When it comes to email marketing, every marketer and business owner knows that it’s imperative to have some kind of strategy in place.
And every good email marketing strategy must come with some type of email marketing software.
This is where you’ll host your email list, create and send your emails and review performance reports.
99% of consumers check their email daily, so you know it’s important to find the best email marketing software for your business.
With so many options out there, it can get a little overwhelming. We know you don’t have the time to go through and test every single available option before finding the perfect platform.
That’s why we’ve done just that for you. As a digital marketing manager, I’ve worked with several different email marketing platforms over the years, and the pros and cons for each vary depending on what your business is looking for.
In this article, we’re going to introduce one of your options to you: MailerLite. When most people think email marketing, this isn’t one of the first platforms that pop into your head.
However, MailerLite should definitely be one of your serious contenders when it comes to making that final choice.
To give you some insight into the various features this software has to offer, I conducted a full runthrough of the platform.
Learn more about what it has to offer through our MailerLite review.
Above everything else, the cost of a new software is always the first thing on a business owner’s mind.
It doesn’t matter if a platform has absolutely everything you need if you can’t afford it in the first place.
Lucky for you, MailerLite is definitely one of the more affordable platforms. They even offer a completely free package for up to 1,000 email subscribers to let you get a taste for the platform without paying a dime.
Although the free package is limited, it’s better than just a 30-day free trial like many other platforms offer.
The free-to-use option is only for lists less than 1,000 subscribers and has a cap of 12,000 emails sent out each month.
Basically, you can’t send more than 12 emails each month to a 1,000 person email list. Which most businesses aren’t doing anyways, so there shouldn’t be an issue there.
The biggest issue I see with the free package is that you don’t have access to any ready made email templates.
You can certainly try your hand at creating your own using one of their email builders, but having a starting point always helps.
In addition, you have to keep the MailerLite logo at the bottom of each email you send out in the free plan. While this isn’t a huge deal, the only logo you really want on your email is yours.
Their priced plans go a little something like this:
- $10/month for up to 1,000 subscribers
- $15/month for 1,001-2,500 subscribers
- $30/month for 2,501-5,000 subscribers
- $50/month for 5,001-10,000 subscribers
And they just go up from there. MailerLite’s pricing page actually has a great calculator that allows you to input your list size and determine your price point for larger lists.
Overall, MailerLite is incredibly affordable, especially when compared to some of its competitors.
MailerLite has very similar features to all of these platforms for a fraction of the cost, making it a fantastic option for any business with a low budget.
MailerLite’s features include two different email builders, automation, tracking and reporting and more. So, more or less everything your company needs in a basic email marketing platform.
The most important parts are creating and sending emails, putting together automation sequences and tracking your email performance, right?
Let’s talk a bit more about each of their biggest features.
When building a brand new email newsletter to send out to your list, click Campaigns in the top navigation bar to get started. Then click the orange Create Campaign button.
You also have the option of choosing a specific type of campaign from the dropdown before moving forward, like an A/B test campaign or RSS campaign.
An A/B test campaign allows you to send multiple versions of your email out to test which performs better.
An RSS campaign pulls blog posts and other information straight from an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed.
The first step in creating a campaign is adding in a subject line and setting your “from” email.
One thing that I personally love about this platform is that it allows personalization right in the subject line, and it supports the use of emoji.
There are unbelievably still a few platforms that don’t allow you to use emoji within your emails, which seems so 1999.
After you create your email subject and click next, you’ll get to work on creating your email content.
If you have one of the paid plans, MailerLite has some gorgeous premade template options.
If you’re working with the free plan, or if you want to start from scratch and utilize your own branding colors and fonts, you can choose between one of their two email builder options.
They have a “New Drag & Drop Editor” and a “Classic Drag & Drop Editor.” The classic is, for lack of a better word, very classic, and is very similar to several other drag and drop editors like MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Most classic drag and drop email marketing editors include basic content blocks, like text, photo, video and the like. It’s your job to design these blocks and place them in the right place.
However, the new version is extremely helpful and can be a suitable replacement for the email templates if you want to build your own email.
In the classic version, it’s completely up to you to build your newsletter from scratch, but the new version has premade content blocks to drop right into the newsletter.
There are blocks for blog posts, products, events and more.
You can also easily change your font face, sizing and colors to match your company’s branding.
After all, you want to make sure your brand is recognizable through all of your marketing messaging, including your email newsletters.
MailerLite does have limited font choices, but there are more than the bare basics (i.e., Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana).
One thing to keep in mind is that once you choose your drag & drop builder type, you’re not able to switch to the other builder.
So if you go with the classic version, you’re stuck with it. If you don’t want to use that version, you have to start over with a new email campaign.
Ultimately, the classic drag and drop builder is nothing special, but with the email templates and the new drag and drop builder, MailerLite actually has an edge against some of its competitors.
After you’ve created your email newsletter content, click Done Editing in the top right corner to move onto the next step: selecting your recipients.
MailerLite surprisingly has some really great segmentation options available. When adding new subscribers, they’ll automatically go to your master list called “Subscribers.”
But from there, you’ll add them into smaller groups to differentiate which email newsletters, series or courses they’ll get from your business.
If you go into the Subscribers area of your MailerLite dashboard, you’ll see other options as well, like segments.
But what do you do with both groups and segments?
These are basically two different ways of differentiating between each of your subscribers, but segments are automated and groups are set manually.
In MailerLite, segments are always dictated by a rule. So subscribers are added to a segment based on whether or not they align with that rule.
For example, you might create a segment of subscribers that have been inactive (i.e., haven’t opened any emails) in 60 days, and send a follow up email asking if they’re still interested in hearing from you.
Once someone has been inactive for 60 days, they’ll be automatically added to that segment. And on the other side of the spectrum, if someone has been inactive for 60 days, but opens your next email, they’ll be automatically removed from the segment.
This particular segment is a great way to keep your email list clean and filled with active and engaged potential customers.
But there are many other segments you could create, based on when someone signed up to your email list, how often they open or click on your emails and more.
A group, however, is more like a list. You’re manually adding people and removing them from the list. Or your subscriber is manually adding (by opting in) or removing (by unsubscribing) himself.
Many email marketing platforms don’t actually have both of these options, so I’m really impressed with the amount of segmentation and automation that MailerLite offers.
Speaking of automation, let’s talk about MailerLite’s full automation workflow feature. You can access this feature by clicking Automation in the top navigation bar, then clicking the orange Create a new workflow button to get started.
In email marketing, automation workflows are used for a few different things. They’re great for putting together an email course that sends automatically each time someone new signs up. They’re also great for a welcome email series for brand new subscribers to your overall list.
And they can be really powerful lead nurturing and sales tools for gently coaxing your subscribers into making a purchase or signing up for service.
In MailerLite, there are a lot of great trigger options available, like an anniversary, an updated field and more.
For example, you might send someone an email congratulating them on having their product from your business for a year (or remind them to upgrade to a new one), or you might send out a confirmation email if someone updates their name or email address.
Setting up automations for small things like this is a great way to stay top of mind and continue to reinforce that customer service and loyalty for your business.
To get started with a new workflow, you need to decide what is going to trigger that automation to start.
More often than not, your trigger choice is going to be that someone has joined a group. This means they’ve opted in, whether it’s to your overall email list or to a specific email series or course.
One cool thing about MailerLite is that you have the option to resend automation sequences if someone sets the trigger off twice. It depends on what your trigger is, and what emails or steps follow it, but this could definitely come in handy.
Once that trigger has gone off, your workflow is in place.
As you create your workflow, you’ll click the + sign to add new steps along the way.
Your options here include Email, Delay, Condition or Action.
When setting the next action as an email, you’ll follow similar steps as creating a basic email campaign.
You’ll again set your email subject, choose between the new and classic email builder options and create your email content before saving and going back to your workflow.
If you decide to set a delay, you’re essentially putting the workflow on pause for a set amount of time.
You might want to wait 24 hours until the next email in your course goes out, you might want to wait a week before setting a condition, etc.
Setting a condition branches your workflow out into two different segments: one for if the condition has been met, and the other if it has not.
One common example of this is setting a condition on if the first email in a series was opened.
If it was, you’ll continue on with your series, but if it wasn’t, you might want to follow up before removing people from your list or deciding to continue with the series.
The conditions get really into the nitty gritty as well. You can set conditions based on if any link was clicked or even if a specific link was clicked, if an email was opened or not, if a custom field equals or does not equal a set value and more.
There are a few different options to choose from when using the action feature.
To give an example of how you might use this, look back at the example I covered under conditions.
If someone isn’t opening your emails, you might want to move them to a different group or mark them as unsubscribed completely. It doesn’t do you any favors to keep unengaged users on your email list.
Overall, the workflows seem incredibly easy to create and are visually organized. There aren’t any crazy twists and turns with the steps; they simply fall down in line in the order they’re supposed to occur.
MailerLite also has a lot of different options for automation that should cover the bases of any basic or mid-level marketing automation strategy.
Tracking & Reporting
To view your email campaign reports, head over to Campaigns in the top navigation, then click Sent to access emails you’ve previously sent out.
You can then click the grey View report button underneath the campaign of your choice.
Although I’ve definitely been singing the praises of MailerLite so far, I have to admit: its reporting features aren’t anything special.
You’re able to view percentage of opens and clicks, as well as top email client it was viewed on, where your audience opened your email (mobile, desktop) and what links your recipients clicked on.
These reporting metrics are the bare minimum, and can be found on any email marketing platform out there. Their tracking could definitely be improved with options like conversion tracking or tracking clicks to your website.
However, it is still a pretty neat feature that they have a one-click option to enable Google Analytics link tracking to your site so that you can also track the amount of clicks you’re getting from your emails right in your Google Analytics dashboard.
A nice feature (also common, but still nice) is that you can download/print your report as a PDF so that you can compile your full marketing report more easily.
If you’re thinking about getting a MailerLite account for your email marketing, I have great news for you: you can sign up in literally two steps. It’s extremely easy to do.
All you need to do is click Sign Up on the website, then input your business name, email and password on the next page, and BAM, you’ve got a MailerLite account.
You could probably do it faster than it took you to read this section so far.
You need to import your existing email list! If you’re starting from scratch, go ahead and head over to Forms to grab your first opt-in form to embed into your website (you need to start growing your list ASAP, my friend).
But if you’re moving over from another platform, you’ll want to keep that same email list.
Every email marketing platform has the option to export and import lists. But if you’re switching from Mailchimp to MailerLite, they have a built-in importer to make it even easier for you.
You only have to connect your existing Mailchimp account in order to move every contact over. Bonus?
They’re going to automatically clean up your duplicate emails to ensure you’ve got a quality list to move forward with.
If you have any questions about the platform while you’re diving in yourself, MailerLite’s help dashboard is very user-friendly.
Just click the encircled question mark in the bottom right corner, and their help center will appear on the right-hand half of the screen overtop what you’re doing.
To make it even easier to find exactly what you’re looking for, they include help videos and questions relevant to the page you were on when you clicked for help.
For example, I’m curious about just how I’m supposed to set up my Google Analytics tracking.
Do I really just click on that checkmark and I’m good to go? So I’ve typed “google analytics” into the search bar.
It looks like there’s only one option talking about Google Analytics, but it has everything I need.
Two-step instructions on ensuring I’ve got my website analytics properly integrated with my email marketing
If you have more specific questions, you can also reach out to a representative and they’ll be able to assist you personally.
Pros & Cons Of Using MailerLite
Now that we’ve covered MailerLite’s basic features, it’s time to decide: is this the best email marketing software for your business?
Personally, I would say that MailerLite actually stands up really well against similar competitors. It’s much more affordable, has equally awesome (if not more awesome) features, and is easy to use.
I’m also pretty obsessed with their new drag & drop builder myself. This is the first time I’ve seen such dynamic premade content block options in an email newsletter, and I think it’s a wonderful idea.
MailerLite has a lot of pros to bring to the table. Its email builder (as I aforementioned) is fantastic – the new builder, specifically. I’d recommend staying away from the classic builder. It’ll take longer to make emails, and they definitely won’t look as good.
Overall, this platform is great for users and businesses who want to send visually appealing newsletters that don’t take forever to put together. And it’s also great for those who want automation without the enterprise cost.
If your business incorporates marketing automation into every facet of their business, like with ecommerce, tracking clicks throughout the website and setting up triggers based on that, MailerLite probably can’t get you where you need to go.
But if you’ve got basic or mid-level automation needs, MailerLite is definitely the cheapest (while still quality) option available.
The pricing of the platform is also a huge pro. This software has a lot to offer and is much cheaper than similar options. If budget is an issue, I’d highly recommend giving MailerLite a try.
MailerLite’s reporting is basic at best. If your company needs extensive reporting, this isn’t the platform for you. You’re not going to get much more than who clicked on what.
But if we’re being honest, that’s my biggest (and only) con.
MailerLite Vs Other Services:
I’ve been thoroughly impressed with what I’ve seen from MailerLite and I think it could do great things for your business.
The platform is very easy to use, and has extensive help options should you ever get stuck.
After all, you can always upload just a 1,000 email segment of your list to give MailerLite a test run with their free plan and decide from there if it’s the platform for you.