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MailChimp Review: "Good function, very usable, low price"
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Bob Thompson profile photo
November 16, 2015

MailChimp Review: "Good function, very usable, low price"

Score 9 out of 101
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Overall Satisfaction with MailChimp

We use MailChimp to distribute newsletters to subscribers to our online community. Also use for event marketing and notifications (e.g. webinar). Implemented 4 years ago and have been very happy with the cost, usability and function.
  • Very affordable. Especially considering the functionality, a great deal.
  • Easy to use. The basics are handled without difficulty.
  • Good function. Not the most sophisticated email system we've ever used, but missing functions are rare and we've implemented workarounds.
  • Segmentation is one area where MailChimp has room for improvement. Basic segmentation is done well, but complex segments (combination of ands and ors) have be created manually and then uploaded as a static segment.
  • MailChimp takes a very hard line on spam complaints. This is generally good because it ensures a 'clean' signup process. But opt-in subscribers sometimes forget they signed up and complain anyway. If this surpasses a threshold (fairly low, in my opinion) you could end up with your account suspended until you explain what happened. While I understand the need to enforce quality, this is a draconian approach that puts my business at risk.
  • The main impact has been lowering costs. We have to run a hyper efficient operation, and MailChimp cuts our annual email delivery costs by 75% over a previous enterprise class product.
  • Ease of use has also been helpful. People of my staff can use MailChimp with very little training. Our previous product was much too technical.
We looked a number of different products designed for email distribution. MailChimp had the best over all combination of cost/function/usability. Our second choice was Infusionsoft, but it was a bit more costly and had functions we didn't need.
MailChimp is clearly geared towards small businesses and email newsletter publishers. With a little creativity it can be used in a lead generation process (we do so in combination with a forms system called Formstack). They recently announced a more full featured marketing automation product, but I have not reviewed or attempted to use.

MailChimp Feature Ratings

WYSIWYG email editor
Not Rated
Dynamic content
5
Ability to test dynamic content
Not Rated
Landing pages
5
A/B testing
5
Mobile optimization
Not Rated
Email deliverability
10
List management
9
Dashboards
8
Standard reports
9
Custom reports
Not Rated

MailChimp Implementation

Implementation

9
Write down the use cases in detail and test each one carefully.

Implementation Details / Implementation Partner

  • Implemented in-house

Implementation Phases

Yes - We phased MailChimp in pretty rapidly. Imported subscribers (after exporting from previous system), then set up some test campaigns. All went well, so we implemented fully and never looked back.

Change Management Lessons

Change management was minimal - If you have existing templates, the change process should be easy. If you're creating emails from scratch then allow plenty of time to learn how to use the designer.

Implementation Issues

  • No major issues. The main thing we had to do initially was ensure we had a clean list. Took a few weeks.

Using MailChimp

Usability

9
We were able to use if from "day one" without any training. I think enterprise software vendors could learn a thing or two about design by studying MailChimp.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None

Easy Tasks

  • Setting up 'campaigns' is easy if you're using a template (we do). Copy a previous campaign, edit, and send.
  • Simple segmentation is very easy and intuitive.
  • Reporting is easy and provide what we need to understand how different emails are performing.

Difficult Tasks

  • Complex combinations of AND and OR conditions may require manual (offline) work to set up a static segment.