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transactional email

What's the Best SendGrid Alternative? Is it MailChimp?

Angela Stringfellow

Transactional emails are critical to businesses in the digital domain. They’re becoming increasingly necessary for offline businesses, too. More than 300 billion emails are sent and received everyday. Most businesses find it difficult to build and maintain the infrastructure necessary to support significant email volumes. This is where transactional email providers come in. They provide and maintain infrastructure capable of sending a large number of emails every day.

One of the most prominent transactional email services is SendGrid. The service supports sending transactional emails and marketing emails using an intuitive digital interface. SendGrid also has strong API integration that developers can use to algorithmically automate email delivery. The service also ensures high deliverability from their servers. Many enterprises (such as Uber, Spotify, Airbnb) rely on the service to send transactional emails and promotional emails to their customers. SendGrid was recently acquired by Twilio, a provider of communication APIs.

There are plenty of transactional email service providers in the market. Many offer features similar to those offered by SendGrid at competitive prices. However, some robust services like Amazon SES lack a simple to use interface that is marketer-friendly. All things considered, one of the best among the alternatives for SendGrid is MailChimp.

SendGrid vs MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the oldest email providers that is still in service. The company was founded in 2001 and has been widely used by marketers to send promotional emails ever since then. MailChimp also has a service to send transactional emails in bulk. Overall, it’s a well-rounded email service that is user-friendly for marketers and developers alike. The service was acquired by Intuit for $12 billion in September, 2021.

MailChimp for Marketing Campaigns

MailChimp started as a tool for marketers to send email promotions without worrying about the technical details required to send emails. The service has a simple to use interface where marketers can create email campaigns and sales funnels. You could use MailChimp to automate all promotional activities with emails. Marketers can use dashboards to monitor campaigns, manage audiences, build new templates, and perform analytics. The service offers thousands of email templates that can be used by marketers without any HTML or CSS skills.

MailChimp for Transactional Emails

MailChimp also has a transactional email service, previously called Mandrill, that businesses of all sizes can use. The key features of the transactional email service include:

  • High deliverability to ensure emails do not land in spam folder
  • Flexibility of service with custom tagging, white-labeling, and conditional content
  • Globally distributed infrastructure to handle high email volume
  • Automatic feedback loop registration
  • Dedicated IP addresses to maintain the hygiene of mail servers
  • Detailed documentation and other support tools
  • Dynamically scalable analytics to accommodate large email volumes

MailChimp for Developers

MailChimp offers a user interface for users to create and manage marketing email and transactional email campaigns. In addition, these services also have a host of developer tools for custom integrations. MailChimp marketing and transactional email service each have their own respective APIs. Each of the APIs also has detailed documentation and guides to be used with custom data and automated processes.

Developers also can build their own commerce stack with MailChimp APIs. Mailchimp Open Commerce is an API-first service that businesses with a highly technical bend can use to create modular solutions. The service is open-source in nature and has an extensive GitHub repository that can be accessed free. The service was previously called Reaction Commerce.

Analytics

MailChimp services have detailed built-in dashboards for easy analytics. All email related data, such as bounce rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, open rate, etc., can be easily tracked with MailChimp. Tools and tips to improve the ROI of campaigns are available with the analytics dashboard. The dashboard can be customized to each user’s needs in the intuitive user interface. APIs can also be used to export data from MailChimp to be analyzed elsewhere.

Pricing

MailChimp has two separate pricing plans for the marketing platform and transactional emails.

Marketing platform

The service has a free base plan that can be used to send emails to 2,000 contacts every month. The paid plan starts from $9.99 per month (for 500 contacts) and has additional features that are not available with the free tier. Pricing goes up to $299 per month according to the number of contacts, email volume, and other associated features. Detailed pricing is provided at the MailChimp website.

Transactional email

MailChimp offers instant quotes for transactional emails according to the volume required. For $20 per month, users can send up to 25,000 emails, and the pricing climbs up from there according to the number of emails needed. The plans can go up to $10,000 per month for large email volumes. There is a fee of $29.95 per month for a dedicated IP address. Pricing details can be customized on MailChimp’s pricing page.

Mailchimp: A Viable Sendgrid Alternative

MailChimp is as good as SendGrid in all quantifiable parameters. MailChimp has a leg up for ease of use, as it is easy to use for non-developers. The custom UI and extensive dashboards make it easier for non-developers to build and create campaigns. Transactional messages are a core part for any businesses, and email is a popular conduit for them. Most consumers have email IDs, making transactional emails universally accessible.

MailChimp isn’t the only alternative to SendGrid, and the best service for one business may not be ideal for another. Check out our list of the best transactional email services for developers to compare the features of different competitor platforms and choose the best service for your business.

For businesses with their own applications, transactional messages can be sent to users using push notifications instead of emails. The information sent with transactional emails can also be sent to the client app. Having an inbox that collates all the messages provides easy access for users. MagicBell is a notification inbox solution that works well with all forms of applications: web, Android, and iOS. Developers can implement MagicBell’s inbox in just minutes to provide a central notification inbox to keep users engaged. And, whether you choose Sendgrid, MailChimp, or another competitor transactional email provider, with MagicBell you can easily switch providers without changing your code. That makes it easy to experiment with different email providers until you find the best solution for your needs.

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