MailChimp is among the best-known email marketing software applications in part because of its free program, but it offers excellent features and an easy-to-use interface that make it a top choice whether you are sending out a family newsletter to 20 people or a professional marketing campaign to 20,000. Its multiple options for email creation and list loading, plus its high success rate for email delivery earn MailChimp a top spot for email marketing software.
List creation was easy. You can import names and email addresses in bulk, enter individual entries, create a form, or tie MailChimp to another contact program. Like several online marketing systems we evaluated, this one integrates with CRM and contact management systems so you can tie your email campaigns to customer activity.
MailChimp set the bar for form creation. In addition to offering several templates to choose from, it was one of the few applications that let you create forms that popped up or integrated with Facebook fan and business pages.
With MailChimp, you can create segmented lists or send your email to partial lists. You can also set forms to create segmented lists automatically based on information in the forms. For example, if you have a question that asks customers to choose the types of clothes they buy – women's, men's and children's – MailChimp creates lists for each choice, so you can target your campaigns.
This newsletter creator not only lets you import an already HTML-coded newsletter, but if you have your newsletter online, it can copy the code straight from your URL. This makes it convenient if you are using the same format and are just changing some information.
If you need to create an email from scratch, MailChimp has an easy-to use template editor and a variety of templates to select from to get you started. You can drag and drop elements such as text boxes, images or buttons. Clicking on an element gives you the WYSIWYG editor.
The editor is easy to learn, but if you prefer to create a newsletter in your own email provider, say Outlook for example, you can send it to a specific address in MailChimp, and it will be put into your account. From there, you can send it to your list. This is the only email marketing software we tested that has his capability.
The editor itself is easy to use, although one tester found the tiny Next button in the lower right corner annoying. Most programs display the navigation buttons more conspicuously, usually in the upper right where it's easier to see.
Once you've created your email, you can view it in a few different modes. It also checks all aspects of the newsletter before sending it and flags any potential issues. If you send out a test email to someone, you can add instructions to your beta reader so he or she knows what to check.
One advantage to this email software is that you can do A/B testing as well as straight campaigns. With A/B testing, you choose two different emails to send, such as a newsletter with two different subject lines, to parts of your group. Of the two versions, MailChimp determines which one has the highest open rate, and when the test is done, sends the winning email to the contacts in the other group with the lower open rate who didn't open the first email they were sent.
One standout feature of this email marketing software is the time-warp function. Rather than setting a single time, such as 6 a.m. EST, to send out your email, you can direct MailChimp to send it to a local time, such as 6 a.m. in whatever time zone your subscriber lives in. As long as you have the location of your subscribers, MailChimp can get it to them at the best time for them.
For our tests, we sent an email we developed in house and then a MailChimp template email to a list of contacts on several different platforms. MailChimp is one of only three email marketing applications that successfully delivered every email.
MailChimp is the one of the best email marketing software applications because of its flexibility in campaign creation, its easy newsletter creator, responsive list-management system and high delivery success rate. If you are looking for powerful email marketing software, it's a great choice.
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