Jul 15, 2011

MailChimp v6.1 Launching

On Monday morning, July 18th, we’ll be launching some new features as part of our July release (as you may recall, we’re launching major upgrades every 4 weeks now). The changes will begin rolling out to all accounts on Monday morning and will finish propagating to all 890,000 active accounts some time Tuesday evening.

Highlights:

  • Big changes to Autoresponders
  • More beautiful email templates
  • Oh yeah – SurveyMonkey Integration!

Autoresponder Changes

First, we’ve added some new enhancements to our Autoresponders:

  1. You can now schedule the time of day to deliver your messages. When we first launched Autoresponders, we sent them all at the same time (it was about 8pm ET or something). Now, you can just choose the exact time of day you want your autoresponders to send.
  2. You can now use the time of list import as the trigger date. Previously, trigger dates only activated upon double opt-in confirmation, not imported lists.

Paying Customers Only

Moving forward, our Autoresponders feature will only be available to paying customers on pay-as-you-go or monthly plans. Current free plan users can continue to use their existing autoresponders, and they can continue to create new autoresponders even if they’ve never used them in the past.. Those accounts have been "grandfathered in." But when we go live with v6.1 next week, this feature will not be available to new free users.

Why?

There’s no believable way of saying this, but I’ll say it anyway: this is not about money or "monetizing" anything. Trust me. We passed the point of worrying about paying our bills many years ago, and we’re growing at a pace (3,000 users per day, sending over 1.5 billion emails per month) such that our primary concern now is scalability. And Autoresponders is just a heavily used feature that takes up a ton of our system resources. It’s also a feature that can be easily abused, and used in ways we did not intend when we originally built it. Hint: if you consider yourself a "serious internet power-monetizing marketing professional" and your goal is to "put your multi-level lead-gen on autopilot while you work from home" MailChimp’s Autoresponders were not really built for you. But if you’re a normal human being, and you want to send an annual birthday email to your customers, or maybe count down to a special event date by sending useful content on a timed schedule, we’re great for that stuff.

Beautiful New Templates

Thanks to our Email Template Language (where any code-savvy user can create their own MailChimp templates with editable regions), and thanks to the flexibility of our start-from-scratch templates we launched a while back, we’re able to produce new templates really fast. And these are not run-of-the-mill craptacular designs with ugly stock photos. These actually look like we paid professional designers to create them (‘cuz we did).
One example:
and this:
We’ll post more details and screenshots next week, but there are new coupon templates, newsletter templates, eventbrite templates, and more on the way. Be sure to check out all our other template options, too.

SurveyMonkey Integration

SurveyMonkey is an amazing app with over 8 million users. They have a free "basic" plan, but they also boast serving "100% of the Fortune 100." Quick story. 10 years ago, we were trying to decide between starting up an online survey company, or starting up an email company. We had the code to go either way. I Googled around to research the competitive landscape (actually, there was no Google yet, so technically I probably AltaVista’d or Lycos’d around) and learned about SurveyMonkey. They were killing it, even back then. Hence MailChimp.
Anyway, in our v6.1 upgrade, you’ll be able to create a survey in SurveyMonkey, then seamlessly pass it over to MailChimp for delivery. What’s really nice is that in MailChimp, we’ll show you who completed your survey, and let you create segments (for example, you can send followups to those who did not complete, or thank-you emails to those who did). We’re really excited about this (heads-up: when we get excited we tend to give out tons of t-shirts), but we’ll talk about it more next week.
For now, here’s a screenshot of some of the survey stats you get inside MailChimp with the integration:
Simian powers, unite!