In this “Hot Beverage” Review, I take a look at Moosend, a potential alternative to Mailchimp and my preferred startup email automation service, MailerLite.
Is Moosend an acceptable Mailchimp alternative? How does it stack up to my favourite Mailchimp alternative MailerLite?
Read on to find out.
Who It’s For
Anyone considering Mailchimp or if you’re just starting out or starting a new project or side hustle.
While I often work with Creators and Knowledge Experts, Moosend looks to be a good fit for e-Commerce businesses too (so a possible alternative to apps like Klaviyo).
Battle of the FREE Plans
(HUGE UPDATE): Moosend announced that they will retire their Forever FREE plan, and go back to a 30-day free trial as of 20 Jan 2022.
Personally, I think it’s a step backwards to gaining new users, but I understand they have a business to run.
I’m curious if this is a move triggered by Moosend’s acquisition by Sitecore in 2021? It’s not the direction, I would have liked to see, especially when the battle of the ESP’s is a pretty saturated market.
What’s worse about this move is, if you currently have a Forever Free Plan, you will NOT be grandfathered in to this free plan. You’ll have 30-days free and then it will ask you to pick a paid plan or it will move you to a pay-as-you go plan.
I’m not particularly fond of this move, so a lot of my comparisons below will be invalidated. I’ll still leave this up and let you determine whether you Moosend would be right for you.
Since I see Moosend as an option for people just starting out or projects with under 1,000 contacts, the FREE plan is where most people would start, so I have to compare their free plan with the other two options I consider.
Below is a comparison of the FREE plans for Moosend, MailerLite and Mailchimp:
|# of subscribers/contacts/month||1,000||1,000||2,000|
|# of email sends/month||Unlimited||12,000||10,000|
|Reporting & Analytics||Y||Y||Y|
|AI Product Recommendations||Y||X||X|
One Glaring Omission in the Free Plan…
Comparing only the FREE plans, one thing sticks out for me: Moosend’s free plan doesn’t include Landing Pages.
Whereas, MailerLite and to a lesser extent Mailchimp does too (albeit only limited to ONE audience).
If you’re comfortable building your own landing pages (e.g. via WordPress or Wix, etc) then I guess that’s not really a dealbreaker. But if I’m looking at it from a total value proposition, it would be a big factor and in my view would put MailerLite’s Free plan well ahead of the other two.
Especially considering most users looking at a Free plan tier is probably not-so-techie, so having the landing page feature available would be something important in my view. (Hopefully, Moosend might reconsider including – even a limited feature landing page function for the free plan).
…while the lack of inclusion of the Landing Page feature in the free plan is somewhat glaring, they do make up for it with other additional features I don’t see anywhere else, which leads me to the next section…
What Makes Moosend Special/Stand-Out?
I’m pretty intrigued with Moosend as they have managed to include features that make them stand out in a segment that is pretty saturated (it’s why I don’t do too many reviews of just any marketing automation tool).
Here’s a few features they offer that I feel are pretty special:
AI-Product Recommendation (Great for e-Commerce)
This is a nice feature if you run an e-commerce business and as mentioned before, I don’t see this included most other similar apps.
I don’t really focus on e-commerce so I didn’t test this feature out but you can sign up for a free account and try it out yourself.
I rarely see this feature included in PAID plans, let alone the FREE plan, so this is pretty sweet to see. Most email marketing apps would require you to purchase this as a 3rd party add-on but this is included in Moosend’s free plan, so that is a redeeming factor (especially if you do e-commerce, it’s great for scarcity promotions)
Email Click/Heat maps
MailerLite has email click maps but this feature is NOT included in their free plan (which is fair enough), but Moosend does include this in their free plan, so that’s another nice feature that’s already included for free.
I really like the fact Moosend has this as a specific feature (although it’s not really talked about and is another subtle feature many will overlook, but I find very good to have).
Why is having a suppression list useful?
This helps you prevent SPAM, competitors and just any kind of junk contacts getting on your list.
After all, you don’t want to waste your resources and be paying to send email to spambots, your competitors or contacts who will never buy from you. (I usually have to setup a “Banned” list that I exclude from campaigns, so the Suppression List feature is great to have).
Moosend’s Paid Plans
Can Moosend Grow with Your Business?
I always take a longer-term view when evaluating apps. Even if you’re just starting out and you want to keep costs low, not all “free” plans are worth it if it can’t keep pace with your growth.
It can be even more costly to you if you choose an app that can’t grow with you or you have to make a major switch (which can happen often).
While free plans are great when you’re just starting out, what happens when you outgrow the free plans limits?
Here’s a brief comparison of the first paid tiered plans (when you start to exceed the free plan limits) for Moosend, MailerLite and Mailchimp:
|# of subscribers/contacts||2,000||2,500||1,500|
|# Email Sends||Unlimited||Unlimited||15,000|
|# of subscribers/contacts||5,000||5,000||5,000|
|# Email Sends||Unlimited||Unlimited||50,000|
If you refer to the two tables above, you can start to see why I try to direct clients away from Mailchimp.
Just looking at the paid plans (before even getting into all the other limitations Mailchimp has on their plans), Mailchimp’s value-proposition just isn’t worth it.
As you start to exceed the free plan limits, Moosend is the clear winner once you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
As your list grows, MailerLite is practically on par with Moosend.
If I’m evaluating from a pure “Value” proposition, then both Moosend and MailerLite are good choices depending on your needs.
Having various business apps have the ability to “talk” to one another (a.k.a. Integrations) is a must-have in my view.
Some apps take the route of saying they have tons of integrations by going through Zapier (which adds another paid expense to your bottom-line).
Ones I favour will have native integrations built-in and included in the core offering.
Moosend has a small handful of “native” integrations but not a lot. And of the ones they have, many are for apps I’m not familiar with (doesn’t mean it’s no good, I’m aware I don’t know every single app out in the market).
Some notable native integrations that I like:
Majority of their integrations are through Zapier.
Segmenting your lists & audience is an important of email marketing, so this element is one I always look at how it’s handled by the specific app.
Similar to MailerLite, Moosend’s segmentation features is based upon:
- Custom Fields
- Lists (or “Groups” on MailerLite)
That’s fine at a basic level, but I prefer having the ability to use “Tags” as well for segmenting my audience.
Which is why for more intermediate to advanced needs, I prefer using Active Campaign or ConvertKit.
Tags also give you the ability to give yourself more details and a well-rounded picture of your audience, the actions they take and their interests.
Active Campaign has a good explanation on how and when to tags vs custom fields.
My conclusion is Moosend’s segmentation features are fine but are really at the bare minimum of what I’d require for ANY project.
Simple & Clean UI
This is both a pro and con in my view, but people who want and only need something simple will find the interface clean and not cluttered with a whole bunch of functions they won’t use.
Overall, Moosend’s UI is pretty clean, simple and easy to navigate.
The only thing I didn’t like about the UI/navigation is they put the Contacts (the individuals in your lists) under the Mailing Lists tab AND you have click on a List in order to access that part of the app (e.g. custom fields, manually adding a contact, etc).
For me, having access to manually add a contact, custom fields, etc should be able to access within 1-2 clicks from your dashboard or anywhere you are within the app. (It’s a similar problem I see with Active Campaign’s UI too).
Email Campaign Sending
A feature I like in Moosend’s campaign sending is they include an easy-to-use emoji picker for your subject lines!
In other apps, I’ve had to find a 3rd party site to copy & paste an emoji into the subject line which kind of breaks the workflow, so Moosend includes this when you setup a campaign is pretty nice (a subtlety many might overlook).
Next, Moosend’s email editor is pretty clean and easy-to-use. If it’s your first time using it, it also has a step-by-step walkthrough for how to use it. Although, it’s pretty simple to and quick to figure out.
I’d say the email editor is far better than the one Active Campaign has (one of the bigger faults of Active Campaign in my opinion).
Another surprise for me is Moosend includes the ability to resend the campaign to people who don’t open it the first time!
That is a pleasant surprise. Many apps either don’t include this feature/function or make it very difficult or tedious to setup.
Moosend makes it very easy to trigger this action.
Tracking, Reporting & Analytics
Tracking is an HUGE part of any successful online business, so I always look at how it’s handled in software apps like Moosend.
I usually include the Custom Fields feature under analytics & tracking, so I’m happy to see Custom Fields are included with the Free Plan with no limits on the number of custom fields you can add (many apps do limit the number of fields you can add which is frustrating at times).
Moosend’s email campaign reporting is relatively comprehensive, very visual and gives you lots of details about your subscriber usage (more details than many other similar apps that require a paid plan).
Campaign reporting details that stand out for me:
Not all marketing automations are created equal. When I reviewed Sendfox, the automations were extremely basic.
Moosend’s automations starts off well with a lot of different potential triggers to start an automation (see below).
It’s a pretty comprehensive list of available automation triggers and it’s laid out very simply.
Once you’ve set your automation triggers, Moosend’s logic conditions/filters for actions to be triggered are also laid out quite well and easily selected:
Once you’ve setup your automation logic, the automation actions available to you are also quite comprehensive (including webhooks!):
Overall, I like how easy it is to setup and configure automations within Moosend. The UI is very simple and takes you by the hand to set up an automation. You don’t need to be a tech-wizard to set one up.
It’s also one of the more comprehensive automation feature I’ve seen (many other apps would only limit the triggers, conditions and actions to paid plans), so I’m pretty impressed with the ease of use for setting up automations in Moosend.
I’d go as far to say it’s better than MailerLite and FAR better than Mailchimp for sure.
Help & Support Documentation
Moosend has a pretty extensive library of help documentation which should answer most common questions and problems in your daily usage of Moosend.
One of the problems I see with other apps is the lack of comprehensive help documentation, Moosend is pretty good in this sense with their comprehensive help library.
I have NOT tested or tried out contacting their support, so I won’t comment there.
However, I have had correspondence with them for other matters and found them to be responsive in those aspects, so take that however you see fit.
One thing I like to look for is how big and active the user-community for an app is. Apps like Active Campaign and Keap have large and active user-base AND experts who actively share and help end-users in user communities like Facebook Groups.
Moosend has a end-user Facebook Community Group with about just over 1K members at the time of this writing.
The Team Behind the Product
There isn’t much I can comment on the team behind the product.
There isn’t any information about the team or founders on their website (at least nothing easily found) and I haven’t heard or read about the team in my online groups or forums.
So, I can’t comment much about this.
Update 13 May 2021: As I’m writing this review, I see Moosend just announced they’ve been acquired by Sitecore. This could change things and help them get more traction in the market, so we’ll see.
I hope they get more traction as so far it looks like a product that does stand out in a saturated market.
Hot Beverage Take
Prior to this review, I didn’t know much about Moosend. I’d seen it mentioned around but it’s not an option many people talk about, but I was intrigued by its product offering.
While the lack of inclusion of Landing Pages in their Free plan hurt their scoring in my view, I am impressed by the simple and easy UI, it’s integrations and the AI features that ARE included in the Free plan which would be very useful for startup e-commerce businesses.
The other minor hesitation would be the relatively lower user-base when compared to MailerLite and other competitors.
But other than that, Moosend’s product offering is definitely a contender if you’re just starting or looking for an email marketing app for a new project. I’d definitely consider it along with MailerLite (and definitely over Mailchimp).
Moosend gets a Hot Beverage Rating of: (4 hot beverages out of 5)
Creators (Consultants, Instructors, etc), Solopreneurs, Freelancers Who Want to Build Tiny Empires: Come Walk with Me
Join me on weekly virtual “walking meetings” with the FREE Walk with Me eNewsletter where I write about important issues for Creators (Consultants, Instructors, etc), Solopreneurs, & Freelancers who want to build Tiny Empires.