Discuss Mailchimp here.
Mailchimp was founded by Ben Chestnut in 2001. Chestnut is still the current CEO and his operations are based in Atlanta, Georgia. It is estimated that Mailchimp currently has in excess of 2.5 million users and they send an average of over 4 million emails on a monthly basis. The company originally wanted to be known as ChimpMail, but unfortunately the domain name was not available at the time. They actually started off as a paid service, but then added their famous and much sought after “freemium” service in 2009.
The first thing you will notice about Mailchimp is their use of humour. You will initially be greeted by the Mailchimp ape (or chimpanzee I guess) and there are various other ape ape-related jokes and graphics on every page. In fact, every time you navigate to a different page there will typically be a link to a humorous YouTube video.
One of the features that pleased me most was how easy it is to connect with your social media and social networking pages. This is ideal for sharing your email marketing campaign with a wider audience. You actually have the ability to send out an email to your subscribers and update your Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and Tumblr pages all at the same time with one simple click of a button. You can even see who has liked or tweeted about your business.
Another great feature is the facility to change the look of your outgoing email to match that of each individual subscriber. The Mailchimp system will determine the most popular email clients that your subscribers are using, e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. and will then provide a preview, thus allowing you to ensure the format is correct for each email client.
You can choose from hundreds of professionally designed templates or you if you wish you also have the ability to create your very own HTML email designs in order to send out your emails. You can also customize the templates and even add images. Another fantastic feature is the Delivery Doctor. Prior to you sending out your email marketing campaign the "Doctor" will test your campaign over and over to ensure that your email doesn't end up in your subscribers' spam folder for some reason. Your spam score will be reviewed and any errors in your HTML code will immediately be detected and you will be informed.
When it comes to campaign reporting, Mailchimp is extremely thorough in how your data is analyzed and indeed how it is presented to you. You will be provided with interactive graphs showing details such as your subscriber’s activity, click performance and social stats, etc. You will receive open and click tracking, the locations in which your emails were opened, a click map which provides details of which links were most popular amongst your subscribers.
You will also receive data about the number of email marketing campaigns that have been opened, as well as Facebook and Twitter views, as well as likes and retweets. If you are running an eCommerce business the entire sales process (from first click to purchase) will be tracked and finally you will receive activity reports about your subscribers and in-depth analytics reports.
Mailchimp is not specifically aimed at any particular group, but it would more suited to small business owners, a marketer who has a fair amount of technological knowledge, etc. If you are completely new to email marketing then there may be better options for you in the marketplace, although the customer support can still guide you wonderfully through the process. Additionally, if you are looking to sell products as an affiliate, the Mailchimp interface will support these types of sales. If you are looking to keep your subscribers list below 2,000 and don't wish to send more than 12,000 emails a month then Mailchimps’ freemium service will be ideal for you.
The Main Benefits
- Forever Free - As mentioned, you can send up to 12,000 emails a month to a subscribers' list of under 2,000 subscribers. You do not even need to be in contact with your list and there is no requirement to provide your credit card details.
- Learning Resources - You have a great resource of leaning materials completely free. If you happen to be new to email marketing or aren't very technologically gifted, these are a godsend. The learning curve is made easier and you can soon be creating extremely effective email campaigns.
- Tracking - Mailchimp provides various reports and interactive graphs, thus allowing you to understand (and learn from) how your subscribers react to your email campaigns. You also have the facility to integrate Google Analytics should you wish.
- Mobile Apps - There is a smartphone app available to both Android and iPhone users and this will allow you keep up to date with your campaigns and even add subscribers and check your social media accounts.
Mailchimp offers 5 different pricing plans:
- Forever Free - we have covered this already
- Monthly - This is the best option if you are sending out at least one newsletter on a monthly basis. Prices start from $10 a month for between 0-500 subscribers, $15 a month for 501-1,000 subscribers, $30 a month for 1,001-2,500 subscribers, all the way up to $240 a month for 25,001-50,000 subscribers.
- High Volume - For those of you who have more than 50,000 subscribers you should contact Mailchimp to discuss a quote, although they have given prices on their website, however, depending on exactly what you require, you may receive further discounts. $380 for a subscribers' list of 50,001-75,000 allowing you to send up to 900,000 emails a month. The maximum list will cost $12,930 for 3,000,001-3,100,000 subscribers and up to 37.2 million emails.
- Pay As You Go - This pricing plan is aimed at infrequent senders and simply allows you to purchase credits. You will typically pay $9-$250 depending on how many emails you wish to send.
- Transactional - Finally, you have a price plan specifically produced for the number of emails you are looking to send. As we know, the first 12,000 emails will be free and then up to the next 1,000,000 emails will cost $0.20 per thousand and so on.
I must admit I was extremely impressed by the overall customer support offered by Mailchimp. You will find everything you will ever need on their support page, including an extensive knowledge base, email us and contact form and even a chat feature, which allows you to immediately connect with a live representative. You will find a Mailchimp forum and possibly my favorite support feature is the online training. On a weekly basis Mailchimp publishes a webinar which typically lasts around 45 minutes, as well as many live sessions you can watch. These will cover a multitude of subjects and can only enhance your knowledge of email marketing.
Pros and Cons
- Up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month the service is free
- Fairly easy for beginners to get started
- You have the ability to upload images
- Premade templates for your campaigns
- Use of auto-responders, thus ensuring that your emails are destined for your subscribers' inbox
- Ease of integration
- The speed at which graphics, images and colors load can be extremely frustrating. The time it takes to create emails using their wizard (once you know how to do it) is again painstakingly slow.
- If you are using the freemium service you will notice the Mailchimp logo is attached to the bottom of every email you send - not great if you are attempting to create your own brand.
- You're unable to import your own email templates - you must start with one of Mailchimp’s and then customize it to your own liking. Being able to customize templates may seem like an advantage, and it is, but you will quickly notice that all the templates seem have a very similar style and layout.
- Perhaps this is just me, but I found the numerous links and ape-related comedy to be distracting. In fact, I often lost 20-30 minutes at a time simply because I was spending “working” time playing around.
I must admit that Mailchimp offers one of the most advanced platforms from which to send emails. It's fantastic that they offer a free service, although once you exceed the 2,000 subscriber limit you will find that things get expensive fairly quickly. Overall Mailchimp offers a customer friendly and highly effective service and for the purposes of this review Mailchimp has been graded –