An alternative to Mailchimp for wellbeing businesses
By Guy Anderson
Mailchimp has gone a step too far and we no longer feel their paid plans are suitable for small businesses. Here's an affordable alternative that's just as good, if not better...
We’ve been using Mailchimp for over 15 years and until today it’s always been our recommended email marketing software for small businesses. But, sadly, not anymore. Find out why in this blog post and discover a great alternative to Mailchimp, especially if you run a small business.
Is Mailchimp’s free account still worth it?
Over the last few years we’ve been tracking the changes Mailchimp has been making to their subscription plans. We’ve seen them gradually reduce the features available in the free account, making it less and less attractive for small businesses.
So, is Mailchimp's free account still worth it? As of March 2023, unfortunately the answer (for small businesses with lists under 2,000 subscribers) is a resounding no.
Changes to Mailchimp’s free account
Since Mailchimp was bought out by Intuit in November 2021, more drastic changes have been made to the features available in the free account.
The new contact and send limits of the free account as of 10th March 2023 are as follows:
- Contact limit – Up to 500 contacts
- Monthly send limit – Up to 1,000 email sends (i.e. 2 emails to 500 contacts)
- Daily send limit – Up to 500 email sends (i.e. 1 email to 500 contacts)
Remember the good ol’ days?
Not too long ago Mailchimp had a great offer for small businesses. The forever free account had a contact limit of up to 2,000 contacts with a monthly send limit of 13,000 emails.
Does this sound like you?
Most of our clients are wellbeing businesses, like Danette Watson, Purple Valley, The Travelling Ape and the Kadampa Meditation Centre in Southampton, with email lists of between 500 – 2,000 contacts.
Most of our clients send out 1 or 2 emails a month to their lists. According to the new Mailchimp pricing, they’d now need to pay £22 or £33 per month (for 1,500 or 2,500 contacts respectively), which works out as a whopping £264 or £396 per year.
Given that most of our clients are using email marketing as a content marketing tool rather than a sales tool, it’s impossible to justify this cost to a small business – especially considering it was previously free!
Is there an affordable alternative to Mailchimp?
The market is flooded with options catering to all kinds of businesses. It’s difficult to give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because the answer depends on how you plan to use email marketing both now and in the future.
If you run a small business, here’s our suggested minimum checklist for your email marketing provider:
- No contact limit
- No monthly send limit
- No daily send limit
- Unlimited automations
- The ability to schedule emails in advance
- Easy integration with your web forms
Are we being too demanding?
We don’t think so! These are essential features that we believe should come as standard with any email marketing platform. The good news is that we’ve been using a great alternative to Mailchimp for some time now that checks all of these boxes and more.
Are you on the edge of your seat yet?
Before we dive in: we don’t recommend products in exchange for money. This means that we weren’t paid to write this article. This is our genuine recommendation based on our own experience. This also means that we’ll change our recommendation when our experience changes. But don’t worry, we’ll keep this blog post updated if that happens.
Say hello to FluentCRM
FluentCRM is a WordPress plugin that’s completely free and, depending on your requirements, you wouldn’t need the paid version when starting out, if at all. In the free version there’s no contact limit, no monthly send limit and no daily send limit. There’s also a whole suite of great features that you’d expect from a marketing automation platform – the fancy name for email marketing software these days!
The Fluent team also has a free forms plugin, making it easy to embed email signup forms on your website, as well as a free SMTP plugin to improve the deliverability of your emails. We’ve used all three of these successfully for our clients.
Another great benefit of FluentCRM is that you access it directly from the dashboard of your WordPress website. So, you don’t need to login to another platform to send and schedule emails or check your open and click-through rates.
Don’t have a WordPress website yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Want to make the change from Mailchimp to FluentCRM? Keep reading!
Examples of Fluent email campaigns
SPACE Yoga Studio
Dee at SPACE is committed to publishing a monthly newsletter using FluentCRM and we help keep her accountable for this. She shares personal updates in the intro section, promotes her latest workshops, retreats and other offerings, and includes a link to her latest blog post.
Scott at Stillpoint has been engaging with his audience via email marketing for many years. We recently switched him over to FluentCRM and he now sends his monthly newsletters, Sunday inspiration emails and ad hoc updates via the FluentCRM plugin on his WordPress website.
Purple Valley Yoga
We also recently switched Purple Valley Yoga over to FluentCRM. They keep their audience updated with regular newsletters about their upcoming retreats and teacher trainings in Goa and Tenerife. It's much easier for them now they can access their entire WordPress media library from their email marketing platform.
Switching email marketing providers
If you already use Mailchimp but don’t want to pay their new pricing, you’ll need to migrate to a new provider.
Here’s our checklist of the migration process, based on switching to FluentCRM:
- Install and configure FluentCRM on your WordPress website
- Install Fluent Forms on your website and switch over the email signup forms
- Write a welcome email for new subscribers to your list
- Test that the signup process is actually working!
- Design a branded email template in FluentCRM
- Export your contacts out of Mailchimp
- Import your contacts into FluentCRM
Tip: FluentCRM has a handy import tool that allows you to import your contacts directly from Mailchimp.
Boom! That’s the basic setup done. Of course, you also need to consider your own unique setup when it comes to lists, tags and automations. If the list above hurts your brain and sounds like gibberish, then have no fear, we’re here to help. Just reach out to us by booking a free consultation.
We’re sad to be leaving the Chimp behind, but all good things must come to an end. One of the great things about the internet is that things are constantly changing and improving, but it does mean you need to stay on top of emerging trends and new best practices. This is exactly how we help our clients meet the challenges of running a modern wellbeing business that comes from the heart.
The good news is that there IS an alternative to Mailchimp that’s still affordable for small businesses. And, with a bit of setup, you’ll be up and running in no time.
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