MailChimp was built by some smart folks in Atlanta, Georgia, not by Fractured Atlas or Artful.ly. Here's why we really like them and why we think you will too.
What is MailChimp?
MailChimp is a web-based email marketing service. It helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.
Why do I need a special tool for email marketing?
Technically, you can send a newsletter or announcements about your upcoming shows via your personal email. Email providers like Gmail, Hotmail, and Outlook, however, are designed for one person to send one email to just a couple people at once--not a whole list of fans. That's a different kind of task achieved more efficiently, effectively, and professionally with a different tool. Here are a few reasons why an email marketing service like MailChimp is a better tool for this kind of task:
- Approved bulk mailer. Most email services and Internet service providers (ISP) limit the number of emails you can send at one time. This is to prevent spamming. With a tool like MailChimp, you can send an email to an unlimited number of recipients at one time.
- Greater deliverability. Services like MailChimp work with ISPs and corporate domains to ensure your emails are recognized as safe and approved. If there is a problem with delivery, MailChimp will attempt to re-send the email and tell you why an email might be bouncing.
- Adherence to privacy laws. Bulk mailers are required by law to include an unsubscribe link in every email. MailChimp and other email marketing services include this automatically and ask recipients why they are removing themselves from your list.
- Professional styling. MailChimp offers a wide variety of customizable templates for designing polished emails. You can also build a template from scratch to use with MailChimp.
- Compatible with various email readers and devices. MailChimp gives your recipients the option to read your emails in fully-styled HTML or text only. They can also click a link to read the email in a web browser instead of their email. Also, did you know that over 50% of emails are now opened up on mobile devices, and this number is only growing? MailChimp also provides you with tools to see how your email campaign looks on a smart phone and other mobile devices.
- Know if people are reading your emails. If you send an email through your personal email, you have no idea who opened it. Email marketing tools give you all sorts of fun analytics on successful deliveries and open rates so you know your fans are listening.
Other Cool Things MailChimp Does:
- Divide your lists into groups. Dividing your fan-base in sub-groups based on engagement, location, social stats and more, allows you to tailor your message to the people reading it. Read more about grouping MailChimp lists here.
- Install a sign-up form on your website. Customize the fields you require and embed the HTML on your site. MailChimp also helps you easily send fans to your sign up form via URL, Twitter, Facebook, and QR code. Read more about forms here.
- Click Maps. Check out the screenshot below. It's from the MailChimp report the thank you letter Fractured Atlas sent to event attendees. I see the majority of readers clicked the Facebook album link. I can even dig deeper and see which of our newsletter subscribers clicked that link. This information tells me which stories appeal to whom and where I could improve my email next time. Read more about click maps and other reporting here.
- Browse the MailChimp Features Overview.
How much does MailChimp cost?
MailChimp offers a variety of different plans. Read about it all on their pricing page, but here's our short version:
- Forever Free. As long as you've got fewer than 2,000 subscribers across all lists in your account, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month without paying a dime. So if you've got 1,999 subscribers you can email them all six times a month. (And really, only your mother wants to hear from you more than that.) They don't even ask for a credit card.
- Monthly Plans. You can upgrade to a paid plan if you don't want limits on the number of emails you send a month. Unlimited email plans start at $10 for 500 subscribers and go up from there.
- Pay As You Go. If you’re not a frequent sender, you can purchase credits that work like stamps for email. Buy them when you need them. Starting at $0.03 per email and decreasing in price as your volume increases.
Again, check out http://mailchimp.com/pricing/.
Why MailChimp and not ConstantContact, Verticle Response, MadMimi, etc?
- ...we like MailChimp's clean, intuative interface and powerful tools.
- ...their pricing is fair.
- ...a lot of artists and arts groups use and like MailChimp already. (We use MailChimp ourselves for Artful.ly and Fractured Atlas enews)
- ...they offer an API that makes it easy to integrate our tools with theirs.
- ...they are friendly and nice to work with.
MailChimp was our first pick, but someday we may offer integration with other email marketing tools. Got one you really love that we should consider? Tell us in our Feature Requests Forum.
How do I sign up for a new MailChimp account?
Go to their website to get started: http://mailchimp.com
How do I import my old email list into MailChimp?