Mailchimp Vs. Squarespace Email Campaigns - the pros & cons
This isn’t the sort of post I’d usually write, but seeing as I’ve now had experience of using both of these platforms I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about using Mailchimp and Squarespace email campaigns to get sign ups to my mailing list and to send out my fortnightly email, my side-hustle letters.
If you’re trying to figure out what the pros and cons are between Squarespace and Mailchimp, this post should answer some questions for you.
A while back I noticed that my email sign ups had slowed, I didn’t think much of it as everything seems to have slowed down a little, Instagram engagement, visits to my blog posts, mailing list sign ups. I resolved that I needed to come up with some fresh ideas and new ways to market my business.
That was until I got an Instagram DM from a couple of people saying that they had struggled to sign up to my newsletter on my website, which rang alarm bells. Later, I realised that some of my newsletter sign up boxes on my website were signing people up to a Squarespace mailing list rather than my Mailchimp mailing list. (On Squarespace, if you just whack up a newsletter sign up box and don’t change the storage settings, they automatically direct sign-ups to a mailing list on Squarespace).
I decided to test Squarespace email campaigns, with the thinking that if I can keep my website and mailing list all in the same place I can keep things simpler (one of my big values) and it should mitigate any issues with Squarespace connecting with Mailchimp.
I’ve tried to be as balanced as I can with these pros and cons, but bear in mind I’ve since gone running back to Mailchimp for the reasons I’ve described below. In future Squarespace email campaigns might up their game, but for now, I’m back over at Mailchimp
Mailchimp is a platform that’s solely been developed to send email campaigns. Meaning that, in theory, they’re focussed on helping you build your mailing list and send brilliant emails, nothing else.
You can include each subscriber’s name in your email using the tag *|FName|* wherever you want a subscriber’s name to appear in your emails. I pull this out because this was one of the key reasons why I went back to Mailchimp because I want my fortnightly emails to be personal and human. They’re more about me sharing my stories and useful resources, rather than pushing offers and flash sales.
You have the option with Mailchimp to send you a daily summary of who’s subscribed and unsubscribed to your list, allowing you to keep track of things without having to log into Mailchimp and check how things are going. This was one of the things that alerted me to the slowing down of my mailing list sign ups.
The email design functions aren’t great. To me it often feels buggy, you change the colour of your links to a brand colour and they still appear in this gross turquoise colour! In terms of making visually beautiful email I wouldn’t say it’s Mailchimp’s forte, having said that I have seen some pretty emails created on Mailchimp but it’s an art I’ve yet to master!
Similarly creating beautiful sign up emails isn’t easy either and the way you create your sign up and welcome emails is different to the functionality you have to create your actual email campaigns for dome reason.
You have to edit your email campaigns in a window next to the email rather than in the email itself which can be frustrating and make designing an attractive email even more of a struggle.
So, how about Squarespace email campaigns? You guessed it, the pull of Squarespace email is largely the design capability. Here are my pros and cons for Squarespace.
It’s a much more pleasant experience to design an email in Squarespace. It’s a lot easier to get all of the formatting the same across all of your content blocks and setting colours is a lot easier than it is in Mailchimp too.
You can edit your email in the body of the email, which makes it a lot easier to design.
It’s so easy to pull in any content from your Squarespace website that you want to share, including blog posts. And it makes it look pretty too. You just click the blog posts you want to feature and Squarespace pulls them into your email design with a featured image and some summary copy. However one watch out on this, it doesn’t always load brilliantly on mobile which again, is pretty unforgivable in my eyes, seeing as that’s where most people read email.
You can create email campaigns in the same place as where you do everything on your website, so no separate login.
The stats are a lot nicer to look at and possibly easier to understand, but essentially you can get the same stats on both Squarespace and Mailchimp.
Squarespace has some fancy templates you can use. I can see these being useful for shops and businesses where you might send ‘flash sale’ type emails but that just wasn’t for me.
It keeps your website and mailing list all in the same place and it makes it a little easier to add the newsletter block across your website.
Finally, Squarespace has a support chat which can be another game changer. You can speak to an actual, live person who can help you with any struggles. I would say though, they’re currently more up to speed with helping you with website issues than email campaigns issues. This comes back to my point about using a platform that’s designed to send email, I guess websites is Squarespace’s bread and butter where as the email campaigns is more of an add on.
You have to pay for the service, no matter how many subscribers you have.
You can’t pull a subscriber name into an email. It seems crazy that this isn’t an option in Squarespace email campaigns.
Creating an email design isn’t as flexible as creating your web design. There’s only a small selection of fonts for example and you have to use a particular collection of three fonts, you can’t mix and match.
As far as I can tell there’s no option to set up a daily email alert to let you know how many subscribes and unsubscribes you’ve had. This means that if you’re not not checking your mailing list numbers regularly, you might miss a mass unsubscribe or a drop off in daily subscribes as I noticed with Mailchimp, or let’s think more positively, a flurry of subscribes!
In essence, there’s no perfect solution, for what I need anyway.If Squarespace email campaigns could pull my subscriber’s names into my emails AND if it was possible to design an email that looked like my website (same colours, fonts etc) I’d have my mailing list on Squarespace. But, for me not having those options makes it a deal breaker.
For you, my ‘cons’ might not be such an issue. You might prefer the flexibility and ease of the email design in Squarespace email campaigns, that might be enough to make up for it’s down falls. Ultimately, as with everything in business, there’s no wrong or right answer, you’ve just got to find what works best for you.