What Is MailChimp?

And how can your business use it?

Posted by Andrea Baker on

Since it was established in 2001, MailChimp has carved out a highly successful niche in the ever-evolving world of email marketing. Now ranked as the leading email marketing provider, the MailChimp app services over 12 million people and sends out over 1 billion emails each day.

Here's how MailChimp works, and why so many people use its services.

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How it works

A web-based platform, MailChimp is accessible from whatever device you have at hand. It allows you to create and sign into an account where you can compile lists of subscribers and send them group emails using MailChimp's simple templates.

It enables users to let people know what you're up to, advise them of specials or directly send them a weekly blog. This means users come from all sectors of the commercial and non-commercial world - whether it's a blog, restaurant, online store, or veterinary surgery advising of a new flea treatment.


A key feature is you can import your already existing subscriber list from your CRM, spreadsheet, you copy or paste contacts, or manually enter details. In principle, it works on an opt-in basis meaning subscribers need to indicate they wish to hear from you. This gets around anti-spamming legislation, and during set-up includes a feature where you design a form for people to opt-in for your emails. They can also opt-out whenever they wish.

Once you have a list you can set up user groups and segments so you send emails to the people you choose, based on their requirements or special interests.



Designing your newsletter or email is simple using MailChimp's array of templates and drag and drop tools that prompt you to complete details. Emails and newsletters are called "campaigns", and once finalized, enter the MailChimp queue for distribution. They can immediately be sent to a Facebook page or Twitter so you can be noticed by people who may not yet have subscribed.

There is also an RSS feed option, which allows users to send blog posts to subscribers directly a blog or webpage, and the RSS option also has extras like sidebar information where you can incorporate a call to action.


An additional paid feature offered by MailChimp is message automation, so you can automatically update clients, notify them of rewards or information. This feature is activated by a specific trigger like buying a product or subscribing.


Arguably one of the most important assets of this app is its advanced reporting, which enables users to ascertain how many people opened an email, what links they have clicked on and where they are approximately located. This allows more targeted future campaigns to hone communication with customers and people interested in what you do


MailChimp integrates with a staggering number of other apps - over 800 in total. These include the big names like Google, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Shopify, Salesforce and more.


MailChimp has a varied cost structure that caters to business of all size. For small-time operators with fewer than 2000 subscribers, it is free to send up to 12,000 emails each month.

Professional operators with a subscriber list between 1001 and 2600 receive additional features such as marketing automation, targeting and segmentation, A/B testing, and team collaboration for a sliding fee dependent on subscriber numbers that costs between US$20 and US$35 each month. This fee covers unlimited emails.

For big business requiring enterprise level features like performance monitoring, multi-variate testing and more advanced reporting, the price tag is US$199 plus a monthly fee depending on subscriber numbers, and includes unlimited emails.



MailChimp is renowned for its ease of use, from sign-up and setup to intuitive design features that incorporate drag and drop techniques with numerous templates to choose from. The app is also highly regarded for its access to reporting and analytics.

On the downside, while MailChimp has a thorough knowledge database, support is only available for upgraded accounts.

  • Ease of use
  • Easy Automation
  • Free version packed with features
  • Heaps of free templates
  • Templates can be hard to customize
  • Would like more reporting features
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Final Thoughts

There's a reason MailChimp is a leader in the email marketing field, and it's easy to test out if this may be the marketing solution for you by establishing your free account and walking through the process.