(Yes, we know this is a photo of a gibbon yawning, not a chimp delivering mail – it’s all we have in our library primate-wise as we have not taken a photo of a postal chimp, although we’d be excited to do so.)
We use MailChimp for a few clients and we find it to be the most difficult interface and address list management system of the e-mail campaign providers with which we have experience.
ONE – they don’t offer phone support.
TWO – Choosing the address list to whom the e-mail goes at step one instead of at the end of the development process causes problems and is contrary to the way our clients like to work.
THREE – They don’t have seed lists for testing. This is a development issue for us, and does not effect our clients except for a bit of time added to the process, which adds to the cost to the project.
FOUR – The same address on several lists counts multiple times towards your monthly plan, so you can spend far more than is needed for your subscription.
FIVE – MC does not offer “pay-as-you-go” as an option – monthly subscription only. You pay, even if you don’t send any e-mails.
SIX – Customization of address sign-up forms can only be done with a higher priced account.
SEVEN – Sign-up forms that can be coded to recognize list segmentation can be done only on pop-up pages, but not for embedded forms (which is pretty much the only way people do e-mail list sign-up forms now.)
EIGHT – The biggie – they don’t allow a campaign to be sent to more than one list. The best-practice for managing lists in MailChimp is to have one list, which is divided into groups and segments. Our clients find it confusing – actually we find it confusing at times, as well as cumbersome, non-intuitive, and time-wasting.
If you are interested, there’s more below on MC’s address list management. But we don’t want to simply focus upon the negative and what we don’t recommend. We do recommend using Vertical Response or Constant Contact as platforms. The phone response for both companies is fantastic – customer support reps who know the product and are helpful. And the list management is far simpler. You can have as many lists as you want and get to select the ones you want each campaign to launch to. Unsubscribes and bounces are well-managed at the account level, rather than the list level, which protects you from higher prices and grumpy customers and keeps you compliant with spam laws.
Our favorite is Vertical Response for the reasons above, as well as their pay-as-you-go option instead of subscription and because over the decade we’ve used them for a variety of clients, they have been consistently good.
So, back to MC’s list management issues caused by not allowing a campaign be sent to more than one list:
- Unsubscribes are managed by individual list, rather than at the account level. So if you have more than one list, and a recipient unsubscribes from one list, it’s not recorded in any other list, so you can e-mail to an address of someone who already unsubscribed.
- Because there’s no connectivity between lists, if a client changes their settings in one list, it won’t be recognized by any other instances of that e-mail address in other lists.
- If you wish to send an e-mail to separate lists, you need to duplicate the e-mail over and over, sending one e-mail launch per mail list. If there are duplicated addresses in your account, you will be sending the same campaign to these addresses. One of our clients is doing this, and are getting complaints from clients.
We know this is confusing. Send us a line with questions, or call 408 252-8664.