Mailchimp vs. Mailerlite vs. SendinBlue: The best email marketing platform
In a world of countless marketing channels — numerous social media platforms, in-person events, webinars, phone calls, online forums and chat rooms — email is still a hugely popular choice for communicating with customers. It’s cost-effective and allows you to build a direct relationship with your audience.
But which email provider is the easiest to use, or the most affordable? Which email marketing platform helps you minimize bounce rate, or helps you build the best-looking emails, or provides the most granular data management?
We’re here to take a deep dive into the best and most popular email marketing service providers.
Looking for a comparison including platforms such as Campaign Monitor, Klaviyo, Drip and ConvertKit? Stay tuned! Our deep dive into the best CRM ecosystems is coming soon!
At-a-glance comparison chart
|Brand positioning||Grow your audience and your revenue.
Win over new and repeat customers by sending emails and automations from a marketing platform that has expert advice built in.
|Create email marketing your audience will love.
Digital marketing tools to grow your audience faster and drive revenue smarter.
|Prepare for takeoff. Sendinblue is the smartest and most intuitive platform for growing businesses.
Thrive digitally as we guide your business with the right marketing & sales tools.
Website / Landing Page
|Setup/comments||Arguably the best-established platform. Now offers website builder and ecommerce services.||Basic affordable email marketing very well. Signup forms and paid newsletter subscription model available.||Affordable and simple email marketing. SMS marketing, Chat and Inbox platforms.|
|(Featured) Integrations||Shopify, Canva, Quickbooks, Zapier, Google Business Profile, Google Analytics, Yotpo, Instagram, Facebook, WooCommerce,
Squarespace, Stripe, BigCommerce, Magento, ShipStation, Wordpress,
|Facebook Audiences, MailerCheck,
Make, Shopify, Stripe, Typeform, WooCommerce, WordPress
|ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, HubSpot, Intercom,
Mailchimp, Mailjet, Mixpanel, Pipedrive, SurveyMonkey, Typeform,
|Price||Free: Monthly email limit of 10,000 sends.
Premium: $17/month for 6,000 sends.
|Free: Up to 1,000
subscribers and 12,000 emails/month.
Premium: Unlimited monthly emails from $9/month.
|Free: Up to 300 emails per day to unlimited contacts
Premium: From $25/month for up to 20,000 emails/month.
Mailchimp — a world of opportunities
Features and pricing
Billed as a place to “grow your audience and your revenue”, Mailchimp is an ecommerce platform for emails and automated workflows, customer segmentation, plus education and tips.
Mailchimp offers a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. Even though, with this plan, you have to display their branding in your email to customers, it’s still an attractive offering for up-and-coming businesses. Paid plans start from $10/month for up to 500 subscribers; this grants you numerous premium services such as more advanced audience segmentation and real-time support chat.
How it works
Upon logging in, you’ll see the statistics for your most recent campaign performance. This will include:
- open rate and clicks per unique open
- number of successful deliveries
- total opens and total clicks
- number of orders
- average order revenue and total revenue.
This is where you import, add and manage your subscribers, also known as contacts. You can manually add new subscribers one at a time by inputting their email address and personal information into a form or you can automatically import customer data in bulk from another platform, upload a CSV file, or copy and paste new contacts’ details.
Once you have imported and/or created subscribers, it’s easy to segment these people according to their previous shopping behavior, or location, or submitted personal preferences. You can manually add Tags to customers to be able to send targeted messages to people with similar characteristics, and Groups let you segment subscribers according to certain criteria or behavior.
This section is also where you build sign-up or registration forms to allow your audience to manually subscribe themselves to your email. This can be done through HTML forms, a pop-up box that can be embedded on any site, a contact form that sends messages to your inbox, or a number of integrations with your existing messaging software.
This is where you design and populate your emails, known as campaigns. There’s a choice of email templates to use depending on if you are pushing new products or making an announcement, but you can also develop new themes and layouts in the Content Studio.
This allows users to customize workloads, here known as Customer Journeys. There are almost endless opportunities for ways to promote your brand or products to your existing audience — such as sending a promotional message to abandoned cart customers — or to acquire new subscribers, for example with Facebook Ads campaigns (optionally integrated via Zapier).
Taking the ecommerce idea and running with it, MailChimp now also offers a website-building platform to “tell your story, connect with people, and grow your business”.
It’s possible to get up and running with just one product; after 15 to 20 minutes to set up payments via Stripe (which lets you receive payments from all major credit cards) and as little as 5 minutes for personalization you can start selling. Mailchimp automatically builds order confirmation, shipping notification, and abandoned cart emails for your store.
Mailerlite — keep things simple
Features and pricing
Billed as a way to “create email marketing and websites your audience will love”, Mailerlite offers digital marketing tools to grow your audience faster and drive revenue smarter. The MailerLite team aims to “provide intuitive solutions for complicated tasks” with clean and functional design and award-winning support.
Sending is free for up to 12,000 monthly emails and up to 1,000 subscribers; the Growing Business costs $9/month ($108 if billed yearly) for unlimited monthly emails and up to 1,000 subscribers; and the Advanced plan is $19/month ($228 if billed yearly) for unlimited monthly emails and up to 1,000 subscribers with numerous add-ons such as priority support and password-protected pages. For more subscribers, you can incrementally pay more; there’s a sliding scale at mailerlite.com/pricing to see how the pricing changes.
How it works
Once you’re logged in, MailerLite gives you a performance overview of recent email campaigns with statistics including total active subscribers, new subscribers today and this month, number of emails sent, opens, clicks and CTOR (click to open rate), number of unsubscribed and spam complaints if any.
Email newsletters, known as Campaigns, are split up into blocks which can be dragged and dropped into the edit. Examples of blocks include Logo + content, Article with image background, Highlight video, RSS list, 1 product aligned left and Footer.
Once you’re happy with the design, you can select which subscribers will receive this email campaign, either through basic targeting or through advanced segmentation such as ‘Signup source is API’ or ‘Signup date is before July’.
There are four main ways to add new subscribers: import from a CSV or TXT file, copy and paste from Excel, add a single subscriber and import from Mailchimp. The Mailerlite platform will automatically clean duplicate instances of email addresses upon import.
Once you have imported or added subscribers, it’s possible to separate out these people for more accurate targeting: Segments are dynamic lists of your subscribers based on their attributes and behaviors and Groups let you organize your subscribers based on interest, actions, and more. You can also add customized Fields to store any extra information.
In this section too is the Stats tab, where you can look into your emails’ average open rate per campaign, average click rate per campaign, average subscribe rate per month and average unsubscribe rate per month.
Forms and Sites
MailerLite’s form builder lets you design and schedule pop-up subscription sign-ups to capture readers’ attention best. There are several pop-up types, including floating bars and sliding boxes, and you can choose a time duration or scroll length before the pop-up shows.
You can also build simple landing pages to collect sign-ups and/or promote old email content to encourage interaction, or publish a customer survey drive engagement.
These workflows automatically send emails based on subscribers’ actions or preferences such as their first sign-up or birthday. You can automatically tag subscribers based on their on-site behavior — and use these tags to create new groups and segments for targeting — as well as send promotional emails to customers with abandoned carts.
SendinBlue — dig into the data
Features and pricing
SendinBlue claims to help you to “Be where your customers are and manage all your digital communications in one place” though a combination of email campaigns — including with sending time optimization — marketing automation, CRM and live chat.
The Free plan costs $0/month for up to 300 emails per day to unlimited contacts. The Lite plan costs from $25/month for up to 20,000 emails a month to unlimited contacts as well as email support and A/B testing. The Premium plans costs from $65/month for 20,000 emails to unlimited contacts, including everything in Lite plus automations, Facebook ads, landing pages and telephone support.
How it works
Upon logging in, you receive an at-a-glance dashboard of statistics for previous email campaigns. You can see the name of the campaign, number of conversions, recipients, openers, ‘clickers’ and unsubscribers.
SendinBlue also shows the trackable open rate and total number of trackable opens (the people who did not enable a Privacy Protection option on their email client) to estimated number of opened emails.
Emails (within Campaigns tab)
SendinBlue offers a choice of email layouts for your email newsletter, depending on the type of message you want to convey: announcing a product launch, promoting an event or pushing blog content.
You can choose pre-built templates from the gallery — this is also available in the Templates section — or drag and drop to build your own, or even code your own from scratch.
Automation and Transactional
This lets you build automated workflows, depending on a number of factors. Each automation consists of: an entry point, such as a purchase on the website, to trigger the workflow; an action, such as send an email or SMS; and a condition, such as ‘Is this their first purchase?’.
These factors are combined to create workflows that can help with various tasks, such as onboarding new customers with relevant content, sending a discount code to an inactive customer to encourage them to re-engage, or offering recommendations and upsells to active customers.
The are two ways to import contacts in SendinBlue: either upload a .csv, .xlsx or .txt file from your computer, or copy and paste contacts from an .xls file. But you can also access the Forms and Landing page functions from here to build customized web elements to encourage sign-up. You can also add a single contact with their personal information.
The Lists section, in conjunction with contact attributes, allows you to segment your customers for targeted sends. To improve open rates even further, you can customize your own sending settings, such as From Name, Reply-to and Header/Footer for each individual list.
MailChimp, MailerLite, and SendinBlue all cater to slightly different user bases within the email marketing space: MailChimp has a breadth of capabilities; MailerLite is lightweight and affordable; SendinBlue is data-driven.
All options serve a different purpose, and it’s up to you to decide which is best for you and your audience. Happy writing!
During our research, we considered the top 4 metrics that any great email platform should offer. Once the metrics were defined, we looked to give them a score between 1 and 5 in order to create a total score that would let us rank them. Based on the total score, we were able to compare and draw a conclusion on which platforms are the best and warrant further investigation.
The metrics These are the 4 metrics with explanations for what we believe a great email marketing provider should offer:
Ease / speed of getting started
- Was it easy to get up and running, including creating an account and sending the first email?
- Was the instruction for doing more complicated task, such as building a website, clear?
- Is there a logical and clear way to navigate through the different services of the platform?
Ease of integration and level of intuition
- How easy/intuitive is it to connect the platform with third-party software?
- If there are no existing integrations, is building one easy? Are APIs readily available?
- Are there functionalities that feel incomplete? Is it easy to create an email that looks and feels close to what you had in mind?
- How does the company sell itself? How does it use wording and visuals to attract customers?
- What types of customers does it aim to attract?
- What fees does the software charge? Are there extra processing fees (due to Stripe and similar)?
- Is there a free tier or trial period? If so, does the trial offer a complete experience or are some functionalities reserved for paying customers?