Mailchimp has become the gold standard for email CRM, and there are a lot of reasons why we love it so much. We can create, automate, and harness behavioral data to convert.
The only issue it has at times is its price.
In today's guide, we take a look a Mailchimp pricing plans and how we can make sure that we're getting the best value for our money.
(And, yes, we've also crunched some of the numbers for you.)
Mailchimp remains to be one of the top email marketing applications available in the market.
It's used by several large corporations, and a lot of smaller companies have used the platform to scale their commerce through the use of an email campaign.
However, there is a problem with Mailchimp.
It can get really expensive.
They are a company that keeps on innovating. What started as an email marketing platform has grown so powerful that you can now even create a website using their platform.
There are Mailchimp packages that go beyond a thousand dollars, and with the command that they have of the marketplace and the features that they bring, it's easy to find the pricing tables daunting.
They can charge so much because they dominate the market. There are a lot of alternatives to Mailchimp but not a lot of them offer the experience that people have come to expect from the application.
There are still a lot of ways that you can save the most money out of your Mailchimp pricing plan. Today we'll go through features that you may or may not need, and try to make the most out of your email marketing budget.
The first question that you need to answer is: "what are you going to be using Mailchimp for?"
The reason this matters is that Mailchimp has a lot of features, but more often than not, a lot of people end up spending thousands of dollars on things that they don't even have use for.
Take, for example, multivariate testing that comes with the Mailchimp Premium package.
Another thing that you have to consider is the number of contacts that you have. You can pretty much get a custom plan from Mailchimp as long as you have 200,000 contacts, but if you are eyeing Premium and you have less than 10,000, the platform won't even let you set up an account.
There are significant considerations when it comes to features, what you want to (and can) do with the plan and the size of your audience.
When you can't determine the excellent mix of these three variables, you could end up spending too much on your subscription with Mailchimp, or worse, not making the most of what you're already paying for.
Most people don't even need the best plan and could have easily gone with Essentials, but sometimes they are just drawn in.
Let's get this fact out of the way.
The premium package is expensive.
And, there's a lot of reason why the folks over at Mailchimp are charging so much for the premium package.
First of all, if you're doing A/B testing, forget testing two emails over two sets of people. They've got multivariate testing, which allows you to test different combinations of different variables from one single dashboard.
And, that's not at all. You can easily plug in the variables that you have using a wizard-like interface. We love this feature because it will even allow you to choose what your winning combination is going to look like.
We all know that the secret to proper growth hacking is proper reporting, because it allows your campaigns to be agile and flexible, and the pro plan comes with what they call "Comparative Reporting."
It's a cool reporting tool that allows you to compare engagement factors so that you can make sure you consistently hit your targets.
Now the question that comes to mind is.
"Is it worth the money?"
Well, compared to the Standard Mailchimp plan, it's going to cost around $200 more for the same number of email contacts. Now, we're not putting down the technology and intuitive features that come with the Mailchimp Premium Packages.
But here's what it looks like:
|Monthly Cost||Number of Contacts||Cost Per Contact|
Say you have 20,000 contacts:
For Premium subscribers, that will cost you $0.01995 per connection per month.
For the Standard package, that's $0.00945 and $0.00795 for the Essentials package. That $200 difference monthly stacks up in the long run and $2,400 a year could be used towards other sources to drive up revenues.
However, here's the thing.
If you have less than 10,000 email contacts, you won't be allowed to get a premium subscription. This makes sense because you'll need at least 5,000 contacts to do multivariate testing.
If email marketing is a significant source of revenue for your organization, then the costs can be justified.
Multivariate testing does go a long way in creating more effective campaigns, and the method of reporting that Mailchimp has is reliable when it comes to insights about the behavior of people who interact and engage with your email.
The other benefit of the premium package is the ability to send 3 million emails a month - the highest out of all five packages that they have. This is compared to 10,000 emails on the Essentials plan.
A lot of large-scale companies can benefit a lot from the Premium package as long as they clean up their email lists on a regular basis – but more on that later.
In the long run, if you have a lot of subscribers and a lot of people that you have to interact with on a regular basis, it could be worth investing in the premium package.
The Standard Mailchimp package is the go-to package. It's priced reasonably, and it comes with a bunch of features that make it stand out from the Essentials package.
The price difference between the Premium and Standard packages is significant, and it is designed to cater to up to 100,000 contacts.
At a starting price of 15 bucks a month, you can't go wrong with it.
One thing that sets it apart from the Essentials package is the event-based automation feature that it comes with, meaning that marketing automation can be done more effectively.
This helps when you are trying to nurture a lead through your sales pipeline or if you want to send emails automatically.
It also gives you the Customer Lifetime Value to rate your customers and a method to get a lookalike audience, just like Facebook's lookalike audience feature.
|Monthly Cost||Number of Contacts||Cost Per Contact|
As per pricing, the standard package can offer you a lot of special bell-and-whistles at only a tiny step up from the price of the Essentials package.
To put it into perspective, if you have 20,000 contacts on the Essentials package, it will cost you only $30 more to get the extra features.
This will make a considerable difference in your campaign.
You can now have access to 5 audiences instead of 3, plus you also get the ability to optimize send times via the time zone of the contacts that you are reaching out to.
If you wish to check out the Mailchimp experience without all the frills, then the Essentials package is a great way to move forward.
The first thing you'll notice – assuming you've upgraded from the free version – is that you won't have the Mailchimp advertising at the bottom of your emails and that you will now have access to custom branding.
Once you start paying for the service, they'll give you access to their customer support system, which is available 24/7.
The Essentials package comes with all the email templates, so now crafting marketing and sales replies will get easier.
But here's the critical part.
You now have the ability to do split testing.
It might not be the multivariate approach, such as the one available with the Premium package, but you will now have the opportunity to start monitoring results from two campaigns and start tweaking to create more effective ones.
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Just like the previous tables, as your contacts start piling up, the monthly cost per contact will also begin to drop.
What you can do is to subscribe to the Essentials plan only when you have reached 2,500 email contacts.
The reasoning behind it is simple, the free version of Mailchimp allows you to have 2,000 email contacts – albeit with only one audience, the advertising at the bottom, and the 10,000 email limit.
Technically, if you don't have any use for the other features, you're better off with a free version altogether.
|Monthly Cost||Number of Contacts||Cost Per Contact|
Once your email list is in 20,000 – or if you have the need for the other Mailchimp features, then it makes sense to start upgrading the account that you have.
Standard is still the best way to go if you ask us.
Everyone's tried the free version of Mailchimp at least once, and if you're looking for the most significant savings, there's no doubt getting it for free is the best way to go about it.
Organizations with limited budgets and marketing teams who need the bare minimum still use the free service. It offers a number of features such as an audience dashboard, behavioral targeting features like purchase behavior, and a content studio.
However, as with everything that's free, there a number of limitations, and mainly the most significant obstacle has to do with how you can scale your business with the free version.
For a company to grow, you need to expand your network, and unless you're a specially niched out industry, you might find the 2,000 contact limit a little problematic.
The 10,000 monthly email sends can also prove to be a challenge because this means you can only send an average of five emails to one person every month.
This might work for people who just want to send out weekly newsletters, but if you want automation, you could soon end up with a massive problem.
A lot of people have tried to hop around this obstacle by ensuring that their lists are clean and that they perform proper email hygiene, but the issue is the free version won't work if you're targeting more significant segments of a market.
The other problems of the free version are the lack of A/B testing facilities – which is a non-negotiable for a lot of growth hackers, the absence of all the useful email templates, and advanced audience insights.
For many marketers, the free version might be great for the first couple of weeks – or maybe even months – but aren't enough to scale.
Plus, who likes looking at the small piece of Mailchimp advertising at the bottom of your email? That just won't work for a regular growth hacker. You need something that's uniquely branded to your organization.
However, some marketers might maintain smaller lists or won't have to send too many emails.
They might want more advanced features, but the cost won't be able to justify the utility. In these particular cases, Mailchimp also offers an alternative that we will discuss in the section.
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Mailchimp's Pay As You Go plan is an excellent alternative for growth hackers who don't have the need to use the service on a regular basis. You can scale or downsize your email marketing plan depending on market conditions.
This makes the most sense if you're sending out newsletters, or in an industry that doesn't require you to send updates often.
The way it works is that it allows you to buy email credits whenever you need them.
The Pay As You Go plan provides users with the same features as Mailchimp's Essentials plan. This means you get templates, custom branding, a sound support system, automation, and, of course, their CRM features.
All the features of the free plan are included, and they get rid of that piece of advertising on your email footer.
The credits are valid for 12 months, so it's pretty much a yearly prepaid subscription if you think about it.
Pay As You Go is an excellent alternative if you want to save on your marketing budget.
But you can save even more.
We crunched the numbers again, and the optimal minimum amount that you should shell out for credits is at least $200, which is 10,000 credits.
At this level, you'll be spending $0.02 per credit compared to getting 5,000 credits for $150, which amounts to $0.03 per credit. The 50-dollar difference is worth it for savings of 33 percent per contact.
The cost per credit remains the same up to 75,000 credits, which costs $1,500.00.
But, this is where it gets tricky.
|Cost||Number of Credits||Cost per Credit|
As you can see in this table, it's time to consider adding an extra $500 to $1,000, if you're willing to spend $1,500 for 75,000 credits. This drops the price per credit down to $0.01 and $0.00125, respectively.
We don't think a lot of people jump on the $10,000 bandwagon because, at this rate, Mailchimp even offers their customers an option to create their own customized plans to make things easier for them and possibly save them a little more money.
However, if you're going to buy more than a million credits, maybe it's time that you consider getting a Mailchimp Essentials plan.
The benefits associated with a Pay As You Go plan are only realized for special campaigns, so make sure that you compare the prices from their packages before you choose to go along this route.
Some may argue that with the pricing plans of Pay As You Go, you could be better off with increasing your email volume, but these plans are great for periodical campaigns or one-offs.
Cybersecurity has become a growing concern, especially over the last couple of years. Bad security has hurt a lot of companies, and this is why Mailchimp offers a 10 percent discount for three months if you secure your account.
A 10 percent discount just for you to make sure that no one accesses your account.
In any case, if you want to avail the discount, you've got to enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) on your account. However, note that once you decide to disable it, even for a while and enable it again, the discount won't be made available for you any longer.
They offer an option if you're using an app or if you want to enable it via SMS messaging.
If you're running marketing for a non-profit, then you automatically qualify for a 15 percent discount on their services.
There is a distinction between non-profits based in the United States and internationally. If you're in the States, make sure you scan your 501c3 determination letter.
International organizations can just provide a link to their website, but they might ask for additional proof.
Here's a quick note to remember: if you manage to stack both the non-profit discount and the cybersecurity one, you won't get a 25 percent discount; instead, it will be totaled up to 23.5 percent.
If you already have a Mailchimp subscription, here's news for you.
You can still save a lot of money.
And, all you need to do is make sure that you have great contacts on the platform. A lot of Mailchimp users are wasting so much money on their inactive subscribers or emails that are invalid.
It's important to track.
(Especially those who are on the Pay As You Go plan.)
Low-quality subscribers will hurt you.
No matter where you are with your email marketing campaign, it's probably time that you start cleaning up your list.
There are a couple of ways for you to start cleaning up your email list on Mailchimp.
Create a filter to check which people are still opening your emails. If you find that they're simply ignoring the stuff that you are sending out, it's time that you got rid of them.
You could try another campaign with the unresponsive contacts, but if you feel that they are still unresponsive, then it's time that you move on. Start by removing them from your list.
Duplicate contacts are another thing that you should constantly watch out for. They can bog down your list and cost you unnecessary expenses.
Mailchimp might be expensive, but it is one of the best ways that you can supercharge your email campaign.
However, you have to be careful that you do not end up paying for features that you do not even need or paying too little for special tools that can take your growth to the next level.
For most organizations, the Standard Mailchimp plan can prove to be worth the extra dollars.
If you do reach a point where you determine that email is going to be a major source of your revenue, then there is no doubt that you should start looking at the Premium package.
Don't buy it if you don't need it.
A lot of marketers have experienced large overheads because of the extra monthly costs that don't pay attention to.
By understanding what needs your organization faces, you can not only save money but create campaigns that are more effective at bringing in better conversions and traffic for your organization.
Mailchimp is only a tool, and it is still up to the growth hacker to use the tool effectively in bringing home proper conversions - with the proper Mailchimp pricing plans.
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Feature Image as Joshua Mulvey
Growth Marketer |
Forbes Top 12 Innovative Founders |
CEO at BAMF