Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Which one is best for YOU in 2020?

Nurturing leads is tough.

We get it.

It feels like you’re constantly struggling to add more people to your potential customer pool. Plus, you’ve also gotta keep them from jumping into your competitor’s pond instead.

It takes a lot of work to succeed these days.

Fortunately, there are ways to take some of the weight off your shoulders.

Marketing automation tools like Klaviyo and MailChimp (review) give users a simple, digitized environment where they can create emails, design workflows, and automate conversations with customers. 

It’s like having access to an extra marketing team – but this one doesn’t complain nearly as much when you ask it to work overtime. 

Of course, Klaviyo and Mailchimp might be similar tools – but they’re far from identical. 

I mean just look at these logos:

Mailchimp Logo Vertical Black

Klaviyo Logo

Cheeky chimp chap vs. weird wi-fi diamond thing…

Jokes aside, the differences between Klaviyo and MailChimp are much more than skin deep.

MailChimp, for one, has been around since 2001 – 11 years longer than Klaviyo (launched 2012). Klaviyo was also built specifically for eCommerce stores, while MailChimp was designed for – you guessed it – email marketing.

So which email marketing software is best?

That’s why we’ve put together this Klaviyo vs MailChimp review, to help you decide which tool works best for you.

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp: Pricing

Money might not make the world go around, but it’ll definitely help you choose the right marketing tool.

Chances are you already know how much cash you have to splash on new software.

If you’re like me, you’ll often try to find something that comes in slightly under budget – just in case you need money left over for something else (like ice-cream).
So how do Klaviyo and MailChimp compare when it comes to protecting your wallet.

Let’s start with Klaviyo pricing.

The first thing you’re sure to love is that Klaviyo has a free pricing tier.

Klaviyo Free Pricing Tier
Ice cream for everyone!

This plan covers you for up to 250 contracts and 500 emails. However, you do need to commit to double opt-in for all your subscribers, and you’re going to get the Klaviyo logo sprayed on the bottom of all your content.

That may not be a deal-breaker for you if you’re just starting out as a small business.

On the other hand, big-name corporations and growing enterprises don’t want Klaviyo branding eating away at their credibility.

So, what if we jump up to say…1000 contacts?

Klaviyo Pricingtier For 1000 Contacts

Less money for ice cream left there…

Unlimited email sends is a plus, and it’s nice to have the peace of mind of chat support.  If you play around with the contact slider (like I did), you’ll find that the pricing can go all the way up to $1,700 per month (yowzer), for 146,000 contacts. After that, you need a personalized quote.

Essentially, with every tier, you get the same basic features, including automated emails, reporting, one-click integrations, and email templates. The only things that change according to price are:

  • Number of contacts
  • How many emails you can send
  • How much support you get

Higher-tier accounts even get their own account manager.

Clearly, Klaviyo isn’t the cheapest tool out there, but its pricing is pretty straightforward at least.

So, let’s jump over to MailChimp pricing, with our fingers crossed for something cheaper.

Mailchimp Pricing

Sweet! Another free tier!

MailChimp also gives you a freebie version of their software, complete with “basic” templates, but no A/B testing, analytics, or dedicated customer support.

You also get quite a few more subscribers (2,000) than you get on Klaviyo’s free tier.

Aside from the free plan, you can also access:

  • Essentials: $9.99 per month
  • Standard: $14.99 per month
  • Premium: $299.00 per month.

The main difference between Klaviyo and Mailchimp – besides Klaviyo being way more expensive, is that you don’t get the same tools on every tier with MailChimp.

You’re buying extra room for subscribers and emails, sure, but you’re also paying extra for additional tools like analytics and multivariate testing.

I don’t like the look of those x’s.

On the plus(ish) side, MailChimp does give you a choice between paying monthly, or “paying as you go.” With a pay-as-you-go plan, you pay for credits when and as you need them, rather than buying the whole suite for each month.

MailChimp also comes with a two-factor authentication discount.

Mailchimp Two Factor Authentication Discount

Winner

If you’re looking for something super budget-friendly, both MailChimp and Klaviyo might not be the right choice – Sure, they have a free tier, but anything more advanced is gonna cost you.

For a cheaper solution, maybe try something like Mailerlite (review) which is free for up to 1000 subscribers, then $15 a month for 2,500. MailChimp wins at being less expensive overall.

Even if you choose their most advanced premium tiers, you’re still going to save money on Klaviyo‘s prices – which range into the thousands.

Features

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Segmentation

Money got your head in a spin?

Don’t worry, let’s put budget to one side for now and look at features instead.

Specifically, let’s find out how Klaviyo and MailChimp help you to manage and nurture your contacts.

Klaviyo takes email segmentation super seriously.

As soon as you sign up, you’ll be presented with a range of possible lists you can build out using imported contacts from your email list:

Klaviyo List Building

Those are just suggestions, too.

You can segment your emails by behavioral or transactional data, taking information from Shopify and other CRMs. You can also segment based on events like when your customers make their first purchase.

Heck, you can even get super in-depth. You can explicitly create segments for people who looked at sunglasses 5 times in the last 6 days on your store, or people named Bob who bought pants last Wednesday. Integration with Facebook audience targeting really does let you get deep into your customization options.

Klaviyo Facebook Audience Targeting Integration

I found targeting options like:

  • People who buy certain kinds of products
  • People who always buy with coupons
  • People who only buy full price
  • People who buy on certain days

You can also set up Klaviyo’s “data science” tools and use those to figure out which customers are probably going to become your VIP shoppers.

Klaviyo Predictive Analytics
Damn, that’s fancy…

Browsing through the vast range of segmentation options on Klaviyo had me feeling a little disappointed when I switched to MailChimp.

It’s like the difference between Disney World and your local park.

MailChimp doesn’t even give you tags to further define your customers. All you get is “Groups” and “Segments.” Segments are your fundamental lists, like “New Subscribers,” or “Recent purchases.” Groups are the smaller chunks of customers you create based on behaviors like, “bought something in the last week.”

There’s no deep dive, no specific behavior tracking – and definitely no Facebook audience integration.

Create New Segment In Mailchimp

Maybe I’m just spoilt after hanging out on Klaviyo…

Or, perhaps MailChimp is just too darn basic.

Frankly, I think tags are a minimum necessity when it comes to keeping your Sales and Marketing teams working on the same page. Klaviyo gives you everything you need to build meaningful relationships with your audience. 

MailChimp, in comparison, gives you a dusty old address book with half the pages ripped out.

Add Segment Tags In Mailchimp

If you weren’t already feeling let down – MailChimp also makes segmentation feel super awkward.

You organize your list by behavior and then go back to break them down by demographics. For me, that’s the wrong way around. You might feel differently.

Plus, MailChimp will count any of the subscribers that appear on multiple lists as two separate contacts. That means you end up using your allowance much faster.

Winner

No big shock who I’m giving the medal to here. Klaviyo puts MailChimp’s segmentation to shame from start to finish. It’s more in-depth, easier to use, and frankly more exciting too. MailChimp barely competes.

For really in-depth and scientific segmentation Klaviyo is the ultimate offering – but if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, try GetResponse (review).

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Automation

Now that you’ve got your contacts sorted out, it’s time to jump into automation.

After all, that’s what you’re looking for here – something to help you manage your marketing.

Klaviyo provides one of the most advanced automation strategies I’ve ever seen.

If you click on your “Flows” tab, (that’s where you create automations), you’ll be find a template “welcome series” flow, and the option to browse ideas, export analytics, and create new flows.

Klaviyo Create Flows

Now here’s where things get cool.

Say you want to start building automated workflows, but you’ve got no experience.

You don’t know how to create a cart abandonment email or a post-purchase follow-up strategy. Clicking on “Browse Ideas” takes you to a list of pre-built templates you can use instead.

Here are (literally) just a handful of options:

Wow!

Clicking on any one of these emails will give you an insight into what you can do with Klaviyo’s smart email automation tools. You can add different flows together, edit pre-made templates, and design from scratch.

Klaviyo Smart Email Automation Tool

More importantly, Klaviyo also integrates with all of your existing email marketing data from tools like Magneto or Shopify, so you can map out your strategy based on what you know about your customers.

Klaviyo’s data-analytics solution provides real-time data that triggers automation based on the specific route that each customer takes when clicking on your email.

Klaviyo Conditional Split

Conditional splits mean that you can even add multiple routes depending on whether someone marks your email as spam, goes back to your website, or buys a new product.

All the while, your data is being collected from each campaign, so you can see how each email in your series is performing.

Klaviyo Trigger Split Stats

Klaviyo claims that it syncs and exposes more data for your email automation than any other marketing platform – and honestly, I believe it. You can even integrate with Shopify to send more personalized abandoned cart emails.

Switching over to MailChimp, once again, means moving to a slightly less immersive experience.

The contrast isn’t as bad as it was with the segmentation features.

Here, it’s more like Disneyworld vs Disneyland Paris.

You do get a handful of options for automation, and it’s very easy to set up workflows based on your individual marketing goals.

Mailchimp Email Workflows

Mailchimp’s automation tools certainly aren’t bad. In fact, they’re some of the most reliable you’ll find on the market for a similar price-tag.

However, they’re definitely not as comprehensive as what you’d get from Klaviyo.

Saying that, if you’re just looking for basic automation, MailChimp gives you an excellent way to get started. I felt much more relaxed building templates on MailChimp, just because I didn’t have so many options to explore.

I think you might need a couple of hours just to get into Klaviyo, whereas you can set up flows in Mailchimp within a matter of minutes.

Create Automation Email in Mailchimp

MailChimp also integrates with your website, so you can set up automation based on what people do when they’re browsing through your content.

Did someone add an item to cart then clicks the back button? Send them an email checking up. Simple.

Just like Klaviyo, MailChimp also allows you to integrate customer history and purchasing data into your workflows. However, because MailChimp doesn’t have quite as many integrations as Klaviyo, the data is a little less in-depth.

Happy Birthday Email in Mailchimp

Unfortunately, none of this stuff comes with the free plan.

While I could build conditional series until the cows came home on Klaviyo’s free version, MailChimp requires an upgrade to a paid tier just to get started.

All you get is a single-trigger welcome email or order notification.

What a letdown.

Winner

Klaviyo has to come out on top again here, with so many pre-built automation templates to choose from, and a super intuitive workflow creator. MailChimp does have a lot to offer, but it’s only available from premium plans, and even then, it doesn’t match up to Klaviyo. 

Klaviyo is probably my top choice for automation, but ActiveCampaign offers a lot of autoresponders too if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly.

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Reporting and Analytics

Okay, now you’re gonna want to know which of your emails are having the biggest impact on your audience right?

I mean, that’s pretty much the only way to ensure you’re getting a good ROI.

Klaviyo makes it super easy to dive into the details of crucial metrics like clicked emails, bounced messages, and unsubscribe rates:

Klaviyo Reporting

You also get a customizable analytics dashboard where you can keep track of what’s going on. For instance, say I want to make sure I’m improving my email sender reputation.

I just click on “Add Card”

Klaviyo Add Card

And put “Spam complaint rate” on my dashboard.

Klaviyo Spam Compaint Report

You can choose whether you want to see a bar graph, line graph, chart, or just a number. I picked bar graph for fun above, but here’s what “number” looks like:

Klaviyo Reporting

There are countless ways that you can build out your personal reporting layout, depending on what you need.

One particularly nifty feature?

You can actually see what your customers are doing in real-time.

Klaviyo Email Performance Dashboard

Because Klaviyo integrates so deeply with your eCommerce platform and other tools, you know when people are clicking, which emails are driving purchases, and even which customers are the most valuable for your team.

If you’re looking for an eCommerce email marketing tool, Klaviyo is the right choice.

All that, and you get a handy-dandy range of A/B testing options too.

All you need to do is go to your “Flows” section and click on the metrics you want to track:

Klaviyo Flows Report

When you set up things like “bounce rate” or unsubscribe rate, they’ll show under each flow, allowing you to see in real-time, which emails are the most effective.

With predictive analysis, you can also track your customers to see how many upcoming purchases you can expect, with state-of-the-art customer lifetime value calculations.

Klaviyo Best People Report

Want to know who your “best people” are?

No problem, Klaviyo automates that by collecting information about everyone on your subscribe rate.

The tool checks click and purchasing rates to determine which of your followers are most likely to be your biggest spenders. You can also organize your metrics to look at who your biggest buyers are for specific products or services.

Honestly, there are so many options, that it’s almost a bit overwhelming…

If you’re a beginner, then you might find Klaviyo gives you just too much data.

You can always remove metrics that you don’t want to see of course – but it’s easy to get exhausted by the options.

Heading over to MailChimp, things get a little simpler.

All the basic analytics you need are right there in front of you on the campaign page. You can see what your click-through rates and other metrics look like at a glance, or dive into your results to see how one email sequence performs against another.

MailChimp also provides helpful industry baselines.

Mailchimp Campaign Reporting

Whether you’re looking for big-picture insights, or you’re diving deep into the performance of each campaign, MailChimp offers virtually everything you need.

Sure, there’s no predictive analytics to help you track down your VIPs – but you might not need something that advanced yet either.

Additionally, you can A/B test on MailChimp, but only from name, content, and subject line is available to test on the free version. If you want to go a little further with multivariate testing – like checking the performance of different workflows, then you need a premium account.

Mailchimp Reporting

Overall, MailChimp is a very easy-to-use solution for reporting and analytics.

Compared to Klaviyo, it’s a lot more simplistic, but it’s also not nearly as overwhelming for beginners.

Not to mention, there are plenty of great next-level features to take your reporting a step further.
I was particularly fond of the “Time Warp” button, which shows you when you need to send a message in your time zone, to reach a customer in theirs.

Winner

For super advanced reporting and analytics, Klaviyo can’t be beat. It has one of the most advanced analytics environments I’ve seen, complete with automated integrations with your existing marketing tools, and predictive analytics. However, MailChimp doesn’t come far behind.

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Usability and UI

Now, here’s an important question.

Klaviyo and MailChimp may both be excellent tools, but which one will you feel more comfortable using?

Ultimately, even the best tool in the world won’t accomplish much if you don’t know how to work it.

Klaviyo certainly offers one of the smartest software solutions on the market.

Everywhere I went, I felt like I was being swarmed by data science, intelligence, and immersive opportunities to experiment and explore.

Klaviyo integrates natively with your marketing tools and apps like Shopify, which means that you don’t have to spend so much time clicking between tabs and software. Personally, I hate doing that – so integration is a huge plus.

Additionally, when it comes to building emails on Klaviyo, everything works on an intuitive drag-and-drop email builder.

Klaviyo Drag And Drop Email Builder

Unlike other drag-and-drop options that leave you fumbling with formatting, Klaviyo employs easy-to-use content blocks to give you complete control over your emails.

There’s no need for any coding knowledge, and you can create responsive emails with just a few clicks. Basically, it’s dummy-proof.

Plus, if you’re feeling extra low on inspiration one day, Klaviyo provides an extensive library of email templates that you can use – which I found super impressive.

Klaviyo Email Templates

All you need to do is grab a design that suits your purpose.

Because Klaviyo automatically integrates with your website, it can pull your company colors and logo over into the email you’ve made to give it that extra personal touch.

It’s the closest you’re going to get to having a graphic designer in-house without actually paying for one.

MailChimp also provides one of the most fantastic usability experiences around.

I personally love MailChimp for it’s adaptable, versatile, and easy-to-manage templates. If you love designing emails from scratch (like I do), then you’ll appreciate the bare-bones templates that you can use to build stunning, branded emails.

Mailchimp Templates

The MailChimp email editor gives you a fantastic range of design options to choose from, and everything slots together automatically, so once again you don’t have to worry about formatting.

If you’ve ever dragged a button into your email and sent the entire template spiraling into chaos, you’ll know how vital this simplicity can be.

Mailchimp Template Editor

MailChimp makes everything from building emails to constructing automated workflows simple.

Sure, you might need a little bit of time to get used to the UI, as certain things are labeled differently than you might expect. For instance, I couldn’t find the landing page forms at first because there was no “Forms” tab on the UI. It took me a few minutes to figure out that I had to go into the Audience segment, then down to the bottom of the page to find “Landing Pages.”

Bit of an odd choice for MailChimp to hide their forms all the way down there.

Mailchimp Landing Page Builder

Winner

I’d give MailChimp the medal in this segment, just because it does feel so simple to use. If you’re not familiar with all the ins and outs of advanced email automation and marketing, then it’s going to take a while to get used to Klaviyo

I’m not saying that it isn’t worth the learning time, but MailChimp is easier if you want to dive straight in.

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Integrations

These days, we all rely on digital tools way more than we used to.

I don’t know about you, but I probably use about 10-15 different pieces of software each day, from analytics tools to collaboration apps.

Life’s a lot easier when those tools work seamlessly together – particularly when you want to make informed decisions about your marketing and sales strategies.

Klaviyo is excellent at pulling in data from your favorite CRM and marketing tools. If you click on the “Integrations” page, you’ll find plenty of options:

Klaviyo Integrations

Klaviyo also specializes in a few in-depth integrations too.

For instance, the tool has seamless collaborations with Shopify, Magneto, Shopify Plus, and Big Commerce.

Unfortunately, MailChimp lost their integration with Shopify recently, which means that you’re not going to get the same level of connection between your email tool and your CRM there. MailChimp does suggest using a workaround – but let’s face it, it’s just not the same.

Klaviyo also invites developers to use their API kits for integrations or suggest a new collaboration if they don’t see what they need on the marketplace.

Although MailChimp is getting over a tough breakup with Shopify, it still has plenty of integrations to offer. You can add MailChimp to thousands of services through Zapier or use Automate.io to connect to tools like Slack and Google Sheets.

Plus, the tool has hundreds of native integrations to browse through too.

You’ll find options for Accelo, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and dozens more. I recommend going and browsing through the page yourself if you want a complete list.

Mailchimp Integrations

Winner

The winner here depends on what you’re looking for. MailChimp wins out by having more integrations to choose from. 

However, Klaviyo offers specific in-depth integrations with tools like Shopify – which might be more appealing to eCommerce companies. 

For simplicity and functionality, ConvertKit (review) is an excellent tool for beginners with far less of a learning curve.

Klaviyo vs MailChimp: Customer Support

Be honest, we all need a little help sometimes.

Klaviyo features a state-of-the-art help center.

I’m not just using those words lightly either. I’m talking guides, webinars, videos, training sessions, step-by-step instructions – everything you can think of.

Klaviyo Customer Support

The help center is packed full of advice for everything you need, from metrics and reporting to email deliverability. If you want to contact Klaviyo, then you need a paid account to try out their chat-support (between 9 am and 5 pm ET from Monday to Friday).

Alternatively, you can contact the team via email from 6 am to 10 pm on weekdays, or between 10 am and 4 pm on weekends.

The company is very responsive, and it’s easy to find the Live Chat if you’re in a whirl too. Just click on your username, and it’s listed underneath “Account.”

Klaviyo Dashboard

I wish it were available for free accounts – but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

MailChimp also provides less support for free users.

There’s a DIY option, which includes guides and tutorials:

Mailchimp Popular Guides And Tutorials

However, I couldn’t find any videos or webinars – which is a shame for visual learners.

Additionally, while Klaviyo still gives you access to email on your free account, MailChimp doesn’t even give you that. There’s no phone number, no chat, and no email.

Your only option seems to be Snail Mail:

Mailchimp Customer Support

If you want any kind of support, you need to be willing to pay $9.99 for it.

Phone support is gonna set you back at least $299.00 too.

The MailChimp team better have voices like Morgan Freeman for that price.

Winner

Klaviyo is the winner again here because at least you can access webinars, videos, and email support at the free tier level. With MailChimp, you just have to fend for yourself.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for next-level customer support over the phone, email, and instant chat, you can’t go wrong with Aweber (review).

Which Tool is Right for You?

MailChimp and Klaviyo might belong to the same camp of marketing automation tools, but they’re worlds apart when it comes to functionality.

One’s a serious, in-depth, and high-powered analytical tool, complete with state-of-the-art integrations, amazing predictive analytics, fantastic segmentation, and a high price tag. 

The other is a more affordable, user-friendly solution with plenty of essential tools to get you started.

If we look at those logos again, it’s pretty easy to predict which one’s which:

Mailchimp Logo Vertical Black
Klaviyo Logo

Klaviyo will take some getting used to, and it requires a big budget. I mean crazy big. However, it can’t be beat when it comes to automation, analytics, and segmentation. 

MailChimp, on the other hand, is a more affordable solution for businesses who want simple functionality, and plenty of useful marketing tools.

Choose MailChimp if:

  • You have a mid-range budget
  • You love DIY email building
  • You want something simple and straightforward
  • You don’t need super-advanced analytics
  • You’re not looking for in-depth integrations

Choose Klaviyo if:

  • You want state-of-the-art segmentationYou need a really-advanced email automation tools
  • You love things like predictive analysis and advanced reporting
  • You adore state-of-the-art integrations
  • You want an immersive range of marketing tools
  • You don’t mind taking the time to learn
  • You’ve got (a hell of a lot of) money

On the other hand, if you’re ready to jump straight into action, you can sign up for your MailChimp free trial here. Alternatively, grab your Klaviyo free trial here.

If you want to dig deeper into some of the other email marketing tools on the market – then you can check out a more comprehensive review here.

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