By David Holland

January 23, 2020


Now, what is MailChimp? Mailchimp is a software which allows you the ability to build and manage newsletters, automated campaigns, mailing lists and more. It puts you in the driver’s seat and lets you have total influence over your email marketing efforts from start to finish. Mailchimp is uncomplicated and easy to use and its software gives you access to a range of email marketing tools all usefully located in one place.  However, as the email automation industry grew, so did the competitor base. Players like Keap, Constant Contact and Aweber joined the market offering some of the same and a few different capabilities to MailChimp, at roughly the same price point. However, what are MailChimps alternatives?

The Main Competitor to MailChimp

A great competitor to MailChimp and the one I will be talking about in this article is Keap Pro, offering pretty much all the capabilities as MailChimp does, and a few extra important ones. With Keap Pro, if you need to book an appointment with a customer, you can send them a booking link, so they can book directly into your diary. In addition, you can send quotes, invoices and collect payments. As MailChimp does not have these features. Therefore you will need to pay for these additional features, which can be expensive.

So what is Keap Pro? Keap Pro is a clever piece of software that offers a CRM platform and email marketing solution for small businesses.  It includes email broadcast, CRM, notes, task management, products, appointments, quotes, invoices, payments and campaign builder. It offers all the capabilities you would expect from a basic marketing automation system. But the reason Keap isn’t just a basic marketing automation system, but a great one, is all the extra functions included.

MailChimp Automation and Campaigns

Personally, I have found with MailChimp the interface can feel a bit awkward and clunky to use. There is a significant learning curve to using MailChimp, especially if you have not used email marketing programs previously. Building campaigns is confusing and takes time. If all you’re planning on achieving is sending out the occasional information update or newsletter, then you might not notice this problem. However, to use the advanced features, significant time needs to be invested to understand the software. For many, MailChimp restricting users to sending out emails to only one list at a time is a dealbreaker. You can customize that list, but you can’t send to multiple subscriber lists at once. 

You do not find these problems when using Keap Pro. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use Keap Pro. The visual campaign builder is easy to use. You can create a simple campaign to capture leads and deliver a lead magnet with ease, and then build on that for more complex automation. The ability to be able to run a complete customer journey from capturing the contacts name to engaging with the lead, to taking the order and delivering the goods means that a solopreneur can use Keap Pro to control and react to that customer journey. 

campaign example

One of Keap’s biggest advantages over MailChimp is its click-based tagging and advanced segmentation. Instead of organizing your subscribers into lists, Keap gives more flexibility for users to engage with their contacts using tags. Tagging enables you to segment your contacts so you can send appropriate emails to each contact. For example, if you are a carpet cleaner, the tagging system will allow you to tag certain contacts by what they may be interested in. If you send an email with three links to articles. Each article is based on different types of flooring, and the best way to maintain them. Keap Pro can work out which link has been clicked by the user, and therefore tagging them. For example, one article might be “The Best Way to Maintain Wood Flooring.” If a customer has clicked on that article, it’s highly probable that they have wooden flooring. You can then apply a “wooden floor” tag to this customer, and then whenever you have any deals or information regarding wooden flooring, it will allow you to target this customer specifically. 

MailChimp as a CRM

A CRM system is for customer relationship management—the strategies and technologies that a company uses to understand its customers and enhance its relations with them. The CRM system is a software platform that handles contacts, tracks the progress of potential new customers, supports sales teams, and improves productivity. Customer relationship management systems give you greater insights, improve customer satisfaction, and help you sell more. You'll offer the personal touch as you reach out to every customer and lead, and that's the fastest route to happier customers. 

Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that contains elements like opt-in forms for lead capture, lead scoring, and list segmentation. However, it is predominantly used for marketing and lacks fundamental CRM features and functionality like deal management. Therefore, while various businesses find it is usable for basic contact management, most businesses find that the best solution is to merge their email marketing and lead generation efforts in Mailchimp with a traditional CRM software. These additional pieces of software can be expensive. You can purchase pipedrive for around £50 a month for the professional version, giving you a lot of the features that Keap already includes. Keap has a great CRM already, which includes appointments, quotes, invoices and many more. Meaning there is no need to spend more money on more external software.

Keap Pro’s appointment function automatically integrates with your Google Calendar. It allows you to send booking links to customers or potential leads. When they book through the link, your Google Calendar is automatically updated.

appointments example

Keap Pro’s quotes function allows you to build and customise your quotes. It's very simple to use and looks great. Customers can review and accept quotes all with the click of a button.

invoice example
quote example

Keap Pro’s invoice function works a lot like the quotes function. Is it very simple to use and looks great. The key difference between the two is in invoices, you are allowed to pay for the invoice all with the click of a button. These are just a few of the extra capabilities available. These features are available to MailChimp users, but only through external software, not MailChimp itself.

Let's Compare Costs

Let's assume you are a business coach with 3500 contacts. What you need is a solution that allows you to market to new and existing customers. You need the ability to set up appointments with new leads or existing customers. You need the ability to send quotes and invoices to potential customers. And you also need to be able to take payment for your product or services. 

MailChimp has many different plans – free, essentials, standard and premium. Free is obviously free, essentials is £7.77 a month, standard is £11.65 a month and premium is £232.45. However, these prices change depending on the amount of contacts you have in your database – the more contacts you need, the more you can expect your monthly bill to increase. In our scenario, our contact has 3500, meaning you will need to buy the 5,000 contact version, which will cost £58.01 per month. So this part of MailChimp is fine, it enables the business coach to have enough contacts. If you need the other functions, you will need to pay for a third party application.

As mentioned earlier, MailChimp lacks certain CRM capabilities. To unlock a pipeline function, you would need to look elsewhere to gain access to this function - pipedrive is an option, but at £50 a month, it may seem expensive, especially when integrating more than one external piece of software. Keap Pro has a pipeline function ready to go out of the box. The Keap Pro pipeline feature is an interactive way for you to manage and track  your clients and leads throughout your sales process all in a single view. The customizable dashboard organises your potential leads and tracks them, along with current clients, throughout your sales process. Now that your leads and contacts are centralised, Keap’s software allows you to customise each stage of your sales process—helping you prioritise and organise your work. The pipeline also allows you to trigger certain email sequences automatically when you move a lead from one sales stage to the next.

Another function that MailChimp is lacking are quotes. Quotes are important as they allow you to plan ahead, as if you do not have many quotes out, it may spur you to look for more business, if you have many quotes out, it may mean following up on these quotes is a better use of your time. Again, these services are available for MailChimp users, but from external companies. Quoteroller provides these functions, but at £40 a month. Keap Pro has a great quote function built in ready to go. When potential customers request a quote, you can immediately send them a personalised quote detailing your costs and services. Instant quoting makes it simple for clients to choose you for the job. The business coach will be paying £58.01 a month for the email system, £50 a month for pipedrive and £40 a month for quoteroller. That's £148.01 a month just for the three functions. There are still many more functions needed, like appointments, invoices and payments which will undoubtedly take you over the £99 that Keap Pro would cost you. You would also be managing payments to many different companies. The great thing about Keap Pro is that it all comes in one easily accessible package, all included ready to go.


To conclude, I believe MailChimp is a good piece of software, but only when using it to send out emails, and at best, very basic automation. It lacks many features that are needed for businesses to streamline their processes. Because it lacks these certain capabilities, it's understandable why the price is so low. Appointments, quotes and invoices are essential for any business.  And as mentioned earlier, these external pieces of software come at quite a hefty price. If you are looking for a piece of software that has all these capabilities built in ready to go out of the box, then Keap would be an understandable choice.

About the author

Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

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