Founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius as an alternative to the expensive email software available at the time, Mailchimp has now evolved into a one-stop marketing solution. What makes it a one-stop-shop?
It is the included functionalities. Mailchimp offers:
- Social media ad posting
- Advanced automation
- Shoppable landing pages
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software.
This has made Mailchimp especially popular among small businesses who want to avoid the hassle of investing in different solutions for different marketing needs.
Mailchimp is helping over 13 million businesses across the globe through its marketing platform, and its customer base includes big names like Vimeo, TED, and New Belgium Brewing. The company recently became part of The Intuit Group of Companies, the maker of Quickbooks.
Mailchimp claims that it’s working with Intuit to work out ways that will allow seamless integration and synchronization of Mailchimp and QuickBooks data. Until then, we have our fingers crossed.
- What is special about Mailchimp?
- What is the downside to choosing Mailchimp?
- What features does Mailchimp offer?
- Mailchimp’s pricing plan
- Other pricing options and discounts
- Mailchimp and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
- The takeaway
- Frequently asked questions about Mailchimp
What is special about Mailchimp?
We know that free versions of software can feel very limiting and deprive you of its advanced features. With Mailchimp, it's not the same.
The free version of Mailchimp comes with a CRM, a website builder, a Mailchimp domain, and the ability to create forms and shoppable landing pages. The only catch is that it has a monthly sending limit of 10,000 emails and you are allowed to have 2,000 contacts.
But are you a small business owner or for someone who is a total newbie in the field and is just looking for a good start? If that's you, then that is not that much of a problem.
If you are worried about scalability, the pay-as-you-go options offered by Mailchimp might be a good solution for you. The pay-as-you-go options can be very useful for businesses with less volume of clients. These options will prove to be more economical than switching to a higher-level plan.
The free plan of Mailchimp is an attractive option for small businesses (SMB), but it is not the only thing that makes Mailchimp special. Another thing that we particularly like about Mailchimp is how it keeps evolving and continues to add new features while also maintaining its familiar interface for the users.
The most recent acquisitions by Mailchimp include:
- Sawa, an automated design platform
- BigTeam, a survey platform
- Inspector 6, an AI content platform
- Chatitive, the SMS marketing platform.
Mailchimp uses these strategic acquisitions to make its platform a better, more comprehensive and up-to-date experience for its users. The launch of Mailchimp’s Creative Assistant, which was created by Sawa’s technology, is a good example of something useful coming out of an acquisition.
What is the downside to choosing Mailchimp?
We compared Mailchimp’s subscription plans to those of its competitors, like Sendinblue and Mailerlite. It turns out that the subscription plans offered by Mailchimp are pricier.
Apart from this, there is a problem with the free plan that makes it slightly less attractive. If you are on Mailchimp’s free plan, you cannot schedule the emails.
Moreover, if you are not already a Mailchimp expert, the campaign tracking can be a little difficult for you. Since you only get access to support for the first 30 days on the free plan, problems like these can cause frustration.
What features does Mailchimp offer?
As we mentioned before, Mailchimp is a marketing hub. Companies don't only need credit cards and social media to survive. They need to design and test marketing campaigns, but also analyze their performance so that they can shape their future marketing strategy. Following is a list of some of the important features offered by Mailchimp and some helpful details about them.
Mailchimp has a classic email builder and a new, more advanced builder. However, the new builder is still a beta feature and is available for limited types of emails.
The email campaigns you can build with Mailchimp include regular, plain-text, and automated email campaigns. Mailchimp also lets you build multi-variate testing campaigns that allow you to test eight different versions of an email.
You can choose to design your template using the email builder. Also, you can choose a design from Mailchimp’s template library which offers 90 themes are 14 layouts. The basic templates offered by Mailchimp are available in full-width versions. The featured templates are designed to serve specific marketing needs. You can also use a custom-coded template by importing it through a URL or a ZIP file.
Opt-in and opt-out forms
Mailchimp offers opt-in and opt-out forms that you can use to acquire the consent of your audience to receive emails. You can also give them the freedom to opt out of receiving them whenever they desire.
Mailchimp offers two opt-in options, including single opt-in and double opt-in. The double opt-in option is a good way to have added confirmation of the consent. To avoid fake sign-ups you can include the reCAPTCHA box in the opt-in forms.
Mailchimp offers bounce management for both hard bounces, which occur when an email address is invalid or there is some unexpected error in delivery, and soft bounces that occur when the email couldn’t be delivered because the inbox was full or temporarily unavailable. Mailchimp re-sends soft bounces for three days, but immediately removes the hard bounces.
Different email clients display your email in different ways. To make sure that all your contacts get a good view of your email, it is useful to have a tool that lets you preview your email as it appears in different email clients.
Luckily, Mailchimp offers such a tool by the name of Inbox Preview. The Inbox Preview tool is powered by Litmus and will only be accessible to you if you are using one of Mailchimp’s paid marketing plans.
All paid plans come with 25 Litmus tokens that you can use to preview your emails. Each preview costs one Litmus token.
If you run out of tokens before the month ends and still need to preview your emails, you will have to buy more tokens by signing up for a Litmus account. However, if you only want to compare the desktop and mobile views of your email, you can do that for free.
Unlimited storage for images
When it comes to image and data storage, you can use Mailchimp’s Content Studio to upload and store images. The images have a size limit of 1MB, and other file types have a size limit of 10MB.
The other file types supported by Mailchimp’s Content Studio include text files, document files, audio files, video files, spreadsheet files, presentation files and archive files. You can find the supported format details on Mailchimp’s website.
Landing page builder
We were a little disappointed when we didn’t find a landing page tab on Mailchimp’s dashboard. With a little navigation, however, we found the option to build landing pages in the campaigns section.
The process ahead is self-explanatory once you click the landing page option in the campaigns section. You will find 10 customizable templates to choose from that are purpose-built for goals like product promotion and lead generation.
Mailchimp’s creative assistant will help you customize the selected template to your needs. You can edit the background colour of the page, body, and header.
You can also choose the way you want to display images on the page. Mailchimp also offers tips to make your design decisions easier and more effective.
Mailchimp is a champion in terms of integrations. It offers more than 800 integrations, making sure that you don’t have to miss out on anything.
These integrations include eCommerce tools like Shopify and Stripe. Short message servie (SMS) marketing tools like SimpleTexting, customer support tools like ZenDesk Activity, site management tools like WordPress, and tools to drive social leads like Facebook.
If you need design help, Mailchimp is integrated with design giants like Photoshop, Canva, and Unsplash.
Different Levels of account access
Mailchimp makes management easier by allowing you to create multi-user accounts. The multi-user account created on Mailchimp has five levels of access or user permissions:
These levels of access are a great tool when working together as a team as it gives everyone access to the information according to their assigned role. It also makes it easier to give feedback.
Mailchimp comes with a built-in marketing CRM that you can use to have a more targeted marketing approach and to build better relationships with your customers. You can engage your customers as well as keep track of their engagement with you by creating customer journeys through Mailchimp.
Sending automated transactional emails at different points in the customer’s journey is also a good way to retain customers and stay connected with them. Such emails can be prompted by certain customer behaviours. For example, you can use transactional emails to send a thank you message to customers who have just made a purchase.
You should know, however, that you cannot activate a customer journey until you are on a paid plan. The Essentials plan lets you include 4 journey points, and the Standard plan lets you include 100 journey points. This allows you to create a very elaborate customer journey.
This is a relatively new feature offered by MailChimp. You can let your website visitors book appointments with you and see your availability for the service you are offering.
This is a great feature if you sell online or in-person services. You can also receive the payment online.
Mailchimp offers customer support for only the first thirty days of the free plan. After that, you are pretty much on your own.
You must upgrade to a paid plan if you want customer support options like a live chat. We would also like to mention that Mailchimp offers a very thorough knowledge base and very easy-to-understand instructional articles.
These come in handy if you are having difficulty finding or using one of Mailchimp’s features. In the Resources section on Mailchimp’s website, you will find Mailchimp 101 where you can explore different topics that you might need assistance with.
Mailchimp’s pricing plan
Mailchimp has a four-tier pricing plan with flexible pricing. You can use the contact calculator on Mailchimp’s pricing page to see how much each plan will cost you. This is based on the number of contacts you want. There is also a drop-down menu for currency which lets you convert the price in a number of currencies.
Mailchimp accepts payment through PayPal, credit cards and debit cards, including VISA, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. Using a business credit card like the Business Edge Card from American Express, keeps your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. Plus, business cards offer more spending flexibility. However, you will not need to enter any payment information to get started on Mailchimp. This is because all accounts start on the Free plan.
Read about the best business credit cards
- Annual fee: $99
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.99%
- Interest rate on cash advances: 21.99%
Free Mailchimp plan
The free plan allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers, but it has a monthly sending limit of 10,000 emails, and a daily sending limit of 2,000 emails. If you exceed this limit, Mailchimp will pause the sending.
Apart from the sending limit, the free plan is a generous one as it offers features like marketing CRM, Mailchimp domain, landing page builder, and Creative Assistant. You also get access to sign-up forms and basic email templates in the free version.
Moreover, you get email support for the first 30 days. You can also make use of more than 250 app integrations to take your marketing experience to the next level.
Essentials plan starts at $11 per month, at which rate it allows you to have 500 contacts. The price increases as you increase the number of contacts you want to have.
It offers all the features that the Free plan offers, along with some additional features. The additional features include a customer journey builder with 4 journey points, A/B testing, custom branding, as well as email and landing page templates. Unlike the Free plan, it offers 24/7 chat and email support.
The Standard plan is Mailchimp’s recommended plan. It starts at $17 per month and allows you to have 500 contacts. As with all the paid plans, you can increase the number of contacts you want to have. The price of the plan will vary accordingly.
In addition to the features offered by the Essentials plan, the Standard plan offers the ability to add dynamic content, the ability to create customer journeys with increased journey points, and the ability to perform behavioural targeting. You can also add custom templates when using a Standard plan and make use of automation features such as send-time optimization for your emails. You can add up to 100,000 contacts at $605 per month with the Standard plan.
Premium Mailchimp plan
The Premium plan is the most expensive plan and the only one that comes with the phone and priority support. Even at 10,000 contacts, the plan costs $299 per month.
Earlier in the article, we discussed how Mailchimp allows multiple levels of access. With the Premium plan you can create unlimited seats and role-based levels of access.
Multivariate testing is also accessible through the Premium plan. You get to have unlimited audiences as opposed to other plans, and you can do advanced segmentation to manage the audiences better.
The Premium plan also offers comparative reporting. This is a great tool to measure the success of your campaigns and identify how they can be improved. You can have up to 200,000 contacts in the Premium plan at the price of $1300 per month.
Other pricing options and discounts
Apart from the pricing plans detailed above, Mailchimp also offers some pay-as-you-go options for better flexibility. Paying for the monthly plans can be a waste of money if you have a seasonal business or you are an infrequent sender. Luckily, Mailchimp allows you to buy email credit according to your needs through its pay-as-you-go plan.
Mailchimp will offer you a flat discount of 15% if you are a non-profit or charity organization. For all its regular customers, Mailchimp offers a 10% discount for one month if they add two-factor authentication when signing up for Mailchimp.
Mailchimp and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) applies to all commercial electronic messages (CEM) sent to and from devices in Canada. If you are a business owner in Canada or have a customer base in Canada, this must be an important concern to you. The liability for going against CASL includes fines of up to $1M and $10M per violation for individuals and companies respectively.
Under CASL you are required to have the consent of the receiver before you send any CEM to them. However, CASL has exempted some cases from the consent requirement and has allowed implied consent, as opposed to express content, for some other cases.
The cases that are exempted from consent requirements include:
- Messages sent to individuals by or on behalf of individuals who are tied by family or personal relationships
- Messages sent to satisfy a legal obligation
- Those messages sent by registered charity organizations.
Under CASL, you are also required to give the receiver an easily accessible option to unsubscribe from your messages at any point, even if they provided consent to receive them in the past.
Mailchimp makes following through this process very easy. One reason is, that its own anti-spam policies are quite strict. Under CASL, if you are a registered charity organization or if you need to send a message as part of a legal process, you can do it without having the consent of the receiver.
But if you are a Mailchimp user, you will be going against MailChimp’s anti-spam policy in doing so and this can cause your account to be suspended or blocked. It is best to make use of Mailchimp features like double opt-in to make sure that you have the consent of all your contacts and you steer clear of trouble.
Mailchimp is an ever-evolving marketing platform, and a great way for small businesses to have a kickstart. This is because Mailchimp is fairly simple to use, and it brings many useful marketing tools together.
The in-built CRM, the social media integrations, the website and landing page builders are all great features to get a business up and running. If you are on a budget and your business needs aren’t very extensive yet, Mailchimp has the potential to give you a good start. However, it would have been a lot more helpful if the Free plan users also had access to support for more than the first 30 days.
At the end of the day, buying the right software for you depends on your own needs and resources. Before you make a decision to invest in any software, we suggest that you create a list of what you are looking for in that software and how much are you willing to pay for it. Once you have that clarity, compare different software options against that list and you will hopefully reach a good decision.
Frequently asked questions about Mailchimp
Getting started on Mailchimp is easy. All you need is an email address to sign-up for free on Mailchimp. It is an all-in-one marketing platform that you can use for multi-channel marketing, setting up your eCommerce store, and building your website.
Mailchimp has a free plan with an in-built CRM and website builder, but it has a monthly sending limit of 10,000 emails and a daily sending limit of 2000.
Cleaned contacts in Mailchimp refer to the non-deliverable email addresses. Mailchimp removes cleaned contacts from your All Subscribers list. The contacts are labelled cleaned by Mailchimp if they have hard bounced or if they have soft bounced repeatedly.
To embed a Mailchimp signup form on WordPress, you will have to use a plugin to install an embeddable form on your WordPress site. You will get an HTML code that you can paste into any HTML-ready area of your site.
No, you cannot add attachments in Mailchimp, but you can share files with your contacts using Mailchimp’s file hosting service by clicking the Link tool in the campaign builder.
No, unfortunately, Mailchimp does not allow the users to BCC the emails.
To create a tag in Mailchimp, click the “Audience” tab, click “Manage Audience” and choose “Manage Contacts”. Click “Tags”, and then “Create Tag”. Mailchimp will allow you to use 100 characters or less to create a tag name.
To edit the Mailchimp unsubscribe page, go to “Audience” and open “Audience Dashboard”. Choose the audience you’d like to change the page for, click “Manage Audience” and choose “Sign-up forms”. Click “Form builder”, click the drop-down menu of “Forms and response emails”, and go to “Unsubscribe form” under “Unsubscribe”. If you are looking to remove or edit the unsubscribe success survey, go to the “Unsubscribe success page”. You can either change the options of the survey or remove the survey altogether by providing an alternate link.
To send a test email in Mailchimp, open the “Preview” drop-down menu in your campaign builder and select “Send a test email”. There you can enter the email addresses of people you want to send a test email to and send them the email. You can also add personal messages or instructions to the test email.
Mailchimp has its data centres located in the United States where it processes the data. It also gives some authorization to third-party vendors that process data in the United States and other international locations.
The main Mailchimp alternatives in Canada include Sendinblue, MailerLite, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, and Hubspot Marketing Hub. Each of these alternatives has its own list of pros and cons, and it will be a good idea to analyze them against your business needs to find a good match.
The Essentials plan costs $14.21 in Canadian dollars. The Standard plan costs $21.97, and the Premium plan costs $386.39. Mailchimp shows its pricing in US dollars by default but supports transactions in a number of other currencies. It converts the price using the exchange rate at the time of purchase.
Yes, Mailchimp complies with Canada’s anti-spam law. Its own anti-spam policies which the users are required to follow are even more stringent than the former.
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About The Author: Sara Adnan
Sara is a content marketing and copywriting professional.
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