Mailchimp has become the leader in email marketing tools for Small & Medium business (SMB). Many of our medium business clients have adopted it as their email marketing platform, as have we at Bear Group.

Bear Group’s Experience With Mailchimp

From a development perspective, there have been three types of integrations we have done between Drupal, Magento®, and MailChimp. The first type is the simplest; using the “drop-in” signup forms and embedding them within the client’s website, helping them build their marketing lists. The second type we have done is to use MailChimp for pre-built integrations - websites that feature modules that pass data to MailChimp through an API connection. The third type of integration we use is optimizing on MailChimp’s well-documented and open API to custom build a solution to suit.

The Benefits

  • Use While On the Go: Unlike some systems, like eCommerce web tools, Email Marketing tools are fairly portable. You can just export lists and re-import them into a new tool. You do lose campaign history and data, but it’s not a technology decision with the same gravity to it as others - it’s a safe category of tools to experiment with.

  • Reasonable Pricing: They provide a lot of value while your list is small and growing, with low price accounts.

  • Excellent Admin Experience: They have focused - more than any other tool we have used in this space - on building out a great admin experience.

  • Simple: They have good tools for non-developers who want to create their emails - the HTML markup and CSS work is largely hidden - but in the hands of a designer and front-end developer, you can build any email.

  • Deliverability and Analytics: They have a strong focus on email deliverability, and solid reporting tools.

  • Stress-Free Email Marketing Campaigns: MailChimp is a good tool for marketers who are new to email marketing campaigns and who may feel overwhelmed at the idea of creating an email that may be received by the thousands in your list. MailChimp focuses on creating a fun, relaxed web environment; building on simple tools and user interfaces to make your job as easy as stress-free as possible.

  • New Automation Features: MailChimp recently launched a set of new automation features. One of these new features include having a user on your website convert to a lead in MailChimp, setting off a “welcome” email series. MailChimp now offers as many features as Marketo.

  • Pairs Well With Mandrill: A powerful pairing is with their delivery system, Mandrill. Mandrill can be combined so that as MailChimp does the theme work, it gets pulled into Mandrill, and then you can send emails through the API. This is particularly useful for sending transactional emails - like registration emails, thank you emails, automated notifications, etc.

  • There Are Many Pre-Built MailChimp Integrations: Many pre-built integrations exist - such as MageMonkey for Magento and Mailchimp for Drupal - that feature modules that pass data into Mailchimp through an API connection. There are also many other third-party MarTech apps - Pipedrive, for example - that have pre-built connectors with MailChimp, and save you the API work.

  • Excellent API: MailChimp has a well documented and open API, so it’s very easy to custom build a solution to suit. For example, a lead form will submit over the API but the form validation happens on Drupal, enabling you to fully control the user experience or build a custom event that triggers a particular email to send.

When Do We Recommend MailChimp

MailChimp is not intended to be a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM), though we (and many others) use it that way. It lacks accounts and contact structure like Salesforce, or company parent structure. It’s also missing tools to track customer lifecycle over many events. But if you can go with a single-focus solution, it’s a great way to build and send emails to your customers. In addition, if you’re a small company and don’t have a huge email list, don’t need an email marketing tool with robust functionality, or are new to email marketing, MailChimp is a great option.