Mailchimp has been my friend since I started this blog nearly two years ago. Boy, have I come a long way. When I started this blog, which in my mind, was a “growing up” from my fashion blog, The Stylester, I knew 3 rules of building an online presence: 1) You must have a newsletter, 2) You must communicate in a personal way, and 3) You must communicate often. I liked these rules a lot, but to be honest, I didn’t really know WHY these rules were there. I was just copying what every other major blogger and the online celebs across all genres were doing, from fashion stylists to self-help authors.
When starting out as a newbie newsletter publisher, you naturally want to keep your costs down and go with a free provider and I experimented with Mad Mimi and Mailchimp, ultimately choosing Mailchimp. And for the past year and a half, I have sent out a weekly newsletter via Mailchimp.
There have been a lot of learning along the way. My first newsletter was all about me, me, me and had a total of 12 links in it! Cringe. After some experience, the most important lesson I have learnt about writing good, effective newsletters is:
Write for the reader, not for yourself.
Writing my newsletter became the best part of my week because it was one thing that my readers and my friends were expecting, it was the one thing they were counting on. A set date for your newsletter is also a great way to move you into action to create all the things that you need to send out in your newsletter like a blog post or two and in my case, my weekly vlogs on my Youtube channel. Your newsletter feels good to write only when you treat it like an intimate email to a personal close friend and that I how I wrote mine for over 1.5 years.
And then, I became influenced by another online celeb and decided to go start using Aweber and for the first time since becoming a blogger 7 years ago, paid for a subscription outside of my basic server fees.
When you can manage to have two blogs and thousands of cumulative visitors over the years for free, it feels really strange to have to pay for a service, and I felt weird. I ignored the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and continued to pay for Aweber, $19 USD per month for 2 months determined to make it work although I really didn’t like the feel of it all. When coming from Mailchimp, Aweber is quite clunky and not as user friendly or as intuitive.
What ended up happening then was that Aweber was just sitting there, sucking out the monthly fee from my bank account, while I barely touched it and secretly longed for Mailchimp. But everyone on the web seemed to always be in favour of Aweber. I felt like I’d be going backwards and that I would be acting like a laggard if I didn’t adopt it, so I stuck around, not quite loving being there at all.
My final decision to just leave it for the one I had truly fall in love with came when I tried to sit down to write my newsletter and I just couldn’t get myself to write. My newsletter is one of my most cherished thing in all the writing that I do, but I was completely blocked. That’s when I realized that despite what a hundred online “experts” said, I had to follow my heart and my heart was with Mailchimp.
And that is why I left Aweber to go back to my love, to Mailchimp.
Image courtesy: Florian Klauer