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.
Meet the Lazy Marketer’s Best Friend: The Email Autoresponder
How to Write a Heroically Effective Email Autoresponder Series
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.
20+ Places to Promote Your Next 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).
Click here to check out MailerLite today!
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!
Chantel, this is a good comparison of these three providers. I just recently switched my new blog over from MailChimp to MailerLite as well because there are many more features that are available for free there where you would have to pay for on other services such as ConvertKit or Aweber. I think that anyone starting out with a new blog should learn the ropes with a provider like MailerLite… at least until they get the hand of using autoresponders, webforms, and landing pages. And, by the time they reach the 1000 subscriber threshold, they should be earning enough to try out any premium services.
I was just trying to figure out about my email subscriber service! Literally 5 mins ago and I was like I really want to change from Mailchimp. Thank you so much for this helpful article!
Isaly Holland | http://www.memoriesbyisaly.com
Isaly – you are so welcome! Would love to hear about how you like MailerLite when you get switched over. 🙂
I love your comparison! I tried MailChimp in the past and quite frankly, I didn’t like it. MailerLite is more user-friendly, I believe and has more functionality. I also use MailPoet for my lifestyle blog. Passing this along!
Does Mailerlite’s landing pages work with multiple content upgrades on one subscriber list? I am using mailchimp now and to create content upgrades, I need to create a separate email list for each one. Is it the same with Mailerlite?
Yes! You can do that with MailerLite landing pages or even just embedded web forms. ?
Nicole here from the Blog + Biz BFFs Facebook Group. Thanks so much for this informative post! Really loaded with value! I checked MailerLite out after reading your post and am making sure to sign up through your links (a lil’ affiliate thanks!)
Thanks again and all the best,
Nicole | http://www.normadiconline.com
Thank you so much, Nicole. ?
Same here! Your post was very helpful. I’ll be sure to use your affiliate link to sign up because I definitely appreciate the time you took to create this comparison. Also, I’m pinning it to all of my blogging boards. 🙂
erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com
Thank you so much, Erin. I’m so glad it was helpful. 🙂
Chantel, while I do use MailChimp in my business as well for my clients, this is a great post. I will try your suggestion later in the year and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing.
Julian – thank you! Would love to hear how you like MailerLite when you try it. 🙂
Very timely, thank you! I was just trying to google these exact things over the weekend and sort of, for now settled on MailerLite. Your post definitely helps me feel more confident in my decision!
That’s awesome, Gretchen! Hit me up if you have questions I can help with. Be sure to join our Facebook group too if you haven’t already. ?
You’re definitely right, I’ve only heard about Mailchimp for a free service for starting out. That’s what I’m using right now. I never heard of Mailerlite. I will have to look into it, thanks.
Wonderful. Would love to hear what you think. 🙂
This is so helpful to me! I’m goin. To switch from Mailchimp to Mailer Lite. Thank you so much!
Gwen – so happy it was helpful! Would love to hear how it goes for you with MailerLite. 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this! I have been researching on which one of these services is better.
Lindsey – you are welcome. Let me know if there are any other questions I can help with! 🙂
I’ve heard a lot of good things about mailerlite this month. I’m definitely going to have to check it out.
Yay! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 🙂
This is really helpful! Thanks for sharing. I just started using Aweber. So far, I’m pretty happy except that it doesn’t really integrate with WordPress (even though they say it does). Have you reviewed Aweber before?
Lisa – thanks for taking time to let me know this post was helpful. I haven’t reviewed Aweber before, but I’ll keep it in mind if I do any more email service provider reviews. 🙂
Love, love, love this. I was planning on Mailchimp (having never heard of MailerLite) when you convinced me to try ML instead via a FB post. I was an Aweber fan back in the day (when none of these others existed!), but just can’t afford it nor ConvertKit. Based on this post, I think I’ll be able to grow with MailerLite and not have to stress over the potential need to switch! Thanks for taking the time to seriously compare/contrast the three services.
Rebecca – I am so happy that this comparison helped you! Would love to hear how it goes. 🙂
Amazing thank you! I also started with mailchimp – I literally have 5 subscribers and already unhappy. Tried using them with Leadpages and had problems with integration, I’ve had problems with the sign up forms generating correctly, etc. I’m going to sign up with mailerlite today!
Yay, Amber! Would love to hear how it goes for you. ?
Hi Chantel, I’ve been wondering which is better for a while. To be honest I didn’t know that MailerLite had a free plan. Thank you for giving me some points to consider!!
Laura – you are most welcome. ?
Does MailerLite have the ability to set up email courses or nurturing campaigns that run automatically pre-scheduled? That’s one thing I like about ConvertKit because it’s so easy to do that too.
Yes, Sarah. You can do that even on the free plan. ?
I just switched from ConvertKit to Mailerlite also! What a great and easy to use platform.
All my best,
Yes! Glad to hear that you like it too. ?
Thank you for this great recommendation! My main frustration with my current email plan is that my subscribers aren’t able to opt-in for multiple lead magnets. I’ve created a work around with a “resource library” but I’d rather them be able to just enter their email again, but not end up as a duplicate on my list. Do you know, does MailerLite do that? Thank you!
Yes, you can create separate webforms directly in MailerLite and depending on which form they use to opt-in add them to different lists and send them different emails with different links. ?
Very interesting! I’m using Mailchimp now – but had heard plenty about the other two…Lots to think about! Now…finding the time to make the switch, ugh! (And replace all those links to my subscribe form in past blog post…double ugh!) Thanks for the info!
You are most welcome. Maybe I should do a step-by-step post on how to switch over. ?
Now THAT would be a double-whammy of helpful-ness 😉 And especially appreciated by the many readers (including myself!) who will be or already have switched over!!
Great post, Chantel, and you sold me on the benefits! Adding it to my short-term “to do list”!
Please do, would be very welcome!
I would love to read that! 🙂
This is so timely! Thank you!
Angela – you are most welcome! Would love to hear how it works out for you. The more I learn about MailerLite’s features, the more I like it! Just today, I noticed that you can see where your email subscribers clicked on links in your emails in a visual format! 🙂
This article truly convinced me why I NEED to switch to MailerLite. Thank you so much Chantel! This is incredibly helpful!
You are so welcome. Hope you love it!
Thank you for posting this! I am signing up for MailerLite because I was looking for ways to expand my blog reach. 🙂
Amanda – you are most welcome! If you’re working on expanding your blog reach, you might want to sign up for Mariah Coz’s free challenge – “Write Your Free Email Course”. This is my affiliate link, but the challenge is totally free to participate. chantelarnett.com/emailcoursechallenge 🙂
Thanks for this post! I need to figure this email list thing out! I’ll check out mailerlite!
Hi, Sarah. Definitely check it out and let me know if you have questions that I might be able to help with. Also, their 24/7 chat support is amazing! 🙂
I might have to check Mailerlite. I have mailchimp, but Mailerlite has a lot of free features. I might try it for my giveaway mailing list and if that fits in well I will switch it out for good.
Gigi – that’s a great idea! I actually used a MailerLite landing page when I did a giveaway. If you didn’t already get it, be sure to grab my list of 20+ places to promote your giveaway. 🙂 http://the.blogbizschool.com/promote-giveaway-checklist
Thank you so much for this post! I am so over MC and ready to move. Still in the investigative mode but this was very helpful!
Ah thanks so much for this post! I don’t have a mailer list set up and my head was spinning with the options!
You are most welcome. Hope it made the decision making process easier. ?
So I signed up for mailerlite and created a web form but I’m not approved yet, do I need to wait for approval to see the web form on my site?
Roxy – you’ll have to add the webform to your site, but I would wait until you are approved. If the form is live on your site before you are approved, someone might sign up and not get the emails that they should get after sign up. If you need more help, MailerLite’s chat support is 24/7 and they are super helpful!
This post makes me want to try Mailer Lite for one of my sites! I have two questions, though. The main one is open rate. I’m moving away from Mad Mimi because of horrible open rates. And Convert Kit open rates are amazing. How does Mailer Lite compare?
My second question is, if I have multiple optins and multiple freebies, am I able to have separate lists to keep track of interests without being charged twice or three times for the same person? I need someone to be able to unsubscribe from one drip or list without removing them from the whole list, if possible.
Gretchen, my open rates have been 33% to 44% this month for emails sent to my entire list (not individual segments). MailerLite definitely lets you add people to separate lists and even multiple lists and doesn’t charge you multiple times. They also won’t send the same email to one person twice just because they’re on more than one list that gets the same email.
your blog that I found at Femtrepreneur inspired me to check out MailerLite again. Fingers crossed that it’s a keeper. Been sitting on the fence which platform to use as I switch over from sending my newsletter via Outlook. Lots to learn, but ml seems very accessible for newbies.
Just noticed that I never replied to your comment. 🙁 Did you move forward with MailerLite? If so, is it working out for you?
we love mailerlite since we started using it. looking forward to the new features!
I am really looking forward to the tagging feature! I was literally pinging them to see when it will be released. 🙂
I’ve been sitting on the fence with MailerLite, Active Campaign, and Convert Kit (I’ve been with MadMimi for a long time). So many email services have affiliate link policies that are really hard to understand. Do you use affiliate links in your emails with ML? Are you able to link directly to an affiliate product, or do you have to send your subscribers to a blog post that points them to something you’re sharing or promoting?
Amy – I do use affiliate links in my emails with MailerLite. I actually reached out to them to get clarification on their policy and this is what they said… “To make everything short, affiliate links are ok within our service, as long as they match your blog/site content, you clearly inform your subscribers that this is a special offer etc. We do not see any problems here, and you can recommend our service without any doubt :)” Hope that helps!
Thank you!!! That’s very helpful!
You’re welcome! 🙂
This was absolutely the best post ever! I had started with the chimp, and wasn’t sure about moving over to MailerLite (but, had signed up for it) and just got my logo done today so as I was updating everything I found your link to this post. I just moved everything over and am so happy at how easy it was! Thank you!
Loren – I’m so glad it was helpful! MailerLite is very user friendly, isn’t it? 🙂
I just switched from GetResponse to MailerLite and also signed up for the free trial of Converkit (because I’ve heard about so many people loving it). I’m not totally in love with Convertkit and wasn’t sure if it was just me. I’m going to stick with MailerLite now becasue it has features I need, is pretty easy to use and it is a great price. Thanks for helping me with that descion!
I’m so glad to hear that my post helped you make the decision that felt right for you! 🙂
Thank you so much for this article Chantel. I’m actually finishing up my lead magnets today and was literally going to sign up for Mailchimp today!! I’m now going to look into Mailerlite
Awesome! Sounds like the timing was perfect. ?
I really want to use Mailerlite, but find it complicated to set up. And, there is one feature that I like better on ConvertKit … CK has an autodownload when the user clicks subscribe in their confirmation email.
That does sound like a nice feature, Alicia. I wonder if MailerLite might add it at some point. 🙂
This is amazing! How have I not heard of this before? I haven’t launched yet, and I was begrudgingly going to use ConvertKit with no subscribers, but MailerLite it is!! You made my day!
Brenda – your comment just made my day! 🙂
This was so helpful! I am currently with Mail Chimp but have known since the day I started my blog practically, that I needed to switch. But until now I was sure I needed Convertkit. I didn’t realize MailerLite had the features that ConvertKit has! I will be sharing this post for sure! Thanks for sharing:)
I use Mailerlite too and I like it not just for the reasons you mentioned but it’s so easy to use and way more attractive looking than Mailchimp. The autoresponders were the ultimate dealbreaker for sure. If I had thousands of subscribers I might feel differently.
Great post, you really explained your points with detail, I may have to jump on to mailerlite too…
Thanks for this it was really helpful! I’ve considered changing from Mailchimp mainly due to the automation only being available in paid options. BUT thankfully they just released automation for free! (So you need to update point 2 :)) Tha na anyway good things to consider in the future.
Lisa – I heard about that! Thanks for the reminder. Just updated the post. 🙂
I’m going to go ahead & try MailerLite since I’ve recently found that emails are landing in subscribers junk instead of inbox ? great write up thanks for this
Sounds like Mailerlite is a good company! May look into it sometime.
You definitely should! They are super affordable and super helpful, plus it’s easy to use. 🙂
I swithced from MailChimp to MailerLite. It was easy for me to figure out. I have several auto responder series set up for different opt ins. I have also found the customer service excellent.
Hi, Tamara. I’m also happy to hear about other people who like MailerLite. I agree… Their customer service is the best!! The 24/7 chat support is awesome, especially since I’m always working on my blog and emails outside of normal business hours. 🙂
Thank you so much for this! I’m in the process of switching from Mailchimp to Mailerlite and this was such a helpful post! I’ve pinned it for referral during my switch!
Melissa – so glad it was helpful! Would love to hear how the switch goes for you. ?
This is great information! I was about to sign up for MailChimp to start out my blogging journey, but you have convinced me otherwise. Thank you!
Hi, Katie. So glad it was helpful. I’m thinking of setting a a course on how to use MailerLite. Is that something that would be helpful to you?
I almost went with Mailchimp but I’m so happy I went with MailerLite instead!! I’ve had it a little over a month and am loving it so far! I love that it’s free for the first 1000 and being able to make landing pages. I haven’t even used all the features yet!
Great post. I’m currently on ConvertKit but have been looking into alternatives, particularly MailerLite. One of the features I like with ConvertKit is where it doesn’t count duplicate emails/subscribers against your monthly subscriber limit which allows you to avoid double charges. Does MailerLite have anything like that?
Yes! MailerLite only counts each email address once, no matter how many groups that person belongs/subscribes to. ?
I was one of those newbie bloggers that went with mailchimp, but soon discovered that over half of the people signing up never even got the first email. If your subscribers have a yahoo or aol account it will never even reach them. I tried it myself with my personal email accounts and my yahoo and aol accounts never received any of my blog emails. They weren’t even in my spam folders. Google signups have it go straight to their spam folders. I switched in a hurry. I tried mad mimi with some success, but MailerLite is my favorite. I’m sticking with them!
I love Mailerlite and I didn’t know it did some of these things. I love that is it easy to use and free!
I’m going to have to look into MailerLite! I started blogging back in September and was automatically introduced to Mail Chimp. It’s been okay for me, but I have found it doesn’t have a lot of functions/options and is really difficult to use. Thanks for the comparison of the two! It really helps!
Thanks for this. I haven’t picked a product yet, and this comparison is so helpful. I’m used to CK and MC so I was going to default to one of those for my own business but I’m going to check out MailerLite. (By the way, MC just introduced Landing Pages on the free plan.)
This has been so helpful, Chantel. Thank you! I’m thinking seriously of switching from mail chimp and will use your affiliate link if I do. I do have one question I didn’t see addressed – do you know if they allow you to segment your list? So that a subscriber could say “I don’t want podcast posts” or ” I don’t want weight loss posts” but “I do want all the other posts”? No worries if you don’t know the answer to this offhand. I love having that customer service phone line so I could just call them too and ask!
Yes! You can edit the unscribe page so that subscribers have the option to unsubscriber from specific groups. https://help.mailerlite.com/article/show/29421-editing-the-unsubscribe-page
You can also include a link in an email giving your subscribers the option to “opt-out” from a specific sequence, etc. If thye click on that link, you would just add them to a separate group and then exclude that group from specific emails. You can do that by creating a segment that excludes that group.
Hope that helps!
This is SO GOOD.
I’m so in your shoes I might need to get out of them so you can get back in them.
MC to ML to CK and now am actually paying for ML and CK. I know you know what I mean.
But your article helped me so much. I’ve honestly been wanting, preferring to love and use ML. One of the “sales points” that CK uses is that “your real readers/subscribers” don’t want fancy-looking emails. I don’t exactly agree. I personally like a bit of design in an email.
Here’s another to add to your list that ML can do that CK cannot:
I have a 10-day Write Every Day automated series. However, I realize that not everyone can really get it rolling for all of those 10 days in a row. With ML (and I’m pretty sure not CK), I can make it so that the next “action” can be based on a click and not on a date. Not ready for Day 5? It won’t be forced into your mailbox and guess what? You’ll be even further behind and probably never do it.
Thank you so much, Chantel!
Hey, Bradley! I too wanted to jump on the CK train, but never could convince myself that it was better for me personally. And to make things worse, I actually love trying out new tools, apps, services. Lol. I’m currently still using ML, but also using Kartra and I’m super impressed with it so far. I may have to update my post to include a comparison of ML and Kartra. 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this post. I just started a new blog. I am building my email marketing templates and decided to start with mailchimp but I am having a hard time designing the opt-in forms the way I would like for different areas of my blog. I think I am going to switch to mailerlite since I do not have a subscription base yet. Are you able to customize the embedded opt-in forms or change code to fit the brand of my blog?
Great post!!! My baby log is only 3 months old and I signed up to CK because I got 3 free months. But I was always a bit skeptic of paying 29 a month for my little followers so far.
There is one newsletter I follow who sends emails from Mailerlite and I love her emails so much that it got me curious! I am definitely a fan of the end result, so I might try ML myself, at least for now as I am just starting.
Thank you for this!! It was very helpful!!
Thanks for the in-depth article. Do you have any issues with deliverability and open rates using Mailerlite in 2019? I heard they improved so i am wondering what you think!
You sold me on Mailerlite, I’m giving it a go! Thanks for the helpful info.
Thank you for such an informative article! I had never heard of mailerlite! Recently joined mailchimp but I will be moving over to mailerlite now! Thanks again
Thank you for writing this comprehensive post! As a new blogger, I want to setup my mailing list from the start and this is exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t even know MailerLite existed, and I would love to try it out but none of the affiliate links work, they just shoot me back to this article. I would love to put a little something in your pocket if you’re still an affiliate to say Thank You.
Thank you, Lisa! I emailed you. 🙂