Like many of you, Online Geniuses was using Mailchimp for sending our emails. We weren’t super happy but it was just the default choice and we never got around to finding a better alternative. As OG grew, Mailchimp constantly raised the monthly price on us, even though we don’t send out a ton of emails. So while Mailchimp started out free, it quickly became overpriced. Also the question of “What’s the best email marketing solution?” comes up often on the channel so we thought it would be useful to share with the community our feedback on Sendinblue, a mailchimp alternative.
Now, that’s all in the past. We switched our email marketing over to Sendinblue and are thrilled about the change. No more Mailchimp. This article explains why we chose Sendinblue as our marketing tool for email (and more).
First, Sendinblue allows unlimited contacts on all plans so our prices aren’t jacked up with a growing community. Instead, Sendinblue’s pricing is based on the volume of emails sent each month, which makes more sense for OG. When you add that to the fact that they also offer a full suite of marketing tools, including Facebook and Retargeting ads, it was a clear choice to make the switch from Mailchimp to Sendinblue. Sendinblue is a sponsoring partner of Online Geniuses.
So, if you’re at all contemplating the “Mailchimp vs Sendinblue” debate, or you’re just exploring Mailchimp alternatives in general, this review is for you. We will walk through the main benefits of Sendinblue.
While many may know Sendinblue as an email marketing tool, it has evolved into an all-in-one marketing platform for E-mail, SMS, Facebook Ads, Chat, CRM, and more. In the past year or so, Sendinblue has become a full-fledged marketing suite to communicate, personalize, and convert your ideal customers.
If you are not familiar with Sendinblue, you should know they are a young (at least compared to MailChimp - 7 years old) but established company in the industry with over 80,000 Users in over 150 Countries, sending more than 100 million emails & SMS messages every day. Based in Paris, France (with 4 other international offices), they are rapidly expanding their global reach.
Sendinblue lets you keep in touch with your core group of prospects and customers in many ways. Whether it’s sharing a new piece of content to your email list in a newsletter, serving a targeted ad in Facebook, chatting with users as they browse your site, or sending a transactional email to close the loop, Sendinblue has got you covered.
Since Sendinblue is an all-in-one tool, it allows you to manage multiple facets of your marketing campaigns in one platform, not 18 tabs that are too small to click on.
Sendinblue is a good choice for any company from an SMB (small-to-medium business) to an enterprise company. They have the experience and infrastructure to accommodate all sizes of businesses. If you are serious about omnichannel marketing, Sendinblue is a great tool to have at the center of your marketing arsenal.
The Sendinblue interface and dashboard is clear and simple. The top navigation has sections for the following (depending on your plan):
Create and design your email campaigns using either Sendinblue’s drag and drop builder or their HTML editor. An intuitive wizard walks you through the process from start to finish.
The smooth drag and drop editor is our favorite way to build emails that look great and get our message across.
We like how you can A/B test subject lines. The campaign builder allows you to split test two subject lines to see which performs best.
You can also use the “conditional display” feature to create unique content blocks (including images, design, or text) that will display according to the conditions you define. For example, if you have a contact attribute “favoriteColor,” you can create conditional display rules that will show the user an image containing their favorite color based on this attribute.
When everything is set, you can choose which list to send your campaign to, whether you want to segment further based on contact details, and presto!
If you are into SMS-text marketing, then you’ll love Sendinblue’s SMS campaign functionality.
Enter a campaign name, SMS sender, and message, then send the message to your entire list in one shot.
What’s even more cool? You can create and manage Facebook Ads all from inside Sendinblue.
Use your email list as your target audience or leverage lookalike audiences to extend your reach further. If you’re not familiar with lookalike audiences, it just means that Facebook finds people who are “similar” to your other contacts in terms of interests and behavior.
Quickly setup and design your ad in the Sendinblue tool to save time and effort from switching back and forth from different tools.
If weeding through all the budgeting options in Facebook Ads manager sometimes makes your head hurt, you’ll appreciate the simplified ad budgeting options in Sendinblue.
To get started, connect your Facebook account through Sendinblue’s native integration and start reeling in relevant Facebook traffic.
Also, Sendinblue integrates with Facebook Leads Ads, so you can capture more information than just the click.
So you’ve conquered email marketing, Facebook ads, what’s next in your plan for marketing domination? Retargeting to websites across the web, of course!
Sendinblue partnered with AdRoll for this feature. After visitors of your site leave, you can set up a campaign to serve them banner ads on other relevant sites while they browse the internet, luring them to come back and revisit your site. Sell more by helping visitors return to your site and re-discover that product they forgot in their cart.
If this sounds like it would be complicated to set up, it’s not. Sendinblue makes it super simple.
When you start to build your retargeting campaign, you’ll notice the familiar and intuitive Sendinblue wizard. Next, add your campaign basics like title, design the banner ads, confirm and launch!
Statistics and Settings
Knowing you are an OG, you are probably the type that likes to dive into all the details of your digital marketing campaigns. If so, you should find your fill in the stats and settings sections. Analyze the metrics, create custom webhooks for more detailed integrations and notifications, integrate Google analytics and find all the more advanced functionality under the hood of Sendinblue.
Next, let’s jump into the powerful automation functionality of Sendinblue. This will let you quickly and effectively move prospects through your funnel even when in your sleep!
Automation works in 3 main steps:
For example, you can:
Via SMTP and SMS, you can send transactional emails and texts through the Sendinblue infrastructure. Track the delivery and engagement performance for events like email sign-ups, purchases, or specific announcements. The setup and workflow is similar to that of the email newsletter campaign, in which you can use the Drag and Drop editor, Rich Text Editor, or HTML code. Once you have your message templates created, you can integrate them into different triggers on your website using a plugin (like Shopify or Woocommerce) or the Sendinblue API. You can also use Sendinblue’s SMTP relay functionality if you just want to use their email servers to send default emails from your site.
The main aspect of the contacts section is a list of all of the people who have signed up for your emails or other campaign activity. You can intelligently search through contacts with advanced filters such as their engagement (reads, opens, etc) or contact details (name, date added, etc). If you just want to quickly add a one-off contact, you can do so by clicking “Add Contact.” To import a list using either a file or copy/paste method, click “Import Contacts.”
Beyond that, you can more effectively manage contacts by creating more specific lists and organizing them into folders.
Sendinblue includes a form builder so you can build the perfect lead capture form that meets your exact requirements for your site. The new form builder has been recently redesigned so you can design sleek forms using a drag and drop interface. Forms are mobile-responsive, GDPR-compliant, Captcha-compatible, and fully customizable to your brand colors and imagery. Forms are found under the Contacts section.
Another great option to build your list of subscribers is landing pages. Sendinblue has a native landing page builder to facilitate the creation of targeted landing pages quickly. You can build a landing page from scratch or select from several templates designed by professionals. Either way, you can fully customize the page via Sendinblue’s drag and drop landing page builder. Landing Pages are also found under the Contacts section in the top menu.
Take your contact management one step (or few steps) further via the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) module. Yes, Sendinblue has a CRM.
Keep more detailed notes of your customers to better serve their needs and close more deals. Segment your contacts into lists to apply certain workflows to them based on the customer type. For each customer, you can add notes, track activity, and attach relevant documents to help you nurture and close more business. Lastly, you can assign customers to different team members to ensure that accountability and customer’s main point of contact are clearly delineated throughout the organization.
Sendinblue has the ability to add a Chat Box to your website which you can manage via the SIB dashboard. Chat has become a more prevalent and effective marketing channel as of late. You can engage with customers as well as generate more leads via a good chat tool. With Sendinblue, you can install a chat functionality right onto your website. You will know which pages chat users visited to provide personalized assistance. Customize your chatbox with your brand colors and language of choice, whether it’s English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, or German. Just like with the CRM, you can assign team members to prospects in chat. Move them to the next stage of the funnel or resolve their support questions efficiently.
Sendinblue integrates with several marketing and business tools:
If you don’t see an integration here, reach out to Sendinblue or (if you are technical) check out the API documentation from Sendinblue and build your own.
Sendinblue pricing ranges from Free to $173/month. Enterprise plans available upon request.
One unique thing is that all plans, including the free tier, allow for unlimited contacts (you don’t even need a credit card).
The free tier is limited to 300 emails/day. The Lite Plan is 25/month and no daily sending limit. There is a plan called Essential at 39/month with higher monthly limits and the Premium plan, which includes all features and has two tiers: 66/month for up to 120K monthly emails or $173 for up to 350K monthly emails.
20% discounts are available if you pay annually, so seriously consider that option.
The best part is that OGs get a discount: 25% off your first month. It is super easy just join Sendinblue channel on OG, and you will have access to the promo code.
Not only are email and chat support available, but Sendinblue provides an account manager to walk you through setup and answer questions. Phone support on all plans including the free and lite plan for first 60 days! Customer support is available in 6 languages, including English.
Starting sign up is a breeze. Fill out the short form, confirm your email and then complete your profile.
Security is important so it’s required to enter your phone number and physical address which may make you pause. But a verified phone number is required for SMS and an address is important for your footer (especially to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM act if you are US-based).
Next you have to verify your domain, which makes sense since you will be sending emails using it. There are a few options for that, including sending an email to yourself. I choose the root file option, which is super easy if you have access to your hosting.
Support is great. I actually got a personal call from a Sendinblue representative to complete the process.
Also, you can open a ticket right in the dashboard. I hardly ever see that as an option for a tool. Usually you have to weed through the website footer to find the support link. Sendinblue makes it easy.
Sendinblue even provides an customer success manager if you opt for the Enterprise offer to walk you through setup and answer any of your questions.
Importing existing contacts is a matter of either uploading a file or copy & pasting them into a field. You can export Mailchimp contacts into a csv file if you are switching from Mailchimp to Sendinblue.
Since this is not a cold outreach tool, you must confirm that contacts opted in to receive emails from you. After importing, I got this message saying they needed to do some standard verifications on the list of contacts I imported. This operation took no more than 1 hour. You can tell that Sendinblue is serious about verification and reducing spam. Kudos!
The top-tier Premium plans (350K emails) come with a dedicated IP. Warm it up before you start sending to your huge email lists to optimize for deliverability. Sendinblue actually limits transactional emails sent to a quota for the lower plans to make sure you don’t go too big too fast!
After registering, you’ll receive an onboarding email from the CEO providing some useful guides and videos. The videos were helpful and should be leveraged as you get started.
If looking for a marketing suite, email marketing tool, or Mailchimp alternatives, give Sendinblue a serious look. The deep feature set is impressive, making it a good tool to have at the center of your marketing tool kit. The integrations are many, including Zapier, so it’s very flexible. Lastly, customer support is strong, and includes a dedicated account manager and priority access for large accounts.
The price points are reasonable and there is even a completely free tier that has no expiration date if you just want to dip your toes.
Don’t forget to join Sendinblue channel on Online Geniuses to get your OGs 25% off your first month!