Mailchimp is a pretty big deal in the email marketing world. It's where I cut my teeth in emails, and while I've since worked with pretty much every other email platform, it still holds a dear place in my heart.

For all its good points - the direct mail, paid social adverts and customisation most platforms don't have, it's incredibly bad at telling you HOW to get the most out of it.

I was recently reading Alice Jenning's blog post: I hate Mailchimp where I broadly agreed these missing features would be annoying - but they're actually in Mailchimp. A real testament to how badly a job Mailchimp does in explaining how to use it.

1. You can't have lots of lists

You can ... but Mailchimp is set up best when you have ONE list. One list to rule them all and in the system bind them (to hash a Lord of the Ring reference).

It's true, working with lots of lists in Mailchimp is cumbersome. That's why it's always recommended to have one master list, and use groups, tags and segments to put contacts into pots.

This might sound weird, why shouldn't I have one newsletter list and another list for something else? It's mainly for companies that have several brands.

Only use multiple lists, if you have multiple distinct brand names.

2. Automations don't work

A few years ago, the automation in Mailchimp was pretty limiting. The new-ish Customer Journeys has so much more to offer.

From abandoned baskets to incredibly complex yes/no branches, if you can think of it, you can build it.

With the current pricing structure, you need a paid plan to use these - but with the average ROI from email being 40:1, you'll be sure to make more from spending a tenner a month that being limited on the free plan.

3. It doesn't work with my website

Mailchimp is the world's most popular email platform for a reason, and it has more ready-to-use integrations than any other too.

If you're using a popular website provider, they'll have an integration.

If you're building your own app or some really complex case studies, they have API so you can plug it into whatever you're using.

4. It's difficult to get started

This one, I actually agree on. It's tricky and unless you do it day in, day out, it can take time to get used to.

Which leads me to gracefully segway to I've created a Mailchimp course: Chimp Hero that goes through all the features to take you from chump to champ.

The online course has seven key areas:

  1. Plan - looking at the strategy before firing up your emails
  2. Prepare - Setting up for success
  3. People - How to manage audiences and the people in them
  4. Personalise - Groups, tags and segmenting readers
  5. Publish - Mailchimp does a lot more than email
  6. Paths - Automations and some examples
  7. Performance - How to measure what's working

If you sign up at before it launches in December 2021, you'll get a pre-order discount when it goes on sale in November.

And if you're thinking - "I need to know how to do this one thing with Mailchimp" and you don't fancy learning it all, book in a Power Hour today.

What does Jon know about Mailchimp?

I'm a Mailchimp Expert, and I've worked in email marketing for quite a few years now. I'm also certified in Mailchimp and have been a Mailchimp Partner for three years now.

I've worked with the likes of solopreneurs, right the way up to household names like the RAC, where I currently work on their email program of 13m customers.

My recent book Send Better Emails is less about Mailchimp and more about best practice, but there's a few tidbits that Chimp users will find extra useful.