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Choosing the right email marketing platform for your blog or online business is so important as not all of our businesses look the same or have the same needs and requirements. And whilst on the surface, most email marketing automation tools appear to be very similar, there are often subtle differences which can be the difference between a successful sales funnel or an absolute flop.
So in this article, I will be comparing Mailerlite vs Convertkit to help you decide which platform is best for you!
So before you read this article, stop for a moment and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve with your email marketing strategy?
- Are you selling your own products or affiliate products? Or do you just want a way to connect with your audience?
- Is convenience more important to you or is the price the priority?
- Do you see your business growing and ultimately requiring a more powerful email platform in the near future?
- Will you be using 1 single lead magnet and welcome series or are you likely to have several?
An overview of the differences between Convertkit and Mailerlite
Let’s compare the key features side by side…
|Free version?||Free to 1000 subs – no automations||Free to 1000 subscribers|
|Price for >1000 subs||Starts at $29||Starts at $15|
|Able to sell digital products directly from the platform||Yes||No|
|Ease of use||User friendly||Sometimes fiddly|
|Customer support||Chatbox/email||Email/FB messenger|
|Email design tools||Simple templates (=better for deliverability)||Drag-and-drop design tool (bells & whistle emails)|
|Sign-up forms||Variety templates, nice designs||Very limited|
|Can add behaviour tags||Yes, from within email. Tag any one who clicks a certain link to any destination. Very quick and simple.||Requires new page on website plus create a funnel to add them to a group triggered by page view|
|Ease of automation tools||Simple logical pathways||Not great…|
|Integrations with other apps||Yes – API||Yes – API|
|Able to reuse email sequences in more than 1 automation||Yes – if they have already received the email in another automation, they will skip past.||No – you can reuse single emails but there is nothing to stop someone receiving same multiple times!|
|Best for…||Intermediate-advanced bloggers, email marketers, course owners & service providers, digital and physical product owners, affiliate marketers||Beginners with no budget, hobby bloggers, those who want a very simple newsletter – more to keep in touch with followers rather than make money|
In general, Convertkit is a more powerful and robust platform with plenty of room to grow. The tagging system allows better segmentation and therefore more monetisation opportunities and so whilst Mailerlite is certainly cheaper, I’d be inclined to say Convertkit is actually better value for money.
If email marketing is an important part of your business strategy then I would recommend Convertkit every time. If you just want a very simple newsletter and are not too worried about monetising your emails, then Mailerlite is a very affordable option.
In this Convertkit vs Mailerlite comparison, I will review each platform side by side across 14 key areas including pricing, ease of use, reliability, deliverability, segmentation, workflows, customer support, newsletter design, analytics, opt-in form design, landing page design, integrations and features.
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Why I Switched From Mailerlite to Convertkit
I have extensive experience with Mailerlite and Convertkit meaning that I’m in a unique position that I can offer an unbiased view.
Prior to these email service providers, I also used Mailchimp but I do not recommend it as their terms and conditions prohibit affiliate links. Since affiliate links are one of the easiest ways to monetise an email list, Mailchimp is best avoided.
After realising the issues with Mailchimp, I moved my email list over to Mailerlite which at the time was the best free email marketing service. As a relatively new blogger who wasn’t making much income, I felt I couldn’t justify paying for a more superior platform and Mailerlite seemed to tick a lot of my boxes.
And my experience with Mailerlite was fairly good. Deliverability seemed fine and sending a simple email campaign was very straight forward. Plus I didn’t have to pay a penny.
But it wasn’t without its issues. I often found the platform pretty glitchy and segmentation was awkward at best. But I couldn’t really complain because I wasn’t paying for it!
But as my business and email list grew, I needed an email marketing platform that could grow with me. As my funnels became more complex, I needed a platform which was both simple and powerful to let me achieve my goals without getting tied up in knots.
There were also incidents where my automations didn’t work the way I expected. I ended up sending emails to the wrong people and had to send out embarrassing ‘oops I made a blunder’ emails. It happened one too many times and I started to get frustrated with Mailerlite.
Sometimes even the Mailerlite support team couldn’t explain why an automation wasn’t working and would just suggest adding extra layers of conditions to get it to work. But this was annoying as every automation ended up having to be formatted slightly differently and I had very little confidence when I set up a new one that it would work so I had to test everything before publishing.
As a free platform, it served me well but I realised I needed something more powerful to help me expand my business which is when I decided to try Convertkit…
The email platform transition process…
The transition process went pretty smoothly. I took a gamble and switched from Mailerlite to Convertkit right before I launched a course, against advice about potential drops in deliverability when you first switch!
But it actually worked in my favour and with Convertkit, I had impressive 50% open rates and 4% conversion rate earning $5600 with an email list of just 900 subscribers.
Nice one Convertkit!
I found myself wondering why I hadn’t switched from Mailerite to Convertkit a lot sooner!
Moving all my sign-up forms over was a bit of a hassle. I kept finding ones I’d missed and for months afterwards, I was getting new people joining my Mailerlite list instead of Convertkit.
If I had my time again, I would employ a VA to help with this task. You can also ask Convertkit to help you manage the migration.
Looking back, I would also have moved sooner before I had so many sign-ups forms and lead magnets!
So if you are considering switching, I would urge you to do it sooner rather than later as it gets more complicated the longer you leave it!
The process of bringing across contacts, however, was super simple. I exported CSV lists of my groups on Mailerlite then imported them under a new tag on Convertkit. It was done in around 30 minutes.
Convertkit was also super easy to navigate so I didn’t find it a steep learning curve – it was actually far more user friendly than Mailerlite ever was!
I’m very happy I chose to switch. However, I recognise that everyone has different requirements for their email platform and Mailerlite remains one of the best free options on the market in 2021.
So let’s compare Convertkit and Mailelerlite side by side and decide which is best for you.
The pros and Cons of Convertkit
Convertkit is the most user-friendly platform and it is also the most powerful. If marketing via email is an integral part of your business, it may be worth spending a little extra to get a more robust email platform like Convertkit – even if you are just starting out!
Better advanced tagging system allowing better segmentation thus higher engagement and sales.
- Nicer sign-up form templates – better able to display product/freebie mockups.
- Able to reuse email sequences within different automated funnels. If someone is in multiple automations, they will bypass emails they have already received and move onto the next email sequence in the automation.
- Better email deliverability so your emails are less likely to land in the spam folder.
- Can sell digital products directly from the platform without paying for another cart platform.
- Free migration onto the pro plan – a massive time saver!
- Is more expensive than alternatives like Mailerlite.
- A/B testing titles only offers a 4-hour option.
Read Next | Flodesk vs Convertkit Comparison Guide
The Pros and Cons of Mailerlite
Whilst there are several flaws with the platform, Mailerlite does remain good value for money. You can do most things you can do with Convertkit, but it might just require more steps and more faff to achieve the same results… It’s a case of choosing between cost vs convenience!
- Option to deliver emails by timezone
- Superior A/B testing of email titles – offers different durations.
- More affordable for newbies
- Can be glitchy
- Less user-friendly
- Lack of tagging system makes segmentation a lot more complex and time-consuming.
- Lower deliverability scores (but not bad.)
Mailerlite Groups vs Convertkit tags for segmentation
When you read an article about these platforms or about email marketing in general, you may hear terms like ‘groups’, ‘segments’ and ‘tags.’
Essentially this is a way of grouping or segmenting your audience by their interests or behaviours. This means that you can send some emails to smaller segments of your audience to avoid sending an email to people who may not be interested or who may have already purchased the product you are promoting!
Mailerlite uses ‘groups’ and Convertkit uses ‘tags’ but they are essentially pretty similar.
That said, Convertkit makes it much easier to add someone to a tag than Mailerlite does to a group.
Let me give you an example…
Say you are promoting a product and you don’t want to annoy your audience with sales emails so you add a note saying ‘If you’re not interested in X product now, that’s fine. Just let me know by clicking HERE and I will make sure you don’t get any emails about X product again!’
You can then group or tag these people to make sure you don’t annoy them with the rest of your sales emails. However this process is much more simple with Convertkit. Let’s compare the process with both…
Method on Convertkit
Create a single ‘Your preferences are acknowledged’ page on your website. You can re-use this for the purpose of tagging for any topic.
Link to that page and when linking tick the box that says tag anyone who clicks here. Tag them as ‘unsubscribe from x product.’
You can even create a new tag from within the email editor. It takes 10 seconds!
Method on Mailerlite.
First, you must create multiple pages on your site for each product that people might want to unsubscribe from as the trigger is the page visit rather than the action of clicking on a link which prevents you from using the same preferences acknowledged page for each.
Next create a new group and name it ‘unsubscribe from X product.’
Finally, create a new automation where the trigger is a page visit where you insert the URL of the relevant page on your website where you have created a ‘preferences acknowledged’ page for that product. You can then add anyone who visits this page to the group you created. You can now exclude this group from future emails.
So as you can see, whilst they serve the same purpose, groups are harder to create than tags and are therefore less likely to be used frequently.
Grouping or tagging your audience is so important to make sure that you deliver the right offers to the right people at the right time. By doing this, you will see email engagement, open rates, click-through rates and conversions rates all increase significantly.
Mailerlite vs Convertkit
Let’s compare the features of both side by side…
There’s no denying that Mailerlite is cheaper than Convertkit which certainly makes it a very appealing email automation tool for beginners who cannot justify the price of Convertkit.
That said, I do truly believe that the features Convertkit offers, helps you make significantly more money by being able to deliver the right sales emails to the right people via the advanced segmentation options.
So I would recommend taking this into consideration when comparing Convertkit pricing to cheaper platforms like Mailerlite.
So whilst Mailerlite is cheapest, Convertkit has so many extra features that I find it to be better value for money overall.
Both programs have free options too.
Mailerlite offers a free membership up to 1000 subscribers. There are some limitations e.g. no access to premium features like 24/7 support, logo removal, auto-resend feature or the option to deliver by time zone.
Convertkit released their free membership fairly recently. Most features are available except the automation feature. You also only get basic support on the free plan and there is no free migrations service.
Both plans are free forever until you hit 1000 subscribers.
Convertkit also have an enhanced membership alongside their regular pro plan. It is called Creator Pro and comes with the following additional features
- Facebook custom audiences (for a more effective ad strategy)
- Newsletter referral system (give your audience incentives to refer others to your list.)
- Edit links in retrospect (when you accidentally click send on an article with a wrong link…)
- Deliverability reporting
- Subscriber engagement scoring ( so you can re-engage them quickly)
In general, most people won’t need this fancy upgrade. But if you run a lot of Facebook ads and have a sizeable email list, it may be worth considering as a nice (but not essential) extra
Mailerlite vs Convertkit Paid Plans
Let’s look at the price for the monthly plans of the pro memberships for both email marketing tools…
|Mailerlite||Pro plan||Convertkit||Pro plan||Creator Pro (enhanced plan)|
(With both plans, you will save money by paying for the annual plan rather than the month plan.)
So whilst yes, Convertkit is more pricey at a glance, do remember that the more powerful tools Converkit offers will help you make more money in the longrun. $99 might sound a huge amount for 8000 subscribers but if you are properly optimising your email strategy, you could be earning upwards of $2-8K monthly with that many subscribers!
Winner: Mailerlite (at least short-term)
Which email marketing tool is easiest to use?
For me, this is hands down Convertkit!
Mailerlite occasionally made me feel like tearing my hair out. Even when I set up automations exactly the same way as I set them up last time, they wouldn’t work and I’d have to add another condition for no obvious reason to get it to work.
The ease of adding a tag was like a breath of fresh air. The way automations are set up is also so much more logical. So you can create sequences and link them together in a very visual way.
I felt I had mastered Convertkit after about 30 minutes playing around on the website. And when I do need to do something more advanced, there are plenty of tutorials and a user forum to turn to!
Which is the most reliable email marketing software?
Everything runs a lot smoother with Convertkit. There are less unexpected surprises and I know if I set a funnel up, it will operate exactly the way that I set it too. In fact I have set up far more complicated funnels which have worked a dream compared to the simple ones which malfunctioned several times during my time with Mailerlite.
Does Convertkit or Mailerlite have the best email deliverability?
To be fair, both email marketing tools have good deliverability rates but Convertkits is better. According to this email deliverability report from September 2020, Convertkit achieved the highest deliverability rate of all platforms with a deliverability score of 95% whereas Mailerlite lagged a little behind at 90%.
This basically means that with Convertkit, less of your emails will land in the spam folder, never to be seen again!
Which email service has better segmentation?
Hands down Convertkit, this one is a no-brainer!
The tagging system makes segmenting your email subscriber list an absolute breeze. What requires a 10 second task in Convertkit requires a new Wordpress page + new group created + new automation…
You get the drift!
And the reality is, because it is easy to apply tags to certain behaviours, interests etc, you are far more likely to do so. The more tags you apply, the more information you have about your subscribers so that you can make informed decisions about which emails to send to who.
Let me give you an example how you can use this.
Say it’s Black Friday weekend and you are sending a round-up of deals in your niche in order to earn some affiliate income or you are promoting your own products. You can use the 1st email (your roundup) to identify which products someone is interested in.
Chances are they might not buy the 1st time they hear of a product but what if you could contact them the next day to remind them about that product and give them a little more detailed information about it?
Thats what I did last year using tags. I was able to tag individual email subscribers as being interested in specific products depending on what they clicked on. I then set up an automation for the following day to send more detailed emails about the products they had already registered interest in. It resulted in a very lucrative weekend for me!
Would I have done the same with Mailerlite? Probably not, as each funnel would have taken 3x as long to set up.
Winner: Convertkit hands down
Does Convertkit or Mailerlite have better email workflow automation features?
Both email marketing tools offer automations though in Mailerlite, they are called workflows. They both have similar automation rules that allow you to add triggers, conditions, exclusions and actions. They also both showcase your workflow automation in a useful visual automation flow chart.
There are a few differences. For example with Convertkit’s automation workflows, you can reuse whole sequences of emails. If someone has passed through the same sequence elsewhere, they will automatically bypass the emails they have received and move onto the next step. I use this feature a lot and it’s a huge time saver.
For example, I may have people who sign up to learn more about making pins and others who want to create lead magnets. But both would be interested in emails about using the design tool Canva. So I can reuse my Canva email sequence to save time.
Mailerlite does allow you to re-use individual emails but not whole sequences. Also, there is no way to prevent someone from receiving the same email more than once which could get annoying. So you definitely wouldn’t want to risk using the same email in more the 2 funnels!
The other thing to note is that whilst both allow you to exclude certain groups or tags from your emails within an automation, the feature is limited to only when the trigger is ‘joins a group’ on Mailerlite. Whereas with Convertkit, it’s done from within the email sequence editor.
Convertkit vs Mailerlite for customer support?
Convertkit uses a chatbot and if they can’t find you a satisfactory answer, your query gets passed onto the relevant team who respond pretty quickly via chatbox (and also gets sent to your email.) They only operate within 8 am to 8 pm CST but responses are usually fairly quick in hours.
Mailerlite has 24/7 support via email. They also have a Facebook manager in hours who will answer questions. It did take several hours to hear back from them but I was on the free plan without premium support. The support out of hours is certainly very handy.
Which platform has the best email design tools/newsletter templates?
Many people like the drag and drop editor that Mailerlite offers helping them to build emails with all the bells and whistles.
Convertkit allows you to create and use your own email templates with a visual editor tool but the templates are very simple.
There is actually a good reason for this. Simple plain text emails are more likely to make their way into the primary inbox. Those bells and whistle emails may look pretty but they are also more likely to end up in the Promotions tab where most Gmail users ignore them…
So personally I always opt for simple emails which look like they could be sent from a friend. However, there are times where you may need more design elements such as for very visual niches such as photography or for those who have Etsy shops etc.
Winner: Mailerlite (but I still urge you to keep emails simple…)
Mailerlite or Convertkit for email campaigns?
Both platforms make sending simple email campaigns or newsletters super easy. The only minor difference I would mention is that I do like the A/B testing with Mailerlite as you can choose a shorter testing period. With Convertkit, its a fixed 4-hour trial which is probably wise to give them chance to show a real difference. But I did like the choice.
Winner: Mailerlite – just!
Which has the best stats/analytics reports?
Both have pros and cons. I really like the email campaign reports for Mailerlite where everything you could possibly need is displayed on one page.
However, where Convertkit has the edge is with the daily signups. You can log in and instantly see how many people joined your list that day and which sign-up form they came via.
This might help to know what is working and what’s not. For example, if you do a Facebook live training and you mention a freebie then see you’ve had a surge of sign-ups for it, you know that was worth doing and can try it again.
Winner : Its a tie.
Which has the best opt-in forms?
Convertkit has really beautiful opt-in form templates. They also have a large variety. So you can display an image alongside an opt-in form (good for including product mockups.)
Convertkit also offers a super simple name and email only option called the Clare form. These are ideal for adding into sales pages where a full form would look awkward but a simple form field with a sign-up button blends into the design seamlessly.
I found the form builder with Mailerlite very restrictive with only a few designs and none of the ideal dimensions to showcase a product mockup.
Which has the best landing pages templates?
Both have landing page templates that you can use. Mailerlite has 38 modern templates whereas Convertkit has 53 currently so there are more styles to choose from.
Also, Convertkit splits their landing page templates into the purpose of the page eg products, webinars, waitlist etc. Mailerlite instead uses themed templates by niche eg food, travel etc. I find the way Convertkit splits them to be a lot more userfriendly as you can change the images and colours of any page anyway!
Which email marketing platform integrates with more tools?
Both integrate with a lot of tools via API or via Zapier. For example, cart checkouts, course platforms etc.
Winner: It’s a tie
Convertkit vs Mailerlite for features
Convertkit offers various features than Mailerlite does not. For example, only Converkit allows you to sell digital products directly from the platform.
Convertkit also allows you to re-use email sequences without sending them to the same person multiple times and makes tagging people a breeze.
Also, Convertkit allows not only in-line signup forms and pop-ups but also modal, slide-in and sticky bar sign-up options. Mailerlite only offers in-line and pop-up forms.
So which is best? Mailerlite vs Convertkit?
From the results of this comparison, Convertkit wins in most categories. Let’s look at the breakdown…
|Ease of use||win|
- Convertkit wins: 8
- Mailerlite wins: 4
- Ties: 2
Overall winner – CONVERTKIT!
Ultimately it comes down to cost vs convenience (or perhaps power vs price!)
Mailerlite is the cheapest and has a popular drag-and-drop design interface but Converkit is more reliable, more powerful and far better for segmentation.
My personal take on it that you may want to consider Mailerlite if you are a complete beginner as it’s free but still allows you to create automated funnels. However, you will likely want to switch to Convertkit when you start to take email marketing seriously.
I would also encourage you to switch before it gets too complicated where you have a zillion sign-up forms on a zillion blog pages…
The other option for beginners would be to sign up to Convertkits free plan and stick to a very simple newsletter until you have 1000 subscribers or you start to place more emphasis on monetising an email list, whichever comes first. This way, you don’t have the hassle of switching or learning multiple programs.
For anyone who uses email as an integral part of their business e.g. product owners, affiliate marketers (including bloggers) and service providers, Convertkit wins hands down.
FAQs for Convertkit vs Mailerlite
Is Convertkit better than Mailerlite?
Convertkit is more simple to use, reliable and powerful than Mailerlite making it a better platform for anyone who is serious about growing and monetising an email list. That said, Mailerlite is cheaper and so beginners may want to consider starting with Mailerlite and switching when able.
Is Convertkit better than Mailchimp?
Yes, Convertkit allows you to include affiliate links in emails and is a more powerful email marketing platform.
Is Mailerlite better than Mailchimp?
These are often compared to each other as they are both free resources (at elast initially.) But I do believe Mailerlite is preferable to Mailchimp because you can use affiliate links inside your email to monetise your email list.
Is Mailerlite cheaper than Convertkit
Yes it is. Premium plans start at $10 per month with Mailerlite and $29/month with Convertkit. However, due to the advanced tagging systems, it is easier to monetise your email list with Convertkit which will easily outweigh the monthly subscription fee.
Why is Mailerlite more affordable than Convertkit?
Mailerlite is a more basic email platform and is designed for beginners and hobbyists hence is more affordable. Convertkit is a more powerful platform with more advanced features and as such costs more each month.
How much does Mailerlite cost?
Mailerlite prices start from $10 for fewer than 1000 subscribers (or there is a free plan with limited access to features.) It is generally cheaper than Convertkit as it is aimed more at beginners and hobbyists. Prices increase in accordance with subscriber numbers.
How much does Convertkit cost?
Paid plans start at $29 a month and increase according to subscriber numbers. You never pay for a subscriber more than once if they happen to sign up multiple times.
Does Convertkit have a free plan now?
Yes, in 2020 Convertkit bought in a free plan up to 1000 subscribers to compete with Mailerlite’s free plan. You get access to most of the same features but without automations. You can upgrade from a free to pro plan whenever you need to.
Which platform is easiest to use?
Personally, I would say Convertkit is a LOT easier to use. However, I do know some people who disagree with that. I guess whichever platform you are more familiar with will seem easier!
How can you upgrade from a free to pro plan on Convertkit?
If you click on your profile picture and name in the top right corner there will be a green box giving you the option to upgrade.
Can you do A/B testing on both Convertkit and Mailerlite?
Yes, you can A/B test email titles on both platforms. This means that a small proportion of your audience will receive 2 different email titles. Whichever is the most successful will win and then be sent to the rest of your audience.
Can you include conditions for both platforms?
Yes, you can include conditions for automations on both Mailerlite and Convertkit.
Does Convertkit have landing pages?
Yes, there are over 50 templates to choose from. Mailerlite also has landing page templates but there are less to choose from.
Can you set up an RSS feed for Convertkit or Mailerlite?
Yes, you can set up an RSS feed for both Convertkit and Mailerlite which will allow you to automatically send a simple newsletter with links and summaries of your newest blog content.
What is the best email marketing platform?
I personally feel that Convertkit is the best email marketing platform available. It’s easy to use, reliable, offers great deliverability and powerful segmentation tools. Having tried several platforms, this is hands down my favourite.
Does Convertkit offer a free trial?
Yes, you can try it out completely for free for 14 days using this link.
Read next: How to start an email list for bloggers
I hope this article has helped you decide between Convertkit or Mailerlite.
Either way, you will have access to a good tool to help you grow your email list. And if you do decide on the wrong platform, you can always switch down the line!
Any questions about Mailerlite vs Convertkit? Pop them in the comments below…
Read next | Flodesk vs Convertkit
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