MailerLite and Convertkit are my two favorite email marketing platforms. Both are relatively new yet highly capable. So it’s a very close call, however, your specific use case will determine which is best for you.
In 2020, I co-founded an investing newsletter called Ticker Nerd. The business model relied heavily on email marketing. So when choosing a platform I considered everything from high deliverability to great automation and easy integrations. Pricing was secondary since I understood how profitable email can be. Keep reading to find out which platform I chose and why.
Rather than rambling on every minor feature the platforms offer, I’ll keep it concise and only cover the essentials and differences. This includes who the ideal user is for each platform, core features, pricing, and deliverability. These are the most important factors when considering an email marketing platform.
By the end of this article, you should be able to make a confident decision on which email marketing platform is best for you.
What are MailerLite and Convertkit?
MailerLite and ConvertKit are email marketing platforms that are primarily targeted at smaller businesses and individual creators. They’re not the best option for large companies with a subscriber list over 1m.
MailerLite was originally a web design agency founded in 2005 by Ignas Rubezius. The company pivoted in 2010 to simplify and focus purely on a better email marketing solution. This is when MailerLite was founded. They’re a remote team of 130+ with most of their employees residing in Europe (such as Belarus and Serbia).
Their core offering is email marketing services but their product suite extends to a website builder, lead capture software, and even an eCommerce function for selling digital products.
One of their core values is “We simplify” which is why the company is called MailerLite. The platform is designed to be lightweight, simple, yet highly capable. They’ve won a tonne of awards including G2’s Most Implementable, Best Usability, Easiest Admin, and Easiest To Do Business With.
ConvertKit was founded in 2013 by Nathan Barry, who I’m personally a big fan of. They’re a remote team of 65+ who mostly work from the USA. The company has grown significantly since its launch and now was over 420,000 creators using the platform.
ConvertKit differs from MailerLite since it’s built purely for creators, their slogan is literally “the creator marketing platform”. These creators include marketers, singers, athletes, authors, and investors who have their own audiences. They have very strong automation and integration features. Again, specifically for creators.
Their primary goal is to help creators earn a living online and their features reflect this. For instance, they have a newly released ads platform that allows creators to monetize their audience directly from the ConvertKit interface.
What do MailerLite and Convertkit do?
Read the full MailerLite review here.
MialerLite offers a range of email-specific features and complimentary products to help you run and scale your business. It’s broken up into four categories including Send Emails, Build Websites, Collect Leads, and Sell Products.
Send Emails: This includes basic email marketing features, powerful visual automation tools, newsletter emails, and transactional emails if you require them. All of which have templates and an editor to help you build them. The templates do require a premium plan to access though.
Build Websites: This is one of the better features MailerLite offers. You can simply build a basic website with a fully functional blog. To do this on your own you’d need to use a service such as WordPress or Wix.
Collect Leads: If you’re looking to collect leads MailerLite offers landing pages, capture forms, and an email verification service to improve deliverability.
Sell Products: Whether it’s a digital product, subscription service or a physical product MailerLite caters to them. They offer a long list of integrations to make this seamless.
Three MailerLite features that impressed me:
- A website builder with legitimate blog functionality
- “MailerCheck” feature to boost deliverability even further
- Easy to build transactional emails
Three things I don't like about MailerLite:
- You cant access the good templates unless you're on a premium plan
- In some cases, you need to select the platform you wish to use when you log in (this might be because my account is old and they've built a better dashboard)
- You need to create a new API for each integration if you haven't saved the details from the previous one, there's no way to check it again
ConvertKit is designed for creators and its product suite demonstrates this. They separate core features in a similar fashion to MailerLite. The features are categorized into growing your audience, connecting with them, and earning a living.
Grow your audience: This mostly includes landing pages, signup forms, and integrations with tools creators are frequently using (think Teachable or Rewardful).
Connect with your fans: These are the core email marketing features like email designer, automation, and templates.
Earn a living: ConvertKit offers two core products for earning a living. The first is an eCommerce function designed to help you monetize your audience, it has all the bells and whistles you can imagine a basic e-commerce platform would. The other feature is called Creator Pro which hosts various metrics to give you better direction and improve your conversion rates.
Three ConvertKit features that impressed me:
- Direct integration with Facebook to create a custom audience from your enriched email list
- The sponsor network allows creators to monetize their audience within the platform
- Sales funnels that can be embedded anywhere
Three things I don't like about ConvertKit:
- You need to upgrade to a premium plan to make use of the visual automation (this is free in MailerLite)
- You need to upgrade to access basic integration features
- The ConvertKit branding is on everything which can get annoying
MailerLite’s ideal user
MailerLite targets smaller businesses and individual creators who are not technical or want a very simple solution. Simplicity is a core value which means their product offering is made so that “non-expert” email marketers can leverage the power of email, automation, and eCommerce without needing loads of support.
ConvertKit's ideal user
As you can probably guess by now ConvertKit’s ideal user is a content creator. This includes freelance writers, singers, gamers, athletes, and investors. If you’re a creator then I highly suggest looking into ConvertKit.
Pricing: MailerLite vs Convertkit
The good news is that you can get started for free with either platform. Both offer a free option for up to 1,000 email subscribers. However, I have compared the pricing to up to 10,000 email subscribers. The difference is significant. ConvertKit is double the price in this range.
Deliverability: MailerLite vs Convertkit
MailerLite and ConvertKit are very close when it comes to deliverability. According to Email Tool Tester, MailierLite is ranked number one and ConvertKit is ranked number two.
If you’re curious whether or not this is likely to make a material difference to your business, here’s a rough estimate. Let’s say you were to send 10,000 emails to all of your subscribers about a new promotion. The conversion rate is 12% and the product costs $20. Here’s the quick math.
MailerLite: 10,000 x 96% = 9,600 x 12% = 1,152 x $20 = $23,040
ConvertKit: 10,000 x 94% = 9,400 x 12% = 1128 x $20 = $22,560
All things being equal you would lose $480 using ConvertKit over MailerLite. However, it’s not always this simple. A stronger subject line or better copy could improve or destroy your conversion rates making this difference inconsequential and unlikely to hurt your business's success.
Real examples using MailerLite and ConvertKit
So you might be keen to see which businesses are using these platforms and how they’re performing. Whilst I don’t have raw data on how they’re performing I’m keen to share two email newsletters I subscribe to that are leveraging MailerLite and ConvertKit.
Trends by Dru Riley
Trends is a premium email newsletter that helps entrepreneurs uncover hidden business opportunities. The founder, Dru Riley, has a great team and process for surfacing ideas you can leverage to build a successful business. According to their website, they have over 50,000 subscribers, although I suspect it is much more than this.
Neil Patel’s Newsletter
Neil Patel is one of the most popular digital marketers in the world. He’s a New York Times Bestseller and a Forbes top 10 marketer. His personal newsletter is packed with digital marketing gems.
Q: I’m a digital creator which email marketing platform is best?
If you’re a digital creator who hasn’t yet figured out how to monetize your audience I would suggest ConvertKit. Their sponsor platform tips them over the edge when it comes to creators. They are more expensive the larger you grow though.
Q: I’m a small business which email marketing platform is best?
I would choose MailerLite in this case. Their support team is very helpful, they’re larger, have more resources, and their transactional emails make them slightly more suitable for small businesses. Pricing is also great.
Q: My budget is limited which one should I choose?
If your list is under 5,000 subscribers then it doesn’t really matter who you choose since they’re pretty close in pricing. If your list is great than 5,000 and you plan on scaling quickly but want to keep things lean MailerLite wins. They’re almost half the price.
However, keep in mind you need a premium plan to access automation in ConvertKit.
Q: What if I’m already signed up for a different email marketing platform?
Both MailerLite and ConvertKit offer a free migration service in their onboarding.
The bottom line
I’ve personally tested both platforms for my own businesses. Ticker Nerd currently uses MailerLite, however, I would choose ConvertKit if I ever wanted to create my own personal email newsletter or YouTube channel.
ConvertKit has proven to be superior for content creators. Whilst MailerLite is cheaper and just as capable, ConvertKit is continually rolling out features specifically for creators. If you’re a small or medium-sized business I would choose MailerLite.