Today there is a tendency to underappreciate email marketing effectiveness unlike 5 years ago. I don’t want to challenge it, but I am still sure email marketing is a perfect tool for some routine tasks (personal offers, notifications etc.).
The issue here is: what email marketing service to use? In this article I will compare two services I’m most used to work with: MadMimi and MailChimp. According to my experience I singled out a number of comparing criteria. So, let’s start.
One of the most important things in any service (no matter offline or online) is availability of good technical support. How can you assess the quality of technical support?
- There is opportunity to contact support online (email or chat).
- It takes them less than 1 day to respond.
- There are no weekends for technical support.
- It helps to solve tasks at hand and to troubleshoot the work of the service.
As for MadMimi my experience with their technical support was nearly perfect. They are always ready to do their best to help. With Mailchimp the situation is the same except two things:
- it’s really difficult to find the contacts of tech support on their website.
- Free accounts have only 30 days of technical support included. On a free acc you get only 30 days of tech support.
For a Russian based client neither MailChimp nor MadMimi offer russian localisation, so you’d have to check for it if you expect to receive tech support in your native language.
Like search engines, email services become smarter and smarter. Thus the percent of your spamming mostly depends on the quality of content you send and the reputation of your organisation, because:
- The worse the content is, the higher perсentage of unsubscriptions or of it being marked as spam will there be. This is going to lower your reputation for email services. Low reputation leads to high probability of not going through spam filters. Everything is interconnected.
- The higher the loyalty of your subscribers, the more positive feedback you get (openrate, answers, clicking etc.). This will have a good effect on reputation. So it’s very important to obtain permission for sending emails.
(If you compare )Comparing MadMimi and MailChimp policy of adding new subscribers to your account I believe (turns out) MailChimp is more strict in this respect. MadMimi only prescribes to tick off the source of new contacts, at the same time MailChimp will add a new subscriber to your list if only the subscriber agrees in the greeting newsletter.
Account access permission settings
In my experience there are usually several people in the company who need access to the email service account. Often they have different online-marketing qualification, or even none. Thus it is a must for an email marketing service to have different levels of access to one account.
MadMimi suggests three types of child-accounts: no access to list or promotion (owner of a child account doesn’t see it in his dashboard), full access (he can see, edit and send promotions), and “only view” (just can see with no opportunity to edit or send). MailChimp provides five levels of access, and it is a very important thing that there is “author access”: a person who can write a promotion, but has no ability to send it. So MailChimp provides better user experience in such cases.
Now it’s hard to imagine online-marketing specialist work without drip email campaigns. It is a very useful tool, because you need to customize it only once and after that you will generate leads till the end of times. So availability and simplicity of this feature is a significant criterion for choosing email marketing service. Both MadMimi and MailChimp have the automation feature, but I prefer MailChimp because of it’s simplicity.
No need to deny: price matters, and sometimes it is the most significant feature. MailChimp provides a more flexible and a more complicated planning system at the same time, but in fact MadMimi is cheaper. For instance if you have 2800-5000 subscribers, you will pay 16$ using MadMimi and 50$ if you use MailChimp.
One of the great advantages of using email marketing services is the ability to make nicely designed promotions at the spot. Such services must have numerous variations of templates with a user option to add images, change color scheme, choose fonts and so on. Nevertheless sometimes you cannot avoid more complicating promotion design, so there is a need for html-code import. These features are well implemented in both services, but there is a very important difference between them. It is related to file storage organization. MailChimp provides a special tool for file storage called “Content manager”. With this feature you can store and categorize your files (images, docs, etc.). There are no limits for the total file size. Here’s what mailChimp support had to say:
“There are currently no limits to the number of files that can be stored in Content Manager or the total combined file size. However, it’s important to note that we recommend a maximum file size of 1MB for images, and 10MB for other file types to prevent running into issues during the upload process.”
It is a great feature for online-marketing specialists who work with emails a lot.
A/B testing is a basic online marketing analytic tool. With the help of this tool you can compare the influences of your actions on your target group and choose the most effective way of promotion. Unfortunately there is no convenient feature to test promotions in MadMimi. So if you want to do a/b testing in this service you have to work hard (it makes you work hard for your testing). At the same time MailChimp provides perfect user experience in this case — a particular tool for a/b testing.
If you would use email marketing constantly, you will for sure face the problem of promotions storage. How to find necessary promotion quickly? How to store related promotions together? Both MailChimp and MadMimi provide ability to organize your promotions. But it is implemented more user friendly by MailChimp. Moreover I faced some bugs in this feature in MadMimi.