I’ve been monkeying around with MailChimp for over a year but today I realized how happy I am with its service. I rarely find companies that turn me into a WOM evangelist (word of mouth), so decided to share my experience.
But before we get to the details, here’s how this email service describes itself; “MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It’s like your own personal publishing platform.”
So here goes, my Top Seven Reasons for being a satisfied MailChimp chump. Please imagine a drum roll and a few dozen towering fireworks to introduce this energetic countdown, and let’s begin.
NUMBER ONE: The Forever Free Plan. Can you believe it? MC allows you to compile a list up to 2,000 addresses and send up to 12,000 emails a month, completely free without even asking for a credit card. There are, of course a few caveats. Free users don’t get access to all the platform’s functions especially regarding help in reviewing the quality of your newsletter and identifying any possible issues that might cause it to not arrive as intended. Truthfully, the only non-included option which I miss is autoresponders and social pro (more about the later). But did I mention this great service is FREE? Check out pricing details for other plans here.
NUMBER TWO: Template Gallery. No, they aren’t hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris, but there are vast numbers of artistic, pre-designed templates waiting for you to show them the love, plus bare bones basic designs that you can customize. Building templates is complex because the many popular e-mail clients and browsers do not all translate code exactly the same. Stated simply, it can be taxing to make sure that your code appears as you expect to all users. Having professionally coded, pre-tested templates insures that your newsletters will appear as intended across all email channels. Also included are merge tags to customize your message with each of your subscribers.
NUMBER THREE: Analytics Anonymous. If you love results and data, you’ll be pleased with this section. Almost as much fun as creating and sending your newsletter is finding out how many subscribers opened it and what links they clicked. For tech types this data now integrates with the Hootsuite dashboard, with Google analytics and lots more… (see Number six)
NUMBER FOUR: How-To Archive. Positioned under the tab labeled “Resources,” are over thirty guides on topics such as “How To Use Merge Tags,” “Common Rookie Mistakes,” “MailChimp For Musicians,” and “Let’s Get Social.” This library is extremely valuable—simply for getting started or upgrading your game. One can read the white papers online or download a zip file with pdf and the most popular electronic book formats. Also included is a research area with handy data comparing best and worst open rates ranked by subject lines, the benefits of segmenting marketing lists and other more advanced topics. Having taken the time time to assemble this deep treasure trove of email/html wisdom says a lot about this company.
NUMBER FIVE: Your Audience. List size matters in email marketing, but so does quality. Attracting subscribers with a real interest in your brand is an important part of the mission. The Chimp makes it easy to design and place simple or detailed sign-up forms on your blog and even your Facebook page. Each form gets a link that can be tweeted to your followers as well. Via the list serve function the data is maintained and groomed automatically. Bad addresses are removed from active duty, unhappy members can unsubscribe and happy ones can update their emails and/or click to forward newsletters to friends. As evidenced in my new book, Secrets of The List, direct marketing using email and social media is crucial for brand development.
NUMBER SIX: Social Pro. This section reminds me of those all-in-one, can’t-do-without kitchen tools they advertise on TV. It slices your list by social networks and shows which list members are the most/least influential based upon activity and numbers of friends. It shows subscriber Klout scores. Send emails to members in specific networks and/or see which ones follow you on Twitter. Gender and age profile graphs are available. Send mail just to your most loyal fans or just those that use Facebook. Create your own segments using criteria like “men over 40 with a low social network rating,” for example. For marketers that aspire to grow their sophistication, this one area alone is a deal closer.
NUMBER SEVEN: Fun. The monkey logo is definitely a-peel-ing. And sometimes a quick laugh is just what’s needed when experimenting with new technology. Each step of the way you get customized little messages designed to make you smile and help you become an email top banana! Some comments even link to funny videos. Example: “David M., sometimes I just can’t take the pressure.” (Click the link—highly recommended.)