I started my email marketing journey with Aweber. But quickly lost faith in it because of numerous technical glitches.
After all, if I am paying an email service provider, the least they can do is to make sure their application works as expected and nothing is broken.
It’s a huge turn off when I feel the need to contact support for one problem or the other at least once every week.
That’s why I don’t understand when I visit landing page of any marketing automation, landing page or email marketing company and I see them bragging about what awesome 24X7 support they have.
A superior product is not which has consistent support. It’s a product so robust and functional that the user rarely has the reason to get in touch with the support team.
Anyway, so after I got rid of Aweber, Mailchimp was the next primary option. And that’s what I continue to use till now.
That’s not to say I am blindly loyal towards it. It has its own set of minor glitches. But it gets the job done and I am not dissatisfied with it.
But recently I have been hearing good things about a new email marketing solution, MailerLite. Many marketers I know have already switched from Mailchimp to MailerLite because of its low cost and more features.
So this is something I thought to definitely test for myself and see if it’s worth switching to. And that’s what I did and going to share in this post.
Though this post is already very long as it is, I haven’t covered the basics or meanings of terms involved in email marketing.
I assume you already know what is meant by a split-campaign, an autoresponder, a single optin or double optin, and other email marketing jargon.
So if you’re not familiar with basics of email marketing, you may want to catch up on that first. Also note that this review is actually going to be a review.
I have seen many MailerLite “reviews” floating around the web which cause suspicion because the writer seems to have some kind of connection with the founder of MailerLite.
Either that or they look more like tutorials than reviews. The reviewer gets so carried away in describing how MailerLite works and what it does that he loses focus on how well it does what it’s supposed to do.
That’s not going to happen here.
So let’s begin with price.
Is It Really Cheaper?
First of all, let me get the pricing question out of the way.
Yes. MailerLite doesn’t only cost less than Mailchimp, but any other popular email marketing software you may be using for your campaigns. Here are some comparisons:
MailerLite Vs Mailchimp Pricing
MailerLite Vs Constant Contact Pricing
Now that we know it’s cheaper than others, let’s find out if it has all the features which competitors provide. In this area also, it outshines Mailchimp, Aweber and others.
For instance, not only it has all the features which Mailchimp provides, but more. On top of that, an important feature such as Autoresponder which Mailchimp charges for, MailerLite gives away for free.
Similar outcome can be seen on comparisons with Aweber, Constant Contact & more. When it comes to number and utility of features that should be provided by an email marketing software, MailerLite beats them all.
Now The Real Review
As much as we now know that MailerLite costs less and provides more features that its rivals, that doesn’t mean it’s worth switching to.
Any company can come up claiming to cost less and more features, but these claims aren’t worth a penny if the product and the features are plagued by nasty bugs and don’t work well.
Let’s take drag n drop for example. While any email service provider can implement and boast of giving its users a drag n drop interface for creating email messages, only a few can do this in a way that makes the process quick and easy.
One tool may enable you to create an email template in 5 minutes, while another may take hours and still not look good when sent to subscribers.
So I created an account and tried every feature to see if it works on par with Mailchimp and others.
The MailerLite Dashboard
Here’s the first screen I saw after I have created an account and logged in. MailerLite asked me to complete my profile and verify website domain. So I thought let’s quickly be done with these steps.
Completing the profile was a breeze, but I got stuck on the domain verification part.
After I entered my domain, the next screen asked me for the email address I have with that domain. MailerLite would send a verification email to that address.
After I clicked next, I kept on waiting for that verification email from MailerLite, but never got any email.
Right near the beginning, this instance shook my faith a bit in this company.
This is an email marketing service provider. Email is their business.
And if this is a kind of delay they can cause to me, I can only imagine how much they’ll take care of people who join or who are already in my email list.
I even clicked on resend several times, but still didn’t get the verification email. Not a good sign!
Anyway, I moved on to the next part, the subscribers tab. This is the screen from where I can create and manage my lists.
As you can see in the image below, I could have started a new list by clicking the big orange button on the top. But MailerList already created a default list for me based on my business name. So I just used that for this review.
From here, I can view the list, add subscribers, edit the list name, split or delete list groups.
So I added some subscribers to test creating a campaign and sending emails to those subscribers. Clicking on the small green button on the right allowed me to add people to my list.
You can either upload an existing mailchimp or other list you have in CSV or TXT format, copy and paste from a text file or manually add subscribers one by one.
For testing the tool and the sake of this review, I manually added 2-3 emails that belong to me.
I am glad to report that it’s fairly fast and easy to add subscribers to a list. In fact, the entire list management aspect of MailerLite has won me over. Full points for its simple and intuitive interface that just, works.
Now that I had some subscribers in my list, I could move on to the main part, which is creating an email campaign. Here’s what I saw when I clicked on creating an email campaign:
I can create a regular, split testing, auto-resend or RSS campaign. For this review, I am going to stick with regular.
Here I could decide on the subject line and sender name and email. My favorite part here was the subject field.
As you can see in the image, MailerLite makes it really easy to add an emoticon and insert personalization such as name.
Both these things help make your email stand out and increase click rate. I don’t remember it being that easy to do in Mailchimp.
In Mailchimp, I always had to copy and paste the merge tag to insert personalization. MailerLite has impressed me with their thoughtfulness.
Let’s move to the content part. Here I have to select a template to work with.
Many marketers get swayed by the number of beautiful, ready-to-use templates provided by an email marketing service. And clearly MailerLite has a lot to offer in that regard.
But the real test is actually trying to create your own template in their drag n drop editor. So that’s what I chose.
The editor interface felt faster and easier than Mailchimp, which is a huge achievement. I could add headline, text, images and other things just with a click.
And I loved how MailerLite handles the complicated issue of choosing between layouts and columns. For example, I could choose between logo header, no header and image header just by moving a slider. And same with other elements.
I was able create a beautiful and simple message (including a headline, image, paragraph, call to action and footer) in under 5 minutes.
What I really missed though was the autosave feature. Even if autosave was there, I should have been able to see some notification somewhere that my message was being saved.
Next, I clicked on done editing and chose the list to which this email will be sent. I could review and confirm my settings on the next part. So I sent myself a test email.
I successfully got the test email and the good news is that it looked exactly like it did in the editor, in terms with both desktop and mobile. There was no noticeable difference.
With that, I was ready to send this campaign to my list.
But remember, I didn’t get the confirmation email to verify my domain?
So my account was not approved yet and I couldn’t send this message to my subscribers. I was stuck at this stage.
This means I’ll have to contact support. Man! I hate this part. Let’s see if MailerLite can make it worthwhile.
After looking at their support options, I must say MailerLite beats Mailchimp in this area also.
While Mailchimp shies away from even sharing their support email openly, Mailerlite makes it easy to find and access not only email support, but live chat with just a click on the bottom right chat icon.
The chat conversation went a bit slow though. Each reply I got was late by about 3-7 minutes. But my issues was resolved fast. They manually activated my account and told me that they’ll look into the verification email issue.
Here’s a little snippet from the full chat:
Anyway, since the issue got resolved, I sent my first campaign through MailerLite and got the message that my email has been queued for delivery.
Now it was time to see how accurate their statistics are.
MailerLite Email Analytics
This is the part which really matters the most to me. And frankly, mailchimp has never lived up to expectations when it comes to analytics. There is almost always a mismatch between what I know and what it reports.
It may falsely show that a particular subscriber opened my email when he hasn’t, or ignore an actual open. So I really wanted to see how MailerLite performs in this regard.
To see how many people opened my email so far and who clicked on the button in my message, I headed over to the campaign page again and clicked on “view report”
Since I have access to all the email accounts which got the email campaign, I could try different things and see how accurately Mailerlite reports those activities.
I was blown away by the fact that the data I got was 100% accurate. MailerLite clearly beats Mailchimp here in my opinion. And the reporting was quick and easy to understand, just like in Mailchimp.
Each open, each click, and each subscriber activity was reported right. I could see who and who didn’t open my email, clicked on the main link, shared on social media and more.
Wrapping Up – My Experience With MailerLite
That’s about it for now. I know have just touched the basic campaign part in this review. There are lot of other things that could be tested too, such as optin forms and automation.
But I think this much should give a fair idea to anyone considering to use or switch to MailerLite as their email marketing solution.
As you can make out from my experience, there are a lot of things MailerLite is doing really well, even more so than Mailchimp. And there were a few minor things that left a bit of bad taste in my mouth.
But overall I am impressed by what I have witnessed and I think this company has a lot of promise and potential. So I have already ditched Mailchimp and switched to MailerLite.