Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs learn Email Marketing

Ben Chestnut of MailChimp taking Q&A

This month at the Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs meetup group I organize we hosted two sharp email marketing professionals: Sandi Karchmer Solow of I Send Your Email and Ben Chestnut, co-founder of Mail Chimp, a successful Atlanta-based Email Service Provider. Sandi presented Email Marketing 101 to the group, and Ben regaled us with his story of how MailChimp came to be.

Sandi Solow on Email Marketing

Sandi gave us a really great base level of overview of the email marketing landscape and explained how its critical to correctly opt-in your subscribers and to give them exactly what they asked for, and only what they asked for. Otherwise you loose trust and the fallout is worse than anything you could gain. Oh, and Sandi was a real trooper to speak this month because she’s about seven months pregnant. So good luck to her and her soon-to-be-newborn.

As for MailChimp, evidently it was a side project that Ben and his partner’s web consulting company implemented to keep a client who wanted them to manage his email broadcast from hassling them, but they didn’t fully embrace it as their primary offering until many years later. And the month after they fully embraced it their revenue exceeded every prior month’s revenue they’d seen life-to-date for their business! Ben told us how MailChimp has a focus on simplicity and when we reviewing his prices we found MailChimp to be very price competitive, especially for email lists of less than 100 which they send for free!

Details count!

Now most marketers have heard of ExactTarget before but many may not have heard of MailChimp, and based on MailChimp’s low pricing, it simple-to-use interface and its fun and irrerevent name, many people might think that MailChimp is only for businesses with tiny email lists. But most in the audience including myself were shocked to learn that they have successfully delivered some of the largest email broadcasts in the industry!  Ben told us about a major software launch announcements where they sent out millions of of emails in just about 30 minutes! (Ben said the client asked never to be named but believe me, it was major!)

What was especially interesting was when member/attendee Jason Prance mentioned during Q&A that he’d been using both MailChimp, for personal projects, and ExactTarget for a 100,000 name work mailing list, and that he loved the former and really disliked the latter. He then said if he had his druthers he’d be using MailChimp for work but couldn’t switch without re-opting in and loosing probably half his subscribers. To this Ben replied that all he’d need to do is provided his ExactTarget reports showing them being a responsible emailer and then he could easily move his 100k list to MailChimp. Sold!

Email Marketing for Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs

Anyhoo we had a great time, enjoyed learning about email marketing, and look forward to future Atlanta Web Entrepreneur meetups. Oh, and I want to thank both Sandi and Ben for taking the time to make such a memorable evening for us.  It really is great to have such nice people who are willing to help their peers and who are offering such worldclass services so reasonably priced, all here in our hometown of Atlanta GA. Go Atlanta!

Visit Flickr to see all photos I took for this event.

P.S.: This was NOT a paid endorsement for MailChimp. We invited Ben to speak about MailChimp because one of our members that we really respect recommended him very highly. Plus Ben turned out to be a really great guy and there were actually several members in attendance who already use his service and love it. Evidently, MailChimp really kicks ass!

7 comments ↓

#1 Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs learn Email Marketing | Atlanta Meetup News on 07.18.08 at 6:33am

[…] The rest is here: Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs learn Email Marketing […]

#2 Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs learn Email Marketing | Atlanta's Best Meetups on 07.21.08 at 12:26am

[…] More: Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs learn Email Marketing […]

#3 Sandi Solow on 07.21.08 at 7:14pm

Thanks for the kind words Mike - and for the opportunity to speak. I look forward to attending future gatherings.

#4 MikeSchinkel on 07.21.08 at 7:20pm

Sandi, the appreciation was definitely mutual, thanks!

#5 Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs Meetup Group | MailChimp Blog on 07.30.08 at 2:52pm

[…] Mike Schinkel hosts a local meetup group called Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs. He called me up recently to speak about “Email Marketing Basics,” but I told him that whenever I do that, attendees think I’m actually The Dude who sends all the email around here. And so what happens is 2 years later, people send me their logo files and customer spreadsheets, telling me, “Okay, I’m finally ready to do some email marketing, so here’s my stuff—put together a mockup of our newsletter, post it for approval, and I’ll send you the $15 check.” Maybe it’s the way I dress. […]

#6 Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs Meetup Group | MailChimp Blog on 07.30.08 at 2:52pm

[…] Mike Schinkel hosts a local meetup group called Atlanta Web Entrepreneurs. He called me up recently to speak about “Email Marketing Basics,” but I told him that whenever I do that, attendees think I’m actually The Dude who sends all the email around here. And so what happens is 2 years later, people send me their logo files and customer spreadsheets, telling me, “Okay, I’m finally ready to do some email marketing, so here’s my stuff—put together a mockup of our newsletter, post it for approval, and I’ll send you the $15 check.” Maybe it’s the way I dress. […]

#7 Mani on 03.29.11 at 3:03pm

Excellent post, Mike. I wasn’t aware that StackExchange was done with Wordpress. I actually found this post while looking into MailChimp vs Exact Target. Very helpful read.

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