MailerLite vs. Mailchimp: which email marketing software is best?

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January 2, 2020

mailchimp vs mailerlite

Email marketing is one part of your business you can't afford to get wrong. With the right email marketing tool in your tech stack, you can nurture leads to become customers, keep your fans in the loop, and bring your brand to a much wider audience than you thought possible.

However, choosing the right email marketing platform takes research and testing. If you're weighing up two affordable options that will scale with your business, Mailchimp and MailerLite are two great choices to add to your shortlist.

Here's our comparison of MailerLite vs. Mailchimp to help you decide which one's for you.

When to choose MailerLite

Over 700,000 businesses, startups and freelancers send more than 1 billion emails every month with MailerLite – so it's no small company. In 2019, SaaS Magazine recognized MailerLite as the 5th fastest growing SaaS business worldwide.

We recommend checking out MailerLite if:

1. You have a small business

90% of MailerLite's customers are small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. That's compared to 71% of Mailchimp users.

MailerLite is one of the best email marketing tools for small businesses for two main reasons: 1) It's such good value for money and 2) It's a lightweight tool that's so easy to get started with.

If you have a small business, check their website to find out if MailerLite provides everything you need from your email marketing software - you might be pleasantly surprised. MailerLite even offers easy set-up landing pages, pop-up forms and advanced features like email auto-resend for subscribers who didn’t open your email the first time.

mailerlite templates

2. You want a lightweight tool

MailerLite lives up to its name – it's a great lightweight tool. It takes all the best parts of the tip-top email marketing tools and doesn't overcomplicate the rest. If you need a user-friendly tool to send emails – not something fancy, shiny and covered in glitter – give MailerLite a go.

Now, this isn't saying that MailerLite is too basic or boring to use. It strikes a powerful balance between simplicity and efficiency. With its user-friendliness and great core feature set, MailerLite is one of the best tools on the market if you're just starting out with email marketing.

3. You're budget-conscious

The main differentiator between MailerLite vs Mailchimp and other email marketing tools is cost. MailerLite makes a lot of sense if you're still a small business and don't have a lot of budget to spare on your marketing tools right now.

mailerlite pricing

With MailerLite's Free Forever plan, you might not even need a budget for your email marketing. With it, you get:

  • Up to 1,000 subscribers
  • Up to 12,000 emails sends per month
  • Full access to features like automation, landing pages and advanced segmentation

4. Support matters to you

MailerLite offers fantastic customer support in many languages – and it jumps ahead of Mailchimp here. While MailerLite offers 24/7 email support for all plans – including Free Forever – Mailchimp restricts customer support to its paid plans.

However, MailerLite doesn't offer phone support, unlike Mailchimp (although this is only with Premium plans and above).


When to choose Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most well-known SaaS brands and an exceptionally popular email marketing tool. It's gained such a strong reputation through fantastic branding, a strong range of features and extremely accessible software.

Mailchimp is a great choice for you if…

1. You want software that does more than just email

In the last couple of years, Mailchimp has been evolving from an email marketing tool into all-in-one marketing software. It's achieved this by incorporating impressive automation, CRM, social media scheduling and advertising features among other perks into its feature set.

Mailchimp has focused especially on its CRM, which now includes behavioral targeting based on purchase behavior and marketing engagement, as well as customer lifetime value and contact profiles.

For most businesses, Mailchimp offers a stronger all-in-one marketing platform than MailerLite. That said, many businesses will still prefer to use integrations and two-way data syncs to connect their CRM, email marketing tool and other apps instead of relying on one tool.

mailchimp

2. You want more advanced reporting

Mailchimp jumps ahead when it comes to the data it offers. It offers a thorough reporting and analytics suite, including all the usual email insights (opens, clicks, bounces) as well as audience demographics and conversion insights to calculate the ROI of your email campaigns.

mailchimp reporting

3. Your business isn't so small anymore

Mailchimp is trusted by some of the world's biggest brands, and for good reason – it scales beautifully. However, this does come at a price – you can expect to see rapid jumps in your bill as your subscribers, email send frequency and feature requirements increase.

4. You want more speed and reliability

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools on the market and has to back this reputation up with speed and reliability.

Overall, enterprise clients are still more likely to choose Mailchimp than MailerLite because of its reputation. MailerLite also focuses more on smaller businesses that want to stay nimble.

MailerLite can occasionally be slower than other tools, including Mailchimp, which most businesses won't even notice, but if you're working at scale you might. However, we expect MailerLite to improve this soon – just as they have increased their deliverability rates so consistently over the last two years.

mailchimp1


Feature comparison of MailerLite and Mailchimp

Set-up

Mailchimp is easy to get set up with, especially if you're new to email marketing or only have a small list of emails to import.

MailerLite can be more time-consuming to set up, especially as they require you to complete an approval process before sending emails. If you're importing over 1,000 contacts, you'll need to show evidence of where you got your subscribers from. However, this helps the platform be sure you're not going to spam your contacts and keeps their overall strong delivery rates up.

mailerlite approval

Ease of use

Once you get to grips with Mailchimp, it's a piece of cake. But some things are less intuitive, like list management and finding the specific data you want in their reporting suite.

MailerLite is one of the simplest email marketing tools available and it's incredibly easy to use and get started with.

List management

Mailchimp lists are siloed and cannot be managed collectively. This can become frustrating if you want to send a message to contacts in both lists but are worried about duplicate contacts across the two lists.

MailerLite makes it much easier to tag your contacts by interest groups and create segments. With their automation functionality, you can take tagging and segmentation even further without adding to your workload – such as removing a contact from a group if they join another.

Templates

Mailchimp has a solid range of professional templates that you can easily adapt to your brand and an easy-to-use drag & drop editor to build your emails.

basic templates-mailchimo

MailerLite’s templates can lack some diversity compared to Mailchimp's, but they're simple to use and very customizable. It's worth noting that templates aren't included in MailerLite's free plan. However, their drag & drop editor is one of the best on the market and gives you a lot of scope for customization.

mailerlite templates2

Forms

Mailchimp offers every time of form you could want. They’re usually easy to embed in your website, too. As Mailchimp is such a popular brand, you can expect to find native integrations with other form and pop-up apps, including WordPress plugins like MailOptin.

We also love MailerLite's pop-up sign-up forms, which includes a range of different templates and appearance options for them to show on your website. Like the rest of MailerLite's features, their forms are incredibly simple to set up and can quickly drive lead generation.

design-your-pop-up-subscribe-forms

Automation

Mailchimp allows you to create simple automated email workflows, which become more complex as you increase your price plan.

With Mailchimp's free plan, you can automate welcome emails, order notifications, abandoned cart reminders and other single-step automations.

mailchimp automation

With Mailchimp's Standard plan and above, you can create multi-step custom workflows, including: nurture campaigns, onboarding series and other event-based automations.

MailerLite also offers automation features, even on their free plan. All users can create simple automations based on:

  • When a subscriber joins a group
  • When a subscriber clicks a form
  • When a subscriber clicks a link
  • Updated subscriber field
  • The anniversary of a date
  • The exact match of a date

email-automation-mailerlite

Overall, MailerLite offers more automation features at a lower price point (free!), but Mailchimp offers the scope for more complex automations if you're willing to upgrade your plan.

Deliverability

In research by EmailToolTester, Mailchimp offered 90.6% deliverability in July 2019. However, Mailchimp emails are more likely to end up in the Promotions tab of Gmail than other email marketing services – which can mean that your emails get overlooked by subscribers.

MailerLite alternatively had 94.8% deliverability in July 2019 and has been consistently improving its delivery rates.

Reporting

MailerLite offers a simple reporting dashboard, including the usual metrics for email campaign activity, subscriber engagement, devices, popular links, click maps and opens by location.

However, Mailchimp offers much more in-depth analytics - especially with its Standard plan and above. This includes conversion data that helps you calculate ROI as well as smart recommendations and send-time optimization.


Pricing comparison

MailerLite pricing is based solely on the number of subscribers and doesn't have different price plans. Their free plan includes full access to features like automation, landing pages, and advanced segmentation, but other features are gated.

You'll need to pay for MailerLite if you have over 1,000 contacts in your database or need to send over 12,000 emails a month.

Premium MailerLite features for all paid users include:

  • Email templates
  • Time zone scheduling
  • A/B split testing
  • Auto re-send
  • Live chat support

Mailchimp pricing, alternatively, is based on price plans and number of subscribers.

Mailchimp's free plan includes 2,000 contacts – double what MailerLite offers – alongside simple automations, basic templates, their marketing CRM and behavioral tagging. Comparing Mailchimp and MailerLite free plans, most users will get more value from Mailchimp.

However, Mailchimp's pricing quickly increases once you get onto their paid plans.

mailchimp pricing2

Pricing per number of contacts in your database

MailerLite pricingMailchimp pricing
Free plans1,000 contacts and 12,000 email sends / month2,000 contacts and 10,000 email sends / month
For 2.5k contacts$15/mo (or 30% discount paid annually on this and all plans below)Essentials – $29.99/mo
For 10k contacts$50/moEssentials – $74.99/mo
For 50k contacts$210/moStandard – $259/mo
For 100k contacts$360/moPremium – $499/mo

Comparing Mailchimp vs. MailerLite support

MailerLiteMailchimp
Email support24/7 with all plans, including Free Forever24/7 with Essentials and above
Phone supportOnly with Premium
Live chat24/7 with all paid plans24/7 with Essentials and above
Languages supportedInterface is available in English, French, Spanish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Russian, Polish and moreEnglish

Summary: When to choose Mailchimp vs. MailerLite

MailerLite is a superb Mailchimp alternative if you’re looking for a lightweight tool that’s easy on your budget and offers a strong core feature set. However, as you scale and need more advanced features, you might need to turn to a tool like Mailchimp for these.

When to choose MailerLiteWhen to choose Mailchimp
You have a small businessYou want software that does more than just email
You want a lightweight toolYou want more advanced reporting
You're budget-consciousYour business isn't so small anymore
Support matters to youYou want more speed and reliability

For more comparisons of other popular email marketing platforms, check:

Whichever email marketing tool you end up going with, one of your most important considerations is how well it will fit with the rest of your tech stack.

To make sure that your contact data is instantly updated across all apps when something changes, connect your apps with PieSync. Both MailerLite and Mailchimp can connect seamlessly with hundreds of other tools to ensure that your data is always up-to-date, free of duplicates and reliable.

Find out how to connect MailerLite or Mailchimp and synchronize your tech stack fast.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.