In May 2019, Mailchimp announced some major changes to its service. We’re a few weeks down the line, so now that the dust has settled a little I wanted to share some of my observations about where you might go from here. I’m going to draw on some of the best articles I’ve found online (no point in re-writing what’s already out there) as well as some tips and thoughts of my own. Here we go:
First, the official line from Mailchimp is that it is moving from being an email marketing platform to an all-in-one marketing platform, including CRM. I can’t find a full break-down of all the changes provided by Mailchimp itself, but Robin at Chimp Answers has done exactly this here. Robin is excellent at explaining how to wrangle the ‘Chimp and I highly recommend his blog, but it’s worth noting he’s more positive about the changes than many people. For a less enthusiastic run down of the changes, see David Gaughran’s thoughts.
The biggest changes are to the free plan, where the following things are likely to have the biggest impact on small businesses:
- You are now only allowed one audience (list)
- You are now only allowed simple one-step automations, such as sending a free download when someone joins your list
- You can no longer have different users logging in to the same account – that was very useful when outsourcing aspects of your email marketing to people like me!
- Unsubscribed contacts now count towards the maximum of 2000 contacts allowed on the free plan
If you already have a free plan Mailchimp will allow you to keep some features, so if you have (say) five audiences you won’t lose four of them. But you won’t be able to create any more.
Should you move from Mailchimp?
It depends on what you need – yes, I know, I always say this!
If you are now effectively being forced from the free plan to the paid one, I recommend looking around at other services. If you’re in a position where you need to pay to access MailChimp’s automations, take a look at Aweber, ConvertKit or Active Campaign. I’m a newbie at ConvertKit (but love what I’ve seen so far) and I find both Aweber’s and Active Campaign’s automations and tagging far cleaner and simpler than Mailchimp’s.
If your focus is on email marketing rather than marketing automation (see this post for the difference between the two), I recommend Aweber or Mailerlite. Both will also do automations and tagging when you’re ready, but the interfaces are easier to find your way around than Mailchimp’s.
If you like Mailchimp, have been with it a while, have set up a load of integrations and don’t want to move then by all means stay. 🙂
If you would like me to migrate you over from Mailchimp to a different platform – just drop me a message and we can have a chat.
Should you open a new free account with Mailchimp?
If you’re just starting out, MailChimp still does offer quite a lot for free. But…
- It won’t be too long before you ‘bump up against’ the free limit, for example when you want to create second list
- It could save you a lot of time and hassle to start with a service that is a good fit for your business (and only costs you £10- £15 a month) rather than choosing Mailchimp just because it’s free
- You only get customer support for 30 days – get stuck after that and you’re on your own
- If you’re not paying for a service, you can’t really complain when the service owners cut back what they offer
- Mailerlite also has a free plan
In short, Mailchimp is an OK choice if you’re starting out, but the free plan has been scaled back to the point where paying for other services is far more attractive than it used to be. Once you start to need multiple landing pages for subscribers with different interests it gets fiddly (more here), the use of both groups and tags is confusing and the interface isn’t as intuitive as it could be.
Good luck with whatever path you take with the Mailchimp changes and let me know if I can help!
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This post contains affiliate links, but also my honest opinion