In the past two or three months, I’ve Googled “MailerLite vs. ConvertKit” more times than I care to admit. And while no one is debating about whether you should start building an email list, there’s still debate about which email service provider is the best one to use to do so.
If you’re a new blogger and looking for a free option, there’s a good chance that someone has recommended MailChimp to you. And if you’ve been blogging for a bit longer and you’re looking for something with more features, you’re probably considering ConvertKit.
Either way, I can honestly tell you I’ve been in your shoes. I started an email list for the first time this year and I started with MailChimp. Then I switched to MailerLite. And lately, I’ve heard so many good things about ConvertKit that I seriously considering changing again.
I’m not going to switch. Let me tell you why.
MailerLite has 24/7 customer support by email, even on the free plan (unlike MailChimp).
As a blogger, there are always new things to learn and new challenges to overcome. In order to stay focused on things that add value and minimize time spent on troubleshooting, I always try to use products that have great support.
One of my favorite things about MailerLite is their highly responsive customer support. Chat support is a “must have” for me and MailerLite has amazing customer support via chat that is both extremely responsive and extremely helpful.
Mailchimp, however, has no support on the free plan. Paid plans offer email and chat support from 8 am – 6 pm ET.
UPDATE 6/26/19 – MailerLIte no longer offers chat support for the free plan, but they do still offer 24/7 email support. And 24/7 chat support is available on all paid plans, which start at just $10.
MailerLite has autoresponders, even on the free plan (unlike MailChimp).
Autoresponders allow you to automatically send a sequence of emails over time and Mailerlite includes autoresponders even in the “Forever Free Plan.” Copyblogger has two great articles to learn more about autoresponders and how to write good ones.
5/13/17 UPDATE: On May 2nd, 2017, MailChimp announced that their marketing automation features are now free for all MailChimp users.
6/26/19 UPDATE: MailChimp appears to have changed their pricing structure once again. Single-Step Automations including welcome email, order notifications, abandoned cart, and more are included in the Free plan and the Essentials plan. Multi-step custom workflows including nurture campaigns, onboarding series, etc. are only availbale on the Standard and Premium plans, which start at $14.99 per month.
MailerLite’s free plan still includes full access to the most important features, including automation, subscribe forms, landing pages and more.
MailerLite has landing pages (unlike MailChimp).
MailerLite allows you to create customized stand alone landing pages using their landing page editor and templates. There are stand alone products for creating landing pages, like Leadpages, ClickFunnels and Instapage, but depending on your specific requirements, you may be able to create all the landing pages you need with MailerLite and avoid yet another blogging expense.
As with all MailerLite features, landing pages come at no extra cost and are included in the Forever Free plan as well.
To see an example of a Mailerlite landing page in action, click on the link or image below. It will take you to a landing page that I built to collect email addresses from people who are interested in learning where to promote a giveaway.
MailerLite has an unsubscribe page builder (unlike MailChimp).
Although it’s never fun when someone decides to unsubscribe from your list, MailerLite even has an unsubscribe page builder, letting you brand and customize your email subscriber’s entire experience from beginning to end.
MailerLite has an auto resend feature (unlike MailChimp).
The MailerLite auto resend feature allows you to resend a follow up message to subscribers who didn’t open your email or didn’t click on a single link. You can do it in one of three ways.
1. Resend your email with just a changed subject. This is the easiest way.
2. Change the subject and add a personal message above the body of the original email text and resend. This can be very effective as it looks like a personal follow up email.
3. Change both the subject and the content and resend a follow up to those that didn’t open or click.
This feature saves you time because you don’t have to manually pull the non-opener reports and save them to a new group to follow up with them.
MailerLite has a LOT of features that ConvertKit just doesn’t have.
You may not need all of the features listed below, but if you choose an email service provider that doesn’t have these features and you do need one of them.. Well, that’s just frustrating, isn’t it?
- Drag-and-drop Editor
- Mobile preview
- Video block
- RSS Campaigns
- Click map
- Tracking and campaign reports
- Automated A/B Split Testing
- Unsubscribe Page Builder
- iPhone App
- iPad App
- 24/7 Support by Chat
MailerLite is free up to 1,000 subscribers (unlike ConvertKit).
I’ll be honest. I’ve signed up for ConvertKit’s free trial not once, but twice. And if you still think that ConvertKit is the right choice for you, I would definitely understand. After all, there are a ton of bloggers that are extremely happy with ConvertKit and highly recommend it.
But if you’re a new blogger (or even if you’re not) and you’re trying to make money with your blog, one of the main challenges is keeping expenses down. MailChimp has a free plan, but lacks some important features for optimizing your email marketing efforts. ConvertKit is a robust platform designed for bloggers, but it costs $29 per month to start just to get started (although they do offer a free trial). The table below shows how MailerLite’s prices compare to ConvertKit.
For a blogger with less than 1,000 email subscribers, that’s $348 per year. A blogger with less than 5,000 subscribers, but more than 1,000, would save over $700 per year by using MailerLite instead of ConvertKit! And even if you can afford that expense, just think about all the other ways that you could invest in your business instead, such as training, branding or website development expenses.
MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers, but the free plan does not include all email templates, A/B testing or even custom branding.
It is also important to note that MailChimp provides NO support for users on the free plan, unlike MailerLite that does provide email support even if you are on the free plan.
But what about tagging?!
Now, you may be thinking… “What about tagging? ConvertKit has tagging and everyone raves about it. Don’t I need tagging?” Well, I have good news for you. 🙂
MailerLite just announced “What’s coming in 2017” and tagging will be available in March of 2017. Tagging is a great feature that allows you to better target subscribers with specific emails and can also be used together with the new automation feature that will be released this month and which includes a visual workflow builder.
Other Important Email Features You May Need
No matter which email marketing tool you choose, here are some other important features:
- Automatically send new blog posts to your subscribers using RSS to Email feature
- Send emails that are delivered by time zone (your subscribers, not yours!)
- Increase open rates with personalization and A/B split testing
- The ability to segment and tag your subscribers
- Drag and drop editor that supports a variety of designs, video, social media and dynamic content
- Tools for offering and delivering content upgrades, including landing pages
While most email marketing tools will work for professional bloggers and small businesses that just need to send emails, e-commerce features are important if you need to track visitors to your site, capture order information, and then pass all the data back to your email account. Mailchimp integrates with a number of different e-commerce solutions, including Shopify, Magento, and more. MailerLite offers has a number of e-commerce integrations as well, including:
Final Thoughts on Email Services for Bloggers…
There are many options and lots to consider when choosing an email marketing tool, but as a new blogger trying to get started quickly, lots of people tend to choose MailChimp based primarily on the fact that it’s free to start. And if you’re active in any blogging communities or if you read blogs about online business, email marketing and so forth, most likely you’ve come across someone that is singing the praises of ConvertKit.
Fortunately, MailerLite is an great alternative that is both free to start (like MailChimp) and has advanced features (like ConvertKit).
No matter what you decide, be sure to do your own research and choose the tool that is right for you.
I hope this MailerLite review was helpful. If you use either MailerLite or ConvertKit, I’d love to hear about your experience. If you’re using another email service provider that you love, I’d love to hear about that too. Leave a comment below and let’s chat!