What is Mailchimp (and why should you care)?

Mailchimp is software that lets you stay in touch with groups of people via email. It does this by letting you send newsletters people who’ve signed up for your mailing list. Mailchimp is what can power your email marketing efforts.

Mailchimp was founded in 2001 and now has over 700 employees and over 14 million users. They send, on average, over 1 billion emails per day!

What is Mailchimp? An email newsletter and marketing automation service you can use for free.Here’s what it looks like as of late 2017.

How does Mailchimp work?

Mailchimp is free software (that costs money once your subscriber list gets larger) where you can create, send and manage newsletters. Let’s define a few terms, before we go any further:

  • Subscriber: this is someone who’s said “yes” to wanting to receive emails from you. This is typically done when they sign up for your list from a form on your website or if they purchase a product from your digital store.
  • Mailing list: this is where subscriber email addresses are stored, think of it like a group of people who’ve opted into getting emails from you.
  • Newsletter: this is a type of email you send from Mailchimp to your list. Newsletters can be either campaigns or automations.

Mailchimp works by letting you send infinite newsletters to infinite subscribers, which is useful because email providers like Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo limit how many people you can send emails to at any given time (typically about 20 people). Where Mailchimp is useful is that you can send to hundreds or even millions of people at the same time, the only limit being how many subscribers you’ve got on your list currently.

How does Mailchimp work?—it’s a email newsletter and automation tool that sends infinite emails to infinite subscribers. This is the dashboard, once you log in.

How do you send emails with Mailchimp? You create what’s known as a campaign or automation—you start a new email, you give it a design, you enter in what content you want it to have and you send it out.

Campaigns in Mailchimp send out at a specific time, like Dec 20th at 10:00am PST. Automations, on the other hand, send out automatically based on certain triggers—like someone signs up for your list (and triggers a welcome email), or buys a digital product from your store (and triggers a receipt), or fills in a survey (and triggers free bonus for filling it in).

Mailchimp also lets you do a lot of other cool things, like create ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram, make you own customized landing pages or create RSS-to-email automatic campaigns (which send every time you publish something new on your website). The best part about Mailchimp is what’s known as segmentation, which is a fancy way of saying that you can send a specific email, to specific people at a specific time. Where this comes in handy is when you want to do things like:

  1. Send a newsletter only to people who have not purchased your product already.
  2. Send a newsletter to people who wanted a specific content upgrade you’ve offered.
  3. Send a newsletter to people who wanted to be notified when you published a new blog post.

The amount of segmentation you can accomplish with Mailchimp is nearly infinite (it’s pretty powerful software), and I should you exactly what to do, why you should do it, and how to implement it in my Mailchimp video course, Chimp Essentials.

How much does Mailchimp cost?

To start Mailchimp is completely free—free campaigns, free automations, free landing pages, hooray!

Why is Mailchimp free? Because they know you’ll get hooked on email marketing, see how valuable it is, and become a customer of theirs for life. Plus, their company has a great corporate culture, that supports art and creativity, sharing, and helping others. Sure, they want to make money, but they want to make money by being really valuable to their happy customers.

The free plans with Mailchimp are great because you can use almost every feature they’ve got, including automations. The catch is that for every email you send, there’s got to be a tiny Mailchimp logo at the bottom, which promotes their service. This is a good thing though because if one of your subscribers signs up for Mailchimp by clicking the logo in your email, you get $30 from their affiliate program, which is called MonkeyRewards! If you want to get rid of the MonkeyRewards logo, you’ll need to purchase a plan, which starts at $10/mo.

If you don’t mind the MonkeyRewards logo, it only costs money once you hit 2,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails per month and then it starts at $20/month and goes up from there based on how many new subscribers you get each month. So really, you pay for how many subscribers you have, and since email marketing is so effective (more on this in the next section) you should be making more money from your list than you’re spending with Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers a PRO plan, which is $199/month, but that’s not necessary (I don’t even use it and Mailchimp runs my entire business) unless you’re doing super fancy and complex email marketing things, like multi-variant A/B tests or comparative reports (if you don’t know what those things are, you don’t need them).

For myself, I pay about around $240/month for 40,000 subscribers which works out to under $3,000/year, which is good because my mailing list generates well into 6-figures of revenue for me (that’s a really good return on investment, right?)

Why use Mailchimp?

Simply put, email marketing is best return on investment you’ll see on the internet. Period. The end.

Using Mailchimp for your email marketing will be more effective than social media (exponentially more cost-effective), yellow page listings, or even paid advertising. According to a study by DMA, sending newsletters has an average return of 38x, meaning for every $1 you send paying for Mailchimp, you’ll typically make $38 back. Since Mailchimp is what I personally use for email marketing, and because I use all the advanced features Mailchimp has to offer, I typically see $120 return for every $1 I spend on my Mailchimp account.

PSST: You can read a full review of Mailchimp vs Mailchimp alternatives right here. A student of the course, Davida Pitts, helped her client raise $38,000 through Mailchimp on a crowdfunding campaign.

How does Mailchimp compare to others?

Mailchimp specifically (over Aweber, Drip or ConvertKit) is the best for email marketing because it’s easy to use, has amazing advanced features, and has really great pricing once you have to pay for it.

For example, what makes me the most revenue are sales funnels (if you sign up for the notification list at the bottom of this post you can see one) that is an automation which triggers to send when someone signs up for the Chimp Essentials list. It sends a survey to each new subscriber, which then customizes the content that gets generated in Mailchimp further along in the automation/drip sequence. It also stops sending the sales emails if someone buys the course, because there’s no need to pitch something if a person has just bought it.

How does Mailchimp specifically compare to other email marketing services? Here are detailed summaries:

Mailchimp’s best feature is that it’s fast and easy to do things like: creating a design for your emails, creating a simple automation sequence, creating a landing page and integrating with ecommerce stores.

Mailchimp’s worst features (see I don’t only drink their kool-aid) are two things. The first is that by default if you have several mailing lists in your Mailchimp account, you could end up paying for duplicate subscribers—but I should you how to easily avoid that in Chimp Essentials. Second is that their affiliate program sucks. Seriously, it’s awful. For every new paying customer you refer to them, called MonkeyRewards, they pay you $30 one time. Whereas a company like ConvertKit pays you 30% of each paid account, every single month. So if you refer a new customer to Mailchimp who pays $90/month for their account you get $30 total after 12 months, whereas with ConvertKit you’d get $324 after 12 months (30% of $90 is $27, times 12 months).

Conclusion: Mailchimp is great

If you run a business, you need to be using email marketing, it’s that simple. And, as we’ve just learned, Mailchimp is the best email marketing software there is, so why not sign up for Mailchimp’s free account today and get started?

If you need help getting started, I’ve written a super-in-depth tutorial on setting up your first Mailchimp account. If you’d like to turn your Mailchimp account into a revenue-creator for your business, check out my Mailchimp course, Chimp Essentials, it’s short and actionable video tutorials which show you exactly how to use Mailchimp in your business.