Struggling to figure out which email marketing tool you need?
You’re not the only one.
These days, choosing email marketing software is like picking a treat from a candy store. Whatever you decide, you’re going to get a hefty dose of sugar, but the flavor that comes with it could make or break your experience.
Mainstream options like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Aweber are great, but they might not have the unique essence you’re looking for.
So, how about something a little fresher? An email marketing underdog?
Launching in 2012, Sendinblue isn’t as old and experienced as some bigger tools like GetResponse or HubSpot – but it has heart.
The tool is designed to help companies build stronger connections with customers – something that matters more than ever in the age of experience.
Along with a new perspective on the market, Sendinblue offers:
- Low monthly fees
- Access to SMS campaigns
- Responsive and attractive templates
- Free plan options
- Some impressive automation features
- But is it the right option for you?
Let’s face it; you’ve only got so much cash to splash on an email marketing tool.
You need to find the right balance between “getting what you pay for” and pinching the pennies.
Fortunately, Sendinblue comes with five pricing options to choose from, including… a free tier! Halleluiah!
Alright, so a limit of 300 emails a day is gonna make it hard to get anything done if you have a bigger subscriber list.
But on the plus side, at least you can test out everything from the email campaigns to the CRM functionality – to see if Sendinblue is worth the cash.
If the free option isn’t enough for you – which, let’s face it, is likely – then you can upgrade to Lite, Essential, or “Premium” packages:
The more you pay on your Sendinblue subscription, the more emails you can send per month.
Plus, bigger packages also come with access to things like advanced statistics, machine learning tools, chat functionality, and a bunch of other great stuff.
One of the most exciting things about Sendinblue is that their “Premium” package is well priced.
I mean $66 for things like machine learning, landing pages and enhanced analytics is really impressive.
Even if you upgrade to 350,000 emails per month, you’re only looking at $173 per month in cost, or $138.40 if you pay annually.
You can also take your package even further with an “Enterprise” package. This comes with a few more features for customer service and support, such as guided onboarding and a customer success manager.
You also get some cool extra features that you don’t see on other email marketing tools, like a dedicated IP, 99.9% guaranteed uptime, and GDPR compliance.
Now here’s where things get interesting.
Aside from the pricing plans above, you can also add functionality onto your base package for an extra cost.
For instance, want a dedicated IP with the standard package? No problem just pay $149 per year.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for multi-channel marketing via SMS, Sendinblue lets you buy messaging credits with prices that vary depending on where you want to reach people.
Even more compelling?
You don’t even have to be tied down to a monthly plan if you don’t want to be. Just opt for the “Pay-as-you-go” plan instead.
Here, you just pay for email and SMS credits, which can roll over from one month to the next.
Prices range up to $1,9995 for 1 million email credits!
If you have a less predictable email marketing plan, and you’re not sure how many messages you’ll be sending from one month to the next – pay-as-you-go could be perfect for you.
Sendinblue might not be quite as cheap as options like MailerLite, for instance, but you get more flexibility in pricing than you’ll find anywhere else. Plus, in terms of value, the features you get for your cash are phenomenal.
Speaking of which…
Sendinblue Features Review
We all want a budget-friendly email marketing tool – but it doesn’t help much if that software doesn’t get the job done.
Fortunately, Sendinblue offers a range of features to simplify your email advertising – making it a pretty good investment.
Let’s start by looking at the email designer, for instance, which comes with a hefty 200+ responsive templates to choose from.
Like most email marketing solutions, some of the Sendinblue templates are more attractive than others.
The good news is that even if you don’t like any of the pre-made options, you can always design your own solution from scratch using the easy drag-and-drop builder.
Notably, the drag-and-drop template builder on Sendinblue isn’t quite as great as the one you’d get from ActiveCampaign or MailChimp.
You can’t add things like social media buttons, and there’s limited functionality on how much you can change when it comes to backgrounds and aesthetics.
However, you can design pretty effective layouts using headers, text boxes, and even your own logo. It’s a simple way to start sending high-quality emails quickly if you don’t know much about code.
One thing I did like is that Sendinblue seems to take mobile marketing pretty seriously.
Everything is designed to look awesome on a smartphone or tablet, and you can see what your messages will look like in different email apps.
Still, with about 8 text options to choose from, and some templates that seem pretty repetitive, there are better options out there.
If you’re looking for the ultimate email builder, I’d probably recommend sticking to MailChimp instead.
As great as email templates are – they’re not going to save you nearly as much time as the right automation workflows will.
So, what can Sendinblue offer when it comes to streamlining email marketing?
Well, first things first, you’re not going to get anything nearly as advanced as the autoresponder builder on ActiveCampaign.
If you’re looking for something that lets you drill down into the deepest parts of segmentation and triggered emails, then Sendinblue might not be the right choice.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a way to automate basic email sequences, Sendinblue has you covered.
There are 8 scenarios to choose from:
You can decide if you want to send someone a message to welcome them to your list or respond to them doing something on your website.
Once you pick your scenario, you’ll be thrown into a pretty simple drag-and-drop funnel builder.
Here, you can add events, triggers, and emails to an auto-responder strategy based on the goals you want to accomplish. It’s all very straightforward:
If you don’t want to use a template, there are four entry point options:
- Basic contact
- Someone who has completed a website or email activity
- A contact who submitted form data
- A contact who visited your website.
Then, you build your workflow with a series of if-this-then-that conditions to determine what to do next with your campaigns.
There’s no limit to the number of interactions you can create, and you can filter who receives certain emails by things like demographics – which is a nifty added extra.
Another handy thing?
Sendinblue has some deep relationships with Magento and WooCommerce. That means it’s happy to play nicely with them when you’re developing your marketing plan.
You can implement other tools into your email workflow to create sequences based on stuff like product purchases and abandoned carts.
Oh – and unlike most email marketing tools, such as MailChimp, you get automation features with Sendinblue on ANY pricing package you choose.
The only difference is that you can only use those features on a max of 2,000 contacts on packages for Essential and below.
If you upgrade to a later package, you can also add-in machine learning functionality that allows you to choose whether you want to send your emails at the “best time” for them.
This basically means that AI scans your information and decides on the best time to send messages to each contact based on their history.
Before you can start sending awesome autoresponders, you need to get your contact list sorted out. Fortunately, Sendinblue can help with that too.
The interesting thing about this tool is that it takes privacy really seriously.
Like super seriously.
When you set up your profile, you need to confirm that you’re compliant with CAN-SPAM Act regulations.
All of your contacts have to opt-in to receive messages from you, and you can implement strategies for double opt-in too if you like.
Aside from all the extra work you go through to prove that you’re not going to be sending your contacts unsolicited junk, the contact set up is pretty simple.
You can upload a TXT or CSV file, copy/paste from a list, or add information manually. You’ll also be able to add contacts that you specifically want to blacklist.
Mapping data to contacts is a little bit convoluted. You can’t do anything in bulk, which means that when you want to add attributes to a contact, you need to go through one by one.
This isn’t as simple and fast-paced as the experience you get with Campaign Monitor, and it means that you’ll have a lot of work to do if you’re adding thousands of contacts from a different location.
I’m not patient enough for something like that.
Still, on the plus side, unlimited contact management comes as part of all of Sendinblue’s packages – including the free option. Plus, you can update your lists with information in bulk once you’ve got them, so that will save you some time.
If you want, you can automatically segment your lists based on the data you have on them, or how they were entered into the system. That means that the only awkward thing is organizing manually loaded contacts.
When you’re uploading super large lists, you can even ask to have an email alert sent to you when the upload is done.
You can also export contacts at any time if you want to make sure that you don’t lose any valuable data.
Tracking and Analytics
Great! So you’ve segmented your audience, set up your autoresponders and made some attractive email templates to send – now what?
Well, you’re going to want to track the performance of your campaigns, right?
Sendinblue can help with that.
Reporting tools come with all the basic metric tracking you might want – including the option to look at opens, clicks, and unsubscribes.
It also maps that content onto a timeline so you can see crucial information about when and where emails are being opened (and on which device).
You can also get an insight into how well your emails are designed because Sendinblue shows you which buttons and links get the most clicks.
Everything is laid out really clearly, which means you don’t have to be a data scientist to figure out which of your emails are working.
Although you don’t get all the tools you might get in a solution like Klaviyo, for instance, there’s plenty of information here to help you make some great decisions about your marketing.
In the free and lite packages, you’ll only get basic real-time reporting. However, in the more expensive options, you can access advanced click reports, heatmaps, and device reports.
You can also access information within the “CRM” section of Sendinblue, which comes as part of some of the slightly more expensive packages.
This helps you to figure out which of your contacts are most likely to make a purchase, so you can figure out where to focus your marketing efforts.
The CRM also connects with your landing pages and automated email campaigns to give you a more focused method of interacting with each client on your list.
It’s a great way to upgrade your contact management, and a lot more than you’d get from an essential email marketing tool.
Plus, if you want to make sure that you’re sending the right messages to those “warmer” leads, you can also A/B test each of your emails:
You can test:
- Subject lines
- Email content
- The time you send the email
As mentioned above, there’s also the option to use the “send at the best time” feature if you’ve got the more expensive machine learning capabilities too.
Did you know that transactional emails get 8 times more clicks and opens than any other kind of email?
Damn – that’s impressive.
Plus, your transactional messaging can also generate up to 6 times more revenue.
That’s probably why Sendinblue specializes in transactional emails.
While ActiveCampaign might be better suited to things like automation, Sendinblue makes it easier to send things like order confirmations, payment receipts, and other crucial messages to keep people involved with your business.
Transactional emails are something that’s often overlooked by other email marketing tools.
However, Sendinblue takes them very seriously, and give you dedicated email templates, delivery features, and statistics to help you get the most out of your campaigns.
You can even check your results in real-time.
Now that’s something special.
You can get a comprehensive view of how many transaction messages you’ve sent, how many have bounced, how many clicks you got, and more.
There’s also the option to get alerts sent to your email whenever your email open rates are going up or down.
Honestly, this is one of the features that sets Sendinblue apart as more than just an affordable email marketing tool.
It’s hard to give a complete insight on deliverability for your campaigns.
After all, I have no idea what kind of strategy you’re using, what your email sender reputation is, and so on.
However, I can tell you that Sendinblue makes it easier to improve your deliverability. Here’s how.
First of all, as mentioned above, the company takes privacy and permission super seriously. That means you’re only going to have the option to send messages to people who want to hear from you.
Secondly, to help you improve your deliverability, Sendinblue automatically blacklists any contact that triggers a hard bounce, so you can stop sending emails to them immediately.
You can also instantly sort your contacts by who opened your email in the last so many months. This means that cleaning your list is a breeze.
Sendinblue’s option to add a dedicated IP address to your campaign is pretty handy too.
You only get this feature as standard if you’re an Enterprise user. However, you can always buy it separately for an extra price bump per year.
Your private IP will ensure that other people aren’t damaging your sender reputation with their shady behavior. It’s a lot like removing your association with a bad group of people at school. You get to start from scratch.
Sendinblue also provides a bunch of documentation on how to improve your deliverability levels too, if you want some extra help.
Up until now, Sendinblue has been pretty impressive all-around.
However, it’s fair to say that it doesn’t have quite as many plugins or integrations as other offerings.
You’re not going to get the hundreds of integrations that you’d get with options like MailChimp (800 integrations) or ActiveCampaign. However – remember that Sendinblue is working on this all the time.
It even lets you use the Sendinblue API to build your own integration strategies if you want to!
Additionally, where Sendinblue misses out on quantity, it excels in quality.
For instance, you can get advanced integrations with everything from WooCommerce and Salesforce, to Shopify, OptinMonster, and Google Analytics.
There’s also an extra-special integration with Magneto that automatically syncs Magneto customers into your SendinBlue account.
Sure, there aren’t hundreds of integrations – but how many would you use anyway?
With a little luck, you’ll have gotten a feel for the kind of experience Sendinblue can give from the rest of this review. However, if you’re still looking for a few key insights, I’ve got you covered.
The Sendinblue layout is very simple, clean, and blue.
Everything’s decked out in blue and white, which makes the experience feel very fresh and welcoming.
It’s also pretty easy to find any of the buttons or features you need.
Although the dashboard is quite minimalistic, it’s got everything you need to operate your email marketing strategies.
You can see how many contacts you’re connecting with, what your email campaigns are doing, and who has clicked on your emails.
You’ll also be able to see the number of blacklisted contacts at a glance – although I’m not sure that this is a necessary feature for a dashboard.
If you want to scan through previous campaigns, Sendinblue offers a convenient list of options to click through at the bottom of your panel too.
The whole process of setting up and managing your campaigns feels pleasantly simple on Sendinblue.
There’s no clutter to leave you feeling overwhelmed when you log in. Plus, you won’t have a hard time finding tools like you can with other email marketing tools.
Got questions about Sendinblue?
No problem, the company gives you a range of ways to get in touch.
You can email or send a message through one of their social media pages.
Plus, there’s a pretty comprehensive Help center with information on how to make the most out of your email and SMS campaigns too.
Instant chat, constant customer success support, and other guidance are only available if you upgrade to an Enterprise-level package. However, there’s still plenty of guidance out there if you’re not willing to pay for the extra help.
The main difference between Enterprise packages and other options is that you might need to wait a little longer to get a response via email if you’re not paying a fortune.
Still, the same could be said for a lot of email marketing tools.
If you’re looking for 24/7 award-winning support no matter which package you choose, you can always try Aweber instead, which offers chat, phone, email support and more from day one.
Sendinblue Review: Finishing Thoughts
As a comprehensive tool for email and SMS marketing, Sendinblue has a lot to offer.
It’s more than just a cheap alternative to some of the more expensive mainstream tools on the market.
Sendinblue offers a solid selection of ready-made templates, automation options, and contact management strategies too. There’s even CRM functionality to make managing connections with customers easier.
One of the things that really appeals to me about Sendinblue, is the fact that you can add a dedicated IP address into your package – this is excellent for anyone who wants to improve their email sender reputation without too much extra work.
I also consider Sendinblue to be a particularly useful option for anyone who isn’t sure of how many emails they’re going to send each month.
For instance, if you’re starting small with your email strategy, then the pay-as-you-go package means that you can pay for credits, rather than huge packages that you may not need or use.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something with an extensive drag-and-drop email builder that allows you to customize your content to your heart’s content, then Sendinblue is a little lacking.
This personally wouldn’t be the email marketing tool I chose for a bigger company, because despite it’s benefits, it’s still very basic. You don’t get anywhere near as many templates as you would with something like MailChimp, and the autoresponder pales in comparison to ActiveCampaign.
However, if you’re a small company looking for basic autoresponder features, the opportunity to improve your deliverability rates, and a tiny learning curve, give Sendinblue a try.
- Flexible and reliable email
- Automation capabilities
- Landing page builder included with larger plans
- Numerous attractive templates to choose from
- Excellent pricing compared to a lot of competitors
- Free trial available
- Fantastic added extras like CRM functionality and machine learning
- Relatively reliable reporting
- Easy to use for beginners
- A limited number of integrations
- The best customer service is reserved for higher tiers
- Not as comprehensive at reporting as some tools
- MailChimp for contact management and segmentation (read our post: Sendinblue Vs MailChimp: Which Email Automation Tool Is Best For YOU?)
- ActiveCampaign for autoresponder building (read our ActiveCampaign review)
- Aweber for excellent customer service (read our Aweber review)
- Klaviyo for in-depth analytics and reporting