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Mailchimp is Changing...

What does All In One Marketing mean to you?

by | May 17, 2019

UPDATED Monday 20th May 10am (London BST)

THE CHIMPOSIUM

On Monday December 9th, Chimp Answers is running a live, one day training event on how to build an email marketing system using Mailchimp.

The training will be recorded and made available to all attendees.

If you're struggling with any aspect of Mailchimp then this training will help give you the answers you need.

n.b. Warning.  This is a very ‘dry’ post about Mailchimp… but it’s important – and I’ve tried to keep it a bit light… but be warned!

The All in One Marketing Platform

On May 15th 2019, Mailchimp sent an email out to their users announcing a few changes.

…OK… It’s a bit bigger than that (although it might not seem to you)… and signals a change in focus for the business… one that will undoubtedly have some ramifications down the road.

Now I’m not here to pass comment on what this means for you longer term, that will shake out over time… but what I am here for is to give you an insight into the specific changes that will affect those of us who have always used Mailchimp for just email.

Although this announcement signals that Mailchimp isn’t just for email anymore, email is still at the core of what Mailchimp does and this isn’t going to change.

…they’re just going to do things a bit differently.

The implications for you as a current (legacy) Mailchimp user

So you currently use Mailchimp with a free account, a monthly paid account or a pay as you go user?

If so, here’s where you can learn about the specific implications for what you can do now with your account AND what you can do in the future.

Click a link to jump to a specific section… or just check the whole thing out…

Current Free Users, Click Here

Current Monthly Users, Click Here

Current Pay as you Go Users, Click Here

To check out my conclusions on the whole thing, Click Here

Current (Legacy) Free Mailchimp Users

One of the best things about Mailchimp for many is that much of the functionality you get as a paying customer you get as a free customer as well… (or at least, you did!)

Existing free users are likely to be affected the most by this changes – and I’ll demonstrate for each aspect what’s staying, what’s changing, and what (if anything) you can do about it.

Are you a Mailchimp Free Account user – and want to know how to make the most of Mailchimp?
Register for our soon to be released Guide to the changes to Mailchimp and how to make the most of the free level (and some clever workarounds for the limitations)..

Register now!

  • Total Subscriber Count
    • Used to be – as long as you had less than 2,000 subscribers, you wouldn’t have to pay – you didn’t have to pay for any cleaned, non-subscribed (transactional) or unsubscribed addresses.
    • Is now – it’s still 2,000 subscribers, but as Mailchimp is now positioning itself as an “all in one” solution and offering you the chance to speak to non-subscribed/unsubscribed people via other channels (or at least use their information), they now get added in to your total count.
    • Which means – you need to be aware of how many actual people are on your list (including the non-subs/unsubs) – if this over 2,000 on June 15th, Mailchimp will ask you to either upgrade or archive some of your data.
    • Best solution – Mailchimp now gives you the chance to “archive” contacts – which maintains their information (And allows you to un-archive them in the future).  Just go through your audience and move all those unsubs/non-subs into the Archive section to ensure you’re under the 2,000 come June 15th.
  • Audiences (aka Lists)
    • Used to be – you could have as many audiences (lists) as you want
    • Is now – all of your existing audiences are ‘grandfathered in’ which means you won’t need to get rid of any – however you will not be able to create new audiences, as all new Free accounts are limited to 1 audience.
    • Which means – you can’t create new audiences… but then again, you should probably only have one anyway!
    • Best solution – not necessarily part of this update, but as a best practice, it’s accepted you should have only one audience anyway for a whole variety of reasons
  • Templates
    • Used to be – you could use any template you want, even custom HTML ones
    • Is now – all of your existing templates are ‘grandfathered in’ which means you won’t be forced to remove any – however you won’t have access to anything above the basic templates moving forward.
    • Which means – you’re stuck with basic templates if you want to create new ones.
    • Best Solution – I’ve a personal viewpoint that many emails sent worry too much about how they look and not what’s in them.  95% of all the templates I create for myself (and my clients) are basic templates with appropriate imagery and branding – which means this change will drive you to use simpler templates and let the content show through (which is never a bad thing in my view!)
  • Automations
    • Used to be – you could use any custom you want, even advanced, multi-step ones
    • Is now – all your existing automations are ‘grandfathered in’ which means they’ll still work as advertised… however you can’t add more emails to them and any new emails are limited to a single email per automation
    • Which means – you need to get creative if you want to develop new, multi-step automations in the future.
    • Best Solution – You can still do many automations (which is good!) so it’s not a major loss, but if you are in to advanced automation and lots of different “paths”, then you will have to change the way you work, likely following the ‘daisy-chain’ system that some of us “old chimps” had to do before Mailchimp upped their automation game.  This means using a “post send action” to update a tag/group, and then triggering a new automation based on that update.  It’s a bit laborious… but hey… you’re still not paying for it!
  • Users
    • Used to be – you could have as many users logged in as you wanted.
    • Is now – all existing users are ‘grandfathered in’ which means everyone can access your system, but you can’t add any more standard users (agencies can still be added as support though)
    • Which means – if you need to add someone to your account, you either have to share your username & password (not good in my book), or add them as an agency – and in fact if you have agencies or VA’s working on your account, you should add them as an agency anyways
    • Best Solution – not ideal if you want to expand users (the agency allows for a workaround), but don’t remove users even if they leave as you’ll probably not be allowed to add them again – best to put their username and password into storage for a rainy day!
  • Sending
    • Used to be – you could send an email whenever and take advantage of things like A/B testing
    • Is now – some of the more advanced options are removed (like A/B) but you can still schedule emails into the future (although more advanced scheduling is still not available)
    • Which means – not much!

Conclusions for Free (Legacy) Mailchimp users

Ultimately, if you are just using Mailchimp to send basic emails, the changes that Mailchimp are making for existing free Mailchimp users aren’t a huge issue. You still have limited support (apart from the amazing people in the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group)

However, if you’re looking to squeeze every last drop out of the free solution, then your options have been curtailed a little… but in my view many of the things you will lose are either things that you don’t need (advanced templates), things you probably should be looking to improve (audience management) or things you can work around (automations).

Plus, keeping your database tidy and removing dead/unsubscribed individuals isn’t a bad thing… you’re now incentivised for it!

Plus… YOU”RE NOT PAYING ANYTHING FOR IT!!!

Current (Legacy) Monthly Mailchimp Users

If you currently pay for Mailchimp as a monthly user – the key thing you need to know is that for you, currently, nothing changes.

Yep… you can still do everything you want with Mailchimp and you’re not going to lose anything from the updates… well almost.

  • Total Subscriber Count
    • Used to be – you paid based on the number of actual subscribers you had across all audiences – you didn’t have to pay for any cleaned, non-subscribed (transactional) or unsubscribed addresses.
    • Is now – As Mailchimp is now positioning itself as an “all in one” solution and offering you the chance to speak to non-subscribed/unsubscribed people via other channels (or at least use their information), they now get added in to your total count.
      UPDATE – Mailchimp has changed this and now you won’t have to pay for your non/un-subscribes come June 15th 🙂
    • Which means – you need to be aware of how many actual people are on your list (including the non-subs/unsubs) – you’ll be paying for them come June 15th. No change…
    • Best solution – Mailchimp now gives you the chance to “archive” contacts – which maintains their information (And allows you to un-archive them in the future).  Just go through your audience and move all those unsubs/non-subs into the Archive section to ensure you’re limiting your costs come June 15th.  Of course, you can keep them live and use retargeting and postcards to communicate to them as well. No Action required
  • Audiences (aka Lists)
    • Used to be – you could have as many audiences (lists) as you want
    • Is now – no change… if you want to create more you can
    • Which means – no changes required – although should you decide to move over to the new Mailchimp plans then you will have audience limits.
    • Best solution – no changes, but as a best practice, it’s accepted you should have only one audience anyway for a whole variety of reasons
  • Templates
    • Used to be – you could use any template you want, even custom HTML ones
    • Is now – no change, create and customise away
    • Which means – no changes…
    • Best Solution – I’ve a personal viewpoint that many emails sent worry too much about how they look and not what’s in them.  95% of all the templates I create for myself (and my clients) are basic templates with appropriate imagery and branding – but if you want to go crazy with custom templates, go for it
  • Automations
    • Used to be – you could use any custom you want, even advanced, multi-step ones
    • Is now – no change, they are all still there for lots of creative ways to automate communication, unless you move onto a new plan where some are limited
    • Which means – nothing for you to do.
    • Best Solution – If you ever decide to change to the new plans, then there are two levels, Essentials and Standard – and you only get multi-step automations on the Standard package – so be aware of this.
  • Users
    • Used to be – you could have as many users logged in as you wanted.
    • Is now – no change, unless you feel you need to downgrade to the Essential plan, which will limit your user numbers
    • Which means – if you need to add someone to your account, you can… but if they are an agency, you should probably add them as an agency
    • Best Solution – no real changes
  • Sending
    • Used to be – you could send an email whenever and take advantage of things like A/B testing
    • Is now – you can still do the same… but again if you ever decide to move to the new packages, you may have some limitations.
    • Which means – not much!
    • Best Solution – you’re already using it!

Conclusions for Monthly (Legacy) Mailchimp users

The resounding message here is that apart from archiving unsubscribed users, there’s not much to shout about (hint – go and sort out your unsubscribes now and ensure you don’t start paying for them on June 15th).

If you want to move to the new package because of some bells and whistles that Mailchimp have built in, then you do need to understand that things might be a bit different and your users/audiences might be somewhat limited… but after much research there’s no reason for you to change and upgrade things… yet.

If you want to drop to the essential level then you might get some cost saving, but the loss in solutions would probably cost more than what you saved… and moving over the standard level makes no sense, especially as it might actually cost a little more at some levels.

However, knowing Mailchimp I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve a few new things up their sleeves (have you seen the tempting reference to websites in some of their communication) which might make moving to the new level something worthwhile… albeit not anything you need to worry about in the short term.

So the key conclusion is “Move along… nothing to see here…”… but keep your lists tidy and archive the dead.

Current (Legacy) Pay as You Go Mailchimp Users

I know that it’s not the most popular option, but there are some people who use the Pay as You Go (PAYG) for their email marketing and if you are one of them there are a few changes to take into account.

Here’s what the changes mean for you…

  • Total Subscriber Count
    • Used to be – you paid for the emails you send…
    • Is now – you still pay for emails you send.
    • Which means – no real change
    • Best solution – move along, nothing to see here.
  • Audiences (aka Lists)
    • Used to be – you could have as many audiences (lists) as you want
    • Is now – PAYG accounts are now at the “essential” level, so you get 3 audiences max.  If you’ve got more, you keep them and they are grandfathered in, but if you want new, you have to upgrade to a monthly plan.
    • Which means – keep the audiences you’ve got… or you may have an issue.
    • Best solution – no major issues hopefully, but as a best practice, it’s accepted you should have only one audience anyway for a whole variety of reasons
  • Templates
    • Used to be – you could use any template you want, even custom HTML ones
    • Is now – any existing templates are grandfathered in… but you won’t be able to add custom coded templates anymore.
    • Which means – no new crazy templates for you
    • Best Solution – I’ve a personal viewpoint that many emails sent worry too much about how they look and not what’s in them.  95% of all the templates I create for myself (and my clients) are basic templates with appropriate imagery and branding – but if you want to go crazy with custom templates, go for it – just know you can’t upload completely new fully customised templates
  • Automations
    • Used to be – you could use any custom you want, even advanced, multi-step ones
    • Is now – all your existing automations are ‘grandfathered in’ which means they’ll still work as advertised… however you can’t add more emails to them and any new emails are limited to a single email per automation, unless you move to the Standard monthly plan.
    • Which means – you need to get creative if you want to develop new, multi-step automations in the future.
    • Best Solution – You can still do many automations (which is good!) so it’s not a major loss, but if you are in to advanced automation and lots of different “paths”, then you will have to change the way you work, likely following the ‘daisy-chain’ system that some of us “old chimps” had to do before Mailchimp upped their automation game.  This means using a “post send action” to update a tag/group, and then triggering a new automation based on that update.  Not ideal.
  • Users
    • Used to be – you could have as many users logged in as you wanted.
    • Is now – all existing users are ‘grandfathered in’ which means everyone can access your system, but you can’t add any more standard users (agencies can still be added as support though)
    • Which means – if you need to add someone to your account, you either have to share your username & password (not good in my book), or add them as an agency – and in fact if you have agencies or VA’s working on your account, you should add them as an agency anyways
    • Best Solution – not ideal if you want to expand users (the agency allows for a workaround), but don’t remove users even if they leave as you’ll probably not be allowed to add them again – best to put their username and password into storage for a rainy day!
  • Sending
    • Used to be – you could send an email whenever and take advantage of things like A/B testing
    • Is now – some of the more advanced options are removed (like A/B) but you can still schedule emails into the future (although more advanced scheduling is still not available)
    • Which means – not much!

Conclusions for Pay As You Go (Legacy) Mailchimp users

It doesn’t affect many of you, and if you are a PAYG customer, chances are that you are using the system in a specific way, which doesn’t take into account things like automations etc.

… but you still need to be aware of the implications of the new set up – and the new limits.

Forewarned is forearmed…

Conclusions on the All New MailChimp…

Nobody likes change… even if the changes are for the better in the long term, we always look at the immediate impact and the work involved because of the change.

Yes, the Free level changes do have some impacts… and some people will undoubtedly move away from Mailchimp… BUT… as I remind people regularly.

“you pays your money, you takes your choice”…

Even with the changes, you’re still getting a great email system with lots of flexibility that makes it much easier to communicate with others…and you’re not paying for it – which is still a bargain!

As for existing paying customers, there’s not a huge change (although PAYG customers do have a few things to consider)… you don’t need to do much apart from check your non-subscribers/unsubscribed.

You could argue that Mailchimp are just looking to make more money… but understanding the bigger picture behind what they are doing makes sense, and although it’s a pain, their plans in the future will justify it.

… but I see the short term pain… and feel it…

Change hurts… but sometimes it’s the consequence of moving forward.

If there’s anything in this article which is missing, please let me know and I’ll work to update it – and of course shout me with any questions on this change.

Are you an Agency or VA?
Click here to let us know and register for future Mailchimp training specifically designed for agencies and VA’s just like you. 
Robin Adams

Robin Adams

Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.

1 Comment

  1. David

    I send out the monthly newsletter for a tiny non-profit organisation using a free account, and the changes have been a serious problem for us. We don’t have any funding for a monthly subscription but do have the capability (i.e. me) to generate HTML newsletters automatically from our website. All that has been wiped out this month when I suddenly discovered that custom HTML no longer works. I’ve experimented with pasting HTML into Mailchimp templates and with providers such as Gmail the end result simply doesn’t look anywhere near as good.

    So we are regrettably going to have to ditch Mailchimp. I’ve tried MailerLite, but again the free version doesn’t support custom HTML. Any suggestions for a free mailer out there that does? Getting a bit desperate to get our newsletter out and haven’t found a solution yet!

    Reply

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