When it comes to the task of increasing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns in the present interconnected world of today, the best way is through email marketing.
Learning to do email marketing is among the most important things you can do if you own a business, or even in the case of operating a blog and you are looking to increase your regular readership base. Part of making this happen is making sure you have a good email hosting service.
There are numerous email hosting services – a good thing – but it can also make it very hard to narrow it down to a few choices.
In this article, we choose to focus on one of these providers, which you have probably heard before – a MailChimp review.
Hopefully, it will be easier to make a decision on whether it works for you or not.
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What is MailChimp?
As one of the first tools for sending newsletters, MailChimp has continuously endeared itself in the minds of many – and it is not just because of its charming monkey-fied mascot.
They do have excellent levels of marketing their services, and this results in a daily rate of more than 600 million emails sent through their platform.
The company began in 2001 and is among the most famous and largest providers of the service today. There are many advantages that stand out with it; from its beautiful aesthetics, a forever free plan, and an interface that is easy to use.
They also have almost 20 million customers around the world, and this number is still growing.
MailChimp seems to be excellent on the surface, but they are still lacking in many aspects.
One major drawback we noticed in our MailChimp review is their slow pace of innovation, which has led to some marketers and prominent bloggers switching to other email marketing platforms, which we will delve into.
Email solutions that MailChimp offers
The overall overview of their packages and what they offer is quite similar to what you would get from other email hosting platforms, as it has all the tools you need to create emails, collect leads, and so on.
If you own a personal blog or a small to medium business website, MailChimp’s solutions will largely work for you because their templates and tools are enough to cover most of your needs, if not all.
The other feature that is also accessible on the free package is their CRM, which is in-built – this will work if you are searching for an all-in-one solution.
You will be happy to know that the company is also evolving and changing the features that they offer, as new ones come up all the time. They also have integration with social media platforms, and it is easy to customize the template section because of its decent sizing.
Aside from this, you will also get useful marketing features as part of their offerings. These include app and service integrations, contact segmenting, time-zone based sending, autoresponders, A/B testing, and so much more.
Aside from their free plan, they also have pay-as-you-use options, which a low-volume client can find cheaper than those offered on other platforms. These plans will also include certain extras such as integration and automation choices.
All pro features have the following benefits:
- Authentication of your account –
This is through the use of DomainKeys, SenderID, as well as SPF and DKIM
- Different levels to access your account –
There are five levels you can be in at a time: manager, author, owner, viewer, and admin.
- Integrations –
You have access to more than 800 different integrations, which you can use on your website and emails. Ranging from website and social media integrations to eCommerce widgets, you will struggle to find areas that are unrepresented.
The only surprising one here is the lack of Shopify integration, although you can connect your Shopify platform with them through third-party integrators.
- Landing page editor –
You can use this to create product pages or sign-up pages for new subscribers.
However, you should note that the function is still quite basic (it even lacks an A/B testing feature), so you are better off looking for another email hosting service if advanced automation is your goal.
You can still utilize your domain name, but you will have to pay an annual fee of $100.
MailChimp Deals & Coupons
25% Off For Selected Plans
15% Off For Limited Time Offer
5$ Instant Discount For New Purchase
10% Off On All Plans
Some quick facts on the pricing
The free plan is quite impressive and gives you plenty of freedom that you will hardly find in other email providers. For instance, it allows you to send a monthly limit of 10,000 emails and have a maximum of 2,000 subscribers.
You can then upgrade to paid plans when you exceed these limits, and MailChimp has 3 of them: Premium, Standard, and Essentials.
Interestingly, the free plan has no limits – it is free forever until you decide you want to upgrade. Some benefits include:
- The opportunity to grow your subscriber base to 2,000 people
- Send a maximum of 10,000 emails every month
- Email support, which is included for 30 days
It starts at $9.99 per month. However, there are additional tiers, which are:
- Maximum of 5,000 subscribers – $49.99 per month
- Maximum of 10,000 subscribers – $74.99 per month
- Maximum of 25,000 subscribers – $189 per month
- Maximum of 50,000 subscribers – $259 per month
It starts at $14.99 per month. Tiers are:
- Maximum of 5,000 subscribers – $74.99 every month
- Maximum of 10,000 subscribers – $99 every month
It starts at $299 every month. Tiers above that are:
- Maximum of 20,000 subscribers – $399 every month
- Maximum of 50,000 subscribers – $599 every month
Before settling on your monthly rates or see the features of all the premium plans, the platform’s website has a pricing calculator at the bottom of their pricing page.
Key features to look out for
1. Creation of subscriber lists
There are several methods you can use to add your email contacts, as we note in our MailChimp review. These are:
- Manually typing in addresses in a form
- Copying and pasting
- Uploading a file – such as in TXT, CSV, XLSX, or XLS form
- Importing from Microsoft Outlook or other CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools
- Importing from Gmail
Regardless of the method you use to upload your contact list, the process is quite easy and straightforward, and the system will merge duplicate contacts in case there are any.
It is also quite easy to add custom fields when you need to insert more information, or mapping new fields.
Similar to the Campaigner email marketing platform, MailChimp will allow the use of disposable addresses such as Mailinator.
Also known as ‘burner email addresses’, there are many email management services that do not allow for their use, as evidenced by the response of many services in offering this opportunity.
2. Signup forms
Thanks to MailChimp, you get the chance to create lists, and you can use these to organize your subscriber list.
When you sign up on the platform, you will need to start with building some forms, which will then get subscribers on your lists – and there are different methods of doing this.
The first is using the platform’s built-in editor, which we noticed to be average for use in our MailChimp review. Once you finish, it gives you a code, which you will then embed on your website, such as at the end of your posts or a sidebar.
You can also utilize the Subscriber popup option, which will then create an opt-in form in a pop-up style.
What makes this default method slightly disappointing is the interface, which can seem clunky – especially when you are used to using other email hosting editors before.
The problem mainly stems from the challenge in customization. Since you cannot simply click on a specific element to customize its design, it forces you to click on the Design It tab that is in a separate menu, and this is the only way you will achieve any customizations in styling.
One thing we cannot fault the editor though is the method it uses to handle custom fields, which is very efficient. Therefore, it is easy to add small additions, like a checkbox to your form.
Rather than using the in-built editor, it is better to go for something that is more tailored for email collection, such as LeadPages.
It will allow you to design a form that fits the unique look of your brand in a better way, there are better templates, and you will get access to more advanced features such as split testing (which can help you get more subscribers).
The platform’s interface works well with many third-party editors such as this, so it should not present too many challenges.
Other than this feature, it is also important to know other ways of building your subscriber base, which we will discuss below.
3. Increasing your email lists
If you are just starting out creating a list and are struggling to get a sizeable number of contacts, here are some pointers to help you do so:
- Adding forms to your blog –
This is a very strategic way of growing your email list, and they are very important when you want to grow a dedicated base of customers as well.
Ensure that you have a form on your website’s front page, as well as the bottom of your blog posts, so that people always know they can sign up for your email lists.
Feel free to play around with wording and offers, and see which ones work the best for you in getting people to sign up.
- Do content upgrades regularly –
If you have been blogging for some time, for instance, you probably have a blog post that did very well – maybe people liked it, it got a good readership, and high numbers of shares.
If this is the case, consider turning it into a checklist or guide, and send it to people who are new subscribers to your email list.
For instance, if the best performing post was on meal planning, then consider making a meal planning calendar and send it to new sign-ups.
- Pitch guest posts –
This is an excellent method of increasing your audience, as it allows you to reach out.
In fact, you can ask other bloggers for permission to tell their audience about your website or blog, and encourage them to sign up.
- Running giveaways –
This can apply to business websites as well, as it is a great way to give back to your subscribers and encourage more to sign up.
You can also inform them to follow you on your social media accounts and get more information.
- Doing some marketing –
Consider doing extra ads on social media platforms, which will attract a greater audience and encourage them to sign up.
You can also use podcasts as a chance to market yourself through joining guest podcasts, and becoming an expert source to land opportunities of posting information on major publications and sites.
Whatever method you use, be sure to tell your audiences that you have an email list, and they should consider signing up.
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4. Creating Campaigns
Among the most important concepts of MailChimp are their marketing campaigns, which is a major reason why their platform is so popular.
Using their campaign feature, you will have a chance to create the emails you want, and they make this easier for you through providing a step-by-step workflow interface for set up.
The first thing to do is picking the type of campaign you want to create. These are:
- Regular – allows you to create and send HTML emails
- A/B test
- Plain text – these have no special formatting or pictures
After choosing the type of campaign, you select the subscribers on your list that you want to send to. You can choose your entire list or pick certain people based on specific criteria, which you can also save for future use. For instance, some criteria you can use are:
- Whether the subscriber replied to a certain campaign
- How many times they opened the specific campaign
- The subscribers who opened the last 10 campaigns
- Subscribers who completed certain campaign goals
The third step is entering the information of your campaign, which includes the campaign name, the subject line, as well as any tracking options you want to enable. For instance, these can include tracking the clicks you get, the opens, e-commerce tracking, and so on.
The fourth step sis creating a template that you will use for your campaign. You can decide to use the pre-set layouts we mentioned above for your emails, or use extra templates from outside the platform’s editor.
The best aspect of this feature is the drag-and-drop editor that comes with any of the packages available, since you can rearrange icons and fit elements as you want, or insert components such as buttons, videos and text blocks.
If you want to change the template’s appearance, you can click the Design tab and change the style elements such as borders and colors.
We also notice in our MailChimp review that thy added web fonts, which will provide you with extra ways of customizing your email.
The last step will then allow you to review everything and inform you if there are any corrections you should do. If you are satisfied with everything, you can choose to schedule the campaign for a future time or send it immediately to the recipients.
5. Tracking campaigns
When you send your newsletters, you can use the ‘Reporting’ tab to track their success. This dashboard will show you all the basics, which include bounces, opens, click-through, and unsubscribe requests.
It also helps when you want to track your most-engaged subject lines, as well as opens on mobile devices versus desktop.
If you are unsure of how to navigate the system, the platform has a video tutorial that walks you through the whole process, what the reports mean, improving open rates, and crafting subject lines.
If you want to constantly monitor the performance of your newsletters, the mobile app comes in handy when you do not have access to a desktop.
If you have subscribers who did not open your campaigns, then you will need to resend it to them, and even change the subject line to encourage them further.
If you want to see the results of you’re a/B tests for subject lines, you can use the ‘Report’ page, and monitor any customer interactions with your posts through clicking any emails.
The options for automation of emails are very simplistic, and there is not much you can do. Rather than letting you make your own, the platform has 15 pre-made workflows you need to choose from.
When you want to access these automations, you create a new campaign and select the ‘Automated’ tab.
For instance, you might want to add an automation for welcoming new subscribers. When you select this option, you can then choose whether you want to send an educational series, a new user onboarding series, or a single welcoming message.
The more useful automations for ecommerce purposes are probably the abandoned cart emails.
If your website has an online store, the automation can assist you to track down users that have abandoned their carts, send follow-up emails to them, and encourage them to buy the goods.
Unlike other automation editors though, it can be a challenge to edit the automations – at least from what we have seen in our MailChimp review. The interface is not as intuitive, so this might be the weakest aspect of the platform.
Customer contacts and support
Regardless of the uptime you will get from a web hosting provider, there are some times when something might happen and it interferes with the system – for instance, disk crashing of servers.
It is therefore important to choose a web server that handles issues efficiently, and has a working mechanism for communicating with its customers.
There is a major drawback we note in our MailChimp review – the customer support you receive is entirely dependent on your pricing plan.
While the platform goes a long way to give support to its customers on a 24/7 basis (except for free users), this will only include email support.
If you want to get live chat or phone support, you will need to either be a Premium or Enterprise plan user, specifically Silver Premium (sends 150,000 emails monthly) and above that.
However, this is offset by the educational videos you can find on the platform’s website, which are all informative and help to answer common queries you may have.
In case you need more information about a topic, they do have a blog that is updated weekly. This covers various subjects such as email templates, software updates, email coding, and email marketing, among other options.
Other than that, they also have a comprehensive knowledgebase and FAQ section – it has answers to the most common questions on the platform.
If you are a web developer, you will also be happy to know that they have a community forum to cater to your needs, and it is quite active and moderated by the customer service team.
Pros & Cons
- The platform will give you comprehensive reports that contain all the information you need to know
- Their free plan is very generous
- Good template editor for basic use
- The costs of paid subscription are quite high
- Limited automation of emails
- Their in-built email editor is limited for advanced use
It is not surprising from our MailChimp review that part of the reason making it so popular is its free offer, which is quite attractive for many people – especially on a budget.
Even though you might not be on a budget, it will still be good for business owners and bloggers that still want a tool that is easy to use and has plenty of advanced features.
However, you should note that you do not necessarily need to sign up for their premium plans because the free plan is so extensive on its own.
In addition, you will not get money-back guarantees or refunds easily – the only way to get a refund in this platform is if your account was terminated without a reason, or experiencing a technical error, and it has to be on behalf of MailChimp itself.
MailChimp Expert Rating:
- Ease Of Use
- Reliability & Support