Mailchimp Drops Mega Marketing News Bomb
As Ben Chestnut, Mailchimp’s co-founder and CEO puts it:
"Our email marketing product has helped millions of businesses grow, but our customers have been asking for years for us to build something that would enable them to do all of their marketing in one place."
That one place has arrived.
An ape puts on a postal cap
Mailchimp was founded in the hazy hangover of the dot.com crash in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius. The duo first tried to make inwards into the marketing world with a web design firm catering to big business and mega-corporations.
Except they noticed a gap in the industry: Smaller clients were missing a simple and affordable way to leverage the power of emails for marketing. Then, in 2001, Mailchimp was born, albeit at first as a side project.
Six years later, they retired their web design firm to focus exclusively on Mailchimp. In 2009, they launched a freemium version of the service and quickly racked up close to half a million new users.
Since then, Mailchimp has been the dominant name in email marketing for SMBs, startups and independent entrepreneurs.
Their success is easy to figure: The free platform makes it super easy to build email marketing campaigns, target specific customers, collect data on how people engage with email campaigns, and set up automated triggers to reconnect with customers based on user activity.
These days, they can count on 14,000 new users, and about 10 Billion emails being sent through Mailchimp, every single day. With that kind of growth, it’s no wonder the Mailchimp team has finally come around to thinking outside the email message box.
Hey Mailchimp, what’s new?
Mailchimp offers a slew of new features, including a new CRM which makes it’s easy to import all your audience data, segment, and tag individuals and groups, get better analytical stats in the new dashboard, and set up triggers for automated messages.
It’s all part of the greater all-in-one marketing platform, which includes new features like signup forms, landing pages and social ads, among others.
Since Mailchimp users were already collecting data on their customers, organizing that data in a more robust customer relationship management platform is an obvious upgrade.
With Mailchimp CRM, all your contact data is in one place—use Tags to build audience insight and send targeted messages, Groups are created through a form field and give your customers the oppurtunity to tell you what they would like to receive, while Segments help you discover more specific subsets of your audience using demographic and behavioral data.
Two new tools that really add something special to CRM are the customer lifetime value and the purchase likelihood predictors. These tools leverage an array of past data to create segments based on their results for you to act on. For example, you can send a nudge to anyone the purchase likelihood tool ranks as “high,” likely sealing more deals shortly after.
The Mailchimp CRM helps you find information that you may not even have known you already had—all this in the name of building stronger customer relationships.
More exciting features beyond CRM exist too. First of all, the platform has renamed contact lists as audiences. Everything about the old lists still works, except now you get a more holistic view of your contacts. It shows you at a glance how you are attracting new contacts, their demographic details, and their engagement history.
It’s all done on the new audience dashboard. You can launch a new campaign by clicking anywhere on the dashboard and pre-built segments help you target contacts through growth sources, tags, locations, and email engagement.
For example, if you want to send a “thank you gift” message to all of your Big Spender contacts, you can effortlessly target each contact through the assigned Big Spender tag.
There are a lot of ways customers can reach your site, and a signup form is a great first step to keep a brand front-of-mind once they leave. Mailchimp’s new form feature requires zero code to help keep that engagement going.
You can create a stunning form choosing your logo, colors, backgrounds, and fonts, even stick an attention-grabbing CTA on there too. The form can be static right on the landing page, or it can be a pop-up. These forms work on all devices too.
Finally, you can get reports on the sources of your signupees, which is great for further segmentation.
Mailchimp now helps users create great-looking landing pages quickly and easily.
The platform offers templates with some ready-made categories like special offers, product highlights, presale opportunities, contest announcements, and free downloads.
In the past, a landing page redirected users to another page where they can shop, but no more. Now, Mailchimp users can sell directly from their landing pages. Less steps means less abandoned carts.
Of course, a landing page is only as good as the data it generates, so Mailchimp has also added some nice reporting here too.
It seems obvious people spend more time on social media than they do on email—there’s just so much more to do, read, and interact with. Now Mailchimp has social ads to help you get into that space.
So far, these ads work with Facebook and Instagram, and like every other facet of the Mailchimp marketing platform, you also get reporting on ads.
Creating social ads is just as easy as any email campaign or landing page. All assets you’ve ever previously used, like pictures or other media, are saved in your content studio. Building ads is a matter of drag-’n’-drop, and Mailchimp even optimizes the spacing and dimensions depending on the device.
Here’s a decent tool to expand your audience base without cold calling or pounding the pavement. It’s called lookalike audience finder, and the way it works is pretty clever (and nowhere near as invasive as the previous methods).
Basically, you choose contacts with your CRM and give the data to Mailchimp, who then looks within their massive audience network to match your contacts’ interests, helping you reach out to those who have similar interests to your existing audience.
Even though Mailchimp is taking on more tasks under their new marketing platform, it’s still a versatile player on the field with other useful apps. There are about 190 integrations, from service operation Accelo, all the way to integration automation Zapier.
Another development is that Mailchimp no longer functions directly within the Shopify platform. No fret, they’re already at your service with many workaround options, with ShopSync being a quick free route.
One thing that made Mailchimp so popular with SMBs was that it was free, and despite the huge expansion in their platform, there is still a great free option. This includes the new audience dashboard, tags, and segments, contact profiles, landing pages, social posting, reporting and still so much more.
Paid versions start at $9.99 to $259 per month depending on the number of contacts; this is the “Essential” plan, and has, among other things, A/B testing.
It’s $14.99 to $499 for the “standard” plan, which includes things like retargeting ads. The “Premium” plan goes from $299 to $1,099, and it’s got everything and more for an unlimited number of users.
Market tech for the masses
Thee mighty Mailchimp has climbed down from its email niche tree, to finally roam the full landscape of all-inclusive marketing. This is pretty mega news in the business-SaaS universe. It’s sure to delight tons of people, while also sending some competitors running and hollering for the trees.
But for the team behind Mailchimp, it’s not about gobbling up market share. Mailchimp’s moves have always come in response to their own customers’ needs. And so many of the most loyal customers are SMBs—the quiet but steady engines of our modern economy.
Chestnut pledges that they are “dedicated to democratizing marketing technology for small business, and providing the latest, most powerful tools at affordable prices.”
Not unlike the bone-to-space station match cut in 2001: A Space Odyssey, it seems Mailchimp has pulled off a successful evolutionary leap—from emails for the many to a full marketing platform for the masses.