So you’re looking to spice up your internal emails with a fancy new email design. Or maybe you’ve finally got approval to research an internal email tracking tool so you can start measuring your engagement.
The good news is the world is your oyster. There are more email tracking programs than ever, and they are getting more and more sophisticated and user-friendly.
The bad news is that most of the tools out there aren’t designed for internal comms. Internal communicators have unique needs, security considerations, and workflows that don’t usually work smoothly with an external facing platform. And of course, if it doesn’t work out with one provider, you can start over with another, but that can be a pretty time-consuming process.
We found that a lot of our customers migrate from external email marketing tools to Bananatag after realizing the limitations these external platforms have when it comes to internal comms.
So we’ve decided to save you some trouble and time. We’re going to show you how Bananatag stacks up to one of the most popular email tracking platforms when it comes to designing and tracking email communications -- MailChimp.
Disclaimer: Obviously we have some inherent bias, but we do love MailChimp and think what they do is brilliant. We are comparing our product to theirs because a) they are the industry standard in email tracking and templates for marketers and small businesses, and b) they are externally focused, and thus markedly different in important ways from our product.
Bananatag vs. MailChimp Workflow
An easy and user-friendly workflow makes a huge difference when it comes to how a software integrates with your day-to-day activities. The workflow of any given software will impact your productivity, your success with the program, and how many expletives you hurl at your screen during the process.
MailChimp User Interface Overview
The MailChimp platform is a web-based application, that is accessible through your web browser. That means there’s nothing to download and no programs to boot up. All you have to do to access your account is sign in.
When you jump into your MailChimp account, you’ll immediately see your Audience and Activity Overview on your Dashboard.
You can toggle between views and see changes in your audience, growth, and engagement on your last campaign.
MailChimp keeps it simple with just four tabs in the top left corner.
From your Dashboard you have access to:
- Campaigns (where you can create and review email campaigns)
- Templates (where you can create and review email templates)
- Lists (where you can create, add and segment employees lists)
- Reports (where you can check the success of your campaigns, automations and compare them to previous campaigns and industry standards)
All emails, reports, and templates must be created, edited, and accessed from the web-based platform.
Bananatag User Interface Overview
Bananatag also has a web-based dashboard you can access from your browser, but also a simple plugin that can be accessed right from Outlook, Outlook 365 or Gmail.
Here’s our web-based dashboard:
Like MailChimp, when you sign into Bananatag on your browser, you’ll be brought to a dashboard with valuable stats like the number of tracked emails, open rate, and click rate. From the first screen, you’ll be able to see an Engagement Overview, as well as an Overview of Device Type, Opens, and your last tracked emails.
From your Dashboard, you have access to:
- Emails (where you can review all the emails you’ve sent and their individual tracking, opens, and click data)
- Create (where you can create, review, and organize your email templates)
- Reports (where the magic happens--ahem--where you can check the success of your emails by engagement, opens and clicks, location data, click maps and create custom reports)
Once you’ve got your template drafted and approved, you just send through your Outlook plugin.
And here’s what the tool looks like in Outlook:
And our Gmail extension:
Bananatag allows functionality across platforms because being able to access our email builder and templates right from your inbox on your preferred email client means you never have to leave your inbox to send an email.
Besides being tailored specifically for internal communicators, it also makes the sending process faster and easier.
Maintaining employee lists in MailChimp
One of the biggest drawbacks of MailChimp for internal communicators is the list management system.
Because MailChimp is externally focused, there are a couple of speed bumps when it comes to easily maintaining lists for internal comms.
First, you have to upload all of your contacts to their platform. This can be a dealbreaker for companies with strict security and data requirements.
And whenever you have a new hire or person who should be receiving your email, you have to update your list manually. This means before you send any email, you have to double check you have uploaded your new list properly.
But perhaps the biggest annoyance of list management on MailChimp for internal distribution lists is that the option to unsubscribe is always available.
Because MailChimp is externally focused, they legally have to offer this option in accordance with SPAM laws. It can be super annoying if employees unsubscribe because it is difficult to re-subscribe them. And until you do, they won’t be receiving any emails from you.
Maintaining employee lists in Bananatag
One of the most popular features of Bananatag for internal communicators is the ability to keep existing, and new distribution lists private and on their own servers.
Bananatag does not require you to import any contacts, nor does it allow employees to unsubscribe. You never have to worry about maintaining more than your primary distribution list, and you can maintain it however you like. There is no secondary list to maintain.
This also means that the time it takes to get Bananatag up and running, and the maintenance that needs to be done on the back end is significantly less than with MailChimp.
Designing an internal email in MailChimp
When it comes to designing marketing emails, MailChimp’s template builder is the industry standard. Heck, we love it.
Their interface is robust, and more importantly, very forgiving. You can create your own templates or choose from a variety of pre-made templates, which you can customize in nearly any way you can imagine. It’s easy to add your organization’s brand colors and insert extra text blocks or images.
There are two significant drawbacks for communicators using MailChimp’s tool for designing and sending internal emails.
- You can’t remove the unsubscribe link in the footer. And like we mentioned before, it is a hassle to manage your lists when you have employees unsubscribe.
- And if you’re sending from MailChimp to employees who are using Outlook to open their emails, you’ll likely get an error message where your images should be. This defeats the purpose of using MailChimp to make your emails look better.
Designing an internal email in Bananatag
Like MailChimp, Bananatag has a super easy-to-use, drag-and-drop email designer. But our tool is specifically designed for internal communicators, so we have added other useful features to make your life easier, and to pull more data from your emails.
Because Bananatag’s tool sends directly from Outlook, Gmail or O365, you also don’t have to worry about your images showing up or getting image errors that are common when sending to Outlook accounts from MailChimp.
Being able to drop a customizable survey field with various response scales directly into an email has proven to be an invaluable tool for internal communicators. Not only can they collect feedback on content, events, understanding, policy changes, and more, surveys empower communicators with valuable data that can help them make positive change in their organizations.
You can find out exactly how employees feel about your content by enabling social reactions in your emails. They can be added to any piece of content and are tracked in your dashboard. This is a great way to gauge the impact of your content and take engagement measurement to the next level. You can learn what kind of content your employees like so you can adjust your strategy accordingly and finally make your emails a truly interactive channel.
Anywhere you input our survey block, you’ll also have the option to prompt and collect comments from employees, and decide whether to allow them to be anonymous. These comments are recorded in your Bananatag account and are sorted by the selected response to help provide more context for your survey data.
Sending an internal email with MailChimp
The first step is to create a campaign.
Recently, MailChimp has expanded their services into advertising and landing pages (again, it’s an externally-focused program). This means you’ll choose to Create an Email.
Next, you will name your campaign and choose between a Regular, Automated, Plain-text or A/B Test email. For internal comms purposes, a regular email is what you would use to send to employees, as the other options are marketing focused. Before you select a recipient list to send to, you have to make sure that your list has been uploaded into Mailchimp and is up to date. If you want to send to more than one list, you’ll have to create another campaign and send it separately.
Next you’ll have to pick a sender. You will be limited to sending emails from a domain that you own.
When you’ve perfected your design, you can send some test emails, or go straight to scheduling or sending the email.
Sending an internal email with Bananatag
With Bananatag's plugin for Outlook, Outlook 365, or Gmail, communicators only need to click the 'track email' button in their mail client to start collecting data for a specific email.
To design a new template or email, users simply log in to the dashboard and click create. Users have the option of creating a new email draft from an existing template or creating a new template.
Once your email design and content is perfected, you simply use the Bananatag sidebar to insert the email content into Outlook, Outlook 365 or Gmail.
Bottom Line: MailChimp is intuitive and easy to move through. It is great for the tech-savvy and beginner alike, but is definitely focused on external emails.
A big drawback with the MailChimp User Interface for internal communicators is that your email no longer lives in your email. MailChimp doesn’t integrate with Outlook, Lotus Notes or Gmail. All of your email sending has to be done on the web platform. All your contacts and templates also live on the web platform.
Bananatag’s workflow makes more sense for internal communicators because they can manage their own lists and send directly from their inboxes.
Reporting and Internal Email Metrics Bananatag vs. MailChimp
Email Measurement Metrics
Both Bananatag and MailChimp will report on how many recipients opened each email, as well as how many times each link was clicked. Additionally, both platforms can give you data on the location recipients were in when they opened their email as well as what type of device was used.
The only metrics MailChimp has that Bananatag does not are those focused on revenue and conversion rates (again, externally focused metrics for marketing and sales) and unsubscribes, which should be a non-issue if you are only sending to internal lists.
On either platform, you can see this data visualized with charts and click maps in your web browser. Both platforms also allow you to download reports and allow you to see the graphs populated with your metrics over time. This enables you to see how quickly messages were received and opened over time, and when the activity and engagement dips.
Bananatag, however, allows you to run custom reports, so you get the data you need in one report, rather than having to sift through all the metrics or isolate relevant metrics before you share it.
Security and Data Storage Bananatag vs. MailChimp
MailChimp keeps all of the tracking data in their system. You can see if individual email addresses in your organization opened certain emails. You can also see an estimation of how engaged each recipient is based on the percentage of internal emails they open.
As useful as this data is for external emails and marketing, many communicators we've spoken to have told us their organizations won’t allow them to monitor individuals in this way.
Bananatag doesn't track individuals. You'll always get aggregate data on your list as a whole, never on the individual employees that opened or clicked lists in emails.
Though at first glance this may seem like a drawback, it is really good for ensuring privacy on things like in-email surveys and polls, and a requirement in many organizations. It allows recipients to feel confident that they can express themselves or provide feedback without being singled out. This is one of the best ways to get honest feedback that you can actually use to create change.
Both MailChimp and Bananatag use enterprise-level security measures to protect your data.
One difference to consider here is that MailChimp does currently store more of your data because they have your internal email addresses and lists, emails that are sent with their platform, and the body of your messages.
Bananatag does not have access your recipient list, and if desired, can be used without storing the body of your messages.
Pricing and Implementation Bananatag vs. MailChimp
Both Bananatag and MailChimp offer plans based on the size of your email lists. With Mailchimp, this is calculated based on the number of contacts you maintain in their system.
There are a few options for plan types when looking at MailChimp, but the most relevant plan they offer for a communications applications would be their 'Starting Up' plan. You can use this plan for free if you have fewer than 2,000 recipients and send less than 12,000 emails per month (which works out to 6 emails to 2000 person list per month).
If you want unlimited sending with MailChimp, their plans start at $20 per month per 1000 recipients.
Bananatag calculates price based on the number of unique recipients on your internal distribution lists and the features you want. We tailor our quotes to suit your specific needs, rather than make you pay for features you won’t use. We offer free trials so you can poke around and make sure it’s a good fit.
As we mentioned earlier, Mailchimp requires you to maintain a list of all of the employees you want to send to in their system. This will require you to create a process for keeping your list in their system up-to-date. Other than this, creating an account and getting started is pretty straightforward. You have to provide some information but shouldn’t be anything you don’t already have access to.
Bananatag can be set up in minutes. The only thing a user needs to do is install the free Bananatag plugin for Outlook (or another mail client) and register the email addresses you want to send from in our system. Then you can then send to any list you have set up in your mail client.
Bananatag vs. MailChimp Summary
In the end, Bananatag is the better platform for internal communications.
MailChimp definitely knocks it out of the park when it comes to making marketers’ and small business owners’ lives easier, but when it comes to internal comms, it presents a lot of obstacles. From security concerns, unsubscribe issues, contact maintenance, and individual privacy considerations, MailChimp is not the best choice for internal communications.
Because Bananatag is built specifically for internal comms, it provides all the features you need to streamline your workflow, create beautiful emails, and measure engagement.