Convertkit vs Mailerlite… oh the dilemma. For months, MONTHS, I tell you.. I have been debating which of these two excellent services are the best option for my blog. I’ve researched and tested both.
I did a lot of back and forth…waking up one morning convinced Mailerlite was the best option and then later in the day waffling back over to Convertkit.
So I finally decided to come up with a point system and award points to each service and thought you’d like to come along. Most features have a 5 point value, though one that is hugely important has a value of 10 and a few others that are not super important to me have a 3 point value. The service with the highest points won!
I encourage you to keep your own scorecard as I go through this and tally up which service ranks higher for you based on your own needs.
My Backstory/My Perspective
I think it’s important to let you know where I’m starting from in this decision making process. If you are further ahead in your email list building or you’ve not started an email list, your scoring will probably be different than mine. If you are new to the process, though, I encourage you to think ahead to where you may be in a year or two years. A feature you don’t need now could be more important down the road.
At the time of this post, my email list is not quite 9 months old. During that time well over 14,000 people have signed up for my newsletter. I’ve pruned my list by “breaking up” with subscribers who aren’t opening my emails over time, some subscribers have cancelled and others have emails that have bounced. So currently I pay for a list that has over 10,000 subscribers.
I started with Convertkit because it was highly recommended by some of the best and highly regarded bloggers in the business. Convertkit pricing starts at $29 for up to 1,000 subscribers. I figured that $29 was very reasonable. I figured it would take me considerable time to even get 1,000 subscribers and anticipated being on the $29 plan for a very long time.
My email opt in freebie was a huge hit and I literally blew past the 1,000 subscriber mark in a matter of a few days. In fact, I’ve had several days where I exceeded or came close to 1,000 subscribers in just one day!
Fast forward to today and my list of active subscribers is over 10,000. This list costs me $149 a month at Convertkit. The same number of subscribers would cost me $50 over at Mailerlite. That’s a huge difference. And as the list grows, the cost difference grows too.
A 50,000 subscriber list at Convertkit currently costs $379 vs $140 over at Mailerlite.
At 3 times the cost, I needed to evaluate whether it was worth staying at Convertkit or if I should switch over to Mailerlite. My good friend Jessica over at Stitching-Together.com uses Mailerlite and loves it. So I picked her brain and set up an account at Mailerlite and replicated my set up on Convertkit over on Mailerlite.
I sent several test emails and really dug in and researched the features over on Mailerlite that I used with my current set up over at Convertkit. And literally I was torn. I lost sleep over this. And it all came down to whether or not I felt the features at Convertkit were worth paying 3 times the cost.
Finally I came up with a point system to evaluate both products. I wanted to even out the playing field to and really see which service was best for me. It would be easy for me to say, ‘hey, I did the hard work for you, now just go with my choice’. But I don’t want you to do that! Please. Take a few minutes with a scrap piece of paper. Put Convertkit in one column and Mailerlite in another and as I go through these think about each feature and rank the two providers. The high score wins.
Here we go!
Cost (10 points)
Cost is a big deal. It’s the only feature I gave a value of 10. Since Mailerlite is a lot less expensive than Convertkit, I gave Mailerlite a 10 and Convertkit a 1. Sorry Convertkit. But you lose on this one.
Ease in Setting Up a Broadcast/Campaign (5 points)
I send out one or more emails a week to my subscribers. I need something easy to use that gets the job done effectively in the least amount of time. I gave Convertkit a 5 because I think their emails are clean and super easy to use. Its easy to add links in an email and if I want to tag someone who clicks on a link, I can do that easily right within the broadcast.
Mailerlite I gave a 1 to on this. They actually have more choices in email formats over at Mailerlite. They have a drop and drag type option which is great if you like photos and pretty stuff in your emails. I like to write an email to my subscribers that sounds like I’m writing to my best friend.
Your BFF wouldn’t send you an email with a pretty header and photos in between the text. So I like to keep things simple and clean. Just an email. On Mailerlite the simple and clean look actually takes some digging around to achieve. It is completely do-able, mind you. I just thought it was frustrating to get there. The drag and drop, ‘build it’ style of email might appeal to someone else, but to me it felt ‘old school’ and I much preferred Convertkit’s email design.
Customer Support (5 points)
Customer support is really important. Sometimes you have issues and you need expert help. I’ve actually reached out to both Convertkit and Mailerlite several times. I’m giving Convertkit a 3 and Mailerlite a 5 on this one. Convertkit’s chat is great if you can catch them online. In my time zone this sometimes doesn’t happen. They do respond via email but that can sometimes take a day or two. And, well…. I’m not patient so that irritates me sometimes.
Despite the fact that I never got past the testing stage of Mailerlite (and never paid them a dime), they were always really quick to respond and had valuable information. Mailerlite wins this round.
Ease in Creating Sign Up Forms & Setting Up Forms on the Blog (5 points)
Convertkit gets 5, Mailerlite gets 1. I thought Convertkit was easy peasy. Mailerlite took me almost a day to replicate what I had over at Convertkit. Maybe you won’t find this so difficult. I wanted the same nice look and feel my signup had over at Convertkit and that wasn’t as easy to achieve at Mailerlite. I did get there, mind you, so it’s not impossible. It just took longer and that frustrated me.
Ease in Setting Up an Email Sequence (5 points)
I like to start my new subscribers in an email sequence. An email sequence is a series of several emails you set up ahead of time to be sent out over a period of time. A welcome series introduces your reader to you, to your blog and what you have to offer. I like to do all this before I start sending a new subscriber my weekly email. That way we sort of get to know each other.
I gave Convertkit a 5 and Mailerlite a 2. Similar to the previous category, I found Mailerlite do-able, but more cumbersome. To be fair, once I figured out how to do it, it was fairly easy. But, again getting that simple, clean look I wanted and getting the sequence to work right in Mailerlite took me some time. Your results may vary.
Convertkit on the other hand went well for me. One thing I wish I did differently at Convertkit was to tag people before and after they went through the series. That would have made sending out my regular newsletter to everyone EXCEPT those in the Welcome Series a bit easier. But Convertkit worked with me and got it all set up after the fact.
Ease in Segmenting and Tagging People (5 points)
For this one, I gave Convertkit a 5 and Mailerlite a 1. The point of segmenting your list is to be able to target future emails based on your reader’s interests. It’s really handy, for instance, if you write a post about how to blog and include some links. When people follow those links, you can tag them with a word, like “blogger” and then later when you have more blogging content to share, you could just email those with that tag rather than email everyone on your list.
Convertkit and Mailerlite use different terminology for this process and both enable you do get the job done. In Convertkit you can do this at the same time you write your email and set up the link. Mailerlite’s process happens after the email is sent and your users have clicked on the link. Convertkit’s process is easier and more efficient, so they win this round.
Dashboard/Stats (5 points)
You need to see where you stand. Convertkit gets a 5 vs Mailerlite with a 2. Convertkit’s dashboard is just beautiful. You see everything at once including a great bar graph. I can see the number of subscribers through each form very easily. I can also go into my broadcasts and see the open rate, the click rate, the number of clicks and the number of people who unsubscribed for any broadcast.
Mailerlite doesn’t provide you with day-by-day stats at all. You can get to the rest of the stats, but its not as easily visible as it is on Convertkit. However, Mailerlite does enable you to track your email opens within Google Analytics and that is a really nice feature that I have not found with Convertkit. Both platforms allow for A/B testing, but I haven’t explored that with either of them.
Mail Delivery (3 points)
We all want our sent emails to stay out of SPAM and we don’t want there to be a hiccup in email delivery. This one is a tough one to judge. Convertkit really prides itself on excelling in this area so I’m giving them a 3 and Mailerlite a 2. Mostly based on Convertkits claim, my experience in resolving deliverability issues and the fact that I subscribe to a lot of emails that ultimately end up in my junk folder. I think this one is pretty subjective and open to interpretation.
Available Integrations (5 points)
Convertkit: 5; Mailerlite: 2. A check at their respective websites and it’s easy to see that Convertkit has more integrations than Mailerlite. This one is a bit subjective though. Will you REALLY use all the integrations Convertkit offers? More can be better, but more is sometimes just more. A little Googling and I learned that there may be some workarounds to get Mailerlite to work with other applications. If I wanted to. For me, Convertkit won this round. Some times easier counts for a lot.
Pruning Your List (5 points)
Convertkit offers great directions on how to use tags and automations to send out a “do you want to break up” email to those on your list who haven’t opened emails in awhile. You can read the directions here. Convertkit gets a 5 on this. Mailerlite gets a 2. You can get the job done, but it seems to be a bit more cumbersome.
The Need to Prune Your List (5 points)
And speaking of your list.. do you REALLY need to prune it? At Convertkit, it makes a lot of sense to prune your list. Since you pay by number of subscribers if your list drops down, you could wind up paying less. The ultimate goal is to have an engaged mailing list of readers who love you and all you offer. Sometimes I see bloggers state their email subscriber number like it’s some sort of contest.
It’s not. Collecting subscribers is not like collecting marbles in a jar. It does you no good if people don’t actually open and read your emails. Having said that, since Mailerlite is much less expensive, there’s not a burning desire to keep your list lean. So they get a 5 this round. Convertkit, you’re expensive and you make me routinely pare down my list to keep my costs down. You get a 1.
Ease in A/B Testing, Incorporating with Google Analytics (5 points)
Mailerlite: 5, Convertkit 1. Mailerlite just does this better. Plus Convertkit doesn’t incorporate Google Analytics at all.
Affiliate Income Opportunity (3 points)
Should you make a decision to stay with an email provider because they offer you a better commission? Probably not. But it doesn’t hurt to at least think about it. Both Convertkit and Mailerlite pay the same 30% affiliate fee for referrals. However since Convertkit is more expensive and Mailerlite is free up to 1,000 subscribers, you stand to make far more money with Convertkit. Convertkit gets a 3 this round, Mailerlite a 1.
Ease in Increasing the Number of Subscribers to The Next Level (3 points)
Convertkit: 3 points; Mailerlite: 1 point. The fact that we even have this category annoys me just a little bit. Woudl you believe you have to request and wait to be approved with Mailerlite before they take up you up to the next pricing tier? I don’t understand this business model at all. Convertkit just moves you up when the time comes. They also pro-rate the monthly fee to the day your list size increases.
Convertkit is the winner with 50 points compared to Mailerlite’s 40 points. Even though it is more expensive Convertkit offers some important features that I feel are important for my long term success as a blogger. It is easier for me to use and therefore it saves me valuable time and that is huge to me! I also like their track record and the fact that they are used by the most successful bloggers.
What should you do? Honestly both are very good services. I recommend that you go through the topics above and decide what things are important to you. Think about where you are in your blogging journey. Are you still in the ‘just checking it out’ phase? If so, you might want to sign up with Mailerlite and take advantage of their 1st 1,000 are free pricing. If you grow you can always transfer to Convertkit later if you decide to.
If you are in this for the long haul, you might prefer Convertkit from the start. Moving subscribers to a new service is do-able but a bit painful. And learning more than 1 service uses a lot of your most valuable resource: time. If your list is small, Convertkit is still pretty affordable and when you grow your list, you will almost certainly have income to offset the expense.
So now it is in your hands. What will you decide?