MailChimp: Sexy, User-Friendly Email Marketing


By Shawn Stone

There are quite a few options out there for email marketing management, but MailChimp fits the bill for a specific type of user. We're that type, and you may be too.

First off, MailChimp may not be best for:

  • Very large companies
  • Companies with very complex marketing funnels

If you're one of the above, and have the cash (lots of it) to throw down on more robust tools, you may want to check out ONTRAPORT or Infusionsoft. They come highly recommended, but I'll leave the reviews to more experienced users.

If you don't fit into those categories, then you may find yourself as satisfied with MailChimp as we are. Let me break down the features for  you:

1. Pricing Options (a lot of them)

I was first drawn to MailChimp because it offers the most robust FREE version of any platform I could find (up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month). That's beyond generous, but I was quickly upsold to the paid version when I found out it included automation options (pretty much mandatory if you're serious about email marketing and list-building).

Pricing scales with your needs and you can either purchase credits that let you pay as you go (e.g. 300 emails for $9), or sign up for a monthly plan that starts as low as $10 per month and increases in $5 increments as your subscriber list grows.

Pro Tip: The monthly plan is a better deal price-wise, but I started out with the smallest pay as you go package while I was setting up our site. This allowed me to take my time and design our emails, set up automation, etc. without paying a monthly fee for nothing. You can always upgrade later with no trouble. 

2. Automation

Remember how I said this was mandatory? Well MailChimp does a solid job with it. Automation lets you plan ahead, saving time and effort while increasing sales and improving customer interactions. How? Lots of ways.

Did you sign up for our newsletter yet? You know, this one? If you do, you'll quickly see an example of the automation at work as you receive your welcome email and a push to join our excellent community forum. You know, this one.

Beyond introductions, you could schedule follow-up emails offering products, courting social media follows, and explaining parts of your business as needed. It gets even better when you include...

3. Segmentation

MailChimp offers two means of categorizing your subscribers: groups and segments. Groups allow you to categorize subscribers by personal characteristics (e.g. profession, experience, age, etc.). Segments let you categorize subscribers based on their actions (e.g. sign-up date, purchases, email opens).

By combining segmentation and automation, you will be able to target your communication and make the content personal, timely and relevant for your subscribers.

4. Lovely Design

Okay, this is seriously my favorite thing about MailChimp. I'm a sucker for good design and they have similar taste. Everything is clean, user-friendly, and just flows. You may find yourself scrolling around a little more than in an old-fashioned drop-down "efficient" interface, but it's well worth it.

The highly legible fonts and simple layouts make finding and using the various tools a breeze. I also love the style and attitude their mascot is rocking. What can I say? He's just an uplifting presence.

5. Drag & Drop Templates

Well designed HTML-based email campaigns make use of a wide variety of features: videos, images, buttons, social media links, etc. MailChimp makes it easy to approximate a layout you're looking for with a pre-built template, then just drag and drop to add, move or remove content as you please. I was surprised at how easy and quick it was to throw together a beautiful campaign.

6. Fancy, Easy Analytics

MailChimp's reporting features surprisingly robust analytics that are easy to digest and put straight to use. You can iterate and improve your communication to keep subscribers happy.

7. Split Testing

Not sure what to put in your subject line that will get the most opens? MailChimp lets you test a few out on a small subsection of your list to be sure you go with the best-performer every time. As a copywriter and market researcher, I'm all about split testing.

MailChimp's tools aren't quite as powerful as some other platforms, but they are more than enough for the average business. If you can't narrow down your options to two choices, you just have a bunch of equally bad options. Write some more, then test the stand-out lines.

8. Simple Integration

Guess how long it took me to integrate MailChimp with Facebook? Literally 30 seconds. The same goes for most other major integrations. MailChimp is hugely popular, and it shows by how prepared other businesses are to help you integrate their services. I use SquareSpace for our site, and MailChimp pops right into place with an incredibly clean embed wherever I need a newsletter signup form.

9. Translation

I haven't used this feature, but I had to call it out because I just find it incredibly thoughtful. MailChimp lets you easily create your embed code, signup forms, campaigns, and all in over 40 languages. Money Earned isn't really going global anytime soon, but what a great service!

10. Support

As an entrepreneur, I've had to learn to do a lot of things on my own. So it should come as no surprise when I say that last, but nowhere close to least, comes customer support. Whatever software or service I may explore first, I'll drop it like a rotten potato if the support disappoints. Why? Because I know that if I need the support once, there's a 90% chance I'm going to need it again.

MailChimp has such thorough and well-constructed support in the form of FAQs, tutorials, knowledge base, and the like that I've never even had to speak to them directly. Seeing the effort they put in everywhere else, I have complete confidence that they will be equally helpful in a live support situation (should the day ever come).

Wrappin' it Up

MailChimp is an all-around great tool and service. I expect they will only continue to improve in time, and I look forward to riding that wave with them. If you're interested, please toss us a bone and sign up through our button (click the monkey paw image below) so we can keep the newsletters flowing without breaking our modest bank. Don't forget, you get $30 credit as well if you get a paid account, so it's a win-win.

Happy emailing!

Update: would your other email marketing platform send you free socks for Christmas? Thanks, MailChimp!

MailChimp Socks.jpg