I’ve been using MailChimp in my business since 2011 – and I switched to MailChimp at the time from Campaign Monitor. So why have I now switched to InfusionSoft, despite the higher monthly costs? Read on to find out pros and cons of both systems and how to choose the right marketing system for your business!
Let’s look at MailChimp first and why you would want to use a system like that. As ultimately, just because it wasn’t right for my business and what I’m planning to get done in the next couple of years, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be perfect system for you!
MailChimp is great at email marketing and sending out simple e-newsletters. By simple I mean campaigns that you decide when and how to send, which aren’t triggered by behaviour of people already on your list.
It offers a free account when you are first getting started – provided that you are happy to keep their branding on your emails and sign up forms. Then these are the “standard” features you would expect and find in most email marketing clients:
- you can have unlimited email lists and unlimited contacts (within MailChimp tiered pricing structure),
- you can send unlimited email newsletters and autoresponders,
- you can integrate it with social media and other online business tools,
- you can embed sign up forms on social media and your website,
- you can use merge-tags when creating campaigns (like Dear <first name>), which will populate with information from your database,
- you can customise your newsletters using one of their pre-designed templates of import a custom design,
- you can track performance of campaigns and autoresponders, as well as Google Analytics.
The ultimate benefits of MailChimp in my opinion are:
- ability to have a free account for a very small business with limited budget, just getting started with email marketing,
- ability to integrate social media into your newsletters,
- ability to import contacts from other systems and when migrating to MailChimp without having to get everyone on your list to opt-in again.
And here are the downsides of MailChimp:
You can only send your newsletter to one list at a time.
As you grow your online business and start integrating MailChimp with other systems you will have to create additional lists to differentiate between how your subscribers got on the list.
Why? Because when you import your lists manually you can add “segments” to your subscribers so that you can differentiate: “webinar X attendee”, “purchased X ecourse”, “requested X download”. If you run API integrations this segmentation won’t always happen properly. However importing lists manually each time will take time (and cost if you outsource), thus limiting your ability to easily set up and send timely follow up messages and offers to your subscribers.
What happens then is you end up with several lists for different products, offers, webinars, events and free downloads you’ve ever offered. And you will find that the same person can be on more than one list.
Firstly, this increases your subscriber count, although you don’t have more actual unique subscribers.
Secondly, it gets really difficult to send your regular monthly (or weekly) newsletter to everyone or most people on your list.
If you send it to just one list, then copy and send to another, and so on – some subscribers might get multiple copies. And if you try to manually merge and copy lists every time you need to send a communication – this gets even harder in terms of time and admin overhead for running your email system.
If you sell products through PayPal, all customers will get added to the same list.
You might want to create separate follow-up messages based on which product they purchased, which you won’t be able to do as all your customers will be on the same list. Also it’s hard to distinguish between your customers and send special offers and upsells targeted only to certain groups of customers.
If you were to sell products through an eCommerce system or WishList Member you could work around this, as it’s not PayPal that will be sending information to MailChimp, but your website-based system. And WishList Member, for example, will add customers to separate lists based on the membership level their signed up for.
One-way Capsule CRM integration
The CRM system I’ve been using is called Capsule CRM. Although you can integrate it with MailChimp, the integration isn’t complete. For example, you can export easily records from Capsule CRM to MailChimp list, and MailChimp subscribers in Capsule will get a new history record created whether they opened your campaign or not, and a new tag – if they unsubscribe. However you can’t move new MailChimp subscribers to Capsule CRM. However I’ve not tested MailChimp with other CRM systems it can integrate to give you a full picture of how it will work.
InfusionSoft is more that just email marketing – it’s an integrated CRM, business automation and ecommerce system, all in one. As you can guess it solves quite a few of those issues above I mentioned.
There aren’t “lists” as such – everyone is in the same list of your contacts. And you can choose who to send a campaign to based on their behaviour, purchasing history, and custom tags. Therefore all customer and lead data is in the same place – you don’t need to worry about following up or not with a wrong person, sending offers to someone who’s already bought that products. Data management gets a lot easier.
If you remember that list above with “standard” email marketing features – they are all present in InfusionSoft.
And the ultimate benefits are:
- Much better, more functional, data management for your leads, customers, purchases and referrals;
- You can create complex follow up and upsell campaigns based on behaviour and actions of those on your list;
- You can automate parts of your business through campaigns, thus saving you time and money;
- You can easily track sales and referrals in one place, and pay your affiliates.
Effectively, InfusionSoft is not just for email marketing, it’s a great fit for many other parts of your business – whether online or offline.
The downside? Some would say its cost.
While you can start for free with MailChimp and then slowly grow your monthly fee along with your list growth, with InfusionSoft you will be looking at much higher monthly fees plus the initial Kick-starter Package.
The purpose of this package is to help you set up the system correctly, get your first campaigns working, train you how to use it effectively. On one hand, you might feel scared by making such large investment in a start-up business. On the other hand, it will focus your efforts and you will be far more pro-active in getting the return from your email marketing.
You don’t get a package like that with MailChimp, without although saves you money, means that you have to figure everything out by yourself, possibly make costly mistakes or waste time, or hire a marketing assistant to set it up for you and train you how to use MailChimp.
In conclusion – MailChimp vs InfusionSoft?
So which should you choose, MailChimp or InfusionSoft? Or some other system like Aweber, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact etc?
There isn’t a single right or wrong answer. Just like your business is unique and different, the best solution which system to use would depend on your circumstances.
When making the decision, you would need to consider:
- Are you tech-savvy? Or will you hire someone tech-savvy to manage the system for you?
- What’s the realistic budget you can spend on email marketing/CRM?
- How often will you send your communications? What kind of communications will you send?
- Do you need to use autoresponders?
- Do you have several brands in your business, each with own branding identity, that you would like to manage from the same account?
- Are you going to sell products and/or services, with an ability to follow up with customers in separate lists?
- Are you going to frequently import data from other marketing and business systems?
- Would you need to have an affiliate system?
Armed with your “shopping list” of requirements, you can then compare different systems and try several out.
Your action this week
In the comments below, let me know which email marketing system you are using now, if any, are you happy with it?
What’s the biggest challenge you have when it comes to email marketing? What are you struggling with?
Look forward to reading your comments!
And if, after thinking through which email marketing system you need, you still feel confused or unsure – don’t worry. Just book a free Digital Marketing Strategy session with me to talk it through!