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New tools are always popping up. Sometimes they are just a distraction—a shiny new car on the lot of a car dealership. You know the one I’m talking about, that bright orange Dodge Charger… Oh, just me… yeah… my dream car. Sigh.
With that said, one of the newer tools to pop up for small businesses to decide about is Flodesk.
The best-known feature of this new email program is it’s email templates. They are beautiful and featured prominently on their landing page for the platform. Their enhanced layouts are dynamic, and your emails will just look pretty.
I’ve seen and heard many people state that they switched just for the email templates and layouts you get with Flodesk. Obviously, this is a big factor in email marketing. If you can’t deliver reasonable content and, for the creative designers in us, make them pretty, you won’t spend the time needed on making the emails as often as you need to.
Using the workflow tool and creating complicated and comprehensive workflows was easy peasy – super breezy. This was important to me as I have a ton of different lead magnets and wanted to make sure I could use them with Flodesk.
The only thing I saw people ask for repeatedly that Flodesk doesn’t deliver is the ability to add people to segments based on clicking a link. There is some limited functionality of this feature. You need to use it within a workflow, but it’s quirky. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for my use cases.
When you have little to no income coming in, you need to choose wisely how you spend your money. At $19 a month using an affiliate link with no limit on subscribers – they had my penny pinching heart sold on this solution. Considering most other email marketing programs charge based on subscribers, the never ending limit seems too good to be true.
Blacklist and lack of transparency
A few weeks ago Flodesk had an issue with their unsubscribe link being blacklisted. Now these sorts of things happen. What didn’t happen that should have was Flodesk standing up and admitting they had an issue to work through. I’ve worked in technology for many years and when you can’t admit you have a problem you lose the trust of those who use your services.
Email response times for issues
Like most email marketing platforms the only way to report issues is by emailing them. Their email response times for issues has gotten worse and worse as time has gone on.
I’m not sure if they are growing so fast they can’t keep up, or if this will continue to be a pain point. Either way they need to address this and start responding to people the same day.
Ongoing deliverability issues
If you spend a hot second in their Flodesk Insiders group on Facebook, you will quickly realize that people have overall deliverability issues. There are lots of reasons emails go to SPAM folders or get stuck. The unfortunate reality is that I see many excuses from Flodesk about this and minimal action to identify and work through the underlying causes.
If people aren’t authenticating their domains, which is a cause, find a way to make it easier or offer guidance to the user groups to fix it. If having too many images in an email is causing higher than average deliveries to the spam folder and then providing guidance on best practices. People love those image heavy templates, but they may not be good for their long term email marketing goals.
Another issue with subscriber deliverability is that you can’t use autofill on opt-in forms. I am a huge fan of working more effectively, and so is everyone else. Am I right? Yeah, so autofill is here to stay. Flodesk – figure out how to capture email addresses used via autofill.
So this list doesn’t just keep going on and on forever. I will summarize the rest of my complaints with this platform here. The ongoing response of we are a beta program is getting old. I started using Flodesk in April 2020, here we are in October of 2020 and it’s still in Beta.
How long does a product stay in beta? And doesn’t that really excuse them from a lack of reporting, inability to make enhancement requests, and a failure of adding additional features? After all, every single person using this email marketing platform more than a week is paying for it.
Email Marketing Recommendation
So as you can see, sometimes what you pay for is what you get. Don’t get caught up in the pretty templates and the seemingly low price. You can create pretty images in PicMonkey or Canva and add them to your emails to help you make them look better. If your email isn’t delivered, I don’t care how inexpensive the platform was; it’s not working for you.
In full transparency I switched from Mailerlite to Flodesk and I am now in the process of moving back to Mailerlite. I got caught up in the bells and whistles of pretty and didn’t make a decision based on functionality. Reality set in and my core beliefs came raging back. Automation and simplicity in business will get keep you moving forward.
So I am going back to my belief that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. Finding the simplicity of what worked for me and the tools I loved. So for the next couple weeks if you don’t see me… I am now going to be implementing (again) the tools that worked for me.
Mailerlite has and probably always will have my unending support. I’ve never been disappointed in their support, features, or templates. While yes it can be more expensive than Flodesk – the emails do get sent and delivered.
I am paying for my decision based on a pretty template in hours worth of time by reworking emails and workflows. A process I already redid once this year. Learn from my mistake and do your research before buying the shiny new toy.
Great read! I couldn’t agree more with ALL that you’ve said here about Flodesk! And here I was thinking I was the only one! Not sure when this was written, I’m assuming Oct. 2020? Wow, as I write this a whole year later and not much has changed with Flodesk! I’ve been using them for almost 2 years, and even though I only send out 1-2 emails per month, it’s still annoying getting soooo many bounces back each time, among other things!
Are you still with Mailerlite? I am also thinking of moving back and away from Flodesk. The lack of integrations is an extra fee and step + deliverability has never been awesome. My open rates were significantly higher when I was with ConvertKit, it’s just too expensive to keep it.
Hi Marlene –
Yes I am still using Mailerlite. Open rates are a hard stat to use to determine your effectiveness since the changes with Gmail. They now download your emails on a server before delivering them to the actual inbox, which means that your open rates for any email address that uses Gmail will be skewed. You may want to switch to monitoring the click-through rate. However, with that said, I still highly recommend Mailerlite for email processes. It’s similar to convertkit in features but not as expensive.
Hi! I’m curious where you got this information about Gmail? I haven’t heard anything at all like that, nor seen any change in my Gmail subscribers’ open or click rates.
Hi Tammi – This change was highly publicized last year. Here is a link to one of the articles that talks about it. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/10/how-apples-email-privacy-update-will-change-whats-in-your-inbox-.html
Yes, I’m aware of the Apple situation. I don’t see anything about Gmail though?