Sometimes you come across that little something on the internet that gives you a wow moment and just makes your job a whole lot easier. You wonder "where have you been all my life". I had one of those epiphanies when I first came across and started using Mailchimp.
What is Mailchimp?
Well I'm glad you asked that. Mailchimp is in essence a glorified Mail-merge function with a lot of options attached to it including automation and integration. I cannot speak highly enough about this site, it's functions and options. I went from using website/database and mail merge software which could take me days to setup a campaign, to click, bang, bong. Done.
If you are looking for a method to build customer list(s), maintain contact with that list, integrate with your WordPress site and existing lists, as well as other integration and automation options, then Mailchimp is for you. It was built with the term "one man band" in mind. Mailchimp in a nutshell.
Integration with WordPress sites
Mailchimp integrates seamlessly with any WordPress site with a custom WordPress plugin that maintains a synchronized copy of your user-list between your site and Mailchimp. Blah Blah Blah, just means that when you add a new user to either your website or Mailchimp list, they are reflected between both. Why is that important?
It serves two fold. First you can create campaigns and email outs with ease. You don't have to build a new list every time you do a mail-merge. Secondly and probably more important, you have 2 separate identical copies of your customer list. If you lose your database or website, you can rebuild from Mailchimp. If you accidentally delete your list from Mailchimp you can rebuild from your website no problem. We all know the value of our lists. For some, if you lose this, you lose your livelihood. This just provides a little bit more insurance and costs nothing.
Legality and Spamming laws.
With the introduction of anti spamming laws around the world, and more every day, it gets hard to keep up with the different requirements for different regions of the world. Mailchimp takes care of all that so that you don't have to. If new laws are introduced or existing ones change, Mailchimp notifies you of any changes and handles those changes to make sure you meet their requirement(s). That's another thing you don't have to worry about.
Nothing worst than being blacklisted because of some law change you knew nothing about has been released or having to make mass changes to your lists and campaigns to meet new requirements. I have experienced this more than once. Not fun. (The introduction of unsubscribe was one, Euro requirements was another) Mailchimp keeps you compliant.
Ahhh, this is one feature that I love. Basically, you can automate campaigns, and when certain conditions are met, it will send out an email based on your requirements and design.
What do I mean? Well for example, if you have a new customer signup to your website. This new customer is updated automatically. Mailchimp can be configured to see this event and send out a customized welcome letter as well as followup letters. Providing a totally personalized welcome service. You are kept in the loop with daily and weekly reporting. You can jump in at any time and communicate with the customer if need be. This is such an invaluable option that provides the customer with a fuzzy, goodwill, "they care about me" feel, when they first start interacting with you.
If you have multiple customer lists or sites, this is not a problem. You can create lists independent of each other with separate automated functions. Multiple websites can come back to your one Mailchimp account and be administered independently.
The reporting is excellent. You can get notifications when a customer has opened your email. You can get stats on the penetration of your campaign as well overall stats on your user lists. Plus much more.
Pricing starts at free for your first 2000 customers. If you want to handle more or you want more in depth options etc. you can upgrade to the paid options which gives you more scope.