Seriously, why not MailChimp?
I love it and so should you!
This is not a railroading. I haven’t arrived at this conclusion on a whim either. It is the culmination of 12(ish) years of pain working with other email platforms and through one reason or another, them falling short of expectation in one or more areas (sometimes every area). Those areas we will discuss shortly but I would like to start with saying that every single person I have recommended or integrated to MailChimp to date, has either stuck with MailChimp or after a brief spell elsewhere have opted to come back.
Because MailChimp is pretty fucking awesome. What awesomeness though?
Let’s begin from a purely selfish point of view.
I as the developer am the one that is going to be integrating the service in to your website. Your website will offer the customer a way to sign up to your mailing list and that information needs sending to your email provider. That means I will require some sort of API that allows me to push and pull from the email service.
The first thing I like to do when I am tasked with implemented such a service is to look for the developer documentation.
I am looking for it to be;
- well written
- contain detailed code examples where appropriate
- have the ability to search
- up to date.
If there is something I don’t understand I want to have support on hand. We’ll come on to this later in the “Customer Service” section.
Not much to ask is it?
Well quite frankly the documentation is superb.
The API for MailChimp is basically a drag and drop.
They provide a set of integration classes (for a number of popular languages) that can be downloaded and plugged in to your website with very minimal effort. Ok there is a little more work to do than just copy and paste a file but that work is mainly setup, a little bit of design work around your email signup box, and some code to actually push the emails to MailChimp. Oh, maybe a thank you page as well. In essence, MailChimp have done the majority of the work for you.
Have they made it this easy to integrate because they suspect I am a lazy developer?
They want people to integrate with their service and have gone to a lot of effort to make sure that can be done as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Well, at least for the first 2000 subscribers / 12000 email sends anyway.
If you are still undecided this is a great way to “test drive” the application. Above that the pricing remains simple and consistent. You basically pay for the number of subscribers you have / number of emails you want to send a month. No complicated payment structures.
You do gain some additional features on your account the more subscribers you have on your mailing list but I would argue these are made available to you not because you are now paying more but because your list now requires them. For example, automation.
Look at it!
Just look at it!
Let us pause for a moment and fully appreciate it.
Much work has been done to make sure the UI is as clean and intuitive as possible and the effort shows.
It is also responsive meaning you could set up a new campaign, edit your mailing list or even just view your reports right on your mobile device. Lovely.
There are so many!
Campaigns, reporting, list management, subscriber segmentation, eCommerce tracking and advanced templating are just some of what you get “out of the box”.
That means to say even as a startup with a single subscriber you are going to get an advanced feature set.
You are also not limited to the amount of things you can create either.
I have worked with other services in the past that will charge you for each mailing list you wish to create for example.
Not MailChimp, no. Create as many as you want, whenever you want.
Don’t take my word for it though. Check them out.
Hell, don’t even take MailChimp’s word for it. Create an account and spend a little time actually using some of them.
5 minutes should do it!
It really won’t take long to appreciate the love these little monkeys have given to every aspect of this service. They want you to send beautiful mailers and they have given you many tools to accomplish this and a beautiful interface to utilise them.
In my opinion, one of the more important deciding factors to evalute.
I have had to engage with their customer service on a number of occasions and not only are they quick (24/7 email support) they are friendly. You really do get the impression that they want to help you and that comes across with the enthusiastic tone of the email correspondence. Oh, and in my experience, the people at the customer service know the product. If you have a question about the API, you get a response from someone who knows the API. Customer segmentation? No problem, they have experts ready to answer.
Hey! Why not test them out!
Last thing you want is to get a month down the line and find all they really wanted was your money.
Send them a question or two and it will give you a good insight in to the level of service you are likely to receive once you sign up.
Based on my experience of the MailChimp customer service, doing the above is really just a tickbox exercise but still well worth it.
So, you had better have a bloody good reason to not choose MailChimp.
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