MailChimp now costs money. BRB. Crying.

I’ve been fighting it for a while.

MailChimp, which has - for the years and years I’ve used it - been the beautiful entrepreneur-friendly email campaign system that is, er, was - free for up to 2,000 contacts.

I’ve worked in other email campaign platforms before, including Constant Contact, but nothing beat the ease and FREE-ness of a MailChimp campaign that I could blissfully schedule days/weeks in advance and schedule to go out at the ripe time of 6AM the first Thursday every month.

But they have quietly changed their service so that you need to pay $9.99/month to house 500 contacts and be privy to automatic email scheduling. This has slowly rolled out across accounts (if you use MailChimp and haven’t seen this change happen yet - wait, it’s coming for you). I saw it with a client’s account in the summer, and I couldn’t figure out why their account which was only different than my account by a mere 50 contacts would have to pay.

Well, now it’s my turn to cry.

Do I think it’s worth it to pay for auto-scheduling? 100%. Because it allows me to work on my marketing email at a time that is productive for me: whether that’s the day before, the week before, or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep (I don’t do that though, that would be crazy). Then I schedule the email and it’s done. I know it will go out with predictability and at a time and day (6AM Thursday) that will yield a higher open rate than perhaps the day and time I am working on it (10PM on a Sunday).

Bottom line: it’s important for my audience and for my mental sanity.

The problem is… MailChimp is having an issue (and has been having this issue for about a week) processing credit cards. I’ve tried both my cards, and neither will go through. I looked for a customer service number and - well, this is convenient - that number is only available to paid accounts.

MailChimp, why do you hate me? A loyal customer who is really trying hard to give you her money.

I pulled open the Constant Contact home page in anger, committed to giving THEM my money when I finally took a breath. My contact list is important to me, and my biggest fear about switching platforms would be losing the “unsubscribes” in the list.

MailChimp neatly checks off those contacts without removing them from your list so that if you try to add them later (forgetting they were already in there), it won’t let you. And therefore, you don’t end up spamming someone who really doesn’t want your emails.

I know this is a sensitive topic for some people, and I have heard a LOT of complaints from people about being on email lists. The thing is - this is how business is done now. We don’t send postcards in the mail, or put up billboards all around the city (unless you’re Mark Spain who has cornered the billboard market here in southeast Charlotte). And as long as you offer an easy way to opt-out of that email, you’re really OK. That was true 10 years ago when email marketing started to take off, and it’s still true now.

So if I’m going to put people on my email list, I need to make sure I honor their ability to get off that list at any time. And if I switch to another platform, there’s a possibility they’re going to get spammed unintentionally. That alone is reason to stay on MailChimp to protect my unsubscribed contacts.

But until I can figure out this billing situation, I am going to have to send my emails at whatever business hours I can make it happen. That’s why today’s email went out at 11AM on a Tuesday. And next months’s email may go out at 3PM on a Wednesday.

I’m preparing myself for the lower than average open rate. And since there is no way (seriously, NO WAY) I’m going to get up at 5:55AM to send a 6AM email, I’m going to have to live with this for now.

Cassandra D'Alessio