Overall Satisfaction with BlueHornet
My company was a reseller of a number of email marketing platforms (ESP's.) BlueHornet was one of the platforms we resold. My role included determining which platform(s) was/were the best fit for a given prospect, demoing the platform(s), and once a deal was closed, onboarding the client, training the client, and supporting the client. This included consulting on strategy and email marketing best practices. BlueHornet was our "beginner" platform. While it performs the basics, we found it not suitable for advanced email marketers. It's primary limitations are reporting and the weakness of its support for relational data.
- BlueHornet's WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface for creating emails is easier to use than many platforms. Users appreciate this. BlueHornet makes it super simple to create a version specific for mobile devices.
- I am a big fan of the custom data segmentation tools built into BlueHornet. They are powerful and easy to use. Many other ESPs, including a number of the top rated ones, do not have such powerful, easy to use segmentation tools. This matters. It helps a user send more relevant emails.
- BlueHornet makes sharing to social networks simple. In this day and age, forwarding to a friend is dead. Sharing to social networks is essential. Having this be easy to do is very important.
- While the WYSIWYG editor is generally strong, BlueHornet has an Achilles Heel: The editor breaks attempts to use responsive design. With over 50% of email getting opened on mobile devices, this is a major stumble.
- The image library BlueHornet provides will frustrate users with a large library of imagery. 1) Accounts get a very small amount of storage. While this can be expanded, it would be better if it were unlimited. Storage is now so cheap, it is surprising to see it limited like this. 2) It is awkward to use. It does not allow folders for categorizing images by type. It would be a boon if it did.
- As I have seen in other reviews here, their reporting features are industry laggards. It is difficult to pull historical trend information without having to pull individual send reports and aggregate them all oneself.
- They have very limited support for relational data. While it is better than none, and I credit them for that, it has a ways to go to be competitive with the offerings of the true enterprise ESPs.
- BlueHornet has been a good entry-level platform. We have successfully launched scores of clients with limited email marketing experience onto this platform. Because it is easy to use, we have spent minimal effort needing to help these clients with problems.
- It is easy to migrate clients on or off BlueHornet, depending upon their needs. This is helpful because it allows our clients to be on exactly the right platform. Some platforms make it difficult to migrate off, essentially trapping clients on a platform that no longer meets their needs or business objectives.
- I wish BlueHornet were keeping pace with technology advancements in the industry. The gap between the biggest ESPs and competitors like BlueHornet seems to be growing.
As an email marketer for 12 years, I have significant experience using numerous ESPs. If you need true enterprise capabilities or full-service, I don't think BlueHornet is up to the task. If you are a SMB with more basic needs and a budget, BlueHornet can be a good choice. I would rank it in the middle of the ESP pack. If I were choosing an ESP and looking closely at BlueHornet, I would recommend looking at Adestra and Maropost as well. I think the three platforms are similar in features and capabilities. Adestra probably has the best support of the three, but the time zone difference (they are in the UK) can be a factor. Maropost's support is definitely the worst. All one gets is text messaging to an off-shore team. With Blue Hornet, you get a call a person on the phone.
BlueHornet is a great platform for a small or medium size business that is graduating from the "free" platforms and wants more features. It delivers a generally easy to use interface and HTML editor. The concept of segments as implemented by Blue Hornet is not standard, but it allows fairly powerful segmentation capabilities that are easy for a marketer to use. Why choose a more complicated, expensive platform if you do not need or use their advanced features? Whistles and bells are attractive, but a potential user should be realistic about their immediate needs and the needs they will have over the next year. BlueHornet has seen some history of instability. If you need to send mission-critical transactional messages like password resets, it may not be the best choice, but for a budget-conscious email marketer, it is a reasonable option.