The Charleston Atlantic Presbytery recently switched our e-newsletter service from ConstantContact to MailChimp. We sent our first newsletter with ConstantContact on May 6th, 2009, which included a few articles, almost no images, and a list of dozens of events going on in our presbytery. Since then, our newsletter has not changed much. We’ve added new logos, tried to include more images, and made numerous changes to the newsletter through the years.
However, ConstantContact does not offer a number of important features that are expected in 2014. For me, the largest reason to change is a lack of good templates for our newsletter. Specifically, ConstantContact has very few templates that are mobile-friendly or responsive. A mobile friendly or responsive newsletter changes the display of the newsletter to adapt to the device being used. This may seem like a small issue, but more and more of our members are using their phones and tablets to consume information. I have seen some sites that enjoy higher than 50% of visitors coming from mobile sites. If we ignore these increasing numbers of people using mobile devices, we’re going to forfeit a great opportunity to connect with people. MailChimp supports numerous responsive designs and you can easily purchase a template from a third party and use it easily with MailChimp.
The second influence in our decision was the price. MailChimp offers a free tier for everyone. You can have up to 2,000 email addresses and send up to 12,000 emails per month for free. That’s not a trial or a promotion. In fact, since I started using MailChimp, they have increased the number of subscribers and emails allowed at that price. If you need to upgrade your account because you send more email or have more addresses, the prices are as reasonable as any other service. And you get a 15% discount as a nonprofit.
If you’d like to check out MailChimp and see how it might improve your communications efforts and reduce your costs, please visit their site.