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MailerLite vs ConvertKit: A Hands-On Comparison (2021)

MailerLite vs ConvertKit

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re trying to boost those all-important sales. There are all kinds of ways to catch your audience’s attention. Email marketing remains one of the most reliable methods of achieving precisely that.

If you want to get started with email marketing, the first step is picking a dependable email service provider. So, in this review, I’m introducing you to MailerLite and ConvertKit — two well-renowned and well-respected names in the email software industry.

Hopefully, by the end of this comparison, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of what they offer and which (if either) platform best suits your needs. 

Let’s get started!

What Is MailerLite

MailerLite is an email marketing tool used by over one million customers to set up email campaigns. 

Despite its name, MailerLite’s features aren’t a ‘lite’ version of anything. The software provides everything you need to grow your email list and evaluate your campaigns. It boasts advanced segmentation, A/B testing, and email marketing automation. 

Its reference to ‘lite’ is a hat tilt to the fact MailerLite takes these complicated features and makes them clean and intuitive, so even beginners can benefit.

MailerLite homepage

What Is ConvertKit

ConvertKit, as its name suggests, is all about conversions and connecting with your audience faster. It helps you find customers, turn them into fans, and earn a living as a content creator.

Its primary audience is creatives and influencers wanting to engage their following in a bigger and better way. ConvertKit loves to tell the stories of the customers they’ve empowered, such as travel bloggers, muralists, and even homesteader goat farmers!

With ample tools, including landing page creation, subscription forms, and email marketing automation, you can use ConvertKit to turn your side-hustle into a fully-fledged career.

ConvertKit homepage

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Sign-Up Process

That’s enough preamble; let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what MailerLite and ConvertKit have to offer.

Here’s what you can anticipate when you sign up with these platforms.

MailerLite

Unlike ConvertKit, MailerLite doesn’t offer a free trial. However, they have a free-forever plan, where the array and quality of features are nothing short of impressive!

There are three steps to signing up to MailerLite: 

  1. Complete your profile (your name and email address).
  2. Enter your company details. MailerLite will request your business name and a short description of what you do. You’ll also need a business address for anti-spam compliance and a link to a website representing your business.
  3. Verify your email address and domain. 

Then, you’ll need to wait for MailerLite to review your application. This shouldn’t take long — and in the meantime, you can still access limited functions and email up to 500 contacts on your list. 

MailerLite sign-up process

ConvertKit

ConvertKit’s sign-up process is straightforward. You can either choose to opt for a 14-day free trial or dive into the deep end by subscribing to one of ConvertKit’s paid-for packages. You’ll need to provide your email address and give some details about your business (including the website platform you may currently be using).

Alternatively, you can request a demo, which the website recommends, especially if you have more than 7,500 subscribers.

Both MailerLite and ConvertKit let you migrate your email list manually for free. This can be done via a CSV, Excel, or text file. However, ConvertKit takes care of this for you when you have more than 5,000 subscribers, but only on its paid plans.

ConvertKit sign-up process

Sign-Up Process – Winner: It’s a Tie!

MailerLite and ConvertKit’s sign-up processes are equally simple. The most significant difference is whether you prefer a free trial or a free-forever plan, which comes down to your personal taste.  

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Ease of Use

If you’re itching to launch successful email marketing campaigns, the last thing you want is a cluttered interface and poor usability to hinder your progress.

So, how easy are MailerLite and ConvertKit to use? Let’s take a look.

MailerLite

MailerLite’s mission is to keep their suite of features light but powerful, and they hold to that promise. The email service provider boasts a clean interface with each feature clearly labeled. Beginners should find the platform easy enough to navigate, review reports, and manage subscribers. 

The main dashboard showcases helpful info such as monthly campaign stats and subscriber growth. This makes it easy to review critical data at a glance. 

You can use MailerLite’s drag-and-drop editor for both emails and landing pages. This is as intuitive as it sounds. Just select the element you want to place on the page, drag it wherever you want it positioned, and drop it. Simple, right?

MailerLite ease of use

ConvertKit

ConvertKit matches MailerLite’s usability. Its interface is in some ways even more straightforward, with fewer menus to choose from. I’ll detail how the email editors differ later, as this is where ConvertKit takes a little more to get used to. 

It doesn’t provide many email templates, so you have to do lots of the design work yourself. Anyone who understands HTML and CSS has a significant advantage here, as you’ll have much greater customization control.

The editor isn’t drag-and-drop, either. While not difficult, per se, it might be a little harder to get started with.

ConvertKit ease of use

Ease of Use – Winner: MailerLite (Just!)

Neither MailerLite nor ConvertKit is particularly complicated to use. They both come with clean interfaces and intuitive email editors.

That said, MailerLite is a little more standard with its email editor; its familiar drag-and-drop interface is more straightforward to get used to. It also comes with a greater selection of pre-designed templates. For those reasons, we ultimately give the edge to MailerLite.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Email Templates and Editor

It’s time to take a closer look at how ConvertKit and MailerLite compare where email templates and editing are concerned. Email design and customization are the cornerstones of successful email campaigns, so these platforms must offer what you’re looking for in this department.

Let’s take a look.

MailerLite

As I’ve already hinted at, MailerLite’s email editor boasts a drag-and-drop interface as well as a rich-text editor. What’s more, you can customize your email’s HTML markup if that’s your preferred approach.

You can use various pre-built blocks to create your email content. Blocks include video, social media links (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more), and dynamic content. The latter changes depending on the recipient and can consist of personalized name fields, pre-header text, and subject lines. It’s also possible to decide which customers can view your dynamic content block so that you can send the same email blast to all your subscribers, and the block will automatically change to reflect the appropriate content for the individual recipient. 

It’s effortless to insert products from your store into your emails without ever leaving the drag-and-drop builder. If you’ve integrated MailerLite with your eCommerce platform, you can search through your product catalog and add these to your emails as content blocks.

Where templates are concerned, MailerLite has more to show than ConvertKit. You can browse their templates and filter your search by category — for example, eCommerce, deals and offers, blog and updates, events, photography, and more. There are nearly 50 beautiful templates to choose from, so getting started without much design knowledge shouldn’t be any trouble!

You just select the template you like the look of and customize it to reflect your brand’s aesthetic. 

MailerLite email templates

ConvertKit

ConvertKit provides users with a clutter-free editing experience with inline styling options. Here, you can add elements just by clicking on a “plus” button beside each line of text or content. Like MailerLite, a variety of blocks are available for populating your email content. These include images, files, quotes, videos, links, dividers, and personalizations such as the customer’s name and location. You simply add these at each relevant line rather than drag and drop them.

While you can place in content blocks, you can neither add in videos nor customize your text font and color. To quickly access frequently used media such as logos, you can store them in your image library. (In MailerLite, this feature is called the file manager and fulfills a similar purpose.) 

Both providers also integrate with Unsplash so that you can easily access high-quality stock photos. 

Like MailerLite, ConvertKit permits you to edit your email’s HTML code. This provides a great degree of customization flexibility. Thanks to ConvertKit’s lightweight HTML setup, you can edit and create ConvertKit emails from inside the workflow and automation builder. This means you can set up entire email campaigns without ever switching interfaces.

At this point, it’s worth noting ConvertKit’s editor isn’t quite as intuitive as most drag-and-drop interfaces. As ConvertKit provides a distraction-free interface, you can’t just grab and insert elements. Instead, you have to edit sections of your email by clicking on a ‘plus’ symbol. From there, you can decide which elements to insert and customize their styling such as colors, box widths, and more.

Unfortunately, ConvertKit really falls flat where email templates are concerned. They only offer three basic, albeit customizable, HTML templates. Without a variety of pre-designed templates, the majority of design responsibility is down to you. While you can customize quite a lot using HTML and CSS, this might not be the quickest or most accessible option for beginners.

ConvertKit email templates

Email Templates and Editors – Winner: MailerLite

MailerLite comes with plenty of professional-looking and easy-to-customize pre-designed templates. In terms of quantity and quality of the templates, MailerLite is head and shoulders above ConvertKit.

While ConvertKit promotes its simple, distraction-free inline styling as an advantage, it can be more challenging for users to edit and create email campaigns quickly. Yes, you can save as many templates as you like, but it’s nice to be given a wide array of designs to start with. 

Thanks to its simple drag-and-drop email editor and stunning email templates, we hand over the victory to MailerLite on this one.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Segmentation

Segmentation allows you to split your email list into subsections so that you can send targeted, relevant campaigns that appeal to subscribers.

So, how sophisticated are MailerLite and ConvertKit’s segmentation features? Let’s find out.

MailerLite

MailerLite allows you to create audience groups and automatically assign new subscribers to individual groups based on which subscription form they use. This comes in handy if you have multiple landing pages for entirely different products you want to keep separate and helps ensure you can keep an eye on who is interested in what. 

You can assign subscribers to multiple groups and create list segments using MailerLite’s tagging system. You can also segment your list based on email engagement, like how long a customer has been inactive or how loyally they open your emails.

MailerLite segmentation

ConvertKit

With ConvertKit, you start working with a single list of subscribers that you then arrange into groups using tags and segments.

Unlike MailerLite, ConverKit enables you to create custom tags for your subscribers. These can automatically be assigned to subscribers based on the subscriber’s actions. For instance, if a purchase is made, you might assign them a ‘customer’ tag. This gives you lots of freedom over your contact organization. 

On top of that, ConvertKit’s intuitive filtering system makes it easy to locate individual contacts once you have assigned tags to them. You can filter your search via tags, custom form fields, location, prior purchases, gender, and more.

ConvertKit segmentation

Segmentation – Winner: ConvertKit

Both MailerLite and ConvertKit make segmentation pretty easy. MailerLite allows you to utilize multiple subscriber groups to give you control over who you’re broadcasting your emails to. However, it doesn’t offer custom tagging like ConvertKit.

This, ultimately, makes ConvertKit more flexible as you can take a more subscriber-centric approach to your email marketing campaigns. 

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Automation

Both MailerLite and ConvertKit boast email automation functionality, but which comes up trumps?

MailerLite

MailerLite and ConvertKit both provide a simple workflow editor to create email pipelines that move customers through your sales funnel. MailerLite provides a drag-and-drop automation interface for this purpose. 

You start by setting a trigger that initiates the workflow. Example triggers include:

  • When a subscriber completes a form 
  • When a specific date comes around (such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) 
  • When a subscriber makes a purchase

From there, you can add a step following the trigger. For this, you can use the following building blocks:

  • Send an email.
  • Delay an action by several days.
  • Set a condition to branch out on the action you’ll take. For example, if the initial trigger was a customer’s birthday, you could branch out with a condition like: “Has this customer interacted with my emails in the past month?” Depending on the answer, you could send an email either congratulating them or encouraging them to interact with you again.
  • Define an action. Possibilities here include moving customers to another group, removing them from a group, marking them as unsubscribed, moving them to another step in the workflow, or updating a subscriber field with a custom value.

Overall, MailerLite’s workflow builder is quite simple. So, if you’re used to creating advanced workflows, you might find this a little lacking. The basics are covered, but MailerLite doesn’t go far beyond that.

MailerLite automation

ConvertKit

As I’ve already hinted at, one of ConvertKit’s most noteworthy features is that you can create automated emails without leaving the workflow designer to make a brand new email. This provides a seamless experience for quickly building campaigns while keeping a clear overview of where each email sits in the overall pipeline.

Besides this, like MailerLite, ConvertKit’s automation tools are similarly simple, with its workflows based on events, actions, and conditions, which are as follows:

  • Events – These are triggers for the actions that follow in a workflow. Like MailerLite, this could be when a subscriber completes a form, purchases something, a specific date, etc.
  • Actions – Similar to MailerLite, this can include sending an email blast, moving subscribers to different segments, delaying actions, or adding and removing tags.
  • Conditions – Like MailerLite, these allow you to branch your automation campaigns into different paths depending on the condition (tag, interaction level, form fill-outs, and others).
ConvertKit automation

Automation – Winner: ConvertKit (Just!)

Overall, when it comes to comparing MailerLite and ConvertKit to other email marketing providers, neither offer overly sophisticated automation tools — but they’ll get the job done!

ConvertKit has a slight edge here as you can design emails within the workflow editor. This simply makes the process more streamlined.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Landing Pages

Both MailerLite and ConvertKit come with landing page builders.

But, which is better? Let’s take a closer look.

MailerLite

MailerLite comes with 14 customizable and responsive landing page templates to choose from, covering themes such as blog promotion, webinars, coming soon, featured service, and more.

Alternatively, you can create your own designs from scratch using MailerLite’s drag-and-drop landing page builder. Like their email editor, you just pick the blocks you want to use, drag them into place, and edit them as you see fit. 

If you’re used to lots of customization freedom, the landing page editor might be a little clunky to get used to, as you can only drag elements to specific sections. Your best bet is to choose a template you like and stick to it closely as you populate it with your own content.

To give you a feel for what you could create, here are some of the available content blocks: 

  • Subscription forms 
  • Marketing videos
  • Countdown timers (you won’t find these on ConvertKit!)
  • Testimonials
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • …and more

With MailerLite’s Stripe integration, you can sell digital products and subscriptions directly from your landing pages. Plus, once you create a template you like, you can save it for future use. It’s easy to build a personal template gallery so that you can quickly access brand-friendly layouts.

You can also use the landing page editor to interlink a few different pages and create small websites. For example, you can include an about and contact section for visitors to browse on your landing page. The same is true for ConvertKit. Of course, neither tool was explicitly created for fully-fledged website creation, so be sure to bear that in mind.

MailerLite landing pages

ConvertKit

Like MailerLite, ConvertKit also comes with responsive and customizable landing page templates. However, ConvertKit offers a greater selection, with 53 templates to choose from, covering uses such as coming soon, sales, course sign-ups, book releases, lead magnets, and more.

Customization is easy — there’s even a color picker you can use to help select the right shade for your backgrounds and fonts. This is a neat feature (that, incidentally, MailerLite lacks) that allows you to choose accent colors from your favorite photographs and create a cohesive color scheme. 

Thanks to its integration with Unsplash, ConvertKit’s landing page builder comes with an impressive stock image library. Here, you’ll find plenty of free, high-quality images to spruce up your design. 

Although you don’t need any coding know-how to make the most out of ConvertKit’s landing page builder, you can tinker with its CSS for more in-depth customization. This grants ConvertKit’s landing page builder a bit of extra customization freedom over MailerLite.

ConvertKit landing pages

Landing Pages – Winner: ConvertKit

Although MailerLite performed better on email templates, ConvertKit takes the trophy when it comes to landing pages. That said, their customizability is, for the most part, similar. But, ConvertKit goes that extra mile with its greater selection of templates and the option to dive into the CSS code.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Reporting and Analytics

If you’re serious about improving your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to follow the data. This is where reporting and analytics features are worth their weight in gold.

With that in mind, let’s explore what MailerLite and ConvertKit have to offer in this arena.

MailerLite

With MailerLite, you can easily track the success of your email campaigns by generating campaign reports that break down:

  • How many emails you’ve sent
  • Open rate
  • Click rate 
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Which devices engaged with your emails 
  • How many spam complaints you received

For further insights, you can also send out customer surveys to get more feedback on your campaigns…or anything else for that matter.  

MailerLite’s pro plans (more on those in a sec) also come with click maps. These enable you to review which parts of your email attracted the most attention. You’ll also unlock opens by location feature, which empowers you to see where geographically your content is most popular.

Lastly, MailerLite also boasts A/B testing functionality. This enables you to send two campaigns with one element changed — for example, a different subject line, name, or even email content. From there, you can compare the performance of the emails to see what subscribers respond to best. With this info to hand, you’re much better positioned to optimize your campaigns.

MailerLite reporting and analytics

ConvertKit

ConvertKit enables you to generate several reports that should give you a feel for the fruitfulness of your campaigns.

Sequence reports take a look at your click and open rates throughout your entire email workflows so that you can better review the effectiveness of whole pipelines. You can see how many subscribers are included in the pipeline, how many have completed the entire sequence, and the average open and click rates for the emails inside the workflow.

In broadcast reports, you can review the total number of recipients and unsubscribers as well as the open and click rate for each of your emails.

Deliverability reporting is a pro feature. This tells you how many emails reached their targets successfully. With this info to hand, you can better troubleshoot any decline in the open rate. You can also get more granular insights into your campaign’s deliverability. For instance, you can filter results by email service providers and isolate deliverability data for specific subsets.

Like MailerLite, A/B testing is also available. However, you can only use this to compare two different subject lines. Once the results are in, you can send the winning variant to your remaining recipients after testing both lines on 15% of your subscriber base.

ConvertKit reporting and analytics

Reporting and Analytics – Winner: MailerLite

MailerLite clearly comes out on top where reporting and analytics are concerned. It provides a heatmap to give you detailed information of your readers engaged within individual email campaigns.

You can also filter more details, such as click rate by location, and have more granular control over your A/B testing. ConvertKit only allows you to test the subject line of an email, but with MailerLite’s split testing functionality, you can fine-tune your sender name and email content too. 

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Integrations

If you’re already using other software to help run your business, listen up. You’ll want to ensure your chosen email marketing solution seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack. 

So, without further ado, let’s see what native integrations MailerLite and ConvertKit offer.

MailerLite

MailerLite comes with an impressive 125 native integrations, covering a whole host of categories, including automation, landing pages, project management, and more.

You should also find your preferred website platform on the list — some of the more notable names include Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and WordPress. There’s also a Zapier integration, which makes it easy to integrate with loads more third parties. 

MailerLite also comes with a developer API, so if you have the coding know-how, you can even create your own custom integrations. 

MailerLite integrations

ConvertKit

ConvertKit doesn’t fall short on integrations either, with a total of 107 available. These plugins span an extensive array of categories, including eCommerce, website platforms, CRM, webinar services, lead capture, and more.

Like MailerLite, ConvertKit also comes with a Zapier integration that allows you to connect with even more apps. Plus, you can utilize ConvertKit’s developer API to create your own integrations.

ConvertKit integrations

Integrations – Winner: MailerLite (Just!)

By a narrow margin, MailerLite has more native integrations. However, both offer a solid array of apps that can be expanded upon with Zapier and their in-house developer APIs.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Customer Support

If you ever run into an issue with your email marketing software, it’s essential to know you’ll get the support you need.

So, here’s how MailerLite and ConvertKit will help you out.

MailerLite

With MailerLite’s free plan, you can access 24/7 email support and MailerLite’s online knowledge base. Here, you’ll find plenty of valuable self-help tutorials, best practices by industry, and numerous free webinars. 

Once you upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll unlock 24/7 live chat. If you need more in-depth support, consult MailerLite’s experts directory to hire a pro to help with a specific issue. Whether that’s designing templates, setting up your account, migrating, or getting started with email marketing, there are tons of vetted experts ready and willing to lend a hand. 

Finally, you can enroll in MailerLite’s Academy for free. At the time of writing, there are 71 lessons available covering MailerLite’s fundamentals. It’s also worth noting that courses on email marketing and email automation are in progress, so keep watching this space!

MailerLite customer support

ConvertKit

You can contact ConvertKit’s customer support team by sending a ticket. However, you’ll receive priority support with the Creator plan, which ensures a response within 15 minutes (if the ticket was submitted between 8 AM and 8 PM EST, Monday to Friday).

ConvertKit also has an online knowledge base, blog articles, and video training. Plus, handy how-to guides on building a loyal community through newsletters, using Instagram successfully, creating landing pages, understanding email marketing, and more.

The knowledge base itself covers ConvertKit’s features and answers all frequently asked questions. You can also join the Creator Community to talk to peers in a forum environment.

ConvertKit customer support

Customer Support – Winner: MailerLite

I’ll be honest; this was a close one. Overall, both MailerLite and ConvertKit offer numerous self-help resources. So, in that regard, it’s up to you which style of documentation you prefer. 

That said, MailerLite provides free online courses, a vast directory of experts, and 24/7 support, which is more than we can say for ConvertKit. ConvertKit loses points for its limited support hours, even on its premium plans. Still, its workshops, webinars, and free migration service are well worth noting.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Pricing

Pounds, shillings, and pence — the section you’ve all been waiting for. How much will MailerLite and ConvertKit set you back? They could be the best platforms in the world, but unless they fall in line with your budget, they’re a no-go.

So let’s see what these solutions offer for your money.

MailerLite

MailerLite is free to use as long as you fall below 1,000 subscribers and send under 12,000 monthly emails. So, if your contact list is still relatively small, you don’t have to pay a dime!

On all MailerLite plans, you get access to their online knowledge base, video tutorials, and email support. You can design emails with their drag-and-drop and rich-text editor and built-in photo editing tool, use the file manager, manage subscribers, send surveys, and more.

If you opt in to one of MailerLite’s paid plans, you immediately benefit from unlimited emails per month. You also receive additional features and unlock 24/7 live-chat customer support. The premium prices are as follows:

  • $15 a month: 1,001 – 2,500 subscribers
  • $30 a month: 2,501 – 5,000 subscribers
  • $50 a month: 4,0001 – 10,000 subscribers
  • $75 a month: 10,0001 – 15,000 subscribers 

…and so on. You can quickly get an exact quote for the size of your mailing list by heading to MailerLite’s website and entering your subscriber count. If you opt to pay annually, you’ll get a 30% discount on these prices.

MailerLite also offers three extra add-on services: Sites Pro that lets you publish unlimited websites and landing pages, MailerPro that unlocks priority support, and Dedicated IP that isolates your sending reputation to improve your email deliverability.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit also comes with a free plan for email lists with up to 1,000 subscribers. Here, you can create unlimited landing pages, forms, send email broadcasts, sell digital products and subscriptions, and charge subscribers to receive recurring newsletters. 

On the free plan, you have access to email support. However, any customer payments you receive are charged a 3.5% + 30c transaction fee.

To upgrade to a ConvertKit premium plan, visit their pricing page for a quote based on how many subscribers you have. The larger your email list is, the more you should expect to pay. However, to give you a feel of costs, I’ve quoted a subscriber count of 5,000 (based on monthly billing). If you opt for annual billing, you’ll get two months free (every year).

Under these conditions, the Creator Plan costs $79 a month. On top of what the free plan offers, you’ll also be able to build automated paths, automate email sequences, use integrations and the developer API, receive priority support, and more.

Then, the Creator Pro Plan jumps up to $111 a month. Here, you’ll receive deliverability reporting, be able to edit links in sent broadcasts and score subscriber engagement, and more.

Pricing – Winner: It’s a Tie!

It’s challenging to make a straight-up decision between MailerLite and ConvertKit when comparing pricing. ConvertKit, as a whole, is more expensive. But, it allows you to sell products and subscriptions, making it a more versatile service.

In essence, you pay more but receive more features in return — so it all comes down to the features you need from your email provider.

MailerLite vs ConvertKit: Which Is the Better Option?

We’ve reached the end of our in-depth MailerLite vs Convertkit review. It’s clear that both tools provide very similar features, are excellent for beginners, and offer generous free plans. 

That said, here’s my final verdict.

Ultimately, MailerLite might be the better option for those with a smaller subscriber base because of how well equipped its free plan is. 

That factor aside, your choice might depend on which features you prefer. MailerLite, for example, comes with a more traditional drag-and-drop email editor with a convenient image and media library. It also offers more templates and better reporting features than ConvertKit.

On the other hand, ConvertKit shines where automation and segmentation are concerned, so if granular customization is crucial to you, this is the better platform for your needs. 

Which email marketing automation tool has caught your attention? Let us know in the comments below what you think of MailerLite and ConvertKit!

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