Mailchimp Review & Pricing (2020) | Is It The Best Email Marketing Software For Beginners?
Mailchimp is still among the most popular email marketing tools for beginner bloggers and online marketers. In fact, it has become a fully integrated online marketing platform that goes way beyond traditional email marketing. Nearly every marketer has an opinion about this big player in the email marketing space - here's our take.
I have a special place in my heart for Mailchimp.
It’s a great product, yes. But without it, I couldn’t have experienced a world-class email marketing product when I was just starting out as a blogger in 2012.
Except for Mailchimp, none of the other email marketing tools offered free plans back then (there are a few others now) and I was just too broke to purchase a premium product.
Mailchimp is still among the most popular email marketing tools for beginner bloggers and online marketers. In fact, it has become a fully integrated online marketing platform that goes way beyond traditional email marketing.
But is it worth paying for?
Is it the right tool for advanced email marketers as well?
Does it offer you all the features and tools you need to build a successful email marketing and lead generation strategy for your business?
And most importantly, is the pricing for its paid plans justified?
I’ll answer all these questions in this detailed Mailchimp review.
What is Mailchimp? Review & Product Details
Mailchimp is a leading online marketing and lead generation software product with more than 12 million active users around the world.
Founded in 2001, Mailchimp is primarily known as a powerful email marketing tool that’s popular among small businesses and beginner bloggers because of its Free Plan.
But over the last few years, it has evolved into a fully integrated online marketing platform that gives you multi-channel marketing capabilities with features like hosted domains & websites, landing pages, social media advertising, email marketing, automation, A/B testing, lookalike audiences, and a lot more.
Email marketing, however, still remains its strongest suite.
According to Datanyze, a marketing research company, Mailchimp dominates the email marketing industry with a whopping 64.7% market share.
I knew Mailchimp was popular but this study really blew me away.
Again, this popularity is probably because Mailchimp was among the first top-quality email marketing services to offer a completely free plan for up to 2000 subscribers.
A large number of Mailchimp’s free users upgrade to its paid plans instead of switching to other email marketing services because of the features and benefits it offers.
As a paid Mailchimp user, you get everything from email marketing and automation to website & landing page building tools and social media marketing capabilities on one platform.
This is why Mailchimp is comparable to any other premium email marketing automation tools right now.
However, their recent pricing changes haven’t done any favors to their target audience.
Let me explain more in the next section.
Mailchimp Pricing & Free Plan - Is Mailchimp Free?
Mailchimp revised its pricing plans in 2019 which sparked a lot of debate on whether the changes were justified or not.
I’ll tell you what I think about it but let’s have a look at the different Mailchimp pricing plans first.
As you can see, Mailchimp offers four different pricing plans - Free, Essential, Standard, and Premium.
Understandably, Mailchimp Free Plan is very popular among beginner bloggers and small businesses.
It gives you basic email marketing features along with autoresponders, surveys, websites, landing pages, and several other features.
As a free Mailchimp user, you can maintain a list of up to 2000 subscribers and send 10,000 emails per month.
For advanced features like behavioral automation, If-then drip campaigns, advanced A/B testing, Retargeting via Facebook and Instagram, and 24/7 email & chat support, you’ll need to go for one of its paid plans.
Mailchimp’s Standard Plan, which has the best features for most bloggers, online marketers, and small businesses, starts at $14.99/month.
But that’s for up to 500 subscribers only.
When your list grows, you’ll have to pay more.
For 501-2500 subscribers, you’ll be charged $49.99/month
For 5000 subscribers, you’ll be paying $74.99/month.
And when I say subscribers, remember that the subscribed, unsubscribed, and non-subscribed contacts all make up your audience count in Mailchimp.
I have no problem with subscriber-based pricing but this is slightly expensive when compared with other email marketing services in the same category.
Plus, I don’t like being charged for unsubscribed contacts. That doesn’t sound fair to me. But Mailchimp isn’t the only service to do this kind of pricing.
There’s no Free Trial for the paid Mailchimp plans but you can sign up for the Free Plan if you want to experience the product.
Other than the standard pricing plans I’ve shared, Mailchimp also offers a “Pay As You Go” plan in which you can purchase credits for sending emails and using other Mailchimp features. You can learn more about this plan here.
So what do I think about the Mailchimp pricing plans?
They’re slightly higher than some of the other email marketing space but considering all the features Mailchimp offers it saves you from spending money on several other tools.
For example, you can create landing pages, websites, email pop-ups, and social media retargeting campaigns with it along with all the standard email marketing features.
If you’re an advanced user and utilize Mailchimp to its full potential, the price seems justified.
Don’t’ forget, it’s still a very good marketing automation product we’re talking about.
For beginners, however, the pricing isn’t ideal.
Let me give you a quick look at some of its pros and cons so that you have a better understanding of what it offers.
Mailchimp Pros & Cons, Strengths & Weaknesses
Before we analyze Mailchimp features in detail, let’s have a look at some of its main strengths and weaknesses.
- An attractive Free Plan that offers up to 2000 subscribers with all the basic email marketing features
- Intuitive design and user interface
- Very good drag & drop email builder
- A large collection of email design templates
- Decent A/B testing features for email broadcasts
- A form building tool you can use to create different types of pop-ups (exit intent, delayed, etc.) and opt-in forms
- Plenty of responsive email opt-in form templates
- An easy to use landing page builder
- Automation workflows based on subscriber activitiy, tags, and interaction with your emails
- A platform for creating Facebook and Instagram ads based on your email audience
- Create lookalike audiences from your email lists
- High-quality blog content, email marketing guides and a comprehensive knowledge base to help customers
- Both subscribed and unsubscribed users are counted in your contact limit
- Very limited landing page templates
- The pricing plans are not beginner-friendly
- Advanced automation workflows are missing
- No visual automation builder to create workflows
- No A/B testing features for landing pages and opt-in forms
Mailchimp Features - Everything You Need For Email Marketing
Mailchimp offers an impressive range of online marketing and lead generation features to its paid users.
Standard Email Marketing Features
Mailchimp gives you all the standard email marketing and automation features that are comparable to most other leading products in this industry.
Here’s a detailed look at some of its main features and benefits.
Subscriber management is one of the most important aspects of any email marketing tool.
In Mailchimp, you can manage your contacts in four different ways.
Audiences (previously called Lists) are the primary way of managing contacts in Mailchimp. Every Audience is a separate contact list made up of subscribers from different sources.
For example, if you own multiple sites, you can create separate contact lists for every site. Or you could create different lists for different products/courses you’re selling on the same site.
Mailchimp free users can only create one Audience while customers in Essential and Standard plans can create 3 and 5 Audiences respectively.
You can add new contacts to your Audience manually, by connecting it with a Mailchimp opt-in form, or a third party list building tool.
You can create multiple segments within an Audience to further categorize your contacts based on their behavior or common traits.
This helps you send more personalized and focused email campaigns to specific segments instead of mass emailing all your contacts.
Mailchimp gives you lots of different segmenting options.
For example, in the screenshot below, I’m segmenting a list based on Campaign Activity (how they responded to my emails)
But there many other factors based on which you can create segments.
Overall, you can add up to five conditions to include or exclude contacts in a segment and filter exactly the type of contacts you’re looking for.
Tags are keyword-based labels you can assign to your contacts in order to identify them based on their behavior, source, or any other noteworthy factor.
For example, you can tag any subscribers who come from a specific lead magnet or landing page.
Groups are categories your subscribers choose to describe themselves while signing up to your list.
For example, an entrepreneurship blog can ask its subscribers whether they’re freelancers, small business owners, consultants, or product creators.
Your subscribers will e grouped together based on their responses.
How To Use Mailchimp Audience Management Options
Apart from using Audiences, Segments, Tags, and Groups to organize your contacts according to their interests and behavior, you can use them to send targeted email campaigns.
For example, you can send email campaigns to subscribers in a particular or contacts with a certain.
You can also build automation sequences based on different tags and Audiences.
You need sign-up forms and pop-ups on your site to convert visitors into email subscribers.
With Mailchimp, it’s pretty easy to create different types of popups and embedded forms for your website and landing pages.
To create a form, click the “Signup Form” link from the “Create” menu in your dashboard.
Choose Embedded Form or Popup Form from the top menu and select the list for which you want to create it.
I chose the Pop-up form option which too me to the form builder tool.
Here you can choose different form layouts, add your brand image, and customize the look of your pop-up.
You can also choose exactly when to show your pop-up. For example, immediately when a visitor lands on your page or when visitors are about to exit your page (exit intent pop-ups)
You can add subscribers from individual pop-ups to different audience segments or assign them tags for better management.
If you’re creating an embedded for, you can copy/paste its code to your site after configuring it in Mailchimp.
If you’re using WordPress, then simply install the Mailchimp WordPress Plugin to display pop-ups and forms on your site.
Overall, I like the simplicity of this Mailchimp feature but would’ve liked more display rules for better audience targeting.
Mailchimp’s email builder tool is one of the best I’ve seen in the email marketing industry.
It’s very easy to use, with no confusing or complex, options. Plus a drag & drop interface in which you can literally create any type of email within minutes.
The same email builder is used for single emails, campaigns, and autoresponders.
To create an email, click on “Email” in the Create menu in your dashboard.
Next, you’ll need to name your campaign and choose the type of email you want to create (regular, automated or plain text)
I’ve chosen “Regular” emails for this demonstration.
This takes us to the main email builder interface where you can choose your email recipients, choose the sender name and email, create a subject line, add preview text, and design your email.
While choosing recipients, you can choose your whole list, target a smaller segment of your audience, or contacts with specific tags.
If you collect the first names of your subscribers during sign up (which you should), you can also check the “Personalize” option to address subscribers by name in your emails.
Next, click on Design Email to start creating your email content. You can choose from a long list of Mailchimp’s email templates or start from scratch by choosing a blank email template.
This is where the real fun starts.
You can use Mailchimp’s drag & drop email builder to create any type of email and any elements to your content.
There are tons of styling options for every element and the overall email template as well.
Once you’re done creating your email, you can test it on different devices to make sure everything looks perfect, and send it at once.
Alternatively, you could schedule the campaign for later or choose Send Time Optimization (paid plans only) to let Mailchimp send the email on maximum engagement times for each subscriber.
There are several other email options and settings that you can configure before sending or scheduling your email campaigns.
You can enable click tracking, eCommerce link tracking, integrate Google Analytics, or enable conversations on your emails.
Overall, Mailchimp has a pretty impressive email builder tool which is simple for beginners but has all the advanced options you can imagine.
Content Studio is a pretty useful Mailchimp tool that can save a lot of time while creating email campaigns and landing pages.
Here’s what it does.
You can upload all your images, videos, and brand assets to Content Studio, connect your Facebook/Instagram accounts or link it with your eCommerce store.
Content Studio will automatically pull all the multimedia files and brand assets to Mailchimp and make them available whenever you want to create email campaigns or landing pages.
Plus, it gives you basic image editing options, along with a huge library of GIFs, so that you can customize images according to your target audience.
Modern-day email marketing is incomplete without drip campaigns (automated email sequences).
Mailchimp offers several ready to use automation sequences which I’ll discuss later. But to create drip campaigns, click on Create-->Email-->Automated
Click on “Custom” to create custom automation sequences and drip campaigns for your email list.
If you’re using Mailchimp Free Plan, you won’t be able to create more than one automated email per workflow.
But paid plans allow complete drip campaigns with multiple emails based on If-Then conditions.
You can configure your workflow in the custom automation section and select the conditions that trigger a campaign, its schedule, target audience, and next step.
There are different campaign triggers from which you can choose. For example, you can trigger a sequence when a visitor purchases a product on your site or clicks on a link in your email campaigns.
You can also use advanced triggers but for that, you’ll need a developer to configure Mailchimp API for you (if you can’t do it yourself)
These are the settings for an individual email. Once you’re done with them, you can add more emails to your drip campaign and configure them the same way.
Mailchimp drip campaigns can be targeted towards subscribers with specific tags, complete audience lists, or segments within your audiences.
Overall, Mailchimp offers decent automation features especially for beginners and small businesses but the absence of a visual drip campaign builder and the need for a developer to configure advanced automation leaves a lot to be desired.
Advanced email marketers might not enjoy using these features as much.
There are plenty of ready to use automation sequences in Mailchimp that you can use to engage your audience and increase your email marketing ROI.
You can choose them from Create-->Email-->Automated section.
From here, you can choose any of the ready to use automation workflows. For example, you can automatically send birthday emails to your subscribers, welcome email sequences, blog updates, or follow-ups on your previous campaigns.
You also have the option of sending a single automated email or a series of emails. This is particularly useful if you want to host an email course or an educational series for your subscribers.
You can also send abandoned cart emails to any subscribers who leave a purchase mid-way on your site by connecting it with your Mailchimp account.
Advanced website event-based automation sequences are also available in Mailchimp but you’ll need to configure Mailchimp API on your site for it.
Just like drip campaigns, the overall Mailchimp automation features cover most bases but need to be more user friendly in order to really compete with the leading marketing automation tools right now.
You can create pretty awesome lead generation and eCommerce landing pages with Mailchimp. Shoppable landing pages, in particular, is a really useful feature using which you can create fully responsive eCommerce landing pages integrated with Square payments.
Using Shoppable landing pages you can launch eCommerce email campaigns and allow users to purchase from your landing pages directly.
Mailchimp currently offers 10 landing page templates but new ones are being added.
You can also start with a blank canvas or edit the templates to match your brand’s style and colors using the landing page builder tool.
Just like Mailchimp’s email builder tool, the landing page builder also uses a drag & drop interface with lots of editing options.
You can literally change everything on a page and replace it with your brand’s colors, images, icons, and content.
To sell products and accept online payments on your landing page, you’ll need to connect your Square account with Mailchimp.
Other payment options are not available for now.
With this landing page builder tool, you can create landing pages for lead magnets, social media lead generation campaigns, or product sales campaigns without using a third-party landing page app.
Plus, it is connected with your Mailchimp Content Studio which means all your images and brand assets are already there for you to use on your landing pages.
Mailchimp offers some pretty good A/B testing (called Split Testing as well) for email campaigns
Split testing is a conversion optimization technique to find the best performing version of your email.
With Mailchimp, you can run A/B tests on four different elements of your email campaign - Subject Line, From Name, Content, Send Time
In basic A/B testing, you can test one element per test. For example, when you test different subject lines, you can’t test the From Name in the same test.
However, in higher-priced plans, you can also perform multivariant testing in which multiple factors can be changed and tested together.
is chosen based on the criteria you define in the settings of your A/B
For now, A/B testing is only available for email campaigns, not for landing pages or opt-in forms which is a bit of a letdown.
Otherwise, the A/B testing features in Mailchimp are better than many other email marketing tools I’ve used.
Unique Features of Mailchimp
Other than the standard email marketing features, Mailchimp offers several unique options that you won’t find in other similar products.
Mailchimp comes with a pretty useful drag & drop website builder using which you can create your website and host it on Mailchimp servers as a part of your subscription package.
All websites come with a free .mailchimsites.com domain name. You can also purchase a .com domain from Mailchimp or connect an existing domain with your Mailchimp site.
Here’s an example of what you can create with the Mailchimp website builder.
Mailchimp’s website builder works just like its landing page and email builders. It uses drag & drop blocks with which you can create web pages from scratch or edit existing website templates.
You can add as many pages and sections to your website as you want, and edit them individually.
You can’t compare this website builder with WordPress or Squarespace but if you’re looking to save money on website design and hosting, Mailchimp website builder is a pretty useful tool to create your fully hosted and secure website.
Mailchimp Lookalike audiences is an innovative feature that helps you grow your subscriber base quickly by reaching out to people who’re similar to your existing subscribers.
You can do this through social media ads and email campaigns.
In social ads, Mailchimp targets new Facebook and Instagram users on your behalf based on your current subscriber base.
In email campaigns, Mailchimp finds new subscribers for you from its own database.
All you need to do is to create a landing page, an email, and choose a segment of your audience that you want Mailchimp to replicate.
Based on your target audience and location, Mailchimp will send your email to people who’re similar to your subscribers. They can click on your email offer, visit your landing page, and convert into subscribers.
Wrapping Up Mailchimp Features
As you can see, Mailchimp has lots of innovative email marketing features that you can use to create impactful campaigns. It has other features such as detailed analytics, social ads, postcards, etc. that I couldn’t cover in this post.
But clearly, there’s a lot you can do with Mailchimp especially if you’re a small business owner or beginner blogger.
Advanced marketers would probably want more automation features in Mailchimp.
Mailchimp Integrations | Getting More Out Of Mailchimp
Mailchimp integrates with more than 300 different applications and tools.
Here are a few of them.
a. Mailchimp Integration With Website Platforms
Mailchimp can be used on all with all the leading website platforms and content management systems (CMS)
- Mailchimp Integration With WordPress
You can easily integrate Mailchimp with your WordPress site by installing the official Mailchimp WordPress plugin.
You can use the plugin to create and manage sign-up forms and pop-ups on your site and integrate with other Wordpress tools.
Mailchimp also has a premium WordPress plugin that offers several other advanced features.
- Mailchimp Integration With Squarespace
You can use Mailchimp with Squarespace to collect emails, publish forms, and display pop-ups on your site. To execute the integration, you’ll need to edit your Squarespace DNS Settings and manually authenticate Mailchimp’s connection with your site.
You can follow the step by step process from this help article.
- Mailchimp Integration With Wix
You can easily connect your Wix site with Mailchimp by enabling Mailchimp from Wix Marketing Integration section.
Connecting Mailchimp would allow you to automatically transfer all your Wix contacts to your Mailchimp Audiences.
b. Mailchimp Integration With Landing Page Builders
Mailchimp’s landing page tool is pretty useful. But if you’re already using another landing page builder, you can connect it with Mailchimp easily.
- Mailchimp Integration With ClickFunnels
To connect your Mailchimp account with ClickFunnels, you’ll need to generate a Mailchimp API key from the integrations section.
You’ll then connect your ClickFunnels account with Mailchimp by copying the API key to the Mailchimp app in ClickFunnels.
You can find the step by step process here.
- Mailchimp Integration With LeadPages
Mailchimp and LeadPages can be connected using the Mailchimp API key.
You can find the step by step process here.
- Mailchimp Integration With Unbounce
Unbounce is another top quality landing page and lead generation tool that you can directly connect with your Mailchimp account.
To integrate the apps, you don’t need an API. Simply head over to the integrations section in Unbounce, select Mailchimp, log in to your account and choose the list you want to connect.
You can view the step by step process here.
c. Mailchimp Integration With Other Tools
There are tons of other tools that integrate with Mailchimp.
- Mailchimp Integration With Salesforce
To connect your Salesforce account with Mailchimp you’ll need to install the Mailchimp app for Salesforce.
Once the app is installed, you need to authenticate your account by logging into Mailchimp from Salesforce.
You can find the step by step process here.
- Mailchimp Integration With Facebook
You can easily integrate your Facebook account with Mailchimp from the Integration section in your Mailchimp account.
Once Mailchimp and Facebook are linked, you can show sign up forms on your Facebook Page and run Facebook ads campaigns from Mailchimp.
You can find the detailed instructions here
- Mailchimp Integration With Google Analytics
By integrating your Google Analytics account with Mailchimp, you can track campaign stats and individual email performance in Google Analytics.
Read the detailed instructions here.
Mailchimp Reviews - User Feedback & Testimonials
As you’ve seen, Mailchimp is a powerful all-in-one marketing tool that not only powers your email marketing strategy but also helps you adopt an overall integrated online marketing approach.
Most of the online reviews about Mailchimp, especially by newbies and small businesses, are quite positive.
It has average user ratings of 4.3 and 4.5 on G2 and Capterra respectively.
And there are lots of people who’re singing its praises on social media as well.
But there are many dissatisfied users as well.
The general feedback on different forums and online review sites about Mailchimp is quite positive.
However, people aren’t really happy about their recent pricing changes.
Mailchimp Alternatives - Other Email Marketing Software You Can Use
In case you’re not convinced that Mailchimp is the right email marketing tool for you, there are several alternatives you can try.
Mailchimp Alternative#1: Mailchimp vs. ConvertKit
ConvertKit is a sloid marketing automation tool and a pretty good Mailchimp alternative.
Like Mailchimp, ConvertKit also offers a Free Plan but it’s limited to 1000 subscribers only (Mailchimp allows 2000 subscribers).
Its premium plan starts from $29/month for 1000 subscribers with a 14-day free trial.
Mailchimp Alternative # 2: Mailchimp vs. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is another popular Mailchimp alternative that offers all the standard and several advanced email marketing features.
It offers two paid plans at $20 and $45 per month respectively for up to 500 subscribers. You also get the first month free as a paid subscriber.
However, there’s no free plan on offer like Mailchimp.
Mailchimp Alternative # 3: Mailchimp vs. Klaviyo
Klaviyo is a popular email and SMS marketing platform that is often mentioned as a possible Mailchimp alternative.
Its premium version is priced at $30 for 1000 subscribers with unlimited emails and automation features.
However, it doesn’t offer the range of features you get with Mailchimp at a slightly lower price.
Mailchimp Review Verdict - Is It The Right Email Marketing Software For You?
Is Mailchimp worth your money?
It’s a tricky question.
Let me explain.
There’s no doubt that Mailchimp offers all the email marketing and automation features (plus a lot more) that any beginner or small business needs.
Plus, it offers a very attractive free plan that’s a lifesaver for anyone just starting out in the online marketing space.
However, its automation features aren’t as intuitive and detailed as some of the other leading email marketing products.
Plus, its pricing plans aren’t as flexible as its competitors.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate marketer with a limited budget, Mailchimp is right for you if you make use of all the features it offers, for example landing pages, website builder, pop-ups, etc.
For advanced marketers, Mailchimp is an ideal product if they know how to make use fo the advanced automation features using Mailchimp API.
Overall, there’s no question about the quality of Mailchimp as a service provider and if you become a paid subscriber, you won’t regret it.