If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you know that a great way to grow your business is through email marketing. Staying connected with past customers and engaging with new potential leads can all happen in an inbox.
I’ve been testing and trying email marketing tools since 2009 and they have – thankfully – come a long way. In all honesty, I used to hate email marketing because the tools out there were so lackluster and frustrating (I’m looking at you ConstantContact). When I first started my business, I didn’t even include email marketing as a service because I had never found the right tool to use that provided everything I needed.
That’s until 2019 when I found Flodesk.
After seeing the features and limitless possibilities of Flodesk, I was sold to use it exclusively to not only build and grow my own email list, but also do the same for my clients. And while there are some negatives to Flodesk, I feel the cons are mostly outweighed by the pros.
So, here’s my detailed review after having used Flodesk for myself and my clients for 4 years …
Note: All of the opinions are my own. I do have a referral code to share with you, but Flodesk probably doesn’t even know I exist. My love for Flodesk is entirely my own.
The busy small business owner probably doesn’t have time to create new emails from scratch each time they want to send an email campaign. They also don’t have time to learn what to include in an email. Flodesk has a great library of beautiful email templates that can be used out of the box, but they’re also strategic—using one will help guide you in what should be included for email marketing best practices.
Flodesk also allows you to save emails into a “My Favorites” folder in your Flodesk account so you can easily recreate an email you’ve used in the past. This is great feature if you have created an email under your email tab, and would like to use it in a Workflow email sequence (more on Workflows below). In addition, you can duplicate any email you’ve created under the email tab. Of course, you’re not limited to the library of templates, beautiful as they are. If you already have a vision in mind, you can create branded templates from scratch using their intuitive email builder (and then reuse this email templates for the next campaign too, of course).
Flodesk’s form and landing page builder
The second tab in the Flodesk builder is Forms. Forms are essential for growing your email list. When someone visits your website, you can entice them to join your list by sharing a free resource in exchange for their email address. Using a form connected to your email marketing platform simplifies this process.
Flodesk has form templates to help you get started. You can include the usual Name and Email fields, but Flodesk recently added some new awesome features:
Custom fields: This is a game changer—and it’s not something that’s easily accomplished in other email marketing platforms. When you are first building a client or lead profile, being able to ask a question specific to your business is incredibly helpful. For example, I may ask my potential clients if they use WordPress since that’s what I design my websites in.
Preferences: Many businesses offer different services or products that don’t interest every person. In your forms, you can allow someone to self segment themselves based on their preferences. This is hugely helpful to you AND the subscriber as you are able to provide them a customized experience.
Flodesk’s Automation Capabilities
Automation is a huge time-saver, but it’s an advanced feature (available only if you pay more) in most other email marketing platforms. Flodesk includes automations (called Workflows) this in their flat-rate monthly package. Creating an automated email sequence is a simple way you can build upon an already warm relationship. How complicated your automations are is completely up to you—you can simply create a one email workflow that automatically triggers when you collect an email address or you create longer or more complicated workflows that, for example, would deliver a weekly email to your list all year long. Flodesk can support both simple short-term email campaigns and longer or multi-step branched automations and email campaigns. Rest assured that the Flodesk visual automation interface is easy to use … you’ll be able to quickly understand it even if the words “email marketing automation” strike fear in your heart.
Flodesk has automation templates as well, so if you’re short on time or inspiration, you can simply use a pre-made email sequence template. These templates are beautifully designed, easy to customize, and again, help guide you in what should be included in each marketing email in a sequence.
Email Marketing Segmenting
What is segmenting? Segmenting is a marketing term which simply means tagging specific email addresses on your list with attributes—this allows you to keep track of the customer journey better and sent more targeted, relevant emails.
In Flodesk, the segmenting capabilities fall under the Audience tab. Flodesk lets either you or your subscribers segment themselves into different groups. This is helpful for a few reasons:
You can segment based on how you received the new subscriber: I will many times label my segments based on what form the subscriber used and on what page of my website (For example: “Request a Quote – Website Design Page” is one of my segments).
You can segment based on interests: If someone would like to be notified when there are new blog posts, you can have a segment just for that.
The SUBSCRIBER can segment themselves: I already mentioned this, but this new feature is worth mentioning twice. When someone first subscribes to your list, they can let you know their interests and preferences so you can serve them in the best way possible. There are self-segmenting email templates within the library, so you can start with one of those if the concept of email segmenting is new to you.
Flodesk offers individual analytics reports within each of their four main tabs (Emails, Forms, Workflows, and Audience).
Under emails, you always have access to:
- Open Rate
- Click Rate
- Opens by Device
- Bounces, Unsubscribes, and Spam
These are the stats that you’ll be looking at most often when you’re optimizing your email marketing campaigns by looking for trends or outliers (lower-than-average click through rates, for example, might prompt you to investigate the email text itself—if there anything you can edit to better encourage a click?)
You can also click on most of these items to get more detailed information.
The analytics available under Forms shows you the conversion rate and number of Opt-Ins.
Workflows analytics shows you the same information as the Email tab, but also shows a breakdown of each email as well as how many are actively in the workflow or who has completed the workflow.
Audience provides you a more in-depth look specifically at your subscribers as well as how your different segments are performing.
Hot Take: If there’s one part of Flodesk that I’d say is currently lacking, it’s in the analytics. Other email marketing platforms like ActiveCampaign provide far more in-depth analytics reports, but how important this is to you depends on how you’ll be using it. If you know in advance that you plan to regularly optimize your campaigns (for example, you’re a creative entrepreneur and your entire business is built on email) then Flodesk might not be a good fit for you. Most of my clients are small businesses and email marketing is just one part of their business and marketing strategy, so it’s not a deal-breaker—but it’s definitely something to consider if super-granulated analytics are important to you.
Flodesk’s website has great tutorials, housed within “Flodesk University.” While I find Flodesk to be one of the easier email marketing platforms to learn, like any new marketing tool it does take some time to find your way around—Flodesk University will quickly get you up to speed and bridge the gap between newbie to expert.
How Does Flodesk Compare to Others Email Marketing Services?
Many people hesitate to invest in Flodesk because they don’t offer a free version like most other email marketing platforms. However, read the fine print! The “freemiums” on offer from other companies they are seriously lacking in features. They just can’t support a growing business. You quickly need to upgrade to a paid plan to stick with the platform. So, when you compare these free plans to Flodesk (and get turned off by the monthly price of Flodesk, recognize that you’re not comparing apples to apples.
So, let’s take a look at the comparable plans from some of the other email marketing platforms:
- Email Templates
- Basic Analytics
- Guides and Tutorials
- User-Friendly Design
- Advanced Segmenting
- Only includes 5 audiences
- No more than 500 contacts
FlodeskThe Only Plan
- Email Templates
- Form and landing page builder
- User-Friendly Design
- Flodesk University
- Free Trial
- Only one plan that includes all features
Constant ContactPlus Plan
- Email Templates
- Form and Landing Pages
- Advanced Analytics
- Learning Resources
- User-Friendly Design
- No more than 500 contacts
Premium is $299/month for 10,000 contacts and unlimited audiences or you can do Standard at $17/month for 500 contacts and 5 audiences.
Mailchimp seems like it’s got Flodesk beat on pricing with their Standard plan (even with my discount!), but there are a ton of limitations.
One of the big ones (aside from the 500 contacts) is Mailchimp limits your audiences to 5. As I mentioned above, I segment my subscribers into how they joined my list and I currently have 35 segments! This is so helpful to see what pages are most visited and what lead magnets are most successful—something that’s essential for me to know, but would be expensive in Mailchimp.
Constant Contact Pricing
Plus Plan is $45/month for 500 contacts.
Constant Contact’s pricing is a bit more than Flodesk’s plan normal not-discounted pricing, but it only includes 500 contacts. As soon as you hit 501, ConstantContact costs $70/month. That’s nearly twice as much as Flodesk’s monthly price!
Design-wise, Constant Contact has always been lacking. One of my first experiences with coding wasn’t on a website, it was with Constant Contact! That’s because I could never get the formatting to work with their email builder. I wasn’t trying anything overly fancy—I was just trying to make the words the same color or bold a header. Constant Contacts email builder was quite frustrating, so if you don’t want to learn to code, I’d stay away from Constant Contact.
Flodesk is normally $38/month, but if you use my affiliate link you’ll get with a great discount of just $19/month.
When your email list is small freemium-tier pricing from other companies might seem attractive—it’s hard to imaging having thousands of email addresses on your list when you’re first starting out. But as you grow the simple fact that Flodesk provides the entire platform for a flat monthly rate with unlimited subscribers becomes hugely important. All the other aspects of the platform are unlimited too—unlimited audience, templates, landing pages, and forms. The email builder, visual automation and design functions are intuitive—and there are plenty of tutorials available online to help you if you get stuck.
Pros and Cons of Flodesk
Is it right for you?
So how do you know if Flodesk is right for you? Here is a quick breakdown:
- You like to make your points visually.
- You prefer a simple, intuitive design.
- You want an unlimited experience.
- You want to automate your business.
- You’re just starting your business – or you’re an expert!
The only real “con” of Flodesk is that the analytics dashboard isn’t as in-depth as it could be, but for most small businesses it provides enough detail to understand how your emails are performing and optmize accordingly.
*Update July 5, 2024: Flodesk has majorly upgraded their analytics dashboard! So this is no longer a con and is one of the most in depth analytics dashboar’s I’ve ever seen in email marketing. Be sure to check it out!
I have a full breakdown of this in my blog post “Is Flodesk Right For My Business.”
At the end of the day, you have to decide for yourself what your priorities are for your business. But for me and my business (and most of my clients) Flodesk is an excellent choice. So whether you’re looking to try email marketing for your coaching business, service-based business, or product-based business, Flodesk can support you in that. Try it out and you won’t be sorry.
I hope this post has been helpful in deciding whether Flodesk is for you! And if you have decided “Yes, it is!” here are a few options:
- Sign up using my referral code and get 50% off your Flodesk subscription! That’s Flodesk for only $19/month! Can you stand it?
- Give it a try, but if you find you’re overwhelmed with the setup or the strategy, I’ve got you. Check out my email marketing packages to find the right one for you.
- Grow your business! Whether you DIY it or hire it out, email marketing will truly be a game changer for your business.