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Technology should make our lives easier
• Lots of features
• Large choice of payment plans
• Extensive reporting and statistics
• Customization and personalisation options
• No telephone support
With 25 million users, MailChimp is one of the best-known email marketing services out there. With a full range of features and an easy-to-use interface, MailChimp is suitable for both the professional and the occasional email marketer.
After looking into all the features that MailChimp offers the email marketeer, we tell you how this service provider stacks up against the rest.
As with many email marketing services, MailChimp has a long list of options to choose from in terms of plans and payments. You really need to narrow down your needs in order to be able to choose the right plan for you – for example, decide how many emails you send a month, and whether you want to be billed monthly or on a campaign basis. You can sign up free, and then choose your plan.
For those that send infrequent emails and don’t mind sacrificing features, the MailChimp Forever Free plan gives you 12,000 emails per month for a list of up to 2,000 subscribers. Monthly plans are for people who send more than one email campaign a month and the price varies depending on the total number of people you send to. For more than 50,000 email subscribers, use the High-Volume plan. Or pay-as-you-go for infrequent campaigns. MailChimp also offers a transactional email plan for triggered email from apps.
You have the choice – start from scratch with the MailChimp template builder or set up your email within one of the pre-set templates. MailChimp offers a good selection of well-designed, stylish templates for all purposes. HTML-aficionados can code their own template for further customization opportunities. We also like that you can design custom templates that can then be used by your team, your clients, or yourself at a later date. One thing you’ve got to remember when creating emails is how they will look on different sized screens. Fortunately MailChimp makes it easy to create templates that work across large and small display screens.
Start by creating a list by using a customized signup form – MailChimp allows you to design this form so it fits in with your brand (using drop-down boxes and additional buttons) and can also be used on a website or Facebook page. And it’s easy to import other lists into the program, wherever they are stored and in whatever form. Once you have a list or a set of lists you can choose to send to everyone or to segment your mailing so it goes to specific groups of people. The segmentation facility in MailChimp is advanced, with plenty of choice in who to send to. Sort by location, whether people are engaged consumers or not, customers who have bought specific products, and more. If you want to, you can set the campaign to automatically go out when you update your RSS feed or blog.
Checking the integrity of your lists is simple with this email marketing service. MailChimp tells you which email addresses bounced and makes a decision automatically whether to try sending again or to delete them from your list. Unsubscribes are also kept track of so you don’t mistakenly send an unwanted email to a customer or potential client.
Tracking & reporting
We appreciate the tracking and reporting tools included in the MailChimp package. You can get interactive graphs telling you which emails were delivered, how many, and who opened them. The graphs are customizable and interactive, which is a useful feature. Subscriber Activity reports go further into the detail of what individual subscribers did with your email and Subscriber Analytics, connected with Google Analytics, gives you more information about revenue and ROI as well as who shares your news on the social network sites. One handy tool is the Click Maps feature which displays a copy of your newsletter after it has been sent and you can see which links were clicked on the clickmap overlay. For clients and other team members you can set up a reports page so they can see the stats, without giving the person access to your MailChimp account.
Autoresponder – Use the autorespond feature to set up emails that encourage subscribers to get involved, or send welcome emails introducing yourself for new interest.
Social media – Add Facebook merge tags so people can “Like” your email campaign. In this way the campaign is displayed on their Facebook wall. You can also integrate your Facebook page with your campaigns by adding sign-up forms.
Ease of use
We like the simple, clean dashboard where you control all the aspects of your email marketing creations and campaigns. Most things are easy to do with MailChimp, including importing lists, viewing reports, segmenting mailing lists, and email template creation. If you are away from your desk you can manage your account using the MailChimp iPad app. With the amount of features available the program could easily get complicated but MailChimp manages to make the process of email marketing relatively stress-free.
Help & support
Unfortunately there is no telephone option for support but MailChimp does give you a lot of other options for help, whether you need to ask about building a list or designing an email template. You can send a message by email during the day, or ask questions using the live chat function. In addition there are extensive FAQs and a Knowledge Base which cover all aspects of the email marketing program.
Overall we find MailChimp to be one of the most attractive email marketing services packages around, with a bunch of features and a lot of opportunity for customization and personalisation. The reporting and statistics are solid, and the templates are stylish and useful. The product is solid all-round.
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