With so many tools out there, choosing just one internal email tool can be tricky. Explore how ContactMonkey compares to Mailchimp for internal newsletters and how the right choice will depend on what you and your team are looking for.

Whether you have a newly approved budget or just started a new position, selecting an internal email tracking tool that allows you to measure employee engagement can be a daunting task.

Two-Way Communication is the Only Real Employee Engagement

If you’re only hearing back from your employees through an annual survey, your employee engagement levels are probably low.

Ask your employees for feedback regularly. You could do this by utilizing internal email tracking, or sending an employee newsletter with an embedded poll or pulse survey.

The good news and the bad news are the same: there’s an endless amount of employee newsletter tools that promise to take your email communications to the next level (hooray)!

However, the range of selection can be overwhelming. From tools built for marketers (like Mailchimp) to tools designed for internal communications pros (ContactMonkey, for example), choosing one is almost impossible.

Below we’ll explore how Mailchimp compares to ContactMonkey as one of the main internal comms Mailchimp competitors. The more informed you are, the better decision you’ll make to meet your employee engagement and communication goals.

Disclaimer: Obviously, we’re a little biased. After all, we’re all about embracing monkey business. But, as lovers of excellent email communications, we also love Mailchimp; we love all monkey email!

But based on interactions with clients and other internal communicators we’ve found that Mailchimp isn’t for internal communicators. What Mailchimp offers is better suited for marketers trying to convert prospects into qualified leads. One of their slogans is, “build your brand, sell more stuff,” after all.

For internal comms pros with the goal of increasing employee engagement, different email tools are probably better.

href=”https://cta-redirect.hubspot.com/cta/redirect/6282300/bd464b02-6850-4993-a632-92c9711aa1a3″ >Measure Engagement with Email Metrics

How to Choose an Internal Email Tool

When choosing internal email tools it’s useful to think about the following criteria:

  1. Who is the tool designed for?
  2. How efficient is the tool for your workflow?
  3. What is the interface like?
  4. What metrics are collected?
  5. How does this tool handle privacy and security?

Let these questions (and other Mailchimp reviews) inform your search for the email software that best meets your needs.

1. Who’s going to be using the internal email tool?

With beautiful templates, drag and drop tools and e-commerce integration, Mailchimp allows you to send mass emails that will help you bring business in.

However, Mailchimp has issues with desktop versions of Outlook so it only works within your browser.

Mailchimp can integrate directly with dozens of e-commerce tools. And they even have some pretty handy Zapier integrations. This is great if you’re trying to sell a product!

But if your end users are internal communicators, a tool designed specifically for them will be more suitable.

ContactMonkey integrates right where internal communicators work, right inside Outlook:

contactmonkey sidebar outlook


2. How efficient is the tool for your workflow?

Internal communicators have a very specific workflow and a finite amount of time to get stuff done. In a recent #CommsChat that we hosted, communicators identified not having enough time as one of their main challenges.


When using Mailchimp for internal emails, you end up wasting a lot of time importing things back and forth from Outlook. You have to maintain your distribution lists in Outlook as well as Mailchimp, which might as well be a full time job if you work at a company with over 1000 employees. Mailchimp and Outlook just don’t play nicely with each other.

How does ContactMonkey make sending internal newsletters easier?

At ContactMonkey we take pride in helping internal communicators save time on internal emails. We do that by helping them work from the comfort of the email client they’re familiar with. 

For many corporate communicators that tool is Outlook. That’s why our plugin allows internal communicators to send responsive HTML internal emails and newsletters in three easy steps while staying in Outlook:

  1. Build a template using our drag-and-drop email template builder
  2. Select your distribution lists, dynamic distribution groups or upload CSV file
  3. Personalize, send and track mass emails

With ContactMonkey’s Outlook integration, you can stop opening Microsoft Word (or Excel) or multiple 3rd party tools (sorry Mailchimp) to send a simple mail merge or responsive employee newsletter.

With ContactMonkey you’re able to do all of that right from Outlook, meaning that you don’t have to leave the email client you’re used to in order to communicate and connect with your employees.

You won’t have to deal with importing Outlook contacts to Mailchimp since you can use your regular distribution list. 

You won’t have to export your Mailchimp template to Outlook, because your template will already be there. Common Mailchimp formatting issues with Outlook will be a thing of the past. 

That sounds like a lot of time saved if you ask me.

One of our customers, Mettler Toledo found that when they used Mailchimp for their internal communications that:

“We faced challenges with Mailchimp. Since we had to leave Outlook to use Mailchimp, we found it was double the work to maintain distribution lists in both Outlook and Mailchimp. The HTML build in Mailchimp was also difficult to use as it didn’t work well with older versions of Outlook, compromising the layout.”

You can check out the complete case study to help build your case for switching from Mailchimp to a specific internal communications email software, like ContactMonkey. Kate managed to save 4 hours a week, imagine how much time you’ll save!

Download the Case Study

3. What is the interface like?

Personally, I love the Mailchimp brand. It’s loud, confident and very creative. However, as ShivarWeb puts it, “Mailchimp’s brand is not only cosmetic – it’s ingrained throughout the product. For better & for worse, Mailchimp has a unique language for its features & processes.”

This translates to users having to switch brains when it comes to sending mass internal emails or employee newsletters. If you’re looking to use Mailchimp for your internal communications, you’ll have to take into account the learning curve of a new software. 

When it’s time to work, ContactMonkey makes everything seamless.

Since our internal newsletter software is an Outlook plugin, you’re able to do everything from your Outlook window. You can:

  • Build your responsive email newsletter with our drag and drop Email Template Builder, 
  • Personalize subject line and body, 
  • Select recipients (CSVs, Outlook Distribution Lists and Dynamic Distribution Groups are all supported), 
  • Collect employee feedback in one click with our emoji reactions, pulse surveys, and ratings feature and send via the cloud in Office 365.

… ALL from within Outlook.

email template builder


Unlike ContactMonkey, Mailchimp doesn’t integrate with Outlook or Gmail. That means that anything you send doesn’t live in your email, only in their web application.

This lack of integration also makes it impossible to send mass emails to your Outlook distribution lists. In Mailchimp, you can only send emails to “subscribers” you add to their platform. You will have to update your subscribers each time an employee joins or leaves your company. That’s a full-time job in itself if you work at a large organization with thousands of employees!

4. What metrics are collected?

For internal communicators, the number one priority is to increase employee engagement through any means necessary. For that, internal email campaigns are the number one weapon in their arsenal. However, internal communications emails are very different from marketing ones because the end goal is for employees to receive something.

Whether it’s important information for them to understand, or get employees to engage in a fun activity, the end goal of corporate communications is for employees to receive and get something valuable.

In Mailchimp, you can collect mass email metrics for open rate, clicks, location, device, click maps, conversion rates, revenue, unsubscribes, and bounces. All of these functions are important when you’re trying to market and sell a product. 

That said, some of these are entirely irrelevant when measuring your internal communications strategy. While we’re big advocates for the impact of corporate communications, we’re pretty honest with ourselves; internal communications isn’t a direct revenue function such as sales. Instead, the value of internal communication is linked back to productivity, employee engagement, and staff retention.

ContactMonkey tracks some of the same things as Mailchimp, such as: open rate, clicks, location, device. Additionally, since our newsletters are designed to stay internal, you also have the ability to poll your employees and collect survey results, employee feedback and comments, and emoji reactions!

Mailchimp exclusive features:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Revenue
  • Unsubscribe
  • Bounce Rate

Features shared by Mailchimp and ContactMonkey:

  • Open Rate
  • Link Clicks
  • Device Type
  • Location

ContactMonkey exclusive features:

  • Surveys
  • Outlook/Gmail integration
  • Send to distribution lists or CSVs
  • Emoji Reactions / Reaction Symbols
  • Comments

Tracking two-way communication within your employee newsletter is a reliable way to track employee engagement and employee sentiment. A good click-through rate is important, but it doesn’t always tell the full story. 

When you solicit actual sentiments through surveys and emoji polls you actually get to see what your employees feel strongly about. What do people react positively to? If you enable comments, what are people actually saying about your news? These types of two way communication can add more depth to your metrics and reporting because they create qualitative data. And unfortunately, there is no Mailchimp survey.


Mailchimp vs Contactmonkey features venn diagram

Mailchimp lacks the ability to gather employee feedback within their email templates. If you want to use include an employee engagement survey within Mailchimp you will need to use another external tool. 

Using ContactMonkey’s template builder you can add pulse survey questions, employee comments or emoji reactions and have employees directly give you feedback from within that email. No extra steps, no extra tools.

emoji reactions example


By adding emoji reactions, pulse surveys, employee comments or star ratings to your newsletter, you’ll be able to get regular feedback in real time. Plus you can use that information to improve your internal comms strategy.

Seeing how your employees interact with your emails in real-time allows you to get inside their head.  You will finally understand the type of content they want to get from you. It’s almost like a mind-reading superpower.

Undoubtedly your internal emails are the best, most entertaining pieces of content in the world BUT isn’t it great that people can’t unsubscribe from them? How are you supposed to measure employee engagement if half of your employees unsubscribe? 

With ContactMonkey’s internal newsletter tool, employees can’t unsubscribe from your important updates. Conversely, Mailchimp (and every other web-based platform that’s built for external communications) it is mandatory that you include an unsubscribe link in every email. 

Your newsletters are too valuable to be treated as disposable marketing material.

 5. How does this tool handle privacy and security?

As you could infer from the marketing vs. internal communications divide running through this post, your priorities should also help you decide which tool to choose. For internal communications, the privacy and security of your organization should be a top concern.

With Mailchimp, everything is run through Mailchimp servers. That means your employee’s personal information, and your company’s internal newsletters are hosted in third party servers. 

Not only should that be alarming from a cybersecurity perspective, you need to think about what that means when an employee is opening a Mailchimp newsletter.

Outlook is notorious for blocking images and assets from external senders – especially if your IT department enables this by default. By using Mailchimp and sending a newsletter from their servers, you’re opening up the risk that your email won’t render properly, or worse, will be flagged as spam. It is much more reliable to send internal newsletters through an email address from your own organization using your own servers. 

With Mailchimp, you’ll also have to consider privacy when it comes to your internal communications emails. When you use Mailchimp, by default the system creates a web version of your all email campaigns with an email campaign url.

You’ll need to consider how sensitive the messages you’re sending are and if you want them available for the web after you send them!

On the other hand, ContactMonkey sends emails from your own email servers, which means they are not uploaded to the web. Our newsletter templates are responsive, and look great in Outlook for phones, tablets, and computers.

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Summary – Should You Use Mailchimp for Internal Communications?

ContactMonkey cs Mailchimp comparison chart

Why Marketers should Use Mailchimp for Marketing Communications

For any marketing purposes, Mailchimp is hands down the go-to tool. With beautiful templates and great e-commerce integration, it gives marketers and business owners the tools they need to convert more and grow their business. 

Why Internal Communicators Should Use ContactMonkey for Employee Newsletters

However, for internal communications or internal email marketing, ContactMonkey is the better tool (and understandably so, since it was designed for that). With our Outlook plugin, you can create and send beautiful responsive HTML emails, and track their performance—all without leaving Outlook.

ContactMonkey’s tool was designed specifically with internal communication best practices in mind. We surveyed hundreds of communicators on their best practices and strategies for internal communications. And the results were staggering…

We found that 95% of communicators use email as their primary communication channel. This further underscored the importance of taking your email newsletters seriously. We also found that only 27% of our survey respondents claimed they experience healthy levels of employee engagement in their workplace.

We believe that countless business can boost their employee engagement levels simply by improving their email communications. It’s a small change that can make a big difference.

The Verdict

Since ContactMonkey also allows you to send to your own Outlook distribution lists or upload any CSV recipient list, it is the seamless internal email tool communicators love to use. The best of both worlds.

Let us know in the comments below your experience with either of the tools! We’d love to hear your thoughts on who is the top email monkey!

Ready to say goodbye to Mailchimp for internal newsletters? Get the Outlook-integrated newsletter tool the world is going bananas for! Book a free demo to see our email tracking tool, and take your company newsletters to the next level.

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