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MailerLite vs Mailchimp: Don’t Make This Mistake [2024]

Emma Ayres Emma AyresEmail Marketing Expert September 08, 2023
September 08, 2023
MailerLite and Mailchimp both offer a range of features that many small and medium-sized businesses will find quite appealing, but they’re not suited to everyone.

I spent the past few weeks testing MailerLite and Mailchimp on their features, ease of use, deliverability, pricing, and support.

I’m a big fan of Mailchimp’s intuitive interface, advanced automation, and template selection. Mailchimp stands out as the clear choice for anyone who wants to create visually stunning emails and automate their email campaigns with ease. While MailerLite offers affordable pricing plans, Mailchimp’s features and benefits are worth the slightly higher investment.

But before you run into the jungle to strike a deal with the chimp, there’s something you should know about MailerLite. While it may not be the winner in this comparison, it still offers a range of useful features and does some things better than Mailchimp. Sorry, I never said this would be easy!

Keep reading to find out which email marketing platform is right for your business.

Features

Mailchimp’s Creative Assistant Is the Jewel in This EMS’s Crown

Truth be told, neither Mailchimp nor MailerLite offer as many templates as one would expect from a top EMS. But it’s not just about quantity. When it comes to quality, they both deliver, with Mailchimp having a slight edge with its premium design marketplace.

One feature I do really like is Mailchimp’s Creative Assistant. This AI-powered tool automatically creates graphics for your emails based on your website and your brand profile.

mailchimp's-creative-assistant
If you don’t have time to design your own graphics, Mailchimp’s Creative Assistant has you covered.
As far as integrations go, Mailchimp integrates natively with over 300 apps – more than any other platform. Mailerlite doesn’t integrate natively with half as many apps, which means you’ll have to spend a bit more time setting up your workflows (e.g., via Zapier).

MailerLite integrations
MailerLite doesn’t natively integrate with as many apps as Mailchimp
What about automation? Mailchimp offers more advanced automation than MailerLite, with a visual automation builder, pre-built automation workflows, and more complex conditional logic and branching paths. MailerLite’s automation editor is easy to use but not as capable or customizable.

Mailchimp struggles with segmentation when you add multiple lists to the equation – its audiences are siloed. MailerLite’s cross-list management is much better, and there’s even a neat feature that prevents duplicates.

Overall, Mailchimp wins this round with relative ease.

Ease of Use

Mailchimp’s Great for Beginners…but Only Just Steals the Win

Both of these EMS platforms are pretty easy to use. However, Mailchimp is slightly easier than MailerLite.

mailchimp's-drag-and-drop-email-editor
Mailchimp’s email editor is easy enough to use once you get used to it.
Even though Mailchimp’s menu uses icons that might seem confusing at first, you can quickly figure out what each icon means by hovering over it. Once you click into a sub-menu, hovering over the options brings up a tooltip explaining what each one does. Plus, walkthrough videos and articles are embedded into your dashboards.

MailerLite’s main interface menu is cleaner than Mailchimp’s. That said, the individual tools aren’t as intuitive or easy to use as Mailchimp’s. As a new user, you won’t always be sure where to go next, and you won’t get any explanation of what each feature does or how it interacts with the rest of the platform.

Overall, Mailchimp’s a pleasure to use. MailerLite has definitely stepped up its game with the recent interface overhaul (which modernized and simplified processes), but it still has a long way before it can compete with Mailchimp in terms of functionality and user-friendliness. Being pretty just isn’t enough in 2024!

Deliverability

MailerLite Checks You Are Who You Say You Are

So, here’s the tricky thing about deliverability. It’s nowhere near as easy to determine as lots of other reviews make it out to be. That’s because a lot of these ‘tests’ don’t take into account the hundreds of different factors that make up deliverability in the real world. We’ve put together a detailed guide on what you can personally do to boost your deliverability.

mailerlite's-account-approval-process
MailerLite will check you’re not trying to use its platform for scamming or spamming your recipients.
Mailchimp and MailerLite both take deliverability seriously. Both put a heavy emphasis on consent, and any account that uses emails fraudulently or without proper consent is liable for termination.

They also both explicitly prohibit affiliate marketing, multi-level marketing, work-from-home opportunities, and a wide range of other industries that tend to receive more spam report complaints. For me, this is a pretty good sign they’re working hard to keep their email servers on the email gatekeepers’ nice lists.

MailerLite and Mailchimp also both have knowledge base articles to help you set up DKIM authentication. This sounds complicated, but it’s effectively a bit of code email providers can drop in your email headers that tell email hosts (like Outlook or Gmail) you are who you say you are.

Many email marketing platforms skip on private IPs altogether, but not these two – another good sign. A private IP will set you back $29.95 on Mailchimp and $50 on MailerLite (it’s free with an Enterprise plan if you’re using the new version of the software).

I’ll also say that to get a MailerLite account in the first place, you’ll have to have your account authorized. In order to test it out, I had to provide information about where I got my contacts from, how I obtained consent, what my product was, and where the business was based.

All in all, MailerLite wins on deliverability from this approval process. It’s a really good sign they’re working to keep their servers clean.

Reporting and Analytics

Mailchimp’s Reporting Is Basic, but It’s Decent for Beginners

Mailchimp and MailerLite both offer the basic open, click, unsubscribe, bounce, and complaint tracking that you’d expect from any email service. You can also open a click map to see how the layout of your email affects link clicks. There’s plenty of information to get you started with optimizing your email campaigns, if not enough for more advanced marketers.

mailchimp's-reporting-dashboard
Mailchimp’s reporting dashboard is super easy to read and understand.
Mailchimp takes this further, however, with its Content Optimizer feature. As you can probably guess, this feature helps you to optimize your email campaigns for readability, click rates, and more. You can get a basic overview on the Free or Essentials plan, but the full thing unlocks on the Standard plan and above. For this reason, Mailchimp wins this round.

Pricing

Your Money Goes Further with MailerLite

While everyone loves Mailchimp for its free plan, things start to get a little confusing when you’re ready to upgrade to a paid plan. Besides its free plan, MailerLite only has two paid plans – Growing Business and Advanced.

Here’s What You Get for Free

Both MailerLite and Mailchimp’s free plans are pretty limited. And that’s understandable – they want you to upgrade to a paid plan, so they will hide the best stuff behind a paywall.

Mailchimp’s free plan is decent. Although you’re limited to 1,000 monthly sends and 500 contacts, you can access most of the platform’s features, including the landing page editor. You can send up to 10,000 emails a month to a maximum of 2,000 contacts. Sure, you might not get super advanced features like multi-step automation, but if your business is still pretty small, this is plenty to get you started.

While MailerLite offers more emails a month (12,000, to be exact) and 1,000 contacts. When you sign up for MailerLite Free, you also automatically get a 14-day free trial of the Growing Business plan.

Here’s What You Get If You Pay

Overall, Mailchimp is significantly more expensive, even on the Essentials plan. Every Mailchimp plan limits how many emails you can send a month, and if you go over your limit, you’ll be charged overage fees. There’s no information about how much these are on the website, either.

It’s also worth noting that these providers count contacts differently. Mailchimp counts each contact on a list as a unique contact, even if they’ve been duplicated between lists. MailerLite only counts unique contacts once, regardless of if they appear on multiple lists. So, your total contact count is likely to be smaller with MailerLite than MailChimp.

Here are two of the most popular plans by each EMS compared side by side:

MailerLite Growing Business
Mailchimp Essentials
Starting Price $10.00 $20.00
Contact limit* 2,500 2,500
Email limit Unlimited 10x your contact cap per month
Number of users 3 3
Email templates 75+ 60+
Integrations 130+ 300+
Landing pages Unlimited Unlimited
In short, MailerLite definitely offers better value than Mailchimp. It’s certainly one of the cheapest EMS platforms on the market.

Support

Don’t Count on Support If You’re Not Paying

One of the biggest problems I have with Mailchimp is its customer support. If you have a free Mailchimp account, you only get email support for 30 days. After that, you better hope the answers you need are in the knowledge base, because you’re on your own.

Mailchimp customer support helpbot conversation
Mailchimp’s helpbot can’t always recognize what you’re trying to ask.
On an Essentials plan or above, you can access 24/7 email and live chat. If you want phone support, you’ll need to sign up for the Premium plan. Which starts at $350/month… Ouch.

It’s a shame, because in my experience, Mailchimp’s email support is pretty quick. I got an answer to my question within a few hours. That said, my colleague had a very different experience when he put together his Mailchimp review.

mailerlite-customer-service-email
MailerLite’s 24/7 email support got back to me really quickly.
In comparison, MailerLite provides 24/7 email support, extending this service to its free plan. During my testing, I found both live chat and email support to be quite prompt. If you require priority support, you have the option to select MailerLite Advanced.

MailerLite Enterprise will also get you an account manager to advise you on your email marketing. Note this doesn’t include phone support, which seems odd for an enterprise-grade plan. Still, this round goes to MailerLite.

MailerLite vs. Mailchimp: It’s Hard to Choose a Winner

After analyzing and comparing MailerLite and Mailchimp, it is now clear that both email marketing platforms can get the job done. But, Mailchimp will get the job done better thanks to its robust automation features, advanced analytics, and wide range of integrations.

MailerLite is slightly cheaper than Mailchimp and offers a more generous free plan. If you’re on a budget but still want to access automation, A/B testing, and customer support, MailerLite might be worth considering – it really is a decent EMS.

On paid plans, Mailchimp offers a comprehensive range of automation features that can significantly streamline the email marketing process. Its advanced analytics suite provides valuable insights into your email campaigns, and the clever AI can help make the most of your stats with actionable advice.

Mailchimp also offers more native integrations with a wide range of third-party tools and platforms, including e-commerce platforms, social media channels, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Here is a quick recap of everything we’ve discussed so far:

MailerLite
Mailchimp
Templates
75+
60+ (high quality) ✔
Automation
Good
Advanced ✔
Native SMS Automation
Requires Zapier
Yes ✔
Native Integrations
130+
300+ ✔
Landing Page Builder
Yes (10 on the free plan) ✔
Yes (1 on the free plan)
A/B Testing
Yes (even on the free plan) ✔
Yes (on paid plans)
Ease of Use
Easy to use
Very easy to use ✔
Deliverability
Great ✔
Good
Reporting and Analytics
Fairly basic
More advanced ✔
Support
Great, even on the free plan ✔
Great, non-existent on the free plan
Pricing
Affordable ✔
More expensive than the competition
Total Rounds Won
5
6

FAQ

What are the differences between Mailerlite and Mailchimp?

The biggest difference between MailerLite and Mailchimp is the level of customer support. MailerLite offers 24/7 email support, even on its free plan, while Mailchimp’s free plan limits customer support to 30 days. However, Mailchimp’s campaign reporting goes into far more detail than the analytics offered by MailerLite.

What is the best alternative to Mailchimp?

It depends on why you’re considering Mailchimp. If you’re looking for an affordable email marketing service, MailerLite’s generous free plan might be exactly what you need. It allows you to send 12,000 emails each month while also unlocking features that Mailchimp reserves for its paid plans (e.g., A/B testing, automation builder, unlimited email support).

Which is better: MailerLite vs Mailchimp?

Overall, Mailchimp is slightly better than MailerLite because it’s easier to use with high-quality templates, more integrations, and more advanced email automation. That said, MailerLite is a better choice if you’re on a budget and not planning on upgrading to a paid plan anytime soon.

What is the best email marketing service?

This depends on what you’re looking for. ActiveCampaign provides fantastic advanced features like complex, multi-step automation, while AWeber offers an AI-driven smart designer tool. Check out our roundup of the best email marketing services in 2024 to see all of the providers we recommend.

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