When to Use MailChimp (free) & Alternatives for When You Shouldn’t

MailChimp is one of the most popular email servers out there and has been for a long time. It’s easy to use and you can have up to 2,000 subscribers FOR FREE. 

Buuut, that doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice. No such thing as a free lunch, folks. 

If you’re looking for a platform that’s really going to give you the power required to level up your business, you may need to look a little further. Let’s dive in:

When You Should Be Using the MailChimp (free)

MailChimp’s free package is a really great option for many circumstances. These would include:

  • A mailing list for recreation - like clubs & organizations that would benefit from more than just a mass email from your Gmail

  • A mailing list for your hobby - for some folks, this includes your blog! If you have a blog or any other site that you don’t intend to monetize (at least right now), MailChimp free is a great option

You might notice the running theme here: no intention of monetizing. If you need an email service provider for functionality but know that it probably won’t wind up paying for itself, free is the way to go.

You’ll also notice that blogs and other online businesses that intend to make a profit are not on the list. Which leads me to…

When You Should NOT Be Using MailChimp (free)

While MailChimp (free) gives you a totally functional email service literally for free, that still doesn’t make it the best option for everyone. This includes:

  • Anyone with a goal to monetize their current or upcoming blog / online business

  • Anyone who has already monetized their blog / online business, especially if you market your products to your email list

  • Anyone looking to build strong, functional email funnels that convert

  • Anyone looking to track the behavior of their subscribers

Now, before you freak out because you’re making money in your business and using MailChimp (free) (or have been told that you can): this is not to say that it can’t be done. And if you feel really strongly about it, love it, and it’s working for you, go for it! 

I’ve had tons of clients come to me with thriving businesses that they’ve grown via MailChimp (free). But, they’re usually coming to me because they’ve hit a wall. They’re ready to upgrade their marketing strategies and quickly learn that MailChimp can’t really grow with them the way they need it to.

It usually ends in selecting a new email service and the impending learning curve that comes with that. Plus extra time to swap out all their forms, move over current automations, and re-test everything to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Even then, once settled in their new email home, I’ve never had anyone tell me it wasn’t worth it. More often, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Still, you might be thinking, “if this is true, why is MailChimp so popular and why are so many people still using it?” Obviously, for some people, it works. Others would rather put the extra time it takes into making MailChimp do things it’s not really intended to do.

Most people start out with the free version of MailChimp because it’s free. When you’re just starting out, it’s super scary to start spending money on your business before you feel like you’re not anywhere close to making it back. I get it, I’ve been there, and I did the same thing.

But, pretty quickly, I was lead to what is now one of my favorite business mantras:

You gotta spend money to make money.

Chances are, you already know this to some degree. You probably paid for your domain name and hosting, and maybe you even paid to have you site designed. And weirdly, sometimes, that money is easier to spend because it feels like a “one-time” startup cost, not an ongoing financial commitment. 

But, if you want to to make money by selling to your list, you need to have a system that gives you the most useful data and your subscribes the best user experience. Having an easy, intuitive system that allows you to create that experience is a plus, too!

Here are some of my faves:

ActiveCampaign “Lite” - $9/month
ActiveCampaign is what I’m recommending to all of my clients right now, and it’s what I’m using for my own business. If you’re in the beginning stages of your business, their “lite” package is hard to beat. It’s well organized, helps you create beautiful and clean automations, allows you to easily have multiple lead magnets, etc. - and for only ten bucks a month.

ConvertKit - $29/month
ConvertKit is another great program. For some it’s a little bit oversimplified, but that’s what makes it feel so user-friendly for those who love it. One thing to note with ConvertKit it is it totally does away with the “multiple list” idea. There’s just one list, but it can be organized via segments and tags. Automations are easy to set up, and it also allows for multiple lead magnets.

If you’re already committed to growing your email list, you might as well to putting it in a place that’s functional, easy to use, and can grow with you. Besides, your business isn’t going to be this small for much longer, right?!

Tell me what you’re using for your email service provider, ask me questions, or tell me I’m full of shit in the comments below!

(Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate of any of the above mentioned email service providers. I receive no compensation of an kind for recommending their service, and will not benefit whatsoever should you choose to use any of these services by clicking the above links.)