First let me give you some on the reason behind this article. I was looking for a cost effective mailing list manager. I waisted time looking until I found MailChimp. MailChimp is free for 500 subscribers and 3000 email a month. This gives you time to build your list before paying for it. MailChimp gives you credit for referring new customers. Below is the wording from their site.
Sign up for a Forever Free plan and if you like MailChimp, upgrade your account to a monthly or pay-as-you-go plan. We'll automatically add the $30 credit and three Inbox Inspector reports to your account, just for being a friend of a friend. We’ll also give your friend a $30 credit and three Inbox Inspector reports too, just for referring you.
If you do choose to sign up and test out MailChimp please use the a link on my site Dansblog.Customizedconcepts com. I do not make any cash just credits towards future mailings. You will also receive a $30 credit. If you go directly to MailChimp you will not receive the credit. There is many email marketing software companies that I could promote and make good money but I choose to use MailChimp and here is why:
The first and most important, after the free part, was how easy it was to setup. I had my list imported and my first mailing done in about 20 minutes. You can get coding to integrate into your site or you can use a pop up window to let people subscribe. I had to use the new window because we are hosted on Google Apps. I tried to integrate into a web page but it would not display correctly in IE, due to Google. You can customize the new window in many different ways to give it the same theme as your site.
Once MailChimp was set up it was time to do a mailing. The included wizard walks you threw setup of the contact, templates, and campaigns. There are many templates to choose from or you can design your own. They have a WYSIWYG editor that is very simple and a joy to use. You have the options to let your subscribers choose if they want to have HTML or plain text emails. When you set up the mailing it auto generates a plain text email. MailChimp also allows users to update their account so if they change their mind.
While setting up your email it also walks you through how to avoid being considered spam and meet all the anti-spamming laws. It also lets you test the email with 16 of the most popular email services. Great Tool. You do not want to use MailChimp if you are not prepared to meet the anti-spamming guidelines. If you get complaints about spamming your account could be suspended or temporarily shut down until the issue is resolved.
Mailchimp integrates great with Google Analytics for tracking almost everything. The reports that are generated are very general but very helpful in tracking click threws, sent, bounced, opened and more.
MailChimp software integrates with numerous external services to improve your campaign. Google Analytics, Contact, and Docs, Twitter, Evenbrite, SurveyGizmo, Highrise, SalesForce, Freshbook, ZenDesk, Zoho, Javelin, Wufoo, PayPal, E-Junkie, Drupal, Wordpress, Typepad, Joomla, GotoMeeting and the list goes on. MailChimp also offers Partner Discounts. "Sweet deals on stuff from MailChimp's buddies" as stated on their website. They also offer API Keys to step up the functionality even more.
Free for the first 500 subscribers and all they do is include their brand in your emails. I think the branding is great because if someone signs up you get credit towards your account. If you want to remove the branding or have over 500 subscribers they have two different pricing plans available.
They offer discounts for non-profit and special pricing for lists over 50,000
300 Credits for $9
1000 Credit for $100
50,000 Credits for $500
More pricing option are available. The range is 3 cents per email all the way down to .5 cents per email.
MailChimp does not have phone technical support, but they have other options that work great. They state this on their site and tell potential customers that if they have no idea what they are doing and want to be able to pick up the phone and have someone walk them through every step than MailChimp is probably not for them. I have never had any problems that I could not find answers to in their knowledge base. They do offer a live chat that boasts about resolving 100% of problems in one hour or less. Here is what MailChimp has to say about email support. They state that 40% of all email issues were resolved in one hour and 84% of all email questions were resolved within one day.
MailChimp offers weekly webinars, video tutorials(very entertaining), Downloadable guides, newsletters, and a lot of other helpful information.
I have nothing bad to say about MailChimp. I would greatly appreciate other peoples input and remember to use the link on my site for your account credit.