Best Time To Send Newsletter Mailchimp – Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.
MailChimp is one of the biggest success stories in marketing software startups, currently ranked #9 on the Forbes Cloud 100. Millions of people and businesses now use the platform to send over a billion emails every day, and MailChimp is the first name to come. keep in mind when many people think of email marketing.
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However, there is one problem: most of the marketers we contact either don’t use MailChimp or have moved on to other tools.
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We also tried MailChimp here at Venture Harbor, but ended up choosing another option (ActiveCampaign) for a more complete email marketing and CRM solution. Here’s what we learned from trying out MailChimp for ourselves and the pros and cons to consider if you’re looking for an email marketing platform.
MailChimp offers three different versions of its platform: Forever Free, Growing Business and Pro. Each version comes with additional features and higher quotas for contacts and the number of emails you can send.
From a “basics” perspective, the main difference is how many contacts and emails you can send per month.
When it comes to publishing and automation, there is no difference between the three versions of MailChimp, and it’s good to see that these features are available to all users.
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We are starting to see more differences with targeting and analysis/testing options. The lack of targeting and targeting options in the free version is particularly significant, as the inability to set delivery times and adapt to time zones is a big miss.
That said, the feature offerings of each version of MailChimp are pretty generous, and you’re not penalized much if you choose a free or cheaper option, at least not in terms of features.
What I don’t like is the way MailChimp chooses to break down and present their prices. For example, paying $10 per month gets you unlimited emails, but only for 0-500 subscribers, while the free version gets you 2,000 subscribers (although you’re limited to 12,000 emails). So if you’ve sold more than 500 subscribers using the free version of MailChimp, you’ll need to pay more to continue emailing them in one of the paid versions.
Now that you have an idea of what the different MailChimp packages offer, let’s take a look at their most important features.
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Before you can create an email marketing campaign in MailChimp, you’ll need a list of subscribers, and that means getting signups from your website. MailChimp includes a built-in form builder to get you started, and is a key tool for any email marketing platform.
To be honest, the builder is pretty average and the interface isn’t as intuitive as other parts of the MailChimp experience. It will do the job in terms of helping you easily create and embed web forms on your site, but don’t overcomplicate anything in terms of design options.
If you’re serious about form design and performance, you’ll be better off with a dedicated form design tool like Leadformly.
Once you have an email marketing list to work with, you can start creating your first MailChimp campaign. There are four types of campaigns you can create:
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If you just want to use MailChimp as your primary tool for sending simple email marketing campaigns, when the normal campaign type does a decent job. Note that this is really a basic option without any real automation or targeting options.
If you are interested in automating your email marketing strategy, things are very different. We’ll look at MailChimp’s automation features in the next section, but (spoiler alert) the quick answer is that they’re nothing to get excited about.
To help you reach a wider audience and build a bigger email list, MailChimp also includes a feature for Facebook ad campaigns. It helps you create and buy Facebook and Instagram advertising to promote your email offer, all without leaving your MailChimp account.
Again, you won’t get a sophisticated Facebook marketing strategy with this feature, but it’s a nice addition for smaller businesses that want to grow their audience but aren’t ready to manage their own Facebook ad account yet. . .
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MailChimp also comes with a built-in landing page builder, and you can create as many as you want, regardless of which version you’re using. There are two types of landing page templates: one for building email lists and one for promoting products.
The default template for registration pages (above) includes a logo container and character section style layout that you can customize.
The default product page template is a bit more complex with another logo container and character style layout above the CTA section and a place to add some product listings.
All in all, this is pretty basic stuff, and you’ll probably want to use a dedicated landing page builder like Unbounce or Instapage if you want to increase conversions and build your email list.
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When it comes to email templates, you can choose from MailChimp’s pre-designed designs and customize them yourself, or start with one of their “themes”, which are basically fully designed emails where you just add the your own content.
You can also code your own templates from scratch, which gives you a lot of extra flexibility. It’s certainly a welcome feature, though it seems a bit out of reach for MailChimp’s limitations elsewhere.
When it comes to email templates, MailChimp’s offering is up there with the best tools on the market, and that’s one of the platform’s strong points.
Even better than MailChimp’s templates is the drag-and-drop builder that lets you design campaigns on the fly. It’s intuitive, flexible, works seamlessly in the browser, and gives you all the WYSIWYG customizations you need to create attractive email designs.
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This is where MailChimp has really fallen behind the competition over the years. Email marketing without automation is like trying to build cars without a factory: you might (slowly) build one, but you’ll never produce an entire range of vehicles at scale and sell them to the masses.
It’s not that MailChimp doesn’t offer any email automation, it does, but it’s very basic.
You can set up auto-replies and reach out to new contacts as soon as they sign up and schedule emails for a specific time after (eg 1 day after they join your list). You can also set up a series for things like user birthdays or holiday messages during the holiday season.
MailChimp will automatically create Google remarketing ads for your campaigns to target users as they continue to browse the web. The idea is to win back visitors who didn’t buy the first time and give them an extra incentive to make the purchase.
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This is probably MailChimp’s most impressive automation feature, sending email reminders to customers who have abandoned their cart and encouraging them to complete their purchase.
MailChimp also includes some basic feedback automations that allow you to reach out to customers after they’ve bought from you. You can send quick surveys, ask them to leave a review or offer a helpful tip, and set the time period you want these emails to be sent (eg: 15 days after purchase).
Another useful automation feature for e-commerce brands is personalized product recommendations. Design your email and MailChimp will automatically build a referral list based on your customers’ purchase history.
However, it’s not the most advanced algorithm powering this feature, so you’ll need to have a decent number of customers making multiple purchases or products that are clearly related.
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While MailChimp offers some useful automation features, it seriously lacks the most important ones for email marketers, such as segmentation. You get basic targeting options on all versions of the platform, and you can also pay for advanced targeting” using the Pro plugin.
Unfortunately, they are not yet advanced enough for a serious brand with email marketing at the heart of their business.
Sooner or later, you’ll want to create segments for users who opened one email but didn’t open another. Or users who opened both and clicked on a certain item in the second one. These are relatively basic segments that you can’t do with MailChimp, and it was a deal breaker for us right away.
If you want to do email marketing at scale, these are essential features, and MailChimp is far behind ActiveCampaign, which makes advanced automation and targeting easy.
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If you only need to send occasional emails, MailChimp is a good choice. It’s mostly a very intuitive platform, and the drag-and-drop email builder in particular is a joy to work with. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the kind of advanced targeting and automation features you’ll need if you want to do email marketing.
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