If you are looking to promote your online business, you will need to look into email marketing. With all the email service providers available, it can be taxing to find the perfect one.
Two popular ESPs are MailChimp and MailerLite. Both are affordable email automation platforms, but each has its advantages and disadvantages.
MailerLite targets small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, and freelancers. Novice users can easily navigate the platform to release their email campaigns quickly.
The feature-packed MailChimp works for every marketer at every skill level. No matter what you want to accomplish with your campaign, MailChimp probably has the software.
MailChimp vs MailerLite: A Rundown
While neither service is perfect, they are some of the best ESPs available for good reason.
MailChimp is one of the premier names in the email marketing industry for many reasons. They have advanced reporting and analytics, automated email response templates, and plenty of tips and support. The interface loads quickly and is extremely intuitive.
The easy-to-use platform has a drag and drop editor, personalized tips, assistance, and a checklist user interface. To send hyper-targeted emails, you can use the list management function’s segments, tags, and groups.
To stay in contact with previous customers, you can use the premade eCommerce workflows to follow up, thus increasing business and sales. The automation workflows can be based on customers’ website activities. Also, you can monitor brand engagement on social media with your customers.
On the other hand, they limit support for low-paying customers, and the upper-tier can get pricey.
Primary features include A/B testing, newspaper templates, email campaigns, and automation. The support team offers live chat and email support for paid users and guides and tutorials for all.
MailerLite employs an easy-to-use interface with excellent navigation. The advanced features all come with explanations, and it has granular segmentation options. The interface employs a drag-and-drop editor and feature tips.
The landing page builder allows HTML and CSS coding, but you can also use pre-existing form templates to popup or get embedded on your webpage. The automation builder lets you edit workflow items quickly.
While simple to use, the user interface seems dated. It lacks email templates, and the approval process gets confusing.
The key features include landing pages, newsletter templates, and email automation.
The pricing plan depends on the number of subscribers, and they have other services that cost additional monthly fees. The support team works 24/7 with a knowledge base to answer questions. They also provide email support to all users and live chat for paid plans.
These email marketing platforms offer slightly different features to reach your customer base.
MailChimp offers analytics and automation. Their analytics directly tie revenue to campaign performance, with performance metrics like the number of orders, average revenue, and total revenue throughout each campaign. You can also compare campaign metrics to determine which strategies were most effective.
You can use your data to aid in segment building as well. If you don’t want to use your criteria, you can use MailChimp’s machine-learning algorithm to build segments. It predicts the return rate and the potential expenditure of customers.
A useful feature is the email templates available for autoresponders based on customer behavior. These templates can be sent to customers who respond to your emails automatically.
MailerLite excels in newsletters. You can create regular email newsletters, perform A/B testing, and send your RSS feed.
You can see if people opened your emails and automatically send the message again with a different subject line, additional content, or a personalized message to make them more likely to read it.
However, these templates all come with paid plans, unlike MailChimp. Nonetheless, you can design and layout your emails on your own for the freemium plan.
Segmentation options let you analyze sign-up dates and sources, campaigns, and inactive time of each subscriber. The form builder lets you add a popup or embedded form after a user scrolls or at a specific period on the page and where they appear and for how long.
When looking to manage listings, you’ll need to send personalized messages to retain subscribers.
MailChimp Listing Management
You can design your audience using Excel, Salesforce, Zendesk, Google Contacts, CSV, Eventbrite, and more to import email addresses and information. From there, you can let your audience select permissions to only receive emails they want.
Once you have your list of subscribers, you can segment them using tags and groups. First, segment the audience into groups before applying tags. You can completely customize your tagging structure to send hyper-targeted, personalized emails to each segment of subscribers.
However, you will need to make manual changes to your list. While you can use the Archive Inactive Contacts option, it isn’t easy to navigate.
MailerLite Listing Management
First, you upload contacts with Excel or CSV or do it manually. Then, you separate the subscribers into segments and groups.
Subscribers enter segments if they meet a specific condition that you set. Groups are more similar to tags as you can choose who goes where, unless you want to automate the process.
The Clean Up Inactive function lets you automatically remove inactive subscribers to make room for new ones, which is a nice feature compared to MailChimp.
MailChimp allows for greater personalization and organization than MailerLite.
Automated processes lessen the workload you have to complete while allowing you to focus on other areas.
The free plan offers limited automation, but the Standard plan has plenty. You can automate onboarding series, send cart reminders, lead nurture campaigns, and notify subscribers about events and coupons. They have excellent ready-made automation workflows for eCommerce organizations.
However, the editing process is less intuitive than MailerLite, and it can get tedious.
MailerLite offers automation for free. You can create workflows and add or delete steps. The automation can send messages when subscribers join, click on a link, make updates, or reach their anniversary.
However, you cannot activate triggers by webpage visits. Nonetheless, the process is intuitive and easy-to-use.
MailerLite provides a simpler automation process.
Using a template for your email campaigns can save tons of time while creating an effective message.
MailChimp has about 100 email templates that work on both desktop and mobile computers. They are sleek and attractive, and you can choose a specific theme for your campaign. All you have to do is add your content.
For further customization, you can edit the HTML. They have a drag-and-drop editor, and you can save your templates for later. Using the WYSIWYG builder means that what you see on your screen will appear in the final email. You can embed all sorts of features, from videos to pictures to links.
One of the best parts is that the freemium plan features templates, unlike MailerLite. You can quickly send out emails and newsletters using their templates.
MailerLite’s paid plans have access to about 60 mobile- and desktop-friendly newsletter templates. You can customize them with HTML and save them for later.
Like with MailChimp, you can edit your sleek templates with a drag-and-drop option. There are around 20 inbuilt modules that you can assemble onto your canvas, including GIFs, social media posts, countdowns, surveys, products, and YouTube embeds.
MailChimp and MailerLite have comparable features, but MailChimp has more templates for free and paid users.
eCommerce Workflows and Integrations
For those who operate online stores, an eCommerce-friendly ESP can boost their sales drastically.
Since MailChimp is one of the first ESPs to exist, they have integrations for most programs. They offer tons of native integrations, and through Zapier, you can find many more.
For online entrepreneurs, MailChimp has an in-depth eCommerce automation workflow. You can track order notifications, purchases, cancellations, abandoned carts, and shipping information. You’ll get data about what pages the shopper has been on to send them personalized emails about those products.
However, you cannot directly integrate with Shopify. If you use BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or PayPal, you’ll be fine, but for Shopify, you will need to go through ShopSync.
Since it’s a newer service, MailerLite has fewer integrations. However, they have some of the most used ones: Facebook Leads, WordPress, ClickFunnels, Shopify, WooCommerce, Paypal, Zapier, and Stripe.
The eCommerce features are subpar, besides the integrations. The only benefit is that they integrate with Shopify directly, but other than that, they have little to offer.
For more integrations and better eCommerce workflows, MailChimp has your back.
A/B Testing and Deliverability
You can’t tell if your emails are convincing if you don’t test them, and even more so if you can’t deliver them.
MailChimp Testing and Deliverability
You can test the subject line, email content, and sender details to compare two email campaigns’ performance. You run campaigns in equal ratios on portions of your audience, and the winner is sent to the rest of your subscribers.
With the premium plan, you can test up to eight campaigns at once. However, you cannot test landing pages or automation series.
As far as deliverability goes, MailChimp has a greater success rate than MailerLite.
MailerLite Testing and Deliverability
MailerLite lets you test all the same things as MailChimp. You can also select the best campaign manually if you’d prefer. Unlike MailChimp, you can only test two campaigns at once.
While the deliverability rate is lower than MailChimp, it is still high and has improved over the years.
MailChimp has better deliverability and testing options.
To measure the success of your campaign, you will need to look into the analytics.
MailChimp has an incredibly detailed reporting page that lets you determine the return on investment of your campaign. You get conversion data, recommendations, and optimization. They also offer information about the unsubscriptions, open rate, and CTR, as well as the results of your email sequence.
If you want to see exactly how successful your campaign was, MailChimp can do just that. They offer readable reports and analytics, so you understand what to change for your next campaign.
MailerLite has little focus on reporting. You can view the individual campaign statistics on different lists. If you want in-depth analytics, you will need to integrate with Google Analytics.
For eCommerce, you can analyze Shopify and WooCommerce tracking, but no other service. Overall, their analytics area needs a lot of work.
If you want to understand your email campaign, then MailChimp is the best option.
MailChimp has a modern interface, whereas MailerLite looks dated. However, they both have their strengths in terms of usability.
MailChimp offers graphics and personalized support for the best user experience. Upon starting the software, you answer some questions to determine the goals of its use. You then get customized advice for your company.
Any in-app messages appear as you use the feature to direct you to the various options and learn how to use them.
Since MailChimp has so many features, it has a learning curve to understand the platform. It has several tabs with many options for each. As the platform grows, they add more options, like for social media and website creation. While these functionalities are helpful, you’ll have to learn more.
After working through their anti-spam rule and receiving approval, you will find an easy-to-use interface. The options are displayed so that you can readily switch between each. While it’s not the prettiest interface, it is user-friendly.
There is a straightforward organization with short guides that appear as you use each feature, helping you learn as you go.
For an aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-navigate user interface, look towards MailChimp.
If any questions come up while using the software, you’ll want to know what options you have.
Before contacting support, you need to search through all guides and tutorials. However, they have great self-service support options with graphic-filled articles to solve the problem alone.
However, if that isn’t enough, it’s difficult to contact the support team. You need to scroll to the bottom of a guide for contact information.
For all paid plans, you can use 24/7 email and live chat. For the most expensive one, you can get weekday phone support. The free option does not have support.
MailerLite has a Help Center with articles and tutorials for issues you come across. As with MailChimp, you have to search through all material before contacting support.
You get access to email support with the free plan. The paid plans provide 24/7 live chat support as well. For an extra $100 monthly, you can get a dedicated account manager and the option to move to the top of the live chat queue.
All users have access to support on MailerLite.
Both offer free plans, but how do their paid options stack up?
The Free plan works for 2,000 subscribers to send up to 10,000 emails a month. It has fewer templates, a logo, no A/B testing, limited analytics, and fewer scheduling options. However, you get a creative assistant, marketing CRM, a website builder, the MailChimp domain, forms, and landing pages.
The Essentials plan costs $9.99/month, and you get 50,000 contacts and three audiences with multi-step journeys, all email templates, A/B testing, custom branding, and 24/7 live chat and email support.
The $14.99/month Standard plan gets you 100,000 contacts and five audiences, with the branching points, send-time optimization, customer journey builder, custom templates, behavioral targeting, and dynamic content.
The Premium option costs $299/month, but you can have over 200,000 contacts and unlimited audiences. You get multivariate testing, advanced segmentation, unlimited seats, comparative reporting, role-based access, and phone support.
Keep in mind that these are starting costs for 500 contacts, so you may have to pay even more. The more contacts you have, the more expensive things get, even for the low-cost options.
MailerLite pricing depends on audience size. The free plan lets you have up to 1,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails a month. The paid plans all allow for unlimited emails.
The free plan has the MailerLite logo, lacks a custom HTML editor, and has no templates. It limits scheduling, domains, and analytics. You also cannot perform A/B testing.
$10/month works with 1,000 subscribers, $15 for 2,500, $30 for 5,000, and $50 for 10,000. The paid plans offer live chat support. They offer the missing options from the free plan, and you can pay for other add-ons.
For an extra $10/month, you can get SitesPro to publish more websites and landing pages. $100/month gets you MailerPro for priority support and a dedicated account manager. For $50/month, you can get a Dedicated IP to improve deliverability.
For small business owners, MailChimp can get too expensive as subscribers increase. MailerLite is far more affordable as you get more subscribers.
Both services offer excellent features, and they each could work for your business. If you are a smaller business, MailerLite is an ideal platform to get started with email campaigns. For bigger companies and campaigning budgets, MailChimp has far better functionality.