Email marketing is not only a big deal but critical if you want to succeed online. However, choosing the right email service provider that fits your business like a glove is really tough!
If you’re shopping for an ESP, you’ll come across so many email marketing tools. Big and small, well-known and less popular, all promising to be the best solution for your needs.
To get a better grasp of the email automation platforms, going through email tool alternative write-ups is your best bet.
You know migrating from one ESP to the next is like changing a mobile phone. You’ll need to think hard about the inconveniences and conveniences before making the call.
Looking at the two, MailerLite is a simple platform that aims at small businesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs. It’s not feature-packed and the truth is, they’re not constantly updating the platform like the MailChimp team.
MailChimp, on the other hand, tries to be everything to everyone. It’s a feature-packed platform that holds your hand as you figure your way around.
So can MailerLite knock off MailChimp from its perch and cement itself as the ultimate MailChimp alternative?
Let the battle begin!
- Super easy to use interface.
- They provide 24/7 responsive live chat support.
- They have a robust landing page builder that also allows HTML/CSS.
- You have sleek form templates to create popup forms or web embedded forms.
- The automation builder is pretty easy to use allowing you to add and delete workflow items on the fly.
- The pricing is pretty affordable for the features and functionality offered.
- It has an easy to use drag and drop email builder allowing you to execute campaigns within minutes.
- It has an intuitive interface with a fast loading time.
- It has numerous newsletter templates with a robust drag and drop email editor.
- It offers advanced reporting and analytics for your campaigns.
- The list management function with segments, groups, and tags allows you to send hyper-targeted emails.
- The premade eCommerce workflows allow online store owners to follow up with their customers ultimately increasing sales and growing their business.
- It has a wide array of integrations making it possible to perform any CRM, team management, or eCommerce task.
- Allows you to create complex automation workflows based on customers’ website activities and predefined triggers.
- They added a ‘Tweet Trends’ feature that boosts your social listening. You can monitor your customers’ engagement with your brand on social.
Besides the green on both platforms, they are pretty much easy-to-use.
Let’s begin with setting up your account. MailerLite has a rigid anti-spam rule as the first huddle that you’ve got to jump. They have to approve of you before you start using the platform.
I had to cross my fingers to be let behind the wall. But, don’t get discouraged once you’re in, there is a super simple tool waiting.
MailerLite has a clean interface that’s super easy to navigate. Within a few minutes, you can see where everything you need to get work is located.
There are six options on the navigation bar i.e. dashboard, campaigns, subscribers, forms, sites, and automation. Basically, you hit the ground running.
With MailChimp, you don’t require a Ph.D. to navigate the interface but you’ve got to dedicate some time to learn the ins and outs of the platform.
The navigation bar also has six tabs, create, campaigns, automate, reports, and brand. And all tabs have several options under. For instance, the create tab has 8 options.
They’ve even added social media and website creation. As they increase the functionalities, you’ve got more to learn and to do.
But trust me, once you’ve mastered it, it’s a piece of cake. So don’t be discouraged as it’s not a steep learning curve. It’s very easy to set up and loads fast. Also, they’ve gone through several rebrands over the years so they have a pretty modern and sleek interface.
Winner: MailChimp. Even though you have to dedicate some time to learn the platform, it’s super simple once you’re done. And the interface is highly intuitive and loads fast.
Currently, sending generic emails to your audience is a no-no. People only pay attention to what solves their problem so email personalization is the key.
Like everything else in MailerLite, subscriber management is straightforward. You can upload your contacts using CSV, Excel, or add contacts manually. And voila! You’re good to go.
When most email marketing platforms use tags, MailerLite uses segments and groups. They are two different categories and here is where the confusion starts. But let me try to set it right.
Your subscribers are included in a segment if they meet a set rule. So you can set different conditions for your contacts to meet so as to get into a specific segment.
Groups, on the other hand, can be likened to tags. Contacts can be added to a group manually or using an automation rule.
I liked their ‘Clean up inactive’ function that automatically removes inactive subscribers from your list. So, anyone who hasn’t opened your emails for six months is kicked out.
Let’s get to MailChimp.
I got to say I love the upgrade they did to their subscriber management. First, you have a wide range of options when it comes to adding your contacts.
From Excel to CSV, Salesforce, Google Contacts, Zendesk, Eventbrite, etc. Also, I like how they emphasize permission-based opt-ins.
And it gets better, MailChimp offers you a genre of inbuilt options to segment your audience. You have tags, groups, and segments to manage your audience. It is best to use groups first then apply the tags.
The tags on MailChimp are totally customizable so you can create a comprehensive tagging structure to send hyper-targeted emails. Also, you can use tag data to create your segments.
The only kicker with MailChimp’s list management is that you have to manually clean up your list. You have the option to ‘Archive Inactive Contacts’ but it’s a whole process on its own.
Winner: MailChimp. It allows you to create highly personalized emails that lead to better engagement with your audience. However, when compared to ActiveCampaign or Drip, their list management is bare bones.
We don’t get an email marketing tool that won’t help in our campaigns. The most important ingredient in an email campaign is the email itself.
MailerLite has put its best foot forward when it comes to email templates. You have 60+ newsletter templates to use on the Pro plan. They are sleek, modern, and mobile responsive.
And if you want to go ahead and custom your own template, well, HTML is there to sort you out. I like that you have the option to re-use your email template for brand consistency.
But, the major playground is the drag and drop email builder. I have to say they brought their A-game. They have 20+ inbuilt modules all you need to do is drag and drop whatever you need on your canvas.
From dynamic content blocks to animated GIFs, social media posts, RSS templates, countdown timers, product feature blocks, and survey blocks.
Oh! And YouTube embeds! It doesn’t get any better than that. Sending your email broadcasts is easy-peasy.
So, how does MailChimp compare? Well, the two can go head-to-head.
MailChimp comes with 100+ pre-made email templates that are super sleek, diverse, and mobile responsive. It’s got awesome ready-made ‘themes’ so all you have to do is add your content and you’re done.
Also, you have the option of HTML if you want to go hard and code your own template.
Like MailerLite, you can save your templates to use for late. I can’t forget their intuitive drag-and-drop editor that allows you to create emails on the fly.
It’s got all the bells and whistles you need to create customized emails thanks to the WYSIWYG builder.
Honestly, as far as newsletter templates go, MailChimp is one of the best tools in the market. And its simplicity makes it bring down giants like Klaviyo when you look at email template versatility.
Winner: MailChimp. They both have impressive templates but MailerLite free plan has zero templates. For that reason, MailChimp wins.
Our goal isn’t just to send emails but build our business while at it. And automation makes this possible on autopilot.
People can be reading your emails and engaging with your products/services while you chill on a beach.
MailerLite automation is simple. Okay, that describes everything on MailerLite.
The good thing is that they have automation even in their free plan. You can easily create your workflows, add steps, delete them, or add other decisions in a snap.
You get to create automation when subscribers join your list, click on a form or link, update a subscriber field, anniversary dates, etc.
The only drawback is you can’t use webpage visits to activate triggers but that doesn’t mean you can’t power a complex workflow. Honestly, their automation is so intuitive that I wonder why MailChimp hasn’t applied it.
But don’t get me wrong.
MailChimp is a robust automation tool. However, things can get a bit complicated to edit and visualize as you create your workflow.
And, you can only get to its full potential if you pay up for their premium plan. The standard plan gives you the option to automate onboarding series, lead nurture campaigns, abandoned cart reminders, and event-based automation.
I loved their pre-made automation workflows. Just click on the automated and eCommerce tabs and you’ll see the ready recipes.
Winner: MailerLite. It allows you to create your automation on the fly. The automation builder is super intuitive making it easy to edit. Plus, the automation function is available for all plans.
You can’t know what’s working and what isn’t if you don’t test.
MailerLite allows you to test the subject, sender details, and email content. So you can easily test one email against the other.
Create two campaigns, choose a portion of your audience, and run tests on equal ratios. Then the winner is automatically sent to the bulk of your contacts. However, you can opt to select the winner manually.
The only drawback is that you can’t test landing pages or an automation sequence. Just one email at a time.
MailChimp works in the same way. You get to test similar variations as MailerLite. If you’ve used the Moosend split testing feature you’ll be at home on both MailerLite and MailChimp.
And you can’t test landing pages or automation series too. But, there is a difference in the premium plan. You can carry out multivariate testing. You can test up to 8 variations of the same mail.
Winner: Tie. They have a robust A/B testing feature and allows you to sit at the driver seat of your campaigns.
The eCommerce feature on MailerLite is pretty blunt.
Other than accessing it through numerous integrations, you got nothing. Nada, Zilch. But it integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, PayPal, etc.
The pre-built eCommerce automation workflows are a steal. You can track your abandoned carts, order notifications, cancellations, purchases, and shipping confirmations.
In short, you can easily track customer positions in the buying journey and send personalized emails.
And the icing on the cake, you can also send product retargeting emails. Awesome, right?
But, their relationship with Shopify went downhill and they got dumped. So you can’t integrate with Shopify. However, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Paypal, and many more CRM/eCommerce platforms are available.
Also, they got ShopSync. It allows you to integrate MailChimp with Shopify.
Winner: MailChimp. Well, MailerLite got nothing to offer here other than integrations.
Forms and landing pages are your conversion tools.
MailerLite shows up again in this sector. They have an intuitive landing page builder that is user friendly. You got 30+ templates to choose from or you can use HTML to create a page from scratch.
You can add different content blocks using the drag and drop editor. From videos to images, timers, social media buttons, etc. I liked that you can change the landing page settings like Google Analytics tracking codes, Meta descriptions, and other SEO settings.
Pretty dope for the price tag, right?
It also gives you plenty of form templates for your popup forms or website embedded forms. You can always jump to the editor, do your magic, and custom your form as you see fit. It allows you to customize text, font, color, images, and anything else you want to represent your brand.
Coming from MailerLite, MailChimp landing pages and forms will disappoint you.
You have only 10 templates and no option to custom yours from scratch. On the bright side, the drag and drop editor is highly customizable and responsive. You can add images, social buttons, videos, etc.
The form builder is also pretty basic. And the interface was a bit clunky. It takes you through three processes: build, design, and translate. Good thing you can create all types of popup or embedded forms.
I got to say I found it funny that MailerLite has no dedicated reports area. I know, I was surprised too. It’s 2020, C’mon! Reports and analytics are everything.
Instead, you can view the reports under the campaign or subscriber tabs. You’ll see the individual campaign stats on the different lists. On the bright side, it has click-mapping, and you can integrate with Google Analytics.
You can also see the eCommerce tracking, but it’s limited to Shopify or WooCommerce integrations. That’s about it!
MailChimp empowers you to harness the power of data through its detailed analytics and reporting. The difference between the two is like heaven and earth. MailChimp gives you in-depth analytics.
You get conversion data that you can use to calculate ROI. Also, it provides smart recommendations and send-time optimization thanks to its ‘Time Wrap’ feature.
You can get all industry basic analytics under the campaign tab. The open rate, CTR, unsubscribes, etc. can be viewed at a glance. If you want to dive deeper, check out the results of your email sequence and you’ll be able to get a better insight into the performance.
Winner: MailChimp. MailerLite provides simple reporting. MailChimp gives you state-of-the-art reports and analytics details. But it’s still not in the same league as Klaviyo.
There is no need to send emails if they don’t get into your contacts’ inboxes. That’s letting all your effort go down the drain. Why would you do that?
I did an email deliverability test to make sure that we are actually planting seeds in fertile soil. My test used the top five email clients i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, and iCloud.
I also activated SPF and DKIM records on the email marketing tools. In this case on both MailerLite and MailChimp.
95.45% of MailChimp emails landed in people’s inboxes while 75.55% of MailerLite emails landed in the inbox.
It’s been a while since we conducted the test, MailerLite seems to have improved their deliverability.
Winner: MailChimp. If all you need is email deliverability, MailChimp will get it in for you. But again, things may have been changed.
You need an email marketing platform that plays well with others.
MailerLite doesn’t have a long list of integrations but it’s bagged most of the important integrations you might need.
From Shopify to Facebook Leads, ClickFunnels, WordPress, WooCommerce, Stripe, Paypal, etc. Also, it has Zapier giving you a world of other possibilities.
MailChimp, on the other hand, is an old dog in the game. It’s integrated with hundreds of tools over the years giving you a long list of native integrations. And Zapier provides a thousand other integrations.
It offers integration with CRM, social tools, and eCommerce. It integrates with Facebook, Instagram, Magneto, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
Winner: MailChimp. They have more integrations than you’ll ever need. The caveat is only if you’re an eCommerce platform in need of in-depth integration with apps like Shopify. Otherwise, MailChimp is handy-dandy.
MailerLite has a Help Center equipped with tons of articles and how-to guides to help you with anything you might struggle with. Before contacting support, they make your search for a guide in the help center.
However, the free plan comes with email support. And all the paid plans have 24/7 live chat support. But if you need a dedicated manager, you’ve got to cough $100 /month.
MailChimp also has tons of tutorials available in the help center. You got to be grateful for this because talking to an actual person with MailChimp is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
All the paid plans have live chat support Monday to Friday. The premium plan gets phone support. The free plan comes with tutorials and snail-mail.
Winner: MailerLite. It’s not that difficult getting support and they have 24/7 live chat support.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
With MailerLite, the free plan comes with 12000 emails for up to 1000 subscribers. It comes with all features other than templates. Both landing page and newsletter templates. Also, you’ll have the MailerLite logo on your emails. And basic scheduling capabilities.
They also offer a 14-day free trial for their premium plan.
MailChimp also comes with a free plan of up to 2000 subscribers with 10000 emails per month. It has minimal templates, a MailChimp logo on emails, no A/B testing, limited reporting, and you can’t schedule emails by time zones.
As you add more contacts, the price gets high. And it can get steep fast.
Winner: MailerLite. It’s affordable, a great free plan, and their pricing is pretty much straight forward.
Both MailerLite and MailChimp are great and affordable email marketing solutions. They both have free plans so don’t hesitate to try out the goodies if you can’t make a decision.
But, you should choose MailerLite if:
- You have a small business
- You need a lightweight tool that isn’t fancy or covered in glitter
- You want a straightforward tool to use
- You are on a tight budget
- Support is vital to you
And choose MailChimp if:
- You need an all-in-one platform that does more than sending emails
- Your business is growing fast and you need a scalable platform
- You’re looking for an advanced reporting and analytics tool
- You want more reliability and speed
Now, you can make an informed decision.
What’s it going to be?