Small business owners are finding a new email tool – displaying as its mascot a chimp in a mail carrier’s uniform – indispensable for its ease of use. Like Constant Contact, MailChimp has become a major email marketing tool. As this article details, the app came about through an exhortation to be creative and fun (though it was almost called ‘Wee Mailer’!).  Like other popular online apps, Mailchimp users sign-up for free until they reach a certain usage level.  Being free and easy-to-use, MailChimp has grown enormously since its  release in 2009 (now having 825,000 subscribers).

So why the popularity?

MailChimp is highly versatile, allowing users to integrate with various workforce tools, including Google Analytics and Eventbrite. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t integrate with my WordPress plugin Events Manager. That fact almost made me uninstall my Events Manager and switch to EventBrite! However, Google Analytics is free and available to anyone. Like MailChimp, it provides a wealth of data that can help you refine your content creation skills.

MailChimp users can also segment their emails in a multitude of ways using a drop down menu (by signup date, zip code, last name, company, job function, and many more). This feature is especially handy when using large and/or email lists.

To import your contacts, simply upload an Excel spreadsheet containing known email subscriber data.  MailChimp will ask you what you would like to label each data field (ie function, zip code, etc).  This feature is highly intuitive and one of my favorites. Its especially helpful if you need to customize your messages/newsletters to fit a particular target audience.  And I should note that the import tool prevents you from subscribing users who have previously unsubscribed from a particular list.  That feature has likely saved me from several angry emails.

Comparing how effective previous email campaigns have worked is easy. Simply click on Reports and view the various graphs available. For instance, MailChimp shows a line graph that compares the open rate and click rate for various emails over time.  Consequently, an email marketing manager can see which email campaigns were popular and which were less so. As well as the trend lines for both.

More advanced users will want to employ the tool’s revenue reports to understand how better to meet their goals. Likewise, comparison testing on which subject line or send time is most effective at generating revenue (or whatever goal you set up) is possible as well.

Finally, all this data will NOT make your eyes gloss over. MailChimp goes out of its way to provide large, easily configurable graphs with a minimalistic feel. Indeed, even the graph lines bounce when you open your reports! Which never gets tiresome to me.


John M Potter