MailerLite Review

MailerLite Review

A budget Mailing List Manager with ideas above its station! Not just a beginners tool but a well featured competitor to other better known solutions.

We recently changed our mailing list provider and looked closely at four products. Mailchimp, SendinBlue, Fluent CRM and MailerLite. It was close, very close between SendinBlue and MailerLite. In the end, our choice was made on a very specific use case that was better supported by the product we chose. This MailerLite review focuses on the functionality we found in the research stage of the project.

Why Use a Mailing List?

We have been talking to a number of people recently about their mailing lists. There are a number of reasons for the topic to suddenly drift into focus, but large amongst them are Google and Apple’s new policies around Cookies.

The short of it is that support for third party tracking cookies is to be withdrawn from Google Chrome and has been continued subject to an opt-in by Apple in the latest version of iOS.

You can get the full story and our take on the implications over at Helter Skelter Digital in our article Death of the Cookie.

Suffice it to say, in the wake of these revelations we decided to review our own Email strategy and found it wanting. Like so many Email lists it had been allowed to stagnate and posts were sent irregularly. No more!

In actual fact, Mailing Lists offer nearly twice as much efficiency as PPC, for a fraction of the cost. The gotcha is that it takes a while to pull together a list large enough to make a serious impact on your business but nonetheless it’s something it would be remiss to ignore.

MailerLite Overview

MailerLite Dashboard

MailerLite do one thing and they do it very well. Email list Management. The concept is simple. You put a form on your website and offer people the opportunity to sign up for your regular mailouts. If they sign up, then MailerLite sends out a confirmation e-mail, conforming with GDPR Double Opt in requirements and if the user conforms they are added to your list.

You can organise your list into segments and groups, create popups, forms and landing pages for your website and do the usual split tests (A/B Testing) across campaigns.

A well designed and intuitive interface is available in five languages and there is an app for iOS. Recently they have launched MailerLite Academy, a free program that helps the user to get the best out of the software.

What’s not to like?

MailerLite Pricing

Pricing is straightforward, affordable and comes with generous allocations. The Free plan is limited to basic functionality although the free trial allows full use for two weeks.

SubscribersEmails / monthMonthly cost
0 – 1,00012,000Free
0 – 1,000Unlimited$10
1,001 – 2,500Unlimited$15
2,501 – 5,000Unlimited$30
5,001 – 10,000Unlimited$50

Compared to MailChimp this pricing is way better. No hidden gotchas, no weird ceilings on audiences. What you see is what you get.

Pros and Cons

See the table above. These prices are certainly affordable.

MailerLite does one thing really well. mailing List Management. A novice can pick this up in a couple of hours.

Useful, with attractive templates straight out of the box. You can host the page under an alias at MailerLite or on your own domain.

Where MailChimp is cluttered and confusing, MailerLite is simple direct and to the point. No need to consult Google, everything you need to know is at your fingertips.

MailerLite is a comparatively young product but the team have not let the grass grow under their feet! There are now 127 integrations available and more in the pipeline. For WordPress users, you are very well looked after!

Really straightforward. Simply export a CSV file from your old system and import it into MailerLite. You’ll be prompted to map the fields from old to new. Anything you don’t want is discarded.

MailerLite lacks some of the features you find in premium offerings but for small businesses dipping a toe into Email marketing it’s perfectly fine. Integration with other apps extending MailerLite functionality is possible either through the officially integrated Apps or via Zapier, the Swiss Army Knife of web tools.

There is integration with CRM software, but this seems like a work in progress. Supported applications include Hubspot, SalesForce, Zoho and Zendesk plus a good few more specialised sales and lead generation tools. Come to think of it this pretty much qualifies as a Pro!

MailerLite Subscriber Management

Is MailerLite right for you?

I would recommend MailerLite without hesitation to anyone getting involved with Email marketing for the first time or anyone for whom Email marketing is a drain on their time and resources. It’s refreshingly simple to use, the MailerLite Academy offers excellent advice on a range of topics and you can grow with the tools.

The strategy of using third party products to extend MailerLite is interesting. Whilst it offers a lot more functionality, it comes at the cost of added complexity and it’s not entirely clear from browsing the catalogue of integrations, organised by function, which tools are best suited for particular purposes. The strategy is not uncommon, but it does encourage complexity.

Our in house strategy has always been to choose tools that will grow with you rather than tools that you have to grow into. MailerLite fits the bill. Its easy enough to master quickly and can be extended when you need to do so.

MailerLite Landing Page Builder
MailerLite Landing Page Builder

For small businesses, bloggers, freelancers and creatives, MailerLite is practically perfect. The Landing Page builder is a significant differentiator too.

Test Details

TEST 
RATING 
COMMENTS 
Usabilty 5Very easy to navigate with a beautifully usable interface.
Newsletter  5Very straightforward. Inevitably similar to MailChimp but how else would you do it?
Editor 5A no code editor that looks and feels like the WordPress Gutenberg editor. If you’re used to dealing with content blocks, you’ll have no problems here.
Personalisation 4Personalisation is possible in a fairly limited way, No support for programming logic but you do have access to ‘dynamic content’ blocks, which will display only to selected groups/segments.
Email 5Classic Mailout, A/B testing, autoresponders, surveys, recurring newsletters and date-based (specific, and one-off mails, for things like membership reminders).
Templates5There is a catalogue of well designed very modern templates which are all easily customisable. Templates aren’t included in the free plan which is disappointing but the range of content blocks available makes this easier to accept!
Automation 4MailerLite offers steadily improving marketing automation, allowing you to create workflows based on campaign actions, such as opens and links clicked, or conditions based on custom fields and segments.
List Management 4You are able to segment your subscribers using a wide variety of variables. There is a tagging system which MailerLite calls “groups”. Unlike MailChimp, having the same subscriber in multiple groups only counts as one subscriber.
Migration5Very straightforward using CSV files which are widely supported
Registration Forms/ Opt-in & Opt-out- Process 5Straightforward to create and use, with several types of forms available, including pop-up, embed, unsubscribe forms and subscribe buttons. You can also send data to MailerLite from a custom form using the API. This is simple to do but make sure you set Double Opt-In to on.
Deliverability 5We can’t fault it so far!
Reports and Analysis 4MailerLite has basic reporting available, reached intuitively via campaigns, or subscribers. It has ecommerce integration, limited to WooCommerce and Shopify,. Also supports click-mapping and Google Analytics.
Languages 5MailerLite is available in 5 languages.
Comment Worthy 
Design-Testing yesYou can preview how your design will look on desktop and mobile
Bounce Management yesAfter five soft bounces, or one hard bounce, subscribers are automatically moved to a bounce folder where they can be managed.
Blacklist yesYou can exclude segments or groups from receiving emails
Storage available for data and images yesThere’s no limit on the size or amount of images you can store.
Pro Features 
Authentication yesSPF and DKIM (Domain Keys).
Custom Domain yesYou can add a custom domain on the Premium plan. All links across campaigns and confirmation emails will have your domain, instead of the MailerLite domain.
Account access yesTwo-factor authentication (2FA) available through the Google Authenticator App. Team members can be granted granular access.
Landing Page Editor yesA proper differentiator.
Support yesEmail and chat. The knowledge base is good, and the MailerLite Academy excellent.
Overall rating 5MailerLite passed every test we set it. We’ve been using MailChimp for ever and MailerLite seems like a breath of fresh air!

MailerLite Alternatives

MailChimp

We have been using MailChimp for ever. We decided to jump ship last year when it became obvious that the functionality was being squeezed in order to force users to upgrade.

Additionally, I don’t know if it was just me, but I found myself using Google as the Help menu was spectacularly unhelpful.

MailChimp is piling on the functionality, has a lovely new design but it is still more expensive feature for feature than most of its competitors. So I left. After finding out from Google how to export my mailing list!

SendinBlue

I absolutely loved SendinBlue. It was almost impossible to differentiate between it and MailerLite and we opted for MailerLite on a fraction of a half point in the end. I feel so badly about this that I may review SendinBlue as well!

Fluent CRM

This is a left field choice. We came to Fluent CRM through Fluent Forms and liked it so much we kept it in the running for our mailing list solution. Unlike every other platform here it is not a cloud based solution. Instead it runs on WordPress.

Fluent CRM is a CRM based on Mailing List functionality. As such it offers more functionality than both SendinBlue and MailerLite but it’s association with a single site put it out of the running for us. We needed to serve several different lists, we can do this using segments based on the origin in MailerLite.

Conclusion

We chose MailerLite in the end, after discounting MailChimp fairly early on in the process. Very close between MailerLite and SendinBlue. Fluent CRM was an outlier.

You can get a free trial of MailerLite and see for yourself!

MailerLite review
MailerLite

FAQs

Is the Free Version of MailerLite Worthwhile?

Yes. The key restriction is the number of users which is set at 1000. If you have more than 1000 subscribers and you can’t afford $10 a month you’re not doing Email marketing right!

Will I be forced to upgrade?

Only by the numbers of subscribers. MailerLite is very reasonably balanced between price and functionality.

Does MailerLite restrict the number of Emails?

12,000 emails per 1000 users per month. If you’re sending 12 emails a month then you’re probably sending too many.

Where is the best place for a Sign Up Form?

This is a question of design. Most people have a sign up form on the home page and again on individual posts. Statistics suggest that half way up the page is better than the bottom or top of the page.

How do I attract more Subscribers?

Not strictly speaking a concern of the software! We may do a post on this topic, but in a nutshell providing useful content, creating a brand that people what to be part of does the trick.

See how we use MailerLite by signing up to our mailing list right here! Every month we mail out a precis of the latest posts, subscriber only content and when we can get them, discounts and deals on software.

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2 Comments

  1. We’re slightly giddy to hear you ended up choosing us, Chris. Thank you so much for this lovely and honest review of us. We’ve definitely heard our users feedback about reporting, something we’re working in for the future – so keep an eye out.

    – Lay, Online reputation Manager @ MailerLite

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