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Mailchimp is best for eCommerce businesses that are just starting out. However, for this type of business we recommend using Shopify email (for those on Shopify). If you aren’t on Shopify (our recommended eCommerce platform) we would consider switching, but if you are a new business and dead set on another platform, then Mailchimp is a good choice for email marketing. Mailchimp is relatively cheap and easy to use so will be good for businesses that are just starting out.
Why do we recommend Shopify email over Mailchimp for those on Shopify? First, it’s free up to 10,000 email sends per month (Mailchimp is only free up to 1,000). Second, since it’s made by Shopify, it will have the tightest integration with Shopify, and you will be able to manage all of your email marketing from a single platform. This will also save time in email creation. Shopify email will automatically bring in your brand assets from Shopify (colors, fonts, logo etc.), so you can save time creating emails. Once you get to $1M in annual revenue, then we recommend switching to Klaviyo. Mailchimp is trying to add features to compete with Klaviyo, but we don’t think they are close on automations and segmentation, and we think the Klaviyo learning curve is worth it.
Mailchimp was founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius in Atlanta, Georgia. Chestnut and Kurzius had met while working at web design agency Cox Media and originally started Mailchimp as a side project. They were frustrated with the difficulty and expense of sending emails to customers and saw a need for an easy-to-use email marketing service for small businesses. The name "Mailchimp" was chosen as a play on the term "mail chimp" meaning someone who sends a lot of email. The first version of Mailchimp launched in beta in 2001 and allowed users to send emails to up to 500 subscribers for free. Mailchimp officially launched to the public in 2004 and quickly gained popularity among small and medium businesses for its ease of use, affordability, and automation features. In 2021, Mailchimp was acquired by Intuit, the makers of Turbotax and Quickbooks, for $12B. After the acquisition, in 2023, the free plan was reduced to 1,000 email sends per month instead of unlimited for up to 500 contacts. Recently, Mailchimp has been adding features to compete with more robust platforms like Klaviyo and scale beyond their focus on small business, but we think their offering trails Klaviyo for medium and enterprise size companies.
We think Mailchimp makes sense for small businesses (less than $1M in revenue) that are not using Shopify. For small businesses on Shopify, we recommend Shopify email. And for larger businesses ($1M+ in revenue), we recommend Klaviyo.
Mailchimp’s platform is easy to navigate and non-technical people will be able to create emails relatively easily using their pre-built templates. While their pricing has increased in recent years, it’s still affordable relative to the competition. Their segmentation and automation features are getting better, but we still think there are better alternatives once a business scales and will be truly using those features.
Mailchimp's pricing is based on list size.
Mailchimp offers a free plan, but it comes with limitations. On the free plan you can only have up to 500 contacts and send up to 1,000 emails per month and 500 max emails in a day. The free plan will also come with Mailchimp branding on your emails and has limited access to the pre-built email templates. Additionally, on the free plan you won't be able to schedule emails in advance.
The next plan up from the free plan is called the essentials plan and starts at $13 per month. This will unlock up to 5,000 email sends per month. It will also give you access to all of the pre-built templates, remove the Mailchimp branding, and allow for A/B testing and email scheduling.
The standard plan starts at $20 per month and supports up to 6,000 email sends per month. The standard plan will also give access to more robust features like advanced segmentation and dynamic content.
The premium plan starts at $350 per month which will give you access to all of Mailchimp's advanced features and priority support.
Mailchimp offers SMS (text message) marketing for an additional fee. Mailchimp’s SMS pricing is based on credits and starts at $20 per month for 1,000 credits (1 credit = 1 SMS send or 3 MMS sends).
Mailchimp is an email marketing platform. It will allow you to collect email addresses, manage your email list, and send emails to your subscribers.
What are the disadvantages to Mailchimp?
Mailchimp's customer service is occasionally unhelpful or unresponsive. Additionally, Mailchimp’s segmentation and automation capabilities trail more advanced competitors like Klaviyo.
Is Mailchimp actually free?
Yes, Mailchimp does offer a free plan. However, it comes with limitations. On the free plan you can only send up to 1,000 emails per month. The free plan will also come with Mailchimp branding on your emails and has limited access to the pre-built email templates. Additionally, on the free plan you won't be able to schedule emails in advance.
Why use Mailchimp instead of Gmail?
It will be easier to manage your email list using Mailchimp (add / remove subscribers) and automate your emails (automatically send email when a person subscribes). Also, it will be easier to design professional looking emails using Mailchimp’s pre-built templates. So although Gmail is free and wont limit the email sends / list size, we think Mailchimp or another dedicated email marketing platform is worth it.
Who is Mailchimp best for?
Mailchimp is best for small businesses (less than $1M in revenue). While the focus of our site is eCommerce, Mailchimp is also great for other small businesses (yoga studios etc.)
Is Mailchimp SOC II certified and ISO & PCI compliant?
Yes. You can view Mailchimp's ISO 27001 Certification here and request its SOC II certification here.
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