• Irit Levi

ESP review: Mailchimp

Updated: Mar 24

One of the most used email service providers (ESPs) seems to be Mailchimp.

I have used them when starting a new list for low budget companies.

And why not?

They have a great free package that comes with lots of features.

But is it really all it's cracked up to be? Not so sure.

It's worth taking another look.

So here goes.

Initial setup

I started a fresh account.

2000 contacts for free is ultra great for someone with a low (or in the case of many small businesses, non existent) budget.

Easy sign up. I’m on the site.

Where’s my list?

Let’s look at the header:

Create, Campaigns, Automate, Audience, Brand, Reports

Is my list the audience?


The free plan allows for one list, one audience.

This may seem enough to start with, but having more that one list is actually important if you want to send out different types of emails (such as a newsletter, updates, course/event emails and so much more).

When you have a different list for different purposes, there's a better chance to give your audience the emails they want, and enable them to opt-out of those they don't.

You can bet your bucks I’ll be segmenting using tags, groups & segments, since Audience is such a broad term and doesn’t really convey that this is a LIST.


Wait, what’s the difference between tags, groups, segments and merge tags?

And how do I create them?

As a beginner I found this confusing. As an experienced user, I found it simply bad UX.

Tags are to mark people, and can also be used for segmenting.

Segments can incorporate various conditions (including tags) and groups - well maybe I can use those as sub lists…

Merge tags are great for personalizing emails, but the setup - oy yoy yoy.