In this comprehensive Mailchimp review, I’ll be answering a question my readers have asked me multiple times:
Is this the best email marketing tool for beginners, or is there a better option?
I owe much of the success of my $1.5 million content website portfolio to email marketing and have spent years experimenting with several leading services to find the one that offers the best all-around user experience.
After all, whether you’re just learning how to get started with email marketing or you’ve been using it for a good while like I have, finding a platform that offers beginner-level simplicity is only going to make your life that much easier, eliminating the frustrations that come with complicated services and freeing up more time to focus on creating great content.
Not that ease-of-use is the only factor at play when determining the best newcomer-friendly service to grow your subscriber list and send compelling emails that get opened and get results.
In the review below, I’ll look at all the important aspects, including cost, features, and limitations, to determine whether Mailchimp is the best email marketing tool for beginners.
What is Mailchimp?
Mailchimp proudly claims to be the number one email marketing and automation platform on the web, and with some 13 million users and 10,800 emails sent every second of every day, it’s hard to dispute that claim.
This is especially true when you consider that the second biggest user base for an email marketing company is said to be 600,000, an audience that belongs to my other top choice for a beginner-friendly email marketing tool, Constant Contact.
This unrivaled popularity is thanks in part to the company’s longevity. Since forming in 2001, the brand has carved out a reputation for offering a winning combination of excellent beginner-friendly tools, attractive email templates, and a generous free plan which appeals to those just getting started with email marketing.
It’s also thanks to the brand’s continued commitment to staying ahead of the curve in order to meet the ever-evolving needs of businesses and their customers.
In 2019, the company expanded its core service into a full-service digital marketing and automation platform to help customers manage their entire online presence in one place.
Along with managing your email newsletter, you can create fully automated email campaigns, manage both your paid and organic social media posts and even a domain name, and start a website, all from the same platform.
Who is Mailchimp For?
Mailchimp primarily targets small businesses with tools tailored for a broad cross-section of industries, including, but by no means limited to:
- Construction firms
- Digital and creative agencies
- Ecommerce stores
- Educational establishments
- Entertainment and events companies
- Health and fitness brands
- Insurance agents and brokers
- Manufacturing companies
- Marketing and advertising firms
- Medical and healthcare companies
- Recruitment and staffing agencies
- Software and web app developers
- Sports teams and leagues
- Telecoms specialists
- Travel and transport businesses.
That said, I find that Mailchimp also works well for bloggers and content creators who want to grow their audience and monetize their websites, as this is precisely how I’ve been using the platform.
Let’s dive into the features of Mailchimp right away!
1. Campaign Management
At the heart of Mailchimp’s email marketing service, there’s a comprehensive and easy-to-use system designed to help you build your email list and utilize it effectively.
Along with a collection of high-quality email templates and tools to help you customize every aspect of each email you send, you can also create custom landing pages to entice more subscribers by offering an incentive such as a discount code for signing up.
Beyond that, the marketing campaign management platform also allows you to:
- Create surveys for gathering helpful feedback from your audience
- Create, share, and track social media posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
- Manage ad campaigns on Google and social media
- Send physical postcards to your customers for a one-off message, as part of a recurring campaign, or to encourage abandoned cart shoppers to complete their purchases.
2. Customizable Signup Forms
If you’re new to email marketing, you probably haven’t added any subscribers to your mailing list yet.
Fortunately, Mailchimp provides you with customizable signup forms that you can use to generate your first subscribers.
Here, you have five options:
- Create a standard signup form
- Generate the HTML to add your form to your website
- Create a pop-up signup form
- Create a standard contact form
- Create a form using an integrated third-party tool.
Unfortunately, Mailchimp doesn’t offer pre-made signup form templates like the ones you get with other services such as Aweber.
However, it does offer a simple set of easy-to-use tools that you can use to customize your form to match the style and design of your website.
3. Audience Segmentation
Another jewel in Mailchimp’s crown is the advanced audience segmentation features which allow you to divide your audience into individual lists based on an extensive list of possible criteria, including
- Personal details such as name, email address, location
- How often do recipients engage with your campaigns
- The type of engagement (opened an email, visited a landing page, etc.)
- The date recipients signed up
- The source that generated the signup.
You can mix and match these conditions to create as many different audience lists as you need.
For example, if you wanted to send an email to new contacts, you generated at an offline event, re-engage subscribers who no longer interact with your campaigns, or send an automated email to users who signup via your landing page, there are options for all of that and more.
4. Analytics and Reporting
It’s hard to deny that Mailchimp is one of the best services on the web for tracking your return on investment in email marketing.
Paid users can access a complete email analytics dashboard that provides a comprehensive overview of your overall activity and the success of each individual campaign.
This breaks down essential information such as engagement rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates in a clear, visual style that makes understanding the success of your campaigns effortless.
Meanwhile, free and paid users can generate reports on each campaign, showing you your open, click, bounce, and unsubscribe rates and providing other helpful information such as how many orders and how much revenue each campaign generated for you.
Elsewhere, the reports also provide paid users with helpful feedback about the content of your emails so that you can make improvements next time.
Automation is a critical component of any good email marketing service, so it’s no surprise to find that Mailchimp also does a great job of this.
Although you can always build an automated workflow from scratch, the platform offers over 40 different pre-built journeys that you can customize to suit your brand and your audience.
Among the most useful automated journeys, you’ll find options for automating all of the following:
- Welcoming new contacts and subscribers
- Send abandoned cart reminders
- Send other eCommerce emails, such as order confirmations and shipping details.
- Solicit customer reviews or drive traffic to a feedback survey
- Re-engage customers who haven’t purchased from you in a long time
- Identify and reward high-value customers
- Promote new products or events
- Offer upsells and cross-sells.
You can also create a drip campaign that sends emails over a set period, which is ideal if you want to create an email course.
More than its free plan or beginner-friendly features, Mailchimp’s status as the world’s most popular email marketing platform owes to its ability to integrate flawlessly with every major software or online platform.
Whether you’re starting a blog on WordPress or running an online store with WooCommerce, Shopify, or any other top eCommerce platform, you can connect Mailchimp to that platform to better sync your marketing efforts with your website.
Elsewhere, the platform’s complete list of integrations reads like a proverbial Who’s Who of essential online services for businesses, including such tools as
- Adobe Commerce
- QuickBooks Online
- Zoho CRM
Plus countless others.
7. Other Key Mailchimp Features
Along with all of the above, Mailchimp also offers the following features:
- A/B testing
- Audience analytics
- Appointment scheduling
- Behavioral targeting
- Create profiles for individual contacts
- Domain Registration
- Marketing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool
- Personalize content for individual recipients using dynamic content
- Website and eCommerce store creation.
How Much Does Mailchimp Cost?
It’s hard to deny that one of the main reasons why Mailchimp is so popular is that they offer a solid free plan which includes all of the following:
- 500 x contacts
- 2,500 x monthly email sends
- 1 x user
- 300 x integrations
- Basic reporting and analytics
- Forms and landing pages
- Access to the Creative Assistance feature.
This is an excellent package to choose if you’re new to email marketing and either doesn’t have the budget for a premium service or want to test the waters before spending money.
However, it’s far from perfect, as it limits you to just 500 contacts and misses out on several key features, such as email scheduling and automation.
By comparison, Sendinblue‘s free plan may be a better deal as it allows unlimited contacts, sends 300 emails daily and accesses essential automation features without spending a penny. You can read more about this service in my Sendinblue review.
If you prefer to stick with Mailchimp but have more than 500 contracts or need extra features, you’ll need one of the following three affordable plans:
|PRODUCT NAME||PRODUCT DESCRIPTION||PRODUCT PRICE|
|Essentials Plan||Includes everything in the Free plan plus:|
5,000 monthly emails send
3 x users
Automated customer journeys
|Standard Plan||Includes everything in the Essentials plan plus:|
6,000 monthly emails send
5 x users
Enhanced automated customer journeys
Access to pre-made automation templates
Predictive audience segmentation
Ability to personalize emails with dynamic content.
|Premium Plan||Includes everything in the Standard plan plus:|
150,000 monthly emails send
Test up to eight campaigns at once
Dedicated onboarding specialist.
The premium plans also remove Mailchimp’s branding from your emails which is very helpful if you want to create the most professional-looking emails possible.
How Difficult is Mailchimp to Use?
Although I think Mailchimp’s user interface could be improved, it’s no longer difficult to get to grips with.
The platform features a handy and well-organized menu which makes it a breeze to find whatever tool you need, while each one of those tools is provided through its own intuitive interface.
All of this ensures that, even if you’ve never created an email marketing campaign, you’ll have no problem setting one up that offers the same high design and content standards that your audience has come to expect from your brand.
How to Get Started With MailChimp and Send Your First Email Broadcast?
1. Create Your Mailchimp Account
Visit Mailchimp.com and click ‘Sign Up.’
On the next screen, either click ‘Sign up Free’ or pick one of the paid plans and select ‘Buy Now.’
From there, you’ll need to enter your email address, password, and username before heading to your inbox to verify your account via the Mailchimp activation email sent to you.
If you’re on a paid plan, you’ll be instructed to enter your payment details before being directed to the onboarding stage.
If you’re on the free plan, you’ll be asked to confirm that this is the plan you want before starting the onboarding.
2. Complete the Mailchimp Onboarding Process
To finish setting up your account, you’ll be asked for your name, business name, and phone number, though the latter is optional.
You’ll also have to enter a physical address to comply with international anti-spam laws.
Next, Mailchimp will ask you what you want to achieve by using its service.
Other questions focus on how many subscribers you already have (it’s not a problem if you don’t have any) and, if you’re using email marketing to drive sales, how you make those sales.
Finally, Mailchimp has a handy feature in which you can enter your website address and have your logo, images, colors, and fonts imported so that your emails match your branding.
After this, you can opt-in to one of Mailchimp’s three different newsletters or simply hit the ‘Finish’ button to access the dashboard.
3. Create Your First Signup Form
To start growing your email list, you’ll need a signup form that can be easily created within minutes by using the Form Builder tool.
From the main Mailchimp dashboard, choose Audience – Signup Forms and then select ‘Form Builder.’
Choose ‘Signup Form‘ from the dropdown menu, then scroll down to the Build It, Design it, and Translate options.
Here, you can click on the title of your form to open a basic text editor, which allows you to change.
Likewise, clicking on any of the form fields allows you to change the name of that field and toggle other options, such as whether the field is required and whether to keep it visible or hide it.
If you prefer to delete a field, click on it and then click the minus symbol.
You’ll then have to confirm that you want to delete it, and then that form will be no more.
To add a new form field, select one of the options on the right and customize the field settings.
By default, your new fields appear at the bottom of your form, but you can always drag and drop it into place if you want to reorder your form fields.
When you’re happy with the layout of your form, you can switch to the ‘Design it’ tab to change the colors, fonts, text size, and link style.
Finally, use the ‘Translate it’ tab to set the auto-translate feature, which, as the name describes, automatically translates your form into whatever language the user’s browser is set to.
When you’re done, you can share this form using the URL on the ‘Build it’ tab, but if you want to embed a form on your website, you’ll need to go back to the main Signup forms page and select ’embed form.’
With that done, hit ‘Continue’ to be directed to the embeddable code you’ll need to copy and paste into your website.
4. Create Your First Email
Once you’ve used your signup form to attract your first subscribers, it’s time to reach out to them with an email.
To do that, first, go to Campaigns – Email Template – Create New Template.
Here, you can select one of the premade layout templates and design the email yourself or, better yet, opt for one of the themed templates already designed for you.
Click the one you want to use, and this will bring up a well-laid-out drag-and-drop editor that is infinitely easier to get to grips with than the form builder we used earlier.
Here, you can click on any element within your email to customize it.
If you’re on a paid plan, you can also drag new elements into place and add dynamic content to personalize your messages using the recipients’ name, locations, or other data.
When you’re done, click the ‘Preview & Test’ options in the top-right corner to ensure your email looks exactly how you want it to look, then click ‘Save & Exit.’
5. Send Your First Campaign
Exiting the email builder returns you to your list of email templates.
Select ‘Create Campaign’ from the dropdown menu on your created template.
This will take you to a new page where you can edit all of the details of your campaign, starting with the name.
From there, you can:
- Choose which of your contacts or lists you want to send your email to
- Edit the name and email address that your email is sent from
- Customize the email subject and preview text.
Next, you can customize the URL that directs people to the web browser version of your email.
You can also choose to connect to your preferred social media platform to add a tweet or a post from Instagram and/or Facebook.
Finally, you’ll be able to configure your campaign’s settings and email tracking options.
When you’re satisfied that you have your campaign set up just the way you want it, head back to the top of the page where you can choose to either send your email right away or, if you’re a paid user, schedule it to go out at a later date.
You’ll receive a confirmation when the email is sent, meaning all that’s left to do is click the ‘check email report’ button and monitor your results.
What is Mailchimp Customer Service Like?
On the whole, Mailchimp’s customer support agents are knowledgeable, friendly, and efficient, with a response time that, in my experience, is at least on par with the industry average.
The only real problem is accessing that support in the first place.
Suppose you opt for Mailchimp’s free plan. In that case, you’re limited to just 30 days of support via email, after which you can only access support via an automated chatbot that can answer most standard questions and direct you to relevant help pages and tutorials.
While 30 days of email support can help if you’re a beginner, it may get frustrating if you have any major problems down the line and can’t speak to a real human being.
If you’re on one of their paid plans, you can still use the chatbot and email options, but you’ll also be able to access 24/7 live chat with a human support agent and phone support during the 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday.
This is a much better deal, so if you’re the type of newcomer who feels more confident using a service if there’s support, upgrading to one of the premium plans is undoubtedly the way to go.
What Do Other People Say About Mailchimp?
If you’ve read this far, you’ll know that I’ve been brutally honest about the pros and cons of Mailchimp, but that’s still only one person’s opinion.
Over on the trusted software review site, G2, Mailchimp has over 12,000 reviews from real customers, the majority of which are positive.
Helping the brand earn a G2 star rating of 4.3 out of five, those who like the platform praise its beginner-friendly ease of use, excellent audience segmentation features, and top-rated email tracking tools.
Meanwhile, those who found MailChimp wasn’t right for them tend to be critical of the limited email template editing and limited support.
Mailchimp Pros and Cons:
Frequently Asked Questions About Mailchimp
Is Mailchimp a CRM?
Mailchimp is primarily a digital marketing platform with an emphasis on email campaigns, though it does feature extensive CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools and integrations with other third-party CRMS.
Can I send Mailchimp campaigns using Gmail?
Mailchimp doesn’t allow you to use a free Gmail address for your campaigns, though you can use a paid Google Workspaces account (which includes Gmail) to send emails.
How long does Mailchimp take to send emails?
Mailchimp boasts that emails can be delivered to most of your subscribers in under 15 minutes, though this can take more or less time, depending on your subscriber’s email servers.
Is Mailchimp the Best Email Marketing Tool for Beginners: My Final Verdict
In all the time I’ve been helping people to grow their online businesses, I don’t think any question I’ve been asked has ever been as tough to answer as whether or not Mailchimp is the best email marketing service for beginners.
Ultimately, I think the platform has a lot to offer, making it a great starting point for learning the ins and outs of creating effective email campaigns.
The free plan contains everything you need to start building your email list and test out which campaigns get the best results, all via a platform that is as easy to use as you could possibly hope for.
However, once you start seeing some results, I’d recommend switching to a platform like Constant Contact or Sendinblue, as these services offer affordable plans which provide more features and better support, meaning more value for your hard-earned money.