MailChimp is often the first email newsletter tool that springs to mind, possibly because they have great marketing and a charming monkey-fied aesthetic. But I guess I’m not the only one, as they, apparently, have over 14K people signing up to their platform every day!
They offer a free plan, with which you can send up to 10,000 emails a month to 2,000 subscribers. This is good news for personal and small business users, as most of the tools are accessible on this free account. Another feature accessible through their free account is their in-built CRM. If you’re an SMB looking for an all-in-one solution, then this could be just what you need. They also have pay-as-you-go options, which work out to be cheaper for low-volume clients, whilst also giving you some included extras such as automation and integration options.
A recent development is that MailChimp has been bought for the sum of $12 billion in cash and stocks by financial software company Intuit. We looked into this company's history and saw that it has spent millions of dollars lobbying to make sure that solutions for free and easy tax filing in the US are not made a reality. We're interested to see how this new acquirement will affect MailChimp's operations, pricing and overall product in the near future.
Nothing has changed yet...so let’s have a look to see whether MailChimp really does let you ‘send better emails’:
Free plan has limited features
Find our detailed analysis of Mailchimp’s pricing plans here.
Pros and Cons
Basically everything you need to know, including clients, geo-tracking, social media and Google Analytics integration.
Generous freemium plan:
Most of the tools are available on their free plan, and you’re allowed 10,000 emails to 2,000 of your subscribers which isn’t a bad deal.
Great template editor:
MailChimp sports a clean interface and a simple, but powerful editor.
Mailchimp continue to expand their feature set, the most recent additions being appointment scheduling software and the online store builder (the latter is currently only available in beta in the US and UK).
High-cost subscription plans:
Although they offer a generous freemium plan, the prices get steep pretty quickly once you start needing to increase your email, or subscriber, numbers.
No email scheduling on free plan :
Mailchimp recently removed this feature from its free forever plan, which makes it far less desirable. You’ll also only have access to support for the first 30 days.
Is MailChimp the right newsletter service for you?
Integrations are important to you:
If having a newsletter service that integrates with other tools – whether you’re an ecommerce, blogger, nonprofit, or business owner – is essential for you, Mailchimp is a good option. It offers hundreds of integrations to both popular and niche applications (such as Zapier and WordPress).
You need an all-in-one solution for inbound campaigns and a CRM:
MailChimp have always emphasized the importance of running opt-in based lead capture campaigns. They make it easy to do so with features such as forms, landing pages and automated drip campaigns. With the introduction of their in-built CRM, you can now set up customer profiles and assign customers a lifetime value (Standard plan and upwards).
You offer online or in-person services:
Mailchimp’s new appointment booking feature means that you can add a service listing page with your availability to your website. You can even take online payments.
You want native commerce features in your email marketing tool:
There’s an advantage to having everything you need in one tool. Those who want to manage their email marketing and sell products online all under one roof will be interested to hear that this is possible with Mailchimp.
Not recommended if:
You’re an affiliate marketer:
You need access to support, but don't have much of a budget:
Mailchimp’s free plan is generous in some ways, but one thing that really frustrates users is the fact that there is no email or live chat support available. Support is available on the Essentials plan and higher.
You're not very organized:
Because of the limitations Mailchimp puts on the number of lists you can create, you’ll need to be very organized in how you manage your contacts. The same goes for sending out your emails on the free plan, as there is no scheduling option.
Ease of Use
It has a clean interface, and the tools are easy to use. However, the navigation could be clearer, as certain tools are slightly hidden. Setting up the initial opt-in process can be somewhat challenging as the menus are a little confusing.
There are two editors available. Both are fast and simple to use and have all the main content blocks (video, columns, social buttons, etc.).
If/then/else logic isn’t very user-friendly, but available. MailChimp at least offer a handy cheat sheet to help you grasp the concepts. Merge tags can be inserted in the email content to add the readers name or email address.
Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs
Lots of choice, relatively modern looking too. All the drag & drop templates are responsive, but the classic templates are not. Bear in mind that the free plan only comes with the basic email templates, which look a bit outdated.
Email Marketing Automation
This is relatively robust, with rules to send follow-up emails based on certain conditions, such as clicks, opens, etc. More complicated automations related to goals/email link actions are also available, via the Customer Journeys feature, which allows workflow-based marketing automation.
Mailchimp offer pretty good segmentation methods, allowing you to combine up to five positive or negative conditional relationships (e.g. what email client they use, whether they’ve opened a particular campaign). Management across lists is not possible as each list is siloed.
Registration Forms/ Opt-in & Opt-out- Process
Simple drag & drop setup for forms, although a bit finicky to select color options, only allowing you to add the color code. You can add your own fields, and adding the form to your site is easy. They also offer pop-up registration forms to integrate with your website.
MailChimp’s deliverability is acceptable, but there is definitely room for improvement. Be aware that their emails often end up in the Gmail ‘Promotions’ tab, which is less frequently checked.
Reports and Analysis
Pretty much all you need regarding reporting is here. You have openers, Google Analytics integration (which allows for conversion tracking), as well as clients, geo-tracking, click mapping and social media.
The site itself is only available in English, with the help section being available in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. The emails themselves can be auto-translated with Google Translate into many languages, but of course it would be better if the site itself was more internationally accessible.
Spam- and Design-Testing
Mailchimp use third-party run tool ‘Inbox Preview’ by Litmus. Monthly paid plans come with 25 tokens and allow you to see what designs will look like for different clients, and on different devices. No spam testing is available. If you need more tokens, you’ll need to purchase these through Litmus.
Hard bounces are immediately removed, while soft bounces are re-sent for three days. These will eventually be considered hard bounces if it occurs over multiple campaigns.
You can upload a suppression list of the contacts you don’t want to send to.
Storage available for data and images
There seems to be no limit to the amount of files, just that they need to be under 10MB in size each.
DKIM and SPF, SenderID and DomainKeys available.
Tracking links in your emails will use the domain “list-manage.com”
Different levels of account access
You have five different levels within Mailchimp: viewer, author, manager, admin & owner.
There are over 800 integrations available for your account! From eCommerce, to social and website integrations, you’d be hard-pressed to find an area that’s not represented – they also recently reintroduced their integration with Shopify.
Landing Page Builder
It’s pretty hard to find the landing page editor, which is accessible through the campaigns section. There are 10 modern templates, and you can use your own domain name (e.g. www.your-biz.com). Also, there is no A/B testing feature. GetResponse offers a far superior alternative.
They have a thorough, and easy-to-search, knowledge base. Where Mailchimp loses points, though, is the fact that this is the only help that’s available unless you upgrade your account to a paid one. The live chat option, on upgrade, was fine, but quite slow compared to other tools we tested.
Very user-friendly and feature-rich; there’s a reason why this tool is so popular. They could be a little more internationally-friendly, though, and they are pretty expensive.
MailChimp is a perfectly good tool for most English-speaking users, with its ease of use and range of features, as well as their free and pay-as-you-go plans. Keep in mind, though, that their subscription plans are relatively expensive compared to similar newsletter tools. We recommend you check out this Mailchimp alternatives post before you make your final decision.
There are a bucket load of integrations available for MailChimp, which could be due to the number of active users they have. That, combined with relatively powerful tools (available on the higher tier plans) really do add up to a great tool.
Perhaps if you’re a business with specific needs, like multilingual software, or use of your own tracking-domain, then you may need to look further afield for the correct newsletter tool. But there really is a lot to like from MailChimp.
ActiveCampaign: while they don’t feature a free plan, they have very affordable paid plans that are a little bit cheaper than similar MailChimp plans. Feature-wise they are the best email automation software and easily beat MailChimp.
MailerLite: we chose MailerLite as a MailChimp alternative because they have a very generous free plan that lets you use all their features (unlike MailChimp). Their feature set is pretty similar with a few extra gimmicks like the landing page creator.
Sendinblue is one of the cheapest all-in-one email marketing tools on the market. It’s available in 6 languages and comes with advanced automation options and a built-in CRM. Check out our Mailchimp vs Sendinblue comparison.
Is Mailchimp for free? Where is the catch?
It really isn’t a bad offer. They let you send up to 10,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers every month. The catch is that they don’t let you use all the features (reporting and testing is limited, for example) and there will be a small MailChimp advert in your newsletters. Once you exceed the 2,000 subscriber limit it gets rather pricey.
Is is allowed to add affiliate links to newsletters sent with MailChimp?
Generally, you can add affiliate links in your newsletters, however, they have a list of certain domains that are banned. If your affiliate link is contained in this list, they won’t let you send the email.
What is Mailchimp used for?
Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform used by individuals and companies of all sizes. You can manage everything from your email newsletters and automations to ecommerce.
Can I use Mailchimp with WordPress?
Yes, you can use Mailchimp with WordPress. All you need to do is sign up and add the plugin on WordPress.
Is Mailchimp legit?
Yes, Mailchimp is a legit email marketing service. It helps small businesses safely store their customer data and offers a secure way to manage contacts.