Be careful with your monkeys: how to accidentally mess up with Mailchimp’s new changes


So Mailchimp made some very unpopular changes which affect a lot of us indie authors. Part of their appeal had been to offer free services up to 2,000 people. Some of their shenanigans have really put the screws to those of us who spend more time writing new stories than managing our lists.

A lot of folks who are better at this than me can speak to the shady maneuver the head chimps pulled to sneakily insert useless data into our lists and inflate them. if you only have 100 or so readers it is no big deal–but if you’re constantly hovering around the 2,000 subscriber mark, it makes a world of difference! What happens when your mailchimp audience/mailing list hits 2,000 members?

I’ve tried to get better at managing my lists and sending great content in my monthly newsletters–content that interests, engages, and has some value/substance. Still there will be some folks who won’t read the content (or never saw it because of deliverability). We need to keep a watch on the health of our lists. After a few months of inactivity (for me, if they haven’t opened a message in a few months–it may look different for you,) I drop a person from my mailing list if they are fairly new. If they have been around for a while, I might keep them a little longer, but I’m trying to cultivate an active community of readers and so I’m quick to prune my lists. I’d rather have 2,000 active subscribers with high open rates than a 10,000 member list with low open rates (reengagement tactics be damned.)

So in my constant efforts to grow my list and engage with others, I’m constantly hovering around 2,000. I’m a little over, a little under, and flip flopping as I cull and merge data to keep enough headspace on my list, weeding out dead leads and improving list health.

I noticed a few weeks ago that I was getting new list subscribers (I run 5 lists with different automation sequences, depending on the source of the subscribers) but I was not getting the normal unsubscriber numbers. You will always have a certain percentage who will drop off a list after receiving a couple messages–they hopped on to get a free book/reader magnet and didn’t want any further information (for the record, that’s totally cool and you would rather those people leave the list if they aren’t super thrilled to be there–luke-warm list members are the hardest to engage and can be something of a black hole that skew your list data when you try to strategize on how to use it.) At first I thought, dang, I must be doing something right… after two weeks I realized that was a ridiculous thought. I logged in and had a small spike that put me over 2,000 (mainly because my final deletion hadn’t processed through the queue and I’d busted the cap.)

Breaking the automatically paused all of my automations with a forced membership upgrade that needed to be authorized by me (with credit card info, etc.) Basically, I’d sat for half a month with new users who signed up to receive a free book from me or an invitation to engage that never got my responses/automated links and info because every email the system wanted to send them turned themselves off.

Be extra careful when you are butting up against that magic (cursed?) number. You don’t want to have a couple hundred people sitting in queue–you must always strike while the iron is hot.

As for me, I’m following the trend and switching over to Mailerlite, which had always been my intention. I still plan to leave my automations running at Mailchimp, but will manually merge relevant data and then hard delete the old info.


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