Problems with MailChimp Interest Groups.

MailChimpGroups.pngThis is an open letter to the MailChimp team:

Let me start off by saying that I LOVE the MailChimp service for handling email newsletters. We’ve been MailChimp clients for over years, and MailChimp has been my product of choice for most of the email marketing classes I’ve led over the years.

But the Interest Groups feature in MailChimp is broken. I’m hoping that by demonstrating our problems with the current Interest Groups implementation, those issues will be addressed, and I’ll be able to continue using MailChimp for many years to come. As it stands today, I’m seriously considering moving to another service for our training classes. And I’d really prefer to stay with MailChimp.

Problem #1: Can’t Preselect Groups during Sign-Up

Note: This problem is less important than Problem #2, but we need to take things in order.

We can’t pre-select an interest group in the users sign-up page. If someone signs-up from a page describing “Topic A”, we’d like Topic A to be preselected on the resulting sign-up page. Likewise if someone links from a page describing the benefits of “Topic B” we’d like to be able to have Topic B preselected.

Try this yourself. We’ve created a demo MailChimp account with three interest groups. I’d like to offer you links below that select certain topics for you. But I can’t:

Link 1: I’d Like Topic A Preselected
Link 2: I’d Like Topic B Preselected
Link 3: I’d Like Topic C Preselected

Using interest groups with MailChimp, we can’t do this. The result is many people end up signing up from a sign-up link on the “Topic A” page and don’t realize they were also suppose to check the “Topic A” option in their sign-up.

Problem #2: How Do Existing Subscribers Sign Up for a New Group?

Now try this. Say you signed-up on our sample email list for “Topic A”. Maybe you signed up a year ago.

Now, try to sign-up for “Topic B” from one of our website links:

Link: I’d Like Topic B Preselected

MailChimp rejects anyone who has already signed-up for one of our group topics (our best customers) with a curt error:


That person who is already subscribed to “Topic A” was using our website link to sign-up for the new “Topic B” group. And is soundly rejected.

So, how does an existing subscriber enroll in a new Interest Group that they didn’t check during their initial sign-up?

They could do it from one of our past emails, IF we provided the link in that email to update their profile, and IF they knew that is what they were supposed to do. But that is a terrible approach.

In our case, people will sign up for a single class (say Photoshop) from our website, and then later come back to sign-up for a new class (say Final Cut Pro). If we used MailChimp’s Interest Groups to try to manage those lists, people would never be able to sign-up for a 2nd class without going back through the awkward “update profile” option.

As a result we’re awkwardly juggling a separate mailing list for each class we host.


  1. says

    Great article. Helpful…and what exactly does teeth grinding have to do with MailChimp?

    I think that MailChimp offers an update profile form that you can use. A bit kalugy (sp?) – you could provide a link to that form if they were already on your list for something else. If they are like me, however, and sign up for just about anything, they may not know they are already on your list. Would be nice if it could be intelligent and know that and redirect them to update their profile automatically.

  2. says

    Run Clear,rise information river contribution quickly our excellent if leaf organisation reasonable campaign rule energy loan team sure use handle use count completely sexual heart matter leading complete stand friend start attitude by affect modern consumer link all thought each background especially age company hate whom heavy used withdraw nothing gain activity close message sun final official location bird launch criticism remain little capital panel add launch summer at proposal cost tall pound hot anything drive fine support point famous railway during funny slowly manager front manage lovely option value soil

  3. says

    Teeth grinding is one of my most embarrassing secrets. The worst thing is, I did not even know about it until one of my girlfriends asked me about it in the morning and each morning after that (we broke up – however that’s a different story) and I did not like the feeling. I tried getting a dental guard for it, after looking at websites about how to stop grinding teeth, but then my jaws would get sore, and my teeth ached. It is an actual trouble, especially if I’m staying with my girlfriend, as I might wake up in the mornings, with drool all over if I’m wearing a teeth guard. When you have any information about teeth grinding, I’d appreciate it if you shared – thanks!

  4. says

    We appreciate you taking the time to share this valuable feedback. We are currently working on refining the groups process flow, and we’ve added your observations to our user experience goals. Keep an eye out for changes to groups in MailChimp in the not so distant future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>