Author Toolkit – Email Marketing: Why I Switched from MailChimp to MailerLite
One of my main marketing goals for this year was to focus on my email marketing strategy. In January 2017, my list barely had 150 subscribers, and I hadn’t sent a newsletter in ages. Basically since my previous release, which happened in the summer of 2016.
I had two clear tasks in what email marketing was concerned: grow my subscriber list and once that was achieved, have a more consistent newsletter sending strategy.
My Initial Email Marketing Setup
My email marketing setup was pretty basic. I had a free MailChimp account, with a very basic and not as prominent subscribe form on the sidebar of my author website. I didn’t do much to promote said newsletter subscription, apart from adding it as an entry option to some Rafflecopter giveaways.
Those giveaways and the willingness of some friends to subscribe to my newsletter were what helped my list go from zero to 150. Doesn’t sound as bad unless you think of when I started building my list. Yes, it’s been a few years, so the results are nothing to write home about. More like something to cry over…
What I did to Achieve My Email Marketing Goals
Before worrying about what I sent and how often it reached my subscribers, I had to have a larger number of people wanting to get emails and news from me. The first thing I did to achieve this was join a group giveaway for Valentine’s Day. This giveaway was put together by an author friend writing in the same genre as some of my books: gay romance.
All I needed was a story I could offer for free, a free trial of an InstaFreebie account, and the willingness to do this. I had no story to speak of, but I was planning to have one released for Valentine’s Day anyway. So I pushed this project higher on the priority list, and A Touch of Gay was ready to rock and roll for this MM Valentine’s Day giveaway.
Isobel Starling did a great job at promoting the giveaway she put together, and the dozens of participating authors all did their part. In the end, I had over 900 new subscribers to my newsletter. Of course, some of them were only there for the free book, and about a hundred disappeared over the next two newsletters I sent out. Still, I have a little under 1000 subscribers now, a huge jump from 150.
The second thing I did was to develop a newsletter strategy. My email marketing now includes sending out two newsletters per month, mixing up promos and freebies with new releases and other news.
Reasons to Stick with MailChimp
I debated whether I should switch email marketing service providers for a long while. The first conversations I had with other authors were around the time of the giveaway, in early February. After over a month of debating whether I should stay with MailChimp, or switch to MailerLite, I finally made my decision, and this is how it happened: first, I considered why I should stick with MailChimp
- Familiarity – I already knew how MailChimp worked, what options I had, and how to create my newsletter campaigns fast and easy.
- Lower costs (for the time being) – MailChimp allows up to 2000 subscribers in its free plan. Only after you reach that number are you required to upgrade to a paid plan.
- Large number of integrations with other services – everything from InstaFreebie to MailMunch and CRM platforms is available as an integration with MailChimp. I didn’t use any of those, but I could if I wanted to.
Reasons to Switch to MailerLite
The next step was to take a good look at MailerLite and see what extra benefits it could bring me right now and in the future.
- Cheaper overall – while you do start paying after your first 1000 subscribers, the overall costs of MailerLite are lower than those for MailChimp. I did check it against other email marketing service providers, and MailerLite is consistently cheaper.
- More features – free or paid, MailerLite has the same features available for you. This was a big plus because they offer Automation (a paid feature in MailChimp’s case). This allows me to set up a workflow that sends welcome messages to all new subscribers. A nicely formatted one that allows me to either say a simple thank you, or offer them a reward for singing up. Like a free book. I did have a possibility of getting around the MailChimp lack of Automation by editing the final confirmation email subscribers get, but it wouldn’t have looked as great and enticing.
- Similar interface – I might be used to MailChimp, but MailerLite is not that different. There is no steep learning curve, no need to adjust to how they do things. I could just import my mailing list and start sending newsletters.
- More flexibility in designing sign up forms – While MailChimp and MailerLite seem to offer the same types of forms, MailerLite is a bit more flexible. You can design an entire newsletter page to integrate into your website, you can design the basic sign up forms, and you can design smart pop-up forms. Those pop-up forms were what interested me most – I wanted them to only appear every so often for the same user, and only when they want to leave the website. MailChimp only allowed me a short delay before the form popped up. I could also do it through a MailChimp integration, but that would mean another account that I didn’t want.
Why MailerLite Worked Better for Me
At the end of the day, when I thought of where I want to take my newsletter, how I want to grow it, and what I need to offer my subscribers, MailerLite made more sense in the long run. Of course, I still have my MailChimp account and could go back there at some point if that’s what I decide is best.
The price, the extra features on all plans, and the ease of creating forms, newsletter pages, and pop-ups was what swayed me in the MailerLite direction.
This might also be the right choice for you, or not. I’d love to hear about it in the comments! What do you use for your email marketing, what’s your strategy? What do you think of MailChimp, MailerLite, and other such providers? Let’s start a conversation!