Sometimes you open your email and realize it’s all junk. Other times there’s good news or a personal message waiting that makes you smile. But last week, all hell broke loose when scores of Mailchimp users opened their emails.
You know what, though? They’re chimps. We should have expected piles of poo to be flung into our faces at some point.
What is Mailchimp?
Oh, I’ve got many words for what Mailchimp is, but my mom might read this, so I better keep things tame.
Anyway, Mailchimp was a mailing list service provider who had a great track record of keeping your newsletter subscribers tidy and making sure your newsletters got to the people who wanted to read them. To bring you into the chimp troop, they offered a Forever Free Plan that allowed you 2000 subscribers and the ability to send an automated welcome series of emails to new subscribers.
The system wasn’t perfect. It certainly wasn’t intuitive to set up and they liked to randomly change things that made it confusing to navigate, but once you got through the quirks, it worked pretty well.
Then Came the Email
Last week Mailchimp sent out an email telling its customers that everything was changing. They called this “exciting” news, but most of it was downright monkey poo, including….
- People who have unsubscribed from your list would now be counted as part of your “contacts” because, according to Mailchimp’s wacky view of the law, you could still potentially market to them. More on this in a minute.
- Free users could no longer have multiple lists (for example, I had about six lists due to the different freebies I offered to lure in subscribers).
- Free users AND paid users (unless you bought into the crazy expensive upgraded package) would no longer be able to send automated welcome sequences at all. The welcome sequence is a HUGE part of introducing yourself to new subscribers so they can see if they really want to be on your list, so this was a big F-You to anyone trying to run a professional mailing list on a budget.
You can read more about the madness at David Gaughran’s blog post “Time to Ditch Mailchimp“, but let me get back to that first bit of shite…
IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN THE U.S., E.U., AND CANADA TO MARKET (SEND EMAILS) TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE UNSUBSCRIBED FROM YOUR LIST!!!!
Whatever, chimps. Take away some of the Free Plan features, but this charging for anyone who has unsubscribed is utter crap. Professional people do not email folks who have unsubscribed.
Seriously, who has been giving the chimpanzees crack?
People who have unsubscribed are not interested in you anymore. If you continue to market to them (as Mailchimp thinks you should do, apparently), you are in violation of many, many laws as well as the rule of common decency, so I have no idea why Mailchimp would count them as your subscribers or your potential contacts, let alone make you pay for them.
The Timing of This Was Awful
First off, I’m insanely busy right now trying to reach the goals I’ve set for myself this year. I don’t have time to shop around for a new mailing list provider, figure out their quirks, set up a whole new welcome sequence, test it, edit it, etc. etc.
But the worst part was that I had just re-vamped my welcome series of emails. As in totally rewrote them, hammered through Mailchimp’s clunky system to set them up with a better flow, and edited them until they were lovely little things I was super proud of.
Remember I said I had multiple lists? That meant I not only wrote the new series of emails, but also had to craft them to match each and every one of my giveaways. I completed this mind-numbing task two days before being slapped in the face with monkey poo.
I need a drink, but…
First There’s Work, Then There’s More Work
The first step was to find a new mailing list provider. For various reasons, I ended up going with Mailerlite (if you’re curious why, please ask) and am now banging my head against the wall wondering why I didn’t just go with them in the first place!
Yes, I had A LOT of work to do to set up all those lovely lists, copying over my new and improved welcome sequence, sorting out a few issues that didn’t quite translate from the old system to the new, and creating new sign-up pages. But holy moly, it was really REALLY easy to do in Mailerlite. (And no, they aren’t paying me for this.)
The Mailerlite system, unlike the poo-filled Mailchimp system, is incredibly intuitive. Mailchimp has a confusing array of forms and menus that require tons of hunting and searching and testing to sort out. And even then, you may never quite figure out what their dozens of forms do or if you need them.
It may be because after doing the newsletter thing for over a year now, I knew what I needed, but everything on Mailerlite was easy to find, fairly easy to set up, and moderately easy to get to look how I wanted it to look. Since I had expected this whole process to be an absolute nightmare, this part was a welcome relief. Thank you, Mailerlite!!
The worst part however, and the part that really had me screaming in agony over this was that I had to update EVERYWHERE my sign-up link was hiding. Everywhere.
Every single book I have out has a sign-up link. My website home page has a sign-up invitation, my blog has a widget to sign up, my social media outlets, my email signature, and….well, you get the point.
Once all was set up and running (hopefully) smoothly on Mailerlite, I went through and changed all those links. Okay, well, I still haven’t done the social media ones, but you all know how I feel about the social media lately.
Emerging From the Poo Pile
After three days straight of staring at my computer, doing plenty of copying and pasting, and re-formatting and re-loading all my books onto their various retailers, I have clawed my way out of the pile of chimp poo.
I’ve yet to send out my first actual newsletter with Mailerlite, but if my experience so far is any indication, I expect all to go swimmingly.
And, hey, if you want to test out my new and improved mailing list service and check out that snazzy new welcome sequence (ooh, and get an exclusive short story for free), you can do so at THIS LINK (https://www.subscribepage.com/FreeFeast)
Phew! I hope everyone’s had a better week (and weekend) than I have. Any monkey wrenches thrown into your machinery lately? Go ahead and share your woes! And of course, do share your own pain if you’ve also been whacked with a dollop of chimp poo.