getresponse review

What is Getresponse?
Getresponse is primarily an email marketing app that allows you to:

import and host a mailing list and capture data onto it
create newsletters which can be sent to the subscribers on your mailing list
automate your emails to subscribers via use of ‘autoresponders’
view and analyse statistics related to your email marketing campaigns – open rate, click through, forwards etc.
Recently however, Getresponse’s feature set has evolved quite a bit, to the point where it is becoming more of an ‘all-in-one’ marketing solution.

In addition to email marketing, it now also provides webinar hosting, landing pages, and some CRM (customer relationship management) functionality.

We’ll discuss all these features in depth below, but first, let’s look at pricing.

Getresponse pricing
There are three main types of Getresponse pricing plan – ‘Email’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Max’ — and within each of these, several additional types of plan to choose from (all based on list size).

Up to 1,000 subscribers: $15 (‘Email’) / $49 (‘Pro’) / $165 (‘Max’)
1,001 to 2,500 subscribers: $25 (‘Email’) / $49 (‘Pro’) / $165 (‘Max’)
2,501 to 5,000 subscribers: $45 (‘Email’) / $49 (‘Pro’) / $165 (‘Max’)
5,001 to 10,000 subscribers: $65 (‘Email’)/ $75 (‘Pro’) / $ 165 (‘Max’)
10,001 to 25,000 subscribers: $145 (‘Email’) / $165 (‘Pro’) / $255 (‘Max’)
25,001 to 50,000 subscribers: $250 (‘Email’) / $280 (‘Pro’) / $370 (‘Max’)
50,001 to 100,000 subscribers: $450 (‘Email’) / $490 (‘Pro’) / $580 (‘Max’)
Additionally there is an “Enterprise” plan for users whose lists exceed 100,000 email addresses: this starts at $1199, with exact pricing depending on requirements (if you’re interested in the “Enterprise” plan, you’ll need to contact Getresponse to schedule a demo, outline your needs and discuss pricing).

Significant discounts are available if you pay upfront for 12 or 24 months of service (18% and 30% respectively) — these are considerably more generous than most competing platforms.

Key differences between plans
All the Getresponse plans cover the important basics — key features include:

the ability to import, grow and host an email database
a wide range of templates
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:

CRM – Getresponse provides a customer relationship manager tool on its ‘Pro’ plans up
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’ and ‘Max’ plans at 100, 500 respectively (it’s unclear what the limit is on the ‘Enterprise’ plan).
Users – you can only have one user account on the ‘Email’ plan; by contrast you get 3 on ‘Pro’, 5 on ‘Max’ and 10 on ‘Enterprise’.
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, the pay-per-month Getresponse plans are on the whole cheaper than those provided by many of its key competitors, particularly if you have a reasonably large number of email addresses on your database.

For example, if you have a mailing list containing between 9,000 and 10,000 records that you wish to send an unlimited number of emails per month to, you’ll find that hosting it with Getresponse costs $65 per month.

This is:

$4 per month cheaper than with Aweber
$10 cheaper per month than Mailchimp
$84 per month 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 per month too. If you are happy to limit the number of emails sent via Campaign Monitor (in the example above, to 50k emails), you can expect to pay a monthly fee of $89, still considerably higher than Getresponse’s.

The only well-known service I can think of that comes in significantly cheaper is Mad Mimi, which charges $42 per month to host up to 10,000 email addresses (note however that the functionality offered by Mad Mimi is nowhere near as extensive as Getresponse’s or indeed the other products mentioned above).

It’s also worth pointing out that Mailchimp offers narrower pricing bands, meaning that depending on the size of your list, it might occasionally be a slightly cheaper option than Getresponse.

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; $59 on Campaign Monitor (unlimited send).

Mailchimp’s monthly fee for a 1,000 record database is the same as Getresponse’s; and Mad Mimi provides a slightly cheaper, if much less functional offering for $12 per month.

Two final things to be aware of on the pricing front:

Some competing providers — notably Mailchimp – offer completely free accounts for users with a small number of records (but these do not offer the full range of features that you get on a paid plan).
As mentioned earlier, if you are prepared to pay upfront for 1 or 2 years, you can avail of substantial discounts that the other competitors don’t yet provide.
So the bottom line is that Getresponse is pretty competitive in the pricing department. But what about features?

Key Getresponse features
Getresponse’s feature set is arguably one of the most comprehensive out there.

Not only does it provide all the key stuff you’d expect from an email marketing platform – list hosting, templates, autoresponders, analytics and so on, but as mentioned above, it’s recently been expanding the feature set to the point where it’s morphing into an all-in-one / CRM-style marketing platform.

The question is whether Getresponse is a jack of all trades and master of none – let’s drill down into the key features to find out.

Autoresponders
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
clicks
subscriptions to particular lists
changes in contact preferences
completed transactions / goals
birthdays
changes in user data
Recently Getresponse launched a new 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.

This kind of functionality goes way beyond what’s traditionally been on offer from autoresponders, and allows you to create a user journey that can be customised to the nth degree.

For a quick overview I’d suggest taking a look at Getresponse’s video overview for Marketing Automation.

It’s important to note, however, that these more advanced marketing automation features are only available on the more expensive plans – the ‘Pro’ plan and up.

Analytics
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:
Split testing
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.

By contrast,

Aweber currently doesn’t offer any split testing functionality
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.
Getresponse e-newsletter templates
So far so good with Getresponse, but when it comes to templates, Getresponse arguably falls down a bit.

Unfortunately, the templates provided out of the box look a bit dated; they are not as attractive as those offered by Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor (and I slightly prefer Aweber’s offering here too).

On the plus side, the 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 — over 500 — 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.

If you’re really unhappy with the templates provided by Getresponse, there’s also the option of buying a template from a third party supplier such as Theme Forest.

Another thing worth pointing out regarding Getresponse’s templates is that the range of RSS-to-email applications options are not very extensive (only 11 templates are provided – well short of the 700+ available for regular newsletters!) 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 definitely some improvements that could be made in this area.
Responsive email designs
Getresponse was ahead of its competitors for quite 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).

Not only this but you can ‘flip’ the smartphone preview around, so that you can preview what your email looks like when the screen is used in either portrait or landscape mode.
Web fonts
One thing I’d love to see added to Getresponse is support for web fonts – as things stand, only the usual ‘web safe fonts’ can be used (Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, Trebuchet etc.) in e-newsletters created with Getresponse.

This leads to emails displaying more consistently across email programs – but can result in e-newsletters looking a bit more boring than they otherwise could.

It would be nice, given the major email clients’ increasing support for web fonts, to see Getresponse allow users to incorporate them into their HTML emails. Some competing products now allow use of a limited number of some web fonts, so it would be good to see this feature added to Getresponse soon.

(Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor are two examples of products which facilitate web font usage – the fonts included in Mailchimp are very boring ones however, to the point where you might as well use the web safe ones!).

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 and Aweber require you to make use of a third party (and paid-for) landing page creating tool like Unbounce or Instapage; Mailchimp recently introduced some landing page functionality but it is yet to become as sophisticated at Getresponse’s.
However, unless you are on a Getresponse ‘Pro’, ‘Max’ or ‘Enterprise’ plan, the Getresponse landing page functionality is rather limited: you can just create one landing page, which can only be displayed 1,000 times per month.

Additionally, and very importantly, you can’t use the landing page A/B testing functionality on the cheapest Getresponse plan (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).

If you’re serious about landing pages – and they are unquestionably a useful feature – then it’s definitely worth looking at one of the more expensive Getresponse plans.

You can buy the Landing Pages feature as an add-on for an extra $15 per month, but very frustratingly, although the add-on allows you to display an unlimited number of landing pages to potential subscribers, it doesn’t include A/B testing.

Accordingly, if I was interested in the Getresponse landing page functionality, I wouldn’t bother with this rather half-baked add-on: I’d just go for one of the more expensive plans (which I guess is what Getresponse want you to do!).

Webinars
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 extremely appealing.

The pricing is also very competitive too by comparison to established webinar solutions. For example, one of the leading webinar services, Gotowebinar, charges $199 per month to host webinars with up to 500 attendees; you can actually do the same (and a whole lot more) with Getresponse for $165 (so long as your list size is under 25,000).

With regard to attendee limits, the Getresponse ‘Pro’ plan allows you to host a webinar with up to 100 participants; the ‘Max’ plan’s cap is 500.

You can also buy webinars functionality as an add-on to a cheaper plan: $40 per month buys you a 100 attendees limit, $99 per month buys you a 500 attendees limit. It’s not clear what your options are if you need to host larger scale webinars than that however.

 

 

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