Mailchimp Complete Review 2021: Is It Still The Best Email Marketing Tool?

Best Email Marketing Tool

Often touted as the big success story of online start-ups, Mailchimp is a heavyweight in the email marketing sphere.


Mailchimp’s recent move to being an all-in-one marketing platform was a smart one.


They have since added more features, in hopes of beefing up their platform — but is it enough?


Keep reading to find out if this fully kitted-out tool will beef up your business too.

1. What is Mailchimp?

Mailchimp Logo

Source: Mailchimp Logo

Mailchimp is known as the go-to option for the email marketing needs of online business owners.


But they’ve moved on by aiming to become an “all-in-one integrated marketing platform for small businesses”.


Mailchimp has added features to not only get your business online but take on marketing, automating, managing, and analyzing every moving piece of it.


This seems like the perfect recipe for business success, but where’s the catch that has made many business owners move on from this feature-rich tool?


Here’s a list of Mailchimp’s features — and we’ll walk you through what works and what might’ve gone awry.

2. Mailchimp’s features

features

While their name still hints at what Mailchimp is best known for, they now include a host of useful features to flesh out a full marketing suite.

2.1. Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing is central to any marketing strategy and remains one of the most lucrative elements in your sales funnel to acquire leads and convert them into customers.


The global email marketing market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and is predicted to grow. 


Up to 75% of global marketers marked email marketing as excellent for your return on investment (ROI).


With Mailchimp, you can create five types of email campaigns with custom content and scheduling:

  • Regular HTML — what you’ll use the most
  • Automated — a great way to encourage passive income from subscriptions
  • Plain text — the easiest to create
  • A/B testing — a standard test available on all online platforms
  • Transactional — an automation extra that you have to pay for that’s usually standard in email marketing software

Wasting time on menial mailing would drive you mad, so Mailchimp has added some automation capabilities to their email marketing.


The automation available is limited depending on the price plan — we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of this later.


There’s also no differentiation between a newsletter and an email campaign; an oversight that’s led to some confusion amongst users.


If you plan to use email marketing on a grander scale — Mailchimp’s automation and audience management might not support it based on these users’ reviews.

2.2. Landing Pages and Forms

Mailchimp’s Landing Page Templates

Source: Mailchimp’s Landing Page Templates

Gathering your prospects’ details and creating a high-converting mailing list is the basis on which you can enhance your email marketing strategy.


One way to do this is through landing pages.


The landing page builder that’s part of Mailchimp allows you to use one of two simple formats — one to sell products and the other to grow your mailing list.


Mailchimp offers a few ready-made templates and forms that highlight products, offer freebies, or even advertise a competition you’re hosting.


However, users complain that there aren’t enough templates and themes, too many restrictions on email design, and many of these features aren’t available when not using a desktop.


Mailchimp is still developing these templates, so what’s available is still quite basic.


Because they’re so bland, the conversion rate from these landing pages isn’t likely to be particularly high.


Mailchimp is working on this according to their response to users’ reviews.

2.3. Audience Management

An example of Mailchimp’s predictive insights

Source: An example of Mailchimp’s predictive insights

Mailchimp promises customer relationship management (CRM) tools that you can use to guide your marketing strategy.


Included in this suite are the following:

  • Sign-up forms and pop-ups
  • An audience dashboard
  • Predictive insights
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Segmentation

Is this list as impressive as it sounds?


Forms come standard with most online marketing platforms, and Mailchimp hasn’t got as many templates as it should to support a wide client base.


An audience dashboard is a useful tool, but a graphic display of audience trends would be more intuitive.


This tool includes predictive insights into your target audience based on the actions of your customers.


The segmentation options available on Mailchimp are a weakness.


Segments are capped based on your plan, and you’ll have to fork out $199 for the Pro Plugin to use advanced features.


If you’re looking to have free use of advanced segmentation — why not check out systeme.io instead?

2.4. Website Builder

An example of a Mailchimp website

Source: An example of a Mailchimp website

Probably the most impressive add-on to Mailchimp’s platform is the website’s building and hosting capabilities, making it attractive to any newbie.


Email marketing seems unattainable until you actually have a website full of marketable content.


To this end, Mailchimp now helps users create a free website with built-in marketing — meaning you’ll have all the tools available based on which payment plan you choose.


They also guide and assist you in registering and paying for your own custom domain.


This includes a “customer journey builder”, which is just a fancy word for their sales funnel builder.


MailChimp features a Creative Studio with an assistant, and a small library of dynamic content and suggestions to get your website on its feet.

2.4.1. Digital Adverts and Social Media

Digital Adverts and Social Media

Part of building your website and brand is making use of advertising and social media.


Mailchimp comes with a Facebook Ad Campaigns feature that vows to boost your mailing list.


It allows you to design and purchase an email-offer advert on Instagram or Facebook, without leaving your website.


Between our email and social media, we are glued to our phones — making the simple social media marketing tools offered by Mailchimp ideal for beginners.

2.4.2. Online Stores and Appointments

An example of a Mailchimp Store

Source: An example of a Mailchimp Store

Another handy addition to your website is an online store where viewers can make a purchase.


Launching the online store is free — but Mailchimp charges you a 2% transaction fee for every sale, and you cover the Stripe processing.


This can get seriously expensive if your products are popular and might require another paid add-on if you want it automated.


Mailchimp also offers free appointment scheduling, if you’re selling a service rather than a physical or electronic product.


However, if you choose to accept payments for appointments through your online store — Mailchimp will also charge you their 2% transaction fee for every appointment booked.

2.5. Integrations and Automation

Because Mailchimp is an established name, there are plenty of integrations with other platforms like WordPress and Unsplash.


However, the support for installing these platforms has long wait times, so if you’re struggling to install a plug-in, you might have to wait for the fix.


If you’re an affiliate marketer, MailChimp is not for you because the platform doesn't support affiliate marketing.

Mailchimp’s automation

Source: Mailchimp’s automation

Automation is a key ingredient to making your online marketing strategy do the work for you.


Mailchimp’s automation includes:

  • Autoresponders — to immediately reach new contacts and subscribers
  • Google remarketing ads — to target users still browsing the web
  • Abandoned cart recovery — to encourage people to complete their purchase if they haven’t
  • Basic feedback and review requests
  • Personalized product recommendations

These tools are too modest to support an online business on the rise using email marketing to its fullest potential.

2.6. Insights and Analytics

Insights and Analytics

Mailchimp has included some analytics as part of their “all-in-one” platform, but is this enough to keep their customers?


A/B testing is standard on any online marketing platform, and Mailchimp reserves multivariate testing and comparative reporting for the more expensive payment plans.


You can’t test three or more versions of a landing page against one another on Mailchimp, you have to perform three separate tests, rather than just one.


Insights help you understand your audience — you can change your marketing strategy to make the best use of trends and predicted behavior.


Again, these are exclusive to the more expensive plans.

3. What support does Mailchimp offer?

The short answer is: not enough — and it comes at a price.

Mailchimp’s support line

Source: Mailchimp’s support line

Read on to see what Mailchimp has available and why it isn’t satisfying its customers.

3.1. Mailchimp 101

This is a curated guide for beginners on the platform to work their way through each step of getting started.


You have to switch between your account and the tutorial.


Users have complained that these tutorials and guides only encompass how to use the specific tool provided.

3.2. Guides and Tutorials

These are articles written by the Mailchimp team on how to use their different tools and features.


They call these articles “24/7 support” — which implies that their other lines of contact are not available 24/7.


As mentioned before, these guides are specific to Mailchimp and don’t elaborate enough on the marketing theories behind them.

3.3. Marketing Tools and Glossary

This is probably the most useful part of their online support.

Marketing Tools and Glossary

If you’re brand new to running and marketing an online business, you’ll probably have thousands of terms and abbreviations flying your way.


To save you the trouble of hopping on google every time you see something new — they’ve created a little dictionary of the common ones with comprehensive explanations.


This dictionary would be even more useful if the use of these terms on their site was linked to the corresponding definition.

3.4. Outsource an Expert

Another element of Mailchimp’s support system is a directory of other companies and so-called experts that you can search and contact to help you.

Outsource an Expert

This is probably because the biggest bugbear among their users is MailChimp’s ticketing system for getting back to customer issues.


There’s email support available to free users but only for the first 30 days.


Thereafter, you have to upgrade to the $9.99 Essentials plan if you need assistance.

4. Mailchimp’s Price Plans

Another deterrent on the Mailchimp platform is the messy structure of their payment plans.


Working out which plan to choose often ends in frustrated customers who start looking for other options.

4.1. Marketing Plans

These are plans that are targeted at people using Mailchimp for just their email marketing.

Mailchimp’s marketing plans

Source: Mailchimp’s marketing plans

As you can see, the plans all “start at” an advertised price, but there’s a sliding scale based on the size of your contact list that could have you paying $78.99 per month for 10,000 contacts on the Essentials plan.


There are also limits to how many emails you can send in each plan and the price of each plan increases based on your needs.


If you've already got large mailing lists, Mailchimp may catch you out here — so read carefully to see what you’re really getting before committing.

4.2. Websites and Commerce Plans

While having separate options for those interested in building a website and opening an online store is forward-thinking, these plans are not yet available so freely.

Mailchimp’s website and commerce plans

Source: Mailchimp’s website and commerce plans

These cool additions are only available as add-ons to the previous set of email marketing plans. 


Hopefully, Mailchimp will offer more flexibility soon.

4.3. Transactional Email Options

While most email marketing platforms do not delineate between transactional and non-transactional emails, Mailchimp offers a targeted service.

Mailchimp’s transactional email block pricing

Source: Mailchimp’s transactional email block pricing

These emails are sold in blocks and are mostly used by developers who need emails to reach theory clients and receive important information and replies.

5. What makes Mailchimp second-rate?

Although Mailchimp isn’t the worst email marketing tool available, we wouldn’t say it’s the best.


Their recent shift in focus to all-in-one online business marketing is an improvement.


New features like the website builder, online store, and appointment scheduling are assets to many small businesses and are more inclusive of those that are service-orientated.


The addition of the creative assistant and customer journeys help business owners make every element of their campaign consistent.


This shows that they’re working towards having a more robust funnel builder.


By the sound of the reviews, this great change has come too late and some clients have moved on to other platforms that better cater to their needs.


This upgrade in Mailchimp’s features has also served to alienate some of their loyal customers, as they find the new user interface (UI) and user experience(UX) problematic to navigate.


You don’t have time to monkey around with a tool that has so many mixed reviews — you need an established platform that comes out on top.

6. Use this first-class alternative instead: systeme.io

Systeme.io is a true all-in-one platform that supports every aspect of your online business needs with loads of features, built-in tools, and seamless integrations.

Source:systeme.io’s logo

Our promise is that systeme.io is “the easiest and fastest way to grow your online business,” and boy do we deliver.

6.1. Why systeme.io is better

Built-to-purpose software is always going to outperform any that has been repurposed or recycled.


Systeme.io was created to be an all-in-one marketing solution for online businesses.


The features available allow you to:

systeme.io’s feature list

Source: systeme.io’s feature list

Where Mailchimp only gives access to advanced analytics and automation to its paying customers, systeme.io gives you that even on our Freemium plan — your only limit is how many you can use at once.


The UI/UX of systeme.io is one of the best available in multifunctional marketing software.


Read some of systeme.io’s client testimonials — the words “easier to use” or “meets all our needs” are all over them.

systeme.io client testimonial

Source: systeme.io client testimonial

Another reason to consider systeme.io instead of our alternatives is the excellent customer service that’s available 24/7 — so that we can help you whenever you need it.


And an even bigger bonus — systeme.io is available in 8 languages.

6.2. How much does systeme.io cost?

Our competitive pricing is another reason why systeme.io is such an attractive option.


There's no other all-in-one platform that gives you more bang for your buck.


There are 4 pricing plans available on systeme.io, which gives you plenty of scaled options to choose from.

systeme.io’s pricing plans

Source: systeme.io’s pricing plans

As you can see, each plan is priced based on how many contacts you have, as well as how many sales funnels you need.


On the Freemium plan, systeme.io gives you a limited number of:

The Freemium is to whet your appetite and let you experiment with the dynamic software — strings-free.


The paid-for plans increase the size of your contact list and give you more of the above features to use, as well as some extras like evergreen webinars.


The following comes standard on ALL systeme.io’s plans:

  • Unlimited emails
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Unlimited membership site members
  • Stripe and Paypal integration
  • Affiliate program support
  • 24/7 email support

Systeme.io has also just implemented a 30% discount for customers who choose annual billing — a great way to save!

7. Conclusion

Monkey

As you can see, Mailchimp is not that bad a tool, and they’re really working to improve their platform and address customer concerns.


However, you probably don’t have time to wait for them to catch up to industry leaders.


If you’re looking for marketing software and support that outperforms the competition, then head over to systeme.io and sign up for our Freemium plan today!


(This plan is free forever, and we don’t even need your credit card details)


Join now — you’d be bananas to go anywhere else.

Get your free account

systeme.io is 100% free, forever