Why MailChimp for Weekly Thing

I’ve now completed the migration and automation of the Weekly Thing using MailChimp, and I’m very happy with how it has all worked out. Newsletters are experiencing a renaissance, so let me share why I moved from TinyLetter to MailChimp.

Be aware that TinyLetter was purchased by MailChimp. I don’t expect TinyLetter to get shut down, but I also don’t expect it to get any significant attention. TinyLetter is purpose-built for personal newsletters and ease-of-use. It is very easy to use, as promised, but it lacks power features that I knew I would want.

My move to MailChimp was driven by a few things:

  1. I wanted to customize the template for my newsletter. I make frequent use of block quotes and TinyLetter didn’t deal with those, neither did the standard MailChimp templates. TinyLetter doesn’t allow you to change the template, so I knew I would need to use something more powerful, and at some point I would need to author my own template. This a pain because dealing with HTML in email is really gross.
  2. I wanted to automate the process of creating the newsletter. I use Workflow to build the sections of the Weekly Thing. I also can use Workflow to access the MailChimp API to create my campaign, upload pictures and send the HTML of the newsletter. This saves me significant time each week.
  3. I knew that the advanced segmentation features of MailChimp may come in handy at some point. I haven’t used them yet, but it’s nice to know I can reach out to a subset of subscribers if I want.

MailChimp gives significantly more freedom and control, but it comes at the expense of additional complexity. When I first moved from TinyLetter to MailChimp, the time it took me to generate the Weekly Thing doubled or worse. I also had to use a laptop, since some of the tools wouldn’t work on my iPhone. Now that I’ve gotten my workflows updated, I can generate the newsletter faster than ever before, and once again I can do it all on my iPhone.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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