Moving from Mailchimp to MailerLite: A Guide Marketing Resources

Mailchimp made some major changes recently which were received very negatively – causing many users to flee into the arms of alternatives like MailerLite.

I moved to MailerLite a couple of months ago, and have been very happy with the change but, there are a few things you need to watch out for. Whether you have multiple, big lists with lots of automations, or are still growing your first list on the free plans, this post will guide you through all the issues.

Warning: it’s long. But there’s a prize for making it to the end. Plus it covers a lot.

  • First we run over the differences between Mailchimp and MailerLite – things like free plans, pricing, features, and integrations, and which of those differences really matter.
  • Next we look at the steps involved in physically moving your list across to MailerLite. This is actually the easiest part of the whole process, but there are some wrinkles.
  • With that taken care of, we move on to more advanced topics like switching over your automations, what to do about those pesky website forms and sign-up links, and also how to sweep up any stray Mailchimp forms out there in the wild so you don’t have precious sign-ups going to the wrong place. That last part can be tricky.
  • Then we wrap up with a few things you mightn’t have considered, like how to maybe keep a shell of your Mailchimp account open without paying anything, and why you might want to do that, at least temporarily… but also the hidden costs involved.

This post is not a comprehensive guide to those cataclysmic changes at Mailchimp which had swarms of people dropping it like a hot potato. That breakdown is here, if you missed it: Time To Ditch Mailchimp? (Spoiler Alert: the answer is “yeah, probably.”)

Okay, let’s get to it.

Mailchimp vs MailerLite: Pricing

MailerLite is considerably cheaper than Mailchimp, but one thing can take a bite out of those savings if you are based in Europe: VAT.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be VAT registered, but you may not be, so that charge will come out of your pocket. Even with VAT, it’s still cheaper than Mailchimp, but VAT of 20-25% is pretty hefty (depending on which part of the European smorgasboard you call home).

Americans have no such worries though.

Pricing chart Mailerlite v Mailchimp

(Click on the above pricing chart if you want to see that in more detail.)

The only other catch, of sorts, isn’t really that big of a catch anymore. Historically, one huge advantage Mailchimp had over MailerLite was that it was free for up to 2,000 email addresses, whereas MailerLite’s paid plans kicked in at 1,000 subscribers. However, now that Mailchimp has significantly hobbled the free plan and is counting unsubscribes as part of your audience, the difference is essentially non-existent.

In fact, it has arguably swung the other way because Mailchimp no longer gives you access to basic things like automations or more than one list on the free plan, whereas MailerLite gives you all that stuff. And when it comes to paid plans, MailerLite’s are considerably better value given that Mailchimp has also gutted many of the paid plans while simultaneously jacking up their prices (note: legacy paid users at Mailchimp are spared most of the changes… for now… but new and free users will see this gruesome twosome right away).

Those new basic paid plans at Mailchimp don’t even include multi-part automations anymore and are limited to three lists, which is just crazy. You could have a list of 8000 people, paying Mailchimp $75 a month, but it won’t give you access to proper automations unless you shell out for the fancier plan at $99 a month, and even then you have usage limits. It’s pretty sly.

That same list will cost you $50 a month at MailerLite, with everything included. There is no gatekeeping of needed features behind a paywall or any of that BS. And the price savings will grow with your list. (Euroheads: that $50 charge will come out at $60ish with VAT.)

One thing that might reduce your costs – on either platform – are the respective affiliate schemes. MailerLite has two versions. The Refer A Friend program earns you credit against your monthly costs for each friend you refer who signs up. It also has a more standard affiliate scheme which you can read about here. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t see the advantage of using the Refer A Friend program over the affiliate scheme, which seems far juicier. Mailchimp also has an affiliate program but one where you earn credits against your monthly costs rather than cash-money.

(Note: I am both a Mailchimp and MailerLite affiliate.)

Mailchimp vs MailerLite: Features & Integrations

The feature set is pretty similar. There are some differences, but they may not be anything you particularly care about. For example, I haven’t noticed any feature missing from MailerLite yet that I was using at Mailchimp. I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t personally run into anything while rejigging a couple of onboarding sequences and sending my first few campaigns. And while MailerLite does have some extra features, they aren’t really things I use that much.

The big difference is with those Free plans, and Mailchimp’s growing tendency to strip away key features for higher priced plans. Automation is the big one obviously. Free plans at Mailchimp, and even the basic paid plans, don’t allow for more than an automated welcome message now. If you want a proper onboarding sequence for new subscribers (and you should!) then you can’t do that at Mailchimp without paying more.

The other feature differences are more minor – for me at least. MailerLite offers things like a Custom HTML editor and surveys which I don’t use, and things like sending by Time Zone and Landing Pages with custom domains, which Mailchimp does have but are only available on certain plans.

However, one big point in Mailchimp’s favor is its size, meaning the selection of integrations and plugins and widgets available are far greater. There’s no getting around that, but the number of MailerLite integrations is considerable and growing fast. Check if they have what you need here.

And then one big point in MailerLite’s favor is its challenger status, meaning customer service – in my experience at least – is more responsive and helpful and just friendlier. It feels like they want the business more, whereas maybe Mailchimp is too big to care now. (Not a slight on the customer service staff at Mailchimp, more the management/policies.)

Moving to MailerLite: Lists

This really is the easiest part of the process. It only take a couple of clicks. Once you open your MailerLite account you can import all your Mailchimp lists with a few button presses via the Mailchimp API. There’s a step-by-step guide here if you need it, but it’s so simple you probably won’t. You have the option to import all your fields, and keep those lists separate too. It’s very neat.

And then if you want to set up new lists, or splice and dice things differently now that you won’t be charged for duplicates, that’s super easy too – just note that “Lists” are called “Groups” at MailerLite (and have been changed to “Audiences” at Mailchimp – in case you haven’t logged in recently).

Unlike Mailchimp, you don’t start paying at MailerLite when you exceed the Free thresholds. You won’t pay anything until you actively upgrade your plan – but you will need to do that before sending to your list if it is greater than 1,000 subscribers, of course. But you can go ahead and open your account, import your list now, and get it all set up.

You don’t have to upgrade your plan and start paying MailerLite until you are ready to start sending emails.

Whether you start off on a Free plan or upgrade right away, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the interface. Set up all your lists (i.e. “Groups”), and copy across your various automations and onboarders (more on that below). I think I tooled around for a couple of weeks before actually importing my list, so you can do it that way too if you like. Just keep in mind that you might end up continuing to pay Mailchimp during any changeover period even if you reduce your subscriber count to nothing. More on that below too.

Anyway, moving subscribers is the easy part. Switching your forms and automations is a little trickier, and requires lining everything up right.

Moving to MailerLite: Automations

For some reason, I had it in my head that MailerLite’s automations either weren’t that advanced or were clunky or otherwise hard to use. I was very wrong. The system is simpler in the sense that the interface is much cleaner and more manageable, but you can do a lot more with MailerLite’s automations. Or maybe the system is just easier to use that I’m discovering more features, I don’t know.

You’ll see what I mean when you play around with it. Once you get used to the interface differences, it’s all quite intuitive. The only real thing I’ll add here is that you should take the opportunity to optimize those automations while you are going to the trouble of rebuilding them anyway.

If you’ve been skating by with a simple welcome email to date, and haven’t been properly onboarding people, then now is the time to build that out. And if you don’t send any welcome emails at all, then go stand in the corner until you’ve read Newsletter Ninja.

If you do have a multi-stage automation to warm up new subscribers, great. But perhaps review your reports in Mailchimp one last time to see if one of the emails isn’t pulling its weight. For me personally, I actually shortened my onboarding sequence. I felt the welcome emails were not fully representative of the weekly content of my list, and what I now do instead is push people towards my brand new Email Archive, which houses all the greatest hits.

This saves me a little admin too as new subscribers were often requesting links to previous emails on Facebook Ads or BookBub or how to launch a new pen name. Now they get access to all of that as part of the sign-up process.

(BTW that’s another reason to sign-up to my list if you haven’t already. Do that right here. You get a copy of Amazon Decoded to sweeten the already sugary pot.)

This also helps with my deliverability and open rates, as I don’t have to put so many links in emails. But the decision to create an Email Archive was inspired by something else: a welcome bit of forthrightness from Mailchimp customer support. I was asking them what happens to the web versions of all my old emails (like this, for example). While Mailchimp said that those old emails would initially survive my account being paused or closed, they couldn’t guarantee how long they would stay up for. Fair enough, perhaps, but something to keep in mind if you also refer back to old emails a lot.

The only remaining wrinkle is what to do with subscribers part-way through an automation sequence, especially if it’s one that plays out over multiple weeks. Well, there’s no super neat solution here, because (AFAIK) you can’t just dump people into Step 3 of your new MailerLite automation. If you add those subscribers into the group which has a new automation attached, that will start them back at Step 1. But you can also choose to not have the automation fire at all and just throw them straight into your regular pool of subscribers. That’s what I chose to do as it’s easiest.

If you are having any trouble with setting up your automations, or just getting a handle on the interface, as this aspect is quite different to Mailchimp (but better, once you get it), then check out this helpful video guide. There are lots more guides like this on the MailerLite site too if you want to delve into segmentation or anything else.

Moving to MailerLite: Forms & Sign-Ups

Rebuilding automations in MailerLite is actually fine. It’s not quite the button pressing ease of importing a list, but I got through it way quicker than expected. Switching those forms across, and hunting down everywhere you might have scattered sign-up links is a bear though.

Well, it actually depends. If you were smart when dropping sign-up links in your books or during interviews or on social media etc., you would have linked to a page like this – a clean, optimized sign-up page on a domain which you control. Switching this to MailerLite just requires changing the place the form is pointing at. You can do that with plugins/widgets or you can get into the code itself, if you prefer.

This is really important: you must remember to re-authenticate your domain after switching to MailerLite. This will improve the deliverability of your emails. The guide to doing this is here and it basically involves going to the website of whoever your hoster is (e.g. GoDaddy) and changing the DNS records.

Just don’t do what I did, i.e. start the authentication process, get distracted by a sandwich, and then forget to finish it. This will break your sign-up forms and have everyone at customer service scratching their heads (sorry, customer service people).

That’s not the only wrinkle though. Maybe you didn’t realize that best practice for sign-ups was to host the form on your own site, rather than to use the free Mailchimp sign-up forms. If you linked to those instead, you have a more painful task ahead of you. This is what I used to do pre-2018 when I was crap at email, so I feel your pain. I still have a lot of books and posts floating out there in the cyber-ether pointing at Mailchimp forms.

I know that will describe some of you too, so here’s a workaround. Actually, I think everyone should do this to make 100% sure you have closed off all the pipelines going to Mailchimp.

Closing Down Mailchimp & Monitoring Pipelines

After I switched everything over to MailerLite, I turned off my automations at Mailchimp. I knew there would still be some people trickling in from somewhere, but I also knew that if they didn’t get the free books they were promised, they would email me to complain. I wanted them to complain!

Why? Because it gave me the opportunity to ask them where they signed up (and to apologize and give them their free book, of course). I find a couple of little pipelines into Mailchimp through this method, but it also gave me piece of mind too. I then took that handful of people and dropped them into my onboarder which started automatically firing and whisking them through.

Maybe you want to monitor that kind of thing over a longer period, but you don’t want to pay Mailchimp a hefty sum just to make sure you have switched all your forms and links across. There’s a way, but let me explain something about Mailchimp billing first, so you don’t get stung too badly.

Mailchimp determines your monthly fee based on the size of your list, but it makes that calculation based on the highpoint of that number in the last 30 days. I presume this is to stop people gaming the billing system by importing 20,000 subscribers, sending an email, then exporting them all again and paying nothing. So whatever the high water mark was in the last 30 days, that’s what they use to calculate your billing.

In other words, if you have 3,500 subscribers, and then move them all across to MailerLite and then export the records to your computer (which you must do to comply with GDPR – you must maintain records of how everyone signed up, and I don’t think importing your list to MailerLite will suffice), and reduce that subscriber count down to zero just to see who trickles in, you will get charged for 3,500 subscribers on your next billing date.

Closing your account or pausing your account means you will dodge that bill, but just reducing the account to zero won’t do that. But there is a workaround if you want to keep a shell of your account open for monitoring purposes, and you can follow the steps here – scroll down to “Downgrade to the Free plan.”

You have to actively downgrade your plan, simply removing all subscribers won’t trigger that for you. Note that if you have downgraded to the Free plan previously, and subsequently upgraded to a Paid plan, you will not be able to downgrade again.

Also of note: Mailchimp says this will keep your old emails from getting purged – remember, Mailchimp can’t guarantee that for paused or closed accounts.

However, there is a kind of hidden cost to doing this. That Mailchimp policy of charging you based on the high water mark of your subscriber account is going to kick in here, at least for the first month you are back on the Free plan. It’s only the subsequent month where you will commence paying nothing.

So, I made a clean break – I just wanted to outline the option to you, and the associated cost. To permanently close your account, follow these steps. Remember this will permanently delete your account, all your lists, reports, and maybe those old emails too. Make sure to back up all your data first. That process will export all your lists, reports, templates, campaigns, and any content you uploaded like pictures. It’s quite handy. However, if you ever deleted any audiences or contacts, those are gone permanently.

Moving From Mailchimp: A Checklist

That’s it! Moving is really not as bad as you think. You will be glad you did it, especially if you take my advice and use this as an opportunity to buff up your automations. Here’s a handy checklist to help you order your tasks:

  1. Sign up for your MailerLite account. Familiarize yourself with the interface and Help pages (they’re great, actually – with lots of video too if that’s how you roll).
  2. Import your list. Don’t worry about this automatically triggering payment. It’s not like Mailchimp, and you don’t start paying until you want to. (You can’t send to lists over 1,000 people until you do though.)
  3. Organize your account into the various Lists/Groups you want to use.
  4. Build your Automations/Welcome Emails/Onboarding Sequences.
  5. Switch Your Sign-Up Forms/Plugins/Widgets (plus your links in your books, if necessary).
  6. Export your audiences/lists to your computer for safekeeping – even though you have already imported them to MailerLite. You will need to keep records of how everyone signed up to comply with GDPR so this is very important.
  7. Start sending your newsletters from MailerLite.
  8. Close your Mailchimp account once you’re sure all sign-up forms are switched and data is exported. (Or revert to a free account by downgrading your plan to monitor that temporarily.)

One last thing…

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David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time spent outside. He writes novels under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership with his books, blogs, workshops, and courses, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.


52 Replies to “Moving from Mailchimp to MailerLite: A Guide”

  1. Hey David,

    I also switched over to Mailerlite from MailChimp and, like you say, the switch was easy and setting up the automation sequences was far more intuitive than with MC – I was even able to do some things with the ML automations that I couldn’t (but wanted to) do with MC.

    And I did notice your last newsletter was from Mailerlite! One thing though, ML text defaults to a light gray font color. Why this is the default, I’ve no idea because it’s an absolute pain to read (don’t worry, I struggled through yours), but senders might want to change the font color to black to keep their readers happy and eye-strain free.

    1. Thanks Tammie, I had someone else mention the legibility so I’ll fix that for next week. I’ve actually sent out the last three emails now from Mailerlite, were the others similar? Just curious. I’ll make sure it’s darker on Friday. Don’t want anyone squinting!

  2. I’ll second the DepositPhotos offer. Their selection is not as extensive as Shutterstock, but it’s still pretty good, and the deal is awesome. I just bought two pieces for my new cover to “The Complete, Annotated Whose Body?” and I’ll be buying six more for the cover to “Man Out of Time.”

    They were also very good at customer service. When the code they gave me wouldn’t work, they sent me a new one. When that didn’t work, they tried again, and to make it up doubled my number of photos. So, big thumbs-up!

    1. Yeah Shutterstock has something like 200m images now versus the 100m or so at DepositPhotos. I think the quality level is higher overall too, so I’m more likely to get something for a book cover from there, but I have used images from DepositPhotos for that too, as well as for general ad needs etc.

      Thing is, Shutterstock is something like $49 for five images, rather than 100.

  3. Thanks for the info, David.
    I switched my regular newsletter to MailerLite a couple years ago but kept the automation on boarding sequence at MailChimp — because… laziness. I export the full set of subscribers at MC over to ML before sending a new newsletter, and the duplicates and non-subs are stripped out, making it very easy.

    With the new changes/charges at MC I have archived my unsubscribes and nonsubscribers. I think “cleaned” ones aren’t counted, correct? I still have about 1400 subscribers over at MC mainly because it is so difficult to tell when folks have completed the sequence. The segmenting report on “completed” is bonkers. My question is will MailChimp continue to let me keep my sequence going under the free plan? I guess I am a legacy person at this point, having had both free and paid plans in the past.

    PS: I have had complaints about the grey text as well and try to always change it up to black. No idea why that is the default or how to change it.

    1. Hi Lise, I have to think about this a little further, but I’m just wondering about your current set-up as these thoughts were on my mind while I was transitioning. Let’s say I sign up to your list and start getting your automated welcome emails from Mailchimp. When I complete the sequence, you then move me across to your general population at Mailerlite. Problem is, what if I don’t read the emails right away? What if I’m busy or on vacation? Let’s say I read the last email in the sequence 10 days or 2 weeks later, and then decide to unsubscribe – you will have already ported me across to the general population in Mailerlite, and my unsubscribe won’t register with you, which seems to put you in breach of CAN SPAM laws and GDPR regulations and all sorts of other things (not a lawyer, obvs).

      That’s just the beginning of the potential issues, aside from lots of extra admin. One nice thing that Mailerlite has which Mailchimp didn’t is that it will automatically “graduate” subscriberes that finish your onboarder, moving them to your main list and unsubbing them from the list to which the onboarder is attached. It’s automatic and painless – so worth the hassle of moving it all across on its own, even if I don’t have that right above.

      As to your question though, I can’t say for sure. It SEEMS that if you had a Free plan which was within the accepted parameters before they hobbled Free that they will let you continue as you are, but won’t let you add new audiences or automations etc. But I’d hate to rely on that personally.

    2. I can clarify one aspect of your question though. You are no longer considered a legacy user – that only applies to existing paid monthly people. As of June 15, you are a free user under the new Terms of Use, which means that if you were, hypothetically speaking, to stay with Mailchimp and upgrade to a paid account you would be on the new, more expensive pricing structure and are already on the new crappy terms. I guess they are grandfathering in the existing automations and audience as a courtesy (read: to prevent a revolt) but I also suspect they can withdraw that at any point under the new Terms of Use.

      1. Thanks, David. I know I need to rebuild my automations at MailerLite… there is no perfect time for that! I see the danger in violating spam laws. I will get on it!

  4. I switched to ML a few weeks ago and their customer support was super helpful in helping to fix some issues on their end with how automations worked that were based on a custom form field populated from a signup form. (My site uses SquareSpace, which only fully integrates with MC–with ML, I can only send signups to one subscriber group, so I had to come up with a workaround to funnel people into different automations.) I appreciated all their effort to get thinks working correctly even though I’m on the free plan.

    1. One limitation I found with ML and Squarespace: ML allows only one account per organization/domain.

      This isn’t a big deal if you maintain only one site on Squarespace. But if you run multiple sites, you’d need a separate ML account for each site. On MC, you can have one account and connect as many lists as you like to as many sites as you like.

      Not necessarily a deal breaker but could be an inconvenience (and possibly more expensive) to have multiple accounts in ML.

      1. “On MC, you can have one account and connect as many lists as you like to as many sites as you like.”

        Just on this part, that’s only true of legacy paid accounts. It has changed now under the new terms for free accounts and new paid accounts. Free accounts are limited to one list (now called Audience). Paid accounts only get three. And even if you upgrade to the higher paid tier, you only get five.

        You have to upgrade to the Pro account – starting at $299 a month but increasing with the size of your list – to get the same unlimited lists/audiences that we used to get before the change. It’s really bad.

        Legacy paid accounts don’t see those changes… yet. But Mailchimp couldn’t guarantee that wouldn’t happen eventually, and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen in the next 12 months personally.

        1. Yikes—I read your original post but didn’t realize the changes were that drastic. I’m on a legacy plan (I downgraded from a paid MC account to a free one a few months ago) but still have all of my lists/audiences.

          So much for MC being an attractive, low-cost option.

        2. This post and all the comments are really useful, so many thanks. I am interested in this thread though, because on MailChimp I have an account that acts as my agency account – so when I log into that it presents me with a list of all the MailChimp accounts that are linked to it.

          I think this is what Michael Gowin is referring to?

          I don’t see anything similar on MailerLite, it looks like you can set up teams, but you’d have to log into separate accounts each time – but maybe I just haven’t found the right info.

          David, it seems like you are still happy so far? Based on your feedback I am thinking of moving a client over to MailerLite, but I got slightly nervous when I saw the amount of 1 star reviews on Trustpilot.

        3. I looked at those TrustPilot reviews and they are very weird. Most seem to be people who weren’t approved by Mailerlite and never used the service. Mailerlite insists that you have your own domain and an email address attached to it, and will also block you if it sees anything dodgy also. A lot of these guys seem to have fallen at that hurdle, and I’m quite happy about that to be honest. Keeps the pool cleaner for legit operators. You definitely want that!

          And, yes, I’m very happy. There hasn’t been one misstep in the whole transfer process, and I’ve sent 9 or 10 campaigns now without a hiccup at all – steadily improving open rates too. Automations are working well. Customer service is very solid. Top marks from me.

  5. I just found the page for Updating my DNS records at MailerLite, following the trail of instructions to authenticate my domain. I hit a page of stuff I didn’t understand and immediately jumped over to the Chat line at my ISP, which is GreenGeeks. I copied & pasted the gobbledygook from the MailerLite page into the chat box and Sanjay fixed me up in minutes. Apparently it can take 24 hours for this new information to propagate properly.

    In case someone else finds this daunting.

    1. It can be a little tricky, but you only have to do it once! And it’s very good to do. Check back on that page at Mailerlite in a few hours, it often propagates much quicker than 24 hours.

      1. “This is really important: you must remember to re-authenticate your domain after switching to MailerLite. This will improve the deliverability of your emails. The guide to doing this is here and it basically involves going to the website of whoever your hoster is (e.g. GoDaddy) and changing the DNS records.” I am unsure why this is necessary, if all I am doing ref Mailerlite is pasting HTML code into my website, using my own landing pages. How does that affect my domain and the DNS records? Sorry, I’m confused.

  6. In my last post on the Mailchimp problems, I said I was weighing up ConvertKit and MailerLite as an alternative. While I ultimately went with MailerLite, ConvertKit is a very solid choice too. More expensive, but more powerful automations and some other good features. Chris Fox has a video on converting from Mailchimp to ConvertKit. He left for different reasons (he was hit by a pretty serious bug), but is similarly negative about Mailchimp’s changes – and very happy with ConvertKit since the switch. Here’s his guide if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o85o2Uzi220

  7. I tried to switch and fell at the first hurdle. I was asked for an email address that connects to WordPress. I thought that was my email address, but no.
    So unless my brain wakes up and gives me a solution, I won’t be switching, unfortunately…

  8. CORRECTION:

    I made a flub above, apologies. I’ve already corrected the post, but for anyone who read it prior, I had an error in the section when talking about what triggers payment at Mailerlite. I thought it worked like Mailchimp where paid plans would automatically kick in when you reached certain thresholds. But it’s very different.

    You don’t start paying anything with Mailerlite until you choose to do so. even if you import a list of 10,000 subscribers, you don’t start paying until you decide to upgrade your plan from free. Of course, you won’t be able to email your subscribers without upgrading (if your list is over 1,000), but if you want to import your list now and get everything set up in advance – which is a good idea – you can do so without triggering payment.

    Good to know! And thank you to those who emailed me about this.

    1. Hi David. Sorry this comment is a bit long-winded. Wouldn’t it be better to get everything set up before importing your list? I spent hours and hours learning how to use MailChimp, after signing up for SPF’s 101 course recently. Then I discovered what you discovered earlier this year and told them in November. (M/C have been very sneaky!!) I’ve built my list from scratch to 1200 in 3 months, and now realise I have to suffer the pain all over again. Your information is terrific but it doesn’t look as easy as you indicate it might be to move. The main thing I am concerned about and which is not clear, is how to deal with the daily flow of new subscribers (about 30 a day in my case) during the change over. How long did it actually take you before you flipped the switch. I read somewhere that Convert-Kit will do the migration for you. Is that true? Will M/Lite do same?

      1. Are you referring to you automations? You can set them up first before importing if you like, but rebuilding your automations will probably go surprisingly quickly – the automations interface is much more intuitive IMO. I thought that would be the really painful part of the process but I flew through it.

        The really tricky part was the forms on my website, and figuring out the timing of everything. Definitely rebuild your automations before switching your forms up. Mine were especially fiddly as I use custom forms on my website for various reasons, but if you are just using their standard forms you’ll have a much easier time of it. But once we got that side sorted, the only thing to figure out was the timing of the switch and how to handle those working their way through the automations – and that will depend on how many you have, how many parts to your automation, etc. You can just let those in mid-stream continue working their way through the Mailchimp automation and then just move them across manually as they graduate. That’s what I was going to do, until I just decided to make it simple and dump them into the graduate pool. If some part of the automation is particularly important and you don’t want them to miss it and it’s a significant number of people, I guess you could copy your onboarder and feed those people into a custom, truncated version of it on Mailerlite. It’s up to you.

  9. Just want to commment on one issue that people are running into with MailerLite – the approvals process. I don’t think everyone gets the issue, because they are looking for another service that doesn’t require them to have an email address attached to their domain and that is the wrong answer here.

    It seems many people are getting rejected because they are applying with an email address like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail rather than from their own domain (like wazzzzzup@davidgaughran.com). And then they are getting rejected and don’t understand why.

    In short, spammers historically use free email services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail as they can cycle through addresses easily. Obviously, this is harder to do with a proper domain. So it improves the deliverability and open rates of the mailing list company, as well as everyone that uses it. So many of those companies are now insisting on it.

    Even if you can find a service that lets you send from Gmail, you are going to run into huge deliverability issues – the worst kind of problem. There’s no point going to so much effort collecting emails only to have them go straight to Spam… or not get delivered at all.

    So get an email address which is attached to your domain. I did it via Google’s GSuite and I think it costs me $5 a month or something. You may even get a free email address or two with your hosting package – that’s quite common these days.

  10. One thing I forgot to mention above – someone was asking elsewhere – is about open rates and deliverability etc. There have been some reports that deliverability is better at MailerLite than Mailchimp. Then I’ve seen others suggest that their open rates dropped a bit after switching. And others have speculated that ML and MC count opens differently. I don’t know about that, but I can say my open rates on my weekly newsletter have been relatively stable since the switch. Up a little (and improving a touch each week) if anything. I’ve only a data puddle to look at, but we’ll see how it goes over time.

  11. Thanks for this information. I’m a volunteer for a small non-profit triathlon club in Sydney and have used MailChimp the last couple of years. Went to produce a new list and email for our new and returning members for the upcoming season and the system wouldn’t cooperate. MailerLite seems to do everything I need to do with the advantage of being free! Your information has been invaluable

    1. There are quite a few slicing and dicing options in terms of pulling out certain segments. I don’t think Mailerlite has that exact option, but what problem are you trying to solve exactly? If it’s something like splitting your list and spreading the send, there should be other ways to solve that problem.

  12. Thanks for the informative post David.

    I want to switch but the automation side of moving subscribers partway through the MC automation seems to be a headache.

    Any ideas on how to manage this?

    1. You have two practical choices. First, just yank them out of the automation and dump them into your regular pool. Or second, let the automation play out and move them across to your new provider when they “graduate.” Neither might be ideal, but it’s probably better than trying to move them all now and building separate automations for each tranche of users. Unfortunately, you can’t move people across and dump them into Stage 3 of your automation, or whatever.

  13. Hello David,
    I read your article and tried to switch to mailLite (twice) now. Meaning, after reading your article I signed up and went through my notes and saw that I tried this once before about a year or two ago. I currently have MC and looking to change. The dilemma I am having is verifying my website. I have had my website for over 5 years and I don’t have an email address associated with my website, they MailLite claim they can’t verify it. Any suggestions.

  14. After your articel I switched to mailerlite and now i feel riped off

    First i gave it a trail and it was ok so know i uploaded 25k emails which signed the last 20 years. now i have no access to my account. no answer from support and can´t stop the monthly payment!

    Is this something you heard about? I found more complaints here https://www.trustpilot.com/review/mailerlite.com

    1. That’s scary Hans. Stopped me in my tracks and I only have 1200 subscribers. I see many bad reviews on the internet, particularly related to the approval system and customers left stranded. I haven’t had a bad experience yet with M/C, and I found a temporary work around for automation on the free plan. But I know I’ll have to upgrade soon and it won’t be as inexpensive as M/L. But I’m reluctant to change when I’m not forced to. You know what they say. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

    2. I’m not exactly sure what issue you are running into. It sounds strange. Can you elaborate further? Are you stuck at the approvals process? Personally, I’ve found Support very responsive.

      As for complaints, and I’m speaking generally here, that looks like a very small number of negative reviews – and Mailerlite will get them, although not necessarily for bad reasons. It does have an approval process – explained here: https://help.mailerlite.com/article/show/29282-how-to-get-approved – and an anti-Spam policy – explained here: https://www.mailerlite.com/legal/anti-spam-policy – that keeps out bad actors. Some of those negative reviews might be from people who have been refused use of the platform for those reasons.

      My own experience in the last six months has been stellar. And I haven’t heard of any issues generally from all those who switched in the last 6-7 months. Not sure what specific issue you have run into here.

  15. After my recent experiences, I would not recommend anyone moving to Mailerlite. Their tech support is simply terrible.

    I once reported an issue with their automation. First they lied and said they fixed it, and then when I pointed out that it was still broken, they ignored the ticket.

    For 58 Hours.

    That is simply unprofessional.

    1. I don’t know if this was a recent interaction, but if it was I think you should give any company based in Europe a little latitude at the moment. We’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis and Mailerlite is based in Europe and many of the staff are based in some of the hardest hit areas.

      Speaking more generally, I’m sorry you had that experience, Nate. I can tell you it doesn’t match mine at all. I’ve had dozens of interactions with customer service between set-up, fixing old automations, rolling out new forms, fiddling with my website, starting new lists, building brand new automations etc. and maybe only one of those interactions was frustrating. I find the customer service far better than Mailchimp and great overall.

      One general tip: I tend to get a far quicker response by using Chat support rather than Email, and that allows you to clarify anything if there’s a misunderstanding, or you have follow-ups. It’s a handy system, you don’t need to stay at your computer or keep the tab open – if you close the page the chat just converts to an email thread.

      Hope that helps.

  16. Yeah, but but but.

    I switched too. Actually I was using Sendy for a while, sending the email via Rackspace’s Mailgun service…then I decided to stop screwing around with email and let professionals handle it.

    Oh boy. MailerLite has been having so many technical glitches. Or maybe I broke their service? I dunno. BookFunnel integration is great, but the “add to group” trigger doesn’t fire if the user’s already in a group (though it does via MailerLite’s forms). And that’s useful! I’m using it to re-send a message with a link to a members-only download page, and it’s not too hard for people to lose that link.

    So okay, I created a separate group & new automation just for BookFunnel people. Didn’t work. The issue was apparently escalated. I got no feedback on progress. Checked back multiple times. Support staff asked all the same questions each time, tested it themselves…some days it worked, some days it didn’t. It’s been stable for about a week, though, which is a good thing.

    Then they were down for large chunks of last weekend. And then the login page was broken for most of yesterday. And they were “re-indexing” lists afterward, which meant nothing actually worked even after I could log in.

    Lots of little things. So far, I have to say…I had far less trouble when I wasn’t paying anybody to manage this stuff for me. But maybe it’s just temporary. I hope so.

    1. I totally hear what you are saying when it comes to the last few days – MailerLite has had a pretty major outage. I am willing to give them a pass on this because the circumstances are quite unusual and they have been stellar otherwise over the last 14 months with no interruptions for me at all.

      From what I understand, MailerLite’s ISP had a major DDoS attack a couple of months ago, which caused some temporary interruption then, and a few performance wobbles since, so they moved to a new provider this weekend. Luckily, they flagged all that in advance to users so I was somewhat prepared. But it seems the changeover created some unexpected issues and it took them until today to get it all straightened out.

      Which was a huge pain in the ass for me personally, as I was supposed to launch a book on Friday, and they couldn’t really give reliable estimates as to when I could actually send. But, as I said, they have been stellar otherwise, and I’m hitting my list every week on the non-fiction side, so I usually see if there is even a minor dip in performance. It has been remarkable stable throughout – last few days notwithstanding. So I’m pretty sure it’s a bump in the road rather than a sign of issues to come etc.

      1. Sadly…it’s not all straightened out. I tested the automation again. Didn’t work. Under subscriber history, it also shows me opening/clicking something like 30 times for each of my own messages…all with the same timestamp. I’m also seeing weird numbers of opens/clicks that don’t match between the overview and the link/subscriber activity sections of the reports.

        I think there’s something really wrong. Speaking as a software guy, it looks like a bunch of rushed back-end changes that weren’t usefully tested. So, at the moment, data is pretty scrambled.

        I tried chat today–you’re right; they’ve typically been great with response times at least–and they’re saying it’ll take several hours to get a response. Given that they find a way to misinterpret each and every issue I raise (not unique to ML: could be me!), I’m not expecting much action in the near future.

        Meanwhile I’ve downloaded my list. I’ll give them till tomorrow, or even a bit longer if they communicate.

        1. Ha. The form was changed back to an earlier version, pointing at the wrong group entirely. So this is definite back-end data trouble. That’s…not good. And not likely related to ISP problems.

  17. I’m here due to having saved this lovely article and then finally committing. It has taken me a week of fumbling to do automatons, authenticate domains and emails. I am currently republishing my many books with better links that point to my website to sign up and not a mailchimp page. And then BOOM a huge glitch on Mailerlite.

    I was testing my first automaton and after the first email nothing happened. I sent support a message. A few minutes later and my IP address seems to have been blocked as I cannot even see the login page or their site a big white screen is all I see). Since a previous glitch I had was due to them deciding I could not use my authenticated website as my website – support said that was fixed – now I am going, hmmm is this why?

    The Trustpilot reviews have several bigger fish than me saying that mailerlite blocks IPs unexpectedly (and some said they did not refund the accounts). Even if they fix this, this is not a problem I have ever encountered with Mailchimp. After so much work to switch, I am not impressed. I will try to remember to update this if they respond adequately.

    1. This reply is not long after I asked for support and I have a reply from Mailerlite that says they are having technical issues. Am I merely unlucky? I’m still wondering at the integrity and robustness of their site. A known domain glitch and now this too. I don’t think I ever had a ‘bug/ glitch’ problem on Mailchimp in the many years I was with them.

    2. Hi Carl, I’m sorry you are having trouble but you are definitely going down the right path of re-constructing your sign-up/onboarding process to commence on your website rather than a page or form which Mailchimp or MailerLite or any provider controls. It will be worth the trouble.

      In terms of your specific issue, if you want to share some details, maybe we can help (I’m just helping a friend with his own automations and they are always fiddly to set up but it’s fresh in my mind right now so shoot…).

      Regarding the domain blocking, MailerLite is more proactive than many services in blocking bad actors – a good thing in my mind. It’s a policy which can generate some noisy complaints but I’m very happy they have it as it improves deliverability overall. MailerLite also takes a different approach to Mailchimp when it comes to forcing you to use an email address associated with your own domain and having a verification process around that – again, something I’m glad for personally but also something that generates complaints from people switching from companies like Mailchimp which don’t have that policy. I get their frustration but they really do need to get a domain email if they are running a mailing list – using a Gmail just doesn’t fly in 2020.

      As for customer service, if you are on a paid plan, I highly recommend using Chat Support over email – I find issues get resolved much faster and response times are generally superb in my experience.

      I’ve had one or two issues myself in the last 18 months since switching, but they have been mostly excellent in how they handled them. One example: I had a problem with my card a few months back and my payment was incorrectly declined. When that happens, your account automatically gets downgraded to free status, which hobbles your feature set, of course.

      Problem for me was that it was the weekend when email support is slower, and the downgrading removed chat support – meaning I couldn’t get this fixed right away. To MailerLite’s credit, once I got my own issue straightened out they addressed the general one too, and changed things so that people with billing issues don’t lose chat support because of a missed payment.

      In my mind, that’s pretty great customer service. Fixing the immediate problem, but then going the extra mile and plugging the hole for all customers too. Hope you geHi Carl, I’m sorry you are having trouble but you are definitely going down the right path of re-constructing your sign-up/onboarding process to commence on your website rather than a page or form which Mailchimp or MailerLite or any provider controls. It will be worth the trouble.

      In terms of your specific issue, if you want to share some details, maybe we can help (I’m just helping a friend with his own automations and they are always fiddly to set up but it’s fresh in my mind right now so shoot…).

      Regarding the domain blocking, MailerLite is more proactive than many services in blocking bad actors – a good thing in my mind. It’s a policy which can generate some noisy complaints but I’m very happy they have it as it improves deliverability overall. MailerLite also takes a different approach to Mailchimp when it comes to forcing you to use an email address associated with your own domain and having a verification process around that – again, something I’m glad for personally but also something that generates complaints from people switching from companies like Mailchimp which don’t have that policy. I get their frustration but they really do need to get a domain email if they are running a mailing list – using a Gmail just doesn’t fly in 2020.

      As for customer service, if you are on a paid plan, I highly recommend using Chat Support over email – I find issues get resolved much faster and response times are generally superb in my experience.

      I’ve had one or two issues myself in the last 18 months since switching, but they have been mostly excellent in how they handled them. One example: I had a problem with my card a few months back and my payment was incorrectly declined. When that happens, your account automatically gets downgraded to free status, which hobbles your feature set, of course.

      Problem for me was that it was the weekend when email support is slower, and the downgrading removed chat support – meaning I couldn’t get this fixed right away. To MailerLite’s credit, once I got my own issue straightened out they addressed the general one too, and changed things so that people with billing issues don’t lose chat support because of a missed payment.

      In my mind, that’s pretty great customer service. Fixing the immediate problem, but then going the extra mile and plugging the hole for all customers too. Hope you get your problem fixed soon!

      1. Just dropping in to add some details.
        And thank you, David. I seem to have the automatons set up correctly, though I’m aiming to stay simple to start with.

        Their support is superfast. I tried a few methods to contact them and ended up with 3 replies from 3 people within hours.

        The first said it was a tech glitch, and they were dealing with it.
        The second wasn’t a good or relevant answer.
        The third, said it had been fixed. And then the second person added that I had my IP blocked due to too many log ins.

        I think the latter was incorrect as I looked at a site downtime monitor called Uptime dot com and there was a big spike of problems reported ( and this is voluntary reports from those who find the uptime site, so there would have been more) – 41 of them , and previously there were a few a day at most. Alas Mailchimp is not on Uptime and the one it is on does not record Mailerlite so there is no way to compare, fairly, using those.

        So yes their support is super helpful and my problem was fixed within hours, after only emailing them (3 different ways lol ).

        I’m still thinking they have more site glitches than Mailchimp, currently.
        I’m sticking with them but keeping my account at Mailchimp humming , just in case.

        My automatons did not fire with the 1 minute delay I tested – almost an hour for the first and then quite some time after that for the second. The exact times would be recorded on my account, probably, but you get the point. Which again says it was their site having trouble.

  18. Can you send newsletters via RSS feed?

    I’ve been using Mailchimp to just email subscribers when there’s new posts via RSS feed.

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