In this Getresponse review, we take a look at one of the most popular tools for designing and sending HTML e-newsletters. Read on to see how it fares in terms of pricing, features, templates, usability and more.
The Getresponse pricing structure is quite complicated. There are three main types of plan - "Email", "Pro" and "Max" - and within each of these, 7 additional types of plan to choose from (all based on list size)...meaning that there are 21 different plans to pick from:
- Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 ('Email') / $49 ('Pro') / $165 ('Max').
- 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers: $25 / $49 / $165
- 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $45 / $49 / $165
- 5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $65 / $75 / $ 165
- 10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $145 / $165 / $255
- 25,001 to 50,000 subscribers: $250 / $280 / $370
- 50,001 to 100,000 subscribers: $450 / $490 / $580
Additionally there is an "Enterprise" plan for users whose lists exceed 100,000 email addresses: you will need to contact Getresponse to discuss costs for this.
Key differences between plans
All three Getresponse plans cover the important basics; key features include:
- the ability to import, grow and host an email database
- a wide range of templates
- excellent autoresponder functionality
- responsive email designs
- split testing
- in-depth reporting
- RSS / blog to-email functionality
- comprehensive segmentation options
- social sharing tools
There are a number of differences between the 'Email', 'Pro' and 'Max' plans but for me the key ones are:
- landing pages - you can only avail of landing pages that allow split testing and unlimited views if you are on a 'Pro' plan or higher
- webinars - this functionality is not available at all on the 'Email' plan and the number of webinar attendees is capped for the 'Pro', 'Max' and 'Enterprise' plans at 100, 500 and 1000 respectively.
We'll discuss these features in more depth later in the review.
How does Getresponse pricing compare to that of its competitors?
So long as you are happy to use one of the entry-level 'Email' plans, Getresponse is on the whole cheaper than many of its key competitors. particularly if you have a lot of email addresses on your database.
For example, if you have a mailing list containing between 9,000 and 10,000 records, you'll find that hosting it with Getresponse costs $65 per month - $4 per month cheaper than with Aweber; $10 cheaper than Mailchimp and $14 to $144 cheaper than Campaign Monitor (Campaign Monitor's pricing structure depends not just the number of email addresses on your database but on how many emails you send too). The only competing service I can find that comes in cheaper is Mad Mimi, which charges $42 per month (note however that the functionality offered by Mad Mimi is not nearly as extensive as Getresponse's).
At the smaller database end of things, Getresponse's pricing is pretty competitive too - you can host a database containing 1,000 email addresses for $15 a month with Getresponse, compared to $29 with Aweber; and $19 to $129 on Campaign Monitor. Mailchimp's fee for a 1,000 record database is the same as Getresponse's; and Mad Mimi provides slightly a cheaper, if less 'fully-specced' offering for $12.
It is worth noting however that some competing providers offer completely free accounts for users with a small number of records (but these do not usually offer the full range of features that you get on a paid plan).
Key features of Getresponse
Getresponse's feature set is arguably one of the most comprehensive out there. Let's take a look at some key features.
Autoresponders are e-newsletters that are sent to your subscribers at intervals determined by you – you can set them up so that immediately after somebody signs up to your mailing list, they receive a welcome message from your business; a week later they could receive a discount offer for some of your products or services; three weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on social media. And so on.
Getresponse's autoresponder functionality is a key selling point - it offers one of the most comprehensive feature sets available. You can send either time-based or action-based messages; time-based options include cycles such as the example above, and action-based messages can be triggered by user actions or information, for example:
- opens and clicks
- changes in contact preferences
- completed transactions
- completion of a particular form
Recently Getresponse launched a new Beta version of their new autoresponder functionality, called 'Marketing Automation.' This allows you to create automation workflows using a drag and drop builder - you basically set up an 'automation flowchart' that instructs Getresponse what to do if a user opens a particular offer, clicks on a certain link etc.
I haven't seen anything like this yet in competing products and it has some very interesting applications. For a quick overview I'd suggest taking a look at Getresponse's video overview for Marketing Automation.
Getresponse offers some very comprehensive analytics and reporting options. You get all the basics of course - open rate, click-through, unsubscribe rates and so on - but in addition to that there are some very nifty features that are worth a particular mention, namely:
- 'one-click segmentation': the option to identify people who did not engage with an e-newsletter you sent and put them in a segment of subscribers which you can then email again with a different version of the e-newsletter
- 'metrics over time': you can find out exactly when most of your subscribers take action on your emails, and time your future mailouts based on this information
- 'email ROI': by adding some tracking code to your post-sales page on your site, you can find out how effectively (or not!) your email campaigns are driving sales, and work out your return on investment in email marketing.
- per-user information - you can click on one of your subscribers and see where they signed up from, where they're located and which emails they've opened in the past.
Mailchimp and Aweber offer some similar reporting functionality (particularly around sales tracking) but Getresponse's reporting tool is definitely one of most fully featured out there (it definitely trounces the stats options offered by Mad Mimi and Campaign Monitor).
Another Getresponse feature that stands out is its split testing functionality - it's more comprehensive than that provided by several competitors, because it allows you to split test up to five different messages - Aweber allows up to 4 variations; Campaign Monitor allows 2; Mailchimp allows 3 (on its cheaper plan - more are available on the 'Pro' feature, but at a cost of an eye-watering $199 per month on top of the standard Mailchimp montly fees); Mad Mimi doesn't provide split testing at all.
Getresponse e-newsletter templates
For me, this is where Getresponse falls down a bit: I think the templates provided out of the box look rather dated; they are certainly not as attractive as those offered by Mailchimp (and I slightly prefer Aweber's offering here too).
On the plus side, the Getresponse templates are very tweakable - you can change fonts, layouts and imagery easily enough using the controls provided; and of course there is nothing to stop you simply designing your own HTML email template and importing the code for it. Additionally, there are tons of templates to choose from, and they are presented in easy-to-understand categories - so it is generally pretty straightforward to find a good starting point for a template and edit it until you are happy with the design.
Another gripe I have with Getresponse's templates concerns the ones they offer for RSS-to-email applications: the range is not very extensive and some of them played up a bit for me when I tested them in Outlook (2010). I eventually found something that worked for me, but I think that there are some improvements that could be made in this area.
Getresponse was ahead of its competitors for some time with its responsive email design functionality, which automatically adjusts your e-newsletter's template so that if a user is reading it on a mobile device, the layout and fonts will be automatically optimised for the device in question.
Most competing products have caught up on this now, and offer responsive email templates, but Getresponse is better than most similar products when it comes to displaying a responsive preview of your e-newsletter - you simply hit a 'mobile preview' button to get an instant snapshot of what your email looks like on a smartphone (see image right).
On the whole, Getresponse is pretty straightforward to use. It's certainly easy enough to do all the basics: import contacts, create campaigns, set up autoresponders and check statistics (which, incidentally, are very comprehensive) and the interface is pretty clean and intuitive (if slightly dated looking). In terms of how it stacks up against its competitors in this regard, I would argue that Campaign Monitor is a little more user friendly, and Mailchimp has a slicker user interface (although one that makes finding certain functionality a little bit tricky at times).
One area I feel that could be significantly better from a user-friendliness point of view is the e-newsletter editor. Whilst its drag-and-drop approach does in theory provide a very flexible way to create blocks of content and move them around an e-newsletter, in practice it is quite clunky to use and can lead to accidental deletion of content, or placement of it in the wrong part of the e-newsletter. If you can get your head around it, and practice using it a bit, it does make for a very useful tool - it's just frustrating that the implementation of this good idea is relatively poor.
Overall though, there are no major usability complaints - Getresponse need to make some minor improvements, particularly where email editing is concerned, but I haven't identified any problems that would fundamentally put me off using the tool for campaigns. It'd just be nice to see a slightly more up-to-date interface being applied.
Getresponse support is pretty comprehensive: the company offers phone support (9am-5pm EST), email support and live chat support along with various online tutorials / resources. It's not clear from the Getresponse website what hours email and live chat support is operated during though - it would be helpful if the company clarified that.
Getresponse set themselves apart from their competitors by offering phone support - most other companies providing email marketing solutions don't (Aweber being a notable exception).
Landing page creator
Online advertising campaigns that make use of landing pages will usually generate far more leads if, rather than simply directing people to a (cluttered!) website, they point users to attractive 'squeeze pages' containing clear information and a clean, well-designed data capture form.
Getresponse offers something very useful in this regard that most of its competitors don't: a landing page creator (and one that's mobile-friendly to boot). Products like Campaign Monitor, Aweber or Mailchimp all of require you to make use of a third party (and paid-for) landing page creating tool like Unbounce or Instapage.
However, unless you are on a Getresponse 'Pro', 'Max' or 'Enterprise' plan, the landing page functionality is rather limited: your landing page can only be displayed 1,000 times per month and you can't use the A/B testing functionality (whereby the system shows a sample of your users different versions of your landing page, calculates conversion rates, and ultimately rolls out the best performing landing page automatically).
Proper landing page functionality will definitely tempt users in the direction of a 'Pro' plan and up, but frustratingly, the way that Getresponse pricing tiers are structured will mean some users will need to pay significantly more to obtain this functionality than others.
For example, if you have a list containing 2501 records, you can upgrade from an 'Email' plan to a 'Pro' one and get landing pages for just an additional $4 per month; but if your list size is less than 1,000 you are looking at a $24 upgrade cost. With Getresponse's old pricing structure, getting the landing page creator add-on simply involved paying an additional $15 on your plan - the new pricing structure is confusing and means some customers are getting much better deals than others.
Getresponse recently introduced the ability to host webinars on the platform. Given that webinars are generally used as a lead-generation tactic, the idea of having your email database and your webinar tool under the same roof is very appealing. The pricing is also very competitive too by comparison to established webinar solutions: Gotowebinar, for example, charges $199 per month to host webinars with up to 500 attendees; you can actually do the same with Getresponse for $165 (so long as your list size is under 25,000).
I have not tested the webinar functionality, and as Getresponse is a new kid on the block here, it's likely that the more established solutions such as Gotwebinar and Webex provide more advanced features than Getresponse - but still, it's a potentially very useful feature to have sitting in your e-marketing arsenal and its inclusion as a feature gives Getresponse a significant edge over its key competitors.
Getresponse free trial
Finally, the 30-day free trial that Getresponse is fully functional - i.e., you can make use of a big list with it - and the offer does not come with a requirement to provide credit card details. This helps you avoid that annoying "oops I forgot I signed up for that trial and now I'm getting charged for a product I don't use" scenario.
Review conclusions / Getresponse pros and cons
Getresponse represents one of the more cost-effective ways to host and communicate with an email database. Here are a few pros and cons of using it:
Pros of using Getresponse
- So long as you are happy to use an 'Email' plan, Getresponse is cheaper than most of its key competitors (in certain cases, significantly so) whilst offering just as much, if not more functionality as them.
- Its reporting and comprehensive split testing features are very strong.
- It sends responsive emails and allows you to preview smartphone versions of your e-newsletters very easily.
- It comes with a useful landing page creator - although you have to be on a more expensive plan to get the fully functional version of this.
- Its free trial is generous: you can try out all its features free for 30 days without the need to enter credit card details.
- The Marketing Automation functionality sets it apart.
- Support is comprehensive and includes phone support.
Cons of using Getresponse
- The drag and drop interface for designing emails can be a little bit on the fiddly side.
- There is a limited range of RSS-to-HTML e-newsletter templates.
- The templates are a little bit on the dated side.
- The pricing structure is a bit confusing, and some users - depending on their list size - will end up paying more than others to access certain features (for example where Landing Pages are concerned).
- The user interface would benefit from being refreshed - competing products such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor come with a cleaner, more modern back end.