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MailerLite is a beginner-friendly email marketing service that’s loaded with features. It’s easy to use, and it even offers a free plan. There’s definitely potential here…just not enough to shake things up when you compare it to the likes of ActiveCampaign’s feature-packed plans. Overall, MailerLite is a promising – if slightly underwhelming – choice for marketers looking to get the most for their time and money.
MailerLite Is Good, but It Could Use Some Polishing
MailerLite wasn’t on my radar for quite some time. But it turns out it’s an affordable and easy-to-use email marketing platform that packs many impressive features.
I don’t usually test free versions of software for reviews – they’re generally extremely limited – but MailerLite offers all new users access to premium features for two weeks. That already seems like a plus to me. So, I signed up for a free account and explored the platform’s features, usability, analytics, and support.
MailerLite comes with its own drag-and-drop email editor. It features autoresponders and automation workflows, a landing page builder, reporting tools, time zone delivery, and everything else we’ve come to expect from top email marketing service (EMS) providers.
On the down side, MailerLite felt a bit unpolished at times. Things like the odd feature that was incomplete, or a tab that seemed to be in the wrong place – small things that slowly added up, resulting in a bittersweet experience.
MailerLite is great, and I’m sure it will only get better with time. It just fails to deliver an exceptional email marketing experience right now. At the moment, other top competitors such as GetResponseand ActiveCampaign, offer just a bit more for the same price.
There’s No Shortage of Features, but the Platform Feels Disjointed
MailerLite ticks many boxes, and it comes with plenty of useful features that make designing and sending out campaigns easy.
So it’s a pity that some of MailerLite’s features feel a bit disorganized, rushed, or incomplete.
The UI is intuitive, and the email editor is easy to use. There’s personalization and segmentation, a landing page builder, and even extra features designed to improve deliverability…but I wish there was something as basic as more email templates to choose from.
Similarly, MailerLite’s automation tool is well designed, but creating your own workflows from scratch can be challenging without ready-made templates.
Email Campaigns, Templates, and Personalization
To start testing, I headed to the MailerLite homepage, signed up for a free account, then entered my login details. From the “Campaigns” tab, I clicked on the big orange “Create Campaign” button, and thus my adventure began. I could choose between a regular campaign, an A/B split campaign, an auto resend campaign, and an RSS feed campaign.
MailerLite’s interface is clean, but it does take some time to figure out where everything is. Even so, within about an hour I’d set up my first regular campaign, and my crudely designed emails were on their merry way.
It would’ve been great if there was an option to automatically share my content on other platforms as well. Unfortunately, although you can share content by setting up integrations, this option isn’t built into MailerLite. Other platforms, such as AWeber, come with an automatic sharing feature, making the whole process much easier.
After the initial setup that included adding a campaign name, a subject line, and choosing a language, another big orange button led me to the templates page.
Still, it’s not all bad news. Most of MailerLite’s templates look clean and modern, with sharp edges and minimalistic designs.
All templates also work and look great on both desktop and mobile screens. If you’d rather keep your emails simple and not deal with templates at all, MailerLite offers a rich-text editor that sticks to the basics. If you want to go crazy with your designs, there’s a custom HTML editor that you can take advantage of. There really is something for everyone here.
MailerLite’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor features an intuitive interface split into three main sections. As you’d expect, the content with all its elements and text sits comfortably in the middle of the page.
The left-hand side is dedicated to a wide selection of pre-made blocks ready to be added to your design. There’s even a search function that can help you quickly locate specific blocks – a great addition if you’re picky and impatient, like me.
There are plenty of options here. You can add images, buttons, countdown timers, social links, share buttons, and the list goes on.
The right-hand side of the page is where you’ll find most of the text editing tools, including fonts, as well as block, button, and footer customization options. All you have to do is click on an element, and MailerLite will bring up the content editing window.
I counted at least 35 unique fonts. Besides the established classics, I appreciated the inclusion of the laid-back Montserrat font and the bold Anton font. Changing background colors and adding fancy shadows is also easy with MailerLite.
If, like me, you have a habit of adding stuff just because “it looks good,” you’ll be tempted to spend hours designing the perfect email. But be warned: by adding unnecessary elements and over-editing your blocks, you risk having your content flagged as spam by email service providers.
MailerLite’s preview tool gives you a good idea of how everything will look on both mobile and desktop. You can also send a draft to your own email, which allows you to test content, blocks, links, and other elements on different devices.
While there’s no stock image library, I was pleasantly surprised by MailerLite’s built-in photo editing tool. With the click of a button, you can crop or resize your image, or change its color, brightness, contrast, and saturation. You can even add flavor by framing your images, designing your text, and inserting stickers.
This great little photo editor is far better than many of the free tools you’ll find on Google – which tend to add watermarks to your edited images.
Another great thing about MailerLite is that it supports many languages, including right-to-left (RTL) languages such as Hebrew and Arabic. Just pick a language from the list on the campaign setup menu, and MailerLite will do the rest for you.
With Hebrew and Arabic selected, your content blocks will automatically adjust to make way for the scripts – with no glitching whatsoever. That said, you might still have to move some elements around to ensure everything comes together nicely.
Personalization is almost as important as the content itself. Addressing your contacts by their first name or adding sections that make your message seem more personal can make a huge difference to your marketing efforts.
With MailerLite, you can easily personalize your subject lines when setting up your campaigns. There are many fields to choose from, including your contact’s first name, last name, country, or city.
For this to work, you need to make sure your imported lists include the relevant data. And the more you know about your contacts, the easier it is to personalize your emails. You can also add your own custom fields (e.g., age, gender, address) to personalize your campaigns even further.
The most important personalization feature that MailerLite gets right is dynamic content. Imagine you’ve just finished designing a new email, and you want to include a promotional block – but that your offer is only available to customers in the US. You want to make sure this promotion is only visible to US-based customers so that international customers don’t feel like they’re missing out.
With MailerLite, you can hover over content blocks and click on the small eye button, opening up a menu that allows you to specify who you want to see that content.
A/B testing is available under the “Campaigns” tab. Aside from the usual subject lines, MailerLite allows you to split test content as well. You can either make a small change or test two slightly different versions of your content.
Mailing Lists and Segmentation
Once you’ve spent a suitably unhealthy amount of time perfecting your email, it’s time to import your contact lists and make sure everyone is tagged correctly. You can copy and paste whole lists from a TXT or XLSX file, import a CSV file, or (if you have a lot of time in your hands) manually add each contact into the platform – that’s never a good idea.
Copying and pasting will work most of the time, but importing files directly will ensure no data is lost due to incompatible formatting. Unfortunately, MailerLite only supports direct file imports in TXT or CSV format.
Imagine you’ve got multiple Excel lists scattered across your cloud storage or hard drive. Your options would be to either spend hours copying and pasting everything over, or to convert each XLSX file to CSV. Either way, we’re talking about a time-consuming process that could be easier if MailerLite supported more file types.
You can also import contacts directly from Mailchimp by connecting your two accounts. Mailchimp is a huge platform, so this is definitely a plus, but I wish there were more importing options available. If I were migrating from a platform other than Mailchimp, this wouldn’t be much help.
MailerLite never asks whether you have permission to add contacts to your lists, and it won’t send confirmation emails to your subscribers, either. That said, there is a disclaimer on the “Subscribers” tab which advises users to only add contacts who have given their permission. That’s probably not enough to deter spammers…but, in all honesty, it’s all MailerLite can do.
Once you’ve imported all your contacts to MailerLite, you can easily add them into different groups. These groups have their own tab, and they work just like traditional tags. One contact can be part of multiple different groups at once, and you can use these groups to deliver specific types of content to the right people.
Creating segments is also easy. Think of segments as lists (or groups) that are automatically updated each time certain conditions are met.
For example, I created a segment called “Opened,” which included all the subscribers that opened my first newsletter but didn’t click on my link. I could then send these contacts a special offer, increasing my click rate.
Another thing I like about MailerLite is its robust contact filtering system. Using the advanced search function under the “Subscribers” tab, you can easily find contacts based on the lists they belong to, their custom fields, tags, whether they opened your newsletters, whether they clicked on your links, and so on.
Keeping track of engagement and creating new lists and segments based on your findings is quick and straightforward.
Most email marketing platforms charge based on the total number of contacts you have on your lists. It is, therefore, your job to make sure you occasionally clean up your lists, removing subscribers who haven’t engaged with your newsletters in quite a long time.
Fortunately, MailerLite offers an automatic clean-up tool under the “Subscribers” section. By navigating to the “Clean up inactive” tab and hitting the big orange “Unsubscribe inactive” button, MailerLite will instantly remove contacts who either a) have never opened any of your emails or b) haven’t opened an email in the past six months.
There are also times when, even though you might want to send someone a newsletter, they just don’t want to receive it. People who have unsubscribed or marked one of your emails as spam are automatically removed from your active lists.
And that’s a great thing. You don’t want to be sending emails to people who aren’t interested in what you’ve got to offer. It’s a waste of money, and in some states/countries, unsolicited correspondence can lead to trouble with the law.
MailerLite keeps track of both unsubscribed contacts and contacts who have marked your newsletters as spam. And you can easily export these and take them with you if and when you migrate to a new service.
Like most email marketing platforms, MailerLite has a landing page creator. I counted 42 templates, which is pretty impressive. The designs are fresh and stylish, ranging from simple squeeze pages to more complex product pages. Using a template as a starting point, you can add new blocks, edit and move existing blocks, add buttons, create forms, and even insert HTML code for extensive customization.
Just like with MailerLite’s email editor, you can easily see what your landing page will look like on both desktop and mobile by clicking the preview button at the top-right of the page.
However, I do have to note that menus and toolbars on the landing page editor are not always where I expected to find them. For example, the block menu was now located on the right side of the page – presumably to make room for wider blocks.
This isn’t a major flaw, of course, but it does mean it takes some extra time to get used to the different layout.
Another thing to note is that while MailerLite’s email editor supports RTL languages, its landing page editor doesn’t seem to work properly with Hebrew and Arabic. There’s no option to change the language during page setup, and if you try to type in Hebrew or Arabic script, the characters don’t show correctly from right to left.
This won’t be an issue for most marketers, but it means MailerLite won’t suit you well if you want to create landing pages in those languages. Other top contenders, such as GetResponse, offer landing page templates fully compatible with RTL languages.
By default, MailerLite will host your landing page on one of its subdomains. If you’re on a paid plan, you can change the subdomain so that users can be 100% sure that you created the page.
Don’t underestimate the power of custom subdomains. When you’re consistent with your URLs, more people will sign up, and you’ll enjoy higher conversion rates as a result. And it’s not as complex or technical as it sounds – there’s even a helpful guide on the MailerLite website.
You should also be aware that you can only create five landing pages with MailerLite’s free and premium plans, although the SitesPro add-on, which costs an additional $10 a month, allows you to create an unlimited number of landing pages.
Setting up your lists and segments is only part of the story. With MailerLite, you can take advantage of automation workflows to simplify processes even further.
MailerLite’s visual workflows are well laid out and easy to use – even for marketers new to advanced behavioral automation. The clean user interface and the simple visual branching pathways made the whole process easy.
Every workflow starts with a trigger. This can be anything from a subscriber joining a group to someone clicking a specific link. When activated, this trigger kicks off a series of events. You then keep adding steps and branching out your automation tree until you’ve clearly specified all of the conditions and properly chained events to one another.
Using MailerLite’s automation tool, I created an automation workflow that sent different emails based on my subscribers’ recent activity.
The automation is triggered when a subscriber fills in the sign-up form on my landing page. It then checks to see whether they;ve also opened my newsletter. If they have, they’re sent an email with special offers after a two-day delay. If they haven’t, they’re sent an email that links back to my newsletter after a one-day delay.
This might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite a simple automation workflow. It’s easy to go crazy with your pathways, and there are more things MailerLite can do. For example, you can integrate MailerLite with Shopify or WooCommerce and set up workflows that send emails to users who abandoned their shopping carts.
If users don’t open your reminder email or click any links, you can also have them automatically join a new “abandoned cart” list or segment. You can then set up new campaigns that target those users with better deals and offers.
One thing MailerLite doesn’t offer is ready-made automation templates. Although MailerLite is easy to use once you get the hang of it, users new to email marketing might find it a challenge to set up automation sequences without any templates to guide them.
This is where MailerLite’s competitor, ActiveCampaign, really excels. ActiveCampaign offers workflow templates with set conditions based on your chosen trigger, even on it’scheapest Lite plan. And if you’re new to email marketing platforms, templates like this can be invaluable in helping you get started.
MailerLite offers users many features, plenty of which aren’t commonly found with most email marketing platforms.
First up, we have the super-convenient time zone delivery feature. It’s no secret that promotional emails sent at 4 in the morning don’t enjoy the highest open rates. MailerLite can help you deliver your emails at the same time in each time zone across the world.
If you need some extra help designing the best custom emails and landing page templates, MailerLite also offers to assist you here – for a price.
The MailerPro add-on, which costs an extra $100 a month, includes professionally designed templates tailored to your business needs. The same add-on comes with a dedicated account manager and priority support.
These sound great on paper, but my plan didn’t include the MailerPro add-on, so I can’t confirm whether these features are actually worth the price.
There’s a High Chance Your Emails Will Reach Their Destination
If you’ve been in the email marketing field for some time, chances are you’ve come across several guides and articles that try to tell you they’ve worked out precise deliverability rates about email marketing platforms. A reviewer might say they used MailerLite to send 5,000 emails, and 4,400 of those reached their subscribers’ inboxes – a deliverability rate of 88%.
You might think, great, that guy knows what he’s doing. But does this percentage say anything meaningful about MailerLite as an email marketing platform? I don’t think so.
This 88% “deliverability rate” says more about the user and their subscribers than the platform itself. There are just too many variables to consider – how could anyone ever repeat such a test and get the same results?
It’s not like MailerLite doesn’t want to deliver your emails. But, like any other email marketing service, there’s only so much they can do. As a marketer, the load falls on you to make sure your emails reach their destination.
This section isn’t about arbitrary percentages. As I tested out MailerLite, I looked at the features that can improve your odds compared to features offered by other platforms. The deliverability score at the bottom reflects my findings.
The first feature I examined was DKIM authentication. To save you a long and tedious definition, DKIM helps email service providers make sure all those emails sent in your name are really coming from you. DKIM isn’t perfect, but it can give your deliverability rate a significant boost.
MailerLite does, of course, have DKIM authentication. To authenticate your domain, you need to access your DNS page and retrieve the DKIM and SPF records. You then need to submit these files under MailerLite’s domains page. You don’t need to panic If this sounds like gibberish to you – there’s a detailed DKIM authentication guide on MailerLite’s knowledge database.
Next, I looked at MailerLite’s anti-spam policy.Now, I’m sure you only send emails to contacts who have signed up for them, but unfortunately it’s not only your own emails that affect your deliverability rates.
A strict, well-defined anti-spam policy translates into a better, safer environment for all. If spam gets out of control, the platform’s reputation suffers, and your deliverability rate will likely suffer with it – even if you’re the most honorable marketer around.
MailerLite is quite strict when it comes to spam. They can – and probably will – investigate your account if your spam complaints, bounces, or unsubscribers exceed a certain threshold. Accounts found to be sending emails without permission are immediately terminated.
When using MailerLite, you shouldn’t ever:
Send emails without provable permission from your recipients.
Buy, loan, or rent contacts.
Use emails you found from the web.
Send emails to people you haven’t heard from in more than two years.
I wanted to see if MailerLite was one of those platforms. I returned to the “Subscribers” tab and uploaded several spam emails from our list of known spammers. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and waited to see what would happen.
Unfortunately, MailerLite didn’t pass the test. Out of the 199 hundred spam contacts I imported, MailerLite blocked just 14. There’s certainly a spam contact filter, but it’s not as strict as it needs to be. When we carried out the same tests for our GetResponse review, it passed the same test.
Attitudes towards affiliate marketing can also affect deliverability rates. Although important to the internet economy, affiliate marketing isn’t always tolerated. Some platforms will give you a warning if you include too many external links in your newsletters. Others might suspend your account or ban you on the spot.
MailerLite allows affiliate links, but there are strict guidelines in place. You may only advertise another company’s products if a) it’s clear that it’s a special offer from another company, and b) the products are related to your content and meet subscriber expectations.
This is great news. MailerLite’s rules are strict enough to limit spammy practices but not so strict that they prohibit affiliate marketing altogether. If you put your subscribers first and play by the rules, you shouldn’t have issues with MailerLite’s affiliate marketing policy.
Another way to boost your deliverability rate is to acquire a dedicated (or private) IP address.All email marketing platforms say their servers are safe and reputable, but sharing the same IP address with hundreds – or even thousands – of other users isn’t great for deliverability.
If you don’t want to rely on a platform’s reputation and its users’ compliance to have your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes, a private IP might be precisely what you need. This is especially useful if you have thousands of contacts and often run big campaigns. But dedicated IP addresses aren’t usually cheap, and some EMS don’t even offer them.
Fortunately, MailerLite allows you to purchase a dedicated IP for a monthly cost of $50. MailerLite only recommends getting an IP address if you’re sending at least 50,000 emails per week, but there’s no minimum threshold to access the service. As long as you pay up, you can keep your dedicated IP address – even if your contact list is relatively small.
This is big, considering that most email marketing platforms only offer private IP addresses with their most expensive plans.
MailerLite Does More than Most, but It Could Be a Bit Tidier
Which emails did your subscribers open the most? Which links did they click? What do you know about these subscribers and how they are accessing your content? These questions should guide your strategy, and a good analytics suite should provide you with answers.
Even if you’ve designed a fantastic campaign, you won’t be able to measure your success and replicate your results without proper reporting tools.
After sending your first newsletter, you can access MailerLite’s analytics suite through the “Campaigns” tab. You can quickly check how many people opened your emails or clicked on your links. You can also see if there have been any soft/hard bounces, if any contacts unsubscribed, or if anyone marked your email as spam.
On the same page, MailerLite will show you what kind of devices subscribers used to access your content, and there’s even a table with the top email clients. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find a table with detailed information about the different links and the number of total and unique clicks they received.
Under the “Subscriber Activity” tab, you can easily view and sort all of your contacts based on engagement. There’s even an “Opens by Location” tab that shows you where contacts are accessing your content from.
Overall, MailerLite’s analytics suite covers all the basics. But it’s missing some advanced features. There’s no social tracking, and e-commerce tracking could be better.
Another complaint I have is that overview statistics aren’t properly organized. There’s no tab dedicated to reporting. Instead, there’s “Stats” under “Subscribers” and “Reports” inside “Campaigns.” Navigating through the platform and collecting all the information you need can quickly get confusing.
Monthly campaign stats are available through the dashboard, but there’s no way to generate advanced account-wide reports within specified timeframes. AWeber and ActiveCampaign are examples of email marketing platforms that include easy-to-read – and access – overview reports.
MailerLite’s reporting tools would be better if they were more focused and easier to use. Most of the essential information you need is there – the biggest problem is getting to it.
Email marketing platforms can get confusing, so it’s good to know whether there’s someone who can help you out if things go wrong. MailerLite offers support through email and live chat. Like most platforms, you’ll also find an extensive knowledge base with helpful content on their website.
All my interactions with MailerLite’s support team were great. Every time I contacted them, I received a reply within a few minutes – if not seconds.
MailerLite’s knowledge base isn’t too detailed, which means that you will, eventually, have to interact with an actual human through chat.
MailerLite has a weird approval system that can limit your total subscriber count, even if your plan says otherwise. This is probably a precautionary measure against spam, and the so-called “account approval level” eventually goes up the more you use the platform.
I asked for some more information about this system, and a MailerLite representative was with me in a couple of seconds.
My approval level was set at 500, even though my plan included 1,000 subscribers. Sofia explained that she would lift the limit once I sent more emails and the system was confident about my good intentions.
If every MailerLite representative is like Sophia, then I’m sure most users get the help they need within a few minutes.
I do have to mention that the live chat feature isn’t available with MailerLite’s free plan. That said, they’re pretty quick with their emails, too, so that shouldn’t be too big of a problem.
This is where things usually get tricky. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with MailerLite.
I emailed the support team to learn more about what’s required to obtain a dedicated IP, and I received an answer within a few minutes. Specifically, I asked:
Is the dedicated IP available with all plans, or do I need at least 50,000 subscribers?
Their answer was a polite way of saying it depends, but they were willing to learn more about my specific needs to better answer my question. It’s always great to see providers being both responsive and attentive to their customers’ needs.
One thing that’s missing is phone support. Most platforms usually lock phone support behind expensive plans, anyway, but in this case, MailerLite decided to go all out and get rid of it altogether – meh.
If you’re more comfortable with traditional communication channels, this might prove problematic. If that’s the case, you should consider signing up for afree AWeber account, which offers 12-hour phone support five days a week, even on its free plan.
Affordably Priced Plans but Expensive Add-Ons
MailerLite’s free plan includes 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent per month. Most advanced features are locked behind paid plans, but the free plan is generous enough to help you get started with email marketing.
There’s no denying that MailerLite is priced very competitively. There’s only one premium plan available, with scaling based on the number of contacts.This starts at 1,000 contacts for $10.00/month, and grants you access to almost all premium features.
These include live chat support, access to the custom HTML editor, auto resend, delivery by timezone, click maps, and more. If you want to try out these premium features before committing, you can use them for two weeks when you sign up for a free MailerLite account.
A list of 10,000 contacts will set you back $50 a month, and you can calculate costs all the way up to 600,000 contacts ($1,915 a month). This is great, since most platforms will only display prices for the first few thousand contacts, meaning you have to spend valuable time calculating costs by requesting quotes.
While there’s only one scaling premium plan, MailerLite does offer a couple of useful – yet pricey – add-ons.
The SitesPro add-on allows you to publish as many websites and landing pages as you want for an extra $10 a month. Or, for $100 a month, the MailerPro add-on gives you a dedicated manager and priority support. The Dedicated IP add-on costs $50 a month.
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MailerLite REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE
MailerLite is a beginner-friendly email marketing platform that does many things right. At times, however, certain features feel rushed, disorganized, or incomplete.
Even though the editor is easy to use, the limited number of templates is noticeable. The fact that none of these templates is available with the free plan doesn’t feel too great either. Unfortunately, the automation and analytics tools are also missing some advanced features.
MailerLite is competitively priced, but it pushes users to purchase pricey add-ons. The SitesPro add-on, in particular, is a definite must-have for those who want to create multiple landing pages.
Is MailerLite a good email marketing service?Yes, MailerLite is a great email marketing service. It might not be as polished as some of the other top competitors, but it still packs plenty of features, especially for the price, comfortably making it into our top list. And let’s not forget that it offers a free plan too.Which is better, Mailchimp or MailerLite?In the MailChimp vs MailerLite battle, MailChimp just comes out ahead. It’s one of the most well-known email marketing services, and offers more email templates and better automation tools. That said, if I were to recommend any service from our list of the best email marketing services in 2022, I’d suggest ActiveCampaign or GetResponse instead. For a similar price, ActiveCampaign knocks the competition out of the park when it comes to itsfeature-packed plans and extensive automation options. And GetResponse is an impressive all rounder.Which is better, MailerLite or ConvertKit?When comparing MailerLite vs ConvertKit, MailerLite wins by a small margin. Although ConvertKit offers slightly better automation capabilities, MailerLite is easier to use with its drag-and-drop editor and simple interface. MailerLite also comes with a free plan, whereas ConvertKit doesn’t.Is MailerLite free?Yes, MailerLite does have a free plan! It’s limited to 1,000 contacts and 12,000 emails sent per month. You can also try out most of the platform’s premium features for two weeks when you sign up for a free account.What is the best email marketing service? No email marketing service is perfect. Some platforms, such as ActiveCampaign, are great all-rounders, while others, such as Benchmarkand Sendinblue, offer great free plans. GetResponsefeatures one of the best automation tools, and AWeber nails the analytics department. Learn more about the best email marketing services on our category page!
Alex is a linguistics nerd who’s got nothing against the Oxford comma. He spends most of his time writing, looking up words, and playing video games. He also enjoys testing software, often sharing his thoughts and ideas here on Website Planet.