that other services provide, like HubSpot Marketing Hub (50.00 Per Month at HubSpot) and GetResponse (15.00 Per Month and Up at GetResponse) . Once you’re satisfied with your email, you can add recipients. You can choose from existing lists or import new ones. You can then schedule delivery (send it now or later) or send a test. Optionally, Campaign Monitor will send you a confirmation email when it finishes the send, which can be helpful if you have thousands of subscribers.
In addition to sending regular emails, you can also set up automated emails by setting up a workflow on the Automation tab. Campaign Monitor offers nine templated workflows, including Getting Started, Happy Birthday, Thank You, and Blog Updates. You can also create your own custom workflow by choosing a trigger (opens an email, reaches an anniversary, or similar milestones). Just remember that you need to collect this information from your subscribers first. You can then choose a template and design your email just as you would a regular campaign.
After you send a campaign, you can then view the report, which displays open, bounces, link clicks, unsubscribes, social shares, and more. However, in our test account we were unable to send a full campaign beyond a test message, so we could not see this data. Opens are registered nearly immediately, which is helpful. You can view a pie chart showing the open rate and a line chart showing that rate over time. This way, you can see spikes of open rates, which may occur at certain times of day and could inform you about when to send future emails. You can also drill down to recipients, view their location (based on their IP address), which links they clicked on, and which platform they use to view emails.
In addition to easy reporting, Campaign Monitor offers a searchable Help section with detailed articles on creating and editing campaigns and managing subscribers. There are also user forums in which you can troubleshoot issues and get tips from other customers. Most topics are active, with entries getting anywhere from less than 10 views to over 60,000 views. If all else fails, you can email support and, in most cases, you’ll receive a reply within 24 hours. As we mentioned, Campaign Monitor can’t be reached by phone or chat, though, which can be frustrating for inexperienced facing issues.
Campaign Monitor’s ease of use is its greatest strength and the various resources that can help users on competing platforms get up and running are helpful and intuitive. The WYSIWYG editor will have even novice designers and marketers slicing and dicing newsletters and email campaigns in very little time. The lack of live support might be a factor to look elsewhere, specially for smaller SMBs or businesses needing some guidance. That said, emails are typically answered promptly and most issues can be solved rather quickly. Campaign Monitor has most of the features needed to excel at email marketing campaigns, including attractive templates, custom auto-responders, and detailed analytics. This solution still trails our Editors’ Choice winners Campaigner and Mailchimp, but it’s a decent choice that might be the best bet for smaller SMBs.
Campaign Monitor Specs
|Limited Free Trial||Yes|
|Social Media Integration||Yes|
|24/7 Phone Support||No|