This is a personal account after sending thousands of mails between 2015, 2016 and 2017. I am going to try and share as many details about our Email Marketing Service Provider (ESP) choices as possible. I request you to stay with me and stay patient, for this change could be the change that makes your email marketing efforts bear fruits and give you the results you’ve been hoping for. This review of Mailchimp vs Mailerlite that helped us find the better and affordable email marketing alternative is surely set to help you too.
When we started Digital Defynd in the second half of 2015, Mailchimp was practically the only well known ESP(Email Service Provider) we knew of. We signed up right away and had no complaints whatsoever. It allowed us to send emails to up to 2000 people every month for free, had beautiful designs we could choose from and integrated well with almost all third party softwares which we used to capture email ids or perform any functions associated with email marketing.
It was only by chance in 2016 that a friend of mine, who runs a travel business recommended us to try Mailerlite. Now changing ESPs is like changing a mobile handset, it takes a lot of thinking, convincing, inconvenience and much more in order to take that call. We wouldn’t budge at first. But then we were nearing an important festival and wanted to wish people beyond the stipulated limit of 2000 members on Mailchimp and thought let’s give this other platform a shot.
Thus began the journey with trying out this light looking simple platform that we had barely heard of. What I am going to do now is share a point by point account of some of the pros and cons that made us switch from chimp to lite. Hope this helps you take a calculated call as well. For the sake of convenience, we will call Mailchimp (MC) and Mailerlite (ML) at multiple places in the review article.
Before we carry on, I urge you to set up a Free Account on Mailerlite . You can get an account by clicking here and this is a special link that allows you to get all attached benefits.
1. Free EMails
MC wins this one with its offering of free emails to up to 2000 users each month. ML on the other hand offers 1000. Even though this may pinch in the beginning, upon turning a paying customer, the tables turn and you actually pay lesser.
Thankfully both platforms offer a variety of email templates to choose from and in this regard, there isn’t much that differentiates one from the other. Moreover, since we use Canva for all our designing purposes(strongly recommended!) in conjunction with Pexels and Unsplash (Amazing Free Pictures!), we didn’t bother much about this. In fact, we heavily rely on text mailers and get the best results without any images.
ML EMail Templates
3. Welcome Mail
Now we get talking. Even though it looks light, ML actually packs a punch with its features. Some simple features like sending a welcome mail may come as a paid feature on MC, but ML allows us to send welcome mails in its forever free version as well.
4. Marketing Automation (Drip EMail Marketing)
The last thing you expect from a free ESP is marketing automation! State of the art drip email marketing much like what a full fledged aweber version would provide, is available for free on Mailerlite! This means you can schedule one mailer after the other based on variety of parameters like ‘opened last campaign’ / ‘clicked on a link’ / ‘send next mail after fixed number of days’. A feature that you may otherwise have to pay for in expensive tools available online is thankfully available at zero cost here.
a. Mailchimp Automation is a Paid Feature
b. ML Automation is a Free Feature available in the Free Version as well
What? Can’t see all this because you still didn’t create a Free Account?
5. Beautiful Landing Pages and Webforms
Hands down I think this is THE BEST FEATURE! Invariably I’ve seen people face a problem of having to use multiple services for capturing email ids, creating landing pages and making webforms. Over time, ML team has integrated all that into one and are slowly making ML into a one stop marketing automation solution platform.
a. MC Sign Up Forms
b. ML Sign Up Forms (DROOL Worthy!) The Landing Pages are the Icing on the cake!
6. Better Open Rates
This could be debatable, but we’ve seen better open rates in general when using ML. Whenever I and many friends have sent mails through MC, many mails landed in the promotions folder on gmail and other platforms(They’ve offered some explanation on that here). ML on the other hand seems to be either using more IP addresses or is so far undetected by many filters, thus making many of their mails landing directly in primary inbox.
Comparing two separate campaigns just to give an idea
a. MC Campaign Open Rate
b. ML Campaign Open Rate
7. Better Customization
There are some things about a MC mail that you simply can’t do away with. Like adding an address at the bottom, or stating the purpose of your mail on top and in general not being allowed to play around with the placement of these widgets. Now when you send out these mails, they look promotional from the word go. No matter how beautifully you write or design your mailer, it looks like a promotional mail. ML on the other hand has no such stringent regulations and you can redesign your mailer to make it look less promotional.
a. MC Footer
b. ML Footer
8. A lighter medium, truly
Just open both MC and ML on a browser, spend 5 minutes getting around both of them. You will clearly notice ML is lighter and faster. With so many heavy applications taking up so much processor time, it is a sigh of relief to see something work faster.
9. An Amazing Team
Does that count? Maybe it does. One thing that attracted us towards ML was their story. A 2 member team based in Lithuania that was offering digital services decides to set up an email marketing company and suddenly has 240,000 + customers worldwide in a short span of time! We happened to catch up with the team to know more about their journey over an email interview. You can read it here.
Comes down to that all the time, doesn’t it? For Startups, SMEs and all other small and medium organisations (reaching out to anywhere between 1,000 – 100,000 subscribers), ML is clearly the winner among the two.
Other features’ comparision
Now I don’t want you to be convinced basis what we have experienced. I want you to experience the same. So go ahead, set up your Free Account on Mailchimp and Forever Free Account on Mailerlite and compare the two.
So this was our Mailchimp vs Mailerlite review and what made us switch from one email marketing service provider to the other better and affordable email marketing alternative. ESPs can be tricky and choosing one is as important as choosing the right domain name, hosting service or advertising platform. We send all our mailers through ML and urge you to join the same here (Pretty Unmissable Mailer, trust me!). Do share this article with your friends and business associates who you think will benefit from it. For any thoughts, comments or suggestions, feel free to use the comment box below or email me here. And if you still haven’t,