This post comes after the news that Mailchimp is making some big changes in 2019. I’ll break down what these changes mean for YOU and whether or not you should switch. Spoiler alert: YES. I’d recommend changing.
When I very first got started with email in 2013, I used Mailchimp. I heard a speaker talk about the importance of an email list and that’s what she recommended. They had a free plan for up to 2000 emails and were a trustworthy company. I stayed with them until 2015, when my goals were different and Convertkit won me over with their fabulous features. I haven’t looked back.
I’ve still recommended Mailchimp to readers as an okay place to start, though they aren’t my favorite. But coming on the heels of their announcement in May 2019, I’m changing my tune. Here’s why and what YOU need to know.
WHAT’S CHANGING IN MAILCHIMP
Mailchimp has been providing a service: allowing businesses big and small to send emails to their customers. (LEGAL emails. Read more about being legal HERE.)
Now Mailchimp is moving to become a “marketing platform.” They are adding features that allow them to be more of a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. That tells us a lot. The keyword being: CUSTOMERS.
In simplest terms, Mailchimp is moving its focus toward bigger businesses and business as a whole. Not mom-and-pop blogs or authors (as much as we really are running businesses). Most of the email services I’ve recommended handle that ONE thing: email. Other big companies like Infusionsoft call themselves a CRM rather than an email service provider. The difference is a different features and a heckuva lot more money.
For most of us, Mailchimp is not focused on providing our needs. But they’ll still provide email, right? Yeah. But I wanted to look at the big picture FIRST–they aren’t here to serve YOU, the author or blogger or creative with a starting-out to average income and business.
Now let’s break down some of the specific changes.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
If you are still using Mailchimp and don’t have more than 2000 subscribers, you’re probably thinking that you’re find and can just stay. You CAN. But there are current and coming changes that will affect you.
- (as noted) the focus is now on bigger businesses as a CRM
- free subscriber count now includes unsubscribes as well as active users
- limited audiences for free plan members
- pricing/credits for month-to-month users
- changes to automation (looks like you can’t add new ones now on the free plan)
More things WILL change, but we simply don’t know yet. My guess would be that they lower the free plan to 1000 or less. There is no need for them to keep people on who are just using them for the free plan. Plus, if you’ve been cleaning your list regularly to stay under 2000, those emails you cleaned will now still count. Under that, my old list wouldn’t be a free plan anymore.
If you’ve been on the legacy PAID plan, you’re grandfathered into their pricing. If you are on the FREE plan, when you hit paying levels, you’ll be getting the new pricing. And the month-to-month users’ credits will stop being active.
In short, you’re getting less bang for your buck.
SO, SHOULD YOU LEAVE MAILCHIMP?
You don’t HAVE to. I mean, if you have 200 subscribers, you’re probably thinking, why waste my time moving?
Here’s the thing: before this, I was barely recommending Mailchimp. Their features are clunky and should be way better and easier to use for as long as they’ve been around. They are a powerhouse and should have had features where you could click a link in an email to add a tag or move you to a group. That kind of thing is so hard in Mailchimp that even after watching tutorials on merge tags, I didn’t get it.
They kind of try to hide this by calling some of their features automations and tagging, but where other companies have sophisticated features called the same things, Mailchimps features just don’t do the job.
The best thing about Mailchimp has been the giant free plan. That will likely change, and fundamentally does now that they are counting unsubscribes.
With average features, they are trustworthy in terms of a reputable company, but their goal isn’t to serve YOU. They don’t even have customer service AT ALL for the free plan.
If you have considered a move, I think this is the kick in the pants that you should use to just do it.
WHAT EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER SHOULD YOU USE?
I’ve tried all the biggies. Well, almost. I haven’t tried Send in Blue or Active Campaign or Infusionsoft. But I’ve tried Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, Tiny Letter, Aweber, ConvertKit, and Mailerlite. That’s a lot. I’ve paid for plans to test things SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
Here are my top two recommendations and who should try each one. I’m an affiliate for each and will share my link, which won’t cost you extra. (And NO, I’m not promoting them because I’m an affiliate. I became an affiliate because I USE and LOVE them.)
Cheapest and Simplest: Mailerlite
This email provider gives you 1000 free emails. They also have features that Mailchimp doesn’t. Their automations are much more powerful and do more. Much more. Once you start paying, it’s not that much AND you have customer service on the free plan.
I use Mailerlite for my Emma St. Clair list, where I essentially have an easy entryway onto my list and sell books. The end.
Most Powerful and Amazing: ConvertKit
I’ve long been an advocate of Convertkit and still am. Their features are fantastic and streamlined. Easy to use and powerful. If you are simply selling books, this is more than you’ll need. But if you have other things going on like sales funnels and lots of lead magnets and things like that, Convertkit’s features beat Mailerlite’s.
I use Convertkit for my Create If Writing List, where I’ve run webinars and hosted live summits and set up sales funnels.
If you’re still unsure, you can check out my post where I go more in depth on which email service provider you should use. READ IT HERE.
You can also read more about Mailchimp:
- David Gaughran- Big Changes at Mailchimp
- Written Word Media- Mailchimp Changes: Everything Authors Need to Know
For now, you CAN stay with Mailchimp if you’re way under the limit. But you might not want to. Eventually, you WILL want to move and it’s much easier to move now than move later. Trust me.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 166 – SHOULD YOU LEAVE MAILCHIMP?
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app!
Also, stay tuned. I’m going to be updating my book, Email Lists Made Easy. Soon. (Every time I want to update, there are new changes…)
Which one has non profit discounts? We run a non profit organization so every penny counts. Any recommendations?
Great question! I haven’t researched that, so you’ll have to check yourself. Sorry that’s not something I’ve looked at, as it’s not in my wheelhouse. 🙂
Egads, if your site is nominally all about professional writing, I would have hoped you could string together a coherent argument. Alas, not.
Yeah, I’m bummed by the changes too, but you didn’t exactly sell me on a move.
PS, you must be doing something right on the SEO front, for this piece to end up in my feed.
My point wasn’t to win anyone over, but to explain why I feel a move makes sense for creatives and authors. No worries if it didn’t convince you. Ultimately, it’s on you and what you think suits you best. If that’s still Mailchimp, then I hope it meets your needs.
Thanks for stopping by!
Craig Gunderson says
Kudos for not responding to that guy’s trolling. He came out of the gate a jerk.
That said, you could go into more detail and make a more convincing argument.
I suspect I need to move my 1000 sub list away from MC, but I think I’m out of free options.
Yeah, at 1000, you probably are out of options that are free. I think Tiny Letter still is, but it’s VERY bare bones. When I tested with it, I could never get my email list to upload and they wouldn’t respond about the glitch, so it’s hard to recommend it. 🙂
This is actually part of my summer podcast series where I”m doing quick questions and answers. There are definitely more drawn-out and compelling arguments that I link to, like David Gaughran’s post if anyone wants a more detailed look.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for the article!
I currently use mail chimp and noticed that my features were different than before. I didn’t know if I somehow imagined that I had less audience options or if I somehow encountered a glitch and had somehow gotten premium features with a free plan, but I lost the privileges that I had before.
You like convert kit and mailerlite. Any thoughts on the other ones? Active campaign? I met the top sales people once and happened to be stuck on a sailboat with them for a few hours. I liked them and thought about switching.
Thanks again for the words!