It’s easy to be swept away with hearsay on the internet, even more so when a certain tone starts to fill the air on a chosen topic. Just look at the recent Momo and ‘fake news’ scandals as examples where one article is leaked, and suddenly it’s considered ‘fact’ and everyone is outraged. The joy’s of the internet, eh?I

Look closer.

Although in many cases there is no smoke without fire (Momo being an exception…) which is where I have seen the recent outrage at Mailchimp’s new features and pricing plan. There have been changes and, yes, the facts behind the news are true – the free plan is much more streamlined in terms of its feature-set. But this is a good thing.

A quick scroll through the new pricing plans could easily encourage the casual viewer into thinking that Mailchimp has put a cap on what you can do for the money (or for free in some instances). As the numbers suggest, there are now more restrictive caps on how many emails you can send each month – and free users are only allowed a single log-in, where previously you had the option of more than one (which was, admittedly, great for agencies managing clients’ free accounts). The other restriction being that email templates have been reduced on the free plan.

Other industries make feature updates and price changes. So what’s the fuss?

I haven’t seen an internet outrage at car manufacturers for releasing a new model. So we shouldn’t be mad that Mailchimp has done the service equivalent of the same thing. It’s time for an update and to refresh the ‘model’ so new features are added and the platform becomes more functional and better for everyone. So naturally, if you make something more functional, and updated, to fit the needs of the modern business, then prices are going to be adjusted too. Just like a new BMW every year has its features tweaked – sometimes lots get added and sometimes some of the ‘as standard’ or ‘free’ features are removed, and customers are expected to now pay extra for it. But what matters is that overall you still end up with a realistic package that keeps Mailchimp in a position to stay in business and service its customers.

To suggest that you now have to “pay for unsubscribers” was a little odd for me. An unsubscriber is making a clear statement to you: “I don’t want to receive your emails anymore”. But there are now other ways to market beyond email and Mailchimp is facilitating that. If your focus is purely on email then you’ll need to archive your unsubscribed contacts to ensure they don’t count towards your audience total.

It’s also a good reminder to be aware that each time you send out an email there may be instances where your email won’t be delivered (a soft bounce) – usually because a broken/stale email address has snuck into your audience. After a  few failed attempts (a hard bounce occurs) and your contact becomes a ‘Cleaned contact’ – you can try to fix these using common sense (if there’s a spelling error) but ultimately if they remain ‘cleaned’ then you need to delete them.

If your list contains unsubscribed and cleaned contacts, why are you keeping them?

We’ve created a ‘How-to’ video for archiving unsubscribed contacts (only necessary if you’re ONLY using Mailchimp for email.

https://vimeo.com/339053996

Mailchimp’s new features are encouraging best practice – clean up your audience!

Mailchimp will allow you to archive those who have unsubscribed so you can keep track of who you shouldn’t be contacting (great for cross-checking for GDPR requests!) and yet it keeps them out of your total number so that you don’t pay for them. The same applies for hard bounces – delete them, so you don’t pay for them. However, it’s largely irrelevant whether you’re paying for them or not – it’s best practice to clean out the invalid accounts that are making your campaigns look bad on your reports.

The best things in business aren’t free.

With today’s technology giving start-ups access to many tools for ‘free’ it’s generating an unrealistic expectation with users who now expect everything for free – but if that were true in most industries then we would all struggle to make money as no one would pay for a product or service again…

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.

Ayn Rand

Netflix doesn’t get a backlash after the free trial period when you have to subscribe and pay $9.99 a month to access your favourite content. It’s accepted that you only get free for so long then you have to pay. So why should a business tool be free forever? Mailchimps’ free plan was and is a fantastic tool and won’t force you to pay for it a month or two down the line. But we have to level our expectations – if you want your business to have access to such powerful tools and features then you’re going to have to invest – starting at the same price as you pay for Spotify, per month, so hardly breaking the bank for most small businesses. You get a full suite of tools that can help you make more money. That’s a no-brainer for me.

Just look at these other business tools that we happily pay for without question:

Microsoft Office: $8.25pm

Adobe Suite: $20.99+pm (one app)

Quickbooks: $10+pm

The essentials plan has even added Audiences (making this the perfect plan for those focussing purely on email) allowing you to focus attention on your segments in a much more inclusive manner – Mailchimp CEO & Founder, Ben Chestnut stated on launch that customers who want to focus purely on email won’t have to pay extra to have features (beyond email) that they won’t use. Those that want to use the new social media features and deeper analytics can step up to the Standard or Premium plan to unlock the full suite of tools, not forgetting that this could soon give you even more for the money especially with the mention of websites “on the way”.

Don’t forget that once you’ve got your account up and running, there is a whole range of tools, guides and other resources on the Mailchimp website to allow you ‘free’ access to ways to get the most from your Marketing. Something that’s not listed as a feature of all of the plans but is a massive library of information at your fingertips.

Recap.

So things have changed – new features have been added, and some have been pushed up to add value to paid packages. Leaving Mailchimp as still one of the best value for money tools in business today and can easily add value to your sales and marketing when used properly.

Cleaning up mailing lists is a relatively straightforward task to undertake within Mailchimp and can save you money. The platform isn’t charging you for unsubscribes it’s changing how we view an audience rather than just being about email addresses it’s about who you can market to on a broader scale (postcards, social media etc.) so naturally someone who unsubscribes from your email list may not want to unsubscribe from your social media, so it makes sense to keep them and pay for them. If you don’t want to pay, then clean up your lists – it’s best practice and will improve your reporting.

Invest in your business in ways that can help you gain exposure and leads that can be converted to sales. Email is still a powerful tool to aid in achieving this and Mailchimp offers huge value for money with its latest plans, without the need to break the bank.

If you are finding you’re still struggling to get the most form your Email marketing with Mailchimp then get in touch to chat through your options with one of the team – we are Mailchimp experts!

[email protected]

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