8 min read
Jul 28, 2016
Email Marketing

MailChimp vs MailChimp Pro: Should You Pimp Out Your Chimp?

Is MailChimp Pro worth the investment? I'll go through some of its features, compared to what MailChimp has to offer. 

Suzie BlaszkiewiczAnalyst

MailChimp has long since dominated the email marketing world, and although it's a popular option among many email marketers for its ease of use and value for money, no app is perfect. Some users have expressed their disappointment with its lack of key features, limited reporting options, and lackluster customer support.

As GetApp user Paul Sizemore has noted, "It lacks some features that make it good for extremely large companies."

Enter MailChimp Pro. The Pro version of MailChimp, launched September 2015, acts as a genie, granting MailChimp marketers with a list of features they've been wishing and waiting for. The Pro version of MailChimp, costing a flat fee of $199 per month in addition to the monthly subscription fee, has added some powerful new features to up its game in the ever increasingly competitive email marketing market.

Some of MailChimp Pro's most notable features include:

  • Multivariate testing

  • Advanced segmentation

  • Comparative reports

  • Priority support

  • Predicted demographics

  • Stop delivery

The question is, do these features rub the genie's lamp the right way, and are they worth the $199 per month investment? Let's take a look at some user gripes, and see if the new features in MailChimp Pro solve them.

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Testing

MailChimp: The testing features available in MailChimp include A/B testing of up to three variables for things like subject lines, 'From' names, content, and send times.

As one GetApp user has pointed out, however, "…emails often render weird in Outlook - this is a none [sic] issue and one that I've tried to contact support about numerous times."

MailChimp Pro: The Pro version offers up to eight different variables for testing, an upgrade from three in the regular version. Addressing the user issue above, there's also a new feature called "Inbox Preview", which will give you a preview of your campaign in over 40 different mail clients so that you can make adjustments to your campaign before sending if it doesn't look quite right.

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Segmentation

Mailchimp: Segmentation in MailChimp is possible to an extent, but it's mostly a manual process. This includes segmenting users who opt-in to certain groups when they sign up to your newsletter, as well as segmenting for factors like engagement, location, or data. The biggest caveat here is automation.

As one GetApp user has written, "the segmentation features are quite limited and to do anything really useful you'll have to do it manually (export CSV, update lists, etc… annoying)."

MailChimp Pro: Advanced segmentation options in MailChimp Pro let you add more conditions, including purchase history and website activity, demographics like age and gender, and e-commerce activity. After analyzing the performance of segmented campaigns, you can then turn those segments into mailing lists.

A new feature includes predicted demographics, which (big surprise) predicts demographic info of customers to be able to better target your lists by creating segments from that information and analyzing the results.

While the segments are more advanced, however, the process is still a manual one. While there are third party integration options available, there is no automation that will segment customers and create lists for you automatically based on clicks in MailChimp.

As one user points out, "One (and only thing) MailChimp lacks for me is a way to tag people based on their actions in your broadcasts. There are some workaround ways to get this done in MailChimp - but they could be improved."

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Reporting

MailChimp: Most users are satisfied with MailChimp's basic reporting features, which include open and click through rates, as well as being able to see which users clicked on which links. Beyond the basics, however, it's lacking any more in-depth reporting metrics. Further insights also call for exporting data and making your own reports.

As one user has noted: "automation may not be very straightforward [and] the reporting could be a bit more in depth."

MailChimp Pro: MailChimp Pro offers significantly more reporting options, including comparative reporting which, as the name suggests, lets you compare the performance of one campaign to another, side by side, as well as get aggregate data on selected campaigns. This includes being able to compare the performance of different segments.

Delivery insights will let you track the progress of your campaign as it gets sent out, as well as a new feature that lets you stop the delivery before it's been sent, in case you've noticed an error and need to cancel sending (although it'll have already been delivered to the portion of the list that it's been sent to).

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Support

MailChimp: Customer support is an area that MailChimp has struggled to impress its users with in the past. Some people have complained of slow response times or lack of phone support, while for free users, support isn't even an option.

Says one GetApp user, "Free accounts have ZERO customer support. Before you could email them and get an answer, but now you have to pay. My goal is to get enough subscribers where I'll need to pay for their service, and then I can really take advantage of the app."

MailChimp Pro: As outlined on MailChimp's Pro page, upgraded users are given support priority and moved to the top of the support queue. This won't tackle the problem of no support for free account holders, but if customer support is important to you, it might be worth the price.

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Should you go pro?

It depends. Most of the features in MailChimp Pro expand on existing features in MailChimp, and if you're okay with what's already available in the basic version, it's probably not worth the extra cash. If you're a bigger company with a large mailing list, however, it might be worth investing in MailChimp Pro and it's extended set of features.

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