MailChimp MailChimp
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MailChimp Review

MailChimp
Rating:
Bottom Line:
Simplistic and customizable email marketing service with in-depth analytics, social media options and numerous options for monthly plans, including a forever free plan.

Full Review:
MailChimp is a user-friendly email marketing service that hosts many different options for creating campaigns, customizable templates, tracking tools and forms you can easily post on your website for new subscribers to sign up. There are numerous options for monthly plans to fit varying needs and budgets, and its free plan is forever, not just a trial period.


Site Navigation

After the initial sign in, you're taken to your dashboard, which hosts easy-to-navigate icons and a drop-down list to create new campaigns or newsletters, and access any of your saved campaign drafts. The dashboard is simple and straightforward, making it extremely user-friendly. The clickable icons allow you to create and send campaigns, import your list (to store your contacts or subscribers), start building your audience (by creating a customizable form to post on your website, social media channels, etc. for new subscription sign-up) and invite colleagues. This feature is particularly helpful as it allows you to have an unlimited number of users on a single account to collaborate on campaigns. MailChimp offers different levels of authority to choose from for collaborators and hosts a "Comments" section on drafts for new campaigns to make deliberation even easier.



The prompts to create a list allow you generate as many lists as you need, or one master list if you're targeting a specific audience. If you do opt to create one master list, you can create groups within the list, using its segmenting features. MailChimp offers several different ways to add subscribers and import your current contacts.


Email Creation

There are several different types of campaigns you can create and numerous ways to go about it. You don't even need to create a list first. If you wish to test a campaign, MailChimp allows you to create and send one to yourself. The different types of campaigns it hosts are the Regular Ol' Campaign, the Plain-Text Campaign, A/B Split Campaign (which creates two different versions of the same campaign for testing) and the RSS-Driven Campaign (driven by frequency of blogs posted on your site). Free account holders have access to the Regular Ol' Campaigns and the Plain-Text Campaigns. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Driven Campaigns are only available to paid account holders, and the A/B Split Campaign is unlockable to all types of users after creating a sending a few Regular Campaigns.



MailChimp walks you through the process of creating a newsletter. First, you name the campaign, which is for internal use and can only seen by you and any collaborators. Then you fill in the email subject, from name (i.e. your company name) and from email address. One of the many helpful features here is that MailChimp has a subject line researcher that gives you tips on how to write a good subject line. You can type in a single word, and MailChimp will give you the best results for clicks, similar to Google Trends.

During these steps, it also lets you change and personalize the "To" field of you campaign. This is especially helpful in making your newsletters more personable, and helps to prevent it from going to your subscribers' spam folder. Things like subject lines and the "To" field are two key things that email service providers look for when determining whether an email is sent to the inbox folder or spam folder. MailChimp helps to make sure this doesn't happen with your campaigns.



You have many template options to choose from once you begin creating a campaign. The Basic template lets you change things like the number of columns and whether or not you want sidebars and bands displayed. Themed templates are premade with different design elements and illustrations. MailChimp offers a wide variety of customizable premade templates that you can sort through by categories like art, education, holidays, etc. If you prefer to code your own template, it offers that option as well. MailChimp even lets you preview your campaign, and shows you how it will appear in both a PC web browser and on mobile devices.

Once you're done creating your campaign, MailChimp gives you feedback in the form of a checklist. This highlights things like your list of subscribers, subject line, reply email, tracking for analytics and social media options. If there is something that you left out, it will notify you with an exclamation mark, indicating that it needs attention. This page is helpful in that it allows you to review all the information for your campaign at a single glance. You can also set your social media preferences to include a few different options, one of which is to "share" the newsletter, where your subscribers can click to share directly to their personal social media channels from the email itself. Another option it features is to link it to your own social media channels, gaining you new "Likes" and "Followers."


Analytics

One thing that MailChimp does not slack on is its analytics reports. Even when sending a test campaign, you can view the report. It shows you a complete overview of things like how many people have opened your email, how many have clicked on links in the email, how many emails were undeliverable, open and click percentages, date and time of last open and click, the number of forwards and the top links clicked. It also features a more in-depth breakdown of these analytics with things like social media reports and eCommerce, which tracks when someone purchases something from your website directly. The eCommerce feature and other goal-tracking features are only available to paid account holders.

A nice addition to its analytic tracking is that MailChimp offers these same features in its mobile app, which is available on iOS 7.0 and higher, and on Android 4.0 and higher.


Customer Support

Unfortunately, MailChimp does not have an option for phone support. Its customer support team is only available via email and live chat, the latter of which is generally reserved for paid account holders. Paid account holders also receive expedited service with email, though when we contacted customer support via email with a free account, we got a response in less than 12 hours. Its site claims to answer all email questions within 24 hours, so it held true to its word. We also received an acknowledgment email from MailChimp within moments of sending our question; this gave us a ticket number to track.

Once we signed up for a paid account, we were able to use live chat and were connecting with an agent in less than a minute. Both the agents we spoke to on live chat and via email were knowledgeable of their service and answered all of our questions in detail. This company is based in Atlanta, but this doesn't really pose a problem, since its live chat hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Its email support is available 24/7. If you'd rather do your own research, it hosts a multitude of resources options, with downloadable guides for almost anything, and video tutorials that walk you through each step with corresponding screenshots.


Plans and Pricing



MailChimp offers a Forever Free Plan, which is exactly that. It never expires and there is not obligatory contract. You can add up to 2,000 subscribers on this plan, and send up to 12,000 emails per month. If you wish to send to more subscribers, or more emails, MailChimp offers a number of options. You can sign up for a monthly plan, which has different prices set depending on your number of subscribers (see below), or a pay as you go plan. Most of the monthly plans offer unlimited emails per month, so you are essentially paying for the number of subscribers. The pay-as-you-go prepaid plan is ideal for infrequent senders. You buy credits, and it generally costs between 2 to 3 cents per email sent. Both the monthly plans and prepaid plans offer a variety of levels for your business size. To help you figure out which plan is best for your needs, MailChimp features different calculators where you can sort plans by entering either your number of monthly subscribers or monthly emails.



Conclusion

MailChimp is an excellent resource for those who are new to using an email marketing service. It is very easy to navigate its website as well as create and send newsletters. The only real downside is that customizing its templates can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren't familiar with HTML coding. This can be frustrating when trying to alter subheads and layouts. That being said, after some practice you'll be able to edit and send newsletters seamlessly with MailChimp.

Compare to Other Email Marketing Services

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Cheapest Price/
1,000 Contacts:
$10.00/mo for unlimited emails to 500 subscribers
Free Trial /
Discount:
12,000 emails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers: free forever
Customer Support:Email, live chat
(not included in free plan)
Email Allowance:Varies by plan
Analytics:
Email Creator:

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