Omnisend is a solid choice when it comes to core email marketing features. It covers all the basics – sign up forms, simple segmentation and list management options, A/B testing, flexible automation workflows, and a drag-and-drop email editor for creating campaigns. The one glaring omission for me is landing pages – or at least, landing pages that offer more than just a sign-up form. I’ve also used email marketing services with better campaign template options. Still, on the whole, I found the tools available accessible and straightforward to use.
Email Campaigns, Templates, and Personalization
Omnisend’s email editor is always being updated and improved so expect regular changes and tweaks.
Overall, I found the editor easy to use, and there were plenty of customization options available. The drag-and-drop interface means you don’t need any special technical skills whatsoever to start designing emails right away. If you can use a mouse, you can build a campaign email in Omnisend.
There’s also a selection of themed templates to help you get started. They’re filled with content blocks set out in position but you can easily drag and move elements, as well as add additional styling and color schemes. Alternatively, there’s a plain text email option if you want something a little simpler.
The email editor itself is a breeze to use. You can set your own ‘Global style’ which changes the style of the whole email. As you would expect, you can add sections, move them around with the click of a button, change column spacing easily, play around with padding, add alt text to images and change button styles, shapes and colors.
Because of Omnisend’s e-commerce focus there are more content block options than you get with most email marketing services. These are mainly store-specific things, like a product listings, a Product Picker tool which means you can add products to your email directly from your online store, and discount blocks so you can send auto-generated codes for Shopify and Bigcommerce.
Omnisend doesn’t offer a stock image library, so you’ll have to source and upload your own images. But what it does have is an impressive range of image editing features.
You can also add personalized content (such as name, age, or location) in your subject lines, body content, and content blocks (titles, descriptions, links, or button text, for example). Dynamic (or conditional) personalization additionally means that you can set emails up so certain content does or not appear depending on who the recipient is and/or certain actions they take.
Just note that, unlike some other services, dynamic content can only be set up as an Automation workflow (more about this below).
This is all nice to see, but, over and above this, Omnisend also lets you use your own company or store details, which are listed under ‘Account’. If you run multiple stores in different locations, or sell in different countries, being able to throw in local store or currency details all helps to make your email more relevant.
On all plans, including the free plan, you can also customize product recommendations so different suggestions appear to different people.
Omnisend offers a number of campaign options. One of these is to create two slightly different email campaigns and send them out to different groups of contacts simultaneously. This is known as A/B testing, and the idea is to compare the performance of the two emails before launching a full campaign.
One thing that stands out is Omnisend’s Campaign Booster feature, which asks you to provide two subject lines when you set up your campaign. This is a clever bit of thinking that gives you two shots at convincing a contact to open your email – any emails from the initial send that aren’t opened within 48 hours will automatically trigger a re-send using the second subject line.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there’s the option to automatically post campaigns to your Facebook page and, if you have one, to your Amazon store. But, strangely, there’s no way to use the same campaigns across email, SMS and push notifications.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
The first thing you need to do whenever you sign up for a new email marketing service is import any contacts you already have. I was pleased to see Omnisend supports imports directly from spreadsheet files (e.g. .xlsx Excel files).
To give it a spin, I dragged and dropped an Excel file into the Omnisend import wizard, and only encountered one or two minor bumps. For example, I had to ‘map’ property types (first name, last name, and so on) manually. I bet this can get pretty tedious if you have 50 different properties on your list.
Before new contacts can be confirmed as part of your list, you have to declare that they have subscribed to receive marketing communications from you. This is an important step for data protection and privacy purposes.
Unlike some email marketing services, one thing Omnisend doesn’t do is prompt you to save your new contacts to a particular list. Luckily, Omnisend offers tools to manage your ever-growing single list in the form of Tags and Segments.
A tag can be absolutely anything you like – just click on a contact, go to Tags, and invent a new category. The beauty of this is that it’s very flexible, it’s very quick, and you can create as many different groups as you like.
Segments work a little differently. These use two types of data that are already linked to each contact – the personal details listed when they are added or signed up, and behavioral data about how they interact with or respond to your campaigns.
You can add an unlimited number of filters into a segment, chosen from a maximum of 50 contact properties and a broad range of behavioral data. The possibilities are limitless. There is, however, a cap on the number of active segments you can have on your lists at any one time – 20 on the free plan, 100 on Standard, and 200 on Pro.
Omnisend takes managing your list a step further with its Customer Breakdown feature. Using data from your connected store, this feature is based on the concept of customer lifecycle mapping, which puts people into different categories based on what stage of their relationship with your business they are at.
Lifecycle mapping beats a simple engagement score because it’s developmental – the theory is that you should, with the right actions, be able to move customers from a low to a high level of engagement over time.
I love how accessible Customer Breakdown makes the pretty sophisticated idea of lifecycle mapping – I’d say anyone could put the recommended tactics into action, even if you’re a complete novice.
Landing Pages & Forms
A ‘landing page’ is a web page purpose-built for a marketing campaign as a destination for customers to ‘land’ on when they click through from email, PPC advertising, social media, or any other channel.
Unfortunately, landing pages aren’t that easy to find on Omnisend. It turns out they’re actually part of the Forms options.
If you’re running a special promotion on your goods or services, it’s pretty common practice to build a dedicated landing page for each campaign, which contacts click through to when they receive your email.
This means you can apply exclusive deals that your regular site visitors won’t have access to. It also makes it easier to track conversions for your campaign (i.e. how many sales come through that specific landing page).
However, I was disappointed to discover that none of this is possible with the landing page options in Omnisend. This seems like a big oversight to me, especially as Omnisend connects directly to your store by default, and has a tool for importing product listings directly into email campaigns.
Surely having standalone product landing pages to link to sales campaigns makes sense?
As for the actual sign-up forms, you have the choice of pop-up or embedded options, both of which share the same six templates. Again, the templates are functional rather than visually impressive, with fairly limited customization options.
Let’s be honest. If email marketing is working for your business, you want your list to grow and grow. But once it does, you might find you don’t have time to do it all. That’s where automation comes in.
Email marketing automation lets you set up emails to be sent automatically to contacts when they behave in a certain way. Think of a welcome email for all new subscribers, for example – what a pain that would be having to send each one individually! Automation does the work for you.
I was impressed with Omnisend’s automation options. If just reading the words ‘building an automation workflow’ makes you gulp with dread, don’t worry – it’s a lot easier than it sounds.
As with many leading email marketing services these days, Omnisend’s automation is all managed from a visual workflow editor. Automation workflows basically work on mapping out conditions – if X happens then Y happens, and if it doesn’t then Z happens.
If that still sounds too complicated, Omnisend even offers pre-made workflow templates that you can either use as they are or customize as you please. There are 33 workflow templates in total.
Live Chat-Style Support That Performs Better than Omnisend’s Own Expectations!
Whether you’re an experienced email marketer or a complete novice, at some point you’re likely to need a little assistance. This is especially true when you sign up for a new service.
While I was testing Omnisend, I had to contact the support team on several occasions as I got to grips with the online store link, something I’ve not had lots of previous experience with.
Omnisend has a handy support icon at the bottom left of every page, meaning that whenever you need a helping hand, it’s easy to access.
Click on the icon and you open up a Live Chat-style window with the option to message a support agent directly. The chat option isn’t available on the free plan, but you can still email the Omnisend support team with your query.
I say ‘Live Chat-style’ and not just ‘Live Chat’ because when I first contacted support (to ask about email sending limits) there was a warning that I could expect a response in ‘a few hours’. Not exactly ‘live’ chat, then.
However, when I sent my query, I found Omnisend were doing themselves a disservice. I got a very prompt reply in just a few minutes.
When I immediately asked a follow-up question, the same thing happened. And not only was the response timely, it was relevant and informative, telling me exactly what I wanted to know.
All in all, Omnisend impressed me. A lot. It’s got plenty to recommend it, from quality, user-friendly campaign building, personalization, and automation, to excellent support and attractive pricing for the Standard plan.
Of course, Omnisend’s biggest strength is how it’s tailored to promoting online stores. It pulls sales and customer data straight from your e-commerce platform, you can sell directly from your emails with a couple of clicks, and there are plenty of advanced, sales-focused analytics and marketing strategies like customer lifecycle mapping.
Best of all, Omnisend makes most of this simple and accessible, so even novice users can get to grips with its powerful tools.
It’s worth noting, however, that Omnisend’s strength is also its weakness. For example, while the sales-oriented analytics are great, the purely campaign-oriented stuff is pretty basic. It’s the same story with the product-focused templates, and with the limited use of landing pages.
All in all, Omnisend is by no means perfect, but it is pretty good.