Truth time: are MailChimp alternatives really better?

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Let’s get real with each other right now, there are a lot of newsletter software companies out there, beyond MailChimp.  There are probably a hundred MailChimp alternatives available. (If you’re already confused, learn what MailChimp is right here.)

And since we’re being honest, most alternatives to MailChimp are pretty good at doing the job of emailing subscribers. They all have decent support, decent features and decent support. If they didn’t cover these main bases, they wouldn’t exist—software is too competitive for companies to have crappy products and exist for long.

That said, knowing that there is heavy competition in the ESP (Email Service Providers… not psychics)—MailChimp is still who I choose to send my emails.

Why trust my opinion about MailChimp?

This is a great question, since literally anyone can write a MailChimp review on the internet (it could even be why it exists in the first place).

My background is a combination of design and branding, technical stuff like programming and business/marketing knowledge. I’ve also worked for myself online for almost 20 years and helped hundreds of clients and tens of thousands of students through my online courses.

So why listen to what I’ve got to say about MailChimp?

  • I don’t work for MailChimp, and they don’t pay me to hold this opinion. In fact, I gladly pay them ~$250/month to use their service.
  • I’ve used MailChimp for many years, first to help clients run their mailing lists. My clients include: Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Marie Forleo and Warner Music.
  • I also use MailChimp to run my own business, and sales from my email marketing make up for over 95% of my revenue each year.
  • Knowing every feature of their software is actually my job, because I teach 5,000+ students in Chimp Essentials.
  • MailChimp regularly features what I’ve got to say about their software and about email marketing in general (as does Forbes, Adobe, VICE, USAToday, and more).

MailChimp features articles I write on the regular. I’m pretty qualified to write a MailChimp review!

The reason I use MailChimp and not another newsletter program to run my business is because their software fits my business and does everything from easy to advanced things really well.

The pros and cons of MailChimp

No software is perfect—this is probably because it’s created by people, who are by and large, imperfect too. I will also point out that I’m not telling you to use MailChimp regardless of your business, how you work, and what you know—that’d be silly. The best ESP (email service provider) for you is the one that works best for you.

While I could write a book on the benefits and drawbacks of using MailChimp for your business, I’ll sum up the main points of what’s good and bad about their software.

Pros of MailChimp

  • MailChimp is totally free for beginners, and includes almost all of their features like automations and landing pages. It only costs money once you hit 2,000 subscribers (and by then, you should be making more than enough money from you list to pay for MailChimp).
  • MailChimp is easy to use, seriously easy. Their templates are drag and drop, their automations take very little time to setup, and their integrations (with ecommerce especially) require very little work to use.
  • MailChimp gets your emails delivered, because they care about sender reputation and spam laws. They are tireless about making sure as many of your subscribers as possible receive the emails you send them (without going to spam or the promotions tab).
  • MailChimp connects to ecommerce, without requiring Zapier or other third-party connection services. Every MailChimp account lets you connect your store if it runs on Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Presta and more. That way you can see which subscribers bought what, and when.
  • MailChimp is great for drip sequences, despite what ConvertKit and other ESPs say. You can create automation sequences with various triggers, and then segment people out of sequences when it makes sense (like taking someone out of a sales funnel if they buy what you’re pitching).

Cons of MailChimp

  • MailChimp has its own language, using words like lists, segments, automations, merge tags, etc. This can be confusing at first, since other ESPs use words like tags, sequences and broadcasts. Once you know the lingo though, it’s pretty straightforward.
  • MailChimp hides its advanced features, and groups together too many features at once, like campaigns being grouped with automations and landing pages. Good thing I teach a course on using the advanced features of MailChimp for your business 😉
  • MailChimp’s defaults are ugly, using far too much cold greys and boring fonts. So you have to do a tiny bit of customization for signup forms and newsletter templates, so they match your awesome brand.
  • MailChimp isn’t super-straightforward, and can easily be setup incorrectly for things like paying double or more for the same subscriber on multiple lists. This is another reason why I teach Chimp Essentials, so you can learn the correct and cheapest way to use their software.
  • MailChimp has a crappy affiliate program, which is basically the worst out of any ESP. You get paid $30 for every referral (the person you refer also gets $30) total. Even if you refer someone who pays thousands per month for their plan.

So, what is the best alternative to MailChimp?

The best alternative to MailChimp is to actually just use MailChimp correctly, and learn about all the features you have at your disposal if you learn about it. There are a lot of articles online that talk about awful MailChimp is or there are disadvantages to MailChimp so it can’t do certain things, when that’s not the case—and some people just like spreading misinformation (like saying MailChimp doesn’t let you use affiliate links, which isn’t true).

If, based on your business and how you work, MailChimp isn’t right for you, you can read about some of their biggest competition here:

MailChimp is what I’ve used to build a business that’s done more than 7-figures in product revenue, 95% of which came from emails sent by MailChimp. It’s also what I’ve used to help hundreds of clients with their own business, and what I’ve taught tens of thousands of students how to use. So I honestly, straight-up, think that MailChimp is better than it’s alternatives.

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