Mailchimp or Mailerlite?
If you had to choose between Mailchimp or Mailerlite, which platform would you choose, and why? In this post I’m going to provide an overview of these two FREE email marketing platforms (which I use every day for myself and my clients), explain which one has the edge, and why.
All small business owners should be doing regular email marketing, and it doesn’t need to cost a penny when you start out, so I really hope this helps….let’s start at the beginning.
What is email marketing?
Here’s the wiki definition:
“Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email.
Email marketing commonly seeks to achieve one or more of three primary objectives, to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.
The term usually refers to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing a merchant’s relationship with current or previous customers, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately, and sharing third-party ads.”
For a more in depth look at email marketing, check out my blog post ‘Why Email Marketing is so important.’
What are email marketing platforms and what can you use them for?
Mailerlite and Mailchimp are just two examples of software that you can use for email marketing. They are used to send professional emails and newsletters (known as campaigns) and to create sign up forms, pop up forms, landing pages (also known as sales or squeeze pages), which encourage people to sign up to your mailing list.
You can integrate the platform with your other tech such as social media, or connect to your e commerce store and use the platform to advertise your products, track sales and conversions, abandoned cart follow ups and lots lots more. It can get quite techy and complex.
5 reasons why it's not a good idea to use your personal email account
Lots of people ask ‘why do I need a professional email platform? Can I just use my personal or regular business email account?’ This could be Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail and so on.
Here are 5 reasons:
- It won’t look professional.
- You’re likely to be sending in bulk, and your delivery capacity won’t cut the mustard.
- Your emails are likely to go straight into the spam or junk folder.
- You don’t have the ability to track any stats (such as who opened the email, and when; this is important so you can monitor the best times to send, who clicked through to your website, and so on).
- There is no way to make your emails stand out – they will look plain and boring.
TIP: If you do use a regular email account when you’re starting out, at least make sure you have domain email connected. This would look like email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a domain email address, it’s obvious that you have a proper website – your email address uses the website’s domain name after the @.
Why you need to use a professional email marketing platform
Hopefully now you will understand why you need a professional platform. There are many on the market and they vary widely in price.
Paid tools include:
- Constant Contact
- Active Campaign
Free platforms include:
- Sendinblue – free for up to 300 emails per day to unlimited contacts
- Omnisend – free for up to 15,000 emails per month
- Aweber – free for up to 500 contacts
- Mailerlite &
- Mailchimp – more info below
Let's focus on the two best free tools: Mailchimp and Mailerlite
These platforms are fab because they are market leaders, easy to use and great when starting out. I have tons of experience in using both; I started using Mailchimp not long after it first launched in 2001!
Here is an overview of both platforms by Influencer Marketing Hub (ref https://influencermarketinghub.com/)
MailerLite is a strong competitor in the creators and small-medium business bracket. It includes the basics you need for successful email marketing like surveys, automation, popups, and landing pages. MailerLite also integrates with dozens of eCommerce platforms and marketing tools you’re probably already using.
At a glance, it appears to be one of the more understated platforms, and this is largely due to its clean design. But that’s also what makes it powerful. Everything about the platform is geared towards growth, from eCommerce campaign functionality to automation, segmentation, promotional pop-ups, and the ability to create landing pages.
- A website builder and landing page builder for quick web asset builds.
- Pop-ups and embedded forms help you bring in more leads.
- Personalize your campaigns using advanced targeting features.
- Test, experiment, and streamline your emails to improve your email marketing benchmarks.
MailerLite is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Pricing starts at $10/month.
Mailchimp is one of the most established email marketing platforms out there. It’s particularly well-suited for beginners and startups and offers tools like email automation, data segmentation, templates, personalization, A/B testing, lead capture forms, and integration with CRMs.
While it started as a purely email-focused solution, the platform offers much more today. You can build a free website, buy a domain, create paid ads and landing pages, publish social media posts, and send printed postcards to any destination in the world.
- Get predictive insights about your contacts so you can personalize your marketing.
- Personalize individual content blocks within your emails with dynamic content.
- Design personalized customer journeys using conditional logic and branching points.
- A/B testing to identify high-converting messages.
- Website and landing page builder.
Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 2,000 contacts and one audience. Paid plans start at $9.99/month.
Mailchimp or Mailerlite - who wins?
I’ve used Mailchimp for over 15 years, I’m now professionally certified and manage many client accounts. When I took my professional certification in Mailerlite in 2021, I set up my own account and spent many hours learning all of the features. I was blown away by how much more user friendly Mailerlite is compared to Mailchimp.
If I feel like that, how would a complete beginner feel?
Also, when I started my Mailchimp account way back when, the free version provided lots more functionality than you get now. So imagine my shock when I set up new free Mailchimp accounts for clients and found that really important features are no longer available on the free plan. Two key features are missing from the free Mailchimp account.
The ability to Schedule Your Campaigns
As I support clients with their email marketing, it is crucial for me to be able to create a campaign, schedule it then get on with my other tasks. It’s the same for you – say your best send time is 8.00pm. You’d have to hang about and manually ‘press the send button’ at 8.00pm – what a pain!
Scheduling is included in the Mailerlite free plan.
Easy Email Automation and Sequences
Email automation is no longer available on the free Mailchimp plan which is a must-have feature for sending welcome and nurture sequences. I have found a clunky workaround in Mailchimp using tags and triggers, but a full easy to use automation flow is available in Mailerlite’s free plan.
Mailerlite has the edge, there’s no doubt about it! I am fond of Mailchimp and know it inside and out, but Mailerlite has a cleaner dashboard, easier navigation (once you get used to it) and makes more visually appealing emails, sign up forms and landing pages as it has a larger range of design features, enabling me to make my and my clients’ campaigns look bang up to date.
Both platforms can do so much more than I have covered here – but most of the bells and whistles won’t be required unless you’re into e-commerce in a big way or have a huge customer database.
I hope this has helped!
If you’d like a hand to start email marketing from scratch or transition over to Mailerlite, I’d be only too glad to help
About the author
Jackie Salmon is an email marketing expert, Kajabi specialist and web designer based in the North East of England. She loves to support 'people who help people' and works with coaches, therapists and consultants, helping them to market their services and products online.