Getting Started With MailChimp

Available Plans

MailChimp offers three versions or plans for companies or organizations. We recommend starting with the plan that best meets your needs as a business owner. Although all three are described below, the focus of this guide is on the first of the three plans named the New Business or Forever Free plan.

New Business (Forever Free)

With the New Business or Forever Free plan, a Business can start today at no cost. This plan is designed for businesses with 2,000 or Fewer subscribers. The Forever Free plan allows users to send up to 12,000 emails a month for free. This plan doesn’t expire. There is no contract and credit card information is not required.

The Forever Free plan offers:

  • Building Lists using tools like out-of-the-box Sign up Forms,
  • Ability to create Email Templates with customizable Merge Fields, Customize Lists with Segmentation abilities to target subscribers based on data collected,
  • Monitoring Email Campaigns using Real-time Reporting Tools, and Automation options.

Growing Business (Starting at $10 a Month)

The Growing Business plan is designed for businesses that need an email marketing system which grows along with their company. The monthly cost starts at $10.00 and is dependent on the number of subscribers in the company’s subscriber list. For the alternative billing type with a one-time payment option, the cost will depend on the number of emails the user needs to purchase at one time.

The Growing Business plan offers:

  • Database Integration with CRM systems plus integration with Ecommerce systems for sales reports,
  • Ability to monitor reporting in conjuction with Google Analytics to analyze ROI complete with mobile app accessibility,
  • Target audiences using Segmentation that is prebuilt or custom with API integration,
  • Collaboration Platform for Teams that allows teams to comment on campaigns and provide feedback with user permission level configurations, Delivery tools that enhance the effectiveness of emails using Send Time Optimization and TimeWarp with TimeZone considerations, and Automation options.

Pro Marketer (Additional $199 a Month)

The Pro Marketer plan is designed for businesses that need a marketing system to grow along with their company. The monthly cost starts at $10.00 + $199 monthly payment and is dependent on the number of subscribers in the company’s subscriber list. Similar to the Growing Business plan, for the alternative billing type with a one-time payment option, the cost will depend on the number of emails the user needs to purchase at one time.

The Pro Marketer plan offers:

  • API Integration for tracking and targeting of Ecommerce data with integration with common shopping carts like Magento and Shopify,
  • Test Variations that allow testing of campaign effectiveness using variations on fields like subject, from name and the email content, Comparative Reports which allow the business to view patterns or trends in subscriber engagement which may support adjustments that improve campaign effectiveness,
  • Transactional Emails with the Mandrill API which enable a one to one email communication for ecommerce and personalized messages, and Automation that built on triggers allows the delivery of more timely and targeted emails based on subscriber interests and behaviors.

Picking a Plan

  • If you are unsure of which plan to choose, it is a safe bet to start with the New Business Forever Free plan. By doing so, you avoid any risks related to cost and are given time to immediately start using your new MailChimp marketing platform.
  • You can rest easy as well knowing that this guide’s focus on the New Business or Forever Free plans will allow you to learn the fundamentals of using MailChimp. The skills taught and lessons learned are transferable to the alternative paid plans for Growing Business or Pro Marketer. When the time is right, and when the you as the business owner is ready, it is relatively easy to upgrade to the next plan level. Upgrades are possible by choosing the desired plan and simply providing the necessary account and verifiable billing info.

Create Your MailChimp Account

The first thing you need to do is to create a MailChimp account. If you already have an existing verified active account, sign-in and skip to Welcome Or Home Screen. Otherwise, to obtain a MailChimp account simply go to:

www.mailchimp.com

As described earlier there are three MailChimp plans – one Free and 2 that require payment. The New Business or Forever Free plan is the default when signing up for a MailChimp account. For the scope of this guide we will sign-up and use the New Business or Forever Free plan. For more information on the Growing Business and Pro Marketer plans visit www.mailchimp.com.

Sign-up for the New Business or Forever Free plan by clicking the Sign-up button. Complete the fields including your Email, Username and Password. Click Get Started and proceed to complete Company Info, Address Info and any Contact Info required. You’ll also be asked to fill out a blurb that your subscribers will receive that describes why they are receiving the email from your Company.

Complete all verification steps required by MailChimp which should include an email verification step.

Sign back in to MailChimp, if required, upon receiving the email verification, to ensure you can access the system.

Welcome or Home Screen

Now that you are logged into MailChimp you can take a look around at what MailChimp has to offer. The Home Page (ie Dashboard) which is the first page that you see, is accessible anytime by clicking the MailChimp logo in the upper left corner. The Home Page (ie Dashboard) is designed to provide a high level Overview of your Campaign performance as a whole. It will be empty at first due to the fact that you have yet to send out any email Campaigns or loaded Contacts into the system. This page will show more activity once you start using MailChimp.

A Campaign can best be defined as the entire process of configuring, designing and sending an eBlast.

Once you have sent a Campaign you will see this page broken down into 3 sections.

1. Explore MailChimp

This section describes features of MailChimp and Email Marketing concepts. Usually the topics of discussion are in the knowledge base or MailChimp’s blog. Some topics that you may see include the features like A/B Testing which allows a user to send the same eBlast to different recipients in efforts to be configured with different identifying factors that seem to play a role in increasing Open, Click and Conversion rates. Other topics may be about the benefits of upgrading to the Paid Plans vs the New Business Forever Free plan for MailChimp. Somedays there may be info about a new release of the MailChimp platform. This section changes daily based on what MailChimp sees as valuable topics, which may lead to an increase in the user’s MailChimp proficiency level.

2. Audience Change

Audience Change can be used to provide an overall view of the changes in your Contacts/Subscribers. Whether you have a website that uses MailChimp’s backend process to add or remove Subscribers or you use the built-in forms that are readily available under the Lists section in MailChimp, the Audience section provides a real time count of the change in your overall audience within a certain timeframe. Note the drop down that allows you to change the number of days in the rears that it reports. 7 days is the default.

3. Campaign Engagement

This section gives the you a quick peek at the high level Opens with Delivered and of those that are the number of Clicked that were Opened. As a reminder Email Marketing has certain metrics that determine the effectiveness of the Email Campaigns. At the top of the List are Deliveries, Opens, and Clicks. Note the drop down that allows you to change the number of days in the rears that it reports. 7 days is the default.

Recommendation: MailChimp Alternative

If you don’t like MailChimp, no worries. There are many other email marketing automation tools you can choose.  Due to the many options available on the market, they are quite challenging to compare. 

ActiveCampaign is used by many online marketers as an autoresponder.

ActiveCampaign is the platform I use for my online business.

Founded in 2003, ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation company. Its marketing automation software allows businesses to stay in touch with their customers.

With over a decade of experience, it offers business owners a powerful email marketing platform and CRM platform, allowing them to easily control email marketing.

I have reviewed ActiveCampaign in detail. You may want to read my ActiveCampaign review before deciding to use it.

The Groundhogg email marketing service might be the better choice for WordPress users looking for a cheap email marketing tool. It will be more technical to use Groundhogg. 

Within the Groundhogg dashboard, you can manage your CRM, Emails, and Marketing Automation. Everything is under your control.

Unlike SaaS, Groundhogg offers a low-cost CRM platform and an email marketing platform. You can read my Groundhogg review to determine if it is for you.

Additionally, I found a tool that lets you send videos by email along with a powerful email automation tool. Videos can be inserted into clients’ emails in just one click, increasing traffic, conversions, and sales. There is no GIF here, but a video.

Developers of Email Videos Pro claim that the software increases engagement tenfold and profitability tenfold. I reviewed Email Videos Pro to help you decide if it is right for you. Read my Email Videos Pro review here.

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