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I recently learned of MailerLite.  Truth is I was a super early adaptor to MailChimp and I have probably put 50+ clients on the platform.  There is LOTS to love about MailChimp, but recently we hit a wall with deliverability and decided to check out new kid on the block, MailerLite.

I want to share both my research on Mailchimp & MailerLIte and my experience with you.

Pricing

To begin, I believe that developers need and deserve to be paid.  I didn’t want to lead with the price, but there are so many similarities, that price is one of the major differences and if I practice what every writing / journalism lesson every one always says lead with the meat.

With MailChimp you get 2K subscribers for free and you can send up to 12K emails per month.  If you don’t exceed either threshold, you are happy in the free zone.  With MailerLite you are given 1K free subscribers, once you break through, you begin to pay.

Here are the rates from MailerLite & MailChimp, that I grabbed from their websites (date: April 19,2017).

View MailChimp’s Pricing Options

mailchimp pricing

mailerlite pricing plans

View MailerLite’s Pricing Options

Drag & Drop – both platforms have this super fantastic capability.  Your design is on the left and you edit on the right.  In MailChimp the gutter between the two columns is more narrow, which I like.

In MailerLite, when you use one of their templates you will see a little + icon when you hover over an editor field.  If you click here, you have the option of adding the next row of content.  This is handy, not a game changer, but a nice feature.

Above is the gutter width I am talking about with MailerLite – nothing horrible, just a little wide for me.  Below you see the visual editor option of clicking on the + and adding a content block of your choice.

Landing Pages

MailChimp integrates with InstaPages.  InstaPages has a free 14 day trial and plans start at $29 a month.

With MalierLite, Landing pages are included in your monthly fee.  The pages are built with their same drag & drop interface and includes a gallery of templates.

Auto Resend

MailerLite is a yes, MailChimp is a no.

What is auto resend?  It allows you to determine the action (I guess it’s really a non action – either didn’t open the email or didn’t click on anything) which will trigger MailerLite to send your subscriber another email.  In this resend you can edit the subject line and message.  This could be an opportunity to personalize your communication: “Hey you devoted reader, I see that you didn’t open yesterday’s email and I know how much you love deals, so I wanted to resend.”  This could border on creepy, but personalization WORKS!

File Managers / Organization

This actually was driving me nuts with MailChimp – we have a lots of products, which means lots of images.  I could never seem to find anything and often would upload a new image (duplicate image), which I know I had used before, but it was just easier to drag in a new one than hunt for the old one. Not until I used MailerLite did I realize that I could save Files in MailChimp.  This is a great feature in both, and honestly, start as you wish to proceed, which means, be organized with your files.  Put things in folders and name them properly.  It just helps down the road.

MailerLIte’s Filer Manager Dashboard

File Manager for MailierLite

MailChimp’s Content Manager (which is found by going to Templates then clicking on Content Manager).

mailchimp file manager

 

Integrations

MailChimp allows you to Integrate PayPal, so with each new purchase on your commerce site, the new customers email is added to your list.

MailerLite integrates with BookFunnel, so if you have a free ebook, this could be helpful.

A / B Testing

Yes, both have the option.  MailChimp let’s you select up to three variables to test and MailerLite gives you an A & B options.  I am not a big tester, so I can’t confidently speak to the nuances between the two.  I think both seem very robust and can’t point to one over the other for the “winner”.

User Levels

With both platforms you can set user roles.  MailerLite gives you the ability to set an accountant level and also to customize a user level.  This may be overkill or exactly what you need.  I appreciate options, so MailerLite gets the win here.

Pop Ups

MailerLite allows you to create forms and trigger when they display (after a set amount of time, scrolling or upon departure.

MailChimp doesn’t have the popup capability.

Out of fairness to the many here who are Divi Theme users, with your Elegant Themes subscription you have access to the Bloom plugin.  Bloom does have popups and you can modify the settings, although popup on exit isn’t an option.  At this time MailerLite does not integrate with Bloom. (EDIT: as of 25th April 2017. Bloom 1.2 now integrates with Mailerlite)

Customer Support

I appreciate support.  I don’t mind Googling for an answer, and it’s no secret that I founded a Facebook Group with the purpose of crowd sourcing solutions for using the Divi theme – but sometimes when I am stuck, I just want an answer right that second.

MailChimp: help & support is available to paid subscribers.  They have a pretty huge library of answers and with some digging you can find many posts / YouTube videos on trouble shooting.  Even with a paid account I couldn’t easily find the Help area with MailChimp.  I just Googled MailChimp contact and found it.

MailerLite let’s anyone ask questions.  You will find the chat icon on the bottom right of your screen. I sent off two questions: one my email was being held in some type of approval queue, within moments of me sending the “hey, what’s the deal” question in the chat box I had been approved and was good to go.  I don’t think I ever heard back on my other question: “If I start a campaign as a RSS feed can I switch it over to a Newsletter?”  Guessing that was a question so stupid they couldn’t be bothered.  Or maybe I chatted and should have used their email option, out of fairness, I didn’t really put forward much effort looking for their answer.  I did use the chat to ask a question while typing up this post (while on an airplane) and someone called Michelle answered straight away, thanks Michelle.  I love a good chat.

Editorial Commentary: when MailChimp first started you could call their helpline and get free support, even if you were a free user.  I would imagine that they are so huge now keeping up this offering could be crippling to your bottom line / sanity.  I have no inside knowledge, but I wouldn’t be shocked (or mad) if MailerLite phased this out down the road.

eCommerce Integration

MailerLite allows for a Shopify integration.

MailChimp also allows for a Shopify integration  If you integrate / use an API to connect your MailChimp to your online store (including WooCommerce & Digital Downloads) you can track links and see how much revenue your email has generated.  If you are willing to put forward a little more energy you can even set up emails with product recommendations based on what users click and purchase.

Revision History

Yes with MailerLite and no with MailChimp.

Reporting

Of course both give you data such as open rates, links clicked, who opened how many times & where in the world they clicked in from.  The big difference between the two is for us data nerds, with MailerLite you can turn on your click map and get a very nice visual of exactly which percentage of people clicked.  It’s one thing to read the numbers, it is a little bit of a thrill (or slap in the face) to see them mapped out.

mailerlite click maps

Affiliate Programs

Yes to both.  MailChimp rewards you with MailChimp credit.  Both accounts need to be on a paid status until you begin earning.  If you are on a free account and refer someone who is paid, MailChimp saves your credits until you hit paid status.  MailerLite gives you 30% of each sale in cash.

In conclusion – do I have a favorite?  Right now I am dipping in and out of both.  For whatever reason, the emails I am designing in MailerLite look better. I am not sure why, as the options are pretty similar.  I also have a pretty big list for this blog, so the monthly savings will add up quickly if I completely transition over to MailerLite.

MailChimp is stronger on the eCommerce integration.  I appreciate seeing how much revenue was generated from an email.  It allows me to know what my customers are needing at the moment and work towards delivering them solutions they can integrate into their business.

As always though, make your decision on what is best for your business now.  Part of being successful as web designers / developers is the ability to be nimble.  Changing to meet the demands of your clients and keep up with the latest in technology is part of the challenge and joy of working in a digital environment……isn’t it?

If you have a favorite, or if you have experience with any of the features that are offered by either platform that I haven’t mentioned, could you leave a comment so we can learn from one another?  Merci

EIleen Lonergan
Eileen Lonergan was an integral part of this company. Unfortunately, Eileen Passed away on the 31st of October 2018 after a short battle with Cancer. She leaves behind the legacy of the Divi Theme Users Group and hundreds of people that she helped through coaching, building outstanding websites and just being - accessible. We miss her every day!
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