ConvertKit vs. MailerLite vs. MailChimp: How do you know who to choose as your email service provider when there are so many options out there for bloggers? Today I’m breaking down what provider is best for what stage your blog or business is in, your budget, your tech level, and desired long-term targets.
Having an email list is crucial to growing an engaged base of loyal fans, repeat visitors, and happy customers. Most bloggers know and are comfortable with that fact but when it comes time to pick an email service provider to house their email list, many end up frustrated and confused.
So, whether you’re a newbie blogger or a long-time blogger, tech-savvy or tech-phobic, let’s walk through exactly which email service provider is going to be best for you: ConvertKit vs. MailerLite vs. MailChimp.
ConvertKit is kind of like the cool start-up of email service providers. It’s run by a small team and the owner, Nathan, is super accessible and hands on. For me, it’s the company I really WANT to see succeed because it’s made up of such wonderful human beings.
The functionality is geared towards professional bloggers (and other online entrepreneurs) and there are a million amazing things you can do with automations and subscriber tagging. For instance, I can have many different welcome autoresponder sequences and drop new subscribers into the one that would be best for them automatically based off which form they used to subscribe or even which they prefer.
I can tag my email subscribers down to the nth degree so I know, at a glance, every webinar a particular peep has attended or every product she’s ever been interested in.
Lead magnet delivery is a total breeze and makes life so easy when you’ve got several to manage.
One of my favorite things, which may seem small to some but I tremendously appreciate, is the fact that I can have multiple ConvertKit windows open at the same time. In the middle of writing a broadcast but need to check that my tags are set up properly? No problem- just open that setting up in another window. It sounds simple but I’ve found that will ‘break’ or basically mess things up in a lot of email service providers because of the way they’re coded.
The biggest issue for ConvertKit right now is that they’re growing SO fast. The growing pains are a real concern, just as for any start-up business, but I’m confident that they will continue to tackle them with the same grace, humility, and humor that they have so far.
Plus, they’re a little spendy with no free plan.
I use ConvertKit for The Art of Better Blogging because I love the tagging system, the plain-text email philosophy, and the ease of delivering content upgrades to my subscribers.
MailerLite popped up on my radar a few months ago, even though they’ve been in business now since 2010. The thing that impresses me about their way of operating the most is that ALL functionality is available with the ‘forever free’ plan which covers up to 1,000 subscribers.
Although the integrations aren’t nearly quite as robust as MailChimp, MailerLite allows their users to almost bypass many of the other tools out there that are needed to create a fantastic lead capturing system. Since all of their tools are fully drag & drop capable, building an embeddable opt-in form, pop up, subscribe button or landing page is ridiculously easy. Customization doesn’t require any CSS to achieve what exactly what you want, unlike ConvertKit, and their forms are gorgeous to begin with.
Which brings us to my favorite feature of MailerLite; the landing pages.
Instead of limited landing page capabilities (unless you code) with ConvertKit, MailerLite’s interface for building beautiful landing or squeeze pages is simple, easy, and intuitive. This solves the problem that so many bloggers have and are using other tools to accomplish.
Segments, groups, automation, autoresponder sequences- all included with even the free plan. Even the features and flexibility of these options has tremendously impressed me to the point that I’ve switched my lifestyle blog from ConvertKit to MailerLite.
MailChimp is where most bloggers seem to start out, although, thankfully, that trend is starting to shift. Newbie bloggers see Mailchimp as a free, easy way to start an email list. That’s true, to a point.
Of all the email service providers on this list, MailChimp is the one I do not recommend. Between their outdated layouts, limited functionality and a UI (user interface) that’s not really very intuitive, there are just better providers out there.
Any kind of automation or autoresponder sequence isn’t available on the free plan but they are sufficient on the paid plans. MailChimp can be a good fit for anyone selling physical products or digital products through WooCommerce or Shopify.
The two redeeming pluses on the MailChimp side are that pretty much everything under the sun has MailChimp integration and it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. Well, not really 2,000, though, because if I opt into 3 different forms on your site to get different freebies or for different events, I’m counted as 3 different people. Whomp whomp.
Which email service provider is best for bloggers?
MailChimp is completely off the table here and it’s not even close. If you are making a full-time income from your blog or your business, ConvertKit is the best option. If you’re not yet bringing a decent amount in, or you’re running a hobby blog or website, I’d recommend MailerLite, hands down.
Do you use ConvertKit, MailerLite, MailChimp or something else? What are your pros & cons? Let me know in the comments!