Mail Chimp - A Free Newsletter Service

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If you run a business or non-profit, you are probably a lot like me; looking for a way to stay in touch with your customers but not wanting to shell out a bunch of money for that ability. You want something sleek looking, that isn't hard to setup or use and ultimately justify the investment of time and possibly money into that venture. Enter Mail Chimp!

One of  the many... many many many things on my "to-do" list was to setup a news letter for my customers. This allows me to keep in touch with them and provide them tech news, tips and updates. At the same time it keeps me fresh in their mind - so that when they do have a need for my services, they'll turn to PcComputerGuy! I spent a good amount of time researching different services, comparing prices and features. One of them out-shined the rest - Mail Chimp. The other frequently used service is "Constant Contact", which I'm sure is great but costs more and offered nothing substantial over Mail Chimp in my opinion. The best part is Mail Chimp is free (to a limit)!

Mail Chimp currently touts over 2.5 million registered users. It's interface is about as simple and friendly as I can imagine. Some humor is mixed in with the service as well - something I appreciate. They offer the "Forever Free" plan, which allows up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. That definitely covers my needs and probably most other small businesses out there. They then offer a number of paid plans if you need more that are all very affordable. I'm currently on the free plan which requires a small "mail chimp" logo on the bottom of my emails, something that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

As noted earlier the website is fairly easy to use, and there are a lot of self-help videos that guide you through getting your lists setup and your first news letters sent out.

One of the key sticking points was the ease of integration into my website. The form on the right hand side of this page that allows you to enter your email and subscribe to the newsletter took a matter of a few minutes to setup. Information from there is sent directly to the Mail Chimp system and added to my database of users. I was also able to easily import emails from my access database. You can do the same from excel documents or even copy/pasting lists. I found it an impressively easy way of importing my contacts. 

Many things are "wizard driven", meaning you are walked through several steps in order to complete your task. You should expect to spend a few hours reading and watching the videos, and a couple days to let the information sink in to get the most out of Mail Chimp, but I wouldn't say it's required. In essence, you create a "list" of people to send things to, then you create the news letter for that list, and fire it off.

Tips: don't bombard or spam people with promo materials non-stop. Don't overwhelm your subscribers to the point that they are unsubscribing from your newsletter. Once a month would be the max limit in my opinion, and once a quarter might be better depending on your situation. Always provide some good useful information as well - a reason for the person to read your newsletter rather than simply hitting the delete button.

So, it's free and it's about as easy as it can get. So what are you waiting for? Their website: