The world of blogging is very different now than when I started in 2013. One way in particular is how important having an email newsletter is. This is because, other than your blog, your newsletter is your only audience that you have complete control over. If you really focus on Instagram, for example, what will you do if Facebook decides tomorrow to close your account or Instagram itself? They keep changing the algorithm; maybe the next change will completely mess up your viewers. So, while Instagram is really important for bloggers, it is important to not put all of your blogging eggs in one basket.
Your newsletter is super important because it might be one of your only audiences that you can guarantee you can reach. But once you’ve decided to make or focus on your newsletter, what newsletter provider do you go with? I recently switched to MailerLite from MailChimp, and in today’s post, I’m going to explain why I left MailChimp, why I chose MailerLite, and what my experience has been with MailerLite so far. So buckle in and let’s talk about newsletters.
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Why I Wanted To Leave MailChimp
When I first signed up for MailChimp back in – I think – 2015, it was done a bit differently than it is now. Which makes sense! 2015 was 4+ years ago and email marketing has changed a bit since then, as has blogging in general. But there were a couple of things in particular that made me finally make the leap to leave.
- When I signed up, the free account included several (I want to say 10) lists available. I had a list for each of the freebies I’ve made over the years, and when I wanted to make another one, I discovered that I couldn’t without upgrading my account. And while I do grow my newsletter every month without too many new freebies available, not being able to make new lists really makes it hard to grow my audience.
- When I went to upgrade my account, I discovered that the next step up from free was $29 per month. Now, that might not seem like a lot to a lot of people or even a lot of bloggers, but I don’t make too much of a profit each year as it is. Additionally, I already have other services that are more important to my blog, like Tailwind and Buffer.
- While I do aim to send my newsletter weekly, the newsletter alone doesn’t make me a ton of money. So if I’m going to spend money on my newsletter, I don’t want it to be $29 per month. And let me be clear, I’m not dissing MailChimp. Obviously they need people to pay their services! But it didn’t make sense to me.
- Additionally, a lot of bloggers have said that MailChimp is great when you’re just starting to grow your newsletter – which was definitely my experience – but it isn’t awesome if you want to take it to the next level, which is where I am now.
Honestly, as soon as I saw the prices for MailChimp, I knew that I had to leave them. So let’s get into what I was looking for when I decided on MailerLite.
What I Was Looking For from an Email Newsletter Service
Price – This is pretty obvious given what I said above. I’m not against paying for a newsletter service, but it needed to be something that’s affordable for my blog finances. Additionally, having a free version was definitely a plus. That way, I could figure out if it was going to work for my needs before paying lots of money (by my standards).
Use of use – Any service is easy to use if you’re used to it. But I needed something that wouldn’t have too much of a learning curve. This means both a) it needed to be straight-forward b) it needed to have tutorials available. I’m not a full-time blogger, aka this isn’t my only job aka I have another job, and, as you guys know, I’m chronically ill. So I don’t have a ton of time to spend adjusting to a new newsletter service. I already knew how to use MailChimp easily, so I knew that using a newsletter service wasn’t going to be brand new to me. But every company does things a little differently, and my free time is rare and precious, so I don’t have the time to spend hours adjusting to a new company.
That being said, let’s get into the options available.Different email newsletter provider options Click To Tweet
Other Email Newsletter Providers Out There
MailChimp – I do want to start by talking about MailChimp because they are awesome if you’re just starting out. Their free plan allows 7 marketing channels, 1 audience, basic templates, behavioral targeting, 2,000 contacts, Facebook and Instagram ads, some automation, and more (x). Again, it’s awesome if you’re just dipping your toes into having a newsletter for your blog, and they worked really well for me for 4 years.
Constant Contact – Constant Contact has been around forever! In fact, my mom used them for a business she had when I was in middle and high school. For $20 a month, you get unlimited emails, customizable templates, contact list import, pop-up forms, Facebook and Instagram ads, landing pages, and more (x). They have a lot of things
ConvertKit – This is a big one among bloggers who have a lot of subscribers, but as I don’t, it wasn’t for me. Their cheapest plan is $29 a month for less than 1,000 subscribers (you can try it for free, by the way). With this plan, you get unlimited customizable forms and email sends, which is probably why it’s so popular (x). Even if you have less than 1,000 subscribers, if you emailed them 3 times a week, that’s over 12,000 emails a month, so $29 a month is a pretty good deal. But I struggle to email my subscribers once a week, so it didn’t make sense. Some other things this plan provides include visual automation and free quick migration. Their plans usually provide the same things and it’s the number of subscribers that differentiates the plans.
Flodesk – I actually hadn’t heard about this one before! But my blog friend Rachel at Hello, Her uses it for her newsletter, which I have signed up for. Their pricing is $38 per month, for which you get … unlimited subscribers and access to all of their features. It’s awesome that it’s so simple! No plan changing if you get more than 1,000 subscribers. They have really pretty templates, so if you’re a visual person, Flodesk is probably for you.
HubSpot – HubSpot is very professional, but it’s also more expensive if you’re working with the type of budget I am. Their starter plan is $50 per month, which includes 1,000 contacts, list segmentation, ad management, and forms (x). Their other plans are $800 per month and $3,200 per month. So this was, obviously, a no from me.
AutoPilot – This is one service that I hadn’t heard of at all before this post. Their cheapest plan is $49 per month and allows 2,000 subscribers, but also you have unlimited emails you can send to them. They have a variety of nice templates, but I can’t find any data on how many they have or how many are available.
AWeber – This is another one that I hadn’t heard much about! Their cheapest plan is $19 a month, which is for less than 500 subscribers and includes unlimited emails, automation, analytics, sign-up forms, 6,000 stock images, 700 email templates, and more (x). I personally think this is a great deal, but it’s a bit more than I wanted to pay. What I really like about them, though, is that they have so many different plans. A lot of these service providers only have around 3 plans, and the prices are really spread out (see HubSpot as an example). But AWeber’s plans are $19, $29, $49, $69, and $149 a month (x).
Kate, isn’t this post about why you went with MailerLite? Why didn’t you include it in this list? Great question! It’s because the rest of this post is about them. So let’s get to it.
Why I Switched to MailerLite in Particular
Their ForeverFree plan – The fact they have an awesome free plan was definitely a big draw. The ForeverFree plan is for less than 1,000 subscribers and less than 12,000 emails per month. Since I send emails weekly – and only occasionally more than that – it was perfect. I’m not sending 12 emails a month! But even the free plan has awesome forms, landing pages, newsletter templates, and more.
The costs of their paid plans – First of all, they have 12 available free plans. Like I said above, a lot of newsletter providers only have 3-4. If I want to send unlimited emails but with my current subscriber size, I would pay $10 a month. (Oh, and all of their paid plans have unlimited emails.) The next paid plan is for when you have 1,001-2,500 subscribers.
The ease of transferring subscribers from MailChimp – Honestly, this was a big draw. If you’re logged into MailChimp and MailerLite, MailerLite has a feature where you can add your subscribers from MailChimp. It is so easy it felt like I was doing it wrong.
The forms – With MailChimp, I had a lot of trouble getting a pop-up on my blog. In fact, I got a separate plug-in just for that purpose. MailerLite has a great forms section that helps you set up pop-ups and embedded forms, and they look great, too!
The landing pages – Another great thing MailerLite has is their landing pages section. I currently have 7 landing pages set up! And there are so many templates available. I love them.
My Experience with MailerLite
Let’s now get into why I highly suggest MailerLite. I can’t compare my experience to most of the services listed above because I’ve only tried one of them. But I can talk about it compared to MailChimp.
My email open rate – My average open rate for MailerLite is 17.122% – compared to 9.96% with MailChimp. The blogging industry average is 15.84% (compared to 29.4% for all industries). The actual content of my newsletters – not the layout, the stuff in them – isn’t different. What is different? The newsletter provider I’m using. It isn’t that MailerLite pays to get my emails opened (they 100% don’t), but that their system sets me up to make better newsletters.
My email click-through rate – With MailerLite, my average click-through rate is 0.718%, compared to 0.68% with MailChimp. I know that that isn’t a huge jump, but it is a jump. And the whole point of having a newsletter is to get people to click your links to your blog or affiliate links, so that matters. Especially when you look at the open rate with the click rate! After all, people can’t click your links if they don’t open the email. Like I mentioned, clicking affiliate links can help bloggers just as much as clicking to read their blog post(s). This is why people talk about how important it is that your newsletter is one of the few things bloggers own themselves. Not only is it your own content, but it is also a way that bloggers can make money. And even if making money isn’t one of the main reasons why you blog, blogging isn’t cheap and you need to find a way to pay for the various costs, like your newsletter provider.
Landing pages – This is something that MailChimp has (although they didn’t when I started). But I like the MailerLite landing pages way more. There are loads of free templates for a variety of different purposes. They’re simple and easy to use, and they look great!
Audiences – This is a bit of a misleading term, but I felt like it was the best for this point. Basically, MailerLite doesn’t use the term “audiences,” but I’m using it as the overarching term for this purpose. ANYWAY. There are your subscribers, but you can also segment them or even put them into groups. Segments “are dynamic lists of your customers based on their attributes and behaviour” (x). For example, you could segment them based on how they signed up, when they signed up, their time zone, how long they’ve been inactive, etc. This is the sort of thing you can do automatically. Groups are more of subscriber groups that you make manually.
Honestly, the only problem that I’ve had with MailerLite is that I have so. many. links. to MailChimp on my blog. It has taken forever and a half to get most of them to go to my MailerLite pages! I honestly first spent a while trying to find a good redirect plugin, but there wasn’t one that did exactly what I wanted, so I had to do things the old-fashioned way and manually change as many links as I possibly could. If that’s the only problem I’ve had, then it’s a pretty good service.
Would you sign up for MailerLite for Your Email Newsletter?
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