MailerLite VS Convertkit 2018: Email Marketing For Noobs

by Corey Philip
May 29, 2018

I’ve been an internet marketer for over a decade, but one thing I’ve never really gotten into is Email Marketing, and marketing automation. Yes, I’ve experimented with it, and played around with but I’ve never taken a liking to it — in fact I hate it.

Possibly this is because of my industry where large, custom, one of purchases are the norm.

Further compounding that is the fact that I’ve never felt comfortable in an email marketing program. The seem overly complicated and not intuitive.

But as I head down the route of ‘infopreneur’, I need to get this email marketing thing figured out — at least that’s what the guru’s tell me.

Now to have any success with email marketing, you need a list… a list of email addresses of people that want you to email them. While I have a blog that gets traffic, I have no list. So I need to start from scratch and build a list.

I was looking for an email marketing program that had a built in list building features and was simple to use. Something that I like to log into, as opposed to making me tense up as I would type in the URL to the app. That led me to Convertkit and Mailerlite.

This review is intended for email marketing noobs… like myself. You likely own a blog and need to find a product which lets us quickly and easily build a list and start firing off emails, and using simple automations for delivery of lead magnets.


Price matters… unless you’ve got a blog that is just raking in monetizable traffic — and you’re also an expert with email marketing. For my first (long overdue) attempt at list building, low cost is a priority. Relative to competitors both Mailerlite & Convert kit are pretty low cost. BUT Mailerlite is EXTREMELY low cost.

Consider a list size of 2500. Convertkit would cost you $50/m
On the flip side, for the same list size, Mailerlite would be a whopping $10/m. And it’s even free, although branded for a list less than 1000.

Mailerlite has a clear cut price advantage.

Listing Building

A list of 0 is useless. Getting subscribers is the only way to make this email marketing thing work!

There are many stand alone plugins out there but for simplicity I’d like to only have 1 plugin — hence why I’ve arrived here. Both Convertkit and MailerLite have list building features with landing pages and forms built it.

I’m particularly interested in doing a lightbox pop-up on button click.

Convertkit Forms & Landing Pages

Convertkit allows for creation of 3 types of forms; inline, modal (lightbox), and slide in.

The modal and slide in have the option of being set to display on exit intent, scroll percentage, or after certain period of time. It can also be triggered with a link click!

The modal and slide in have the option of being set to display on exit intent, scroll percentage, or after certain period of time. It can also be triggered with a link click!

Customizing the actual content of the form however, is possibly the Convertkit achilles heel. There’s no simple way of customizing it. You’re basically stuck within the Convertkit default. Want to add another field or a background image, that’ll be some custom CSS / HTML.

When it comes to landing pages ConvertKit has 4 basic templates you can select from. None of which seem to thrilling to me.

So far I’m not wowed by Convertkit.

Mailerlite Forms & Landing Pages

Mailerlite offers 4 templates for popup forms, and then also the embedded form option.

Each of the 4 types of forms can further be customized for positions, i.e centered on-screen, lower right, or bottom.

From there the form can be customized quite nicely and additional fields could be added. If you want to capture phone number and company name, the fields can easily be added.

When it comes to landing pages Mailerlite has 8 visually appealing templates


They’re all highly customizable, and I feel far more customizable than Convertkit.

Pop-up on Button Click

Recall earlier on I had mentioned the pop-up on button click being of significant importance. Neither of these programs have a native pop-up on button click built in… it requires some simple coding working around.

Here’s where Mailerlite kind of sucked. The pop-up on button click took a while to load. Not a long while, but it just wasn’t instantaneous.

As you can see, it isn’t painfully slow, but it isn’t beautifully instant like you could do with a plugin like WP Popup Maker or Optinmonster.

Email Marketing Automation

Both programs are radically easier to use then some of the more complex alternatives like Activecampaign. I have used ActiveCampaign and shuttered every time I had to log in to it. It was just too overwhelming.

With either Converkit of Mailerlite I feel totally at ease in either one. For creating some relatively simple text based emails… although both have good functionality to design awesome looking emails.

If you’re planning to sell using marketing automation, Mailerlite is lacking here. Unlike most marketing automation programs, Mailerlite, does not have a ‘goal’ for their automation.

In other words if you’re sending out an email sequence with countdown timers to get your lead to buy your product /service, there is nothing Mailerlite can do to remove them from that automation.

In other platforms, like Convertkit, a ‘goal’ can be set up to remove that lead from the automation if / when they purchase.

Convertkit Vs Mailerlite: Which one are you going to work with?

Both programs are ‘intuitive’ and avoid the cringe feeling I’ve gotten when working with other email marketing programs.

Mailerlite makes listing building with forms and landing pages a breeze, which is a killer sell for me. The delayed popup on button is a bit of downer.

But the real buzzkill is the lack of customizability in the forms of Convertkit. Sure they are 100% customizable with html / css, but we’re going for simplicity here.

I’ll be using Mailerlite going forward. It should provide a solid base to dip my toes in the email marketing pond.

That said, I do see the need for both a unique list building app, and then a more robust email marketing program exclusively. For example, Optinmonster could do faster popups on button click. So could Leadpages with their ‘Leadboxes’. Activecampaign could remove people from the automation based on website goals and send SMS messages. Of course that strays afar from the simple beauty of Mailerlite, and at such a  low cost Mailerlite is perfect for dipping toes in the sand of email marketing.

Alternative Light Box Popup Email Capture Possibilities.

Having just done the research, here are some list building plugins / apps that do smooth, highly customizable pop ups on button clicks:

  • Leadpages
  • Optin Monster
  • Thrive Leads
  • Mailoptin
  • Layered Pop Up Wp
  • Wishpond
  • Convert Plug
  • Unbounce

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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