Looking for a software solution that can simplify your email marketing efforts?
Aren’t we all?
Today, most companies know that they need to look after their list if they want to make some big bucks. That means using state-of-the-art tools to send automated emails at just the right time and in the ideal format.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Campaign Monitor is an easy-peasy web application that allows businesses to capture data into an online mailing list, manage it, and send HTML newsletters through it.
So, just how awesome is it?
Well, that’s what this Campaign Monitor review aims to tell you.
Campaign Monitor Review: Pricing
Let’s start with the bad news first.
Campaign Monitor isn’t exactly the cheapest email offering out there.
There’s no free tier (boo!), and the cheapest version of the tool at $9 only gives you 2,500 emails and 500 subscribers – that’s just not enough for many companies.
The more subscribers you add to your package, the more significant the costs become.
That’s not to mention the fact that you need at least a middle-tier ($29 per month) for unlimited sending and other crucial features. You could end up spending a small fortune on your marketing methods.
In fact, with Campaign Monitor, there’s a good chance that you will.
Here’s how the three tiers shake out:
You can only send a certain number of emails, depending on how many subscribers you have. For 500 contacts, you get 2,500 messages. If you had a list of 30,000 contacts, the limit would be 250,000 and so on.
The “Basic” package also gives you very limited options with autoresponders. You’ll only be able to create standard drip campaigns.
Unlimited plans remove the email cap and give you the option to use more sophisticated autoresponder functionality. You’ll also be able to access faster email support, inbox, and spam testing options too.
Plus, there’s the option to tailor your messages with segmentation and specific times when you want your responders to reach your customers.
Alongside all the features on the “Unlimited” plan, Premier also provides access to template controls that prevent your team from creating any outlandish emails.
You also get advanced link tracking, send-time optimization, and even phone support from the Campaign Monitor team.
Ultimately, Campaign Monitor is a lot more expensive than most of its competitors. It costs $29 per month to use Campaign Monitor to send unlimited emails to only 500 subscribers.
In comparison, GetResponse would charge about half of that to send unlimited emails to a database with 1,000 addresses.
If that wasn’t distressing enough, Campaign Monitor also comes with no free version at all. There is a “demo” available, but you can’t send any mass mailouts with it.
On the plus side, Campaign Monitor does offer discounts for nonprofits. You can also choose to pay per campaign if you’re only sending emails occasionally, which might be a better option for some brands.
Campaign Monitor Review: Features
So, surely with prices that high you can expect some pretty kick-ass features from Campaign Monitor, right?
Well, yes. Although Campaign Monitor might not have the widest selection of features on the market, the core functionalities it offers are very well developed.
For instance, you can access:
- Drag and drop templates for your emails, as well as HTML designs
- Preview features to ensure your emails show up well on all devices
- Surveys and forms to gather data from your email campaigns
- Split campaigns to monitor and tweak the performance of your campaigns
- Analytics and reporting for your team and shareholders
- In-depth autoresponders and automation features
- Segmentation with the option to upgrade to machine learning features
- Sign-up forms and landing pages
- API for developers to create their own integration
Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the top-ranking features, shall we?
Campaign Monitor Review: Email Builder
A great email builder is at the heart of any email automation tool.
Fortunately, Campaign Monitor offers a delightful environment for designing, editing, and enhancing your messages.
Whether you’re sending a one-off broadcast, or an email as part of an ongoing campaign, you’ll have access to plenty of beautiful, high-quality templates.
There aren’t quite as many templates as you might get with MailChimp, but I often find that it’s the quality, not the quantity that really counts.
Campaign Monitor’s models are clean and eye-catching. They look professional – which is super important for any business.
What’s more, unlike many of the email tools on the market today, these templates come with the option to incorporate a decent selection of unique web fonts.
If like me, you enjoy editing your emails to make them more personalized, then you’ll appreciate how straightforward and easy-to-use the drag and drop editor is.
Implementing text, images, buttons, and other crucial content is easy as pie.
You get complete control over what you want your messages to look like, and you can adjust your footer to add your company’s name and email address, to reduce your risk of falling victim to anti-spam regulations.
All around, it’s a slick experience.
Plus, the campaign monitor team is on-hand to answer any questions you might have if you’re not sure about something when you’re building.
Once you’re ready to give your message the seal of approval, you can “preview” it, looking at both desktop and mobile appearance, and send a test email too.
There’s also the option to add checkboxes for tracking permission to your forms and add a captcha to your emails if you need to as well when people are signing up to receive your content.
This means that you’re less likely to struggle with regulation issues, and you’re not going to be wasting money on sending emails to bots.
Campaign Monitor Review: Automation and Autoresponders
Once you’ve figured out how to create awesome emails with Campaign Monitor, you’ll need to learn how to automate them.
Like most e-marketing tools, Campaign Monitor gives you the option to send autoresponders when you want to maintain a consistent conversation with your audience.
These “drip” emails are programmed into the system so that when users join your mailing list, they’ll automatically receive a series of pre-established emails.
Once again, the experience offered by Campaign Monitor is very smooth and straightforward.
When you set up a subscriber journey, you get the option to add triggers and steps easily, determining exactly what you want to happen whenever your customers complete a specific action.
If you want to add a new email to a user journey, however, there is a bit of an issue.
You’ll need to come out of your campaign, and set up the new email separately, which just feels a bit clunkier than it needs to be.
Options like MailChimp, on the other hand, let you add subscribers into a drip funnel with just one click.
On the plus side, the autoresponders themselves are excellent. You can even create multiple journeys for the same campaign, so you know for sure that your audience are getting the most appropriate messages for their needs.
Similar to many competing products on the market, Campaign Monitor also provides marketing automation alongside their auto responders.
This means that you can go beyond the necessary drip-style campaign, and use specific triggers to send emails when someone:
- Visits a specific page on your site
- Purchases a product
- Clicks on a link
- Opens a specific email
The thing I liked most about Campaign Monitor is how visual they made everything. You can see easily how your campaign is going, and what kind of emails your audience will get based on their behaviour.
What’s more, there’s also the option to automate email broadcasts in Campaign Monitor by triggering them through RSS.
This means that you use the RSS feed from your site to automatically send newsletters to your customers. Most companies do this to let their audience know when new products or blog pages become available on the site.
It’s a super handy feature – although I was disappointed to discover that you can’t use the same Campaign Monitor templates you get for your regular emails when using RSS feeds. That means your content might look a bit off-brand.
Campaign Monitor Review: Segmentation and Contact Management
Alright, now let’s take a look at how you manage your subscribers on Campaign Monitor.
Ultimately, personalized emails are worth so much more than you might think, leading to 6 times higher transaction rates than the average message.
The great thing about Campaign Monitor is that it’s super flexible when it comes to data segmentation.
You can easily send messages to multiple lists or segments at once – something that isn’t always possible with other email marketing solutions.
Another fab thing about Campaign Monitor is that it’s easy to exclude lists or segments from mailouts.
If your business has a lot of complex requirements regarding data segmentation, then you’ll love this tool.
Everything in Campaign Monitor works on a system of lists and segments. The lists are the full groups of subscribers that you load into your marketing software, while segments are the individual groups that you create based on unique factors.
One thing that was sadly missing from Campaign Monitor was the option to add tags. That means that you can’t keep a note of which subscribers have made specific purchases in the past or have complained about your service before.
On the plus side, you can apply various rules to a single segment. This means that you can create lists of people in a specific area that have purchased a product in the last 6 months, for instance.
Ultimately, there are some great things about Campaign Monitor’s segmentation options, but there’s also a lot missing too.
It’s just not as comprehensive as the segmentation available from companies like ActiveCampaign.
One thing that is particularly good about Campaign Monitor today is that there are and “OR” statements available in your segments.
For instance, you can send a campaign to a subscriber who has a specific job title, or someone who’s based in a head office for a company and located in a specific area.
This makes it easier to get more in-depth with your campaigns.
Campaign Monitor Review: Analytics and Reporting
As any good marketing professional knows, if you want to get the most out of your campaigns, then you need to invest in the right analytics.
Campaign Monitor makes it easy to figure out whether your campaigns are bringing in the big bucks.
You can get a complete overview of crucial things like click-throughs and unsubscribe rates.
On the other hand, if you need to know what each customer is doing with your emails, you can dive deeper into individual contacts too.
The experience is set up very well.
What’s more, if you’re looking for an opportunity to share insights with shareholders and company leaders, then you can export your information in PDF format too.
The reporting and analytics available are very beginner-friendly, which means that anyone can start using them.
What’s more, Campaign Monitor recently updated their analytics offerings to give you closer looks at things like subscriber health, and engagement or acquisition trends in your email list.
Campaign Monitor Review: Split Testing
Split testing on Campaign Monitor is slightly less impressive compared to other competitors like ActiveCampaign.
You can A/B test two versions of a campaign by looking at things like:
- Subject line
- From name
- Email content
However, there’s no option to split-test your entire drip sequence like you can with ActiveCampaign.
It’s pretty easy to manage A/B testing on Campaign Monitor, which is a good thing if you don’t have a lot of experience comparing one option against another.
However, the fact that you can only test three parts of your message is really disappointing.
MailChimp offers up to 8 A/B testing variants on premium plans, and GetResponse even allows for 5 variants too.
There are plenty of other email marketing tools that are just more advanced than Campaign Monitor when it comes to split-testing.
So it’s fair to say that while Campaign Monitor does deliver, it could do a lot better.
Campaign Monitor Review: Importing and Exporting Data
Data is becoming a crucial component of many email marketing strategies.
Fortunately, importing and exporting data from Campaign Monitor is a straightforward process. When it comes to importing things, like basic customer information and contact lists, you can choose from a range of the most common database formats, including compressed files, CSV files, TXT files, and even XLS.
Campaign Monitor also allows users to simply copy/paste the contents of any file type they choose into the Campaign Monitor UI.
The tool is pretty good at separating the fields that you need so that you can map and rename them as appropriate.
There are a few limitations around what you can import on Campaign Monitor – but that’s common with most software solutions.
For instance, you’re not supposed to import any rented or bought databases, lists that haven’t been contacted in a long time, or data associated with specific products, like pharmaceuticals or gambling.
Alternatively, exporting your data is a piece of cake.
If you need to collect crucial information for your shareholders, or you just want to pull your lists out of Campaign Monitor so you can use them elsewhere, you can do that. All you need to do is export your entire segment or list into a CSV format and download it.
Campaign Monitor Review: Usability
Let’s face it, virtually every email marketing tool available today claims to be easy to use.
Campaign Monitor even claims that it’s “radically” easy.
From the tests that I ran myself, I did find Campaign Monitor quite simple to use. I don’t know if I would have used the words “radically easy,” but that’s probably because I don’t generally describe things as “radical.”
When you log into your account, you’ll find a clean and simple interface, backed up by a super-straightforward email building tool.
The drag and drop editor forms the heart of the Campaign Monitor user experience, and it’s as simple as they come. It only took me a few minutes to create an email I would have been comfortable sending out to clients.
Additionally, if you do have any issues, you can always get help from Campaign Monitor as you go too. There are plenty of helpful text boxes and guidelines provided along the way.
Additionally, features like email previews make sure that you’ll never send an email that doesn’t look sensational.
Of course, Campaign Monitor isn’t perfect.
The experience overall, is missing a few things. For instance, you can’t use spam testing features unless you’re paying for a higher-tier tool – which is weird, as these options are usually common among the lower-priced options for other software.
Additionally, there are clunky things here and there, like the fact that you have to come out of your autoresponder page to add a new contact to your campaign.
Still, I would say that Campaign Monitor is a good tool for beginners.
Campaign Monitor Review: Integrations and Add-Ons
Campaign Monitor hasn’t always been the best with integrations and add-ons.
In a world where everyone has their own idea of what the perfect email marketing tool looks like, integrations are often crucial.
However, there have been some changes in the Campaign Monitor strategy of late. Now, there are hundreds of integrations available, including things like:
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Google Analytics
- Slack, Unbounce
Additionally, there’s an API available for developers that want to build their own apps.
Campaign Monitor Review: Customer Support
Finally, whenever you’re investing in a new marketing tool, it helps to know that you’re going to get the right level of support.
Campaign Monitor’s options for guidance are slightly sparse. I had a tough time figuring out how to get in touch with anyone.
After all, the phone-level support is only available for people who are on the higher-level plans.
You can send an email to the team, but frankly, that isn’t much good if you’re dealing with a campaign emergency that could be costing your business money.
Additionally, there’s always the option to DIY your approach to support by checking out the Campaign Monitor knowledge base.
Although I felt a bit salty about having to use this tool in the first place, the help center is actually quite comprehensive and offers plenty of guides and videos to support customers.
Campaign Monitor Review: Verdict
Campaign Monitor is a compelling and comprehensive tool that combines easy-to-use functionality with autoresponder convenience.
The templates are stunning and easy to play with, and there’s the option to customize your messages more than you can with most providers by adding custom fonts.
There’s also plenty of ways to segment your audience and check out the performance of your campaigns with handy analytics.
However, despite all its benefits, Campaign Monitor is far from the most advanced email marketing tool I’ve ever seen.
It’s missing a lot of things, like tags for your contacts, advanced split testing, and even a proper free trial so you can get a feel for everything yourself.
You can’t even get phone support from the Campaign Monitor team unless you pay extra for it.
I’d recommend Campaign Monitor if:
- You’re looking for excellent email templates
- You need easy-to-use segmentation
- You want a simple and straightforward user interface
- You’re intrigued by high-quality integrations.
If you’re ready to learn more about Campaign Monitor, you can check out the demo option here.
On the other hand, if you’re not convinced, some of the best alternatives include:
- GetResponse: Features webinar functionality, stronger segmentation, and a CRM for extra customer management.
- ActiveCampaign: Comes with one of the most advanced autoresponder builders I’ve ever seen.
- Klaviyo: Features state-of-the-art analytics and in-depth reporting for behind-the-scenes insights.
- MailChimp: Comes with more options for A/B testing depending on the tier that you choose. Check our post on Campaign Monitor Vs MailChimp 2020 Edition