One of the older email marketing programs on the market today, GetResponse remains a top-notch product with a lot to offer.
In its early years, the company operated exclusively in the European market; however, over the past decade GetResponse has made a concentrated effort to expand its reach to the American market. GetResponse currently serves over 350,000 businesses from 182 countries, ranging from micro-businesses to well-known companies such as Marriott, Hilton, the Blue Man Group, and GlaxoSmithKline.
The software is definitely worth a look, even for those with no prior experience in the field. It offers a fantastic feature set at a very reasonable price – and the full array of features are available to all subscribers, regardless of list size. With GetResponse, you get access to extensive A/B testing options, single-click list segmentation, and a tremendously helpful array of tools and reports. Read the full review for details.
GetResponse offers a 30-day free trial for a list of up to 250 subscribers, no credit card required. Be aware, however, that for the trial (and only the trial), if you add, delete, and then re-add a contact, it counts as two contacts. Once the trial has expired, there are a number of pricing plans available. The pricing format is somewhat complex, with more advanced plans becoming available as your business’s list size grows. Prepaying for a year’s worth of service will save 18 percent. If you think you’ll be using GetResponse for the foreseeable future, you can save 30 percent by prepaying two years.
Pricing is as follows:
The basic email plan gives you unlimited email marketing, autoresponders and a landing page that can accommodate up to 1,000 visitors/month.
- Up to 1,000 subscribers – $15/month
- Up to 2,500 subscribers – $25/month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers – $45/month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers – $65/month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers – $145/month
- Up to 50,000 subscribers – $250/month
- Up to 100,000 subscribers – $450/month
Pro removes the limitations on the landing page and allows you to make as many of them as you want. You’ll also have access to webinars (up to 100 attendees). A Pro account can accommodate up to three users.
- Up to 5,000 subscribers – $49/month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers – $75/month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers – $165/month
- Up to 50,000 subscribers – $280/month
- Up to 100,000 subscribers – $490/month
The Max plan ups the number of users to five and the maximum webinar attendees to 500. You’ll also get a custom domain and an account manager.
- Up to 10,000 subscribers – $165/month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers – $255/month
- Up to 50,000 subscribers – $370/month
- Up to 100,000 subscribers – $580/month
Enterprise brings a whole host of new features for larger companies looking for highly customized features. You’ll need to schedule a demo before signing up.
- 100,000+ subscribers – $799/month
Additional Services and Fees
If you exceed the monthly limit on your plan, you’ll be billed for the excess. First, you’ll have to pay the full cost of the plan your usage falls into (so if you have 24,999 on your list and you get two new subscribers, you’ll owe an additional $105 for the month). Second, you’ll have to pay an additional fee: $4 if you are 1-1,000 subscribers over the limit, $8 if you are 1,001-2,000 subscribers over the limit, and so on, in $4 and 1,000-subscriber increments.
For billing purposes, a month is considered to be 30 days, and a year is considered to be 360 days.
This information is nowhere to be found on the pricing page, which has led to some complaints about hidden charges. Read the T&C for the details on pricing policies. Pay particular attention to sections 5, 9, 10, and 11. There is a strict no-refunds policy; make sure you understand the terms before you sign up for the service. Finally, should you decide to leave the service, you can’t cancel by sending an email or calling GetResponse; you must log in and use the built-in cancellation function, which serves as an exit interview.
GetResponse offers custom template design for an additional cost. Newsletter templates will cost you $199. If you also want a landing page, the cost rises to $350.
Image Hosting and Associated Charges
GetResponse offers an impressive 1 GB of image storage with each account. All users also have access to the company’s image library, which contains over 1000 images.
Hardware and Software Requirements:
Specific Size of Business:
GetResponse is geared to provide large-scale features to small-scale marketers, and it does this job admirably, functioning well for businesses ranging anywhere from 100 contacts to 100,000. Companies with larger lists should look to GetResponse360.
Ease of Use:
Given GetResponse’s wide array of advanced email marketing tools, newbies may find the learning curve a bit steep at times. Fortunately, GetResponse’s extensive knowledge base and 24/7 chat service go a long way toward resolving this issue. Signing up is easy; provide first name, an email address, and a password, and you’re in. You’ll need to enter a legitimate business address and phone number to fully activate the account.
The homepage has gotten a little more complicated recently, expanding from three tabs to nine. Mousing over the tabs will display a pulldown menu that displays all of your options for that category.
Creating the campaign
When creating your campaign, you’ll get a choice between the “Drag-and-Drop Email Editor” and “HTML Source Editor.” The former is a WYSISYG editor with drag-and-drop functionality and over 500 templates available. The latter is exactly what it sounds like: an opportunity for more advanced users to code their emails however they desire. Users can also use a blank template, import a template from a zip file or web page, create a plain text email, or create a custom template with the assistance of GetResponse’s designers (extra cost). After selecting an editor, users can fill out a number of self-explanatory fields (message name, subject, “reply-to” address, etc.) and choose tracking options, activate A/B testing, and/or set the campaign to be shared via linked Facebook and Twitter accounts.
A feature I am particularly fond of is the mobile device preview, which shows how the custom email will look on a mobile device, complete with interactive scrolling and landscape/portrait toggle.
The template selection is very good; templates are arranged into categories such as sports, seasonal/birthday, internet marketing, publishing, and non-profits. You can drag and drop elements (text boxes, images, etc.) into the editor to design your email. Previous limitations, like the inability to text wrap, have been solved. Some annoying quirks remain, however. The seemingly simple task of putting some social share buttons in the upper right-hand corner? It takes some work (it is possible, contrary to what customer service told me, but you must use columns to make it happen. There’s no way to simply right-align the buttons).
You can save elements as “snippets” and use them again later, and the program also offers a “My History” feature that autosaves each version of your missive as you work on it (so that if you accidentally delete something, you can quickly revert to an earlier version).
On the other hand, the layout interface can often be needlessly complex. A simple transformation like changing the placement of an element can take a few clicks and occasionally result in some strange behavior on more complex layouts. If you have a passing knowledge of HTML, the ability to easily pop open the HTML editor will save you some grief.
Sending the Email
Sending emails is quite simple; you can preview them using the extremely handy Inbox Preview, and run them through a spam check to look for elements which might get it tagged as spam. Next, select a campaign (that is, a list) to use, add or remove individual email addresses from the mailing. At that point, you can send your emails right away or schedule the mailing for a later time or date.
As with most ESPs, you’ll need to certify that any list you upload is permission-based and conforms with the provider’s anti-spam policies. You can add lists in the following ways:
- Upload a csv, txt, xls, xlsx, vcf, or ods file
- Import contacts from SalesForce, Google, Plaxo, Magento, Highrise, FreshBooks, ZenDesk, Formstack, or Batchbook.
- Manually copy and paste addresses into a text box
Contact lists in GetResponse exist inside “campaigns,” which may be confusing terminology to the neophyte. This harkens back to GetResponse’s origins as an email marketer’s tool; the assumption is that users are generating email as part of a more complex sales funnel. The campaign organization allows users to create a series of newsletters and autoresponders around a pitch and to start different contacts at different points in the cycle: email #1 vs. email #16, for example. Users without these complex needs can still use GetResponse in the same manner as any other email marketing platform, maintaining just one or two lists (i.e. campaigns) and sending emails to everyone all at once.
Users can also manually select or eliminate contacts from a particular mailing on a one-by-one basis – a handy feature for small organizations with a limited mailing list.
GetResponse has a terrific reporting section, covering all the basics as well as a number of advanced statistics. A few basic reports appear directly on the dashboard, providing a brief overview of campaign success via pie chart and raw numbers. The Email Analytics page provides further information, with bar and line graph options for opens, clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, and complaints. You can opt to view the total number of events, or confine your view to unique users. You can also copy a tracking code into your webpages and use the Goals page to track website sales, conversions, downloads, or other events.
Additionally, for every report, you can view which members within your email list performed any given action. You can also view desktop versus mobile activity, list growth compared to prior campaigns, and autoresponder statistics. You can find more information on GetResponse’s reporting capabilities in this short video.
Customer Service and Support:
My experience with GetResponse was on the whole a good one; I never waited more than about five minutes for a live chat representative, and the reps I spoke with were cordial and helpful. I received responses to my email inquiries within a business day. However, I noticed several complaints from users who had trouble getting in touch with the GetResponse (more details can be found under “Negative Reviews and Complaints,” below). The company’s recent Stevie Awards in customer service provide a good indication that the company is trying – with some success – to turn this around; on the other hand, some of the complaints I saw are dated within the past year, so it appears this is still an area of concern for some people.
The GetResponse Learning Center provides a handy central location from which users can access all support resources:
- Live Support – GetResponse provides live one-on-one support through the following means: an online contact form, phone support, and chat support. The online Contact Form allows you to contact GetResponse using the online form here. Available 24/7/365. For phone support, you can reach GetResponse at 877-362-4547, weekdays from 9am to 5pm EST. Chat support is available 24/7/365.
- Video Tutorials – Two of GetResponse’s recent Stevie Awards relate to its extensive library of video tutorials. Generally between one and three minutes long, these tutorials cover many aspects of program operation.
- FAQ – GetResponse provides an extensive knowledge base of searchable FAQs. Where appropriate, these include links to relevant video tutorials.
- Live Webinars – GetResponse provides live webinars every week which focus on educating users about different aspects of the software and email marketing in general. Typical offerings include “Fast Track to Email Marketing Success,” “Create and Send Engaging Newsletters,” and “Web Forms and Segmentation.”
- Manuals, Whitepapers, and Reports – GetResponse offers an extensive array of downloadable materials providing an in-depth view of the software and email marketing management.
- Blog – Every weekday, the GetResponse team posts a new entry to its blog. Articles typically discuss tips, themes, and trends in email marketing with a heavy focus on acquiring new subscribers, SEO, and social media.
- Social Media – GetResponse is quite active on Facebook. Representatives often respond to user comments and questions within a few hours. The company generally posts to Twitter twice a day, with quick email marketing tips and links to blog articles. You can also check out the company on LinkedIn and Google+.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There are a broad spectrum of positive and negative takes on GetResponse. There are seven complaints on RipOffReport.com. Implix USA Inc. is not BBB-accredited, and gets an A on the site due in part to the 18 complaints filed over the past three years, most of which were billing related.
The most common complaints I found are as follows:
- Hidden Charges – There are a few complaints regarding hidden charges. At least one of these came from a user who didn’t understand how list-based pricing works. (GetResponse follows industry standards in terms of determining list size.) However, GetResponse fails to list a lot of important pricing info on its pricing page, instead tucking it away in the T&C. In theory, you should always read the T&C of a program before paying for it, but in practice most people don’t. Important pricing information really ought to be at least hinted at on the pricing page. GetResponse’s tactics are legitimate, but a bit shady.
- Design Issues – Some complain that the interface is not intuitive and needs to be simpler. Some users go so far as to say that to do any real design with it, you need to know HTML.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
While there are certainly complaints about GetResponse drifting around out there, there’s also plenty of praise for the program. The company provides a testimonials page; other accolades include a handful of reviews on G2 Crowd (4.4/5 stars), another on SiteJabber (5 stars), and TrustRadius (7.6/10).
- Ease of Use – The single most common point of praise. Many users love the interface and find it easy to navigate through the program even if they have no prior experience with email marketing. The drag-and-drop editor is a popular feature.
- Landing Page Creation – Landing page creation is an unusual feature in an ESP, and users find that GetResponse’s implementation is efficient and easy to use.
- Feature Selection – Several users laud GetResponse’s feature selection, saying that the tools it provides to email marketers far exceed what the competition has to offer.
- High Deliverability – Some users say they got higher deliverability rates with GetResponse than with competing ESPs.
- Great Customer Service – Some users praise the customer support, particularly the chat support feature.
- Time Travel Feature – Users love the feature allowing them to automatically segment lists by time zone. It delivers emails when they’re more likely to be opened.
GetResponse includes a great selection of features for all customers, regardless of the number of contacts they have. Highlights of the program can be found here.
- Email Creator – With over 500 templates and a WYSIWYG interface, the email creator provides a variety of design options for those who aren’t proficient in HTML. Templates support responsive design and are compatible with both desktop and mobile devices. Capabilities include limited photo editing, drag-and-drop design elements (such as text blocks, images, and buttons), and the ability to save elements as “snippets” for future use. Alternately, users with some experience in HTML can code their own templates.
- Landing Page Creator – The landing page creator allows you to quickly create a landing page, choosing from more than 100 templates. As with the email creator, you can use a WYSIWYG editor to edit page elements. You can host your page for free on a GetResponse subdomain or publish the page on your own domain. A limited version of the Landing Page Creator (supporting 1 page for up to 1,000 visitors) is available with all subscriptions; you can purchase an expanded version as an add-on.
- A/B Split Testing – GetResponse’s A/B testing feature allows you to test and compare up to five variants of the subject line, email content, from field, or time of sending. You can also set segmentation, test duration, and goal. When the testing period is over, the system can automatically deliver the most successful message to the remainder of your list.
- Webinars – GetResponse now offers the ability to engage your contacts with webinars starting at the Pro level. This feature is fairly unique among ESPs and gives users access to video, audio, online polling, file sharing and a digital whiteboard.
- Inbox Preview – Before you send your email, you can run it through Inbox Preview, a feature which allows you to see what your message will look like in 20 different web-based, mobile, and desktop clients. It’s an impressive offering, more so because it is included in the cost of the subscription, even for small list sizes.
- Time Travel – Trying to reach a global audience, but afraid your email will get lost in the 2 AM trash? GetResponse allows users to segment their campaign sends according to time zones through its Time Travel option. This feature ensures that a mass mailing goes into everyone’s mailbox at the same local time.
- Autoresponders 2.0 – GetResponse provides both time-based and action-based autoresponders to increase subscriber engagement, along with detailed guides on how to use them.
- Form Builder – This feature allows you to easily create email signup forms for websites or Facebook pages. With over 150 templates available, the Form Builder uses a basic WYSIWYG interface with drag-and-drop elements, much like the email creator. Once your form is complete, you’ll get HTML code to embed into your site or send to your designer. Alternately, you can allow GetResponse to host the form on your behalf. You can even install your form on your company Facebook page with one click.
- Email Analytics – As discussed in detail under “Ease of Use” (above), GetResponse’s Email Analytics offers comprehensive reporting capabilities, with features such as single-click email segmentation, side-by-side email comparison, autoresponder statistics, and email ROI analysis.
- RSS to Email – A real boon to bloggers looking to boost their readership, this tool allows users to automatically email their blog audience each time they post, or to put all their articles into a digest grouped daily, weekly, or monthly by using a simple template design. Learn more and see a simple demo video here.
Integrations and Add-ons:
GetResponse offers over 90 add-ons and integrations with popular software programs and services.
- Landing Page Creator – An expanded version of the Landing Page Creator included in the subscription, this add-on allows you to create up to 500 pages supporting an unlimited number of visitors and to A/B test your pages’ content. ($15/month)
- GetSubscribers – Serious email marketers looking for a competitive advantage to their list-building have the option of using GetResponse’s companion service, GetSubscribers. This pay-per-subscriber service takes advantage of GetResponse’s global reach and helps its users to build opt-in contact lists.
- PayPal – Users can add a PayPal “Buy Now” button to the body of any email, as well as providing customers who make a purchase with the opportunity to sign up for their mailing list.
- Salesforce – Upload contacts upon initial sign-up; after that, the system automatically imports new Salesforce contacts every 7 days. (See our review of Salesforce here.)
- Google Analytics – Allows users to link GetResponse with their Google Analytics account.
- Website Integrations – Allows for easy integration with content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla.
- Shopify – Automatically add e-commerce customers into GetResponse email lists and create campaigns specifically for Shopify lists and customers. (See our review of Shopify here.)
Social Media Integrations
Because of the integral connection between social media and email marketing, it is important to look at the social-media specific integrations offered by GetResponse.
- Facebook – Post newsletters to your wall automatically or generate an auto-filling signup form.
- Twitter – Users can automatically share email newsletters with their Twitter followers.
- RSS Feed – Automatically add newsletter mailings to your RSS feed through Zapier.
GetResponse runs regular network security updates, powerful firewalls, and 24/7/356 monitoring of all company servers. The company processes and stores credit card data using bank-level encryption on a PCI-compliant network. User data is backed up in real time to multiple disks and servers for full data redundancy.
For more information, see the GetResponse security page.
Anti-spam Policy & Protection
GetResponse has a comprehensive anti-spam policy in order to keep its deliverability rates high. Upon signing up, you must certify that your list is permission-based and meets the company’s anti-spam standards. In addition, each time you add a new contact to your list, you will need to tick a box indicating that you obtained the new address through legitimate, opt-in means.
Included in all accounts is Spam Score, a feature that shows you how your missive scores on SpamAssassin’s tests. You can see what might cause email providers to chuck your message in the spam box; with any luck, you’ll be able to spot potential problems before they actually occur.
There’s a lot to love about GetResponse, not least of which is its low initial learning curve. This is largely thanks in great part to its library of quick, concise video tutorials and its incredibly responsive chat support. If your marketing budget is big enough to accommodate a pro plan, the new webinar feature is a pretty unique and potentially powerful way to engage your contacts.
The greatest concern to users will almost certainly be GetResponse’s somewhat opaque pricing scheme. While you can usually get away with not reading the T&C for services like these, GetResponse’s hold some critical information about pricing.
The 30-day free trial should be enough of a test drive to evaluate the product yourself.