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  5. Keap vs Mailchimp: Which Offers Better Value? [2024 Update]

Keap vs Mailchimp: Which Offers Better Value? [2024 Update]

Alexandros Melidoniotis Alexandros MelidoniotisEmail Marketing Expert
Keap (Infusionsoft) and Mailchimp are two of the oldest email marketing platforms, but they’re structured and marketed differently. Whereas Mailchimp is a beginner-friendly, email marketing-focused service, Keap positions itself as a more advanced all-in-one marketing platform better suited for medium-sized businesses.

In most cases, I’d recommend Mailchimp. It’s a well-designed platform packing more than enough power to help you build and maintain a strong email presence with your audience.

Although not the cheapest email marketing software (EMS) around, Mailchimp is a lot cheaper than Keap. That said, we shouldn’t rush to count Keap out so fast. While not the best choice for smaller businesses on a budget, Keap by Infusionsoft is a very competent EMS with added customer relationship management (CRM) and sales functionality.

If you’ve outgrown Mailchimp and are looking for a more powerful option, Keap would probably serve you well – provided you can handle the cost. Keep (pun-intended) reading to determine which platform better meets your needs.

mailchimp logo alt 2

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Mailchimp’s Better at Email, but Keap’s Better at CRM

If you want to import a few thousand contacts, create emails, and set up some basic automations, Mailchimp and Keap will both do just fine. They feature beautiful modern templates, easy-to-use builders, and branching workflow automations. So far, so good.

Here’s the problem: While Mailchimp expands naturally on its ecosystem of features as the price increases, Keap throws extra stuff at you, hoping that something sticks. It then jumps to the rescue with an expensive 5-session coaching package at $499. Keap has embraced complexity and incorporated it into its processes as a unique quality – there’s just too much that’s not explained. You can even hire “certified” partners to do everything for you.

Since I last tried Keap, it’s gotten rid of the cheap Lite plan, which means everything is even more expensive now. The only upside to this change is that you get to experience more of the platform’s features without significant limitations.

Let’s talk templates. Keap features 75+ highly responsive email templates that look decent. Mailchimp does charge extra for its 60+ templates but they are worth the extra cost, in my opinion. They all have a distinct look with well-placed elements and work well on both large and small screens.

Mailchimp email templates
Mailchimp’s premium templates cost extra but look fantastic
In terms of automation, Mailchimp offers more pre-built templates and a more intuitive interface. Everything is where I expected it to be, while with Keap, it took me more time to get the same things done. Reportedly, Keap’s Max Classic plan (Infusionsoft) comes with an array of advanced automation tools, but its high price tag places it out of reach for most.

So what does Keap have going on for it? Well, it offers more sales-focused tools than Mailchimp (e.g., pipeline automations and sales funnels), and there’s even an option to add whole companies as contacts. I also like how Keap allows you to set up and manage appointments directly through the software’s menu.

Keap CRM tool
Keap does CRM justice, especially if you’re using the Infusionsoft version of the software
Overall, Mailchimp has better templates than Keap and makes it easier for users to set up automations. It also offers more advanced email features as an email-first marketing platform.

Ease of Use

Mailchimp’s a Pleasure to Use – Keap Is a Challenge

Mailchimp in-feature tips
Mailchimp displays tips in all the right places, guiding users through its processes
When it comes to essentials like email and form builders, both platforms have intuitive drag-and-drop tools that will get the job done. I find Mailchimp easier to use, perhaps because I’ve spent more time creating campaigns there than on Keap. Still, I appreciate Keap’s advanced preview mode and easy image editing tool. You can resize, crop, and add filters to your pictures with a few clicks.

But what about segmentation? Although you can easily set up tasks and appointments through its CRM tool, Keap’s segmentation is limited to tags. Mailchimp’s also guilty of this, as it keeps its lists siloed, making it impossible to create dynamic segments that are automatically updated based on contact behavior. Neither excels here, so if you manage multiple lists and want complete control of your segments, check out ActiveCampaign.

That said, I never felt lost when I was learning how to use Mailchimp. The menu makes sense, and helpful popups explain each feature as you discover more about email marketing. Mailchimp’s help center contains thousands of articles and other resources. By comparison, Keap is confusing to use from the start, and its knowledge base isn’t as extensive. It complicates things for no apparent reason in an attempt to upsell you on expert advice and coaching services.

Where are all the advanced pre-built automation workflows? Mailchimp has more than 40. And why’s Keap refusing to migrate core features to the new software version?

I don’t see the point of switching between two interfaces whenever I want to A/B test my campaigns. Mailchimp’s testing tool isn’t perfect, but it’s much newer and is always a few clicks away.

Mailchimp’s designed with ease of use in mind and rightfully wins this round.


What do you do when you spend hours setting up your campaign only to realize that your emails aren’t being delivered? Deliverability is key to successful email marketing, but numbers don’t always tell the truth.

That’s why we don’t rely on arbitrary numbers when running our tests here at Website Planet. Testing deliverability by sending an x amount of emails introduces new variables (e.g., our practices, the quality of our mailing lists) that skew the results. Instead, we examine features we know boost deliverability. You can read more about the basis behind this approach in our deliverability guide.

First, we need to make sure there’s DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication, which is how email providers can verify who’s doing the sending. Keap and Mailchimp do have DKIM, and you can easily set it up in a few minutes by following their respective guides.

Mailchimp DKIM
It took me no more than five minutes to set up DKIM on Mailchimp
Next, I examined each platform’s anti-spam policy. I’m sure you don’t do spam, but did you know other people’s actions can also affect your deliverability? That’s because, on most platforms, users send emails using the same shared IPs. Keap and Mailchimp have strict anti-spam policies, but my research indicates that Mailchimp is stricter.

Lax affiliate marketing policies can also negatively affect deliverability rates for the same reason. To avoid spam, both platforms impose restrictions on what kind of content users can promote. That said, Mailchimp tends to flag content much more often than Keap. But don’t worry; you should be fine if your affiliate links add value and are relevant to your niche.

Finally, the best way to boost your deliverability rate is by ensuring complete control of your sender reputation with a dedicated (or private) IP. While Mailchimp offers a dedicated IP for just $29.95, Keap locks its own behind the expensive Max plan.

Mailchimp wins this round due to its stricter anti-spam policies and cheaper private IPs.

Reporting and Analytics

Mailchimp Allows Access to Detailed Stats Even on Its Cheap Plans

After sending your emails on their merry way, you need a good analytics suite to help you better understand what’s working – and what needs tweaking. Open and click stats are okay, but it’s even better if you can generate more detailed reports based on advanced personal and behavioral data.

Mailchimp’s reporting is top-notch, even if you’re not a paid user. The dashboard is well laid out with easy-to-read stats on your opens, clicks, bounces, orders, and revenue.

Mailchimp analytics dashboard
Mailchimp’s analytics dashboard is insightful and easy on the eye
Scrolling down from the main dashboard menu, you’ll reach campaign benchmarking, which shows how your campaigns perform compared to the competition. Comparative reporting is super insightful too, but unfortunately, it’s only available on the Premium plan.

I’m a huge fan of the 24-hour performance chart that makes it possible to stay on top of my stats in real time – it’s even easier if you download the mobile app. I also like how Mailchimp automatically scans my emails, offering suggestions (e.g., about links, visuals, and typography) for future campaigns.

Keap’s reporting capabilities are underwhelming. Yes, you get some basic information on clicks and opens, but you can’t do much with that. Where are my detailed click performance stats? How will I know which locations drive the most engagement? Keap simply doesn’t provide this sort of data.

Keap does sales reports, and if you’re on the Max or the Max Classic plan, you’ll unlock more advanced email stats and comparative reporting. Unfortunately, both options are costly and out of reach for the average marketer.

Keap’s Max Classic plan may come with advanced analytics, but it’s simply not a realistic option for most people due to its high cost. From what I’ve seen, Mailchimp does much more for far less.


Mailchimp Is Much Cheaper Than Keap

Mailchimp’s one of the most popular email marketing platforms, mainly due to its free plan. Its three paid plans are reasonably priced, but I’m not a huge fan of Mailchimp’s pricing structure – more on that later.

Keap’s plans are grossly overpriced, and if you want to access truly powerful features, you need to pay even more to access the previous software iteration (Infusionsoft).

Here’s What You Get for Free

Although popular, Mailchimp’s free plan has become increasingly restrictive. Nowadays, it includes 500 (down from 1,000) contacts, 1,000 monthly sends (down from 10,000), and access to all basic email features like templates, email builder, analytics. That said, I like how Mailchimp still lets you access forms and landing pages (and reports on them) on the free plan.

Keap doesn’t have a free plan but offers a 14-day trial. Remember that you’ll be limited to 100 email sends, which isn’t enough to get a good feel for any EMS. Recently, Keap has begun restricting the number of new trial accounts, so you might have to wait a few days to get approved before testing the platform.

Here’s What You Get if You Pay

Mailchimp’s Essentials plan includes everything you need to get started with email marketing. At this point, I should mention that Mailchimp doesn’t offer unlimited email sends with any of its plans. You can easily calculate your total monthly sends by multiplying your contacts x 10/12/15 (depending on the plan).

To unlock Mailchimp’s custom-coded templates, pre-built automation journeys, content optimizer, and send time optimization, you should invest in the Standard plan, starting at $20.00/month. It’s my favorite plan as it offers the best value for your money. The Premium plan is quite expensive, but you might want to consider it if you have tens of thousands of subscribers and want to access advanced features like comparative reporting and advanced segmentation.

Keap offers three paid plans: two designed for the new software version and one based on the old Infusionsoft platform. Keap’s cheapest plan (Pro) is almost three times more expensive than Mailchimp’s Standard plan while offering similar features. The Max plan is slightly more costly, throwing more advanced sales and CRM features into the mix.

Max Classic (formerly Infusionsoft) runs on a different iteration of the software, and it’s designed for bigger businesses and teams with more advanced email automation, CRM, and sales automation needs. Although powerful, it’s only worth considering if you’re a growing business with extra cash to spare.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Mailchimp’s Standard and Keap’s Pro plan:

Keap Pro
Mailchimp Standard
Starting Price
Number of contacts
Number of emails per month
Number of users
Email templates
Pre-built automation workflows
Native Integrations
Dynamic content
Requires coding
A/B testing
Only via the legacy builder


I Was Pleasantly Surprised by Keap

Whatever the EMS, getting to grips with your platform’s tools can take time. Keap and Mailchimp offer knowledge bases filled with guides and how-to articles, but Mailchimp’s is considerably more extensive.

Additionally, Keap and Mailchimp offer support via live chat, email, and phone. I asked the same question at around 4 pm GMT via live chat: I have a small business with roughly 2,000 people on my subscriber list – which plan would you recommend?

Mailchimp got back to me almost immediately:

image of an interaction with Mailchimp's support about the most optimal plan for a business with 2,000 contacts
Ashtyn answered my question and didn’t try to upsell
Ashtyn answered my question, but I’m surprised she recommended the cheapest plan. She probably assumed I was new to email marketing (I didn’t give her much to work with in the first place) and thought I wouldn’t need the extra features. Overall, it was a pleasant interaction.

Keap replied even faster, which came as a surprise. In the past, I’ve found their response times slow, and they’ve even ignored me several times.

image of an interaction with Keap's support about the most optimal plan for a business with 2,000 contacts
Matt was very friendly and eager to help me find the right plan for my needs
Matt was precise with his answer and even offered to jump on a call to help me better explore my options. Mailchimp’s customer support service has improved dramatically over the years, but it seems that Keap is doing what it can to keep up!

Mailchimp Is the Better EMS

Although Keap looks good and is quite capable, I can’t help but feel it’s a CRM tool with added email functionality. Unless you spend hundreds of dollars on the Max Classic plan (Infusionsoft), you won’t be able to access many of the email features Mailchimp offers for a fraction of that price.

If you’re new to email marketing, the choice is obvious. Mailchimp’s tools and menus are super intuitive, so you can quickly design emails and set up automations with zero marketing experience. On the other hand, Keap can get confusing, and I don’t think many businesses would be thrilled to pay an extra $499 for coaching services.

Here’s a quick recap of everything I’ve covered so far:

60+ (better quality)
Native SMS Automation
Yes, but it’s not native
Native Integrations
Landing Page Builder
22 templates
40+ templates
A/B Testing
Yes, but only via the legacy builder
Ease of Use
Challenging at times
Intuitive tools and menus
Reporting and Analytics
Great analytics suite
Excellent analytics suite
Grossly overpriced
Total Rounds Won


What is Keap used for?

Keap is an all-in-one marketing automation platform that zeroes in on CRM but also does email. Due to its high cost, it’s really only suitable for businesses with budgets dedicated to marketing automation.

What’s the difference between Keap and Infusionsoft?

Infusionsoft changed its name to Keap in 2019, introducing an updated platform and paid plans. The new software version was designed to be more accessible to smaller businesses, but Keap is still operating the well-known Infusionsoft tool under the rebranded name Max Classic.

Which is better: Keap vs Mailchimp?

In 99% of cases, Mailchimp is the wiser choice for email. Keap has better CRM tools but can’t compete against Mailchimp’s robust email features – unless you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month for the most expensive plan.

What’s the best email marketing service?

It all depends on your budget and your business’s individual needs. The most robust email marketing platform is ActiveCampaign, while Sendinblue is an excellent option for budget-conscious marketers. For more options, check out our list of the top email marketing services in 2024.

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