Email marketing still reigns supreme when it comes to targeted dissemination of promotional information. It has been there for a long time and is one of the oldest ways of marketing on the internet. It is extremely effective when done correctly and does not incur any overhead in trying to reach uninterested customers. Since the method is targeted, you are certain that these are prospective customers you are trying to reach and you can tailor your promotional material accordingly.
Although there are a lot of email marketing solutions available online, MailChimp remains one of the most popular and useful email marketing tools in use today. Often targeted to new and small businesses operated by first time business owners and millennials, MailChimp takes a whimsical approach to client acquisition, sending links to funny YouTube videos and other comedic content. However, it also has a robust email marketing platform and unless you require enterprise level email marketing services, MailChimp will suit you splendidly.
MailChimp has continuously innovated behind the scenes and has kept on adding new features constantly. It supports alerts for prepaid or pay as you go customers so that they can always check how many more messages they can send before their credits run out. MailChimp also offers a very useful simulation rendering platform which lets you preview how your particular message template will appear on a variety of devices. This is important because these days the public access the internet on a plethora of devices, from old CRT monitors to widescreen displays to portrait orientation smartphones; your content must appear readable and attractive on all these platforms and the Inbox Preview feature allows you to check for any inconsistencies that might crop up on a particular device, orientation, or screen size. Using these features requires buying tokens, which can be bought in groups of 25 tokens for USD3. These tokens are valid for 30 days and unused tokens expire beyond that stipulated time.
MailChimp has also integrated a very useful backend services component called Mandrill into its primary interface. Mandrill handles sensitive transactional information such as requests for resetting passwords, user notifications and confirmation of successful placement of orders. Mandrill used to be a separate product that users had to externally connect to MailChimp but now the functionality has been rolled into one standalone product with Mandrill available as an add-on. Mandrill credits can be bought in groups of 25000 for USD20. However, Mandrill is also often bundled in free of cost for many monthly MailChimp subscriptions, which gives you additional useful functionality for no additional cost.
The MailChimp user interface is clean, modern and usable. The main dashboard displays basic information such as the number of people to whom messages have been sent and how many more messages remain in the month’s quota. MailChimp does not let users begin with a paid account from the get go; you must first start with the free account. This is done mainly to deal with concerns of spam; MailChimp requires you to have a functional website for your product or service before you start up email marketing. MailChimp also verifies drafts of the email campaigns and your full list of subscribers. MailChimp checks aggressively to curtail spamming from its platforms.
Staring the campaign is easy as well. The web interface offers step by step guides on how to get started by importing contacts and creating the campaign from scratch if you do not already have a functional draft. You can import contact information in CSV, TXT, XLS, XLSX formats as well as third party email platforms and service providers. MailChimp supports a wide variety of industry standard services such as Batchbook Social CRM, FreshBooks, EventBrite, Highrise, Salesforce.com, Zoho, Google Contacts, etc.
MailChimp also offers some very advanced tracking options and also features auto responders which can automatically send emails and perform other actions when certain prerequisites are met. This can also be connected with social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
MailChimp offers a variety of pricing plans to suit every need. However, due to the sheer variety of plans, it can get a little confusing about which plan to pick. Fortunately, MailChimp already offers preconfigured plans for many common business scenarios. It offers basic functionality like sending up to 12000 emails per month to up to 2000 subscribers free of cost but serious uses can graduate to more expensive plans. Plans begin from USD10 per month and go onwards. You can also create custom plan that is designed to meet your specific requirements. MailChimp also offers prepaid plans.
For basic needs, MailChimp is one of the best email marketing solutions available. For personal, small and medium sized businesses, it offers the perfect blend of functionality, usability and affordability.