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MailChimp is always the first newsletter tool we think of, perhaps because they have excellent marketing and a charming aesthetic. But I do not believe I’m the only one, because they say they send more than 600 million emails a day via the platform.
They offer a free plan, which allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers. This is good news for personal and small business accounts, as most tools and templates are available on this free account. Another feature accessible through the free account is the integrated CRM. If you are an SMB looking for a global solution, this may be precisely what you are looking for. They also have on-demand payment options, which are cheaper for low-volume customers, and offer some included extras such as automation and integration options.
Let’s see if MailChimp is free or not.
The first thing you should is that there is no free trial on MailChimp.
But there is a good reason for that.
Unlike almost all competitors, MailChimp offers an open plan. Like free permanently.
The free plan is enough for many small scale businesses. You can send up to 12,000 emails and add up to 2,000 subscribers per month.
If you exceed your limits, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.
You do not get all the features of MailChimp in the free plan, but you get most of it. And if you can compare what you get to the lowest level of other email marketing tools, you get more.
For example, automation (being able to configure mainly autoresponders) is often a key feature in most tools. It is available at a surcharge. At MailChimp, it is available on all packages, including a free plan.
Also, the free plan offers A / B tests and reports.
This offer is one of the main reasons why MailChimp has gained popularity.
MailChimp has two package plans. A vast majority of small businesses will be satisfied with the “Growing Business” plan so that I will focus on that.
The cost of this plan varies depending on the size of your list. All 500 additional subscribers you own slightly increase the price. This is a pricing system that is much more flexible than that offered by other competitors.
You can use MailChimp’s price calculator to get an idea of the cost of a paid plan for your business.
All plans let you send unlimited emails.
Here are nine features that could convince you to switch to MailChimp’s “Growing Business” paid package.
To summarize the story, free packages are not accompanied by e-mail and chat support.
Pay plans allow you to set an email delivery time that can be adjusted for each time zone of your subscriber.
It is essentially an advanced split test, although it is better for more extensive lists.
MailChimp is somehow able to estimate the sex and age of its subscribers to allow you to create segments in your lists, allowing you to create more specific and more efficient emails.
Remember that you can always start with a free account and upgrade later. The same goes for a paid plan: you can begin to slowly and upgrade as your list grows longer.
MailChimp is not different from most other email service providers you have tried. You have all the tools you need to collect leads, create emails, and send them.
In MailChimp, you build lists to group a subset of subscribers.
Therefore, to start using MailChimp, you will need to create forms to attract subscribers to your lists.
There are different ways to create MailChimp sign up forms.
First, you can create a form using the MailChimp editor. Once completed, it will provide the code that you can integrate into your site, for example, in the sidebar or below a message. You can also use the Subscriber popup option to create a pop-up style sign up form.
The default form builder of MailChimp is rather average, and the interface is a bit annoying for me.
You can not just click an item to customize its design. Instead, you must click the Design It tab to customize the style.
I like the way the form editor handles custom fields. Therefore, adding items such as checkboxes to your forms is very simple.
Instead of making use of the MailChimp form builder, I recommend using something more specifically designed to collect emails such as Thrive Leads or LeadPages.
Both allow you to create forms that best fit your brand and include advanced templates and features, such as split testing, that will help you get more listings.
Fortunately, MailChimp works very well with both products. It is, therefore, unnecessary to work with the form editor.
Campaigns are a vital concept of MailChimp. This is where you will build the emails you want to send.
MailChimp provides a step-by-step workflow interface for configuring campaigns.
The first step is to pick your type of campaign.
A regular campaign lets you send HTML emails. Or you can submit a campaign in plain text or no image.
The next step is to choose the subscribers from your list to send. Of course, you can submit to the full list or create a segment based on a set of conditions.
The third step is to enter your campaign information. This involves naming your campaign, your subject line, and whether you want to enable multiple tracking options. For example, you can track openings, clicks, following e-commerce links, and more.
That done, you must create a template. Templates are the default MailChimp layouts that you can use for outgoing mail. You can choose one of MailChimp’s pre-established email templates or create your own.
MailChimp includes an easy-to-use email editor. The Components tab on the right lets you drag various components, such as blocks of text, images, buttons, and videos, into your emails. And you can shuffle them as you like to get the desired design.
To change the appearance of your template, switch to the Design tab, where you can set background colors, borders, and other style elements for your emails to appear. MailChimp has also recently added Web fonts, which gives you more ways to customize the appearance of your email.
Lastly, the last step allows you to review all the options of your campaign and to warn you of any problem encountered in your campaign. If all is well, you can choose to submit this campaign immediately or schedule it for later release.
MailChimp, when compared to its competitors, has very simplistic automation features. Instead of being able to create your own, MailChimp includes 15 predefined automation workflows.
You can access this automation by creating a new e-mail campaign and selecting the Automated tab.
An example is a welcome automation for new subscribers. If you choose this option, you can choose to send a single welcome message, a new user integration series, or an education series.
E-commerce automation, such as the abandoned cart e-mail workflow, is probably the most useful. If you have an online store, this automation will allow you to send follow-up emails to potential buyers who have added items to their cart but have not yet purchased.
Automation can be changed, even if it’s a little tedious and not intuitive, like other automation editors.
This is undoubtedly the weakest part of MailChimp, in my opinion.
Multivariate tests look like split tests, but instead of testing one aspect, you can test up to four (subject lines, names, email content, submission deadlines).
As with split testing, you set the condition for MailChimp to choose the best version.
While it’s cool, keep in mind that you need a large sample to get statistically valid results. The more variations there are, the larger the sample size you need.
Unless you have several thousand subscribers (minimum), it will not help you.
MailChimp sends mobile apps to iOS and Android users so they can build and send campaigns, track account activity, manage their subscription lists, and more, from their mobile phones.
WordPress users can effortlessly integrate with MailChimp using the MailChimp plugin for WordPress. This makes it easy to collect information from users who visit your WordPress site.
Full Report: Basically, everything you need to know, including customers, social media, geographic tracking, and Google Analytics integration.
Generous Free Package: Most of the features are accessible in the free plan, and you have 10,000 emails for 2,000 of your subscribers, which is not a bad deal.
Big template editor: MailChimp has a clean interface and a simple but powerful editor.
High-cost subscription packages: Although they offer a generous free plan, prices increase rapidly when you start increasing the number of emails or subscribers.
Limited e-mail automation: while its autoresponders are strong, MailChimp disappoints when it comes to more advanced automation.
MailChimp is for you if:
If it is essential to have a newsletter service integrated with other tools, whether you are an e-commerce, a blogger, a non-profit organization, or a business owner. It offers hundreds of integrations for popular and niche applications (like WordPress and Zapier).
You need an all-in-one solution for CRM and inbound campaigns:
MailChimp has always emphasized the importance of conducting optional lead capture campaigns. They make it easy with features like forms, landing pages, and automated drip campaigns. With the introduction of integrated customer relationship management, you can now configure customer profiles and assign them a lifetime value (standard plan and above).
Although they present themselves as a platform for marketing automation, it is clear that MailChimp automation is not very intuitive to configure. In the absence of a workflow editor, managing the steps of each automation can be a bit tricky. We think that tools like MailerLite and Benchmark are doing a much better job here.
MailChimp does not provide a specific delivery number for the reason that I share.
They say that’s because deliverability depends on many factors, such as user behavior (is it spam?), Subscriber behavior, and so on.
More importantly, MailChimp is taking steps to maintain high deliverability. It makes use of hundreds of unique IP addresses and abuse detection technology to prevent other users from affecting your email delivery capabilities.
Interestingly, I sent hundreds of thousands of emails via MailChimp, and I never had any significant problems with emails that were not submitted correctly.
MailChimp has all the basics in reporting, with an attractive design.
Reports include opening rates, clickthrough rates, and even data from others in your industry.
Paid plans also come with more advanced reports, which can be useful for your business.
You can highlight an individual subscriber and generate an activity report. This shows you:
Also, you can perform group searches to find subscriber segments that have achieved a particular action (opening an email, clicking a link, and so on).
You can send targeted emails to these segments.
You must be able to add new people to your mailing lists without much effort.
The first option you have is to use the MailChimp API.
I am impressed by the documentation. There are many clear guides to put you through.
Although there are no language-specific code examples, other people have created MailChimp libraries in popular languages such as Python and Ruby.
You can also build a signup form to link or integrate people on your site.
To create one, go to “Lists” and choose the list to which you want the form to subscribe to people. Then click on “Signup Forms” and select an option.
As mentioned, free plans are not provided with support. However, the documentation available for free is excellent.
Plus, free plans come with 30 days of free email support to get you started.
Paid packages are supported 24/7 by email. They respond relatively fast when you need help.
Also, the chat is available from Monday to Friday.
Should MailChimp be the e-mail marketing platform you choose for your business?
While researching this review, I could not help comparing it to several other email service providers.
Although MailChimp can handle all the basics of email marketing, it still seems pretty bare-bone compared to services like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip.
It does not have some of the essential features you need to compete in the email marketing business right now, especially when it comes to their marketing automation capabilities.
Also, MailChimp does one thing I hate: they charge for duplicate subscribers. There are several scenarios in which you can end up with the same subscriber on multiple lists, and being billed twice for them is a big drawback in my opinion.
Let’s take a deep dive into the areas where MailChimp still lacks compared to some of its competitors.
ActiveCampaign is one of our best choices in a while because you can do almost anything without damaging your wallet.
Unlike Mailchimp’s flexible and prefabricated automation templates, ActiveCampaign offers a delightful visual automation editor that allows you to create simple or sophisticated workflows.
ActiveCampaign also supports markup, unlike MailChimp. Markup makes it easy to segment lists and, combined with automation, always lets you send the most targeted emails to your list.
MailChimp has a better email editor than ActiveCampaign, but otherwise, it can not be compared. In terms of price, ActiveCampaign is a bit cheaper, mainly when your lists get bigger and the 14-day free trial.
ConvertKit is one of the emerging messaging service providers and has grown in popularity since Pat Flynn switched to the platform.
ConvertKit is distinguished by the fact that it can be simple but powerful. Although its automation features are not as dynamic as ActiveCampaign’s, it still manages most of the most critical use cases that most users would need. And its learning curve is much shorter.
What I like about ConvertKit over MailChimp is the flexibility it offers.
MailChimp restricts you to 1 form per list. Therefore, if you want to have multiple content updates on your website, you will need to build a new MailChimp list for each content update you perform. With ConvertKit, there is no such problem because you can use multiple forms and tag-based segments.
ConvertKit forms are much more customizable and have many more options than MailChimp. ConvertKit allows you to create modal, slide inline in ways. And you can trigger them with exit intent, scroll percentage, or 2-step opt-in.
The main advantage of Mailchimp over ConvertKit is its price. ConvertKit does not have a free package and is relatively more expensive at most price levels.
Drip is another email service provider that has received a lot of attention lately. Especially since LeadPages bought it.
Drip offers a mighty visual automation editor, very similar to ActiveCampaign. It has built-in tags and early notation, which creates a compelling combination.
Mailchimp’s lack of flexibility in its automation offer contrasts sharply with that of Drip.
What has attracted many MailChimp customers in the past is the free package forever. However, Drip has its initial plan, entirely open for less than 100 subscribers.
What’s great about this freemium plan is that it’s not limited, so you can try it thoroughly to see if it works for you.
Drip is comparatively costlier than MailChimp for most price levels. Therefore, this may not work for you on a limited budget.
MailChimp is a perfect tool for most English-speaking users, with ease of use and a variety of features, as well as free packages. However, keep in mind that your subscriptions are relatively expensive compared to similar newsletter tools.
Many integrations are available for MailChimp, which may be due to the number of active users they have. This, combined with relatively powerful tools (available on higher-level plans), is a great tool.
Maybe if you’re a business with specific needs, such as powerful marketing automation or using your tracking domain, you may need to look for the best newsletter tool. But there is a lot to like about MailChimp.
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