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MailChimp take a light hearted approach to email marketing which, although entertaining, can appear slightly unprofessional at first glances. However, as soon as we began trying out MailChimp’s fantastic features and tools, it became clear that MailChimp take their product very seriously. Giving you the option to send almost unlimited emails to literally millions of subscribers, MailChimp deals in big quantities. So much so in fact that, if you are a small scale marketer with less than 2000 subscribers, they will offer you their service absolutely free. This means you can take advantage of most of MailChimp’s fantastic features for as long as you like, and only begin paying once your business needs have grown accordingly.
Sign up is simple, just fill in a quick form and you can start producing your marketing campaign right away. You don’t need to enter any credit card details until you decide you would like to start paying. We were even very impressed with this free version which offers you more sending and subscriber capacity than any equivalent in this category; you could be paying anything between $30 and $150 dollars elsewhere! The only slight drawback is that you will not have access to a few of the more advanced features such as the Delivery Doctor, TimeWarp, Social Pro, or Autoresponders. In our experience, it was still easy to put together a professional looking email marketing campaign without these features. However, those serious about email marketing will definitely get a lot out of these additional features, making it well worth signing up for a paid plan.
MailChimp’s editing tools are of high quality and easy to use, just as their website and dashboard are easy to navigate and clearly designed with ease of use in mind. We had no complaints here, but what really impressed us were MailChimp’s pre-delivery and analysis tools. Once you have your email template good to go, MailChimp’s preview tool allows you to see how it will look upon arrival to the inboxes of your subscribers depending on which mail client they use (i.e. Gmail or Hotmail). Once you are happy with the aesthetics, the MailChimp delivery doctor will test the “deliverability” of your template against the spam filters of all the most common mail clients and anti-viruses. This enables you to ensure that your mail will not be junked due to a certain item of content, and will be readable for all users; a must for those sending a high quantity of emails in one go.
MailChimp boasts all the analytics tools that have become industry standard in this category. We were actually amazed at the amount of information it is possible to gather about your subscribers. You can follow clicks, analyze income generated, locate your users geographically, track social media activity, and much more. All this information is presented in beautiful graphs and charts which make it easy to take in such a diverse and large amount of statistical information as well as compare the effectiveness of your campaigns. In this respect, our favorite tool was the click map which is basically your campaign email, with an overlay which shows clearly where users have clicked. This tool was fantastic for understanding how subscribers respond to emails and, hence, what makes an effective email marketing campaign.
The one aspect where MailChimp doesn't exceed the high expectations set by industry leaders is in the area of support. MailChimp do offer live chat (on a limited basis) and email support, but there isn't, at this time, a notable option for telephone support. That can be a deal breaker for some, though the price of the service – especially the free service – and the rich features MailChimp has to offer, will more than make up for this inconvenience in the eyes of many marketers.
Overall, with highly competitive prices, top of the range features, and an easy to use yet sophisticated user interface, it is no surprise that MailChimp is a market leader. Apart from slightly limited support, we were impressed with every aspect of the product and would recommend their service to beginners and advanced users alike. With the best free trial in the category, you will not only be able to try out MailChimp without worrying about any financial commitment, but you will also be getting a service you would be paying for elsewhere.
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