Nov 27, 2006

MailChimp Launches Built-in Templates, Design tool, forward-to-friend, affiliate program

We launched MailChimp v2.5 last weekend. Click the link to see all the new features and changes. This was our most challenging upgrade ever. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time…

We joke around that if anybody in his right mind were to sit down and plan an email marketing service today, they’d list 3 really important features:

  1. built-in email templates (because not everybody can design)
  2. a WYSIWYG editor (because not everybody can code HTML)
  3. double opt-in list management (because not everybody can manage their own database)

But when we launched MailChimp in 2001, we had none of those features (somehow we still grew to over 7,000 users, so go figure).

Back then, we were web designers, and we built MailChimp for other web designers like us, and web designers can code their own HTML emails, and manage their own email lists. All MailChimp did was deliver.

Things started to change in 2003. We were seeing more and more "non web designers" sign up for MailChimp. And who can blame them? Our little chimp logo is so adorable, and just screams "I’m easy to use! Use me! Eep eep!" As you can imagine, the needs of "non web designers" (I should probably start referring to them as "regular people now")  are very different from the needs of web designers. In fact, 2003 was a horrible year for MailChimp. Our growth went backwards.

We saw the writing on the wall, and we launched "MailChimp v2" and then managed lists, then infinitely managed lists. Since then, we’ve been growing like crazy. Every month seems to set a new record for us. We also have more managed lists on our system than users.

So to that end, we’re super excited about the new built-in template functionality. Because now, anybody can use MailChimp. Not just web designers (but web designers will love it, too!).

The scary part of all this? Growth. We launched on Saturday. The next Sunday (which is usually an extremely slow day for us) we saw roughly 3 times the normal amount of free trial signups. Yikes. On average, we’ve seen about 50% more free trials than normal since launching v2.5. Don’t get me wrong. We think this is a good thing. And our technology is super-scalable and powerful. We’re ready. But we’re in a totally different league now. We’re not in some ultra-niche, long-tail, blue-ocean secret fishing hole anymore. We’re up against some really stiff competition now.

So how will we manage? We’re going to do what we’ve always done best: keep it useful, simple, efficient—and most of all—lovable.

Thanks to all our customers for your business! And to all our new customers: welcome to MailChimp! Eep eep!