MailChimp: Free Mailing list / Newletter Manager (and free stuff giveaway)

We all like free, right? But there is usually a catch. Not this time. Let me describe MailChimp, then we’ll get to their free stuff giveaway.

For those of you who send out a newsletter or current specials via email, MailChimp is a web based newsletter campaign manager. Managing email groups and campaigns with Microsoft Outlook or webmail (Yahoo Mail, GMail, etc) can become tedious because that’s not what they are designed to do. While they were designed to send email, and do it quite well, MailChimp is designed to manage email campaigns.

A serious shortcoming (in my opinion) of using Outlook, GMail, etc, is the inability to email individual recipients directly without recipients seeing other recipients. Sure, we probably know the BCC trick, whereby you email one recipient, usually yourself, then BCC, or BLIND Carbon Copy, everyone else, as in the screenshot.

Newsletter using Outlook BCC Method
Newsletter using Outlook BCC Method

Yes, this crude method works, but you cannot easily personalize the email. Isn’t it true that we like to see and have come to expect our name in the message’s opening greeting. We might even judge our initial impression of the message on that greeting, something like:

  • Dear Jonathan,
  • Hello Mr. Warner,
  • Jonathan,

Using the above BCC method, although recipients cannot see who else receive the message, you cannot easily manage individual greetings, so most use a generic greeting, such as:

  • Hello,
  • Hello All,
  • Dear Reader,
  • or…? What have you used?

Pretty tacky. On the other hand, MailChimp allows you to send to groups or addresses as if they are the only recipient and completely personalize the greeting and message. Slick. If you have less than 2,000 recipients and send less than 12,000 emails a month, you qualify for their free account.

Hope you can benefit from this info – on to the free stuff: MailChimp is about to reach 1 Million users at which point they are going to do a huge giveaway. I’m going to try to grab a hat or shirt. Check it out here


Update – 2011.09.27

I missed out! Signed up for the email alerts, pictured myself snowboarding with the MailChimp beanie, then didn’t respond to the alert in time. Maybe next time! Although, I have now began using MailChimp to publish my Computer Repair Newsletter, so it was a win / lose I’d say. I’m not sure, do you think the win / lose icon would be: “:)(” or “:()”

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