August 13, 2013


Marketing Reflections: click to readMarketing Reflections ran for 42 consecutive months. I stopped because the newsletter was
  • dated in design
  • time-consuming to create
  • cumbersome to maintain
There had to be a solution.

Within six months, I rediscovered the power of newsletters and launched Transparence using Mad Mimi. We’ll look at the well-featured free version which lets you send 12,500 emails a month to 2,500 people.

[Disclaimer: as usual, no affiliate links, no inducements offered or accepted.]

The Look

Fresh-looking email from Mad MimiMany newsletters look like they’re based on stock templates … because they are. How does that set you apart?

I wanted a fresher, cleaner look optimized for smartphones.

At first, Mad Mimi looked too simple. The examples didn’t look like newsletters. Where is the column with links, contact information and a table of contents? At the same time, I liked the freshness and extensive use of visuals.

Was Mad Mimi too basic?

The new MailChimpMonkeying Around

I decided to try MailChimp and quickly got overwhelmed with the options. I could easily create a “normal” newsletter with templates but did not like the results. There’s lots of online help available but I wanted something more intuitive (e.g., like private social network tool Ning 3.0).

In June, MailChimp introduced a new version which is “more efficient, mobile-friendly, and flexible”. Since Mad Mimi already was, I didn’t explore the changes.

Mad Mimi helps create your bannerLook Sharp

There’s no point sending out a newsletter that looks amateurish. If you’re a designer, you can
  • create a banner
  • select suitable fonts for the titles and text
  • choose the optimal size and placement for graphics
The two usual choices are to work from a stock template or hire a designer. Mad Mimi gives a third choice: they’ll do the work for you. For free. Even if you have a free account.

I wanted a banner that looked professional and consistent with the look of We went through several iterations before settling on this.
Transparence_aThey even created a sample newsletter from an example I sent. I cloned the result to create my template. That a time saver.

Simpler Terminology

Newsletters often talk about subscribers. Mad Mimi talks about your audience. This subtle distinction makes a difference. Subscribers feel like an asset you “own”. In contrast, an audience feels like a group you owe.

Amazing Support

Mad Mimi says that as a free user “you don't get our awesome support”. That’s fair but not true. You get great support. I had occasional questions and got quick responses by email. The live chat support is wonderful too. The team helps and welcomes suggestions.

Click to read newsletterFair Pricing

While you can do email marketing for free, you get more features with paid plans — and support the service. Here’s a comparison:
Contacts MailChimp Mad Mimi
1,000 $15 $12
2,500 $30 $16
5,000 $75 $27
If you have an audience of 1,000 and add one person, MailChimp doubles your price. No thanks. Mad Mimi has better prices and is more fair in their tiers.

The Results

I could have imported my old Marketing Reflections mailing list into Mad Mimi but decided to start Transparence fresh by requiring the audience to sign up again (100% opt-in). I invited selected people in early July, which is prime holiday time. Even so, about half agreed without seeing the new newsletter.

I scheduled Transparence to go out at 10 AM. It was mailed at 10:01 AM. That’s fine. All copies got delivered (no bounces due to full inboxes or bad email addresses). No one unsubscribed or reported Transparence as spam.

Here are the statistics:
I’m especially interested in what’s read and who’s reading. Mad Mimi shows that type of information in an easy to understand format. Of the potential audience
  • 62% viewed the newsletter
  • 29% clicked on a link (actually 47% of the 62% who viewed)
The engagement may decrease as the audience grows.


Overall, Mad Mimi is a simple, powerful, inexpensive way to send email newsletters and track the results. Highly recommended — especially since you can start for free. Today I upgraded to a paid account to take advantage of extra features like automated drip campaigns and unlimited image hosting.


PS Why not get Transparence, my newsletter? It’s free.

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