Mailster and Mailchimp are two widely used and highly regarded email marketing solutions.
Founded in 2001, Mailchimp has been a prominent player in the email marketing industry for nearly two decades. Mailster is a relatively newer company, however, it has quickly developed a reputation as one of the best WordPress newsletter plugins.
However, the fact that these two solutions are both reputable is one of the few commonalities between Mailster and Mailchimp. These two solutions are vastly different in numerous ways.
This post explores exactly what differentiates Mailster and Mailchimp and who each platform is best for.
Mailster vs Mailchimp: The biggest difference
The most important distinction between these two plugins is that Mailster is a WordPress newsletter plugin and Mailchimp is an email marketing service used outside of WordPress. We can call services like Mailchimp “traditional” services given that they are more popular than WordPress and they predate WordPress as well.
There are certain advantages of using Mailchimp (and similar services) rather than WordPress newsletter plugins and vice versa.
Generally speaking, the advantage of using WordPress newsletter plugins is their convenience. Setting these platforms up is as simple as installing a plugin and configuring some basic settings. Additionally, you don’t need leave your WordPress dashboard to use these plugins which can make sending out newsletters incredibly efficient.
The benefit of traditional email marketing solutions that you would use outside of WordPress is that these platforms are typically more robust. These platforms often have advanced features that most WordPress newsletter plugins don’t offer.
An important distinction between these two platforms is the way they deliver emails.
Mailchimp has its own sending servers that the company monitors 24/7 to ensure the best possible email deliverability for Mailchimp users.
Mailster on the other hand doesn’t have its own sending server. Mailster enables you to deliver emails in two ways: using your web host or using an SMTP server.
Using your web host is an inherently unreliable way to send emails due to poor email deliverability. Integrating with an SMTP server to send emails is a much more dependable sending method.
Simply put SMTP servers are designed to facilitate the sending of emails from email marketing platforms like Mailster. While integrating these platforms can complicate things, you are more likely to deliver your emails to your subscribers’ inbox this way.
Mailster can integrate with many popular SMTP servers including SendGrid, Mailgun, SparkPost, and Amazon SES.
Some of these services can actually be used for free until a certain email sending limit is reached. For instance, SendGrid allows you to send up to 100 emails a day for free.
Related: 7 Open Source Mailchimp Alternatives
Ease of use
In terms of ease of use, both platforms are relatively intuitive.
However, because Mailchimp is more feature-rich and an overall more sophisticated platform, it has a relatively steeper learning curve than Mailster. It can certainly take some time to understand the ins and outs of this platform.
Mailster is a bit more simplistic and in turn, it is a bit easier to figure out for most people. The ease of use of the platform can also be attributed to the fact that you access Mailster from your familiar WordPress dashboard.
Related: Mailmunch vs Mailchimp: Which is Best?
Mailchimp certainly trumps Mailster in terms of template selection. With dozens of templates to choose from, Mailchimp offers a wide variety of templates.
Mailchimp offers two general types of templates: layouts and themes.
The layouts template category offers featured templates designed for a specific purpose. For instance these featured templates are built specifically for selling products, making an announcement telling a story, following up, or educating. You can also select one of the basic templates that aren’t designed for a specific purpose.
The theme templates on the other hand are predesigned by graphic designers and tend to have vibrant color schemes and professional images. These templates are categorized for their different applications such as ecommerce, events, or holiday newsletters and there are numerous options to choose from. You can see some of the ecommerce template selection below.
Mailster on the other hand has a much more limited selection. The platform offers just a handful of templates with basic layouts.
Mailster also offers various paid templates designed by third-party publishers that you can purchase through Envato Market. These templates tend to be more aesthetically pleasing but the downside is they can be expensive for some (templates are around $20 each).
MailChimp has a an easy to use drag-and-drop email editor. You can easily drag text, images, buttons, video, and more from the right column of the editor.
One cool aspect of Mailchimp is that when you change templates halfway through building out your email, the content you previously added will transfer to fit the new template.
Mailster’s email editor on the other hand isn’t quite as flexible. Mailster has drag-and-drop sections with predetermined spots for text and images. This means you can’t move around images text and video as freely as you can with Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop editor.
Both email marketing service providers have excellent segmentation capabilities.
Mailchimp gives you numerous parameters to choose from. With the platform’s advanced segmentation abilities, you can segment based on parameters such as predicted demographics, and website engagement for instance. By integrating with your ecommerce store you can also segment based on Mailchimp’s customer lifetime value calculation which can be hugely beneficial.
Mailster has similar segmentation capabilities. As far as WordPress newsletter plugins go, Mailster really excels in this area given that Mailster gives you many parameters and has and/or logic to specify your audience.
Mailster even has a lead scoring parameter which is calculated based on how engaged your users are with your emails.
As far as automation goes, Mailchimp certainly has the upper hand.
Mailchimp gives you advanced automation capabilities. The platform allows you to build out sophisticated journey maps to automate and segment your email marketing based on your subscribers’ behavior.
Mailster’s automation capabilities are basic compared to Mailchimp’s. You can’t build out journey maps but you can do the following:
- Set up email automation after a certain event (user subscribes or new post has been published for instance)
- Schedule emails to be sent at a later date
- Create drip campaigns by scheduling a sequence of emails days apart
Both email marketing solutions allow you to build out forms that you can embed on your WordPress site to build your email list.
Mailchimp allows you to build out forms in the same type of drag and drop editor that you would use to build out email templates. Simply add the fields you want and reposition them in the order you desire.
Mailchimp also has a selection of different form styles and even allows you to build out entire landing pages as well.
Mailster on the other hand also gives you selection of form designs to choose from. However, the platform doesn’t give you as much flexibility to customize your forms.
Analytics and reporting
Mailchimp’s reporting is extremely comprehensive. In addition to covering opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes for each campaign, the platform also reports on more in-depth statistics including:
- Predicted demographics (male vs female and age range)
- 24-hour performance (number of opens and clicks plotted hourly)
- Top opens by location
- Subscribers with the most opens
- Total revenue generated (if it’s a promotional email for an integrated ecommerce store)
Mailster isn’t as comprehensive but it does give you the essential metrics for your campaigns such as opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. The platform also displays graphs showing the percentage opens and clicks overall for lists and displays a graph plotting the growth of your subscriber base over time.
The monthly price you pay for Mailchimp depends on the plan you choose and the number of subscribers you have. As you upgrade your plans you get more advanced features that you wouldn’t get with the free version such as A/B split testing, behavior-based automation, and multivariate testing.
- Starting price: $0 per month
- Subscribers: up to 2,000
- Starting price: $9.99 per month
- Subscribers: up to 50,000
- Starting price: $14.99 per month
- Subscribers: up to 100,000
- Starting price: $299 per month
- Subscribers: 200,000+
Mailster’s pricing is definitely more straight-forward compared to Mailchimp.
Keep in mind that using a third-party SMTP server in conjunction with Mailster could be an additional cost. The monthly price of sending emails through SMTP depends on which server you go with and how many emails you send per month. However, using an SMTP server to bulk send emails is often more affordable than using email marketing service providers.
Who is each tool best suited for?
On the other hand, Mailster is certainly a more convenient email marketing solution given that you access the tool from your WordPress dashboard. Given that the tool is relatively more minimalistic, it also may be easier to get acclimated to. The downside of the tools simplicity is that it lacks some of the functionality that Mailchimp has.
At the end of the day, if you want a robust email marketing solution and are willing to pay for a premium tool, Mailchimp may be your best bet.
If you are looking for a cost-effective, and convenient email marketing tool that doesn’t have a bunch of extra bells and whistles, Mailster might be your best bet.
You can see how other email marketing tools stack up to Mailchimp in the following comparisons:
Vertical Response vs Mailchimp
You can see how other email marketing tools stack up to Mailster in the following comparisons:
Great post and explanation. Thanks!
Glad you found it helpful!
This is all the info I need. Thanks.
I think I’ll start with Mailchimp to test my email marketing (Dunno if it’s going to be important in my marketing mix). If it grows I’ll probably use Mailster. Just because I like to have it in my own hand.
Solid plan Marc. Thanks for reading
Very clear and level-headed explanation. Well done! Think I may go with Mailster.
I’m using Mailster for years now, I’ve tried out MailChimp in the beginning, however I prefer Mailster it is much much more advanced and has betted intergration with WooCommerce.
Thanks for sharing
very comprehensive and useful , thanks
Glad it was helpful.