Mailchimp changes: the low down
On May 15 Mailchimp announced that they aren’t just an email platform anymore, instead calling themselves an all-in-one marketing platform. 😱
Their new direction aims to give their users a one-stop-shop for marketing themselves – whether they want to send an email, create a Facebook ad, send a postcard and even schedule a social media post … and coming soon, websites!
Yes, the largest email service provider wants to take over end-to-end management of all of your marketing needs. They want to compete with the likes of Squarespace, Wix and Shopify (which makes sense after recently breaking ties with Shopify’s native integration).
But for now, let’s just focus on their current changes and what it means for you as a Mailchimp account holder.
Mailchimp’s changes will affect all existing account holders, however the most affected will be those on a free plan.
So, we all know that one of the best things about Mailchimp is that free account holders have been able to access most of the same functionality as a paying user. This was what attracted start-ups and those with teeny-weeny marketing budgets to the platform because they could access really powerful tools without paying a cent.
Now, as a free account holder, you’ll still have access to some functions, but these will be more limited.
The good news is that Mailchimp won’t be taking anything away so whatever you already have set up in your free account will remain as it is… phew!
The BIGGEST NEWS that will affect ALL account holders is how Mailchimp classify their total subscriber count for audiences.
It used to be that as long as you had less than 2,000 subscribers you wouldn’t have to pay to play. In this instance subscribers were only classified as ‘active’ contacts and you didn’t have to pay for any cleaned, non-subscribed (transactional) or unsubscribed addresses.
Now, the limit is still up to 2,000 subscribers, however Mailchimp is now classifying these as active subscribers AND non-subscribers AND unsubscribes. So, your total subscriber count will reach 2,000 contacts much quicker.
If you’re already closing in on 2,000 subscribers and think this change will put you over the limit then you have until June 15 either clean out or archive inactive data.
Here’s a quick guide to explaining the different Mailchimp terms:
1. Subscriber – someone who is actively subscribed to your email list.
2. Unsubscribe – someone who has unsubscribed from your email list and no longer wants to receive emails from you. Note: you can’t delete/remove unsubs from your list because Mailchimp need to know who they are so that they can’t be added back in – unless they opt back in themselves via one of your forms.
3. Non-subscribed – someone who has either purchased from your store but has not signed up to your marketing emails, therefore they can still receive transactional emails from you. ALSO, someone who may have signed up to your list but not confirmed their subscription by clicking on the link.
4. Cleaned – an email address that has been ‘cleaned’ out of your list because it’s deemed as undeliverable by Mailchimp due to a hard or soft bounce.
If you already have an account then clean or archive some of your list before June 15 otherwise Mailchimp will pause your account and ask you to upgrade.
What is archiving?
Archiving data in Mailchimp maintains contact information while not making it ‘active’. It also takes these contacts out of the total subscriber count so they won’t be counted towards your total. As a bonus you also get to un-archive them in the future.
To action this, go through your unsubscribes and non-subscribes manually and move them into the Archive section by June 15.
So why has Mailchimp made this change?
It comes back reinventing themselves as an all-in-one marketing platform.
Think of the platform as a place that captures data for various marketing activities of which email is one. So in the future, yes, someone could unsubscribe from your email list, but you may still be able to target them for Facebook ads, direct mail etc.
Let’s talk about Audiences
Best practise for most businesses it to keep ONE list of all your subscribers and use tags and groups to differentiate segments of your audience.
Mailchimp are taking this one step further by only allowing free account holders to have ONE audience list.
The good news is that Mailchimp will honour any multiple lists you may have already set up, you just won’t be able to create new ones. This may become a problem down the track if you have very different customer profiles that make sense to keep separate.
For the love of templates!
One of the things Mailchimp is known for is it’s easy drag ‘n drop template builder with beautiful pre-set themes and the ability to create custom HTML ones too.
Now, free accounts will only be able to access eight basic templates to create new campaigns.
Once again, the good news is if you already have custom templates set up, you get to keep them. You just won’t be able to create new ones.
In saying that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with basic templates. They still allow you to include text and imagery like you normally would. And at the end of the day, emails are about showcasing your amazing and engaging content in the easiest to read way possible.
In fact, this could be a great time saver!
Oh no … automations too!!
Yes, I’m afraid so. And in my view this one’s a biggy because automations related to your productivity!
Free account holders have been able to enjoy creating custom multi-stepped email sequences, however moving forward they will only be able to create simple two-step automations, so think: trigger (step 1) and email (step 2).
Once again, the good news is that any existing automations you have you can keep. Phew! You just won’t be able to create new ones. Boo! Also, you won’t be able to add to your existing automations. Double boo!
The way to get around this is getting familiar with something called a post-send action to update a tag or a group. By doing this you’ll be able to trigger a new email automation and then add a post-send action to that.
Here’s a handy guide from Mailchimp.
And since we’re on a roll…
Sending an email – A/B split testing on free accounts has been removed. Also, you can still schedule emails but advanced scheduling is not available.
Users – you can no longer have multiple users accessing your account – unless they are registered as an agency. Good news again for existing logins as all of these will remain.
Moving forward you will either need to share your username and password or add a new user as an agency. Tip: Don’t delete existing users, instead keep them and re-use later.
So, to re-cap…
1. Before June 15 – remove inactive subscribers or archive unsubscribes. A good rule of thumb is to not have people on your account if you’re not going to use them.
2. Free accounts can only have ONE list. It’s a good thing and will make you use tags and groups which is best practise.
3. Free accounts will still be able to create templates using eight basic ones. Remember to focus on creating valuable content first and foremost.
4. Existing multi-step automations will stay, but free accounts won’t be able to create new ones unless they are single-step post-send actions.
5. You can’t lose what you’ve already got in place – you just can’t add in anything new e.g. custom template or multi-step automation.
If you only want to use Mailchimp for email: STAY.
Their free plan gives you enough to still send lovely emails to your subscribers. Just be sure to regularly archive unsubscribes and clean out in-actives.
If you want to grow with Mailchimp and are happy to pay for previously free features: UPGRADE.
It’s not like their entire interface is changing. It’s still the same old Mailchimp you know and love, you just need to pay for it.
If one of the main reasons you’ve stayed with Mailchimp is its features were free then MOVE.
Honestly, if you’re going be paying for functionality such as automations then you’re better off shopping around. Mailchimp adapted its platform to accommodate automations whereas other platforms were purpose built for such a thing.
In my blog post: Mail Chimp And Shopify Break Up – What It Means For You, I scope three alternatives to Mailchimp including Klayvio, Active Campaign and Omnisend.
If you want to chat through your options in more detail, you can take advantage of my FREE 30 minute consult calls. BOOK HERE.