Should you use a newsletter plugin or MailChimp?

Posted by | June 11, 2013 | Services, Websites | No Comments
Next time you get newsletters from fellow small business owners, scroll down to the bottom and check what software was used to develop or send them. Increasingly, you'll find they are being developed and sent using MailChimp. Until the last few years sending an email marketing campaign was costly for micro business owners. It was a tool used mainly by larger SMEs and big business. You'd pay a setup fee, a monthly fee, a fee per email...  Along came MailChimp, which offers a free service. If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, right now you can send up to 12,000 emails a month. With MailChimp you can select from a range of templates which can be customised fairly easily to match your corporate look. The system will even visit your website and grab your colour scheme. You can customise the code further to create a truly unique template, too. For the beginner, a few clicks will provide you with a smart-looking template which complements your website and branding. You can track click throughs, see whose email bounced and why, and you can be assured your email campaigns will comply with the CAN-SPAM laws. MailChimp takes its security very seriously, and your subscriber lists are totally private. They are for your eyes only. You can further protect your list by using AlterEgo authentication, which makes logging into MailChimp a two-step process with an additional passcode. The snag for some people is that your emails will have the MailChimp logo at the bottom. Even if you are on a paid plan. If you don't like the idea of emails with an email marketing company's logo on them going out under your company name, you can run your own newsletter from your WordPress site, using plugins such as Newsletter. Like MailChimp, Newsletter allows new users to opt in via a form on your website and existing users to unsubscribe with one click. You can have unlimited subscribers and send unlimited emails, all for free. Unlike MailChimp it has a limited range of templates however (six at last count), so in order to make the best of your site you'll have to do some HTML coding or pay a designer such as us to develop a great template for you. To comply with CAN-SPAM laws it will only send up to 100 emails an hour from your website. (MailChimp sends your whole campaign instantly as it is a dedicated email marketing website.)  It's also not as intuitive for a novice to use as MailChimp. We've trialled MailChimp, Newsletter and other WordPress newsletter plugins on some client sites. Out of the plugins Newsletter has been the standout, however on one site we installed it on we had trouble with getting it and the SMTP settings to talk to each other and decided to MailChimp instead, allowing us to get an account, template and campaign up and running inside one hour. Overall, we are recommending our clients use MailChimp. It's secure, it will cost less to have a great-looking template in place and it's very easy to use. Having the logo at the bottom of your emails is a small price to pay. If you are on a paid plan you can share your MailChimp campaigns on your social media sites with one click, however, you can also view your email on MailChimp and copy/paste the link yourself on a free plan. If you'd like to know more about email marketing campaigns and software, do contact us for a chat.

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