Peek into just about any business-related Facebook and I bet my morning croissant you’ll see questions like: “What’s the best email platform?” and “MailChimp or Constant Contact or Active Campaign or what??” and even “Help! How do I set up abandoned cart emails? Please help!” (note the heavy use of exclamation marks).

Now, while ‘best’ is subjective and dependent on a whole range of factors, I’m going to go out on a limb and say:

If you’re a small- to medium- sized online store, MailChimp is your best option

Big call, right?

And before I go any further, let me say there are other email platforms out there that are just fine for online stores.

But MailChimp has been working hard to create the features ecommerce brands need to grow and communicate with their customers. And a lot of their features are available even if you’re on a free plan.

Look, I’ll admit that for a while I fell out of love with MailChimp. There were other, shinier and easier to use platforms available.

But now? I’m a true ‘chimp fan. And here are a few of the reasons why:

Easy integration with online stores

The techy side of running an online business can be overwhelming if you’re not a code geek. But MailChimp offers simple integration with the most popular online shopping platforms (including Shopify, Woocommerce and Bigcommerce). No geekery required.

Awesome automation

Email automation is like the silent ninja of your marketing plan, always lurking in the background, ready to pounce.

With the automation tools, you can set up email campaigns to trigger based on your customer’s behaviour. Whether that’s as soon as they’ve made a purchase, a few weeks later to ask for a review, or even on their birthday.

And again, it’s so easy to do in MailChimp – even a monkey could do it (get it? Thanks, I’ll be here all week).

MailChimp has great features for online stores

Want to send your top customers a promo code? Offer new subscribers 10% off their first purchase? Send customers product recommendations based on their previous purchase?

You can do all this in MailChimp thanks to the online store integration.

Target your customers with advanced segmentation

The future of marketing is personalisation and delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. While the basic tools are great, the real magic happens when you get clever with segmentation and targeting.

MailChimp has some really cool segmentation tools that allow you to divvy up your list and send targeted emails to particular groups of customers. Some of them are automatic – like people who have recently purchased. You can also create static segments based on particular interests, demographics or previous products purchased.

You can also use groups to separate your customers by interests – say men’s and women’s wear, or dog and cat stuff. You can then send campaigns based on those interests (which means more engagement and sales).

Sexy interface

Alright, the appeal of your email platform might not be at the top of your list, but if I think if you’re going to spend all day on the computer, you should at least use tolls that are good to look at.

While some platforms might have crammed in all the bells at whistles, they offer a poor user experience thanks to an overly cluttered dashboard or confusing navigation.

I really love how streamlined MailChimp’s dashboard is and the clear nav. It’s easy to find what you need, but you’re not overwhelmed with information at first glance.

And I do love getting a high five from Freddie each time I send a campaign.

There are some limitations

Okay, so it’s not all rosê and roses. There are a few limitations when it comes to the platform.

Emails can only be sent to customers that have previously subscribed. So if someone lands on your site, adds a bunch of stuff to their cart but doesn’t checkout, you won’t be able to send them abandoned cart emails because they haven’t previously subscribed. But you can get around this by using Facebook Ads to retarget your cart abandoners (totes a word).

Offering multiple opt-ins is tricky. Let’s say you want give away a free ebook to get people onto your list, but you also want to give away a downloadable phone background. If someone tries to get both, they could get an error message (but there are some techy ways around this so it’s not a deal-breaker for me).

The cost of MailChimp is comparable with other platforms, although you will find cheaper when you get to higher list numbers. And some platforms (like Active Campaign) offer CRM functionality too, which you might want depending on your business model.

But limitations aside, this lady is back on board with the ‘Chimp and keen to help you make the most of the platform.

Want to know more? Drop me a line at hello@nellcasey.com.au with your email marketing questions, or check out my Email Automation Package designed just for online brands.