Mailchimp is an email marketing service and a marketing automation platform. It began as a paid service and added a freemium option in 2009.
It is also a newsletter service that allows you to send email campaigns to your subscribers. Mailchimp helps you manage and communicate with your clients and customers.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that’s ideal for beginners intending to grow their audience. Mailchimp was launched in 2001 by Ben Chestnut, Dan Kurzius and Mark Armstrong. The marketing platform was acquired by Intuit on September 13 2001 and was valued at $12 billion in cash and stock.
The platform has always made it easy for freelancers and agencies as they are provided with fast support.
This detailed review will explore the product’s ease of use, functionality, affordability, strengths, weaknesses and custom features. You will also be able to decide if this product is the right fit for you or your business (or agency).
|Ease of Use
Getting Started with Mailchimp
To begin with Mailchimp, you need to create an account.
To create an account, you select the ‘Sign Up option on the right side of the dashboard. Make sure you input your email address and unique password.
Mailchimp has 3 pricing plans including a freemium. The pricing plan is categorised into three sections namely: Marketing Platforms, Websites and Commerce and Transactional Email.
Mailchimp for Marketing Platforms
1. Free Plan: This plan is for new marketers with big ideas intending to get online, build an audience and want to start growing from day one. With this free plan, you have 500 contacts, you can send 2,500 emails with a daily limit of 500.
With the free plan, you have email support for 30 days, can be integrated with 250+ apps, and a creative assistant that has hands-on brand designs.
2. Essential Plan: $11 for 500 contacts, $23 for 1500 contacts and $299 for 50,000 contacts. This plan is for marketers that intend to build relationships and also want to grow sales with email sends. This plan has some features like Brand tools that have content and smart design tools for building a brand, Content Studio, websites and domains, 100+ pre-built email templates and a Creative Assistant.
It also has intelligent tools that have data-driven features that help you create better content, and predict who to target and what steps to do next.
3. Standard Plan: $17 for 500 contacts, $59 for 2500 contacts and $605 for 100,000 contacts. This plan is for experienced marketers who intend to scale and save time with advanced automation features and more data-powered tools.
With this plan, you can design and automate your business with the way customers interact with the Customer Journey Builder feature, be productive and organized with the platform’s marketing calendar, can be integrated on 250+ apps.
4. Premium Plan: $299 for 10,000 contacts, $460 for 20,000 contacts and $1,300 for 200,000 contacts. If you have more than 200,000 contacts, you can talk to Mailchimp’s sales team at +1 (800) 330 -4848 or contact them for a custom plan.
The Premium plan is for advanced marketers who want sophisticated growth and priority phone support.
Mailchimp for Websites and Commerce
1. Plus Plan: Starts at $29 per month. Websites that use this plan have the lowest transaction fee(s) for scaling their business.
The Plus plan has an additional transaction fee of 0.5% and the plan’s Stripe processing fee varies by location.
2. Free Plan: Starts at $0 and has everything a business needs to build a website and launch a store. The transaction fee is 2% and the Stripe processing fee varies by location.
3. Core Plan: Starts at $10 per month and includes website customisation, 24/7 support and a lower transaction fee for growing businesses.
It has a transaction fee of 1.5% and the Stripe processing fee varies by location.
Mailchimp for Transactional Email
This pricing plan is designed for developers. Transactional email users can send 500 transactional emails to any email address that’s on a verified domain without buying transactional email blocks or a plan upgrade.
To know your transactional rate, you have to input the email estimate you intend to send monthly. There’s a fixed optional Dedicated IP rate that goes for $29.95 monthly. If you want to send 100 emails per month (with Dedicated IP inclusive), your estimated bill totals $49.95; whereas in a situation where you don’t include the Dedicated IP, you pay $20.
HOW MAILCHIMP’s DASHBOARD WORKS
Mailchimp’s dashboard is not bombarded with too many features and it is easy to navigate.
The Audience option helps you track your contacts, options on ways to design your signup forms with some app integration, tags that let you place your emails in categories, and segments that help filter your (target) subscribers by location, activity and engagements, surveys that help you get responses, inbox to help you respond to complaints or emails.
The Campaign option helps to select an email template that will be suitable for your audience. Email analytics shows you insights on how to improve your marketing, and metrics and identify data trends. Reports show your audience activity, their click performance, ways to optimize and improve the content, social performance, geographic locations, subscribers with the most opens and campaign benchmarking.
The Automation option helps create great experiences with the Customer Journey. This can include sending personalized promotions, engaging new subscribers that have been categorised into groups, and celebrating customers’ birthdays. This ensures customers are not left out and they feel warm and welcome.
The Website option helps tell your story to connect with people (customers) and also grow your business. You begin by setting your site with a personalized design, setting up your store by selling products and setting up appointments by offering services.
You can set up a custom domain with the Website and Commerce Core Plan and also have access to your website’s reports to learn more about the people who visited, and how to interact and improve.
The Content Studio option is your online creative assistant. You can instantly create on-brand designs that can be shared across multiple channels. Your Facebook or Instagram page can be integrated with Mailchimp.
The Integrations option helps you connect your Mailchimp account with your business and personal account. It helps you expand your reach and sync your contacts.
FEATURES OF MAILCHIMP
This section covers Mailchimp’s features and also contains detailed guidelines on how to navigate your way around the product.
- Website Builder
One of Mailchimp’s features is a website builder that can be previewed, edited and customized to your taste. Once you’re done editing, you can view your website on mobile mode – to see how it looks on your customers’ devices.
For this article, let’s assume I’m a new travel and lifestyle blogger and I find out Mailchimp has a website builder; here’s what I’ll do in ensuring I edit and customize my website to my preference.
How It Works
Log into your Mailchimp account, and you are directed to your dashboard which has 6 options. Click on Website and select website.
You are presented with an editable mock-up website together with your site name that can be edited.
Your site name should correspond with what you intend to publish or put on your website. A reminder that my site is a travel and lifestyle website hence the choice of my site name.
You can choose to start selling products online by creating your store. However, this feature is suitable for US or UK-based businesses.
You can also offer a service to a group or individuals.
2. Email Services
This service/option helps you create engaging emails easily to help you grow your brand and sell more stuff. Mailchimp’s email tools help your business get the best out of your email marketing.
a. Email Templates
You have to be logged in and select Email Templates under Campaigns.
A white worksheet is displayed before you with two options ‘Content Studio’ and ‘Create Template’ on the right side of your dashboard. Select Create Template.
When selected, you are presented with Layouts, Themes and Code your own.
Under ‘Layouts’, the emails showcased here are suitable for educating an audience, follow-up for new subscribers, telling a story either about a product you have been using or what you have been up to, making an announcement i.e. you bought a home, you’re pregnant, a brand deal went through or a partnership with a brand or company.
These emails can be showcased in a particular and organized way to easily pass information, messages or campaigns. The email templates under ‘Basic’ needs to be upgraded but the first two options are free to use or sample.
Under the ‘Themes’ option, you can choose between E-commerce, Events, Holidays, Photography, Newsletters, Stationary, Subscriber Alerts and Notifications.
Under ‘Code your own,’ you can custom code your template by importing zip (which involves creating a template by uploading a ZIP file with your template code), pasting in code (which involves creating a template by pasting custom coded designs) or importing HTML (involves creating a template by uploading an HTML file with your template code).
b. Email Analytics
This feature helps you in tracking how well your email performs.
You can choose the time frame you wish to see. The metrics used in tracking your email’s performance include opened, total opens, clicked, unsubscribed, open rate, click rate, clicks per unique opens and revenue generated.
To be able to get and use this feature, get and use data from your email activity; you’ll need to upgrade to a Standard Plan.
c. Campaign Builder
When creating campaigns, you are building something that gets noticed and those messages can be passed through a landing page, an embedded form or an email. When designing an email campaign on/for a landing page on Mailchimp, you are presented with templates that are for different purposes and audiences.
They range from a template meant for lead generation, a template to promote products or a template to grow your list. As a first-timer, there’s a guide on how to design a product page.
i. Email Campaign Builder
When designing an email campaign, it’s a message you want to get/pass across to your audience, subscribers and potential clients.
It falls along the section of ‘Who you are sending your campaign to,’ ‘Where is the campaign coming from’ and ‘The subject of the campaign.’ When selecting who to send campaigns or emails to, you can import contacts or upload a spreadsheet of contacts.
I selected the Copy and Paste option that lets you directly paste in new contacts from a spreadsheet or a similar list. You are presented with how to place/group your subscribers/contacts.
I have just two subscribers and they will be used in this article/section. I’ll be using the Appointment Reminder template under Themes.
ii. Embedded Form Campaign Builder
Mailchimp’s embedded form feature is also known as a sign-up form and it is attached to your website and can be customised to attract new subscribers and boost engagement.
How It Works
Accessing Mailchimp’s embedded form feature can be accessed in two ways:
* The first way it can be accessed is by clicking the Audience menu and clicking on Signup Forms.
* The second way it can also be accessed is by selecting Campaigns, clicking on Create Campaigns and selecting Embedded Form.
In this section, I selected the Signup Form for new subscribers coming to my website. The Add a New Field settings help in customizing your form to get the necessary information from your subscribers.
I selected ‘Send a final welcome email’ that will welcome new subscribers and directions on how to navigate their way on the website – or blog – if need be.
When editing the title or headline of your signup form, you can choose/select the font and font size. My font was New Tines Roman with a font size of 21. You can choose an image for your signup form, the text/headline can be aligned to the left, right or centre of the form.
When editing my signup form, I removed the Address field because it’s not needed in my blog and I left the Birthday field because I can celebrate with my subscribers and they stand a chance to win merch, a product or a flight discount.
Your signup form can be customised to the purpose of your website or preference. When adding/inserting an image to your signup form, you can link your image’s URL and choose to let it open in a new window.
This is what an Unsubscribe Form looks like.
If you want to access the embedded form via the second option, here is a detailed instruction on how to go about it:
On the Form Fields tag, I enabled First Name, Last Name and Phone Number.
To create a subscriber pop-up form, you head to your dashboard, select Signup Forms under Audience and select Subscriber pop-up.
Make sure to enable the pop-up.
The Style option lets you choose fonts, colours for headings, labels and paragraphs and font size. The Layout option determines how it looks on your subscribers’ medium (mobile). The Settings option allows you to select when the pop-up should display – on exit, when the audience scrolls to the middle of the page, immediately they are on your site or after 5 seconds.
Although optional, an image can be added to your pop-up form. The plus sign on the form field is used in adding new tabs or fields on the form – could be first and last name, phone number or birthday – or you can create a new field.
As you keep on editing, your form can be viewed in mobile or computer form.
When you’ve made changes, select Preview to see how it is on mobile and also on computers. Then select Save and Publish.
d. Creator Journeys
Customer Journey is like a pre-built map that can be personalized and helps in automation; it aids in nurturing relations, sharing or collecting information. In other words, Customer Journey helps in creating dynamic paths for your contacts.
Customer Journey is made of starting points, rules and call-to-actions that you’ve placed on your marketing journey.
How It Works
When you select the Create Journey option, you are presented with a white contact journey menu that tells you to create a path that’s right for your contact.
There will be a need to name your Customer Journey path and for this article, I named mine Journey 01 and I’m using the Free Plan.
After you’ve named your Journey Path, you choose the starting point of adding your contacts. There is a template of options on what to choose to add a contact and they fall under 5 categories.
The first category is Contact Activity.
The second category is Dates and Special Events.
The third category is Shopping Activity.
The fourth category is Marketing Activity.
And the final category is APIs & Integrations.
When you choose your category, you select if you want to include imported contacts.
For this section, I selected ‘Signs Up’. When selected, you can choose to include imported contacts. You need to upgrade to be able to fully experience this feature.
You need to upgrade your plan to have access.
When you’re done with editing/setting up your Customer Journey, they can be viewed under Recent Journeys.
If you’re trying out Transactional email, you’ll have to launch Mendrillapp. There’s also a demo trial that allows you to send 25 emails per hour, send up to 100 inbound emails per day, send to any email address that’s on a verified domain and test emails don’t expire in the demo trials.
3. Social Media Management
This feature assists in reaching the right audience with the right tools. It helps with Instagram ads, organic social posting and Facebook ads among others.
How It Works
For this feature, you’ll need to upgrade your account to have access to it. Nevertheless, I found a way around it.
Scroll down the page and click on Organic Social Posting.
Select Create a Social Post and input a Campaign name. You may get logged in as soon as you select Create a Social Post, when that happens, select Create Campaign and Social Post on the left side.
My campaign name is Casanova, you select the medium you wish to share your post on. You can choose all three – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – or you can choose just one platform. For this section, I selected Instagram.
When you’ve chosen your medium, select Save and Continue. The next step requires you to write your post and two options for images that can (and will) pass the message (post) effectively and immediately.
For the image, I selected Browse and was directed to my media and I selected an image that was in line with the post; when I was done, I selected Save and Continue.
The next step involves you personalizing your post by connecting your social account (in this case, Instagram) to your Mailchimp; also ensure your social media account is functioning. When that is done, you go through your post to check for the need for corrections and schedule your time of posting.
Note: To integrate or connect your social media account to Mailchimp, go to your dashboard, select Integrations and select Instagram under your integration starter kit. You select Connect and select Allow.
This is what it looks like when connected.
You need to upgrade your plan to have access to the rest.
a. Facebook Ad Campaigns
For Facebook, this ad helps in marketing and attracting your Facebook audience and also knowing what sells.
How It Works
Select Create an Ad and you can choose a special ad category. To successfully run ads on Facebook, your Facebook account should be connected and you can personalize who you want your ads to reach.
I inserted 20019 in the State, City/ZIP Code tab (for Italian audiences, I selected all genders for the Gender tab and 20 to 65+ for the Age range. Although optional, you can include interests.
For ads or content, you can add 5 images and descriptions for your ad. When adding images, input the website link, the title of the headline and the description of your ad, your button option is like a call-to-action. It entails what your audience should do if they come across your ad. In other words, they can either Sign Up, Shop, Contact You or Listen Now.
When you edit your Facebook Ad campaign, it totals $5 and it runs up to one day starting from your ad’s approval date.
b. Instagram Ads Campaigns
The same steps that are in setting up Facebook ads are applicable here.
This feature is used for designing and uploading business postcards that fit your brand. It can be used to make an announcement, send a thank you or greeting card or reward a loyal customer.
With this feature, you can mail your postcards to 27 countries even though it’s one or thousands. The countries you can mail postcards to include France, Brazil, Finland, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Ireland, Hong Kong, Norway, Spain, United States (at the time of writing this, postcards can be sent to all states excluding California), New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Chile, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, China and Sweden.
How It Works
Select Create a Postcard and create a Campaign Name.
You accept the postcard terms and you have a worksheet before you that is used for editing – selecting or adding recipients you wish to send. You can also select how you want your postcard to look by selecting the desired template.
Note that the delivery time is 5 to 9 business days.
You are charged per card with postage and sending postcards outside the US is higher than sending within the US.
4. Audience Segmentation:
Helps in sending messages that matter to your audience(s). You need to have a plan to have the full feature.
In a nutshell, it helps in categorizing your contacts (target audience) for better reach.
MAILCHIMP’s RANKING + WHY WE RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT
We are aware that Mailchimp is an automation platform and has email marketing services but how does it stack up against specific user-centric parameters?
Here are our findings:
1. Suitable message limits
Mailchimp has 3 pricing plans that cater to a variety of audiences and needs. While some marketing platforms have restrictions regarding the number of messages; with Mailchimp’s free option, you can have a database of subscribers – you have 500 contacts and can send about 2500 emails with a daily limit of 500.
On a scale of 1-5, Product Curve ranked it 3.8 because it has fair pricing plans but you need to upgrade to a paid plan to enjoy the pricing benefits.
2. Analytics & Reporting
Though you need to have a plan to have access to this feature, it helps in producing audience/customer analytics that tells you where you need to improve. You also know how to relate better with your audience.
Product Curve ranked this a 4.7
3. Third Party Integrations
Mailchimp can integrate more than 250+ apps. These selected apps either make your business grow, bring more data or grow your audience.
Product Curve ranked it a 4.8
Mailchimp has some hidden features but a user-friendly, colourful and minimal interface that’s easy to navigate. Alongside, there are some guides on the website to put you through some navigation and ways to properly use a feature.
Product Curve ranked it a 4.8
Comparative Analysis: Mailchimp vs Acumbamail
In this section, we’ll do a comparison by having Acumbamail as an alternative. We’ll cover Acumbamail’s pricing plans, features, ratings from G2, and Capterra and what you may like about the platform.
Acumbamail is an all-in-one marketing solution that helps build a solid cross-channel strategy and it helps connect you with your audience through email marketing, SMS campaigns, landing pages, automation and optimisation tools and transactional messaging (messages).
With Acumbamail, you can integrate more than 100 applications or apps using Zapier or Pabbly.
Acumbamail’s Features and Services
1. Integrations: Mainly for e-commerce vendors, Acumbamail’s plugins work best on e-commerce platforms.
2. Bulk mailing: Acumbamail’s bulk mailing feature is affordable, customisable, interactive and stable. It uses the following metrics – deliverability, open rate, click-through rates (CTRs) and bounce rates.
3. Easy to navigate user interface.
4. SMS Marketing and Campaigns
5. A complete guide for and about landing pages.
ACUMBAMAIL’S PRICING PLAN
Acumbamail’s pricing plan gives you the option of choosing based on the number of your subscribers. The price changes as you increase your subscription database.
Free $0 – A free plan that comes with a free test. You can send up to 2000 emails per month with 250 subscribers.
Basic $23 – This plan gets you A/B testing, a landing page editor, telephone support, 850+ customisable templates and complete reports.
Pro $65 – With this plan, you get an agency account, monthly email marketing advice, Facebook audiences and list cleaning.
Enterprise $204 – This pricing plan gets you priority support, email marketing consulting, an account manager and a dedicated IP.
Similar to the mailing option, the price differs and there is a price plan for a specific number of subscribers.
Free Plan – $0
Basic Plan – $34 (for 2500 subscribers)
Pro Pan – $74 (for 2500 subscribers)
Enterprise Plan – $207 (for 2500 subscribers)
Similar to Mailings and Subscribers, this plan has a one-off payment of $61 for 5000 mailings.
Remarkable Features That Make MailChimp a Reliable Alternative
Now that we have gotten a brief overview between Mailchimp and Acumbamail, we’ll use this section to look at a few Mailchimp features that make it better than Acumbamail. Let’s get into it.
1. Social Media Management
Every social media manager, marketer and vendor knows how exhausting manually handling your social media is. With the help of Mailchimp’s social media management, all your posts, campaigns and emails can be worked on, edited and scheduled for a desired day or time.
Mailchimp’s ad feature is easy to use and if it feels overwhelming, there’s an in-depth guide on how to go about it. Your ad campaigns can be run on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
This feature helps you stand out from the crowd and gives your audience (customers/subscribers) something to remember you for. Although it is available in 27 countries, it’s a smart and helpful addition to your marketing strategy.
4. User Interface
Mailchimp’s interface is colourful, minimal and accessible. We love the platform’s use of illustration and how they easily pass information quickly.
Thank you for making it to the end of this review, we’ve covered what Mailchimp is, its features, pricing plan, alternatives and reasons we will recommend this product.