Let me start off by saying I do not think that MailChimp is the greatest email provider ever. I’m just saying that if you are a beginner to this ‘sending emails to a large audience thing’ then MailChimp may be for you.
Just ask yourself these questions when deciding which provider to use: Do I want a provider that is tailored to small businesses? Do I want a simple formatted email that is easy to create? Do I have fewer than 2,000 subscribers (that way it will be free)? If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to take a look below. If you answered no to one or more, feel free to take up 5 minutes of your time by reading about MailChimp.
The best “good” thing about MailChimp is how easy it is to use. I have taught numerous people who have had hardly any digital experience how to upload email lists, build campaigns and look at the analytics.
The best way to import email lists into the MailChimp system is by copy and pasting from an excel worksheet. You can have as many columns you need, so you can easily segment your list(s) down the road. One list I helped segment was for a school newsletter parents list. They needed a way to segment parents by what grades their kids are in. We decided to include a column called grades and inserted the grade numbers (K13-Kintergarten, first and second) so they can easily segment their list when they need to send a newsletter out to specific grades (list includes: “K1”).
The already user-friendly campaign builder became even easier recently with the new drag and drop feature (shown below). It allows you to design your email template by dragging and dropping images, buttons, text boxes, social share buttons and more. The down side about the campaign builder is its limitations. You must have the correct image formats (jpg’s, png’s) when uploading images into your campaign. Videos have to be on an online site in order to embed a video. The over-all look of your campaign will look very basic, so if you are looking for a complex look, MailChimp may not be the provider for you unless you know how to code your own template-then you will be fine.
Integrations MailChimp has to offer are always expanding, but as of now there are quite a few to choose from. One of my favorites includes the simple social media plugins. This enables you to automatically post your emails to your Facebook page and Twitter profile. You can also easily add an email signup form to your Facebook page. By paying a small fee you can integrate social media into your email lists. After you purchase this service, MailChimp will begin finding out more about your lists by locating the emails on social media sites. This way you can find out more about the age, sex and interests about your email list. Other integrations include hooking into your CRM (if you have one), connecting to Survey Monkey and integrating different e-commerce tools.
- They almost always give you the coding you need for integrating.
- They have live support on their site whenever you are stuck. I once had a quick question about integrating a survey and live support helped me right away.
The analytics are easy to read by clicking on the campaign reports tab. You can dive deep into a specific campaign about looking at who opened what, who clicked what and how many times did they click/open. You can also export all of the campaigns to compare your open rates, click rates, unsubscribes etc…
I hope this helped you decide which email provider to use. It really just depends on what kind of a system you are looking for. Good luck, and happy emailing.