Many of my blog posts are about ways to help you do easier, with less stress. As a service provider and creative entrepreneur, I’m always trying out new tools to simplify my life.
For the past two years or so, I’ve been reading many other entrepreneurs’ posts about Mailer Lite. But I didn’t give them much thought because A) I wasn’t emailing too frequently, and B) I just went with MailChimp because they’re a well-known name with a free plan.
At that time, MailChimp offered a golden feature, automation, for free. In case you’re new to email marketing, automation is a “set it and forget it” thing where you create, for example, a welcome sequence that auto sends each time someone subscribes to your list.
Automations are golden for delivering opt-ins and introducing people to your brand. You can create auto sequences for everything from opt-in delivery to abandoned cart recovery.
Unfortunately, MailChimp recently pulled the plug on automation for its free plan. So I went looking for another email provider, and started with MailerLite — which I actually much prefer to MailChimp! If you’re looking for an easy way to get in the email marketing game, read this post to find out MailerLite’s great, free features.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission if you purchase through my link. This helps me keep creating great content for you! Thanks!
Why I Started With MailChimp
But before we dive into MailerLite, let’s explain why I started with email marketing and what a good platform should do for you.
Like many first-time bloggers, I started building my list with Mail Chimp because they’re free. And at that time they played well with Squarespace.
And because I wasn’t actively working on list building, I thought I had plenty of time to test out MailChimp before I hit their paid 2,000-subscriber mark.
Oh, and they also have really cute illustrations.
Well, I thought I was in way over my head at first. Though I can find my way around several website builders, nothing was intuitive for me. I ended up hiring someone to set up my opt-in forms and first automation sequence.
She made it look pretty and did a good job training me, so within a few days, I was ready to start emailing.
I liked that I could upload my opt-in PDF directly to MailChimp storage so I didn’t have to host it elsewhere.
As I said, email wasn’t my main focus, so I only sent it to my list every few weeks. But within the first few months of emailing, Mail Chimp changed its pricing tiers and removed automation from the Free Plan. Since I had a barely-there email list, I couldn’t justify investing in a software that didn’t serve me too well.
I Tried Squarespace Mail
Around this time, Squarespace announced a new email product that’s tied to its platform. Squarespace email templates are gorgeous and pull content directly from the site. So if you published a new project or wrote a new post, it’s easy to bring it into the email.
Squarespace offered 3 free trial emails. But I never even sent them out because the program took so long to load that I wondered how my subscribers would feel if they had to wait for an email to load?
Also, since it’s a brand new product, their tagging and list segmentation wasn’t enough for me needs. I have several different facets to my business and need a more robust provider.
It would be great to keep everything in one place instead of logging into separate dashboards. But for now, I had to look elsewhere. (PS – If you’re using Squarespace Mail, I’d love to hear from you on how it works! )
I Finally Switched to MailerLite
I read about MailerLite from several successful bloggers, which is why I eventually gave it a go.
I chose this platform over ConvertKit because I’ve read that Convert Kit has a steeper learning curve and it doesn’t offer a free plan.
Moreover, MailerLite is rich in features. Here’s what a free plan includes:
Pop-ups, embedded forms, landing pages, lead capture buttons
Abandoned cart emails
Integrates with Google Analytics
Subscriber activity reports
Image upload gallery
Easy drag-and-drop email builder
Great onboarding videos
Integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce, (or Squarespace via code)
Free up to 1,000 subscribers (with basic features)
A paid plan starts at only $10/month for 1,000 subscribers and includes many more features to customize your emails, including custom HTML, auto resend, click maps, auto resend, send by time zone, surveys, and promotional pop-ups. You can even get the MailerLite team to create custom templates for you.
What it doesn’t have:
Since I started on the free plan, I of course miss some of the customization features that I got with MailChimp.
—> Notably lacking is the ability to upload PDFs to MailerLite. I have to host those in GDrive or DropBox and send a link, but this isn’t too much of a headache. I don’t think any paid plan has that functionality yet.
Other than that, MailerLite meets my needs for simple email marketing, and things like the survey tool are great for segmenting your list to send more relevant targeted emails.
—> Another important thing to note is that while you can use their easy drag-and-drop builder, you’ll have to be on a paid plan to use their HTML editor. That means being able to customize their templates and signup forms.\
—> And finally, while it does integrate nicely with WordPress, if you’re on Squarespace, you’ll just have ot use code injection to insert their forms – -there’s no direct link to push subscribers to your list like there used to be with MailChimp.
My experience so far
I’m just getting started with Mailer Lite and email marketing in general, but I think that its features are great for anyone who wants to create targeted segments to grow a more engaged email list. This is great for bloggers, service-based businesses, affiliate marketers, and anyone else who knows how to do email marketing right.
But at the same time, this platform is a lot easier to use than MailChimp for those just starting out.
So, in short, if you’re going for simple and you want a happy way to do things on your own and keep costs down even as you grow, I highly suggest trying MailerLite.
BUT, if you’re still on the hunt for something else, something that makes beautiful emails in particular, I suggest you keep looking. I’m trialing another email client, too, and will let you in on how it works as soon as I’ve given it a good shakedown!
Thoughts? Opinions on this post? I’d love to hear your stories! Leave me a comment below!
This was Part 1 of a two-part series on finding the perfect email platform. You can read part 2 here.