At first glance, the Atlanta-based company seems pretty generous, offering free newsletters and an in-built CRM. However, make sure you read until the end as there are a few snags in their pricing model, especially with regard to how they charge for contacts. Recent changes to their plans and inclusions have also made it a much less attractive option for small-to-medium businesses, as we’ll detail below.
MailChimp offers the Free plan for up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails per month (with ads). The Essentials plan starts at $9.99/month for 500 contacts and 500k emails. The Standard plan adds advanced automations, starting at $14.99/month, and Premium gives you all-areas access from $299/month.
Pricing for Mailchimp’s monthly plans is calculated based on the size of your ‘audience’ (that is, list size). But each plan also has a monthly email sending limit, as well as a limit to the number of different ‘audiences’ you can have, which we go through below.
Note that as of May 2019, new users (and those switching from free/pay as you go plans to a monthly plan) will start getting charged per contact, as opposed to just subscribed contacts (which was previously the case). So, new users will also start paying for unsubscribed contacts and those who haven’t confirmed opt-in. Depending on the proportion of your contacts who are unsubscribed, this could push up your costs significantly.
MailChimp also features a pay as you go pricing system where you’ll just pay for the amount of emails that you send. This plan comes with the same features as the monthly MailChimp plans.
Let’s have a look at their prices in more detail:
Similarly to a cell phone setup, you prepay your email quota. Although they famously used to offer credits that ‘never expired’, new changes mean that credits now expire after 12 months.
|Emails||Price per email||Price|
The advantage of a subscription is that you never run out of credits thus your automations won’t stop on Black Friday because you forgot to refill. However, you will incur additional charges if you go over your contact limit (rather than automatically being bumped up to the next tier), so be sure to keep a close eye on this and, if needed, to change up to the next level of your plan in advance.
The plans below were introduced by Mailchimp in May 2019.
|Multi-step automation workflows||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Max. number of audiences (lists)||1||3||5||Unlimited|
|Monthly email sending limit||10,000||10x maximum contact count||12x maximum contact count||15x maximum contact count|
(limited to 1 audience*)
Contact profiles, tags & segments
Contact profiles, tags & segments
Customer lifetime value, purchase likelihood, lookalike audience finder
Customer lifetime value, purchase likelihood, lookalike audience finder
|Chat and Email Support||No (Knowledge base + 30 days email support only)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mailchimp advertisement||Yes (a small banner in the newsletter’s footer)||No||No||No|
|Retargeting (Facebook, Google, Instagram)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Social post scheduling||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Number of users||1||3||5||Unlimited|
|Time Zone delivery||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|2,500 contacts||Free (up to 2,000 contacts)||$30.99||$51.99||N/A|
*An audience is where all your contacts are stored. You can then segment or tag subscribers within this.
Firstly, you need to decide if you need a pay-as-you-go account where you purchase email credits and send campaigns out or if it makes more sense to have a monthly account with a subscriber limitation. Generally speaking, if you send email campaigns regularly, getting a monthly account is more sensible. However, if you just want to send the odd campaign occasionally (or are generally scared of commitment), buying email credits is your best option.
Free Plan: MailChimp lets you start your email marketing program for free. This complementary plan is pretty generous and includes a good amount of features. For example, you have access to single-step email automations and some other advanced features (e.g. CRM, reporting and ecommerce features, landing page builder, scheduling app, etc.). However, you get limited templates, a maximum of just 1 audience/list, and won’t be able to benefit from any personal support. Another big disadvantage is that you won’t be able to schedule your campaigns. Most other email services include this feature for free.
You have to be aware that this plan is limited to 2,000 subscribers (contacts) and 10,000 emails (a month) with a daily sending limit of 2,000. If you exceed these, you’ll have to purchase a monthly plan or email credits (pay as you go). Take into account that when sending campaigns, a MailChimp self-promoting badge will show in your communications.
We’re big fans of MailChimp’s free plan, but, honestly speaking, we like MailerLite’s free plan even more. Theirs allows for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails with no daily sending cap. You can also schedule your emails without any problems.
Essentials Plan: Chances are that the MailChimp Free plan isn’t for you, for example, if you need to send more than 10,000 emails per month, you have more than 2,000 contacts, or want to set up multi-step automations.
Essentials is the cheapest monthly plan available, and gives you advantages over the free plan such as:
However, restrictions include a maximum of 50,000 contacts, 3 audiences/lists, and a limit of 500,000 emails per month. Disappointingly, you don’t get access to multi-step automations, so overall it’s a pretty basic plan. If you’re likely to go over these limits or need more complex marketing automation, the Standard or Premium plans would be better for you.
Standard Plan: If you need advanced features such as multi-step automations, you’ll need to opt for the Standard plan, which comes with everything included in the Essentials plan, plus:
With the Standard Plan, limits are 100,000 contacts, 5 audiences, and 1.2 million emails per month. You also get a maximum of 5 users on the plan. If you need any more than that, then you’ll have to go for the Premium plan, which in our opinion is very expensive.
Premium Plan: This isn’t cheap at all, as you’ll need to pay at least $299 a month to get MailChimp’s cutting-edge features (and that’s just for 10,000 contacts). But let’s see what these Pro features can do for you and your organization:
Is the hefty price tag worth it? Personally, we don’t think so. Unless multivariate testing or comparative reports are really, really important to you, you’ll find that you get much better value for money with more powerful tools such as ActiveCampaign or GetResponse.
If you’re looking to build your website or ecommerce on Mailchimp, you’ll need one of the following plans.
|Transaction processing fees||+ 2% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees||+ 1% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees||+ .5% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees|
All Websites & Commerce plans come with the features available on the free email marketing plan.
|1-20 blocks||1 to 500K emails||$20/block|
|21-40 blocks||500K to 1M emails||$18/block|
|41-80 blocks||1M to 2M emails||$16/block|
|81-120 blocks||2M to 3M emails||$14/block|
|121-160 blocks||3M to 4M emails||$12/block|
|161-40 blocks||4M+ emails||$10/block|
Normally, Mailchimp Transactional Email is offered only as a paid add-on to a Mailchimp Standard or higher account. However, new transactional email users can get up to 500 free email sends. Find out more in our guide to mass email sending.
Unfortunately, the pricing structure Mailchimp introduced in early 2019 doesn’t really seem to benefit anyone other than Mailchimp themselves. New users will end up having to pay more because they’re now charged for unsubscribed/un-opted in contacts, and new plans have introduced restrictions such as email sending limits and a cap on the number of different ‘audiences’ (lists) you can have.
That being said, Mailchimp’s free plan is not bad - provided your list is on the very small side (remember, unsubscribed email addresses go towards your 2,000 contact limit). And, if you don’t mind sending your campaigns manually, having limited or no support and displaying an¡ Mailchimp advertisement at the footer of your email, of course.
Most users would probably find the paid plans to be more realistic options, but be aware that the lowest level marketing plan (Essential) comes with just the basics. And even the higher Standard plan has some contact and email sending limits, which might not make it ideal for large-volume email senders. Plus, there are other newsletter services that are more powerful and also offer much cheaper paid plans.
MailChimp’s Premium plan is really expensive (and dare we say, overpriced). Unless you are looking to create complex segmentations, need an advanced reporting system or want to do multivariate testing, it’s not worth it.
It may be surprising, but MailChimp is actually one of the most expensive newsletters tools out there for small-to-medium businesses. If you are looking for a solution that is more in line with a small business email marketing budget, we’d encourage you to try our Newsletter Pricing Comparison Tool and find one that suits you.
20 Jan 2022 - Mailchimp no longer includes scheduling on freemium plan
1 June 2021 - Added Websites & Commerce plans and Transactional Email
19 May 2021 - New features added
06 Apr 2021 - Updated prices to reflect the increase
These features can do really advanced tasks, however they are quite expensive as plans start at $299 a month. Unless you need to perform complex A/B tests, require (really) advanced segmentation or would like to get comparative reports, you don’t need the features.
MailChimp’s pricing is based on the number of contacts you have in your system, regardless of whether they’re subscribed or not. So, you’ll also be charged for contacts who are unsubscribed, inactive, or haven’t opted-in yet. This new pricing structure was introduced in May 2019.
There are no additional set-up fees involved. However, if you want to use a custom domain (e.g. using your own subdomains for landing pages, rather than Mailchimp’s own), it will cost you an extra $137.81 per year, regardless of what plan you’re on.
Also, don’t forget that you’ll be charged (read: penalized) with additional fees if you go over your monthly contact limit at any point. Mailchimp won’t automatically upgrade you to the next plan, so to avoid these extra charges make sure to keep an eye on how many contacts you have, and to adjust your plan before you hit your limit.
Yes! You can send up to 10,000 emails to 2,000 contacts on the freemium plan. You’ll also get features like landing pages, appointment scheduling and ecommerce. Note that you won’t be able to schedule your newsletters, though.
Yes! Mailchimp offers a 15% discount to nonprofits and charities.