Why I Moved from Mailchimp to MailerLite

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Read the full dislcaimer.

When you’re on a shoestring budget it can be hard to decide what tools your energy and money is best spent on. I’m all about being frugal and pinching pennies which is why I love free services and tools.

So for many biz owners and bloggers, Mailchimp is a no-brainer when creating your first email list. While it’s easy to use and a great free option (for up to 2000 subs), it’s super limiting and not very intuitive for growing your list.

That’s why I started using MailerLite, switched my list over, and never looked back!

Mailchimp is good, but not great

Mailchimp is one of the most popular and well-known free tools to start growing your email list. Unfortunately, it’s not very user friendly and the way things are configured isn’t very intuitive.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read in a Facebook group, “My Mailchimp popup won’t work” or “Where do I put this code form Mailchimp”.

You also can’t create separate forms for content upgrade, to do that you have to use complicated segments and groups. They’ve also been super slow to add features that are available in other email marketing tools.

I quickly became frustrated with limitations of Mailchimp. So when a handful of people in a FB group were exclaiming their love for MailerLite I decided to check it out.

MailerLite – your new best (email) friend

I wasn’t convinced at first even though they have this page comparing their features right to Mailchimp’s. But after spending an entire day playing with the features and seeing how it all worked, I was sold. I switched all my opt-ins on this site and moved my entire list over.

So what’s so stinkin’ great about MailerLite?

First, it’s free just like Mailchimp.

You only get up to 1000 unique subscribers and 12,000/mo emails to send with the free plan but upgrading to the next tier is super affordable (like $10 a month).

Second, they have so many great features: landing pages, pop-ups, embedded forms, automation, link triggers, segmentation, custom fields, and more! 

Grow Your List Handbook

Free 14-page interactive workbook that teaches you the basics of email marketing

Okay, okay, I loathe popup opt-ins and would never have them on my website but I’ve seen the complaints about Mailchimp’s popup integration and you often need to use a third-party plugin. I’ve not tested out the popup capabilities myself but the features and options seem impressive with MailerLite.

Mailerlite has a great builder for all of it’s different forms. Making popups is easy and you can even set your trigger rules, something that you can’t do on Mailchimp.

There’s also a landing page builder!

While you can always build landing pages on your own WordPress site, it’s great that you can create them quickly right in your email marketing tool.

Mailerlite email marketing landing page builder

I’ve used the Mailerlite landing page builder to create stunning landing pages complete with all the features you’d want like countdown timers and share buttons.

They also give you stats and analytics so you can see how well your landing page is converting.

Automation is easy.

With MailerLite you can set up as many automated emails as you want, based on whether a user has just joined a group or based on a certain date.

With MailerLite I was able to add content upgrades to my posts, create a webinar, and create a free email course. You can’t do most of those things with Mailchimp (free) alone.

There’s also link triggers. So you can sort your subscribers into different buckets based on their interests or start an entire workflow based on a click!

So what’s the catch?

I didn’t think there was one. However after deciding to purge my list of users who weren’t opening my emails it became more clear. MailerLite advertises 1000 free unique subscribers all over the place but it takes a bit of digging in their Knowledge Base to find out what that really means. 

For example, if I have 50 unique emails and send them all an email, that counts as 50 towards my 1000 limit.

Let’s say I decide to delete 5 of those people who were inactive and another 5 unsubscribe on their own. Now suppose another 30 new subscribers sign up and I send out a new email to all 70 of those subscribers.

To most people, they would believe they are at 70 unique subscribers now. But that’s not the case – MailerLite is still going to count those people that you deleted or that unsubscribed. So instead of 70 your account limit has reach 80. You can’t replace used subscribers with new subscribers.

While this isn’t a huge deal, it does suck. They aren’t that transparent about it before signing up and the terminology they use about “unique subscribers” can be confusing. Obviously, because I just realized this after using the platform for over a month.

This means I’ll probably hit the 1000 free limit way before I actually have 1000 real, engaged subscribers. I still think MailerLite is a great way to build your list on a budget and has tons of great features but it seems like a really odd way to handle unique emails.

So if you do move your subs over, it’s better to purge inactive users before importing your list.

Mailchimp isn’t completely innocent either as they will count every subscriber as a new one even if they have the same email but are on different lists. So if [email protected] is on 3 of your different lists, she will count as 3 subscribers.

Edited to add: One of MailerLite’s amazing employees has stated in the comments that the counter resets every 30 days, so your unsubscribers will eventually roll off your account.

Updated on 3/30/2019 to add: I still use Mailerlite and this subscriber count thing hasn’t been an issue in the entire time I’ve used it. Though recently they have put more limitations on the free version.

For example, now you can only send 12,000 emails a month unless you upgrade your account. This may or may not be a problem depending on how big your list is and how often you send out emails.

Closing Thoughts

I’ll keep using MailerLite because for a free service, it still blows Mailchimp out of the water in terms of features and support. Hopefully by the time I do reach that 1000 emails threshold, I’ll see the need to move to something more powerful like ConvertKit.

So what are your favorite features of MailerLite? Do you think you’ll move away from Mailchimp after learning about this new platform?

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Why I Moved from Mailchimp to MailerLite
Heya, I'm Shaylee!

Heya, I'm Shaylee!

When I'm not stuffing my face with sushi or being forced into dog pets I help bloggers and business owners tackle the tech and make WordPress less confusing.

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17 thoughts on “Why I Moved from Mailchimp to MailerLite”

  1. Hi Shaylee,
    I’d like to explain how works 1000 free unique subscriber count. When you send out 50 emails, those are counted for the next 30 days. Then it will be reset and counted totally from zero. It counts only 30 days for unique email addresses only when you send out a campaign. This way we prevent “cheaters” who would add and delete, for example, 10.000 unique emails in small chunks and send them campaign with our free plan.
    Thanks for a good review, it helps us improve our service

    • Thanks for your response, Justinas! That makes a bit more sense. I don’t want to condone cheating the system at all, but I do want to remove people who aren’t ever opening my emails. So it’s nice to know that eventually they will be processed out of my account. I’ll update my post with this information!

  2. Hi Shaylee,

    Nice review on MailerLite!

    Just wanted to say regarding the unique subscribers counter, as I’m also using MailerLite.

    Unique subscribers used become discounted after 30 days of not sending any newsletter to them. This means that all bounced, unsubscribed, spam complaints and inactive subscribers to whom you don’t send anymore can be replaced with new ones after 30 days.


  3. Hi. The catch about unique subs that you describe is actually an anti-abuse feature. I would think that if not all then most of email service providers have a similar system in place. I use SendPulse email marketing service and there’s a limit of total 2500 unique subs for a free plan that I use. That number of unique subs includes ALL the addresses that you were sending to during the billing period. So, if you remove some addresses or they unsub but you’ve already sent them emails this month they will be included in this month’s total. Otherwise you could just send to 2500 addresses, remove them, add another 2500 addresses and send again. And it would be an abuse. Hope that helps.

    By the way, check out SendPulse – their free plan provides all the functionality of the service without feature restrictions or limitations.

  4. Thank you for this post!! I was about 70% sure that I’m going to switch because MailChimp has been so disappointing, but you’ve just added the extra 30% I needed to be sure! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Awesome! Let me know if you need any tech help moving over ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m planning on doing a post about how I do content upgrades. What about Mailchimp do you dislike the most?

  5. Thanks for this post! I have been thinking about switching after hearing about them from you. I finally checked them out and am definitely going to make the move! The landing pages option did it for me.

  6. Thank you for a very informative post! I signed up for Mailchimp because it seems it’s what every newbie does, but something told me to look at other options. It’s really hard to compare both of their features pages and I too found the Mailerlite subscriber count confusing. You totally cleared it up and I don’t any reason not to start with Mailerlite instead. Going to sign up and make note of that YouTube playlist. Thank you!

  7. I just created a password protected page on my website to use as my Library Resource but cannot figure out how to have it to where you have to subscribe to my website to get to the library.

    I canโ€™t figure out how to put my subscription box on the Library Resource page. I also use Mailerlite and havenโ€™t had a problem placing the code for my subscription box on some of my other pages. But for some reason I canโ€™t figure out how to do it on the Library Resource page or where to place the code. Since you have your Library set up with a place for subscribing to your website, I thought maybe you could tell me how you did that. My page just says password protected and has a place to type in your password.

    Do you remember what you did?



  8. Mailerlite actually has MORE features than Convertkit apparently! Some many may not use but in another post I read when I googled ”ConvertKit VS Mailerlite” ..by Chantelle someone? She mentioned how Mailerlite actually has more features than Convertkit now, and they keep coming up with new ones. Very exciting, as I’m switching a client over to Mailerlite and have my own blog almost switched over.
    Loved this post!

  9. I have been using Mailerlite but just got in trouble for using affiliate links since that is against their Terms of Service. I am thinking I will have to move to Mailchimp ๐Ÿ™


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