Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms with over 500 million users worldwide. Launched in 2004, it was initially designed for small businesses to use but has since expanded to serve everyone from individuals to Fortune 500 companies.
Since its early days, Mailchimp has morphed into a robust, feature-rich platform highly prized by marketers. With over 500 million users and millions of monthly active users, it’s fair to say Mailchimp is a household name.
If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already aware of Mailchimp and its impact on digital marketing. If not, here’s a quick roundup of some of the key features and functionalities of the platform.
Features & Functionalities
As the name would suggest, Mailchimp is a tool for sending and receiving emails. But it doesn’t just stop there. Platform users can perform the following tasks:
- Create automated email campaigns using sequence and autoreturn functions
- Split testing with A/B testing and multiseries testing
- Design and build HTML email templates with ease
- Use advanced segmentation and targeting capabilities
- Utilize the power of multiple lists to send targeted messages to specific groups of users
- Set up emails to follow a specific pattern (e.g., using the autoresponder feature)
- Set up emails to be sent at regular intervals (e.g., using the automation feature)
- Customize the overall look and feel of your emails (e.g., using CSS)
- Set up email forwarding so users can have their emails redirected to a different address
These are just the basics. If you have a marketing list with a few thousand members, you’ll most likely be comfortable using Mailchimp. The truth is, though, that even if you have a massive mailing list, there are other email marketing platforms that can rival and even supplant Mailchimp. So how does one choose a Mailchimp alternative?
There are several considerations to make when looking at alternative platforms, but at the end of the day, it’s all about finding the one that handles your needs best. To help you make the right choice, we’ve compiled a list of the most important things to look out for when comparing Mailchimp alternatives.
Ease Of Use
The very first thing you’ll want to do is to try out the different platforms and see how easy (or not) it is to use. Some platforms are more streamlined than others, and perhaps more importantly, some are actually easier to use than Mailchimp. So while some experts may rate Mailchimp highly in terms of functionality, they may also criticize it for being overly complex.
To give you an idea of how easy or advanced a platform is to use, here’s a list of the main features and functionalities we mentioned previously along with a rating out of five for how easy it is to use:
- Email marketing: 4.0 – The autoreturn and sequence functions make creating automated email campaigns simple and efficient. The design and build HTML email templates are also quite easy and accessible.
- List management: 4.0 – Being able to grow and shrink your mailing list as needed is critical for any serious marketer. Managing a list of over 500,000 users takes some serious technological prowess. Fortunately, Mailchimp makes this extremely simple.
- Automation: 4.0 – Having an automatic email responder that leverages email marketing is essential for any business. Not only does it save you the time and mental energy required to respond to each email individually, but it also allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
- Campaign management: 4.0 – Creating and launching email marketing campaigns using sequence and autoreturn functions is child’s play. The built-in analytics make it very easy to track the performance of each campaign. As a result, you can rest assured you’re making the right decisions and can always scale up or down as needed.
- Segmentation: 3.5 – Being able to target individual groups of users based on their interests, behaviors, and demographics is crucial for any marketer. Mailchimp has some of the most in-demand segmentation capabilities available today. For example, you can target users based on their interests using interests-based segmentation. Or you can target users based on their behaviors using behaviored segmentation.
- Content: 3.5 – Creating and sending relevant and valuable content to your users is an essential tenet of any online marketing campaign. Mailchimp makes content creation very easy and accessible, allowing you to focus more on growing your business.
- Data: 3.5 – Having access to all of the data you need to make informed decisions is the key to successful marketing. Fortunately, Mailchimp gives users full access to all of the data, providing key insights into the effectiveness of each campaign.
- Reporting: 3.5 – Being able to easily and intelligently report on the performance of each campaign is critical for any business. MailChimp allows users to create highly detailed reports using the data from each campaign so they can track key performance indicators such as open rates, click-throughs, and unsubscribe and bounce rates.
- Customization: 3.5 – Being able to easily and effectively customize the overall look and feel of your emails is critical for any business. Mailchimp has some of the most advanced customizable features available, allowing users to choose from a wide range of templates and colors to fit their needs.
- Choice of email clients: 3.5 – Sending emails through a web-based email client is the simplest way to go. Most web-based email clients allow for all of the features you need including autoresponders and multisegmentation. For maximum flexibility, you should have the option of sending emails through a desktop email client such as Outlook or Gmail.
As you can see, some of the functions on this list are very easy to use while others are more complex. You’ll need to determine which ones are essential to your workflow and which ones you can do without. Remember: some platforms may be easier to use than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better. It depends on your personal preferences and the nature of your business.
This one is very important because, as a small business owner, you’ll most likely be comparing cost against revenue. When it comes down to dollars and cents, you don’t want to be comparing the initially high cost of a premium Mailchimp account against the overall low cost of a basic account. You’ll end up spending more money in the long run due to unexpected bill surges caused by the premium feature set of the more robust platforms.
Even if the functionality of a particular platform is more expensive than that of Mailchimp, it doesn’t mean the other platform is good for your business. It depends on your particular needs and how much you’re willing to spend. Having a free account with Mailchimp still gives you access to over 400 functions, so while the cost of other platforms may be higher upfront, it could end up saving you money in the long run due to simpler and more streamlined functionality.
When choosing a Mailchimp alternative, it’s important to consider how easy or difficult it is to find complaints and negative feedback about the platform. Some of the most popular and trusted platforms are also the most expensive. If you want to be certain you’re making the right decision, it’s best to take the time to do some research and find the good – and the bad – about the platform.
Luckily, it’s not hard to find the good and the bad. As we’ve established previously, some of the functionality on this list above is very easy to use while others are more complex. Depending on your personal preferences and the nature of your business, you may find some functionality is more in demand than others. For example, if you run a food delivery service, you may want to focus on the ability to design and build HTML email templates as that will most likely be a key differentiator between the various platforms.
In broad strokes, though, it’s quite easy to find complaints about Mailchimp. The bad news is, even among the verified accounts on Twitter, there are countless complaints about the platform. You’ll most likely be able to find whatever you’re looking for if you do a quick Internet search.