Campaign Monitor Review

Campaign Monitor Review

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8.5/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #26 in category Email marketing service
Campaign Monitor is one of the leading e-mail marketing platforms of the market across the world. It offers a reliable alternative to other well-known solutions, like Mailchimp, as it delivers all the essential features within a reasonable price. The dashboard design, while not able to please everyone, is quite decent and gets the job done. Check out the main features, practical details, pros and cons, and our conclusion regarding the use of Campaign Monitor at a professional level.
Features
9
Easy to use
8.5
Pricing
8
Support
8.5
PROS:
  • Templates
  • Branding
CONS:
  • No Phone Support
  • No Import From Gmail
  • Free Trial With up to 5 Contacts

 

Main features

 

Pricing

Users setting up campaigns for up to five people can use the platform for free and don’t even have to provide payment information. This is useful, although standard for those who want to try out the service before subscribing to it.

Basic

The basic plan costs $9 per month, allowing to include up to 500 contacts or subscribers and sending up to 2,500 mails (monthly). It includes the availability of a template library, to watch statistics regarding the performance of your mailing campaigns and access to the support team, through e-mail.

If you want to host more contacts and send more e-mails, you can buy more expensive packs on Basic:

  • 2,500 subscribers and 12,500 emails/month: starts at $29/month
  • 5,000 subscribers and 25,000 emails/month: starts at $49/month
  • 50,000 subscribers and 250,000 emails/month: starts at $299/month

For more than 50,000 subscribers, your plan will be customized.

Unlimited

You can pay for hosting 50,000 contacts and yet stick to the Basic plan. Although, if you’re really generating money, you might want to upgrade to Unlimited at any time. With Unlimited, users can send unlimited e-mails but still have a subscriber limit, starting at $29/month for 500 addresses. Other features include autoresponder options, quicker support (by e-mail), and spam testing.

Premier

Premier is still tiered based on the number of contacts of your list, but starting at $149/month offers the complete range of functionalities. Includes design consulting regarding the templates used by your brand, advanced link track options, and phone support, aside from e-mail.

Subscriber List

If you’re eager to start, you can create your subscriber list while creating your first campaign. It is also possible to build your list before the creation of a campaign. This will allow you to tailor your list to your needs carefully.

The process is easy. It is possible to insert users manually (in a text box, separated with commas), or copy and paste chunks of information. Campaign Monitor also determines the acceptability of your uploads. It prefers contacts that made their subscription on the user’s site, bought something in the last two years, or gave their data offline.

Unlimited Lists

A cool feature of Campaign Monitor is the fact that you can create unlimited lists with your subscribers. This is very useful, as you can send several different newsletters to your list, allow the sending of quick, short campaigns, continuously change your approach, and don’t care if you’re stepping over any limitation. The unlimited lists features make the service quite flexible.

Creating a Campaign

Creating campaigns in this service is pretty straightforward. Start with the headline, an e-mail address for the sender, and the respective name. If you want to address the subscribers by their name (customizing the communication and making it look less automatic), it is easy to do. Your lists should include the first and last name of your contacts, and they can be included in the e-mail (by first name only, last name only, or full name).

The next step is to use one of the several Campaign Monitor e-mail templates or import your own HTML template. If you’re considering sending an e-mail with text alone, please note that Campaign Monitor won’t be able to track data (openings, clicks) on non-HTML messages. Nowadays, sending an HTML newsletter or mail deal is completely standard; if you want to send e-mails just with text, you might not need to track data anyway.

Adding visual elements is done through drag-and-drop, very quickly. However, it is not possible to preview an e-mail (before sending) as a mobile version, but only as a desktop version. Some other e-mail marketing services include this feature, which is very useful as the market share for mobile users (comparing to desktop) is still growing.

Aside from regular mails, Campaign Monitor lets you send automated messages like birthdays, responses for mail openings, and others. Especially useful is the option of receiving an e-mail when the process of sending a mass communication is completed.

Tracking a Campaign

The tracking of campaigns is made in a highly professional manner, giving the marketer almost all the tools needed. The reports show how many e-mails were opened, how many bounced back, or how many links (inside the e-mails) were clicked. Counting the number of unsubscribes is useful, but registering the number of shares in social media is, nowadays, extremely valuable.

The chart information allows you to quickly check out at what time of the day, there are more clicks and openings. This will enable redefining the hours of sending future communications to achieve the best response rates. If your mailing list is small, you can fine-tune the data to the maximum, as it is possible to track subscribers and their clicks down to the IP address. It is also possible to check out the platform used to click, which could also be a way to guide your future marketing efforts. If no clicks are coming from mobile, maybe it’s because the text of the graphic ideas is not being designed for that environment. (Campaign Monitor is responsive for mobile so that you could rule out that possibility).

Campaign Monitor Templates

The campaign templates are one of the strongest points of the service. There are about 50 different templates, designed with a high degree of professionalism. If you’re not a designer or you don’t have one in your team, these templates can give the “pro look” you’re searching for.

The templates are responsive, which means they’ll adapt to any kind of screen (whether your contacts access your mail on a mobile phone or a desktop PC or laptop.) They are also generally bug-free. The testers also valued the use of several web fonts, at the user’s choice.

There are several categories of templates based on the most common needs of marketers. You can choose templates for regular newsletters, some special ones for offers and promotions, to get feedback, make announcements, and others.

Drag and Drop

Modern services allow users to build a basic tool by “dragging and dropping” pre-made elements, instead of building them manually like a web designer: the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) model. This is what happens with website building service Wix, for instance. The templates of Campaign Monitor work in the same way. Adding images and content is easy.

HTML

If you’re a technical pro or if you have a designer with you, you can import your perfect and tailored HTML structures into your template, up to the point of building yours completely, of course. The back office allows you to import outside content easily and to reuse it in the future.

Apps and CRM

The ability to integrate with apps and CRM software is a major advantage of Campaign Monitor. Everyone is aware that good marketing efforts need different platforms to function, and your e-mail marketing cannot ignore that you’re operating on Facebook too. Campaign Monitor allows you to have a subscription form on your Facebook page, for instance. It also works intertwined with Salesforce, the world-leading CRM software.

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Practical details

 

Importing and Exporting Your Data

The easiness of dealing with data is one of the distinctive features of Campaign Monitor. The main data formats are included:

  • TXT
  • XLS
  • XLSX
  • CSV
  • vCard
  • ZIP, RAR

Aside from importing, the user could also export its data whenever he wants, into a CSV format file.

Restrictions

The platform shows some requirements about data use, but nothing more than the conventional safety standards of the industry. Lists not mailed for a long time, bought, or otherwise imported lists from external sources or data associated with specific industries (like gambling) won’t be allowed.

These restrictions are also applied by other mail marketing platforms and are great for your own safety. Otherwise, your marketing effort could be classified as spam and put into blacklists.

Data Segmentation

For marketers, segmentation is everything. The ability to search, finding, and tracking the most likely clients to a product or service is the equivalent of finding the perfect spot for gold diggers. A good marketing platform must allow as much segmentation as possible.

Data segmentation is another strong point of Campaign Monitor. It is possible to send the same e-mail for different lists, or segments of a list. The opposite is also doable: to exclude a portion or an entire list from a given mailout or campaign.

Let’s say you have a special offer for new clients within a specific range of characteristics, and you have a list for new and existing clients. You must be able to segment the latest and the existing clients within that list so that the current clients won’t receive that communication with an exclusive offer for new clients – which could lead to an awkward situation. The data segmentation functions of Campaign Monitor allow you to avoid this easily.

Automation

 

Autoresponders

The auto-responding e-mails are an essential feature of any e-mail marketing platform. As a marketer, you can automatically drive and guide a new user or subscriber on a “journey” through the “story” you want to tell.

Campaign Monitor allows you to pre-define several programmed communications in a natural way. Unfortunately, the “journey” can not be assigned to imported contacts (from an external list), which can be useful to introduce a bunch of new contacts to the “story.”

Marketing Automation

Going deeper than autoresponders, the marketing automation tools allow the marketer to set up automatic replies in response to certain actions made by the users, subscribers, or potential clients.

Let’s say that the user clicked on a specific link on the website, which could indicate he/she is interested in a given product or promotion. He/She could receive a programmed and specific e-mail as a result.

The same could be made for the purchase of some products (the client could be thanked for buying, given some useful information about it, and so on), the visit of specific pages on the site, and more.

RSS-To-Email

The triggering of e-mails by RSS is a useful tool for Campaign Monitor. It is possible to use an RSS feed from a site to send a newsletter automatically. Unfortunately, the templates of the service can’t be used to send e-mails through RSS, which can result in an apparent marketing dissonance between what works with RSS within your service and what does not.

Sign-up Forms

It’s easy to create sign-up forms with Campaign Monitor. This is essential for marketers to collect e-mail addresses and users, at several points of the marketing funnel. The process to create embeddable buttons is quite straightforward, regarding its configuration.

Campaign Monitor has a specific app that is of great use, called Enlist. It allows you to get e-mails addresses on-the-go, which is excellent to use in events. Let’s say you’re at a fair or exhibition, and you want to generate prospects. Enlist allows you to do this very quickly, and you can even make it offline and synchronize later. The only negative is that the app is iOS exclusive (iPad only).

Analytics

You can go very deep into the analysis of the statistics and analytics with Campaign Monitor. It’s easy to access numbers regarding open rates, unsubscribes, and all sorts of clicks. It’s also possible to track individual users into a very high level of detail. You can check which e-mails they ignored, which they opened, what links did they click, and even more: when did they take those actions and on what kind of device.

Some critics say that other e-mail marketing platforms could deliver more information. Still, for a marketer that wants the job done and to know the essentials about the behavior of its subscribers, this platform works ok.

The information can be easily exported into a PDF, which is also a handy tool.

Testing Newsletters

A/B testing of newsletters is also a standard feature of e-mail marketing platforms, and Campaign Monitor is not an exception. The functionality allows you to pick two small random samples of your list and test two variables, by sending them and checking the response performance.

Campaign Monitor allows testing two different versions of an e-mail. You can vary the content, the sender, or the subject. It’s excellent and effortless to do, but other platforms offer more detailed versions of this functionality, allowing you to test more variants and to send more than two messages in the same test.

Support

The support teamwork is generally good, although not everyone agrees with the standard “rule” of prioritizing Unlimited users of Basic ones. Unlimited will get their requests solved quicker. However, the fact that there are more Basic than Unlimited clients also contributes, in an organic way, for this. The wiki-like forum also provides quick answers to the most common issues.

Phone support is only available for Premier users, which is a distinctive perk of the premium, top client plan.

Interface

The interface is among the most praised features of Campaign Monitor. We could even compare it to an “Apple” experience, in the way that the buttons are large, the main commands are always accessible and you don’t have to navigate endlessly to reach for what you want to see or to do. Even from a visual, design point of view, the interface of Campaign Monitor never lets you down.

The quality of the interface is one of the characteristics which make Campaign Monitor highly recommended for newbies or relatively inexperienced marketers. It makes them come to grips with the main functions of the e-mail marketing job quickly and easily.

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Pros and Cons

Let’s now evaluate, and summarize, the strong and weak points of Campaign Monitor as an e-mail marketing platform.

Pros

 

Templates

The availability of templates is, without a doubt, a very strong point of Campaign Monitor. The service provides quality and quantity in this feature. There are a lot of templates, and they have a great design.

Branding

It is also simple to customize your brand within the Campaign Monitor service. The end client never feels that a third party provides the e-mails service.

Interface

The quality of design applied to the templates is a philosophy of the company, and it is also reflected in the interface. Easy and pleasant to use, it makes Campaign Monitor especially recommended for marketing beginners.

Autoresponding

No e-mail marketing service could live with it, and this platform is up to the job. Marketers have an easy job making the platform work for them.

Data Segmentation

Like auto-responding, this is another essential feature for e-mail marketers, decently covered by Campaign Monitor.

Enlist

Getting data at events, made easy.

Google Analytics

It could be seen as a standard, but we should consider the integration with Google Analytics as a positive point, nonetheless.

Integration

Integrating the service with apps and services like Facebook and Salesforce is a big plus.

Cons

 

No Phone Support

Having phone support only for Premier (top tier) clients doesn’t seem enough. Especially compared with the competitors. Also, there is no chat support.

No Import From Gmail

It would be great to import lists from Gmail, which is a ubiquitous e-mail service. Unfortunately, it is not possible, neither from Gmail nor from third-party address books.

No Real-Time Analytics

The analytics of the service is good and detailed, but expert users would love to be able to have access to real-time ones. Especially when you’re setting up a promotion or short-term deal, and you’d like to check data and react accordingly in the shortest period possible.

No Image Library

An image library could also be useful to fill and diversify the marketing content sent through Campaign Monitor.

Free Trial With up to 5 Contacts

Five contacts allow an understanding of how the platform works, which is fine. But it’s an insufficient sample to really get the “marketing feel” of it.

Split Testing 2 Variants

Compared with its competitors, this is a weak point. It’s frequent for the marketer to need to test three of four different subject headers, for instance.

Price

You may conclude that some competitors offer better prices or at least more functions for equivalent price tags.

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What Kind of Alternatives Are There?

For those who are not persuaded about the strengths and features of Campaign Monitor, the market offers alternatives as follows.

The most well-known is, likely, Mailchimp. More than a decade ago, Mailchimp was seen as the up-and-coming e-mail marketing platform service, destined to obliterate its competitors. It was innovative, clean, and good-looking, and efficient. It did not eliminate the competition, though, and today one could wonder if the price tag isn’t somewhat overvalued regarding the provided features. Anyway, it is a reliable and established e-mail marketing service.

For marketers looking for the cheapest service possible, having yet to make robust profits from their business, one could point Mad Mimi as an example of a low-cost service. However, several of the critical features of Campaign Monitor are missing, and a more experienced marketer (or one running a demanding, full-blown business) will quickly miss them.

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Conclusion

Campaign Monitor is a proven, efficient, and easy-to-use e-mail marketing platform. It is good for inexperienced marketers due to its graphical excellence and easiness to operate. It is also good for the experienced ones, as it allows going into great detail regarding data analysis.

The most demanding marketers could feel disappointed with some details, like the absence of real-time data analysis or of mail preview for mobile. The support lacking phone (in Basic and Unlimited plans) and chat support could also be a nuisance. But these issues can be mainly compensated by the fact that Campaign Monitor offers many things that you can do with your data. The integration with other services and platforms is precious, making you focus on your marketing duties, rather than understanding the platform you have in front of you. And making things easier, not harder, is the primary and fundamental goal of using a technological tool.

Campaign Monitor Review
Campaign Monitor Review
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