MailerLite vs Mailchimp: Which One Should You Choose?

Jessica Thiefels on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

mailerlite vs. mailchimp

If you’ve been comparing MailerLite vs Mailchimp, you’re not alone. Email marketing programs are one of the top technologies for B2B marketers, with 85 percent using them, according to Content Marketing Institute—and there are a lot of email marketing tools on the market today. 

We’ve reviewed the two options to help you better understand the differences among five categories:

  • User-friendliness
  • Integrations
  • Automations
  • Data
  • Price

Whether you’re kick starting your email marketing efforts or reassessing your email provider, here’s what you need to know about choosing MailerLite vs Mailchimp. 

Platform User-Friendliness

Mailchimp has been around for years, gone through a major rebrand, and continuously adds more features to its roster. Alternatively, as its name suggests, MailerLite is a bit more manageable in that it doesn’t have so many features, like its counterpart, while still being an extremely useful email marketing tool. 

When setting up your account, MailerLite requires an authorization process, which is pretty rare for email platforms. However, this is helpful for you, as MailerLite explains, “Our approval procedure helps us to ensure great deliverability rates to our customers and avoid any spammers before sending campaigns.”

That approval can take a few days, so you can’t send emails that same day, but you can start designing your emails and automations. Once the account is approved, the user interface is simple and straight-forward. There are just six main options on your navigation bar: dashboard, campaigns, subscribers, forms, sites, and automation.  

Mailchimp’s system is a bit more complex and may take more time to navigate and understand. As you can, see, the “Create” tab alone has eight options to choose from. Mailchimp has branched out into social media and “website” creation meaning there’s more to do, but also more to learn.

Both options have a wealth of resources in their knowledge center to help you through the process with screenshots, tutorials, and videos, so as a new user, it may be wise to start there. 

When it comes to completing tasks, MailerLite takes a step-by-step approach to help you with a project (like creating a new email campaign) while Mailchimp offers a more personalized method. When you first start a task, you’re prompted to share about your goals and business. (This is probably to help wade through their abundance of products they offer but can be a little annoying if you know what you’re doing and want to get right to it). Mailchimp also has a pop-up messaging system to explain different elements within their editor, which helps first-timers learn the system. 

When creating emails, both MailerLite and Mailchimp have a multitude of plug-and-play templates and drag-and-drop builders that you can customize to match your brand and messaging needs. 

The Bottom Line: Both email marketing tools are generally user-friendly. Mailchimp can be harder to learn thanks to some unique features and extensive options. Mailerlite is more intuitive out of the gate, so if you want to get started ASAP without reading dozens of articles or watching tutorial videos, MailerLite beats Mailchimp. 

Email Integrations

In keeping with the theme of a very robust platform, Mailchimp offers nearly 250 integrations with third-party software and systems. You can see the full directory here. MailerLite is no slouch in the department either, with almost 100 integrations, including all the top marketing and business platforms. 

Why I ended up choosing MailerLite vs Mailchimp is that much of what I needed to integrate and connect into Mailchimp was already built into MailerLite. For example, I was connecting Mailchimp with HelloBar for a long time, allowing my digital freebie offers to connect with my email software, but emails were going out slow and the disconnect was making it harder to be successful. 

With MailerLite, this is all built-in so you can create landing pages, pop-ups, slide-ins and more all within their platform, without connecting any extra tools. Plus, it automatically prompts you to connect with Google Analytics to track clicks. I’m using MailerLite without any integrations and I have everything I need, whereas, with Mailchimp, I needed to seek out integrations to have a seamless and easy experience.

The Bottom Line: Both options will more than likely integrate with what you need them to, from ecommerce tools to social platforms, while MailerLite has more built-in features that can reduce how many integrations you need to have.

Marketing Automation

Mailchimp has a diverse set of options for audience segmentation when setting up automation funnels. With 70 percent of millennials saying they’re sick of irrelevant emails and more and more consumers expecting their user data to go to good use, you can’t overlook segmentation as a tool for personalizing your campaigns. 

With Mailchimp and MailerLite, you can adjust your campaign messaging based on automated segments like sign-up date, sign-up source, different campaigns, or activity level of the subscriber. You can also enable resend campaigns, welcome messages, birthday greetings, etc., all of which are backed by machine-learning algorithms. You can also create your own criteria to build segments that are specific to your audience. 

An important difference to note is that MailerLite offers automation functionality even in their free plans, while the free version of Mailchimp has limited automation. This means that even on a budget, you can ensure you’re keeping subscribers moving through your funnel and driving sales and leads—a win for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Bottom Line: Both platforms make it easy to segment your audience and create fully-functioning sales funnels. The main difference to consider is that MailerLite offers automation even for non-paying accounts, allowing you to keep customers moving through your funnel on a small budget.

Marketing Data

One of the most important considerations when comparing Mailchimp vs. MailerLite is the data that’s offered. Mailchimp incorporates significant data into their analytics-driven suggestions, as well as offers machine-learning algorithms to help with tasks like segmentation. In this way, you can leverage the extensive data of a large software provider.

When it comes to accessing your own data, both options provide a dashboard of analytics for each individual campaign, including open rates, bounce rates, click reports, and reading environments. You can also access data for your account as a whole in both tools, along with options to A/B test several elements of campaigns. 

MailerLite analytics dashboard 

One feature that is unique to Mailchimp is its comparative tool—allowing you to compare each specific email to your average campaign stats. Even better, this is available in free accounts so you don’t need to upgrade to access it. 

Mailchimp dashboard

Bottom Line: For email-related data, MailerLite and Mailchimp offer very similar features. Mailchimp does include data-backed suggestions that will help you improve your marketing effectiveness and provides a unique comparison tool. 

Platform Price

Both platforms offer free versions of their program. MailerLite’s free version is valid for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Mailchimp’s free plan allows for 2,000 subscribers and 10,000 emails per month. 

Mailchimp’s pricing structure has three tiers while MailerLite has one pricing structure based on list size. Let’s compare the cost of MailerLite vs Mailchimp with 20,000 subscribers:

  • Mailchimp cost: $159/month
  • MailerLite cost: $100/month 

MailerLite offers a few valuable add-ons, like the option to have a dedicated account manager for $100/month. They also know that their straightforward and reasonable pricing (especially compared to industry competitors) is a strength, as you can see from their comparison chart

Bottom line: Pricing is based on subscriber list size and extra features needed. MailerLite is generally cheaper and in keeping with the theme of complexity, Mailchimp’s pricing structure is more complicated. 

Mailerlite vs Mailchimp? Depends on Your Needs 

When choosing between Mailerlite vs Mailchimp, the best option depends on your individual business and needs. Here’s a breakdown based on my research and personal use of these tools:

  • MailerLite: If you’re a solopreneur, freelancer, blogger, or independent contractor, with a smaller subscriber list, and looking for a simple system that still allows you to scale and integrate subscriber growth features (I.E., landing pages, forms, etc.), this is the perfect option. Especially given the capabilities of their free plan and lower pricing for upgrading. Even larger businesses who just want a straightforward system might opt for MailerLite. 
  • Mailchimp: For those looking for a more enterprise-level system, Mailchimp would be a reliable and scalable option. Additionally, Mailchimp has the edge with built-in AI and machine learning capabilities.

I find that Mailchimp is more complex and robust than is necessary for my own needs. I left Mailchimp for MailerLite after searching for months for a tool that was affordable, while also offering subscriber-building tools, like opt-in pop-ups, landing pages, etc. I much prefer MailerLite to Mailchimp and I did use the latter for many years before switching.

Whichever you choose, remember that you need a tool that will allow you to keep your audience informed, while cultivating your sales funnel and nurturing subscribers. Whichever tool allows you to do that is the right tool for you!