In this Mad Mimi review, we take a look at the pros and cons of one of the cheapest email marketing tools available.
When it comes to picking a tool for sending out these HTML e-newsletters, there are simply tons to choose from: Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Getresponse, Aweber…the list, if you’ll pardon the pun, goes on. Superficially, these products allow you to do the same thing: put attractive marketing messages in inboxes. But they can differ enormously in terms of both price and features, and it's difficult to know which one to use.
In this review we take a look at one of the cheapest e-marketing tools out there: Mad Mimi. Is it cheap and cheerful, or does it cut too many corners?
As alluded to above, Mad Mimi is very competitively priced. In costs terms at least, it's fair to say that it wipes the floor with key competing products. There are four main plans, each with several pricing sub-tiers.
- $10 per month allows you to host and send e-newsletters to 500 email addresses
- $12 per month - 1,000 email addresses
- $16 per month - 2,500 email addresses
- $27 per month - 5,000 email addresses
- $42 per month allows you to host and send e-newsletters to 10,000 email addresses
- $59 per month - 15,000 email addresses
- $89 per month - 25,000 email addresses
- $139 per month - 35,000 email addresses
- $199 per month allows you to host and send e-newsletters to 50,000 contacts
- $279 per month - 75,000 email addresses
- $369 per month - 100,000 email addresses
- $549 per month - 150,000 email addresses
- $749 per month - 250,000 email addresses
- $1,049 per month - 350,000 email addresses.
All the above plans allow you to send an unlimited number of emails. The key difference between the tiers (basic, pro, silver and gold) is to do with speed: the more expensive the plan, the faster Mad Mimi's emails will send your emails out.
In addition, a free plan is available - but it only permits you to send e-newsletters to 100 users. It's fine for having a play with the product, but it's not as good as Mailchimp's free plan, which allows you to send up to 12,000 e-newsletters to per month to up to 2,000 users.
The prices, as alluded to earlier, compare very favourably with those of competing products. For example, with Mad Mimi, paying $42 a month entitles you to email a database comprising 10,000 leads; Getresponse charge a monthly fee of $65 for mailing a database this size, Mailchimp $75 and Campaign Monitor $79.
Similarly Mad Mimi is also much cheaper than its competitors when it comes to emailing smaller databases: using a list containing 1,000 records costs $12 with Mad Mimi, $15 with Getresponse, $15 with Mailchimp and $19 with Campaign Monitor. (A quick note about the Campaign Monitor prices: the figures quoted above are for their cheapest plans, which do not permit the sending of unlimited emails - it costs significantly more to send an unlimited number of emails out using Campaign Monitor).
However, it has to be said that Mad Mimi is cheap for a reason: it does not have nearly as many bells and whistles as the competing products referred to above. Drilling down into the product's features gives you an indication as to why the monthly fees are so much lower than the competition's.
Mad Mimi's interface is simple to use, if rather brightly coloured! Key features are easy to find (thanks to large text links and big buttons) and users new to the world of e-marketing will find sending e-newsletters and creating autoresponder campaigns with Mad Mimi pretty straightforward.
Unlike many similar products, Mad Mimi does not provide the user with an extensive range of templates to choose from. Rather, you are given one theme (albeit with a few layouts geared towards specific applications - product promotion, quick updates, newsletters etc.), and a range of colour schemes to choose from. Essentially you add your own branding through uploading a header image, using a drag and drop builder to add your content and selecting suitable fonts to display it in. More adventurous users can use HTML to design more bespoke templates.
This approach is very basic, but it does mean that putting together e-newsletters is straightforward. Personally, however, I'd much prefer to be able to choose from a variety of pre-designed layouts and tweak them as desired.
A more serious issue however relating to Mad Mimi's themes is that they are not, as far as I can tell from experimenting with them, responsive - i.e., they won't adjust in size automatically to suit the device an email is being viewed on. This contrasts very poorly with key competitors Getresponse, Aweber, Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp, all of which allow you to create fully responsive versions of your newsletters. In this day and age of smartphone use, this lack of responsive templates is a glaring omission and is arguably the main aspect of Mad Mimi that would make me think twice about using the product.
Autoresponders are e-newsletters that are sent to your subscribers at intervals determined by you – you can set them up so that immediately after somebody signs up to your list, they receive a welcome message from your business; a few days later they could receive a discount code for some of your products; two weeks later they could receive an encouragement to follow you on Twitter...and so on. Autoresponders tend to be a key part of e-marketing solutions.
With Mad Mimi, the autoresponder functionality is solid but basic: setting up 'drip' campaigns as Mad Mimi calls them is very straightforward. However, you are limited to sending emails based on time intervals and event dates (birthdays, anniversaries etc.) - and nothing more sophisticated. Other products, particularly Getresponse and Mailchimp, provide much more functionality in this area and allow you to send autoresponders that can be triggered by specific user actions or information, for example:
- opens and clicks
- changes in contact preferences
- completed transactions
- completion of a particular form.
Mad Mimi offers a clean, simple analytics interface that makes understanding what's happened with a mailout easy. Again, other products offer more insights when it comes to reporting...you've probably noticed a theme here and it's that Mad Mimi focuses on a very stripped-down, basic approach to everything.
Google Analytics integration is good – Mad Mimi will rewrite the URLs in your emails so that any traffic from specific Mad Mimi mailouts is easily trackable in your Google Analytics reports.
In addition to the lack of responsive templates, another serious omission in Mad Mimi is the lack of split testing. With most other similar products, you can run A/B tests on portions of your database to see which subject header or content type generates the most opens or clickthroughs (the winning subject header / content automatically being sent to the remaining data). There's none of that in Mad Mimi, unless you want to start segmenting your database into test pots and using separate, manual broadcasts to test different content types.
Mad Mimi provides quite a few useful integrations. You can plug it into a wide range of third party apps - the list includes key apps such as:
- Google Analytics
- Zoho CRM
- Facebook (signup page)
- Capsule CRM
Two types of support are available from Mad Mimi: a set of searchable online resources and email support. As with much else, competing products like Getresponse and Aweber offer more here: with both of these, you'll get not just email support but live chat and phone support too.
Mad Mimi review conclusions
There are two strong aspects to Mad Mimi. First: it's very cheap. Very cheap. Second, it's easy to use. These two factors may be enough to convince users to purchase a plan, and if you're on a budget, it's hard to think of any mainstream e-marketing tools that will allow you to broadcast so many e-newsletters so cheaply. It has its flaws, but it will nonetheless tick quite a lot of e-marketing boxes, particularly where the owners of large databases are concerned.
However, many users will find that there are some noticeable omissions when it come to the functionality available in Mad Mimi, particularly when it comes to responsive emails, autoresponders and split testing. If you are serious about growing your business, my view is that you need these sorts of features in your e-marketing toolkit.
Finally, a few templates wouldn't go amiss: when you consider that Aweber users can avail of 700+ templates, Getresponse 500+ and Mailchimp 100+, it makes the offering from Mad Mimi look positively scrawny.
The pros of using Mad Mimi
- As mentioned frequently above, the price. It’s possibly the cheapest email marketing tool out there. At the very least it is significantly cheaper than all the best-known email marketing tools – Aweber, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Getresponse etc.
- Because the emphasis of Mad Mimi is deliberately on 'simplicity', it's very easy to use, and shouldn't put off newcomers to email marketing.
- It integrates with a wide range of third party apps.
- A free trial is available (although it could be more generous as far as contact numbers go).
- A good range of integrations with other apps is available.
The cons of using Mad Mimi
- The autoresponder functionality is fairly limited - you can create autoresponders ('drips') based on when people sign up to your mailing list, but that's more or less it. Other systems, such as Getresponse or Mailchimp allow you to create autoresponders based on a whole other range of variables - clickthroughs, purchases and more.
- There is only, in effect, one email template available.
- E-newsletters are not responsive (mobile friendly).
- You can't really do A/B split testing (other similar tools allow you to test subject headers or content variants against each other using a sample of data and, based on the results, rolls the best performing versions out to your data).
- Support is via live chat or email only, although Mad Mimi say that they will schedule calls by arrangement if 'really, really' necessary.
Alternatives to Mad Mimi
If you're considering Mad Mimi as an e-marketing solution, then chances are you're on a budget. As such, you might want to think about Getresponse. Although it isn't quite as cheap as Mad Mimi, it is still one of the more reasonably-priced tools of its kind available, and comes with a lot of extra functionality that you won't find in Mad Mimi - particularly when it comes to responsive emails, as well as in the autoresponder and split testing departments. Additionally its free trial (30 days) doesn't limit the number of email addresses you can use. You can sign up for a free Getresponse account here.
Mailchimp is also worth a look for those on a budget - it's a more expensive tool than either Mad Mimi or Getresponse but it's free version is pretty good: you can send 12,500 e-newsletters to a maximum of 2000 addresses. However, you won't get autoresponder functionality with that, or split testing - you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan, and Mailchimp isn't the cheapest option going.
General advice on how to create an e-newsletter
If you are interested in creating e-newsletters and e-marketing campaigns in general, you may enjoy our article on how to create an e-newsletter / e-marketing campaign and our introduction to autoresponders.
And finally, if you've used Mad Mimi yourself, do feel free to give your thoughts on the product in the comments section below.