Let me start off right by saying that at this point comparing Mailchimp and Campaigns is like comparing apples and pears: close enough but still very different. I was one of the Campaigns beta testers so I’ve been using it for quite a while and recently I decided to move over my 1,000+ mailing list from Mailchimp and use Campaigns exclusively for my Studio Notes newsletter.
what I love about Campaigns
1. I Don’t Have to Leave My Website
I appreciate simplicity in my business. It’s why I use 17hats (affiliate link, you get 10% off) for all my client management needs and why Squarespace is slowly but surely becoming my all-in-one platform for most of my web needs: it not only hosts my website, my blog and my eCourses, it’s also where I manage all my products and sales, my statistics and now my email marketing. I truly love the ease and consistency of having it all in one place.
2. Building The Newsletter Is Easy
You can either choose one of the stylish templates provided by Squarespace or create your own from scratch, which is what I do. Unlike in Mailchimp where you need to go to the tab that displays the building blocks and than drag and drop them into your newsletters, in Campaigns you simply click on the + symbol where you want to insert content and select one of the options and add it right there and then. So seamless and easy.
3. Easily Add Blogs and Products
I LOVE how easy it is to integrate my website content, such as blog posts or products! Instead of phaffing around with uploading images, adding text blocks and manual links you simply insert a blog or product block, choose your items from a list, apply a bit of styling and voila, that’s it! This was one of the deciding features for me when I made the switch.
4. Type Your Text Directly Into The Campaign
This is one of my pet peeves about Mailchimp: I have to update my text content in a side window and even though I can see my changes immediately this is just awkward (and reminds me of the good old Wordpress days). Adding text in Campaigns works the same way as writing a page or blog post in Squarespace, you do it right there on the page and see immediately what it looks like. No need to save, either, it’s applied immediately. Easy peasy.
5. Easy Styling
Campaigns offers some great styling options from adding background colors, changing font colors, buttons styles, content block padding, fonts, different layout options – it’s well thought out and easy to update in the styling sidebar.
6. Subscriber and Commerce Automations
Campaigns doesn’t (yet) have all the bells & whistles of Mailchimp’s powerful automation tools but they have made a great start and I have no doubt that they will keep adding new features to this. With Campaigns Automations you can:
Send welcome emails to new subscribers
Send monthly check-in emails
Welcome new subscribers with a store discount
Send product-specific thank you emails (this is new and huge!)
Send upsell emails based on previous purchases
Offer discounts to customers who buy premium products
Right now I just use the welcome email for new Studio Notes subscribers but I am also very excited about the product-specific thank you email! This – almost – addresses my needs for my eCourse sales, but not quite unfortunately. While I could use this feature to send the welcome email with the login details after someone purchases a course, it does NOT add the customer’s email address to a product specific mailing list. And that’s what I need as well. So for now I still use Mailchimp for this where I utilize the groups function which avoids subscriber duplication and also allows me to see at a glance which classes a subscriber is taking and of course makes it very easy for me to email my course participants.
How to create an opt-in funnel or drip campaign with automations:
Create your mailing list and use a newsletter block or marketing pop-up to connect your opt-in to that list. (Right now you cannot connect regular form blocks to Campaigns).
Create an automation to welcome new subscribers and include any downloads or links to your freebie. Campaigns automatically asks for a double opt-in so if you care about being GDPR compliant you will be covered by that.
Create automations for each follow-up email using the “One Month Check-In” option and simply schedule different times for each one. The title “One Month Check-In” is a little misleading, you actually have a choice of pre-defined timings or can customize your own.
→ Click here for Squarespace’s help article on automated campaigns.
7. All the Analytics I Need
While I love my data I am not someone who will spend hours dissecting and analysing it. Which is why I am very fond of Squarespace’s Analytics, they are to the point, offer only the data I am interested in and are visually very well presented. The same is true for the Campaigns Analytics, they are simple but give me all the info I need at a glance: how many have opened my newsletter, how many unsubscribed, how many click-throughs and what are the popular links. Again: easy.
My Wishlist for Campaigns
Ability to connect a regular form block to a Campaigns mailing list. Right now this only works with the newsletter block or the marketing pop-up.
More global style settings in Campaigns for things like font color, line color and width, button shape and color etc. It is a little tedious having to adjust the styling every time I add a new content block.
An option to crop thumbnail images to a certain ratio for the blog or product blocks. Right now it displays whatever format your thumbnails come in which means that it will mix squares and horizontal images for instance which does not look good.
We’ll need tags, groups and/or segmentation for our mailing lists to a) avoid subscriber duplication and b) organize our subscribers. I love the groups function in Mailchimp as that eliminates the need for multiple lists with potentially duplicate subscribers for those who are taking more than one of my courses. Tags and such are a must-have feature for today’s email marketing tools.
Ability to update and style the double opt-in email. My website title is “Squarespace Web Design Courses & Online Training” and that’s used as the sender of the opt-in email which is a bit clunky. And the email itself doesn’t look all that great, either. So I hope that we’ll get more options here eventually.
Allow blog post subscriptions.
Sorting options for mailing lists, like date joined or alphabetical.
The ability to add image galleries.
Mailchimp is very powerful and I have certainly appreciated all it can do over the years and still use it for my eCourses, see point 6 above. But apart from my courses my needs are not all that complicated: I don’t do complex campaigns (certainly not the kind where you subscribe on my website or download a freebie and subsequently get bombarded with sales emails!) and for my kind of slow and intentional marketing I much prefer Campaigns because it’s simpler, elegant and easy to use. In fact, it is a downright joy to go into Campaigns and write my Studio Notes newsletters now, I truly love it!
Plans for Squarespace’s email marketing tool start at $5/month, click here for full pricing info.
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