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SendinBlue Review: Can Free Email Marketing Compete With The Best?

The money is in the list.

And if you aren’t building your list, then you are losing money. If you aren’t sending emails to your list, then you’re losing money.

The problem is that building and emailing your list can get expensive pretty quick. Not a problem for your big site since email does have such a monster ROI.

But for those of us without much of a budget, it can make a pretty big dent.

SendinBlue is an email marketing platform that lets you get started for free. And isn’t not a “low quality” type of free; their free plan is more extensive than the paid plans of other tools.

In this SendinBlue review, we’re going to look at what this email marketing software can do for you. We’ll discuss what SendinBlue offers with their free plan and see if their paid plans are worth it.

You can click here to try SendinBlue free for your email marketing software.

Market more and pay less with SendinBlue

Summary

SendinBlue provides a powerful email marketing solution for the beginner email marketing. It’s free plan is more powerful than the paid plans in other tools. You can click here to try it for free.

Pros

  • Super easy to use
  • Automation allows you to email your list without much work
  • Great list management options
  • Email templates allow you to get started fast and have beautiful emails
  • Amazing value for your dollar and has a free plan

Cons

  • Lackluster split testing compared to other tools
  • Automation can be a bit limited if your list is over 2,000

SendinBlue Review

I’ll start this SendinBlue review by showing what this tool packs under the hood. I’ll be using the free version for everything I show you, so you’ll be able to access all of these features no matter what you’re paying.

Let’s get started.

SendinBlue Dashboard

The dashboard will be the first thing you see after signing in to SendinBlue. It looks like this:

sendinblue dashboard

One thing I like about the dashboard is that I get an immediate look into how my campaigns are doing. I have a bird’s eye view of my subscribers, open rate, click rate, and how many people are “blacklisted”.

A blacklisted contact has:

  1. an invalid email address
  2. reported your email as spam
  3. unsubscribed
  4. been put on a blacklist by you

SendinBlue also shows me how many emails I have remaining for the day. I can see my campaigns below stats and then to the left I have an easy navigation menu.

Overall, I like the dashboard. It’s clean, easy to see my stats at a glance, and easy to get around.

Now that we’ve taken a peek at the dashboard, let’s see how SendinBlue does when it comes to emails.

Emails With SendinBlue

SendinBlue has a lot of features that I like when it comes to email marketing. To go from the dashboard and create your own campaign, you’ll click on Campaigns –> Email –> Create my first email campaign. 

You’ll see a screen like this:

sendinblue email campaign

You’ll notice that you can split test from day 1. I’ll discuss this more in a second, since it’s pretty awesome.

The interface here makes sense. You name your campaign for your purposes, add a subject line, specify what email address you want your blasts sent from, and add the “From” name.

I recommend using a persona for your “from” if you aren’t using your own name. People are a lot more apt to open emails from someone they know than someone they don’t. 

Take advantage of this to build familiarity with your readers.

Once you move on from there, you have the option to craft your emails. There are a lot of ways you can do this, so take your pick. SendinBlue allows you to choose between drag & drop, rich text, and pasting your code.

sendinblue create email

Of the three, I recommend drag & drop for most users. It’s easy to use and get the hang of while still allowing you to make an email that you are proud of. I played around with the drag & drop for a bit and it’s pretty cool. But I recommend starting with a template even if you know what you’re doing.

If nothing else, it gives you a starting point.

SendinBlue has a variety of templates that you can use for free:

sendinblue templates

I picked one of these templates (the only one listed under the category “Blogger”), deleted a few elements, and here’s what I ended up with:

sendinblue email

It goes on further than that, but I like it. It’s a sort of post grid inside an email to help users get connected with articles.

Cool.

Once you have your email designed, you select what list you want it to go to and when you want your email sent.

Automation

Automation is a bit weird with SendinBlue. First you have to install a separate automation app.

It’s free, so that’s cool. 

You click on the + mark on the header and then click Automation. The plus mark looks like this:

SendinBlue add apps

And then click Automation. It’s not too difficult.

It’s easy to set up, but the automation is pretty cool. Here is a list of the options you get to automate for your subscribers:

sendinblue automation options

That’s pretty amazing considering that I’m still using SendinBlue’s free plan. Once you select what you’re doing (I picked Welcome Message), then SendinBlue helps you get set up.

In less than 5 minutes, I had this automation ready:

sendinblue automation

You can click the small + icon at the bottom when you want to add more emails to this sequence.

sendinblue add step

The free plan is limited to 2,000 automation subscribers, so do be aware of that limit. But 2,000 is a lot and by the time you have that many, you’ll be able to afford paying for a stronger plan.

You can click here to try SendinBlue free for your email marketing software.

Get Started with SendInBlue for Free

Split Testing

One thing I love about SendinBlue is that you can split test from day 1. I couldn’t find any other email provider that allows you to do that. Here’s what you have to pay with most email marketing softwares to access split testing:

 SendinBlueMailchimpActiveCampaignConvertKitGetResponse
Price to get split testing$0$10 per month$15 per month???$15 per month

While creating your email, click on A/B Test.

sendinblue a/b testing

I love that split testing is available from day 1. I don’t love that it’s pretty basic. You can test the subject lines, but that’s it. There’s no way to test the body of the email or the “from” name. 

I don’t love that SendinBlue limits us a bit here, but I can’t say that I should expect more from a free tool. They do allow us to optimize for opens/link clicks, so that’s nice.

Now that we’ve looked at the emails, let’s take a dive into the list building aspects of SendinBlue

Lists & Contacts With SendinBlue

SendinBlue makes it pretty easy to manage your lists and contacts. They don’t have a set list limit on any of their plans; instead, each plan has a sending limit.

I love this feature.

If you have a monster list but only send out emails once a month, you shouldn’t be charged as much as someone who has a similar list but sends daily emails.

SendinBlue’s sending limit makes it so that you don’t pay for your list; you pay for the number of emails you send. It’s a pay-as-you-need solution, not a pay-as-we-want-you-to solution. I like that.

SendinBue makes it pretty easy to sort through your list once you have one built up. From the dashboard, you can click on Contacts in the header. You’ll come to a screen like this:

sendinblue contacts

SendinBlue allows you to add subscribers by hand, but I hope that you never have to do this. It’s much easier to use a tool like Thrive Leads (read our Thrive Leads review) or OptinMonster (read our OptinMonster review).

These lead generation tools are 100% committed to building your list, so they work a lot faster than adding subscribers by hand. The same holds true for building forms with your email marketing software; I’ll talk about that in a minute.

One thing I like about SendinBlue here is that I can search for subscribers using very specific settings. There are a ton of filtering options here.

sendinblue filtering options

So if you’re looking for everyone who isn’t clicking your emails that has a last name starting with H, you can do that.

SendinBlue also allows you to get a pretty good view of your lists. 

sendinblue listsYou’ll have to excuse me for not changing the name of my list and for only having 2 subscribers. This is just a test run 😉

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But you can click on your contacts to see who’s there. You also have an Actions button on the right that allows you to do several different things with your list.

One thing you’ll notice is that SendinBlue offers an option to create your own forms to collect subscribers (you can see this setting on the left, titled Forms).

Pretty well all email marketing softwares allow you to make your own forms. I think that most of them are pretty much useless.

SendinBlue has a pretty standard form creator. There aren’t a lot of options for color, design, templates, or anything like that.

sendinblue form

In the age of drag-and-drop design, this feels very 2010.

I much prefer to use Thrive Leads or OptinMonster. Both of these help you build amazing forms using drap-and-drop editors, then they help you keep track of your subscribers.

OptinMonster in particular is super powerful when it comes to tracking, retargeting, etc.

So don’t bother too much with the form builder here, but don’t expect it to be better in other email marketing tools.

You can click here to try SendinBlue free for your email marketing software.

Get Started with SendInBlue for Free

SendinBlue Pros & Cons

We’ve looked at how you can use SendinBlue to run your email campaigns on a budget. Now let’s look at the pros and cons of using SendinBlue. We’ll start with the good stuff.

The Good Stuff

SendinBlue isn’t perfect, but it gets a lot right. Here are some of my favorite perks.

Super Easy To Use

SendinBlue is pretty easy to go through. It’s nice to be able to see your stats from the home page and SendinBlue is super easy to navigate. The list management is easy, the email construction is easy, and overall this is simple tool to get the hang of.

Simple Automation

SendinBlue’s automation is very user-friendly. It’s simple to set a first event (e.g. a subscription), follow up emails, and then an entire marketing sequence from there.

Easy List Filtering

Another thing I like about SendinBlue is that it’s very easy to navigate and manage your lists. There are some very powerful list navigational tools that allow you to find, filter, and relocate just about anyone.

Email Templates

SendinBlue has 64 different email templates for you to use at time of writing. These range from plain text (the kind that we send at Niche Pursuits) all the way to business newsletter type stuff. 

The templates make it very easy to go through and craft a good-looking email without being a great designer. You can use these templates to serve as your email without modifications or you can use them as a sort of springboard to craft your own unique emails.

The Price

SendinBlue has the most reasonable pricing structure of any email marketing tool out there. It’s free plan is almost as good as the paid plan on many other tools, so there’s nothing to complain about there. The sending limit for the free plan is enormous; with a segmented list, you could have up to 9000 subscribers who all hear from you once a month.

Even with the paid plans, SendinBlue offers a lot more email-sending power for your dollar. You could pay $25/month and have a list of 40,000 people who hear from you once per month. To have that same option with Mailchimp, you would pay $249 per month.

Sound crazy? Here’s the screenshot:

Mailchimp pricing for 40,000 contacts

So we can’t complain about SendinBlue offering the same sending power for 10% of the price.

The Not So Good

SendinBlue is cool, but it’s not perfect. Here are the things about SendinBlue that could be better:

Lackluster Split Testing

I can’t fuss too much here since SendinBlue allows split testing in their free plan. That’s pretty cool.

But for higher level users, the split testing leaves some to be desired. You can test the headlines, but not the body. You won’t be able to test a “From” name either.

You can optimize your campaign for opens or link clicks, so that’s nice.

SendinBlue Price

SendinBlue has 5 different pricing plans: Free, Lite, Essential, Premium, & Enterprise. I discuss each of them below.

SendinBlue Free

SendinBlue’s free plan isn’t a free trial; it’s an actual free plan. You can send up to 300 emails per day with this plan, or about 9,000 per month. If you send one email per day, you could have a list of up to 9,000 people who hear from you every month.

That’s pretty wild.

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Of course the free plan is basic, but that is still more powerful than the basic versions of most other email marketing softwares.

SendinBlue Lite

SendinBlue Lite allows you to send up to 40,000 emails per month. If you have a list that hears from you once a month, that’s a potential list of 40,000 people! A comparable plan with any other software would run you well into the hundreds of dollars per month. SendinBlue Lite costs just $25 per month, $20 per month if paid annually.

Lite also eliminates your daily sending limit in favor of a monthly limit. This allows you to be a little bit more passive, not have to segment as much, and send less frequent emails that reach more people.

SendinBlue Essential

SendinBlue Essential allows you to send up to 60,000 emails per month and costs $39/month. It costs $31.20 per month if paid annually.

This plan removes the SendinBlue logo from emails and allows you some advanced reporting statistics. You’ll get to see geography reports, device reports, heat maps, and advanced open/click data.

SendinBlue Premium

SendinBlue Premium allows you to send up to 120,000 emails per month and costs $69 per month. It costs $52.80 per month if paid annually.

Premium gets pretty nuts. You can have a send time optimization based on your list, can retarget visitors, can create Facebook ads. You can have access to the chat service, have a landing page builder (I wouldn’t use this, go with OptinMonster or Thrive Leads), and can have a dedicated IP if you pay a little extra.

The dedicated IP helps improve deliverability, so it’s pretty cool.

SendinBlue Enterprise

SendinBlue Enterprise is a custom solution for your website and you have to contact SendinBlue for a quote. Enterprise gives you  dedicated account manager, single sign on (SSO), and security assertion markup language (SAML).

I’ll be honest: I don’t know what either of these do. And if you don’t know either, I’d bet you don’t need them.

Who Is SendinBlue Best For?

Below, I’ll go over some situations you may find yourself in and talk about whether SendinBlue is a good option for your business.

The Beginner Email Marketer

I’m going to put you in this camp if your site or business is making less than $1,000 per month. At this point, you’re on a budget and may not be sure about this whole internet marketing thing.

I think that SendinBlue was designed for this type of site owner. The free plan allows you a chance to get your feet under you while still building a significant list. Once you’ve got a growing business, you can either move to a higher plan or a more powerful email provider.

SendinBlue is a great pick for budget buyers and new site builders.

The Budget Shopper

I think that SendinBlue is the perfect solution for budget shoppers. It doesn’t provide all of the power of stronger tools like ConvertKit, but SendinBlue does provide enough for you to get started.

The biggest limit will be that until you hit the higher tier plans like SendinBlue Premium, you’re restricted to low automation sending. You can have an unlimited number of people on your list and you can have a massive number of manual sends, but your automation limit is low.

Won’t be too big of a problem for the budget shopper.

The Complex List Owner

This is where SendinBlue starts to show its faults. It’s just not a good solution for those of us who have email automation flows that look like spaghetti noodles run amok.

If you’re the complex list owner, I would recommend something like ConvertKit (read our ConvertKit review). You could also look at ActiveCampaign (and we have a post comparing ConvertKit with ActiveCampaign).

What About Me?

I think SendinBlue has a ton of strengths for a great price point. It’s not the most powerful tool on the market, but I think it is the most budget-loving. 

I would recommend SendinBlue to you if you’re just getting started in email marketing. I also think it’s a good fit for those who are budget shoppers or who haven’t proven that this whole online income thing works yet.

If you aren’t sure whether SendinBlue is best for your situation, you can try it out for free.

Click here to get SendinBlue free

Start your email marketing for free with SendinBlue

SendinBlue

NichePursuits Rating

SendinBlue might just be the highest value for your dollar among all the email marketing tools. You can use it to:

  • Have a massive list without forking out massive dollars
  • Automate your emails and work less over time
  • Start email marketing for free

SendinBlue’s free plan is more powerful than the paid plans of other tools. You can click here to try it for free.

Start email marketing for free with SendinBlue

Your Next Email Marketing Tool

SendinBlue is an awesome solution for budget shoppers and those just getting started with email marketing. You can click here to try it for free.

Thanks for reading! Any questions or things I missed? Let me know in the comments below 🙂




Product Reviews

By Brady Cargle
September 09, 2019 | 1 Comment

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Steve Lanning

Thanks, Brady,

Good SendInBlue review. A couple of questions for a newbie email marketer, but a long-time business builder.

I have a client that is just getting started. She did not go with one of you guys to help build her site (as per my recommend) but instead went with an agency that deals with churches and other nonprofits. They have a little over a thousand clients. But the ‘personal’ touch leaves more to be desired.

However, they ‘forced’ her to use Mail Chimp–which isn’t bad for sure, but she literally hates it! I’m going to send her your review on SendinBlue but here are my questions. Because of KW competition, they are going longtail with her site.
Dunno. But the guy ‘seems’ pretty savvy. He’s committed to ‘Top 30.’

She is wanting to get a VA to ‘do Mailchimp’ in coordination with her blogs. But I’m trying to make the marketing a completely separate operation as to the print side.

I want to use the Send/Blue software at my location–hopefully, with her URL in my Send/Blue version in doing my ‘outreach’ for her (aka–marketing–which she also hates! Ha!) I am literally launching her outreach. (And may also be in the market for professional help–probably sooner than later! Ahem!)

1. Glad I can hand load addresses one at a time…there are quite a group of ‘niche pursuits’ (to coin a phrase) she/we can go after. But not all would be profitable. I have not checked out fees, but would Send/Blue in either the free or first paid level be good to send a once/week or more often and still be ‘kind’ to the pocketbook?

[Sidebar: She will be building a rather intimate list for both her books and speaking opportunities so I am guessing that once/week would be good with them–and most of the niches.]

2. (Possibly a dumb question) Can these niche name/addresses be printed out to shipping labels from Send/Blue?

Thanks much, Brady. You guys have a very robust sight. I tell everyone about you—even subscribers to OMG!

Cheers!

-Steve

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