A quick review of the main 2 email newsletter services I’ve used over the years.
Both are popular for different crowds and have different hype surrounding. I’ll breakdown the main things I like and don’t like about them and the scenarios where I might prefer one over the other.
Mailchimp – the email newsletter king
If you know anything about email newsletters, you’ll know that Mailchimp is the Amazon of that industry. Just about everyone has heard of them and worked with them at some point or another. Back in the old days, AWeber, iContact, ConstantContact and VerticalResponse were king but still looked so unfriendly and technical. Mailchimp was the new powerhouse on the market offering super friendly UI and even free plans up to 2k subscribers. It was unheard of at the time so they quickly shook up the market and took dominance.
To be fair, I did like Mailchimp. It really was super user-friendly and fun to use. Their branding had so much personality, which it still does today. All new software was choosing to integrate with Mailchimp and it quickly became the convenient option.
But then what? They started doing a things that alienated their userbase. One was that they felt they weren’t allow enough complex features, so they started adding all kinds of conversion tracking features and all that to compete with the likes of more full-featured email services (ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit). And the other was that they raised their prices. Both of these made their once-perfect service now feeling too complicated and also too expensive for the new small businesses.
Not only that but Mailchimp emails were starting not to deliver as well as they used to. They were often getting caught in spam now and I couldn’t help but noticing many other businesses weren’t using Mailchimp as much either. It’s really a hate-it or love-it type of service.
Still, Mailchimp would be the favorite because of its ubiquitous integration with all existing software out there. But many people starting exploring all the alternatives.
Mailerlite – the new cheap/simple newsletter king
As Mailchimp continued its inevitable transformation into a kitchen sink service(everything, one-stop shop), beginners had no choice but to look elsewhere. ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, ConvertKit were the obvious alternatives to dismiss because they seemed every bit just as overwhelming and cumbersome as Mailchimp, and nearly just as expensive.
MailerLite was one of the many “cheap” alternatives out there to make noise. They pretty much offered a super simple email service and attractively low pricing. Their service caught favor of many small-time bloggers and they grew quickly.
My business was successful enough to the point that I was loving how many subscribers I had, but I hated paying to email them. I hated the process of creating email newsletters, putting in content, adjusting design, and clicking through a half-dozen screens just to send one email. It was an awful chore requiring many decisions. Naturally, I started neglecting my email list and sending less and less. Mailchimp just felt so expensive…they charged every month even when I didn’t send anything. Yes, they have a pay-as-you-go plan but it’s expensive when you suddenly send 5 campaigns in one month.
In any case, I was looking for something cheaper and simpler and so glad I found MailerLite. It’s reliable (emails do get through) and the fact that it’s so much cheaper makes it so worth it. But with that said, there are some little things that MailerLite doesn’t do. Maybe you’ll miss it, maybe you won’t. I think most of you won’t.
Bottom line – which would I recommend for you? (Mailchimp or Mailerlite)
I think the main deciding factors are COST, USER INFO, CONVERSION TRACKING, and RSS USAGE.
- Mailchimp is the easy winner if email marketing,seeing more useful subscriber info, and conversion tracking is a critical aspect of your sales.
- Otherwise, Mailerlite is cheaper, simpler to use, and also has better RSS options.
Mailchimp for features, integrations, subscriber info, and conversion tracking.
- Mailchimp has tons of features but you’ll never use most of them. The main features I like are the subject line split-testing, also subject line preview thing, user info (location, open rate), and reports. Mailchimp’s overall UI is very comprehensive and certainly feels premium.
- The integrations can definitely be important. Many software out there integrate with Mailchimp easily (via plugin, built-in options) but not with MailerLite. This is one area to check.
- Mailchimp has many options for conversion tracking. I think really important if your business relies heavily on your email marketing.
- Mailchimp has incredible info on your subscribers. It gives your their location (country and city) instead of only longitude/latitude like Mailerlite. It also guesses their name and social media accounts. It’s really awesome if you want to snoop on your subscribers and know more about them.
Mailerlite for simplicity, cost, and RSS template options.
- MailerLite is really simple to use. If you’re a lazy at email-marketing and want fewer clicks to send emails, Mailerlite wins hands down. You’ll feel like sending emails is almost as easy as firing a text message. I do think ease-of-use is so underrated. When something is easy, you do it more often and benefit more from it!
- MailerLite used to be so much cheaper but their cost has risen as they’ve matured. They are still cheaper and definitely enough. If you only have a few thousand subscribers, cost won’t matter. But once you get above 5k subscribers, believe me you will start scheming. Large companies with over 100k eventually end up trying to build their own email-sending service. Hahaha.
- How much cheaper? Mailerlite costs $50 for 10k contacts whereas Mailchimp costs $75 for 10k contacts. Not only that but the way Mailchimp counts contacts is more expensive as well. Suppose you have the same contact in multiple lists, they are counted as a separate contact each time! (OUCH!!!)
- One area I was shocked to find that Mailerlite was BETTER than Mailchimp was its RSS feed options. Mailerlite lets you choose how many RSS feed items to put in as well as the format, whereas Mailchimp has only a default option where it throws in 10 items and doesn’t let you edit format. Mailerlite also lets you put the feed title in the email subject line whereas Mailchimp doesn’t. If you’re doing automated email campaigns based off your RSS feed, Mailerlite is the easy winner.