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A powerful email marketing platform combined with affordable plans and excellent support makes the affordable GetResponse easy to recommend to individuals and small businesses. However, with limitations like the somewhat basic analytics board, it might not be the right choice for experienced marketers.
The Whole Email Marketing Package (Almost)
GetResponse claims to offer “personalized tools for who you are,” whether that’s a solopreneur or a large company. A bold claim indeed. Finding it somewhat difficult to trust marketing slogans, I signed up to test it myself.
Don’t take me for a complete cynic – I’m not saying that a one-size-fits-all email marketing solution can’t be created. It’s just that in all my years in the business, I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing one.
After using GetResponse for a few months, I can tell you that for the single entrepreneur, GetResponse really does knock it out of the park. For an enterprise-sized operation, maybe not so much. And for everybody in between… well, it depends. This is mostly because while GetResponse offers a lot of very powerful features, things are lacking in the analytics department.
As far as basic features and tools are concerned, GetResponse has you covered. Gathering subscribers, shooting weekly newsletters, and even automating actions, can all be easily done. Anyone who’s ever used Microsoft Word can go from zero to hero in an hour or two, as things are basically foolproof.
Email Campaigns and Personalization
Whatever you plan on sending your subscribers, you’ll be using the Email Campaigns tool. GetResponse supports sending mass emails – also known as “email blasts,” which is a cool term that we’ll stick with – to up to tens of thousands of contacts.
I foundthe interface extremely easy to use, and I’d say that if you’ve ever sent an email before, you’ll need only a few minutes to get a hang of things.
Annoyingly, while GetResponse’s website promises “500+ newsletter templates,” I only counted 116. That said, these templates are a great way to both give you some direction and to make your emails stand out.They’re all mobile-responsive, meaning that whether your reader uses a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone, they’ll enjoy an optimal reading experience.
Still, remember to use the templates wisely. While it’s possible to send stunning-looking emails, packed with rich graphics and HD images, sometimes less is more.
Luckily, many of GetResponse’s templates are elegant, understated, and to-the-point. This will not only deliver your message across in the best possible way but is also the industry standard – which Gmail and the other providers are expecting. Emails that go too far (contain too much code behind the scenes, too many attachments, and the like) are not delivered into the regular inbox.
A really cool thing that GetResponse lets you do with the templates is to personalize them. Remember, you’ll be collecting a whole lot of information about your contacts: birthdates, names, locations, and more. Using that information within the text goes a long way into making subscribers feel like they’re getting relevant, personal messages, which in turn makes them loyal, long-term readers.
For example, imagine that you’re promoting a new swimsuit collection. “Excited for summer?” is nice, but “Hey Daisy, California summer is just around the corner! Also, don’t think we’ve forgotten about your birthday in June… expect a special present!” is so much better.
One thing that is easy to forget about, but can literally make your emails unreadable, is the issue of RTL (right-to-left) languages. That doesn’t matter much if you’re planning on sending out emails in English or another LTR (left-to-right) language, but if your language reads from right to left (like Arabic or Hebrew), you need full RTL support. GetResponse not only supports both RTL languages but also immediately aligns and structures the entire template accordingly. Choosing your language is really all you have to do, and GetResponse will take care of everything else.
Last on GetResponse’s email campaign trail is the option of A/B tests. These work just like regular newsletter campaigns but enable you to test two versions of the email and see which one converts better. It’s best to change only one thing (a cover image, the opening line, the order of elements on the page), and GetResponse will take it from there, testing both options and choosing the winner.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
While in its most basic form, a mailing list is simply a collection of contacts’ email addresses, modern marketing platforms have taken it up a notch. GetResponse excels in this area, offering what I feel are some of the most advanced options around.
Some numbers first. You’ll be filling your mailing lists with contacts, and it’s important to remember the number of contacts is capped – GetResponse plans start from 1,000 contacts and go up to 100,000. There’s no limit on the number of emails you can send to each contact.
Sound fair? Well, also keep in mind that if the same contact appears in two separate lists, it counts as two contacts. If you plan on creating multiple lists, and really want to fine-tune your operation, this can end up ballooning quite fast. But there’s no escaping it – all other services do this kind of thing too.
Having appreciated the complexities of a marketer’s life, let’s talk about how we can fill that contact quota up. While you might add some of your teammates’ email addresses manually, most of your subscribers are going to come from landing pages, advertisements on social media, and imported lists.
GetResponse does a very good job at making the process easy. Leads from landing pages immediately slide into their designated lists, and importing isn’t too shabby, either. You can copy batches of addresses and let the automatic tool identify them, import a wide variety of spreadsheet file types (including XLS, CSV, TXT, VCF, XLSX, and ODS), and even integrate with your previous email marketing service to import your existing contacts.
You’ll of course be asked to confirm that you have permission to add these people – a sign that GetResponse is an honest service for honest people and not a spam machine.
When importing an honest list of contacts, I didn’t run into any problems. I was also really happy to see how flexible the import tool was. It let me import advanced columns and metadata, such as date of birth, gender, and yes/no fields, and field types were automatically identified by the service. Creating custom field types (e.g. a boolean yes/no for marriage, additional date fields) is also possible, meaning you can get as detailed with your contacts as you wish.
Next, I checked GetResponse’s segmentation abilities, wanting to see how powerful they are. If you’re not familiar with the term “segmentation,” it’s the ability to take an existing contact list and narrow it down by adding rules and criteria.
Let’s say your landing page resulted in a few hundred signups. While there might be times when you’ll want to blast the same email to everybody, other times you might want to email specific groups within the same mailing list.
For example, a financial adviser can use segmentation to send subscribers between the ages of 20 and 25 articles about post-college life, with links to relevant loans and services. Subscribers over the age of 40 might be more interested in investment opportunities. Your motivation is to always make your subscribers feel like you understand them, and that they’re getting a curated email – not a generic one.
With GetResponse, you can actually go much deeper with your segmentations. By adding rule after rule, it’s possible to get as specific as you want. It took me a few seconds to create a segment with only female contacts born after 1990, who clicked a specific link in a specific newsletter sent a few weeks earlier. That’s some powerful stuff.
A couple of other important aspects of an email marketing service are suppression lists and the issue of unsubscribers. A suppression list is a list of contacts that will not receive your emails, even if they’re on your main mailing list. These can be either unsubscribers, or contacts you’ve chosen to blacklist.
GetResponse lets you manually block addresses and entire domains (for instance, all addresses that end with @something.com), but there’s no smart anti-spam cleaning algorithm that can help you keep your lists pristine.
Regarding unsubscribers, it’s of extreme importance to keep track of them. This is both for brand and legal reasons – you don’t want to be thought of as a spammer who doesn’t understand what “no” means, and you’re legally not allowed to email contacts who’ve chosen to unsubscribe.
GetResponse automatically suppresses unsubscribers and labels them as “inactive contacts.” You can then export the unsubscribers list, which is crucial should you ever choose to switch services.
On your long journey to having thousands of subscribers, landing pages are going to be your best friends. They’re a great way to attract potential subscribers and get them to sign up, leaving their precious contact information in your hands.
Unlike emails, where less is more, landing pages can be as flashy as you feel is appropriate. GetResponse lets you go crazy with dozens of customizable landing page templates, all mobile-responsive, and you can configure which details will be collected – just an email address, or extra fields like full name, city, age, interests, and more. Extra fields can slow down your potential subscribers and even cause them to get scared and bounce back, so be careful not to go overboard.
Behind the scenes, you can choose the mailing list your contacts will be added to, and that’s pretty much it. 10 minutes and you’re online. Your landing page will be available on a GetResponse subdomain (“youraddress.gr8.com”).
The subdomain is not exactly optimal, which is why you may prefer to use your own domain instead. That’s easily doable, and there’s even a nifty guide to help you out. You don’t need your own hosting or anything.
Simply put, great automation lets you do less and get more. After a quick setup, new subscribers can receive personal welcome emails. You can even set intervals, so that after a few days they’ll receive a special list of recommendations, along with your passionate appreciation about their choice to sign up.
Advanced automation is limitless. All it takes is a few minutes of configuration. Your contacts will feel like they’re regularly receiving personalized content, when you actually set it all up earlier. It’s just as easy to run a list-wide automation job that tags contacts according to their engagement level, or to create a special message, with a very special coupon, to be delivered on birthdays only.
GetResponse does an excellent job here, easily outperforming well-known competitors such as Mailchimp. The entire automation interface is visual, complete with drag-and-drop functionality that enables you to plan out detailed workflows.
Not only that, but GetResponse offers premade automation templates to make your life easier. A three-email autoresponder sequence took me about a minute to set up. An automated scoring plan, based on how my contacts engaged with my emails (did or didn’t open, did or didn’t click a link), was just as easy. After letting the function run its course, my contacts’ scores were updated, allowing me to reach the most engaged ones better, and to remove some deadweight.
GetResponse also seems to avoid some common pitfalls which other services fall right into. Setting a wait period between emails is great, but even better is the ability to control the exact timeyour readers will receive the email. That’s because the newest emails are the ones read first, and if you time your blasts correctly – you’re going to come up top.
The super-popular Morning Brew newsletter understands that, which is why it delivers its business and tech updates every morning, when commuters are checking their phones. A shopping-related email is usually better sent around the early evening hours – when we all get that sudden urge to immediately spend what we worked all day earning.
Anyways, this can all be done with GetResponse.
With powerful e-commerce automation such as abandoned cart and post-purchase follow-ups, I was almost tempted to award GetResonse’s automation full marks. What stopped me was that the Basic plan comes with templates only, meaning you can’t build or edit your own automation. The mid-tier plan, Plus, lets you build only 5 custom workflows, which I wasn’t too happy about either.
Sale Funnels and Ecommerce Functionality
You heard that right. For simple ecommerce needs, GetResponse can actually replace a dedicated ecommerce solution, saving you a lot of money and hassle. Again, as long as your needs are simple.
What do I mean by “simple?” Let’s say you want to offer your readers a guide or an ebook you wrote on some tantalizing subject like gardening in New Mexico. That can be set up and easily integrated into your emails. They will direct your readers to a sales page, where a purchase can be made. How about a whole catalog of drop-shipped goods? Nope. That’s too much. There are no inventory-keeping tools, no advanced shopping carts, and no customer satisfaction tools.
Basically, think about it this way – if you’re selling only a few different items (physical or digital), and you offer your readers a chance to buy them as part of some promotion (“Stand out this Halloween! Here’s a great collection of my celebrity pumpkin carving ideas!”), GetResponse’s e-commerce functionality could be all you really need.
For more advanced situations, GetResponse can work with dedicated e-commerce solutions. I was happy to see that it integrates nicely with standalone platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and more. Integrations with WooCommerce, for example, are done via plugin and can be used to send abandoned cart messages and follow up on promising leads.See full list of features
Not a Home Run, but Pretty Close
We’ve established that at its core, the GetResponse service is quite alright, but there are more questions to answer. One important question is this: After setting up lists, automations, and campaigns, will your emails actually reach your subscribers’ inboxes? Will they get marked as spam, or get put under the dreaded “Promotions” tab?
Some review sites try to answer this question with a percentage figure. As in, “83% of emails sent through service X will reach the inbox, and we know because we’ve been checking for 5 years.” However, when you look at the big picture, these claims are pretty much meaningless. Read my full explanation on why “deliverability tests” are completely unreliable. You’ll also find some handy tips there on how to increase your deliverability rate.
Here’s the short version. Deliverability is affected by many different factors. When a client tells me that only a certain percentage of their list opened the email, that doesn’t mean their current service can’t’ do more – it means I’ve got work to do. Maybe their domain is registering as suspicious and can benefit from small blasts to some of my own addresses. I’ll open each message, and Gmail will slowly learn that it’s a legitimate operation. Or perhaps their emails contain keywords, or HTML code, that are detected as spammy.
Now, what can us honest folk do to ensure deliverability? The first thing you can do is authenticate your GetResponse account with your domain. Only one person or organization can register a single domain name (“@toursontheseine”, for example), but any email message, anywhere, can be easily modified into showing that domain as the sender. This is a type of identity theft.
Yeah… email wasn’t developed as the most secure technology. Actually, it’s surprisingly easy to make a message seem like it’s from Bank of America, even though [email protected] was the one who sent it. But this isn’t the 90s, and today, if Gmail receives an email like Scammy Scammy Bobby’s, it’ll mark it as possible fraud and send it straight to the spam folder. It knows to suspect it because the emails aren’t authenticated with the domain – that can only be done by the person actually owning the domain. And Bobby does not own Bank of America.
Indeed, your first line of business is to get authenticated, and to prove beyond any possible doubt that you own the domain and address you plan on sending emails from. A simple form of doing that would be for GetResponse to send that address a confirmation email, and for you to log in and confirm it. But that’s also pretty weak.
The golden standard in the industry today is to authenticate your domain and email marketing service using tokens. Big acronym alert – the two popular options are SPF and DKIM, with DKIM being the one you really want to have.
Advanced DKIM authentication can easily be implemented on GetResponse, proving beyond any possible doubt to Gmail and other providers that you’re really who you claim to be. That makes them trust you, and deliver your emails straight to the inbox.
I followed GetResponse’s simple tutorial on activating DKIM authentication and sent out an email blast to check that it was working. Indeed, all was well.
Next, I checked how GetResponse handled all things spam, by attempting to import a short contact list full of gibberish, spammy-looking email addresses like [email protected] and [email protected] I was immediately notified that my import was pending further checks, and in a few hours it ended up being rejected completely.
That’s excellent news because if a service lets other users send out spam, your deliverability rates are going to be negatively affected. To ensure a good deliverability rate, all users on the server have to play nice, and GetResponse is making sure that’s exactly what happens.
The best thing you can do to improve your deliverability rate is to send your emails from a private, dedicated IP. With GetResponse, unfortunately, this option is only available with the most expensive plan.
A really cool feature called Perfect Timing does help out a bit – activating it will make GetResponse learn your subscribers’ behavior, and send each one emails at the time when they’re most likely to read them.See All Deliverability Features
Analytics & Reporting
Seriously? I Expected So Much More
The analytics, or reports board, is where all the big decisions are made. When running an advanced email marketing operation, you need to know which emails were well received, which weren’t, how engaged your subscribers were, what kind of subscribers they are, and what made them engage. After understanding that, it’s possible to act on that information and reap the rewards.
For example, let’s say I find out that subscribers in the US opened more of my emails compared to subscribers from the UK, but a higher percentage of UK subscribers actually clicked the links inside. That can lead me to understand that my American audience wants to find something in my email, but I’m not giving it to them. Then again, my content seems to be on-point for the Brits, but for some reason (maybe the hour I send the emails?), I’m losing them before that.
Sounds great? It can be, but not with GetResponse. There is nothing like that going on here. You will not be able to break down campaign results by locations, operating system, screen size, or anything of that sort.
You are pretty much limited to how many contacts opened, clicked, unsubscribed, or bounced – which is all important information, but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. You can’t draw enough insights from that. How can you know if there was a mobile-related problem, which would’ve shown as small screen sizes not opening? Or to understand if something’s buggy in a specific version of Windows?
Is this a deal-breaker? Well, it depends. If you’re looking to optimize things to the max, GetResponse’s analytics tool will not give you the advanced data you need. A service like AWeber, on the other hand, offers a whole suite of detailed reports on everything from data trends to contact location. Then again, using A/B testing and segmentation, you can learn some things about what works and what doesn’t. Still, all of this holds you back instead of unleashing your potential.See All Analytics Features
Professional Assistance Is a Live Chat Away
After the analytics debacle, I have some good news. GetResponse’s support team is great. Professional, courteous, and readily available.
There’s no phone support, but seriously – who cares? I, for one, never want to talk on the phone. I know that once a year I need to call the NYTimes and ask for the half-price discount again, which saves me $70 a year and takes only 10 minutes of my time, but that’s pretty much my limit.
GetResponse makes sure that you’ll get the help you need, and you can request it in three different ways – live chat, available 24/7; email support, available in 8 different languages (English, Russian, Spanish, and more); and a super-detailed knowledge base.
Average time to get an answer on live chat? About 3 minutes. Sometimes even faster. And no matter which option you choose – all conversations are saved, logged, and available for reference later on.
I was asking about the limit on contacts and emails and got a response right away.
Asking about segmentation was just as easy, with the agent sending me the exact knowledge base article I was needing and also explaining the process herself.
Same when I was interested in activating DKIM authentication.
What can I say? These agents know their stuff. You can rest assured that whatever problems you run into, GetResponse’s team has got you covered.
Fair and Affordable, but Make Sure You Pick the Right Plan
Generally speaking, GetResponse’s Basic plan is what I’d consider cheap, even great value for money. The other plan prices are closer to what other services are offering, while still remaining competitive.
Don’t forget that the GetResponse model is limited contacts, unlimited emails. That means you can send as many emails as you want to a limited number of contacts. If your needs are different, and you want to blast fewer emails to a much larger audience, you might want to check out a service like Sendinblue instead.
Even if you’re good with the contacts model, GetResponse’s pricing is tricky, because one little thing can mean a different plan tier. For example, if the automation templates are enough for you, the Basic plan might be all you need. Then again, if you require more customization, and wish to build your own automated workflows – that’s going to cost you more than three times as much for 1,000 contacts.
Not only that, but the whole idea of scoring and tagging contacts is not available on the Basic plan. That pretty much relegates it to simple uses and small audiences only – newsletters with a manageable contact list that doesn’t need too much tinkering with.
There’s a 30-day completely free trial (no payment information necessary) to check everything out, but keep in mind that almost all features are going to be open for you. That can be deceiving. Don’t go trying out features only available on the Professional plan if you’re not willing to spend at least $89.10 a month.
Payments can be made by credit card only, and payment periods are either monthly, yearly, or bi-yearly, with discounts given for longer signups. NPOs might be eligible for additional discounts, so do contact the team if that’s your situation.
A colleague recommended GetResponse for our email marketing needs, and it was one of the best decisions I made last year. What I like most about this software is that it didn't require extensive training. My office admins were able to pick up the software quickly, and they haven't needed a lot of hand-holding like you do with some products. The functionality I would rate as mid-range, so unless you are managing a large company, this product should do everything you need.
This is an excellent tool for any small business looking for reliable email market software. I really appreciated the drag and drop functionality as it didn't require a ton of tech expertise. You can create promos emails, newsletters and more with just a few clicks. Better still, you can assign multiple admins, allowing you to split up the workload. One of us does newsletters while the other does general promotional emails. The templates are great as well and make our job so much easier.
Great for the Involved Business Owner, but for the Professional Marketer – Not So Much
I wanted to really love GetResponse, and it almost had me. Until I sent my emails, checked the analytics, and realized that something was missing. That does not mean that GetResponse is off the table, just that like most things around – it’s not perfect.
With GetResponse, the most glaring weak point is in the analytics department. You will simply be unable to break down your email reports in interesting ways, which severely caps the potential of your marketing adventure. Still, there are workarounds.
I would say that the Basic plan, for its price, is worth your time and money, if the provided features cover your needs (there are automation templates only, and no contact scoring). If you’re only looking to blast emails every now and then, it’s a viable option.
GetResponse’s pricing depends on two factors: the plan (Basic, Plus, Professional, or Max), and the contacts limit. At $13.50 a month, Basic with 1,000 contacts is the most affordable option. Add more contacts, or choose a higher plan – and the price goes up. But also remember you can use one of our GetResponse coupons to help save you some money.
Which is better: AWeber or GetResponse?
They’re both fantastic services, no doubt about it, and you can’t go wrong with either – that’s why they’re on our list of the top email marketing services for 2021. I will say that GetResponse’s pricing plans are cheaper, and shines a bit brighter in everything features-related, especially with regards to ecommerce. But AWeber is no chump: its analytics board is vastly superior to any other on the market, including GetResponse’s.
What is GetResponse used for?
For the dependable delivery of high-volume email blasts, whether they’re newsletters, ecommerce transactional emails, or others. Additional features include landing pages that can act as sales funnels, a basic ecommerce platform, and various extras such as customizable surveys and forms.
Ben is an avid web developer who really loves to tinker with code, whether in the back-end or in the front-end. He's searching for the world's best website host, but also tries to find time for his other interests - comics, traveling, and home cooking.