Mailchimp vs Mailerlite: The email marketing stand-off

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Contributor, Sell to Win

Mailchimp and Mailerlite are both awesome email marketing tools that have a place in any marketing team’s arsenal. 

In a world where it feels like there are a million solutions to each business need, you might be unsure on which to choose. You’re not alone. With so many options available, it’s difficult to navigate product pages, schedule demos, and read through pages and pages of features to find the right solution. 

Well, now you don’t have to. We’ve done the hard work to provide a comprehensive list of details and an unbiased comparison of the two products so you no longer need to do the research on your own. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Mailchimp and Mailerlite. 

Mailchimp vs Mailerlite

Mailchimp is one of the most popular SaaS companies and is well known for its email marketing capability. Its branding is second to none and the feature set within their platform is strong and accessible. 

Mailerlite is another SaaS company that’s on the rise. While Mailerlite doesn’t have the same reputation as Mailchimp, they have a strong offering and are recognized as one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies. 

Mailchimp and Mailerlite are similar enough that you can’t go wrong with either. But there’s a third option that handles email marketing and much, much more. We’ll take a look at the first two platforms, then explore the alternative.

User interface

While both Mailchimp and Mailerlite are straightforward to use, one will require more effort to get going and access the advanced features. When I first used Mailchimp, it took more than a few logins to get used to the interface. While not impossible to get the hang of things, the more advanced features felt hidden. 

Mailerlite, by comparison, is easy to use and intuitive. Once you’re past the anti-spam checks—which can take some time—you’re good to go. Their advanced features are easy to find, and the experience of navigating the app feels natural and logical. 

All said, Mailerlite is the clear winner here and lives up to their name. Their user interface is easy to use, intuitive, and provides simple, robust tooling for your email marketing needs. 

Advantage: Mailerlite

mailchimp create screen

Mailchimp create screen

The Mailerlite campaign creation screen

The Mailerlite campaign creation screen

Landing pages and forms

A powerful component in digital marketing is the landing page. You can use these to target ideal customers with material that is specific to them. Both Mailchimp and Mailerlite offer landing pages and forms, but there is a clear winner in this category, too.  

Mailchimp provides sign-up forms that are hostable on your website. You can design and host these individual forms for specific products or promotions. While these are useful, my gripe is that they’re hard to find as a first-time user. 

Mailchimp’s landing page templates are clean and there are many options to choose from. You can host these landing pages under your domain, which provides a more cohesive brand experience for your customers. 

It’s worth noting that the free plan comes with eight templates. 

Mailerlite incorporates these features and provides them on their robust and user-friendly platform. I enjoy using the Mailerlite templates to mock up content and see how my forms, interface, and layout fit together before publishing. The page editor is easy to use, as you can drag and drop features as needed. Both forms and landing pages are accessible in the same editor. 

Mailerlite provides a much more straightforward way to compose forms. Once in the form builder, you can select from the pop-up, subscribe, or embedded forms and edit them as needed. I lean on Mailerlite for this ease of use. 

Mailerlite is the winner here and the user interface plays a big role once again. The design of the drag and drop editor is cleaner than Mailchimp and provides an easier experience when making changes or reviewing landing pages. 

Advantage: Mailerlite

Mailchimp form builder

Mailchimp form builder

Mailchimp landing page templates

Mailchimp landing page templates

Mailchimp landing page editor

Mailchimp landing page editor

Mailerlite landing page editor

Mailerlite landing page editor

Mailerlite landing page dashboard

Mailerlite landing page dashboard

Mailerlite landing page settings

Mailerlite landing page settings

Analytics

Measuring your successes and weak points is a priority, and this is where analytics come into play. You can look at each of your campaigns and gauge their effectiveness through several metrics. What’s great about Mailchimp’s analytics is they also offer machine learning algorithms to help with market segmentation

Another useful feature within Mailchimp is the comparative feature. This feature allows you to compare each email to your average campaign stats to determine its effectiveness against your previous outreach.

Mailerlite offers simple and straightforward analytics with typical email marketing metrics including email campaign activity, subscriber engagement, devices, popular links, click maps, and opens by location. While the user interface makes this information easy to access, it would be nice for some to have conversion data and other advanced metrics as well. 

Both Mailerlite and Mailchimp offer A/B testing. Using this method across landing pages and website features is useful for testing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and to trial run new ideas before committing them to production.

While both offer similar features, Mailchimp’s additional in-depth analytics and machine learning suggestions could help with effectiveness in your marketing campaigns. Mailchimp might be the better fit for larger organizations that need more depth in their analytics and have a substantial following. 

The winner in this category is less clear, but it goes to Mailerlite! With more automation features offered in the free tier and an easier setup process, you’d be able to take advantage of this offering early on in your usage. 

Advantage: Mailerlite, but it’s close

CRM

Neither Mailchimp nor Mailerlite are dedicated CRMs, and while that doesn’t say they can’t integrate with your current line-up, learning multiple systems might add to the frustration. This also means that once you convert prospects through your email marketing efforts, you’ll have to manually create new information for them within a dedicated CRM. 

Adding a few extra steps to your process for contact here or there won’t be an issue, but we both know your email campaigns will be hits! So what will you do when your team needs to convert many contacts on a daily basis?

You might argue that Mailchimp has limited CRM capabilities and you’d be right, but these pale in comparison to a dedicated customer relationship management software. 

Nutshell, which we’ll discuss in a bit, is a comprehensive CRM and full-featured email marketing software—the perfect marriage. Nutshell provides all the advanced options you need to nourish and manage leads all the way through your pipeline. Okay, enough with the shameless plug, carrying on…

Neither software gets a point in this category as Mailchimp’s CRM isn’t full-featured and Mailerlite doesn’t offer a CRM feature. 

Advantage: none

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Email automations

Both offer email automation. While Mailchimp has advanced options for triggers and the types of automation you can set, Mailerlite has a better user interface for setting these up. 

Mailchimp provides triggers such as email links and goal automation while also providing abandoned cart options to help with your e-commerce needs. In my experience with the platform, the options are comprehensive and useful for any action your customers take. 

Quick note: You’ll need to be on a Standard plan or better to have access to these advanced features within Mailchimp. 

Mailerlite has less advanced triggers, but their workflows are easier to set up. You can configure campaign-based triggers but you won’t have the advanced e-commerce features Mailchimp provides. All automation is accessible on Mailerlite’s free plan.

An important note is that automation is limited to emails only and can’t be used for pipeline management or other functions. 

There is no clear winner in this round. While Mailchimp offers advanced triggers that are tailored toward e-commerce platforms, Mailerlite offers automation that is easier to access and set up. Both get a point. 

Advantage: draw

Mailchimp email automation summary screen

Mailchimp email automation summary screen

Email templates

You’ll find beautiful and easy-to-use email templates on both platforms. I know many prospective marketers who aren’t designers and who’d rather focus their time on the other important aspects of their business. 

Email templates take the weight off your shoulders. 

You can use these as-is, or customize them for your needs and Mailchimp has thousands of them to select from. 

Mailerlite provides email templates as well, but you’ll need to buy their pro plan to access them. Despite this, Mailerlite has a great design editor for designing and building your own templates on their free plan. 

Mailchimp and Mailerlite tie in this category as they both offer templates in their paid versions that are clean and responsive.

Advantage: draw

List management

One of the features I find most important in email marketing is list management and there’s one distinct difference that sets these two apart. 

Mailchimp does not allow you to have the same contact in multiple lists. There are no methods to move a contact from one list to the other and since Mailchimp charges per subscriber, you’ll be paying for that same contact many times over if they’re on multiple lists. 

This gets pricey. 

The issues with Mailchimp’s user interface also creep up here. There’s a level of complexity built into setting up these contacts as the naming conventions can be confusing.

Mailerlite list management is a dream when compared to Mailchimp. Segmentation feels much more natural and you’re not stuck with mutually exclusive contacts. No extra cost here if your customer happens to fit multiple lists either! 

Mailerlite also offers automation that helps with list management and moving subscribers around based on their interactions or behavior. This is a huge time saver and takes the work off your shoulders. 

List management is one of the most important components of email marketing. Both platforms offer this feature but the ease of use and automation within Mailerlite make it a clear winner.

Advantage: Mailerlite

Integrations

There are many solutions for your business needs and it’s difficult to pull your software together to work in a cohesive manner. Integrations help streamline your processes by allowing your tools to communicate with each other. 

Mailchimp integrates with over two hundred tools and supports almost every e-commerce provider. 

While Mailerlite has not been in the game as long, they also provide hundreds of integrations and offer a Mailer API which you can access if you’re a developer. 

Each gets a point here, as both platforms have an impressive integration portfolio. 

Advantage: draw

Support

Both Mailchimp and Mailerlite offer support but you’ll have to be on a paid plan to access live chat on either platform. Both offer knowledge bases to supplement the help you might need. 

Mailchimp provides email support for the first 30 days on their free plan. If you need support at any point after the initial 30 days you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. 

Mailerlite offers email support for their free plan and live support if you upgrade to a paid plan. While the email support might take a bit longer to respond, it’s nice to know Mailerlite will help you while your account remains in a free tier.

The winner in this category is Mailerlite. Mailchimp’s limited support in the free tier just makes for a poor experience, and there may not be an immediate need to upgrade to a paid plan just for access to support. 

Advantage: Mailerlite

Cost

Pricing for the two platforms will depend on your needs and contact list size. 

Both platforms offer free plans. Mailchimp offers up to 2,000 contacts with a limit of 10,000 emails per month and Mailerlite includes up to 1,000 contacts, with a limit of 12,000 emails sent per month. 

As your contact list increases, your total cost will increase as well. Here’s Mailerlite’s pricing page.

What’s nice with Mailerlite is that once you’re on a paid plan you can add a la carte features as you need them. These include MailerPro (dedicated support manager), SitesPro (unlimited web pages), and Dedicated IP.

Mailchimp has a similar incremental pricing structure but includes tiers with different feature ranges. 

For 5,000 contacts you’ll pay $52.99 for Essentials, $79.99 for Standard and $299 for Premium. With Mailerlite you pay $30. 

Here’s Mailchimp’s pricing page.

While the free versions match well between Mailchimp and Mailerlite, there’s a big difference here in the overall cost as you scale up. The advanced automation and analytics within Mailchimp are only accessible once you’re on a Standard or Premium plan.

If you don’t need the Premium features, Mailchimp is still much more expensive than Mailerlite. 

Mailerlite is the clear winner due to its affordability and simple pricing structure. You’re either on a free plan or you’re not and you’ll know exactly what your cost is as you scale up.

Advantage: Mailerlite

And the winner is…

🎊 Mailerlite! 🎊

Between the ease of use, feature set, and cost you end up with a product that will fit most of your needs while remaining affordable. Mailerlite also has superior support and the list management is a huge improvement over Mailchimp’s offering.

For those of us that need in-depth analytics and have the budget, Mailchimp will work wonders though, and is a heavyweight in the world of email marketing. 

The final score is 9-3 in favor of Mailerlite. 

So, Mailchimp or Mailerlite? Not quite. 

I mentioned a third option, and I hope you’ll indulge me for a bit. While these email marketing products are both great for what they’re intended for, chances are, if you’re concerned with marketing, you’re also concerned with sales

There’s a way to address both concerns.  

Nutshell is the cool, new kid on this block. By combining the email marketing capabilities we’ve discussed with advanced CRM and sales enablement features, you’re offered an all-in-one growth software that is everything you need and nothing you don’t. 

Nutshell provides a platform that enables your sales team while empowering your marketing team. It’s one software composed of many solutions, which means one user interface to learn, one software to train your team on, and one solution for your growth needs, so you can focus on the other important things in your business.

Nutshell features include:

  • Sales automation
  • Pipeline management
  • Reporting and sales analytics
  • Contact management
  • Email templates and sequences
  • Team collaboration
  • Email marketing

You’ll have access to Nutshell’s friendly support team who are excited to partner with you and ensure Nutshell is providing the solutions you need as you scale your company. 

Pricing is straightforward and offered in two tiers, Starter and Pro.

Nutshell Starter: $22/user/month paid monthly, $19/user/month paid annually

  • Contact management and communication timelines
  • Activity reminders
  • Email and calendar sync
  • Customizable single sales pipeline
  • Sales reporting and forecasting
  • Drag-and-drop pipeline board and interactive lead map

Nutshell Pro: $39/user/month paid monthly, $35/user/month paid annually

  • Sales automation
  • Unlimited pipelines
  • Personal email sequences
  • Activity and funnel reporting
  • Unlimited in-app phone dialing and recording

Nutshell Marketing – $70/month for up to 5,000 contacts (see full pricing structure)

Nutshell key features

Sales automation

This is the ultimate feature for making your sales team more successful. 

Everyone knows you need a standardized sales process to keep your leads moving in the right direction, from first contact to closed deal and beyond.

What makes Nutshell special is that it offers in-product guidance to help your team create a sales process that’s ideal for the way you sell, then automates the “non-selling activities” like task creation and lead advancement.

Using Nutshell’s sales automation suite, you can set up automatic triggers to send personal email sequences, add leads to marketing lists, trigger Slack notifications, and more, based on which pipeline stage your lead is in. That way, you can spend more time doing what you do best: Building relationships and growing revenue. 

Email 

Nutshell simplifies your process here too. By combining CRM capabilities with advanced email marketing tools, you now only use one application to handle your sales and marketing needs. With email sync for Gmail and Office 365, all your client emails are pushed through Nutshell CRM.

The email templates I raved about in Mailchimp and Mailerlite are great, but Nutshell has these as well. This saves minutes each time you send an email to a client and can be incorporated into email automation as needed.

By incorporating email and CRM in one, you can set automation to send emails based on what pipeline stage your customers are in. 

ONE TEAM. ONE TOOL.

Powerful email marketing, minus the headaches

Nutshell Marketing plugs directly into your CRM data, so you can create highly targeted audience segments, track the impact of your emails in real-time, and manage all your communications out of a single tool. Get started for free!

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In a Nutshell

I get a headache thinking about the sheer amount of software out there built to help in your business processes. 

It’s overwhelming.  

Imagine you don’t need a marketing tool, sales tool, CRM, email client, and Zapier to link them together. With Nutshell, you’re provided an all-in-one platform that scales with you, combines your sales and marketing tools in an affordable package and remains user-friendly.

NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED

Want to kick the tires a bit?

No problem. To see if Nutshell is the right choice for your sales team, start a 14-day free trial today!

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