Sendinblue offers advanced automation and a cost based on the number of mailings made, as well as a free plan for those new to email marketing.
With a series of additional features, such as transactional sending, SMS marketing, and others, Sendinblue is a complete marketing automation platform at a very affordable cost.
What is Sendinblue?
Sendinblue is a marketing platform, born as a tool for carrying out email marketing campaigns, but over time it has been enriched with additional features, such as the ability to create SMS campaigns, send transactional emails, and marketing automation.
Recently, the platform has introduced additional features, such as a chat module, a CRM for centralized contact management, landing pages, as well as the ability to create and manage Facebook ads and their retargeting.
In this Sendinblue review, we will analyze in particular the features related to the creation of email campaigns, making only a quick overview of the additional features.
What are the Main Features of Sendinblue?
The Sendinblue platform interface is clean and easy to understand. In the dashboard, there is a side menu, which allows us to easily access the areas of main interest: emails, templates, statistics, and settings.
The dashboard also offers a quick overview of the statistics of your account: total number of contacts, openings, clicks, names in the blacklist, and history of campaigns sent.
From the top menu of the dashboard, it is possible to access the page of the campaigns sent, the Automation scenarios, the configuration of transactional emails, the contact lists created/imported, and the App page, which allow you to add additional features (some already included in the plan, others available only in higher-level plans) to our account.
Initial Campaign Setup
The creation of email campaigns takes place through guided steps, in which we must enter the data necessary for setting up the campaign, such as the name and sender email, subject, etc …
It is interesting to note that there are some useful features, such as the possibility of carrying out A / B tests, as well as the possibility of inserting a form for updating the recipient information, in the footer.
This last function, often underestimated, is instead extremely useful in the event that the recipient wants to change the email address at which to receive our communications.
It often happens that you have to change your email address (for example, due to not using the old one), and offer the possibility to update it, thus avoiding losing a subscriber to your newsletter, which is a very useful feature.
Continuing, you can choose whether to customize the header and footer or leave the default ones. Similarly, you can choose a custom cancellation page instead of the default one, as well as add attachments and assign a tag to the campaign.
This last function is particularly useful for being able to group by type and then easily find sent campaigns belonging to the same group.
For example, we can subdivide our campaigns with tags such as NEWS, PROMOTIONS, and others, depending on the type of content we are sending.
Creation of The Email Content
Continuing with the creation of the campaign, it is possible to choose between 3 possibilities for creating the content of the email:
- Use the drag & drop editor, compatible with mobile devices
- Use the advanced text editor, for creating simple text emails
- Import external HTML code , by copy / paste
It is also possible to retrieve the templates of emails sent previously, as well as use a template among those available. There are about 60 email templates available, divided by category. Obviously each model, after being selected, can be customized with its own contents.
Drag & Drop Editor
The drag & drop editor presents a series of elements that you can choose to import into the email. The editor starts with a preloaded email template that you can edit, changing the texts and elements to your liking.
Among the elements present to be included in the email, it is possible to choose titles, texts, images, buttons, spaces, and content elements, as well as elements for the header and footer.
It is also possible to see a preview of the email on both desktop and mobile devices, as well as add a pre-header text, or a summary of the 35-word email visible immediately after the subject, useful for webmail recipients such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and others, in order to increase the open rate.
Advanced Text Editor
The advanced editor opens a window with a text editor that allows formatting of the same. Eventually, it allows you to switch to the HTML editor and make changes directly from the code.
Import Of External Html Code
This last mode is useful if you have already created the content using another HTML editor and want to import it. In this case, just copy/paste the HTML code of the page into the editor window.
Preview Of The Email
After completing the content of the email, it is possible to proceed with the preview, which allows you to view the email as it is viewed on Desktop and Mobile, as well as to view it on different email clients.
It is also possible to see the preview as if you were the recipient, useful if dynamic fields have been inserted (for example Name, Email, etc …) to personalize the email.
Finally, you can see the text version of the mail, useful for mail clients that only support text and not HTML, and possibly modify it.
It is also possible to send proof of the email to one or more addresses, or to the test list, which we will have created during the initial setup of the account.
Selection Of The Contact List
Continuing, we will be prompted to select the list of contacts to which to send the email campaign. It is also possible to select a segment of recipients, based on one or more conditions that we will define.
Confirmation Of Sending
To conclude, we will be offered a summary screen, in which we can check that the campaign has been set up correctly and if necessary make changes, or send it.
It can be sent immediately, scheduled on a specific day and time, or sent at the best time. This last feature (available starting from the Premium plan), allows you to send the email at a different time for each individual contact, depending on the best opening rates recorded in previous email campaigns.
Returning to the dashboard and clicking on the side menu under Templates, you can access the transactional email templates.
There are default email templates for confirmation of subscription, double opt-in, and unsubscribe. Each of these templates is customizable or you can create new ones, with your own logos and the text you want.
In the upper menu of the dashboard, there is the Automation item: it is a function that allows you to create automatic actions, depending on the type of scenario desired.
In particular, it is possible to create:
- Welcome messages for new members
- Messages for birthday
- Messages for those who have visited a particular page of their site
- Messages for a specific action performed on your site
- Messages for purchasing a product
- Messages based on the opening or clicking of a newsletter
- Messages based on the opening or clicking of a transactional email
- Messages following an abandoned cart
- Personalized messages, based on specific conditions
After choosing one of these scenarios, we will have to complete its configuration by filling in the required fields.
Transactional Email And Sms
In the top menu item Transactional, we will find the data necessary to configure transactional emails, as well as SMS. The data provided are different, depending on the system we will use for sending; for emails we have available:
- SMTP parameters
- API parameters
- Configuration examples with Postfix
- PHP configuration examples
While for transactional SMS we have an API key with the relative documentation for the implementation, as well as an example of configuration with PHP.
In the side menu, we have a series of additional items available, which report the sending statistics, the activity logs, as well as transactional email templates that can be used and additional parameters for blocking contacts or blocked domains.
By clicking on Contacts, you can see all the subscribers to our lists. It is possible to segment the contacts according to different options, as well as to see them divided by membership list.
From this section, it is possible to modify the data of the subscribers, delete them, copy them or move them to other lists, as well as add new ones and import them manually.
There are several ways to add new contacts :
- upload a CSV or TXT file
- copy/paste from Excel
- collecting contacts via Landing Page
- collection of contacts through the Registration Form
In the side menu of the Contacts item, these are the registration forms, which you can create to have new contacts subscribe to our lists. The module is created using a practical drag and drop editor, and once created it is possible to insert it within the pages of our site.
During the creation, we will have to define:
- List to which the contact will be subscribed
- Registration confirmation email settings
- Registration confirmation / error messages
- HTML code for integration into your site (but there are also integrations via plugins for the main CMS)
Campaign Statistics And Conversions
There is a section of campaign statistics, which shows a summary of the data, based on the period defined by the calendar. There is a list of the campaigns sent, with the respective quantitative and percentage data:
- date and time of sending
It is also possible to measure conversions, defining the action that corresponds to conversion for us (e.g. buying a product, viewing a thank you page after filling out a form, and more). To measure conversions it is necessary to configure them in the appropriate section, as well as having installed the Sendinblue tracking code on your site.
There are integrations with the main CMS ( WordPress, Prestashop, Magento, and others) and with many other tools ( Zapier, Google Analytics, Paypal, to name the main ones). This is a good thing, as this allows for simple integration between the various tools.
Sendinblue provides a series of features to facilitate the deliverability of the emails sent, i.e. the correct delivery of emails to the recipients’ mailboxes, which could otherwise be blocked by some spam filter.
To do this, the platform adds the Sendinblue signature in the email header (it is an authentication string, invisible in the body of the email, but present in the headers readable by the email servers), in order to make the email server understand the recipient, that the email was sent by an authorized sender.
Alternatively, you can add your domain as an authorized sender by manually setting the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC parameters via the DNS panel of your domain.
In addition to this, it is possible to decide to purchase a dedicated IP on Sendinblue; this allows you to have a sender IP exclusively for yourself and not shared with other users of the platform, who may not respect the best practices for sending emails, penalizing everyone’s deliverability.
Customer support is provided through a ticket system and knowledge base articles. The response to tickets is quick and courteous: responses generally arrive within a few hours.
Unfortunately, there is no chat for assistance in real-time; however, the very quick responses from technical support didn’t make me miss it.
Sendinblue offers a free starter plan (Free), which allows unlimited contacts, but a sending limit of 300 emails per day. To remove the daily sending limit, it is necessary to upgrade to the higher plan (Lite), which, at a cost of 19 Euros per month, raises the sending limit to 40,000 emails per month.
The higher plans, in addition to removing the Sendinblue logo in the footer of the email and increasing the monthly sending fee, offer some additional features, such as advanced statistics, Facebook Ads, Landing Pages, Chat, and others.
The cost model, given the possibility of unlimited contacts, is different from Mailchimp, which instead bases its cost model on the number of subscribers in the lists and not on the number of emails sent.
I believe that Sendinblue’s pricing policy is more merit-based than Mailchimp: you pay for what you send, not for the size of your contact lists. In fact, by comparing different examples of monthly mailings, email campaigns with Sendinblue are considerably cheaper than Mailchimp.
- Free forever plan
- Powerful and versatile automation features
- Fair pricing
- SMS marketing, Facebook ads, and live chat make it an omnichannel marketing provider
- Email list segmentation
- Customizable email templates
- Import contacts is can be buggy at times, especially if you try to import a large list
- The basic plan lack some key email management features
- It can have a learning curve, making the initial setup complicated
- To be able to send mails, your account must undergo a review and validation process
- If you don’t regularly log into your account, its status will change to suspended.
Is Sendinblue right for you?
Sendinblue is an excellent email marketing platform, both for the decidedly cheaper price than other competitors and for the advanced automation allowed by the platform.
The interface is very simple and immediate to use, moreover the assistance in Italian allows you to overcome any difficulties without too much effort. The great availability of integrations offered, allows you to integrate the email system into all major applications with ease.
The only shortcoming of the platform is the absence of a chat system for supporting real-time: however, the rich knowledge base of technical articles and assistance via ticket does not make you regret it.
Ultimately, I recommend Sendinblue to all Medium-Small businesses that need an email platform to get started, for the excellent value for money offered by the latter!