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There’s no shortage of experts advising you to get started with email marketing as soon as you open the (digital) doors of your online business.
And the truth is, they’re 100% right.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to increase your sales. In fact, the average expected ROI for email marketing is $42 for every $1 you spend.
And while email marketing campaigns are the best thing since sliced bread and a staple of any effective sales funnel, you’re going to need a good tool to make bank.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools for business owners, freelancers, and creatives.
But is MailChimp worth it?
Today, I’m rolling up my sleeves to show you what MailChimp pricing plans include, and whether you should consider this email marketing tool.
Let’s do this!
When you’re starting an online business and you decide to venture into the area of email marketing, MailChimp is the service you’ll come across the most.
For starters, the company was founded way back in 2001 when email marketing was pretty exotic.
And throughout the past 20 years, they’ve offered so many freebies that they’ve become the go-to resource for anyone who wants to start a newsletter.
In the beginning, they offered templates and mailing lists that made it a lot easier to get in touch with your audience.
However, as automation and marketing tech evolved, it became pretty clear that MailChimp’s standard offer wasn’t enough.
They started getting competitors in companies such as ActiveCampaign, and they needed to take things up a notch.
Today, MailChimp claims it’s an email marketing and automation platform.
But what do they have to offer, and what will you get for the pretty penny you pay for their services?
It’s time to find out!
While MailChimp has 3 paid plans, it also has a free plan.
This freemium model has served them well in the past, but will it float your boat?
Let’s see what features they offer!
If you decide to get started with their free plan, you’ll be able to onboard and communicate with up to 2,000 email contacts.
However, if your contacts are different and you need to create multiple audiences to segment and personalize at scale, you won’t be able to.
You’ll only get 1 audience to work with, which could be a significant impediment.
Even though you’ve heard of MailChimp as an email marketing service, it also offers extra features such as:
Yes, you’ll get all of these in the free plan, although with some limitations.
For example, if you opt for MailChimp free, you won’t be able to schedule your social media posts.
MailChimp offers basic templates for both emails and landing pages in their free version.
Additionally, their editor is pretty simple, so you don’t have to worry about code.
All you have to do is drag and drop.
You’ll be able to differentiate between different members of your audience, and monitor their behavior even with MailChimp free.
This is definitely one of the most useful features MailChimp offers, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see it in the free plan - regardless of the limits.
You can create segments that are a combination of different filters (e.g. someone who is 18-24 years old and recently bought your product), and send appropriate emails.
Since 63% of consumers expect personalization, this is a great way to give your business a competitive advantage.
Similarly, you can target based on your subscribers’ behavior, although you won’t get access to behavioral automations with the freemium plan.
Knowing your prospects’ names and email addresses doesn’t tell you a lot about them.
And just like audience segmentation and behavioral targeting can help with that, so can MailChimp subscriber tags.
Simply add the relevant tags to know exactly who you’re talking to.
This gives MailChimp an added CRM feature so not only can you use it for marketing, you can also use it to improve customer satisfaction and up-sell customers.
When you also add contact profiles to the mix, you’ll have a complete CRM for $0 per month.
Of course, you won’t be able to get the full functionality that would turn MailChimp into an all-in-one platform that can help you sell on autopilot, but it’s a decent start.
MailChimp has recently also started offering free websites and domains.
So in addition to building email campaigns and landing pages, you can now get your entire website set up with them.
You can choose from their gallery of templates, and visually customize everything to fit your branding.
This is another move in the direction where MailChimp wants to become an all-in-one platform.
However, while their new developments are noteworthy, they still can’t compete with companies like systeme.io that encompass absolutely everything a business owner needs.
If you opt for the free plan, you won’t be able to automate as extensively as with paid plans, but you’ll still be able to create email sequences such as:
This is a good way to get started with email marketing automation.
However, as you scale, you’ll likely want a lot more so you can actually convert leads while you sleep.
Unfortunately, you won’t get:
Still, this is a good plan for getting started for free.
But if you want automation from the get go to help you increase your sales, you should think about paid plans or MailChimp alternatives.
I’ll cover them in a sec!
MailChimp’s price for the Essentials plan starts from $9,99/month for 500 subscribers.
You’ll get everything from Freemium, with the addition of things I’ll show you below.
However, the price changes based on the number of your subscribers, so if you have 1,500, you can expect to pay $19,99.
If you have 5,000, you’ll pay $49,99, and so on until you reach 50k, for which you’ll have to upgrade to the next plan.
What does MailChimp offer for that price?
With the Essentials plan, you’ll get access to the complete gallery of MailChimp templates for emails, landing pages, and websites.
You will also be able to remove MailChimp logos from your email materials, and customize your branding even more.
Unlike freemium, the Essentials plan allows you to create 3 audiences and personalize for each of them.
You’ll be able to use tags and filters to define your audience members, and create contact profiles:
Not only will you be able to segment based on demographic data, but you’ll also be able to personalize based on behavior: campaign engagement, app engagement, and purchase behavior.
For example, you can send email blasts with specific offers for leads (offering them a cheaper product), while also up-selling existing customers with more expensive products.
However, you still won’t be able to create automation sequences based on behavior.
The final feature that’s new with this plan is A/B testing.
You’ll be able to split-test different aspects of your emails:
In addition to the features from Free and Essentials, you’ll also get a few extra features with MailChimp Standard.
The starting price for MailChimp Standard plan is $14,99/month for up to 500 contacts.
If you have 2,500 contacts, the price will go up to $49,99, and if you want to get in touch with 15k, the price jumps to $159/month.
If you get more than 100k subscribers, you’ll have to upgrade to a different plan.
What do they offer for that price?
This is perhaps the most important part included in the Standard plan.
Behavior-based automation allows you to reach your customers at the right moment for them to convert, purchase, or strengthen their relationship with your brand.
So instead of scheduling your newsletters, you can create automation sequences that adapt to your customers’ schedules.
For example, you can send them an automated email once they try a new feature, or browse through a specific product category on your page.
You can also create powerful IF/THEN MailChimp automations based on different filters to set up your conversion, onboarding, nurturing, and all other kinds of email marketing campaigns.
MailChimp also updated their features with predictions; from predicted demographics, to lookalike audiences that help you find new customers that behave just like your existing best customers through Facebook and Instagram.
You can also calculate customer value from your historic data, as well as determine their purchase likelihood.
This is firmly in the AI territory, but it comes in handy if you plan on majorly scaling.
Even though MailChimp offers social posting with every plan, you can only use social media scheduling after upgrading to Essentials.
This is pretty handy, as you no longer have to pay for tools like Buffer to take care of automated social media posting.
It’s all about automation these days, and MailChimp is definitely getting the hint.
The Essentials plan is also the first plan where you’ll be able to use dynamic content, i.e.
automatically personalize your emails based on different customers’ preferences.
For example, if you have wine and beer lovers among your audiences, each type will see content catered specifically to them.
This means you only have to launch a single email campaign, create two types of content, and MailChimp will take care of everything else!
Similarly, this plan also allows you to use MailChimp’s send time optimization and time zone delivery features.
Every customer will receive your email at the best possible time for them.
Email marketing has really come a long way, hasn’t it?
If you’re already running an extremely profitable business that needs personalization and email marketing automation to scale, you should consider Premium.
This plan offers all the features you can find in the previous plan, with one extra feature.
MailChimp Premium starts from $299/month for up to 10,000 contacts, and the price goes up, depending on how many you have.
Here’s what you need to know:
Multivariate campaigns are like more powerful A/B testing campaigns.
Instead of testing just one aspect, you can test multiple aspects at once and create combinations until you find the perfect one.
I recommend being careful with this one.
Even though MailChimp claims it knows what it’s doing and can help you understand how different variables interact, make sure you apply common sense.
In addition to multivariate campaigns, you’ll also get:
And that’s about it!
So while multivariate campaigns are a nice touch, they’re not really useful to regular business owners, so I wouldn’t recommend this plan.
Let me put it clearly: MailChimp is a great email marketing service.
However, I feel like it’s lost its thread ever since it added extra features like websites and landing pages.
These are nice to have, but you’ll also have to pay a pretty penny without getting the full power.
So if you need email marketing, stick to the Free or Essentials MailChimp plans.
If you need something more powerful, let’s look at...
If you like the idea of having a website, landing pages, and email marketing automation all under one roof, then choose systeme.io:
If you’re here for email marketing and powerful automation, check out ActiveCampaign.
Their features include:
It’s really one of the best email marketing providers when it comes to automation, and it starts from $9/month.
However, its email marketing automation system is similar to systeme.io’s: you can set up IF & THEN automations, and send the right messages depending on the actions your contacts take.
You can read my in-depth review of ActiveCampaign features and pricing here.
Another email marketing tool, ConvertKit has a nice array of features:
ConvertKit also comes with a free plan.
Sendinblue is another email marketing service with a few extra features which include:
Personally, I feel like Sendinblue is a little all over the place and forgets to double-down on what actually matters: converting your customers effectively.
However, it does come with a free plan.
The era of dozens of tools you’re paying for separately is long gone.
Today, when you’re starting or running a business, you need a reliable service that can implement your entire marketing strategy.
Fortunately, systeme.io has everything you need to succeed; from email marketing and sales funnels, to automation and website hosting.
You’ll be ready to hit the ground running!