If you don't have a mailing list yet, but want to build one as cheap as possible, nothing beats “free”. Unfortunately, there could be many disadvantages with something gratis, and it often ends up costing much more than a paid product.
A while ago, I joined a mailing list, and was immediately sent to another page, from which I could import the mailer's address card directly to my address book.
That impressed me! A totally win-win-situation, since I will be able to receive my mail without having to go to the spam folder first, and he gets a lot more mails out to his target audience.
Now, I must confess that I'm a tiny bit curious of nature (HUSH!) so when I could see the name of the auto-responder service beneith the address card, I could help myself.
What I'd expected to see was an auto-responder service, and that was what I saw… But I didn't expect it to be free in any way.
But that's exactly what MailChimp is, if you can do with 500 subscribers to your liste, and up to 3,000 emails send out per month. If you need more, you can either choose a monthy plan or pay as you go.
Something really nice about MailChimp is the plugins, you can get for free, and use to integrate your email liste to WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, osCommerce, TypePad and several others.
Oh, yes, and it goes without saying that you can send to Twitter automatically, if you want to.
Do you want to send out HTML mails? The graphic interface, and the ease with which you can choose between different pretty design, or even upload your own from your computer, made me almost go bananas… (erm…) And you can make the user choose between HTML, text or mobil format.
It's very easy to create a campagne, and you chan choose between HTML/text mail, text only, split test different titles, or send out as RSS.
If you want to send out an email immediately or a bit later, you should create a “Campaign”. If you want to send out emails automatically, e.g. when a new subscriber joins, two days after, etc., you should go for “Autoresponders”.
During the creation, you can choose if the campaign (which is normally an email) has to be send to the whole list or only parts of it.
They offer strong statistics, so you can check if people click on your links or not, and you can even integrate Google Analytics with your campaign.
MailChimp boosts of some wellknown users as Firefox, and on a blog, they are linking to, you can see testimonials like the following:
“Our deliverability has improved dramatically since we switched to Mail Chimp, which was basically our test to determine if this was a tool we would utilize long-term.”
As a neat detail, you can check your email through the interface and see, how it will look in 30 different email programs. This is not free, though, unless you join through the email, I will send you, when you join my list from this blog post.
The form can easily be translated into other languages, should you need so.
Okay, What's the Cons?
Well, same disadvantage as with any other auto-responder: If you're not satisfied, you have to move your list to a new place. Usually, this means you lose some subscribers.
I found it illogical that I had to choose List -> Forms to create the first email in the auto-responder sequens, but okay… <shrugs>
Even though MailChimp seems like a nice service and offer some possibilites, Aweber doesn't, I'm not personally ready to switch from Aweber. But should I start from scratch today, I would definitely go for the Chimp.
But test it yourself – sign up below (you'll only receive one mail from me):