Social media, live chat, live video, and chatbots have people talking about efficient ways to interact, market, sell, and build brands. These technologies are new compared to email marketing, which has been around for decades. With that being said, 99 percent of people check their emails daily, and you can include me in this group. Many of us enter our email inboxes frequently and more than our social inboxes. Not only is email marketing not dead; it’s alive, well, and kicking butt. Email marketing is an effective way to communicate, reach prospects and customers directly, and close deals.
Email marketing plays a pivotal role in my online business. As a traffic source, it ranks third after organic search and social media. I tweak and update my email marketing strategy at least once a month with the goal of increasing my open rates, clicks, and conversions. For example, I recently changed my autoresponse frequency and content. I also scan the marketplace quarterly for tools/services that might be better than my current arsenal. While the core features of email marketing software haven’t and aren’t likely to change, the marketplace is full of competition with at least ten providers who offer free email marketing services. Free plans are excellent for beginners and folks with low subscriber counts.
Email marketing services boil down to user-friendliness, integrations with external apps, and pricing. I use MailerLite, a first-class email marketing provider. They integrate with my opt-in form plugin, Bloom, for a potent one-two punch. I use Bloom to get subscribers, and MailerLite to deliver my content. I’m happy with MailerLite, but let’s see how they compare to MailChimp. I used MailChimp years ago, so it’s an opportunity to check in. Both companies have free plans, but I will compare their ten-dollar plans.
MailerLite was founded in 2010 and operates in Vilnius, Lithuania. More than 400,000 businesses, startups, and freelancers use their email and marketing services. They send more than 1 billion emails every month.
MailChimp was founded in 2001 and operates in Atlanta, USA. Millions of people and businesses around the world use MailChimp’s marketing tools to reach customers and grow their businesses.
Most email marketing software features are self-explanatory, and details are available at each website. Except for subscriber limits, MailerLite and MailChimp are nearly identical.
|Features||MailerLite $10/month plan||MailChimp $10/month plan|
|Subscribers||1,001-2,500||Up to 500 (501 = $15)|
|Emails per month||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Rich text editor||X||X|
|Mobile friendly emails||X||X|
|A/B split testing||X||X|
|Unsubscribe page builder||X|
|Send time optimization||X|
|Abandoned cart emails||X|
|Tracking and campaign reports||X||X|
MailerLite offers automatic resend and unsubscribe page builder capabilities. Regarding automatic resend, MailerLite states, “Increase your open rate up to 30% by automatically resending your campaign to those recipients who didn’t open it the first time or didn’t click any links.” MailerLite’s unsubscribe page builder allows you to customize your page to retain subscribers and make the process more pleasant for unsubscribers.
MailChimp has a feature called “send time optimization.” STO looks at your list and determines the best sending time for distributing emails. STO relies on in-house data.
MailChimp is much stronger than MailerLite for e-commerce, which isn’t surprising since they own Mandrill, a transactional email service. MailChimp integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and a few other major platforms. MailerLite integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, and a few smaller players.
A critical difference between MailerLite and MailChimp is pricing. Ten dollars with MailerLite affords 1,001 to 2,500 subscribers before you reach the next price level ($20 for 2,501-5,000). Ten dollars with MailChimp affords 500 subscribers then $15 for 501-1,000 and $20 for 1,001-1,500. At 2,500 subscribers, you will pay three times more at MailChimp compared to MailerLite ($10 vs. $30 a month).
MailChimp is a viable option until they are not. I left MailChimp years ago due to their random and abrupt policy changes and terrible customer support. For example, MailChimp jumped on the cryptocurrency ban bandwagon and has shut down accounts. They are the first email marketing company to follow bans from Google, Facebook, and others. Also, they got rid of Alex Jones after Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify did. It’s typical of MailChimp to put themselves first, and users second. Even worse, they jump on bans as a media stunt and marketing opportunity (very sleazy of them!). Suppose your blog mentions cryptocurrencies and you use MailChimp. It’s possible that today your account is active and tomorrow it is suspended. To make matters worse, MailChimp treats its suspended users like the plague by providing insufficient details and support.
MailerLite and MailChimp are very alike except that MailChimp forces you to pay for additional features while MailerLite’s features are the same for every plan. MailerLite has a pricing advantage whereas MailChimp is better for e-commerce activities. For everyday email marketing, both services are excellent. For e-commerce, I would favor MailChimp, but you should consider Benchmark, which is arguably more robust for roughly the same pricing.
Separately, if you use AWeber, Seva (formerly ConvertKit), GetReponse, CampaignMonitor, Mad Mimi, or ConstantContact, you’ll save up to 60 percent with MailerLite.