Gmail vs. Mailchimp
April 17, 2021 7:55 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago I switched from Gmail to Mailchimp to send messages to my organization. I'm thinking about switching back just to save time. Anybody have thoughts on pros and cons on this?

I handle communication for a 300 member organization. I send out one to five emails per week, sometimes to the whole group, sometimes to certain subsets. A few years ago I switched from using our Gmail account to using Mailchimp. One of the reasons I did so was to be able to track engagement. I'm less concerned about tracking openings and clicks now, so that's no longer an issue. (As a side note, I might actually move tracking into the "cons" column, since I waste a lot of time unnecessarily looking at stats and become irrationally depressed when I see how few people have read the emails I spent hours crafting).

I'm thinking about going back to just using Gmail. My reasons are the fact that it in Mailchimp it takes longer to compose and send emails and to enter new members and delete old ones. I'm also getting tired of accidental unsubscribes and the fact that I constantly have to explain to Gmail users that our emails will go into the promotions tab unless they change that setting.

My fear is that I'm forgetting about other reasons I moved to Mailchimp in the first place, and that I'm going to regret this decision. Can anyone point out anything I'm missing that would suggest why I should stay with Mailchimp?

posted by robverb to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A gmail sent too 300 people will get marked as spam, bulk mail delivery services like Mailchimp are very different to a standard email service such as Gmail.
posted by Lanark at 8:28 AM on April 17, 2021 [9 favorites]

Are you taking full advantage of MailChimp's templates? I found their "build an email" interface kind of unwieldy until I built a template so that most of the stuff I did was just drag-and-drop.

The issue that Lanark describes is real. If you're bulk-sending that many emails from a gmail account it's very likely to get marked as spam. That said, there are other tools you can use that are maybe less fussy than gmail (Really Simple Systems is a good CRM, I use TinyLetter (owned by MailChimp) and it's got a more straightforward interface, though it's harder to manage subscribers). And gmail definitely does not allow you to segment groups of people as easily as MailChimp does, it's really MailChimp's strength.

I might also suggest if people aren't really engaging with your emails--I feel your pain--it may just be that you need to dial down the emails somewhat?
posted by jessamyn at 9:32 AM on April 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding that the reason to stick with Mailchimp is to guarantee your bulk messages get delivered and not marked as spam. GMail is at least somewhat likely to flag your account for behavior that looks suspicious and spammy, and Mailchimp is likely also handling such chores as compliance with laws like CAN-SPAM by ensuring the email has an unsubscribe link. Plus, there are privacy issues to consider; you would have to be careful that everyone you send to via GMail is on the BCC line so that you don't leak sensitive information to other recipients.
posted by Aleyn at 9:34 AM on April 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your responses. In the back of my mind I thought the spam issue might be a problem, and that probably was one of the reasons I made the switch in the first place.
posted by robverb at 10:28 AM on April 17, 2021

I was on MailChimp for years, until recent changes made me reconsider.
I ended up moving over to Mailer Lite, and never regretted it.
Here's a good guide on moving over and also a comparison between the two.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 1:06 PM on April 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, if Mailchimp isn't working for you, there are definitely competitors in this space that should offer similar deliverability guarantees, so definitely don't feel as if you're stuck with them specifically. The recommendation is specifically against going back to plain old GMail for this sort of thing. At minimum you'd want to use something like Google Groups if you need it to be free. You should be able to control who can post to the group to make it announcement-only.
posted by Aleyn at 10:14 PM on April 17, 2021

I used Google Groups for a 100 person list and it worked great, with the added bonus that I could add the group to an event invites and it went straight on their calendars. (This was all for people who wanted that, not for marketing to strangers.) It was set up for announcements like Aleyn mentions. The free version might be all you need, although my experience was via paid $6/mo Google Workspace (formerly G Suite and G Apps for your Domain).
posted by troyer at 11:16 AM on April 18, 2021

Over on the thread about Annalee Newitz's criticism of Substack, brainwane recommended Buttondown.

I took a quick look at Buttondown's website, and I'm very impressed - especially by their privacy-first policy and the detailed information about donations to open-source projects.

They might be worth a look.
posted by kristi at 1:09 PM on April 20, 2021

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