Lemlist vs Mailshake

I sent out a lot of emails, most of it is cold outreach, and I’ve used a ton of email marketing tools. My two favorites are now Lemlist and Mailshake. They are both essentially the same but there are some strong differentiators too.

What’s The Deal In 2021 With Email Marketing?

I’ve been in the SEO and Internet Marketing game since 2002.

Here are my thoughts when it comes to email in 2021:

  • Email newsletters are dying as a channel.
  • Email as a cold outreach tool still has high conversion (when set up correctly)

So, with that in mind, let’s focus squarely on cold email lead generation and that’s where my two favorite growth email hacking tools come into play: Lemlist and Mailshake.

However, before we do, let’s just confirm a few basic facts when it comes to sending cold email.

Sending Cold Emails That Get Replies

Sending cold email that replies and that convert is really an art form if you ask me.

It’s really tricky but when done correctly it can be incredibly effective.

Before we dive into the two tools, let’s just take a look at some fundamentals when it comes to email marketing for cold email outreach.

  1. Always use Google IP’s where possible (I’ll say why in a second)
  2. Always send a sequence of emails (sending one email is a waste of time)
  3. Create a domain for email and never use your “money-site” domain
  4. Warm-up your email pre-campaign
  5. Use sentence case for your subject messages
  6. Use a personalized image
  7. Use a first name email account (never “info” etc)
  8. Make sure you write one or two lines per paragraph
  9. ….and a few other hacks that we will cover another time!

#1 The Lemlist Cold Email Tool

Lemlist is, relatively speaking, a new kid on the block and I’ve been using their email marketing tool for over a year now with good success.

Their approach is fun, engaging and overall I think it’s a great tool to use.

They have mixed pricing and are competitively priced when compared to all the other email growth tools out there like MailShake, Drip, Sendinblue, Mailchimp, Mailjet, Drip, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, and Mad Mimi.

Check out my best performing stats when using Lemlist:

SentOpenedClickedRepliedInterestedBouncedOpted Out

Remember, this is cold email.

These results are pretty impressive: out of 1,219 emails there was a reply rate of shy of 20%, that’s really good.

Also, the open rate was 62%, again, that’s a massive number for cold email, and it just shows again the importance of having a simple, sweet yet evocative subject line.

The “Personalised Image Email Growth Hack”

This is the thing that sets Lemlist apart: they’ve really pushed the envelope with this feature – and that feature is inserting a persoanlized email into each email message.

The cool hack here is that you can customize the text ON the actual image so you make it look like you’ve created separate images for all of your recipients.

It’s unusual, quirky and I can verify that it definitely works.

I used the “coffee growth hack” email hack that they have in their arsenal.

Email 1 of 3

The subject of this email (that received a 20% reply rate) was as follows:

Hi {FirstName}, a coffee and a catch-up?

Now, there are many things to discuss here with this email subject line. Let me list them out so we’re clear on this.

  • Writing the recipients first name shows personalization;
  • The casual lower-case sentence is how a friend would write;
  • The mention of “coffee” implies we might know each other;
  • The words “catch-up” again suggest we might know each other

The psychology of this approach works. Period.

Email 2 of 3

The second email was sent a few days later, and this is the one that got most of the replies.

So, the reason that this email worked so well is because the recipient wasn’t aware that there would be a follow-up image-email, and me looking disappointed shows a ton of personality and it makes me human.

In summary, this second email worked because it is:

  • Personal
  • Fun
  • Human

And – it worked!

I landed a client from this campaign that has gone on to generate several thousand dollars a month of revenue.

Even for the cold leads that I didn’t convert I had replies saying how amusing or effective the emails were.

Email 3 of 3

The third email of this campaign using the Lemlist email tool was just a text-based “final attempt” to get a reply from the cold lead.

I decided not to include an image because it might look at bit weird sending out another image of me looking even more disappointed maybe?

My Review Of Lemlist

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, all in all, I’d say that Lemlist is excellent for these growth hack emails.

Things I like about Lemlist:

  • Free Trial (two weeks)
  • Excellent support
  • Their creativity is inspirational
  • Quirky and it works
  • Simple GSuite email setup
  • Email warming is also baked into their offering

Slightly negative is that I just found it a little pricey and I don’t have a use for it all the time. The fun growth-hack email ideas work but I don’t need them every week; in fact, I need creative emails like this maybe once every two or three months so to pay for the service every month didn’t make much sense for me.

I’d highly recommend their service.

#2 The MailShake Cold Email Tool

I’ve heard a bunch of things about MailShake over the years and I finally decided to give them a try and I’ve been impressed with it so far.

It’s simple to set up and they have a text-based email format in place.

It feels like they’ve perfected the email sequential marketing piece.

When you create the emails you’re given a credit rating with suggestions and tips on how to improve your emails for better inboxing.

Interestingly, MailShake does make a point of telling you to NOT include images in your email. In fact, I’ve also always thought that including images was a bad idea for inboxing.

The logic being that ISP and email clients easily block email that contains images – and email clients (especially business Outlook-type accounts) will always block images by default.

However, with my experience using Lemlist I’d didn’t experience any negative numbers when sending out cold email with images.

MailShake has a nice clean interface and it just feels like they’ve thought of everything.

Also, one of the things I really like about MailShake is that there are a ton of API’s to choose from and connectivity is a breeze. You could honestly create yourself a pretty kick-ass CRM using MailShake a Google Sheet if you really wanted to.

If you’re looking for reliability then I’d suggest using MailShake for your cold email outreach solutions.

My Review of MailShake

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I’m giving MailShake half a star less compared to Lemlist – only because – it’s not quite as exciting as Lemlist, and I also feel that Lemlist present the data in a more engaging and useful format.

Wrapping Up

Both of these email growth tools are awesome.

I’d recommend both of them.

However, when making a comparison between Lemlist vs MailShake I’d say that the main difference comes down to who your audience is that you are trying to reach.

If the audience (of cold targets) you are trying to reach are young, then use Lemlist.

If they are more “corporate” then use MailShake.

Why do I say that? Because certain email clients (especially corporate clients) will not open images therefore negating the entire Lemlist potency.

Lastly, I’d say this: a lot of success email outreach comes down to an effective and engaging subject line that evoke curiosity.

When I worked as a Growth Marketer for a food delivery startup in Hong Kong, the most successful subject line I ever had was this:

Lunch plans?

That was it!

That subject line got a whopping 73% open rate! By far it was the most successful cold EDM campaign I’d ever run and it generated a bunch of sales.

Why? Because it looks like it is an email from a friend who is innocently asking the recipient if they’d be interested in a spot of lunch. It’s the simplicity here that’s the killer.

Also – quickly – this email worked well because the sender was me, i.e. the email was from henry@ email address, i.e. it looked even more convincing that it was a genuine lunch request.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the copywriting of that email contained a discount on their first lunch order.

So – before I digress further – there you have it – a review of my two most favorite email growth hacking tools of 2021.

Henry "HMFIC"

I'm Henry, the guy behind this site. I've been Growth Hacking since 2002, yep, that long...

2 thoughts on “Lemlist vs Mailshake

  1. Great article. Really very helpful. I just started a consulting business, and don’t really know which way to go with of these platform options. Its quite overwhelming. But I’m getting closer, feeling a little more confident, and this article is responsible for that. Thanks

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