3 Things To Consider When Using MailChimp

Camron Matschek • May 16th, 2018

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MailChimp is beginning to feel like the dominate newsletter service, and for good reason. They make building and managing an email list easy for anyone and their email design interface is one of the best I've seen. All of these features make it an attractive option for hosting and sending your emails, but as with most technology solutions, things aren't as cut-and-dry as we'd like them to be. We've found a number of things that are important to consider when you're trying to decide what service you use to send your businesses email newsletters and promotions.

1. MailChimp's "Omnivore"

Omnivore is MailChimps abuse-prevention system that tries to determine if you're sending spam or emails that are not within their allowed purposes. While this works most of the time, we've had clients find their accounts disabled when the system mistakenly determined that what they were sending didn't comply with all of their 'Acceptible-Use Policies'. The only recourse they had for appeal was a response to an email address, putting a halt to their daily newsletter that was already in full compliance.

When we have clients that function on a time-sensitive and highly important newsletter schedule, we explain the risks when using MailChimp. Being incorrectly identified by their automated system can completely halt their email sending ability until they can successfully appeal or can export their data into a different service.

2. Deliverability

MailChimp does a really good job managing the trust and use of their email servers, so using them can give you a better chance at getting your emails into your lists inboxes (as opposed to the spam or promotions folder). However, Gmail and others use the knowledge of where the emails come from as an indicator of how to classify your email. We've been seeing more and more people struggle to get their emails into inboxes when using MailChimp or another big-box email service. Email providers are starting to flag emails that come from a MailChimp server as a promotion.

Falling email open rates, especially when dramatic drops, are usually an indication that your emails are going to the "promotions" tab. What we've seen work to remedy this is switching to a different (and ideally lesser-known) email list service, or moving to a custom solution (we like bundling Sendy with Amazon SES).

3. Cost

MailChimp is the brand name, and the cost represents that. Our go-to solution is using Amazon SES, which can cost $1 per 10,000 emails, where MailChimp runs $200 per 10,000. Obviously, using Amazon SES or your own email server has costs of setup and management – we manage this for our clients – that can counter those costs a bit. Usually, if your email list is 25,000 or larger, a custom managed solution works out cheaper.

MailChimp can be a great solution for emailing, but there are instances when it's not your best option. If you're curious if MailChimp is the best choice for you, or if there are alternatives worth exploring, feel free to reach out. We'll help you decide if you need a managed custom email server or can get away with a service such as MailChimp.